howling at the moon, nite after nite

This recap is more than a month overdue, so I'll try to be concise.

Let's step into the way-back machine... all the way to July 17th @ the 400 Bar, where I took in a solid Sunday nite of rock & finally got to meet Kyle More Cowbell (who recognized me from my RANA workshirt, duh) in person. Kyle had seen The Wrens the previous nite at the Triple Rock, a show I regrettably missed due to a social engagement & a dog-chasing incident (which is a whole other story). Kyle filled me in some on the show, which was shot as part of the Wrens documentary (though Kathryn Yu was nowhere to be found) & apparently concluded with audience members on stage & wild sh** in general (see the buzzworthy YANP for his take on The Wrens' Intonation performance). And I missed it. Oh well. I did get to see them last year at the the Entry, so I ain't whining (too much, anyway).

MP3 Oxford Collapse - "1991 Kids"
Anyway, on to the show I did go to. I was already familiar with Brooklyn-based openers Oxford Collapse, because I both had their first album Some Wilderness (from which this track comes), and I went to school with a couple of guys in the band. Guitarist Michael Pace was a Gallatin man, while drummer Dan Fetherston slummed it with me over at Tisch, and now they are all Brooklyn residents. I previously posted about these NYU grads back in May 2004, and also included MP3 "Back in Com Again", another Some Wilderness track, in my first (of two) better Propaganda mix last August.

MP3 Oxford Collapse - "The Boys Go Home"
Oxford Collapse released their second full-length A Good Ground (which sports this track) back in mid-July, and I'm still sorting out my thoughts about it (Pace noted that the new disc is supposedly "a grower"). A large majority of their 400 Bar set was (not surprisingly) off that album, and likewise I wasn't entirely sure what to make of its songs (which were very new to me at the time), as they seemed to lack variety of riffs to help support their spazzy post-punk style (albeit more organic & less frenetic than, say, Thunderbirds Are Now!). However, when the guys broke free of the confines of song structure & started to stretch out, I was quite impressed with the band's ability to come together & make cohesive what was otherwise noisy & chaotic. Very nice. MP3's courtesy of Insound.

After kibbitzing a little with the Oxford Collapse guys during the setbreak, I made a beeline for the front of the stage in anticipation of the headlining act, underrated Toronto-based post-punks the Constantines (who I posted about previously in May & August of 2004). I had only seen the band once before, playing an opening set at the Triple Rock back in fall 2003, so I was psyched to see them again as the main attraction. The setlist:

ON 2 U

MP3 The Constantines - "Draw Us Lines"
The Constantines began their set with the first track on their forthcoming Sup Pop release (out 10/11), Tournament of Hearts. It was a perfect opener, the thunderous drum beats & focused build-up of tension setting a brooding-yet-powerful mood. But it's the song's sparseness that is more representative of the new LP. I need to give Tournament of Hearts further listening time, but thus far I can't help but be wee bit disappointed with its more low-key tone that loses some of the balls-out dense-yet-melodic fierocity of their previous records (see MP3 "Nighttime / Anytime It's Allright"). Despite my hesitation with the new album, the Constantines were plenty fierce throughout their 400 Bar appearance, despite what they regarded as a fairly subdued crowd (hey, it was Sunday nite).

The band seemed to be in a fairly cheery mood, asking the audience for a waterpark recommendation since the two bands were going to be heading back east through the Wisconsin Dells (we told them to hit Noah's Ark, natch), and hoarse-voiced frontman Bry Webb pondering out louf how he got to be the band's defacto talker (dude, you're the lead singer). Older tunes, such as MP3 "Arizona" from the Constantines' 2001 self-titled debut, were played alongside the newer material, along with an Elevator To Hell cover ("Why I Didn't Like August '93") that the band also recorded for a compilation cd that accompanied the June/July issue of The Believer.

MP3 The Constantines - "On To You"
Tournament of Hearts deserves more of my patience, seeing as their previous LP, Shine A Light, started off as a moderately received Pitchfork recommendation & eventually ended up as my #2 album of 2003. This for-the-lovers song slowly became one of my favorite Shine A Light tracks, finding itself on more than a few mix cd's a year or two ago. What it may lack in punkishness, "On To You" more than makes up for in earnestness, sweeping melodies & airy, upbeat bounciness - not what you might expect.

Elsewhere, Sean at Said The Gramophone posted another track from Tournament of Hearts & WCS&MAAA reported on the Constantines/Oxford Collapse show at Madison WI's High Noon Saloon. The Constantines will be coming back to Mpls this fall, supporting local-by-way-of-Brooklyn faves The Hold Steady with a Mischief Night (10/30) double-bill at First Avenue.

And at long last, this recap is finally done. So much for concision.
| there's a war on, you're gonna lose »
| hey pretty pretty, give us a smile »
| a quick one while i'm away (part six) »
| "i think that's bullsh** & i hate that" »
| i'm rich enough already, beeaatch! »
| gabba gabba hey gabba gabba hey »
| a quick one while i'm away (part five) »
| and i had to find the feeling again »
| f**kity-f**k-f**k (because i luv you) »

Blogger solace @ 8/22/2005 09:44:00 AM:



worth the wait :)    

Blogger Caley @ 8/22/2005 03:33:00 PM:

I never was able to get into the Constantines, despite repeated reassurances of them being an amazing band, I just couldn't hear it, couldn't wrap my head around it. Then, i saw them live supporting The Weakerthans,and it all kind of came together, and I count myself a fan who's eagerly awaiting the new album. And I remember "Draw Us Lines" now that I listen to it (I didn't recognize the name) and I remember it flooring me with its intensity. Is this the one they play with all their fists raised at the start?    

Blogger Lee @ 8/22/2005 11:12:00 PM:

Let's see, RANA workshirt with a digital camera...yep, I remember. I was standing right next to you at the front of the stage.

If Shine a Light was your #2 album of 2003, what was #1? (I think the only album I listened to more than Shine a Light in 2003 was The Unicorns' debut.)

By the way, Oxford Collapse's new album definitely is a grower. I think it's growing into one of my favorite releases of this year - I can't get enough of it!    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 8/23/2005 06:23:00 AM:

lee, i didn't pick up the unicorns until early '04, so i was a bit late to the game on that one. my #1 record of 2003: new porn's electric version. wow, did i listen the hell out of that one, and it still doesn't get old imo.

caley, re: fists i don't exactly recall. it was at the beginning of the show, so maybe. but for some reason i think it might have also been "insectivora" or "nighttime/anytime". drat, my lousy memory fails me again.    

Blogger "We will do and then we will obey" @ 8/23/2005 09:18:00 AM:

i'm waiting for your opinions of the last "six feet under". i didn't think it was that bad, except i thought the fast-forward death montage was a little cheesy.    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 8/23/2005 11:36:00 AM:

patience, young padawan...    

Blogger kathryn @ 8/23/2005 03:02:00 PM:

hey, wish i could've been there, but somebody has to stay back in NYC and earn money for the film.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 8/23/2005 04:21:00 PM:

about half of "electric version" was really good...the other half was interesting but didn't have the same intensity...overall, though a great album    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 8/23/2005 04:52:00 PM:

i'll comment on new porn more in my next post (in progress), since twin cinema is out today. and yes, it has grown on me. personally, i love electric version front to back, not a weak track to be had imo. i will say that the new disc has a wider variety of songs than their last, but i haven't decided whether or not that makes it "better" somehow. more to come...

kathryn, way to be all responsible & stuff. kudos.    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 8/26/2005 12:41:00 PM:


i was going to finish writing up one, if not two posts today but alas my cable broadband was on the fritz, and i don't really have time to work on a proper write-up at work. hopefully i'll finally have something new (yet not so new) to add relatively shortly. my apologies for the nonactivity.    

Blogger "We will do and then we will obey" @ 9/02/2005 10:29:00 AM:

mr gilbert-

haven't back from u in a while but i'm coming to mpls sat-mon. any shows lined up?    

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