Wow. I'm impressed.
The Who stopped in Des Moines last night at the Events Center. I've never been a huge Who fan, although I've always appreciated their place in rock history. Last night just upped that respect ten-fold.
I was very pleased through the first half of the show as they played some of the classics that I came to see like Who Are You, The Seeker, and Behind Blue Eyes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed their newer material, including Real Good Looking Boy (from a few years ago) and the mini rock opera from their upcoming CD. First impressions: Roger Daltrey's voice shows his age more than his face, Pete Townsend is the best guitarist I've ever seen live, Ringo Starr has got to be either jealous or proud (or both) of his son's skills on drums, holy crap our seats are good, they really know how to pace a show (yep, I really thought that), and the videos that formed the stage backdrop were quite entertaining.
Then, Baba O'Riley changed everything. I love the song and always have, but that performance was transcendent. During those few minutes, I learned that The Who certainly has earned their status as one of the greats along with The Beatles and The Stones. I could have happily left after hearing what I (and probably countless numbers of other casual fans) used to naively call Teenage Wasteland, but I'm glad I didn't because I would've missed the other highlight of the night, My Generation. That performance put it all in perspective and proved to me that The Who has a lot more depth and variety than I ever gave them credit for. I mean, that song came out 40 years ago and is still quite powerful, particularly with iconic images blazing on the video screens representing the several generations that preceded mine. To me, I not only heard one of The Who's undeniable classics during that performance, but I heard 40 years of many artists and tunes influenced by them since. Then of course the encore included a Tommy medley kicked off by Pinball Wizard and a pleasantly mellow finale of the new Tea & Theater. I couldn't have asked for a better and more surprising live concert experience.
Final impressions: Roger Daltrey's voice warms up nicely, Pete Townsend is clearly in a class by himself, Zak Starkey has a famous father - what's his name?, holy crap our seats were good, the setlist was a perfect mix of old and new - loud and soft, and the videos were much less mesmerizing than watching Townsend on guitar.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Wow. I'm impressed.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
What is it with too-poppy-caliber artists and cartoons? Just like Ben Folds' work on the Over the Hedge soundtrack, Paul Westerberg created tons of new music for the Open Season soundtrack, which is out in stores today. Read much more about it here, listen to previews here, and download it here. For good measure, you'll get a classic from Talking Heads, two tunes by Deathray, and Pete Yorn's version of a Westerberg's I Belong. Hey, if it helps my kids get turned on to cool music then I'm all for it. They've been dying to see the movie.
Don't forget to download the Replacements' long-awaited single-disc best-of greatest-hits-filled (damn, ran out of hyphenated words) compilation here. And while you're at it, enjoy the classic video of one of my favorite Replacements tunes below.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sigh. This one almost slipped by. The extremely underrated Joseph Arthur released his fourth full-length CD last week. He must be feeling apocalyptic as many of us are judging by the title: Nuclear Daydream. It's available through his new label Lonely Astronaut and via iTunes. Stream the whole damn thing right here, which I'll be doing sometime this week when I need a break from work. You can also hear two new tunes at hisspace.
In case you haven't picked it up, Arthur has also made available for free download a new tune about Katrina called Last Train to Ithaca. Click here for the MP3.
I'm a bit disappointed with the cover art of his new CD. His last two albums were artistic renderings done by his own hand. Now, I guess I don't know if this new cover is something he did himself, but it makes him look like Liam Gallagher or Ian Brown, which isn't quite fair to him. Regardless, if you're a fan of what you've seen of his art, you might want to purchase his new(ish) book, We Almost Made It. It's one of those snooty hardbound books that make you feel cooler than you really are. What is cool, though, is that it's accompanied by original instrumental music, which you can sample and dowload on hisotherspace. You can buy the book here for $37. Not too bad.
Finally, I also discovered yet another one of his projects (slow down, Joe!). Check out his "pure rock 'n' roll" band Holding the Void at theirspace. Evidently, this came out in 2003 originally (scroll down to read a short review here), but his site lists it as a 2006 release. Who cares. Buy it. Go to his site. Quantities are limited. It sounds cool, especially if you like Arthur's solo work. And if you haven't heard his solo work, well then SHAME!
Friday, September 22, 2006
I refuse to accept this.
Beta Band broke up to release this?
Mike Viola and his Candy Butchers have a couple interesting releases coming out October 16. Making Up Time is an album that was originally cut a decade ago but was shunned as they were navigating the hell of major labels. “Making Up Time is really the album Todd and I wanted to make in the first place before we got lost in the system,” says Viola. The Candy Butchers have put out some great music since this, but it's always interesting to hear a great artist in the early days (think Matthew Sweet's To Understand).
The other release is not really new either. Just Before Dark has been available on iTunes and vinyl for some time, but on Oct. 16, you'll be able to pick it up on CD if that sort of "technology" still interests you. This album is a live acoustic performance of brand-new tunes. So, if you think some of Viola's previous releases were a bit too tinkered with in the studio, this might be the release for you.
If you're looking for an excellent introduction to the Candy Butchers before you experiment with these new releases, you can't go wrong with 2004's ode to the 70s Hang on Mike. It's superb.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The Album Leaf released its new album Into the Blue Again last week courtesy of Sub Pop Records. Stereogum recently featured its new single and video. You can also download the tune Always for You straight from Sub Pop. It's quite good. Listening to other tunes (like Red Eye, which is excellent) on theirspace makes me think this is ripe for purchase. Sounds like a lot of instrumentals, which I'm normally not too into, but when you've worked with Sigur Ros and you're on a label like Sub Pop, I'll listen. And when you have such a pleasant single as this, I'll likely buy.
Just in the bits I've heard, this sounds like the perfect autumn record. With a name like The Album Leaf, that makes sense.
So there I stood, withing spitting distance of MoS at their M-Shop show last night in Cow-Town Ames. Crowd was humpin', sounds was jumpin', and your friend Bonji was grooving and wishing he had not have left his digital camera on the kitchen counter.
During the maximum-volume presentation of Fraud in the 80's, the loudspeaker immediately to the right of my head freaked out! Or the channel freaked out! Or Kori's mic freaked out! Something freaked out! At first I thought to meself "well shit Bonji, you've gone and deafened yourself permanently" because I could watch the lips move, but nothing was getting to my auditory receptors. And then it happened. A sonic burst assaulted my inner ear pieces and parts, the room went fuuzy and I tumbled. Found myself slumped on the floor, up against a trash can.
And to answer your questions: NO I did not have too much to drink (one wheat beer during the Starlight Mints' set). And NO I did not smoke too much. Weird, fun stuff. Happy to report my hearing is not permanently damaged.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
My best friend Matt turned me onto this band the other week and I'm absolutely stricken. Blue October's Foiled is amazing. Add dashes of Gin Blossoms, Toad, Jellyfish, Black Sabboth, Matthew Sweet, Barenaked Ladies, Eels, Kansas, Coldplay, Psychedelic Furs, Erasure, Depeche Mode and more, and you've got one amazing band.
Kansas you say? One of the band members plays violin. I've been listening to Foiled all weekend. Check it out. You won't be disappointed. Their other albums are great as well, but foiled is the best.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
This is a great "review" of Yo La Tengo's new CD by Tobias Fünke (well, David Cross actually). Hilarious. Damn hilarious. I fear a new wave of similar "reviews" from bloggers who think they're amusing when they can nowhere near touch the level of humor of Cross.
Check out the stylish new video from Mates of States for Like U Crazy (although I'm still partial to the video for Fraud in the 80s). MoS will be back in Central Iowa at the M-shop in Ames next Tuesday night. It's a great show. This time around they're touring with Starlight Mints who are on the same label as MoS, Barsuk, which is one of the coolest record labels around. A look at their band list is proof positive.
M-shop has some other great shows coming up this fall. Click here for more info.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Here's a once in a lifetime opportunity: own the wildest looking guitars ever played by a one-hit wonder. These guitars are being sold through eBay and at last check, the bids were over $30,000. You'd think this would've started some sort of psychedelic guitar trend or something, but I guess not.
Now I'm just trying to decide if this is worth a second mortgage. Don't tell my wife.
By the way, the band was Strawberry Alarm Clock and their one hit was Incense and Peppermints. More here.
Friday, September 08, 2006
U2 is working with Rick Rubin on their new album. First Neil Diamond, then Dixie Chicks, then U2. Sure, makes sense. That Rubin gets around. U2 is also collaborating with Green Day on a charity single.
Billboard and u2.com have more details.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The latest news from R.E.M.:
- And I Feel Fine...The Best of the IRS Years (1982-1987) comes out next Tuesday. Most interesting for big fans is the bonus disc of tunes handpicked by the boys in the band. The whole set is somewhat of a companion piece to In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 that was released a few years ago.
- The band is being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16. For the first time in a decade, the three remaining members of R.E.M. will perform with original member Bill Berry for the occasion.
- While all four of them are together, there is talk of recording music that would be released for a charitable purpose.
- Best of all, they are beginning to talk about the next album. Around the Sun was not their finest and, in my opinion, a big disappointment after Reveal.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Matthew Sweet again proves his love for soundtracks by including an unreleased tune on the upcoming soundtrack to NBC's hit My Name is Earl. Why does he choose this outlet for releasing new music? Who knows. With a name like Livin' Thing, it sounds like it is probably an outtake from his 2004 release Living Things. I haven't fallen in love with the preview offered here. The vocals seem mixed way too high. Hopefully, it'll sound better on disc or download. But I'll take new Matthew however it's offered.
UPDATE: Nope, it's not an outtake. It's a cover version of ELO's classic. Duh. I thought it sounded familiar.
L.E.O. is finally releasing its debut album. You might remember that L.E.O. is somewhat of a supergroup of powerpop stars that got together to start an E.L.O. tribute band that turned into something much more. The album comes out October 17.
From theirspace (where you can check out some of the tunes):
L.E.O. is a power-pop-collective that has become a Traveling
Wilburys-esque creative outlet for a gang of like-minded musician/producers...it
was originally conceived by Bleu and includes the diverse talents of Andy
Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola (The Candy Butchers), Jason Scheff (Chicago),
Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), Matt Mahaffey (Self), John Fields (big-time
pop-producer), Tony Goddess (pApAs fritAs), Hanson, Eric Barao (The Cautions),
Scott Simons (The Argument), and Paula Kelley, among others..