Thursday, March 29, 2007

Support Local Music

Gross Domestic Product Local Iowa Music ShowcaseThe Greater Des Moines Music Coalition is putting on its second Gross Domestic Product local music showcase this Saturday at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. 15 bands, 10 bucks ($15 day of). This is a great opportunity for us Iowans to show our support for local music. I can't be there, so this is my show of support. Go GDP.

More info here.

Beside Nothing
Des Moines Boyz
Down Cast
General Sherman
The Horseshoe Spatulas
Keepers of the Carpet
North of Grand
Oh Possum
On a Pale Horse
Poison Control Center
Radio Moscow

People Are Stupid

Spinner has the 20 worst lyrics ever. For an amusing three minutes, read them.

Ten Thousand Dancing Girls Kicking Cans 'Cross the Sky

Awesome. According to Pitchfork, it appears New Pornographers are working on a new album that may come out in August! This will be their fourth release and follows 2005's excellent Twin Cinema. New Pornos are one of those great power pop bands disguised as an indie band. They have enough quirk and variety in lyrics, voices, and delivery to make them more than appealing to the hipsters, yet at their core they play perfect pop music. Their music grows on me the more I listen to it. This is great news.

The Future That I Left Behind

Wisely is working with the original Willie Wisely Trio on a brand new album. I was first introduced to Wisely upon release of his latest album Parador, which was a great find (thanks, Not Lame). I've also heard great things about his earlier work so we'll see how the new one sounds when it's released. No mention of a release date.

Wisely has also released a new video for the tune This Is Everything. Great song, but I was hoping it would be the video for Through Any Window that is supposed to feature Jenna Fischer. If that one is anything like the video for Parador, it will be worth the wait!

Going Numb

SXSW is overwhelming. It's a dream to someday go to Austin and submerge myself in the countless awesome shows, but until then, I have to try to dissect all the reports I read. This year, Not Lame is making it a bit easier by releasing a free album via download of their highlights at this year's SXSW. The album will only be posted for a few days, so get it now.

Here's the tracklist:
1. "Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)" The Young Knives
2. "Dullsville" The Novaks
3. "Better Than This" Jeff Finlin
4. "Going Numb" Tin Cup Prophette
5. "Eyes Have Spoken" Sproll
6. "Basis Of Everything" Delorentos
7. "Houses " Estates
8. "Artists Are Boring" Kingdom Flying Club
9. The Rumble Strips on WOXY
10." Medicine Man" Y O U

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Na Na

Evidently Chicago's Baby Teeth is the headliner for the upcoming Changes show at the M-Shop in Ames. I'd prefer to see The Changes do a longer set, but it sounds like Baby Teeth could put on a pretty good show too. Sample tracks here or download below. Get ready to get Queeny.

MP3: Baby Teeth - The Simp
MP3: Baby Teeth - Looking for a Road

We Gathered in Spring

Midlake The Trials of Van OccupantherRainy mornings in early spring like this remind me of when my mom would drag me around town running errands and going to the shoe store while listening to music I really didn't want to listen to.

I still have to do things I'd rather not do (read: work), but now I have control over the music. Today, I choose Midlake's The Trials of Van Occupanther.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I've Got My Life of Complication Here to Sort Out

BonjiPop sent this one around a couple months ago and I've just revisited it and had to share. Camera Obscura released their third album last summer, Let's Get Out of This Country, and based on the following tune and video (Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken), I just may be picking this one up. Smashing. Lovely. Brilliant.

Thanks, B.

Just a Little Favorite Tune

Guster Satellite EPGuster is releasing the Satellite EP: 8 songs for 8 bucks. Guster fans, you read about it here. Guster says you can pre-order it here.

Guster provides a bit more insight into the EP:

Bullet Point 1. As those of you followed the studio journal know, this is only half of Guster's current b-side treasury. The rest of the album rejects will hopefully see the light of day some time in the near future too.

Bullet Point 2. The Satellite EP is entirely carbon-neutral. The carbon emissions from the manufacturing process have been offset with renewable energy credits, and the ink used on the package was soy ink. Go Adam, go!

Bullet Point 3. You might recognize that "I'm Through" has a very familiar verse melody ... the song was discarded and used for parts and eventually re-built into "C'mon." We thought you might like a small window into our songwriting process. Enjoy that small window.

Guster is also cruising with Barenaked Ladies again next year, January 27-February 1. Guster knows you like to party with the guys from Barenaked Ladies.


Me gusta, Guster.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Rain Exploded With a Mighty Crash

It's official. The first release from Hear Music, Starbucks' record label, will be a new album from Paul McCartney, due early summer.

“For me the great thing is the commitment and the passion and the love of music, which as an artist is good to see,” said McCartney. “It’s a new world now and people are thinking of new ways to reach the people and for me that’s always been my aim.”
For a huge fan like myself, it's more important that Paul's releasing new music so soon.
“It is such a privilege to be able to present this amazing new album to the world,” said Glen Barros, president and CEO of the Concord Music Group. “I believe that McCartney fans, like myself, will find that this album connects them to everything that they’ve always loved about Paul, yet also delivers a new personal dimension that shows his continued evolution as an artist. It is a truly profound recording.”
Profound? Good thing they're downplaying expectations. Nonetheless, awesome.


UPDATE: Billboard reports an early June release.

I'm not the man they think i am at home

In what everyone thought The Beatles would do, Sir Elton John makes his back catalog available exclusively through iTunes.

Dream On

Just announced today is confirmation of the oft rumored reissue of the entire two-album catalog of The Traveling Wilburys, that superest of supergroups featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. The albums have been out of print for a decade. Rhino is releasing the remastered albums June 11. The release will feature a bonus DVD of videos and a documentary as well as two unreleased songs (!!!!!) and two hard-to-find rarities.

Simply stellar news.

It's All a Mystery

Flaming Lips YoshimiWell, now, this is interesting. In an interview with, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips said Aaron Sorkin will team up with the band to script a musical of the Lips' spectacular release from 2002 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Yes, Sorkin, Mr. West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60.


I just can't put my head around this one. Perhaps that's the point. Am I excited? Am I scared? Sensations I've never felt before. Whoa.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

As Soon As You're Born, They Make You Feel Small

Not that it should surprise anyone here, but the RIAA won the worst company award from the consumerist, beating out Halliburton.

Let's Just Say We Landed that Day

Looks like Jason Falkner's new album release has been pushed back to April 26. At least that's the availability via Amazon. At least they have it for pre-order already! Now, can I wait for the US release later this summer? Hmmm.


It's the Middle of the Day and My Phone is Ringing

The Changes have announced new tour dates, including a stop next month in Ames!

3.20.07 - Pianos - New York, NY
3.21.07 - Union Hall - Brooklyn, NY
3.22.07 - Northstar - Philadelphia, PA
3.23.07 - Lizard Lounge - Lancaster, PA
3.24.07 - Recher Theatre - Baltimore, MD
3.26.07 - Casbah at Tremont - Charlotte, NC
3.27.07 - Ground Zero - Spartanburg, SC
3.28.07 - Front Street Music Hall - Wilmington, NC
3.29.07 - Village Tavern - Charleston, SC
3.31.07 - Alchemize - Cincinnati, OH
4.5.07 - M-Shop - Ames, IA
4.6.07 - Mojo's - Columbia, MO
4.7.07 - Canopy Club - Urbana, IL
The Changes album Today is Tonight is quickly growing to be one of my favorites of this past year. Quite good.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Her Beautiful Arse Cantilevering Over a Table of Hors d'oeuvres

Here's one that tickles the memory banks of my youthful days (guess I'm reflective today) yet has perfect relevance now. Jeff Heiskell is the former leader of The Judybats. Think back now: Daylight, She's Sad She Said, Saturday, Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow, Being Simple, Pain Makes You Beautiful.... And if you are unaware of the aforementioned tunes, in addition to the countless others that are worthy of your attention, well, there's not much you can do about it. It seems everything is out of print. You can pick up used copies, and it would be worth the minimal purchase, but it's extremely unfortunate that this band, which was pretty popular among my friends in high school and college, has been wiped clean from commercial history.

Jeff Heiskell of The JudybatsAnyway, Jeff Heiskell is releasing a solo album on April 10. Read more here and listen to a couple tracks here. The vocals are distinctively his, but he's right, the music and lyrics are a bit of a downer:

This is a dark, brooding collection of songs whose lyrics are often disguised by upbeat melodies and arrangements.
From what I can tell, this is only available through his Web site. Order here. And while you're at it, order some classic Judybats as well by clicking the above links.

Of the Beginning, Of the Beginning

LegolverThis is perfect. I have very fond memories of my childhood when my brother, cousin, and I would work play with Legos and listen to the Beatles. This is a perfect representation of those memories.

Now, if there'd only be a peanut butter & jelly sandwich made with half a jar of each ingredient, a reel-to-reel machine that's out of batteries, and a stupid f---ing bee, then the memories would be complete.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Said there's a few things you should know

I was surfing around with my iLike iTunes plug-in and came across a recommendation of The Fray. I'd heard a couple tunes before and finally figured out they were in a couple episodes of the awesomely underrated Scrubs TV show.

How To Save A Life
is full of rich, lush and spacious power pop. While it probably borders a bit on the "way too poppy" side, I didn't get my name for nothing.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Love Will Break Your Heart

Loud LionDef Leppard lives!!!

Ok, I suppose they do, but what I mean really is that Def Leppard lives - in spirit! Bleu, one of the masterminds behind the ELO homage LEO has now turned his attention to Loud Lion, an homage to the band with the drummer with only one arm and all the other hair metal bands that were never as good. Loud Lion includes John Fields, a guy from Rooney, a gal from the Donnas, Andrew WK, and a drummer with only one leg. Yeah, kinda weird.

It's certainly righteous ... righteous after a few Sierra Nevada Pale Ales that is. I don't think I could buy this in my right mind, but listening to the tunes on theirspace is quite entertaining. Not unlike LEO, they are spot on again.

I Tell Them There's No Hurry I'm Just Sitting Here Doing Time

The BeatlesI'm tiring of this story. The latest from the Beatles camp is that there is no imminent plan to release their catalog for digital download. Wtf? Rolling Stone has the brilliant idea of just ripping the CDs. No shit. But compare the songs from those CDs with newer releases like 1 and Love and you'll understand why we fanatics want remastered digital releases!

Rolling Stone is also playing the list game this week by asking for the best solo Beatles tunes. As of 3/16, I'd have to say:
Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed
John Lennon - Watching the Wheels
George Harrison - What Is Life
Ringo Starr - Photograph

I Have Something to Say

Steve Bertrand Pain is a MegaphoneSteve Bertrand is releasing a solo album on May 8 called Pain is a Megaphone.

Naturally, "solo" means he was in a band prior to this, right? He started his too poppy-worthy career in The Tories, a straight-forward power pop band that reminded many of Jellyfish. I too was reminded of Jellyfish, but a more commercially accessible Jellyfish, if that makes sense. Yes, it does. Anyway, the highlight of The Tories two-album career was the five-star Flying Solo, a perfect few minutes of too poppy glory. If you want to know what this blog is about, download Flying Solo now.

Following The Tories' lack of commercial success despite sounding more commercially accessible than Jellyfish (stay with me) and despite one of their tunes being chosen as the theme song to a Christina Applegate sitcom (not especially a cool thing, but he got closer to Applegate than I ever will), Bertrand moved on to Avion. I have nothing to say about Avion. I have never heard Avion. I'll rectify that problem at a future time. My guess would be that they sound a lot like The Tories.

Now that Avion has "taken a little holiday for the time being," Bertrand is keeping up his impressively prolific output by releasing the new album. You can stream a few tracks here. I would characterize his music not unlike Gin Blossoms; nothing out of the ordinary with, at times, extraordinary hooks and melody. And, oh yeah, he sounds more commercially accessible than Jellyfish.

Pre-order from Amazon.

Is it just me, or does he look like Fred Durst on the cover of his new album? Just color that hat red and turn it around -- you'll see it. Bad yikes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Now It Feels Alright

Toyota Yaris is trying desperately to appeal to their target audience (hint: cut it out with the "yr" shit, not that I'm part of that target anymore.) But I give them credit for injecting themselves into arguably the best new music showcase of the year, SXSW. In fact, they have a whole page of free MP3s for your pleasure. I haven't checked on the quality and all that. I'll leave that to you. Just know that they get bonus points for listing The Broken West first.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's Coming Back to Haunt Me

Guster likes kids -- all kinds of kids -- real kids, indie kids, kids-at-heart. Guster even proved they like kids by "performing" on the hip and seemingly truly original public access show Pancake Mountain, which can be seen in the DC area (public access shows in Des Moines include some crazy old far-right pastor who has an affinity for American flag ties, some cheezy Jesus freak who plays popular Christian music while attempting to lip sync to them, and ghost hunters who never find anything ("the temperature right here is two degrees cooler than over there"), not Pancake Mountain.)

Guster can be seen performing C'mon on Pancake Mountain below.

Guster also produced a "real" video for C'mon, but I think I prefer the Pancake Mountain video.

Me gusta Guster (and public access programs.)

Nanny Bakes Fairy Cakes

Hitting the web is news that Paul McCartney has left Capitol Records after 40+ years. The story reports that he will be taking his entire back catalog with him as well (solo, that is) and taking it all to the new label started by Starbucks called Hear Music. Most importantly is that it says Macca will have a new record coming out this fall.

The story says this is all being reported by Fox News, which is impossible to verify because their web site is embarrassingly cluttered. I'm not one to normally jump on a rumor without verifying it with a better news source than, but this is Paul McCartney. More soon I hope.

UPDATE: From the New York Post (not the reputable news source I was looking for) and Fox News (simply "reporting" on the Post's story), it sounds like Starbucks may be close to announcing a new record label called Starbucks Records and McCartney may be releasing his next album on it, not the already existing Hear Music, which merely licenses songs to put on compilations. Nothing mentions him taking along his back catalog. Damn Interweb. Hmm.

UPDATE 2: The official announcement was today (21 March 2007) at the Starbucks annual meeting. Sir Paul McCartney helped announce via conference call.

That's Unexpected

Squeeze PlayCriminally underrated Squeeze is reuniting to celebrate a series of re-releases. Unfortunately, no shows have been announced here in the US. Let's hope.

Stereogum has the purty tour flyer.

By the way, Squeeze is so much more than Tempted. Squeeze Play is a personal favorite and hopefully on track to see a re-release.

Closer, Closer

Travis has released a video for their new single Closer. Inexplicably, there is an entirely pointless appearance from Ben Stiller. Good videos are so hard to come by. Sounds like good singles are also hard to come by.

The Boy With No Name is due out May 8.


Soon You'll Find the Answer

The Polyphonic Spree have abandoned their hippy, dippy dresses robes in favor of black uniforms to reflect "a political climate that's choking us all." More importantly, they are working on a full-length album called The Fragile Army, which will be out sometime in June. It's a follow-up to last year's iTunes-only EP Wait that included some interesting covers.


MP3: The Polyphonic Spree - Sonic Bloom (via Pitchfork - scroll down)

Was Magic in the Air?

Congrats to REM, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night (along with Stipe's hero Patti Smith, Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash, and the Ronettes.) Man, you know you're old when your favorites are even eligible to be in the Hall.

In new release news, Jacknife Lee (no relation) has been tapped to be the producer on REM's next album, which they will begin recording this spring. Let's hope for a 2007 release, and perhaps a newfound surge in overall relevance for a band whose popularity has waned despite releasing some highly underrated albums (except Around the Sun, which never did much for me.)

And finally, REM has released a cover of John Lennon's #9 Dream for The Campaign to Save Darfur. It was released on iTunes today. All proceeds will go to the campaign, which is entirely worthy of your $.99 -- at least. A full album is coming out June 12 with many other artists covering Lennon tunes. You can watch the video below.

Slowly Losing Sight of the Real Thing

Suh-weet! I finally get to see the real Kenny Rogers in all his new-face glory!

Monday, March 12, 2007

We're Salt and Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

You know you're finally seeing progress in your kids' music appreciation when your 4-year-old son asks to hear the "Salt and Pepper" song. It took about 15 minutes, but we figured out that it was Sgt. Pepper's. It was too hilarious not to document here.

Plus, it gives me an excuse to link to a story Way2Poppy forwarded my way about The Fab Faux performing the Beatles album that never was (i.e. early solo tunes).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

You Think You're So Clever

Following the excellent news about a new Jason Falkner release, it appears Roger Joseph Manning Jr. will also be releasing a new album on April 18. As with Falkner's CD, it appears Manning's will only (or at least first) be released in Japan on Pony Canyon. One caveat: this release will be under Manning's remixer alter-ego Malibu (which was evidently and inadvertently given to Manning by Beck).

Now I don't know Japanese, but it's pretty clear that Manning is being credited on all these songs:

作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
10. D.I.E.T
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
作詞/作曲:Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
Cool. I've always wanted Japanese (or lots of question marks) on this blog. I have no idea about a domestic release.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Want Due Consideration

The Long Winters Vinyl GiveawayBarsuk is giving away a Long Winters vinyl collection to "celebrate" their spring tour. Enter here.

They should celebrate by coming to frickin' Iowa. Sigh.


10 Mar 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, CA [ Independent ]
Presented by KFOG

13 Mar 2007
VANCOUVER, CANADA [ Richard's on Richards ]

16 Mar 2007
EDMONTON, CANADA [ Velvet Underground ]

17 Mar 2007

19 Mar 2007
WINNIPEG, CANADA [ West End Cultural Centre ]

21 Mar 2007

22 Mar 2007
MADISON, WI [ High Noon Saloon ]

23 Mar 2007
MILWAUKEE, WI [ Miramar Theater ]

24 Mar 2007
CHICAGO, IL [ Double Door ]

25 Mar 2007
ANN ARBOR, MI [ Blind Pig ]

27 Mar 2007
TORONTO, CANADA [ El Mocambo ]

28 Mar 2007

29 Mar 2007
ALLSTON, MA [ Great Scott ]

30 Mar 2007
HOBOKEN, NJ [ Maxwell's ]

31 Mar 2007
NEW YORK, NY [ Mercury Lounge ]

01 Apr 2007
NEW YORK, NY [ Mercury Lounge ]

02 Apr 2007
BROOKLYN, NY [ Union Hall ]

03 Apr 2007
WASHINGTON, DC [ Rock and Roll Hotel ]

06 Apr 2007
NEWPORT, KY [ Southgate House ]

07 Apr 2007
ST. LOUIS, MO [ Blueberry Hill ]

10 Apr 2007
DENVER, CO [ Bluebird Theatre ]

11 Apr 2007
SALT LAKE CITY, UT [ Kilby Court ]

13 Apr 2007
PORTLAND, OR [ Doug Fir ]

14 Apr 2007
SEATTLE, WA [ Showbox ]

28 Apr 2007
SALEM, OR [ Willamette University ]

I've Seen Eloquence In Its Purest Sense

Jason Falkner I'm Ok...You're OkOk, if my favorite artists keep releasing CDs only in Japan, my wife is going to start wondering why every album in my collection cost $35!

Jason Falkner is the latest to release only (or at least first) in Japan. His new album I'm Ok...You're Ok hits stores (there) on April 18. Bone up on your Japanese and read more about it here, courtesy of Noise McCartney Records. Cute name.

Keep checking back here. Hopefully will pick up the import soon.

UPDATE: Missed this part of his Web site's message: "...and will see a proper U.S. release this summer." Sweet.

Monday, March 05, 2007

When You Try Your Best But You Don't Succeed

I cannot understand why bands raise expectations so impossibly high for their next release. Sure, maybe lots of people will go out and buy/download it in its first week to inflate first week sales, but in the end, if you can't meet expectations, don't you just piss off your fans?

The latest:

"In order for us to get excited about a new album, we have to have one song that we feel like everybody has to hear ... before we die, otherwise we'll be terribly depressed," Martin said. "So luckily with this new record we're going to make, we have that one song."

"I can't tell you about it, but it's basically genius," he joked.

Yep, that's Chris Martin of Coldplay "joking" about how great one song on their new album will be. Come to think of it, isn't that downplaying expectations? "We have one great song on the new album. The rest will sound like Fix You." Hmm.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I've Seen Everything

The Trash Can Sinatras have a new release out on Chemikal Records called "half an apple" on the 'ballads of the book' album, pairing contemporary scottish poets with musicians. The album is released on March 5 in the uk and April 3 in the USA. Universal is also re-releasing most of the bands' discography everywhere but North America.

TCS performing Free As A Bird.

My first exposure to the band was at the Masquerade Music Park in Atlanta and their inaugual event. TCS was one of about 7 bands which played, culiminating in an unbelievable performance by none other than Jellyfish.

You're the Bird on the Brim Hypnotized by the Whirl

Bjork is a bit of the anti-pop, but she's incredibly talented and always makes for a good late night headphone session. Here are the details for her new album Volta scheduled for a May release.

Every Now and Then I Get a Little Bit Terrified

Oh dear. Guster is releasing a live version of Total Eclipse of the Heart on the upcoming Satellite EP. Guster might be one of the only one to pull this off. Guster, good luck because I have my doubts. Me gusta Guster.

1. Satellite
2. G Major
3. Rise & Shine
4. Timothy Leary
5. I'm Through
6. Satellite [Live]
7. Total Eclipse of the Heart [Live]

Out April 10.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Tomorrow I Start in a New Direction

A bit of Iowa concert news:

Guster is finally coming to Iowa as part of its Campus Consciousness Tour. Guster might as well go to Minneapolis because Decorah is 4 hours away from Des Moines! Still, me gusta Guster.

The Killers show (with The Envy Corps opening) May 14 at Val-Air is sold out.

Linsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac fame of course) is coming to the Val Air April 10. Tickets on sale today.

With All the Bells and Whistles

Palms & Runes is the new best-of compilation from Michael Penn now due in stores April 17.

According to Spencer at the Pennlist, "The new versions are significantly different from the originals - Lucky One loses the Ronnie Spector treatment, Bunker Hill and Cupid are entirely reimagined - and one of my favorite songs, Try, sounds similar, but a bit more rocking and raw than the original. The rest of the CD, especially March era recordings, sound better and more vibrant after getting the re-mastering treatment."
Sounds like it might be worth it, even for those of us with every one of his releases. Tracklist:
  1. Lucky One (Version One) (Previously Unreleased)
  2. Bunker Hill (New Version) (Previously Unreleased)
  3. Out Of My Hands
  4. Cupid's Got A Brand New Gun (New Version) (Previously Unreleased)
  5. Coal
  6. Try (Alt. Vers.) (Previously Unreleased)
  7. No Myth
  8. Barely A Sound (Instrumental) (Previously Unreleased)
  9. Don't Let Me Go
  10. All That That Implies
  11. Whole Truth
  12. Brave New World
  13. Me Around (Demo) (Previously Unreleased)
  14. Long Way Down (Look What The Cat Drug In) (New Version) (Previously Unreleased)
  15. Macy Day Parade
  16. Figment
  17. Bucket Brigade
  18. I Can Tell
  19. Walter Reed
  20. Opening (From The Film, Melvin Goes To Dinner) (Previously Unreleased)
Pre-order from here.