and i had to find the feeling again

Nifty lookin' concert posters from local designers Aesthetic Apparatus. Pretty pretty.

This has gotten ridiculous.

Alright, enough is enough. It's been a month & a half since that big string of First Avenue shows, and I've still only managed to cover one of them. So with Ted Leo out of the way, it's about time that I finally posted the pix (which aren't that great anyway) & recapped the others, though I wonder how accurately I'll be able to recall their details. I'll try my best to be brief.

Sunday, June 12th - Big Ticket faves Spoon and Stephen Malkmus in back-to-back shows at First Avenue. JRDN & I arrived towards the end of The Clientele's opening set (yawn) & found a decent place in front of the stage-right staircase (where I could actually see over most of the audience). Spoon's stage set-up was simple yet very cool, with two giant china balls at each side of the stage to that illuminated the band with diffused light. The set opened with "The Beast & Dragon, Adored" & was dominated by songs from Gimme Fiction, though the band also played plenty of older material (including "Fitted Shirt" & "Car Radio", thank god). All in all, a typically tight set of rock from Spoon that was quite enjoyable, though not quite as much fun as last year's show at the much smaller & more intimate 400 Bar.

After the all ages crowd made their way through the exits, JRDN & I met up with some of JRDN's pals for some grub at Pizza Lucé downtown, where Jim B eventually joined us before heading back to the Ave for the late show.

Aside from the drunken assholes on the balcony that caused a ruckus, sniping at S.M. throughout the night until they got thrown out, I actually enjoyed the Malkmus & the Jicks set. No it wasn't mind-blowing, and it was probably rather slack coming off a big weekend run in Chicago (they were almost sold out of merch), but as I had been foiled in my attempts to see S.M. on several past occasions, I had a good time anyway. Besides, a loose performance from Malkmus shouldn't really come as a surprise. The Jicks also focused heavily on songs from this summer's Face The Truth & rightly so. Anyway, if you want a different or more timely/accurate account of the nite's events, How Was The Show has got you covered. For sh**s & giggles, here's a track off Face The Truth courtesy of our friends @ Matador:

MP3 Stephen Malkmus - "Baby C'mon"
Yeah, they rocked this one out. Or at least I think they did. Whatever.

The day after the TL+Rx gig, the First Avenue mainroom welcomed yet another of my favorites, Olympia WA's riot grrrl/indie rock stalwarts Sleater-Kinney. It was my first time seeing a S-K show, and since I had previously raved about their recent Sub Pop debut The Woods, I was pumped for the event. I came straight from the jobby-job & ended up missing opening act Dead Meadow entirely, but I was able to find a nice elevated position on the stage-left railing that suited me nicely. Similarly to both Spoon & Malkmus, the gals started their set with Woods opener "The Fox" & played most of the new album throughout the show. I reached a number of conclusions as the set went on, the first of which was that these ladies rocked even harder in person than they do on their latest record, which is no small feat. Second, I had guitarist/vocalist Corin Tucker & guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein confused with each other, but now I've been set straight (boy, did I feel dumb). Third, drummer Janet Weiss is an absolute womanimal on the skins. I mean, holy crap people (boy, was I impressed). S-K played a monster set & a multi-song encore, leaving me a rather satisfied young(ish) man.

MP3 Sleater-Kinney - "Jumpers"
So Sub Pop has made available a second free Woods download, the bipolar "Jumpers" that oddly precedes the very (ironically?) cheery "Modern Girl" that marks the album's midpoint. This track can be chilling at times (depressing imagery much?), but it still manages to rock out. On a completely unrelated note, have ya seen the band's blog on their re-designed website? Well, it's nothing much to look at, it hasn't been updated in a month, & c'mon ladies, enable those comments already. Sheesh.

When the S-K show let out, I snuck out the side door & got a discount for crossing over into the adjoining 7th Street Entry, where NYC comedian Eugene Mirman was performing a late nite set with fellow comedian & SNL writer Leo Allen & a couple musical acts. After a semi-long wait (and a couple beers), Brooklyn-based songman Langhorne Slim took the stage & played a soulful-yet-amusing set to a pretty sparse audience. I saw his album When The Sun's Gone Down kicking around the used bins a while back, so perhaps I'll check it out & give it a listen at some point. Leo Allen followed with a short set of stand-up, after which he introduced Mirman. Eugene performed material from his comedy cd The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman as well as new material, including some visual aids (video projection) & recorded audio (telemarketing calls from anti-gay marriage telephone companies, which I've heard him play before on Air America with father-to-be Sam Seder). Mirman was very funny, but I skipped out on final act The Double as it had gotten mighty late by then.

Thank god that's over with. Now I need to get going on my (two weeks overdue) recap of the Constantines/Oxford Collapse show at the 400 Bar back on 7/17, to be followed by my personal take on the Emmy nods & the wholly unnecessary task of finally writing up my thoughts on ROTS, which may well end up being the most delinquent Star Wars "review" of all time.

Jeez, I hate catching up.

f**kity-f**k-f**k (because i luv you)

I accidentally screwed up my (fairly large) iTunes library once again.

Yes, I am upset about it. I've got a big backlog of music that I haven't sorted yet, which only makes re-organizing a more frustrating chore.

Yes, I have been a lousy blogger. My blogging has been scattershot during the past few months, and I'm still sitting on several unfinished old posts.

And yes, I am upset about that too. But cut me some slack, for I am in a...

MP3 Chromeo - "Rage!"
Urgh. The latest single off Chromeo's 2004 debut album She's in Control.

WMV Chromeo - "Rage!" video
This video might cheer me up a bit. BTW: Who caught the title reference?

Annie's "Me Plus One" is iTunes' free download of the week. Happy now?

a quick one while i'm away (part four)

Egad, I've taken another whole week (plus) off. Crappity, sorry 'bout that. While I've had multiple posts semi-prepared since Monday (and before), I just haven't finished them off to my liking. Since I don't have time to polish those off this morning, here's some random musings to help fill the gap:

MP3 Gogol Bordello - "Sally"
MP3 Gogol Bordello - "Not A Crime"
Despite the fact that they played my favorite show of 2004, I somehow managed to miss out on this past April's visit from NYC's Gogol Bordello (which naturally was a blast, or so I hear). Ridiculous, no? Well, I've somehow been given a shot at redemption, because they are coming back this way on August 14th, just after their brand new Albini-produced LP, entitled Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, drops on August 9th. Holy moly, that's great news. I hadn't realized that this past spring's release of the East Infection EP was merely a taste of what was to come, as frontman (and potential movie star) Eugene Hutz & company have prepared the full length follow-up to 2002's Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony at long last. "Sally" is the album's lead-off track, and comes courtesy of the Simple Mission, while "Not A Crime" is a free download from their label Side One Dummy.

Remember - think locally, f**k globally.

Thanks to the good folks at Insound, I've finally gotten my hands on that self-titled CYHSY disc that seemingly everybody is talking about. While the flavor-of-the-month has drawn raves from Pitchfork & many others, I'm not so sure how much I love it just yet. It sounds good enough upon first listen, but thus far I haven't been all that blown away. Perhaps it resonates more after seeing them live, which unlike certain non-carnivores, I have yet to do here in Mpls, though they (and their hype machine) will be dropping by the 400 Bar in September. Or maybe I just need to listen to the record more.

In case you haven't already heard these, go ahead & decide for yourself:

MP3 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "In This Home On Ice"
MP3 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood"
MP3 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Over & Over Again (Lost & Found)"

I finally met Kyle More Cowbell last weekend (more on that in a future post), but I also found out that the big cheese over at the excellent Tiny Mix Tapes is also a fellow employee at the relatively new jobby-job. How 'bout that? I won't reveal his name, lest I knowlingly leak classified info.

Bill Scher provides the heads up re: this morning's Democratic hearing (as they can't call a congressional one) about RovakTreasongate. It begins at 10am ET & should be streamable via C-Span. Unclear on what this is all about? Let Jon Stewart catch you up & start paying more attention.

The Daily Show has been oh-so-fantastic since its return last week (new studio & all), but apparently next Monday's (7/25) edition will feature a visit from a certain Senator "Man-on-Dog", who is out shilling for his new book on "family values." If our esteemed Jon Stewart cordially confronts Mr. Santorum, as he did so skillfully last week with conservative author Bernard Goldberg (who has a horridly stupid animation on his website, btw), it could make for some truly must-see-tv. Some folks over at Daily Kos are already discussing what Stewart's line of questioning should be. Tune into Comedy Central on Monday at 11pm ET to see how it all goes down.

Today brings a couple movie releases of note, the first of which is the latest shlockfest from "blow-it-all-up!" director Michael Bay, the Bruckheimer-less sci-fi cloning flick The Island. While normally I might not be too interested, I do loves me some Ewan and, oh my, Scarlett, wow. Anyway, The Rock looked like it was going to suck, and it ended up kicking serious ass. Receiving somewhat more favorable buzz is the remake (ugh) of Bad News Bears. Typically, I would have zero interest in this, epsecially with Billy Bob fronting it (I've really dug him only once), but I may give it chance anyway since it was helmed by Rick Linklater, who I give the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, I've got some opinions on last week's Emmy nominations. No, I don't have time to get into it now. Where's Angie when you really need her?

Finally, last week's issue of Entertainment Weekly had a feature article about the late Mitch Hedberg, whose untimely passing this spring shook myself & a whole lot of others. The article is online now & it's worth a read.

ETA: Holy moly. The Sunday NY Times documents a nite out with Leslie Feist & former classmate/director Patrick Daughters. Wow. Lucky, talented muthaf**ka. Can't wait for that new "Mushaboom" video. Via LHB.

I forgot to mention that Sean Michaels e-mailed the bloggeratti:

[Friday, July 22nd], Said The Gramophone is debuting a new series of bi-weekly guestblogs. That means that every two weeks, someone other than Dan, Jordan and I is going to contribute a post. Rather than just pulling in whichever of our friends is available, we've invited some of the most exciting people we could find - musicians, critics and artists - and asked them to share some words about music that they love. We've had "celebrity" guest-blogs before - people like Damon (of & Naomi), The Arcade Fire / Hotel2Tango's Howard Bilerman, Sasha Frere-Jones, etc - but this is a much more regular, long-term series (at least hopefully), certainly extending into the autumn.

The inaugural post will be [Friday, July 22nd] by Annika Norlin aka Hello Saferide, a new Swedish artist who's loosed one of the year's most infectious indie-pop singles, "High School Stalker". Future guestbloggers include both similarly up-and-coming acts and much more high-profile folks. The slate I have lined up for the next few months has made me delirious with excitement.

Sean knows what he's doing, obvs. Check it out, whydoncha.

MP3 The New Pornographers - "Use It"
Matador posted another New Porn track from Twin Cinema (out 8/23). This one features more Neko, which is always a good thing. Via Catbirdseat.

i guess that's how the future's done

While many locals went to the Basilica block party last nite to consume giant turkey legs & the like, JRDN & I (& Lisa) ventured instead over to Dinkytown to check out the solo Leslie Feist show at the recently reopened Varsity Theater with the rest of the Mpls hipsters music lovers.

I had never been inside the Varsity, so I was taken by surprise at how swanky the place has become. The decor in the lobby is arty-yet-classic, but the layout of the main room is striking (especially for this town) in how the atmosphere is so cozy & lounge-like. While the floor is populated by candlestick-adorned tables & chairs (which extend into surrounding risers), at each side of the stage are red shag-covered beds set up as stadium-seating, allowing concert attendees to get far more comfortable than usual.

I had only seen Feist once before, when I popped my Broken Social Scene cherry at NYC's Mercury Lounge back in summer 2003, so I had been looking forward to catching her solo material for quite some time. While I was hoping to see her fronting a full band (she'll be coming back to do so in September), I wound up relishing the intimacy of her truly solo act.

Feist sauntered out on stage with a candle in one hand around 9:15pm, receiving a hefty amount of applause upon her arrival. She began her set with a cover (I think) that featured the use of a digital loop, which she used throughout the show to build layers of vocals (or create a phantom rhythm guitarist) to help fill out her just-a-gal-with-a-guitar sound.

Feist lightheartedly joked around with the audience throughout her set, encouraging people to check out fellow Canandians Sloan (who are in Mpls tonite), teasing Broken Social Scene's "KC Accidental" & really commanding attention as the nite's singular headline performer. A group of (drunken?) guys sitting behind us to the right of the stage were a little too enthusiastic with their Feist worshop, repeatedly yelling out "I love you!" & panting with lust. Feist took it all in good humor, even inviting the guys on stage with her to perform (after the fact) the "mushaboom, mushaboom" part in, well, "Mushaboom." Returning to their "seats," several of the guys commented that they had just orgasmed. JRDN, Lisa & I assumed they were headed home for a good circle jerk after the show. I know, ewwww.

MOV Feist - "Inside & Out (Apostle of Hustle Unmix)" (28.5mb)
Feist closed her main set with a slowed down, "undancible" version of the Bee Gees' "Inside & Out", which I got most of on video (please excuse my split-second sorry attempt at singing along). She explained that she included the cover on Let It Die after she got into the habit of making fun of album producer Chilly Gonzales, whose background vocal tracks always sounded like Barry Gibb (she teased him by referring to him as "Barely Give"). This disco-less version was arranged by Apostle of Hustle's Julian Brown, who helped Feist come up with a way to perform it for British radio without doing karaoke over a dance beat (ugh). The song's original video:

WMV Feist - "Inside & Out" video (7.2mb)

MOV Feist - "One Evening" video (24.7mb)
I love this video for a variety of reasons. The simple "set" design. Feist getting her boogie on with Canadian rapper Buck 65. The sheer 70's AM cheesiness of it all, which Feist embraces whole hog. The video was directed by George Vale, who also did the "Almost Crimes" video (w/Feist) for BSS.

MOV Broken Social Scene - "Almost Crimes" video (32.9mb)

Catching up on older shows will resume soon enough, but I wanted to post the recap/pix from this show right away, so I didn't forget all the details (which has been problematic of late). Anyway, gotta get back to work...

ETA: Dah, I totally overlooked Feist's session last Friday at The Current:

MP3 Feist @ The Current 7/8/05 (stream 128kbps)
RAM Feist @ The Current 7/8/05 (stream 20kbps)

Kudos to For the 'records' (who's on a BSS kick of late) for reminding me.