Archive | May, 2010

Track of the Day: Of Montreal–Id Engager

24 May

I cannot express how excited I am about seeing Of Montreal tonight. Seeing them at Fun Fun Fun Fest (my first live encounter with them) was a life-altering experience and seeing them take their big, wild show to The Granada’s relatively small stage should be just as amazing.

Their last incarnation as an electronic take on a glam rock band is possibly my favorite–although I do love their 60s-pop-style songs and they’ve gone for a psychedelic/No Wave/funk sound with False Priest, due in September, so maybe I should hold my opinion–which is why I chose “Id Engager”, from 2008’s Skeletal Lamping as today’s track.

Of Montreal–Id Engager

P.S. Steve Labate and Scott Sloan, the men behind 40 Nights of Rock & Roll, will be filming the show tonight. Be sure to buy them a drink! And buy us one while you’re at it.

Clash of the Titles: Laughing Gas–Neon Indian vs. Quiet Riot

24 May
While searching at the last minute for a TOD (we get a lot of submissions and it can be hard to sift through them … and sometimes they’re all bad), I decided to start a new feature: Clash of the Titles. For this feature, we will take two songs with identical titles or themes, which means cover songs are game, and compare them. It’s sort of like “Who Wore It Better?”, but with songs. This will be a weekly feature and reader suggestions are welcome. Warning: It can get a little snarky, but we’re just having fun here.

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Remember how I said “Clash of the Titles” would be a weekly feature (if not, it’s in the note right at the top, dummy!)? Well, obviously by “weekly” I meant “once a month or whenever I feel like writing one”. Honestly, though, I have a new job and I am in the process of moving so I’ve been generally neglecting this site. Apologies.

Now on to the main event: Today’s Clash is between Brooklyn (via Denton via the places the members lived before Denton, although I’m sure people get bent out of shape when they call themselves a Brooklyn band) trendies Neon Indian and popular 80s metal band Quiet Riot.

Maybe I was a little lightheaded from walking my dog around my neighborhood in the heat and humidity, but this song made me feel like I was on nitrous oxide. The band somehow perfectly mimics the sound of people’s voices and of music when you’ve been administered laughing gas or are using it recreationally (not that I have ever done that).

Now, when I was a kid I had to make frequent trips to the dentist because I have weak teeth (but I won’t go into that because this is about music). I always asked for the laughing gas because, well, why not? And I was usually listening to either John Secada or whatever other Top 40 music was playing on the radio or cassettes the dentist provided or that I brought from home. Although anything sounds cool when you’re four years old and high out of your gourd, even John Secada and especially a Care Bears adventure, this song is genuinely cool.

As anyone I’ve discussed Neon Indian with knows, I am lukewarm towards their music. But I don’t begrudge them their success because they are hardworking, savvy and charismatic. This song is the only one that has made me think, “Wow. I like this.” I’m not saying it’s incredibly original. But I probably dig it because it touches the little kid inside of me. Wait … that sounds bad. What I meant to say is that it gives me nostalgic feelings about my childhood trips to the dentist. Yes, I loved going to the dentist because dental hygiene has always been key for me. And probably also because I got high every time I went …

(Side note: Chimps are so cute!)
(Side side note: Re-reading this portion of the piece makes me realize how often I sound like a rambling old woman and/or a raving lunatic.)

Quiet Riot was a decent heavy metal band, and metal is a genre I have recently come to appreciate (some of it without irony). I also admire Randy Rhoads, because he was a talented guitarist and because we’re supposed to admire people who are knocked down in their prime or whatever*. But I couldn’t even finish this song, mainly because of Rhoads’ marathon guitar solo at the end (meaning the last two-thirds of the song). If I were on laughing gas while listening to this, I would probably end up jumping out of a window. In fact, I almost did that completely sober.

As I said, I’m not completely opposed to Quiet Riot. They have some fun songs. But “Laughing Gas” isn’t one of them. Now, there are parts I like, even the end of what seems like an hour-long solo, but other members of the band do actually play here and there and the full band comes back at the end (I skipped around to the end because I simply couldn’t listen to the entire song). Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this song, or maybe it’s just bad.

At any rate,  Neon Indian wins this battle.

*In all seriousness, it was sad when Randy Rhoads died. I mean, I was three when it happened. But he was very young and he on the verge of becoming a superstar and his death was tragic. It was also a classic rock ‘n’ roll death, as he died in a private plane at the age of 25.

Track of the Weekend: Girl Talk- Play Your Part (Pt. 1)

21 May

Tomorrow at the Kessler we’re giving away 80 tickets to the Houston Free Press Summer Fest which features Girl Talk, amongst others.

We’re having a party at The Kessler!

20 May

This Saturday, May 22, we’re presenting our first show since SXSW at The Kessler. Giggle Party, Manned Missiles, Noonday Morningstar and The Bizaroo Kids will all be playing and tickets are only $10.

The show will have a birthday party theme (not for anyone in particular, but just because birthday parties are fun) and we’ll be giving away free tickets to the Houston Free Press Summerfest. It will be an all-ages show and a good time for everyone.

We’ll see you there!

The Incredible Journey: Scott Sloan talks about “40 Nights of Rock & Roll”

19 May

The future saviors of rock 'n' roll?

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Scott Sloan and Steve Labate are on a mission: Armed with only a camera, their trusty jeep Black Betty and a stash of junk food, they’re on a 40-day tour of the United States to prove that rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay.

They’ll be attending a concert every night (that’s 40 shows in 40 different cities) and filming those concerts, along with interviews with different musicians they meet along the way, for their documentary, 40 Nights of Rock & Roll–A Fearless Journey Through The Dark Heart Of Rock & Roll Music On The Road In The United States Of America.

Sloan and Labate have been friends since teenhood and rock fanatics since childhood (in fact, Sloan traced his love for music to an interesting source). Sloan is a filmmaker and former phone company salesman and Labate is an accomplished music journalist and former editor for Paste magazine. They’ve both attended their fair share of shows and festivals over the years, but never in such a high concentration.

The zealous duo of rock avengers will be in the area next week, making stops in Dallas on May 24 for Of Montreal’s show at The Granada and in Denton on May 26 for … whatever they find.

I jumped at the opportunity to find out more about their ambitious project, and Sloan was gracious enough to answer my questions, despite the fatigue and delirium caused by 15 days on the road.

DBB: What inspired you to embark on this journey, and why did you decide on 40 nights specifically?

SS: We were inspired by the Josh Hartnett film 40 days and 40 Nights.

DBB: How did you go about planning the project, including the cities you selected, bands you wanted to see, funding, etc?

SS: We took a bunch of bands that we liked tour schedules and dumped them into some databases. I correlated those results with a map of the US marked by homes of friends and family, then overlayed that map with the migration patterns of the wooly mammoths. This is the result.

DBB: How is it different from past projects (other films, features on music, festival coverage, etc.) that you’ve worked on?

SS: This is different because it never ends. No breaks … Seriously … None.

DBB: What do you expect/hope to find in some of the other cities where you have no specific bands set up to watch?

SS: We’re looking for the spirit of rock. I hope to hap across some little club with some distortion, screaming vocals, thundering bass, and machine gun drums pouring out, go in, and get my face rocked off. Or see a nice little pop trio hitting all the stops and making people smile.

DBB: How do you plan to survive the journey, and how are you and Black Betty holding up so far?

SS: We have a nutritionist travelling with us who determines the optimal carb/protein ratios for us using only processed meats and corn and potato chips.

Black Betty is holding up well. She is looking to become this generation’s Hidalgo, and is coming along quite nicely.

DBB: What are some of your best experiences thus far?

SS: Every show has been amazing in one way or another. Of course there are personal favorites … But to single out any band or artist would be a disservice to the film and the shows we’ve seen. Let’s just say that 15 days in, it appears that rock is alive and well and flourishing.

DBB: What are some of your worst experiences thus far?

SS: Being with Steve 24 hours a day. You learn everything about a person like this. Heck, I noticed he had been carrying a large piece of lint for two days straight. I know he has gotten quite sick of me as well, but we persevere.

DBB: Not to be a snob, but why Third Eye Blind?

SS: Rock has many faces.

DBB: You have a history with Of Montreal and you’ll be here in Dallas to see them. Why did you choose a relatively small venue to see them when their shows are getting bigger and more elaborate? What do you hope they’ll do with this show?

SS: Venue size means nothing to us … It’s hard enough to find bands for 40 consecutive nights and cover the country. I am confident that Of Montreal will deliver.

DBB: If you could have done this project during any other musical era, which would you have chosen?

SS: I think I’d like to do this in 1975. There was so much awesome rock going on, and people were partying with a recklessness that is absent in today’s world of YouTube and camera phones.

DBB: You seem to be pretty adamant in the belief that rock ‘n’ roll is still alive. If it ever dies, who do you think will pull the trigger?

SS: The only person who can kill rock is yourself, when you stop listening to it.

Any words of advice for people who love music and are trying to make a career out of it, especially considering the current economic climate?

SS: I think I’m about eight grand in the hole for this, so I really can’t help there.

DBB: Can we hang out when you come to Denton?

SS: Love to.

If you have any suggestions of what these two should do while they’re in the area, please let us know in the comments or via email.

P.S. Jaime has a similar project in the works, planned before he knew about this film. Starting December 31, he will see one band every night for a year. Talk about ambitious.

Track of the Day: The Hundred In The Hands – Dressed In Dresden

19 May
(Note: Due to the sheer number of submissions we receive, there is no way we can give each and every album the attention (and word count) they deserve, but we can devote time to at least one song from each. So we started this feature to give worthy bands, and their music a spot to shine. We hope this helps you discover new and exciting acts, and as always if you enjoy the music please make an attempt to support the artists by either attending a show, or buying a record.)

Adult Swim loves this Metric knock-off, I first heard a snippet of the track while watching The Boondocks, and I was told by a friend that the late night block has been playing it over and over all week. It also seems the Brooklyn duo of guitarist Jason Friedman (the Boggs), and singer Eleanore Everdell (she did guest vocals for TV on the Radio) have set out on a little tour of major US cities to help promote this single, and their prospective first release.

The Hundred In The Hands – Dressed In Dresden

Verdict: The song sits in an area of music I like to call “commercial pop” which is basically music that exist solely for car commercials, and TV shows. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, people do have to eat, but it’s hard for me to get too attached to something that’s going to be downloaded as a single now, and dismissed in 8 months.

That being said, the song is catchy, as Everdell’s nonchalant vocals capture the listener’s attention,  while the guitar is juddering along and pushing the song forward, as we’re treated to it’s of Metric like fuzz. So, yeah it;s nothing new, but that doesn’t make it bad.

Track of the Day: The High Llamas–Bach Ze

18 May

I’ve been listening a lot to The High Llama’s 1999 masterpiece Snowbug over the past couple of weeks. The soothing 1960s pop sound (with a heavy influence from French music of that era) is absolutely addictive.

I got the album from my older brother’s collection and I can’t understand why he never pushed this band on me. As a fan of The Beach Boys, Serge Gainsbourg, Belle and Sebastian, Air, Stereolab and any great band that made or was influenced by 1960s pop, The High Llamas are exactly my kind of music.

Of all the gorgeous tunes on Snowbug, “Bach Ze” is my favorite.

Verdict: OK, so the video looks like the director just slapped together random footage, effects and fonts. But listening to the song is sure to make the tension of the day just melt away.