The Line Of Best Fit Radio

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shutting Up Shop

The Line Of Best Fit as you know and love is closing down.....

And re-opening at a new address with a brand new look.

Myself and a fellow blogger have decided to combine our efforts into one site called remarkably - The Line Of Best Fit which can be found here:

http://www.thelineofbestfit.com

so update your bookmarks etc...

We have big plans for it and hopefully we'll be able to carry them off.

We've got interviews coming up with the Duke Spirit about their new album (a bit of an exclusive that) and The Maccabees talk influences and live on the road, plus there's a chat with the Swedish sensation known as Loney, Dear.

Anyway, please come over and visit us. We'll be nice, I promise.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Q&A with Loney, Dear

The moment I heard Loney, Dear back in September of last year I was completely smitten. They were on tour with fellow Swedish band Peter, Bjorn & John and had popped in to do a live session for the Gideon Coe show on BBC6 music. I rarely listen to the station, in fact I can probably count the times on one hand that I've tuned in so I guess it might have been fate? The song I heard was The City, The Airport from last years Sologne - it had me hooked instantly, and, by the power of the Internet a day later I had the album. By the end of the week I'd discovered not only was Loney, Dear in fact a one man band, recording all of his music solely at his home studio but had, in fact self released four albums in three years! Burning CD-R's and selling them through his website he had slowly built an army of loyal fans. It wasn't until Sub Pop discovered him at last years SXSW festival in Austin, Tx that things really took off. Offering to release his fourth album Loney, Noir; it finally hit the streets on February 6th. Its mix of tender confessional lyrics subtly backed with layer upon layer of instrumentals has been met with open arms by fans and critics alike. The man behind the music Emil Svanängen graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me on a rare day off from a busy touring schedule. Here's what he had to say.

Hi Emil, as we are doing this interview by email - where are you right now?

I'm in Solna, Stockholm my last Friday off til summer!

Can you tell me a little bit of background history. When did you first realise you wanted to make music?

I have always wanted to record multitrack, as long as i can remember. Started off first as a kid with two cassette decks, moving on to midisynths, or some kind of built-in-2-track sequencers. Made some music on my Atari 1040, wrote folk songs for two acoustic nylon guitars a bit later. Finally I got a computer 4-5 years ago and everything started.

Where did the name Loney, Dear come from?

The feeling of staying home Friday night building a career instead of being out.

Loney, Noir has been released to fantastic reviews and you seem to be the new darling of the music press. 2007 is shaping up to be a pretty great year for you. How are you enjoying your new found success so far?

I am so glad for hearing that, its hard for me to understand how things are going, but I'm very happy with the reviews, especially since i originally released the album in august 2005 (05:00 13th august in the morning) and only my friends and a couple of fans noticed it. So, I am so happy for getting it out on a broader scale.

But! There is a bit too much touring and I don't have time for making new music. This has been a problem and has made me grieve sometimes. I hope to make some music during the year. I have a couple of songs ready for the next album Dear John, and some of them are very good. Hoping to finish it sometime.

The songs on Loney, Noir are the most consistent of your career so far. Did you have the songs ready before you started recording or was the whole thing a work in progress?

It was a work in progress. Started working on it right after the album Sologne was finished, so I didn't have anything old to rely on. (But Carrying A Stone is a pretty old song)

A lot of your songs start from a simple acoustic guitar backing and slowly build and build into multi layered symphonies. Do you intend for the songs to sound this way or do you just have way too much fun in the studio!?

I love seamless transitions in the changes. Never really liked when things are too obvious and I try to hide the parts to not be easily heard.

Is commercial success important to you? Or are you just happy to put records out?

Yes it is. It makes things a bit easier. But, everything is for the best of the music, I'm not interested in the commerce itself, just want to make the best home for the music. You know, I record the music quite simple, so its something else. Don't know so much about the industry, and don't want to know too much either.

You've been described in the press as Sweden's answer to Bright Eyes. Do you see any similarities there?

No not really, do you?

There is a thriving indie music community in Sweden at the moment, most notably in Stockholm. Is everyone supportive of each other or is the scene very competitive?

Impossible for me to say. The things lying far away from what you're doing is easy to encourage.

All four of your albums have been recorded at your home studio. Do you think you will ever consider recording an album with your full band in a professional studio with a producer in tow?

I might work with a producer sometime if I hear someone I like. I cannot think of any modern classic album I love being recorded live in a studio. I don't like the sound of bands on recordings. But playing live on stage is a completely different game, the band is essential there.

Since putting out Year Of River Fontana and the subsequent albums you have applied a DIY ethic to your work. Burning CD-R's and printing off artwork etc. Now that you are signed to Sub Pop is it nice to sit back and let others do all the work!?

Yes! I'm not finished with the two first yet, and have to fold and burn them still!

On the printed sleeves for your CD-R's it lists another album yet to be released "Dear John". Is this record finished or still a work in progress and, what can we expect from it?

In the middle of it. Have too little time!

Sologne was released last year through Something In Construction. Are there any plans to release River Fontana & Citadel Band commercially?

Yes. When there is time.

How did the CSS remix of "The City, The Airport" come about? Have you met the band or was it just organised through Sub Pop.

We were talking bout The City and remixes, and I said id like CSS to make it, didn't hear anything about it until I heard the song. Good one.

You sang on "This Boy" from I'm From Barcelona's current album. Any other plans to collaborate any other artists in the future. Perhaps a duet with Jens Lekman or El Perro Del Mar? That would be rather special.

I really like what they do, but I'm not sure they feel the same about my music.

"Now, Let It Go" from The Year Of River Fontana is a personal favourite of mine. Can you tell me a little bit of how that song came about?

Oh nice to hear, which version? The one with the modem sound? I'm glad you like it, interesting to get response on the old songs. I've been working on redressing them now when I guess its gonna reach a wider audience. I've gotten to learn so much since then and i felt it was a good thing to do to renew them a bit. [The album Year Of River Fontana was originally released in 2003, but remixed and re-recorded in 2006 and re-released as River Fontana Redux]

About the song.. I read an article a long time ago about a song I had never heard. The writer was raving about the bassline, the bassline! And I got inspired. A good friend told me "let nothing let you down" and I stole it.

Was the sound of a modem firing on the track recorded by accident? Strangely, it adds to the atmosphere of the track.

Ok there it was. No it was intentional, felt it was a great sound. It felt a little to much like a Swedish schlager from the 90's song "World wide web" by Nick Borgen, some kind of Internet romanticism, and I got tired of it. I guess I'll have to put it back now!

Name one song from your past four records that you are proudest of as a songwriter. Where the words, music and the way it has been recorded are, in your opinion, to complete perfection.

In With The Arms from Sologne. The recording in combination with the growing of the live version makes it a great song.

Ignorant Boy from Citadel Band for being such a strange song.

When you're writing - what comes first. The music or the lyrics?

Music comes first, but I'm trying more and more to write everything in the same moment.

Loney, Noir opener Sinister In A State Of Hope is such a beautifully arranged song, both vocally and musically. Can you tell me a little about the history of that track.

I thought I wasn't gonna make any more songs, still think so, and sat a bit sad in an apartment too close to a road, so I could record there. Came up with the chords and started to make a little melody. Don't remember when the words came up, but I think it kind of grew for a while.

Can you tell how you went about choosing members for your backing band? Were they all originally friends or did you audition for parts?

Malin [Ståhlerg, Tambourine & vocals] just joined one gig to get free entrance and then it turned out so good. Ola [Huntgren, Drums] jumped in when the first drummer resigned. Trumpeter Emils advice. I met Samuel [Stark, Keyboards] at a concert for our old folk school, and really liked his playing. I wanted to play with David [Lindvall, Bass] for a long time and when bassist Oskar [Schönning] took a timeout I asked him to play. Ola had ideas to bring the hornplayers Emil [Strandberg], Thomas [Backman] and Nils [Berg]. Oscar [Svenningsson, Guitar] is the one I've played with for the longest time.

If you could choose only one, what would be your all time favourite album?

My inner picture of "Dear John"

What new music are you currently listening to?

JS Bach. Not so new.

What is your take on illegal downloading. Do you think it helps or hinders artists?

Don't know. Its not possible to stop it so you better like it. I think it can be good. But you must remember the western society is built on the principle of owning. I don't feel that way though, if people want to support what I'm doing I'm only happy. On the other side, what is the difference between a patent and a song? Dunno.

What band would be your dream act to open for on a major tour?

I don't know, is it fun to open up for a huge band, or is the audience not listening. I would say Of Montreal. Can we start 10th of March please?

What are you passionate about in life, apart from music?

Love, life, death. The last as a contrast, not as a goal. No, I'd say near and dear ones.

Any plans to come back to the UK this year?

Sure yes. I heard something bout middle of April.



Loney, Dear will be on a US tour with Of Montreal in March. Dates are:

03/10/2007 New York,NY - Irving Plaza
03/11/2007 Boston, MA - Avalon Ballroom
03/16/2007 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
03/17/2007 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
03/18/2007 Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern (Headlining show)
03/19/2007 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
03/20/2007 Newport, KY - Southgate House
03/21/2007 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
03/22/2007 Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle Tavern
03/23/2007 Columbia, SC - Headliners @ Banana Joes
03/29/2007 Gainesville, FL - Abbey Road
03/30/2007 Miami, FL -Studio A
03/31/2007 Orlando, FL - The Club at Firestone
04/01/2007 Jacksonville Beach, FL - Freebird Live
04/02/2007 Tallahassee, FL - The Moon


Music
[mp3] Loney, Dear - I Am John [via Sub Pop]

Video

Loney, Dear - In With The Arms


Official Site
Myspace
Sub Pop
Photos by Kathryn Yu (website)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wilco confirm ATP 2007 appearence

News just in. Wilco have today confirmed that they will be appearing at this years All Tomorrows Parties Festival which will take place between May 18th - 20th at Butlins Holiday Centre in Minehead, Somerset. This is a major draw for the festival whose line-up is already mouth wateringly fantastic with acts such as Modest Mouse, Explosions In The Sky, Patti Smith & Yo La Tengo confirmed to play. Limited tickets are still available from here.

The full line up, at present looks something like this.

YOUTHMOVIE SOUNDTRACK STRATEGIES
BUILT TO SPILL
SPARKLEHORSE
AKRON FAMILY
NOTWIST
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
DO MAKE SAY THINK
DEATH VESSEL
BRIGHTBLACK MORNINGLIGHT
SHELLAC OF NORTH AMERICA
MICAH P. HINSON
THE BOOKS
BAND OF HORSES
GRIZZLY BEAR
EDAN + MC DAGHA
PATTI SMITH
GHOST
ALEXANDER TUCKER
CAPRICORNS
TALL FIRS
CURRENT 93
ISIS
EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
APPLES IN STEREO
MODEST MOUSE
BATTLES
MOGWAI
YO LA TENGO
LES SAVY FAV
WILCO

The fact that Wilco are appearing hopefully indicates the band are due to do a few UK dates in and around May. Dates in Europe have already been confirmed so its only a matter of time. More news on this as I get it.

For more info on the ATP festival, visit the official site: www.atpfestival.com

A great article was printed in the Guardian today about Denton, Texas and the astonishing amount of talent thats emerging from there at the moment: led by Midlake who, in April are set to play their biggest headline shows in the UK so far.

Melody makers

Deep in Texas lies a town where everyone is a musician. So what's its secret? Jude Rogers tours Denton with its hottest property, Midlake, and takes in a gig - or six

Why the hell d'ya wanna go to Denton?" The taxi driver is incredulous. "There's nothin' there - nothin'!" We head north-east up Route 35, a cloggy artery of Texas full of listless malls and high-rises, Sack'n'Saves and Sud Things, aiming for a small, strange city in the state's north-eastern corner, miles away from Dallas and Houston, the state's corporate lungs. For Denton, like Nashville, Memphis, Seattle or Portland before it, is fast becoming an American musical heartland where something is happening.

The big buzz around Denton today is all about Midlake. Their second album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, came out in the UK last June, graced the upper rungs of many end-of-year polls, and is currently shifting 1,000 copies a week in the US - the same number of records the Arcade Fire were selling when the hype about them started to heat up. It's one of those records you feel like you've known for ever; a dreamy concoction of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and The Yardbirds, mixing together 1970s MOR, harmonies dripping with honey, and lyrics about young brides, stonecutters and mountaineers. It's music that seems to have emerged fully formed from another time and another place.

Which is fitting, says Simon Raymonde, former Cocteau Twin and boss of British label, Bella Union, who has signed five Denton bands since 2000. "Denton is a very curious place. It's a place where music, for some reason, is the lifeblood of these people, their main form of expression." He should know. The cult band Lift to Experience were his first signing, their only album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, being a concept LP about the end of the world with Texas as the promised land. Punky blues band Jetscreamer and the experimental Mandarin followed, before Midlake inked their initials in 2005. New signing Robert Gomez, a soft, wistful singer-songwriter and a friend of the Midlake boys, joined the label's ranks late last year.

"Denton's a little like how Brighton used to be," Raymonde says. "Everyone knows everyone's business, but not in an intrusive way. Perhaps because Texas is so huge, there's a real sense of small-town togetherness within this huge expanse of land. And, for some reason, everyone I keep getting recommendations about from there is talented, gracious and good company."

And so this bears out. The weekend before they embark on their first American tour, Midlake have planned a full itinerary that shows their town at its best. Admittedly, this isn't difficult to arrange: most of Denton's hangouts sit around or just off its central square, a quiet, tranquil place overwhelmed by the recently restored Denton County courthouse, "the kind of building you imagine horses and carts and civil-war cavalry swarming around", says the band's soft-faced, bearded guitarist Eric Pulido. A few doors down from two shops selling chain mail and ceremonial swords squats a sprawling second-hand store, Recycled, where books and records are browsed by bookish young locals. Its local-band section boasts CDs from breaking acts like Centro-matic, long-loved local concerns like Brave Combo, and local oddities like Mulched Losenge and Sleezus Fist, as well as Bowling For Soup and Deep Blue Something.

"But it still looks like it's a building in the wild west, doesn't it?" laughs drummer McKenzie Smith, as we leave with our purchases. The venues nearby, from the outside, also look dusty and genteel, like relics from another century.

But at night they're transformed, full to the brim with people ready to party. Our Friday evening is a hazy spin through The Secret Headquarters - a reconfigured office space with a beer keg in the corner and a deer skull on the wall - and Hailey's, a sizeable venue on the other side of the road named after the proprietor's daughter, where Midlake played their first gig in 2000. We watch Night Game Cult, a performance-art duo in military fatigues and black face paint in the first; and Grass Fight, a Joy Division-influenced three-piece in the second. They couldn't be more different. "But that's how it works here," Pulido says. "Everyone's always eager to see and hear whatever's going on."

Perhaps this is because Denton is, essentially, a town brimming with music students. Midlake all studied jazz musicianship at the University of North Texas Music College, which has its home here. It boasts seven buildings, 300 practice rooms, eight performance halls and more than 100 ensembles; its alumni include classical soloists, as well as Meat Loaf, Don Henley and Norah Jones, who used to go out with Robert Gomez's room-mate. Given that Jones has taken time out of her multi-million-selling schedule to preside over a campaign to save Fry Street, a university area that hosts a music festival every April, the city's warmth and influence, even for ex-students, is pervasive.

Eric Nichelsen, Midlake's apple-cheeked pianist, expands upon this as we all drive round the campus. None of Midlake are from Denton, it transpires, but apart from Nichelsen, born in Louisiana, they're all from other Texan towns such as Houston and San Antonio. "People come here to study, and then they stay. It's a nice town, cheap, and with enough musicians to keep things going." He smiles. "Even musicians like us who didn't finish our degrees." Only Tim Smith, Midlake's quiet singer and songwriter, got his honours. "I still could finish my degree if I wanted to," Nichelsen continues, "but I got disillusioned. We all did. But it doesn't matter... there are so many people like us. Denton's a town of pretty happy music school dropouts."

We stop off briefly at the old Midlake house, a plantation-style bungalow shared, until recently, by some of the band. Here they recorded 2004's Bamnan and Slivercork, and created the highly glossed studio sheen of Van Occupanther - which some critics thought was the work of Fleetwood Mac's Lindsay Buckingham. Then we pick up Robert Gomez, all curly mop and gangly limbs, still recovering from a 2am jazz set the previous night, one of his many musical projects.

As Gomez whips up a mean guacamole, Paul Alexander, Midlake's flinty-eyed bassist, drinks a beer and talks about the band's jazz backgrounds. "To play jazz properly, you've got to immerse yourself in it. I used to listen to jazz two or three times a day, and for hours. Now I listen to it two or three times a year." So what happened? "Studying jazz just becomes pointless after a while. Nothing really extraordinary, to me anyway, has been made in jazz since the 70s, and realising that became a huge point of frustration."

When Midlake started, they were also hugely keen to play music which really affected people. "And sadly," Alexander says, "not a lot of people listen to jazz in that way." In the band's early days, they got into progressive pop musicians like Björk and Radiohead, artists who experiment, while still remaining accessible.

And then came the sucker punch: the friends fell in love with 70s soft rock. Jethro Tull and America LPs fill the band members' record racks, sleeves of albums like Neil Young's Harvest and Jethro Tull's Heavy Horses are tacked to the walls, and in Eric Pulido's car, an early Bee Gees compilation is permanently on play. Have they softened, perhaps, with age? "No, I don't think so," says Tim Smith. "How we play and produce is still very important to us. We're all concerned about the arrangements, and the musical balance." Smith is also a fan of grand Romantic composers such as Tchaikovsky and Wagner, with whom these bands, he suggests, share an emotional resonance. "Music like that just gets me. It's music that stays with you."

The plates and bottles empty, the fun starts again: Gomez taking a convoy to see local band Tre Orsi, a Fugazi-like trio recently returned from a European tour, at the Secret Headquarters, passing round earplugs like a professional for the feedback. Then it's Dan's Bar, just off the square, to see Wayne "the Train" Hancock playing hillbilly swing - a rollicking sort of country full of double-bass fingerpicks and lap steel virtuosity. Younger audience members whoop alongside chain-smoking grandmas and old fellers in cowboy hats. And although this is the sort of Texan music you'd conjure up in cliche, there's no irony present in the younger listeners' enjoyment. The joy is for all.

The night ends in the early hours, at a house show, for much-loved local band, The Baptist Generals. Cars are double-parked all down the highway, and the house is wall-to-wall with fans. In the corner loll the two musical legends of Denton - Paul Slevens, from Ten Hands, a rock band (much loved by REM) who split up in 1995, and Lift to Experience's Andy Young. "It's fucking crazy here tonight," slurs Young, helping himself to someone else's beer. "It's been fucking crazy here for ages." But has it always been this way? "Uh-uh. But in the last few years it's all gone like this." He gestures at the rammed room with his hands, his voice buried in the noise of the hordes.

Soon after, the Baptist Generals play a moving, sweaty, acoustic set. A drunk teenager keeps shouting "Denton's the shit!" and cops with flashlights eventually arrive to break up the chaos. By 2.30am, Gomez is tired, but reflective, as we slowly ride home.

"There's only one thing," he says, "that you need to know about Denton. People come here because they're compelled to make music, not because they're compelled to make it." By "making it" he means fame and commercial success. We pass the silver university dome, that symbol of so much of the city's potential and potency, and head back up the freeway.

Pictures - Jason Upshaw


Midlake w/Robert Gomez
Sunday 8 April – Liverpool, Academy
Monday 9 April – Glasgow, Oran Mor
Tuesday 10 April – Sheffield, Plug
Wednesday 11 April – London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 12 April – Brighton, Concorde2
Friday 13 April – Oxford, Zodiac

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lavender Diamond debut gets May release


My introduction to Lavender Diamond was literally only a couple of weeks ago whilst they were supporting The Decemberists on their UK tour. I was instantly captivated by them. The band are a perfect mix of classic folk and genius like pop hooks along with the undeniably kooky personality of front woman Becky Stark it would be a slight understatement to say I was instantly smitten these guys. So far the only thing commercially available is a 4 track EP "The Cavalry Of Light" which was released on Rough Trade on January 30th of this year. However, the debut album "Imagine Our Love" is released on May 7th, and, after hearing if for the first time this morning can honestly say will be worth the wait.

For anyone wanting to know a little more about the group, heres a little bit of history:

While living in Providence, Rhode Island, Stark began performing as Lavender Diamond in a play that she and a friend wrote, created and toured with called Bird Songs of the Bauharoque, inspired by the work of artist Paul Laffoley. A self-produced CD of Stark's songs accompanied the tour in a hand-sewn, silkscreened sleeve. Lavender Diamond grew into a four-piece band after Stark relocated to Los Angeles. They self-released a four-song EP and have performed at L.A.'s ArthurFest, at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and at the CMJ New Music Seminar in New York City. In 2006 Lavender Diamond signed to Rough Trade Records in Europe, and Matador Records in the U.S.

Listen to possibly the best pop song you'll hear all year right now. Download the magnificent "Open Your Heart" below.

[MP3] Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart

The Art Of Kissing Properly

Stylus magazine hit the nail on the head last year when describing moi Caprice's third album The Art Of Kissing Properly as “soundtrack music”. It can literally turn a dull dreary walk into work into a cinematic experience, to transport you to another place. Jesus, if a song like "The Town & The City" can make Ipswich feel like Paris then it must be good huh? For those of you, like myself new to the dramatic synth pop of moi Caprice please allow myself to give you a quick recap of their career thus far. (with a little help from the internet).

Danish 4 piece band moi Caprice rose to underground fame in the late nineties when they entered the top slot on the Alternative Chart with the song The Sun & the Silence as the first unsigned band ever. A few years would pass before the band released their first actual single, Daisies, and despite it being a slightly awkward ballad, the song turned into a minor hit in Denmark, and with 7 consecutive weeks in the top slot of the Alternative Chart is was the biggest hit on the chart in 2002.

The band ended the year with a nomination for best new band of the year at the Danish Radio Awards. The next single, Artboy Meets Artgirl, proved moi Caprice one of the finest art rock bands in the country, and paved the way for their 2003 full-length debut, Once Upon a Time in the North, which was widely praised by the critics. After an extensive tour moi Caprice released their second album, You Cant Say No Forever, in early 2005. Again the reviews were amazing, some claiming it a true masterpiece. Both To the Lighthouse and My Girl You Blush turned into hits, on both the Alternative and the mainstream charts. In early 2006 moi Caprice was nominated for the grand prize of the Radio Awards. moi Caprice has been widely acknowledged for their skillful song writing, their apt ear for the pop tune in a dark melancholic musical setting, their highly intelligent lyrics in an original style that is in arguably the sound of no one but themselves.

All clued up now? Excellent. So the bands third full length was released last year on Glorious Records and for the first half at least is a pretty solid record. It mixes perfectly crafted love lorn lyrics with lush synths and breathy atmospherics with Phil Spector-esque drums thrown in for good measure. Think what the Pet Shop Boys would sound like if they spent a fortnight in Europe making beautiful music with Camera Obscura and you'd be headed in the right direction. It starts off strong with the title track followed by "The Town & The City" and "For Once In Your Life Try To Fight For Something You Believe In", the latter sounding somewhat like a distant relative to The Flaming Lips'' "Do You Realize?". It is an album, I've found, best played in small portions. After a while things to start to get a little samey, almost as if the band have put all their best ideas into the first four or five songs and then repeated the formula for the remainder of the record. When its good though, its absolutely breathtaking and certainly worthy of investigation.

The band are yet to confirm any UK dates as of yet but are heading over to Canada and the States next month for a quick tour, most notably for the SXSW festival. Dates are as follows:

8 March - Silver Dollar Room. Toronto
10 March - Canadian Music Week. Toronto
12 March - Union Hall. New York
13 March - Pianos. New York
15 March - Uncle Flirty's. Austin, Texas
16 March - SXSW. Austin, Texas
17 March - Tiswas, The Annex. New York



[MP3] moi Caprice - The Town & The City

For more info visit the bands myspace page @ www.myspace.com/moicaprice

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wilco Reveal Sky Blue Sky Tracklisting

Now this is exciting. Finally some solid news on the new Wilco album.

Pitchfork reports:
On May 15, Nonesuch will give birth to a new ghost: Sky Blue Sky, Wilco's latest album. As expected, it contains the songs "Side With the Seeds", "What Light", "Shake It Off", "Impossible Germany", "Please Be Patient With Me", "On and On and On", and "Walken", which have been floating around the internet for awhile.

Wilco were just announced as one of the acts playing Bonnaroo this year, and they have a few dates in Australia scheduled in April. But other than that, their schedule is wiiide open. Autumn Defense, John Stirrat and Pat Sansone's other band, however, are on the road until late March. So we probably shouldn't expect much live Wilco action before then.

Sky Blue Sky tracklist:

01 Either Way
02 You Are My Face
03 Impossible Germany
04 Sky Blue Sky
05 Side With the Seeds
06 Shake It Off
07 Please Be Patient With Me
08 Hate It Here
09 Leave Me (Like You Found Me)
10 Walken
11 What Light
12 On and On and On

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Review: Blackstrap - Steal My Horses And Run



I swear they must be putting something in the water in Sweden. Sure, the past decade has seen the country produce a number of successful indie bands - The Cardigans, The Wannadies & The Hives being the most successful internationally - but never has there been a rush like this.

Last year saw a load of fabulous Swedish indie pop releases from I'm From Barcelona, Jens Lekman, Surburban Kids With Biblical Names, Loney, Dear and Peter, Bjorn & John to name just a handful. All these albums were greeted with vast critical acclaim with Pitchfork scoring the Jens Lekman album "Oh You're So Silent Jens" a whopping 8.5/10 and Bella Union label boss Simon Raymonde claiming Loney, Dear's "Sologne" to be "one of the most incredible albums i own, it will seriously make your life better". An album that slipped under the radar though was "Steal My Horses And Run" the sophomore album from Stockholm 4-piece Blackstrap. Released at the tail end of 2006 to rave reviews in Sweden, Germany & Holland and receiving a fair amount of radio play on US indie stations, it has pretty much gone unnoticed here in the UK.

Lets hope that will change soon because this is an album to fall in love with, to cherish and to tell all you're friends about. The easiest way to describe the sound of these guys is to mention their influences; Jesus & Mary Chain, Spiritualized, Joy Division & Primal Scream. Its blissfully fucked up rock n roll drenched in fuzzed out guitars and atmospheric shared lead vocals from Jonatan Westh and Maria Lindén.

The opener "Winning Speech" sounds like a harder, better, faster, stronger version of "Medication" from Primal Scream's Vanishing Point. Its a perfect blueprint for whats to follow, and just as the final chord rings out you're smacked around the face with the juggernaut of a track that is "Rough Parade", an obvious choice for a single and a sure fire hit at festivals this summer with its call and response boy girl vocal in the same vein as The Ravonettes but with a more poppy sheen to it. Things continue at full throttle with "Lay Down Low", this track has a great vocal by Westh, his Swedish drawl fits perfectly with the pounding rhythm section. Things slow down a little with "The Far Gone" and "The Open Road", a real gem of a track, this would fit perfectly on the Lost In Translation soundtrack, a hypnotic drone of guitars and vocals which leads onto possibly the strongest moment "The Bitter, The Sweet", even though it draws comparisons to early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, it has more bite, more attitude. The only acoustic track on the album is the dark and brooding "Still Lost", swathes of background noise combined with acoustic guitar and a haunting vocal by Lindén lead the song, its not until a pounding floor tom draws the song to a close is in its final minute.

Weighing in at just under 50 minutes there really isn't a weak moment on these 13 songs. If you're a fan of the twisted rock n roll that The Duke Spirit or Howling Bells produce then I strongly urge you to check it out. An overlooked classic that hopefully will be heard by many more sets of ears this year.

The album will get a UK release later this year but for now you can buy the CD for €16 which works out at about £10 from youmakemusic.com

For more info on the band visit:

blackstrap.net [official site]
myspace.com/blackstrap001 [myspace]
sallyforth records [label]

Watch:
Blackstrap - Winning Speech & Lay Down Low


Listen:
Blackstrap - Rough Parade


Blackstrap - The Bitter, The Sweet

Monday, February 12, 2007

New LCD Soundsystem video

Rejoice! James Murphy returns next month with new album "Sound Of Silver". Could it be the album of the year? To help you decide watch the new video for new single "North American Scum".

LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum

Stream and download new Kings Of Leon



Hear a brand new track from the forthcoming third album "Because Of The Times" from Kings Of Leon. Released on April 2nd (3rd in the UK). Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne) is back behind the mixing desk having produced the bands two previous albums.

The new release is promised to be an eclectic mix, “I think people tend to expect a certain sound from us,” says Kings of Leon’s drummer Nathan Followill, “but on this record, we tried to throw them for a loop.” Frontman Caleb adds “We took the limitations off of ourselves.” “We went into the studio with an open mind, thinking let’s do whatever it takes to get these songs to the next level. Because we really have a lot of music inside of us and a lot of different places we can go.”

You can download a track from the album right here. It certainly is a different direction for the band who have admitted to rush releasing Aha-Shake Heartbreak. Judging by this track we're in for a mighty return.

Stream the track below - or hit the download button.

Kings Of Leon - On Call


The band are in the UK for a whistle stop tour at the end of February and are back for more once the album hits the shelves in April. Dates are:

22 Feb
Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
23 Feb
Norwich UEA, Norwich
24 Feb
Engine Shed, Lincoln
26 Feb
Astoria, London






14 Apr - Oasis, Swindon
15 Apr - Pavilions, Plymouth
18 Apr - Hammersmith Apollo, London
19 Apr - Academy, Birmingham
20 Apr - Apollo, Manchester
22 Apr - Academy, Newcastle
23 Apr - Dome, Doncaster
24 Apr - Academy, Glasgow

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Review: The Morning Stars - You Can't Change The World



Creating a bit of a stir in the Canadian music scene of late have been 4-piece The Morning Stars. The band got together in 2004 as a vehicle for the songs of brothers Mars & Michael Ivic but have only just gotten round to putting out their debut "You Can't Change The World".

The band play an interesting mix of classic rock which has a definite British influence but mixed successfully with intelligent West Coast harmonies. Think Oasis or The Who having a love in with The Byrds and you're almost there.

Kicking things off is foot stomper "Hearts For The Living", its apparent from the first couple of minutes that these guys have an ear for writing a decent pop song. The mix of harmonies and atmospheric guitar in the chorus is so infectious it gets stuck in your head for hours. Things continue at a steady pace with "Wrong" with its New Order-esque intro it quickly transforms into a 3 minute power pop track that would have fit nicely onto the last Big Star album. Alex Chilton would be proud.

However, things take a turn for the middle of the road with the instantly forgetable title track "You Can't Change The World". Its pleasant enough but doesn't quite have the bite of the previous tracks. Things continue at a similar pace with "Steal My Love" and its not until the psychedelic stomp of "All Coming Down" until things pick up. Its like The Second Coming by The Stone Roses condensed into three and a half minutes.
The real highlight and centrepiece of the album though is "Don't Waste Time" with its stadium sized guitar riff and pounding drums its an instantly lovable track with some great production techniques and a melody that Bono would kill for if he wasn't too busy trying to save the world. A sure sign that there is greater things to come from these guys.

Unfortunately the last two tracks are pretty much throwaway. I found myself grating my teeth at the Liam Gallagher imitations on album closer "Fall". It has a nice sentiment "You've got to hold on / Tomorrow will be better" but comes across as one of those arse clenching ballads that get played over football highlights. A total Oasis rip off, akin to "Stop Crying Your Heart Out " or "Let There Be Love" and lets face it, even they don't do it very well.

All in all its a fairly enjoyable but ultimately patchy debut. Fans of no nonsense rock music should check them out. If they stick to what they're good at these guys could go places.


Links:
official website
myspace page

The track "Don't Waste Time" appears on this months Line Of Best Fit playlist which you can download from here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Decemberists - London Shepherds Bush Empire 08/02/07


Thursday night saw The Decemberists play an outstanding show at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Playing to a sell out crowd the band put on a good two hour set - Colin was in fine humour and interacted with the crowd really well. The main event occured in the first encore when the band were joined by Robyn Hitchcock and Mike Scott from The Waterboys.

The setlist went something like this:

The Crane Wife 3
The Island:
Come And See / The Landlord's Daughter / You'll Not Feel The Drowning
Billy Liar
We Both Go Down Together
The Engine Driver
Yankee Bayonet
Shankill Butchers
O Valencia!
16 Military Wives
The Crane Wife 1 & 2
Sons & Daughters
***
Eli, The Barrow Boy
Madonna of the Wasps (with Robyn Hitchcock)
Fisherman's Blues (with Mike Scott)
***
A Cautionary Song (including a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party)

Supporting the band were LA 4-piece Lavender Diamond who play quirky indie pop, certainly worth further investigation - their myspace page is here.

I was pleased to discover my pictures have been mentioned on The Decemberists tour blog over on Gigwise. Check it out here.

Fellow blogger and friend Richard Hughes, who, unfortunately was unable to attend the show has review the new album over on CD Times. Like myself, he thinks its rather good. Read all about it here.

The pick of the best pictures are below in a couple of slideshows - enjoy...

Lavender Diamond:







The Decemberists:



Also a couple of videos I found on YouTube....

Sons & Daughters [with Audience members]



Some crowd aerobics......



16 Military Wives

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Line Of Best Fit: February 2007 Playlist



Every month I will be posting a mix of songs currently taking priority place on my mp3 player. Mixing new material with hard to find tracks plus a few old classics just for the hell of it. Hopefully there is something for everyone here so dive in and help yourself.

The Line Of Best Fit: February 2007 Playlist
1. Counting Backwards - The Velvet Teen
2. Brand New Bass Guitar - Jamie T
3. April Showers - Math & Physics Club
4. North American Scum - LCD Soundsystem
5. Hang Me Up To Dry - Cold War Kids
6. Sundowntown - Neal Casal
7. Don't Waste Time - The Morning Stars
8. Where You Are - The Autumn Defense
9. Country Music Promoter - Ox
10. Headed For A Fall - M. Ward
11. Honest - The Long Winters
12. This Day - The Sleepy Jackson
13. Split Needles - The Shins
14. Now, Let It Go - Loney, Dear
15. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding - Elvis Costello

Get it here

Download the Best Of 2006 Playlist here.

Disclaimer
I don't condone piracy in any way, shape or form. MP3s posted at this site are for evaluation purposes only. The playlists are intended to encourage people to seek out new music, if you like any of these tracks - please support the artists and buy the music or go to a show. Contact me if you are the copyright holder and want the files removed.

Monday, February 05, 2007

First Post-War single release date



'To Go Home' will be M. Wards first single release from his acclaimed 2006 album 'Post-War'. Released on February 11th in the US and a week later in the UK (19th) it features three previously unreleased tracks from the Post-War sessions. 'Headed For A Fall' features guest backing vocals from Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Neko Case plus a face melting guitar solo from Nels Cline (Wilco). In my humble opinion this track could be Matt Wards best work to date.


Full tracklisting:
1. To Go Home
2. Cosmopolitan Pap
3. Human Punching Bag
4. Headed For A Fall

Download the stand-out track 'Headed For A Fall' here. Just click on the link below.

[MP3] M. Ward - Headed For A Fall

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Loney, Dear single and album news.


The Line Of Best Fit favourites Loney, Dear have signed a record deal in the UK with Regal, having recently signed to Sub Pop in the US.

The first Regal release will be a single. 'I Am John' is out February 12th and features a CSS remix of 'The City, The Airport' as a b-side. Loney, Noir is released in the US on February 6th but wont see a UK release until April 16th. Madness!

If you pre-order 'Loney, Noir' via the Sub Pop website they will throw in a 7" UK import of 'The City, The Airport' b/w 'Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl'. Plus stickers and badges. How can one resist??

Remember you can also purchase the first two Loney, Dear albums direct through the website here priced at 80 kr each - which works out about a fiver each. See the website for more details.

Download the CSS remix of The City, The Airport right here, right now. Just click on the link below.

[MP3] Loney, Dear - The City, The Airport (CSS Remix)

Loney, Dear - I Am John

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Elbow reveal plans for new album


Manchester band Elbow have spilled the beans on their new album, saying it is "darker and heavier" than 2005's Leaders Of The Free World.

Frontman Guy Garvey told NME.com that their new material is a collaborative effort.

"It feels very much like we've done it just the five of us. There's been nobody else in the room," he explained.

"There's still lots of light and shade on it. There's just a lot of things going on. There's been some not so great stuff and some amazing stuff. Just in terms of the families that are growing up in the band - the babies are turning into little boys now, and everybody's happy in that respect."

He added that early in 2006 some of the members of the band went through a difficult time.

"It's quite a mixed bag," he said. "It's certainly got the darkest stuff that we've done. I've never been so confident about anything we've written."

No release date has been confirmed as of yet.

[MP3]Elbow - Leaders Of The Free World

News Updates

I've searched the internet for news.
So you don't have to.


Kings Of Leon Return!

Southern-rock outfit Kings of Leon will offer up its third album, "Because of the Times," April 3. The forthcoming set follows 2004's "Aha Shake Heartbreak."

"On Call," the first single from "Because of the Times," will be available from the iTunes Music Store beginning Feb. 6, and will hit radio stations Feb. 12, according to a press release.

I'll post some mp3's as soon as I get my hands on them.

****

The Beautiful South have split up after 19 years together.
The band rose from the ashes of The Housemartins, two of whom, Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, formed the outfit in 1988.

The Beautiful South scored their first hit in 1989 with 'Song For Whoever' , which reached Number Two. They then scored their only Number One single in 1990 with 'A Little Time'.

They also had three Number One albums - their hits compilation 'Carry On Up The Charts' in 1994, 'Blue Is The Colour' (1996) and 'Quench' (1998).

The band issued a statement explaining the split saying: "The Beautiful South have split up due to musical similarities. The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music."

****

The Shins storm Billboard chart...
Wincing The Night Away has debuted at Number Two on the Billboard chart!

They sold 118, 000 of their third album and were beaten to the top spot by boy band Pretty Ricky.

The album marks the highest chart placing ever for a Sub Pop album, beating the record set by Afghan Whigs album 'Black Love' which reached number 79 is 1996, reports Pitchfork.

The band are set to play the Shockwaves NME Awards show on February 25 at London's Astoria.

****


Band Of Horses will re-enter the studio
this March to record the rather-very-much-anticipated follow-up to last year's rather-very-much-adored debut Sub Pop LP Everything All the Time.

According to a post on the Band's website, they'll shack up in Asheville, North Carolina's Echo Mountain Recording to lay to tape a "brand spanking new BOH album of songs." No word quite yet on what those songs will sound like, but Horses do happily report that San Diego-based photographer Christopher Wilson (whose work adorned Everything) will provide artwork for this release as well.

After canceling last year, Band of Horses will honour their appearence at this years ATP festival at Butlins in Minehead, Somerset. Other acts playing are Modest Mouse, Grizzly Bear, Sparklehorse, Echo & the Bunnymen. For the full line up click here.

****

Arcade Fire cover The Clash.
Arcade Fire covered The Clash at the third of their week of London shows last night (January 31).

The Canadian band, performing their final night at St James' Church in Westminster, started their set in similar fashion to the previous night by going into the middle of the crowd to perform acoustically. But instead of playing their own 'Wake Up', they performed a mandolin-led acoustic version of The Clash track, a Paul Simonon number which appears on their 1979 classic 'London Calling'.

The band then took to the stage and kicked off the set proper with forthcoming single 'Keep The Car Running'. Most tracks were lifted from forthcoming album 'Neon Bible', including 'Black Mirror', 'Intervention', 'Windowsill' and 'Ocean Of Noise'.

Arcade Fire did find time to play tracks from their debut album 'Funeral' - 'Rebellion (Lies)' and set closer 'Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)'.

The set was:

'The Guns Of Brixton'
'Keep The Car Running'
'Black Mirror'
'No Cars Go'
'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations'
'Windowsill'
'The Well And The Lighthouse'
'Ocean Of Noise'
'Rebellion (Lies)'
'Intervention'
'(Antichrist Television Blues)'
'My Body Is A Cage'
'Neighbourhood # 1 (Tunnels)'

The band now head for Porchester Hall in the west of the city to play two sold-out shows tonight and tomorrow (February 1, 2).

'Neon Bible' is released on March 5, with a single, 'Keep The Car Running', following on March 19. They return to the UK as part of a sold-out European tour.

Order the new album direct from Merge Records as either a CD, Deluxe CD or Vinyl. The deluxe CD version is packaged in a hinged box with two 32-page flip books designed by the band. The Vinyl is double 180-gram audiophile quality with three sides of music and an etching on the fourth side. The LP also includes a coupon for a free MP3 download of Neon Bible.

The deluxe edition preorder will have a special price of $15 through March 6 ($2 off!). Preorders will be shipped to arrive on or around the release date March 6, 2007!

All preorders will receive free with purchase a Neon Bible poster and other assorted goodies!


I ordered a deluxe CD the other day, and with shipping it comes in at just under £10. Bargain!

Pre-order your copy HERE.

****


Download Cold War Kids live session

Cold War Kids bassist Matt Maust could barely muster the strength to lift his feet the two long flights of stairs up into the studio on this day just two weeks ago. They’d gotten on the road early that morning, coming from Chicago, where they’d opened for Mates of State the night before. The Mates were playing a post-Lollapalooza show while the Kids were playing something more along the preview lens. [Read more]

[MP3] Cold War Kids - God Make Up Your Mind
[MP3] Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds
[MP3] Cold War Kids - Passing The Hat
[MP3] Cold War Kids - We Used To Vacation

The bands new single Hang Me Out To Dry was released on Monday (29th January). Its getting a fair bit of radio play at the moment and deservedly so. Even though the album is patchy this has to be one of my favourite singles of the year so far.

****
I've re-uploaded The Line Of Best Fit Playlist 2006. It proved pretty popular but unfortunately the previous link expired. It is now stored permanately so feel free to grab it. Its a 17 track mix of my favourite tracks from last year.



Tracklist:

01.Consolation Prizes - Phoenix
02.Black & Blue - Tim O'Reagan
03.Fire In The Sky - The Hazey Janes
04.Where Are You Go Go Going To? - Loney, Dear
05.7/4 (Shoreline) - Broken Social Scene
06.Be Good Or Be Gone - Fionn Regan
07.The Crane Wife 3 - The Decemberists
08.Low Happening - The Howling Bells
09.Eyes on the Prize - M. Ward
10.Waiting for the Time to Be Right - The Brother Kite
11.Black Swan - Thom Yorke
12.The Jeopardy of Contentment - What Made Milwaukee Famous
13.Let's Get Out Of This Country - Camera Obscura
14.There Goes My Outfit - The Dears
15.The Hope Edition - My Latest Novel
16. ABC - The Pipettes
17.Head Home - Midlake

Download it by clicking here

****
A recomendation made me check out Ox - American Lo-Fi, released last year independently its an absolute classic. Below is an article printed in American magazine Vue Weekly. Also you can download the albums opening track in the downloads section at the bottom of this post.

For more info and to buy the album visit the official Ox website here.

When Ox released their debut album a couple of years ago, there was a distinctly familiar feel to the music. Many of the reviews made reference to the similarities between Ox and the work of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and others in the Americana fold.

Singer Mark Browning says that he has no problem with those reviews, though—partly because he considers a comparison to Neil Young to be lofty praise, and partly because the similarities were intentional nods from a band staking their ground before striking out on their own.

With their new album, American Lo Fi, Ox leaves the comparisons behind, as the band’s own sound overshadows their influences.

“I really felt good about it,” Browning says, recalling the album’s recording. “When we were tracking it, I felt like we were really onto something that sounded like us. I didn’t want it to end; so I extended the sessions so we could finish what we were doing and get that statement onto tape while we were in the zone.”

While the band was in that zone, they let the songs guide them, rather than trying to plan out the completed album beforehand. They finished up with nearly 30 songs before choosing the 11 that worked best together for American Lo Fi (some of the others will see the light of day on the band’s third album, which they plan to release next year).

“You never know where your record’s going to go when you step into the studio,” Browning offers. “You’ve got a few songs that you’re pretty sure you’ve got to get on the record, because they sort of define where you’re going at the moment, but other than that you never know which songs are going to work and which songs aren’t going to work. So you’ve just got to have a lot of them, and you’ve just got to play and see how it goes in the studio. It becomes like another performance, but it’s happening in the studio. The band sets up, and you just play live and see what happens.”

Browning explains that the result of that approach was to allow the band to experiment and explore different songs until they found their own sound. And while there are still whispers of Browning’s influences deep inside the music, it’s no longer an easy matter to describe Ox with nice, tight little Neil Young references. In an industry where the record labels tend to gravitate towards acts who are easily marketable, Browning admits that Ox’s evolving sound might make the business side of the game a little tougher for the band—they recently had a grant application turned down by VideoFACT, who actually said that they don’t know how to handle the Ox aesthetic—but he’s not about to alter his songwriting so that it fits into a popular mould, suggesting that there’s something to be said for remaining true to one’s independent spirit when it comes to creating music.

“That’s what rock ‘n’ roll’s all about,” Browning exclaims. “That’s how rock ‘n’ roll started, that’s how it was always at its best, and that’s how it’s going to continue to be great. Fitting into commercial radio formats is not how we want to make music.

“There’s just not enough money in this business to do something that you don’t believe in,” he continues. “If the industry doesn’t know what to do with us, that’s the good news. I remember someone saying that if you’re parents like what you’re doing, then you’re doing something wrong, as far as rock ‘n’ roll goes. I guess it’s kind of a similar idea to that.”

Ox’s music has grown without the band sounding like they’re chasing popular trends mainly because that’s exactly what they won’t do. They want to make the music that interests them, carving out a career on their own terms.

While some musicians put together an album and then hold themselves back while they wait for a major label to come along and give them a truckload of cash and put them on the road with a big band—in effect, waiting for their careers to start—Browning has a different outlook.

“I realized one day when we were on the road, the career has already started,” he reflects. “With each record we’re gonna keep trying to define whatever it is we’re trying to define, and we’re gonna stumble along the way somewhere. I’m sure we’re going to make some bad records as we go along, or there are going to be some bad tracks that, for some reason, we need to put on the record. When you’re making records you’ve got to just put them out and then make the next one and keep going.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bright Eyes Returns

With the once revolving line-up of musicians settled on the three constants of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, Bright Eyes spent much of 2006 in the studio working on their follow-up to the acclaimed simultaneous releases Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. "Four Winds" is the first single from these sessions that took place in New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, OR, and Lincoln, NE featuring Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, M. Ward, and Janet Weiss of Sleater Kinney. "Four Winds", is backed along with 5 exclusive B-sides not included on the forthcoming album Cassadega which is expected to be released on April 10th.

Bright Eyes - Four Winds (EP)
Released 06/03/07
Tracklisting:
1. Four Winds
2. Reinvent The Wheel
3. Smoke Without Fire
4. Stray Dog Freedom
5. Cartoon Blues
6. Tourist Trap [DOWNLOAD]

Monday, January 22, 2007

Arcade Fire Rock School Cafeteria

See the full article and pictures here.



Further proof that Canada is cooler than America: While our high schools get motivational speakers and pep rallies for special events, Canada's kids get concerts by the Arcade Fire in their cafeteria. Okay, so it's not that common an occurrence, and Canterbury isn't just any Ottawa high school; it's the alma mater of Arcade Fire charter member Richard Reed Parry. On Friday night, Parry brought his colleagues to the lunchroom of his youth for a special, top-secret performance, open only to Canterbury students and their guests, with all proceeds going to Canterbury Arts Centre Development Association, the organization that helps fund the school's highly-regarded arts programs. Thanks to a tip from the Pitchfork Intelligence Agency's Ottawa bureau (local student Matt Bostelaar) and the good graces of the band's management, we were given the privilege of being the creepy old guy at the show, the lone media witness to the proceedings.

Of course, this wasn't just a special-venue one-off for the band-- it was also the premiere performance of material from their forthcoming album Neon Bible, and the first show on a tour that promises to rival the marathon jaunt to promote the band's breakthrough debut, Funeral. Having already sold out three five-night runs each in New York, Montreal, and London, this show (and an equally hush-hush appearance in their hometown the next night) served as an open rehearsal for the Neon Bible songs, a chance to test out the new equipment in a humble space. And it doesn't get much more humble than one end of a small school cafeteria, where the crew had to cover overhead fluorescent lights that couldn't be turned off, the security staff was a dozen grandparents in matching t-shirts, and the Green Room was hastily set up in the teacher's lounge.

With such a hospitable audience, the obligatory technical issues and fumbling associated with the new songs from Neon Bible were no big deal. All but three songs in the set were from the upcoming record, and these performances largely lacked the Arcade Fire's characteristic stage frenzy, as if the group still has to concentrate hard on playing each song correctly before they can resume attacking each other with percussion instruments. But the statelier sound of the new album was still given a more unhinged flavor on stage-- the shoutalong choral parts of the newly recorded "No Cars Go" and "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" were every bit as heart-skipping as those from "Rebellion (Lies)" or "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)". New toys were in abundance: Win Butler strummed a mandolin for "Keep the Car Running", Régine Chassagne cranked a hurdy-gurdy, and a laptop was used to replicate the massive church organ from "Intervention" (although it seemed to have some unfortunate triggering problems).

But such hiccups couldn't dent the show's feel-good armor, as the band shyly fed off the energy of the young crowd. Parry, repeatedly referred to as "Richie" by the school organizers, obviously seemed to be the most bemused of all, lecturing the kids on how lucky they are to attend Canterbury and smiling at the girls with homemade "CHS Lit Program Loves Richard!" shirts in the front row. Raw and unpracticed as it was, the setting was ultimately perfect for the Arcade Fire, whose undiluted melodrama and emotional sweep is the perfect soundtrack for the struggles of high school students, or the high school feelings that linger deep within us older fans. For a band on the brink of storming the globe for a second time, it was a chance to reconnect with the world they're so good at portraying, a reminder as valuable as any rehearsal.


Worth The Wait

At last! 10th February sees The Crane Wife, the fourth full length from Portland, Oregons favourite literate indie-pop troupe get a UK release. God knows why its taken so long, it was released in October in the States! Rough Trade are putting it out over here. Pre-order it here.


The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
1. Crane Wife 3 [DOWNLOAD]
2. The Island
Come and See / The Landlord's Daughter / You'll Not Feel the Drowning
3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) [DOWNLOAD]
4. O Valencia
5. The Perfect Crime 2
6. When The War Came
7. Shankhill Butchers
8. Summersong
9. Crane Wife 1 And 2
10. Sons And Daughters

WATCH >>>
The Decemberists - O Valencia [Live on The David Letterman Show]




Allmusic.com review
Colin Meloy and his brave Decemberists made the unlikely jump to a major label after 2005's excellent Picaresque, a move that surprised both longtime fans and detractors of the band. While it is difficult to imagine the suits at Capitol seeing dollar signs in the eyes of an accordion- and bouzouki-wielding, British folk-inspired collective from Portland, OR, that dresses in period Civil War outfits and has been known to cover Morrissey, it's hard to argue with what the Decemberists have wrought from their bounty. The Crane Wife is loosely based on a Japanese folk tale that concerns a crane, an arrow, a beautiful woman, and a whole lot of clandestine weaving. The record's spirited opener and namesake picks off almost exactly where Picaresque left off, building slowly off a simple folk melody before exploding into some serious Who power chords. This is the first indication that the band itself was ready to take the loosely ornate, reverb-heavy Decemberists sound to a new sonic level, or rather that producers Tucker Martine and Chris Walla were. On first listen, the tight, dry, and compressed production style sounds more like Queens of the Stone Age than Fairport Convention, but as The Crane Wife develops over its 60-plus minutes, a bigger picture appears. Meloy, who along with Destroyer's Dan Bejar has mastered the art of the North American English accent, has given himself over to early-'70s progressive rock with gleeful abandon, and while many of the tracks pale in comparison to those on Picaresque, the ones that succeed do so in the grandest of fashions. Fans of the group's Tain EP will find themselves drawn to "Island: Come and See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel the Drowning" and "The Crane Wife, Pts. 1 & 2," both of which are well over ten minutes long and feature some truly inspired moments that echo everyone from the Waterboys and R.E.M. to Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, while those who embrace the band's poppier side will flock around the winsome "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)," which relies heavily on the breathy delivery of Seattle singer/songwriter and part-time Decemberist Laura Veirs. Some cuts, like the English murder ballad "Shankill Butchers" and "Summersong" (the latter eerily reminiscent of Edie Brickell's "What I Am"), sound like outtakes from previous records, but by the time the listener arrives at the Donovan-esque (in a good way) closer, "Sons & Daughters," the less tasty bits of The Crane Wife seem a wee bit sweeter.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Death Cab For Cutie - Bonnaroo Festival June 2006



I stumbled across this and thought i'd share the wealth. Its an audience recording but the quality is pretty damn good. If anyone reading this has a copy of the bands gig from Brixton Academy last year i'd love to hear it - just get in touch with me via myspace.

Death Cab For Cutie - Live Bonnaroo Festival 16/06/06
Tracklisting:
01. Passenger Seat
02. Different Names for the Same Thing
03. The New Year
04. We Laugh Indoors
05. Title And Registration
06. Soul Meets Body
07. Lowell, Ma
08. Crooked Teeth
09. Your Heart Is an Empty Room
10. A Movie Script Ending
11. Company Calls
12. What Sarah Said
13. I Will Follow You Into the Dark
14. We Looked Like Giants
15. The Sound of Settling
16. Transatlanticism

[DOWNLOAD]

Download The Good, The Bad & The Queen Live Track



Nature Springs (Live At The Tabernacle) - The Good, The Bad & The Queen [Download]

Watch a live set from Wilton's Music Hall in London.


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Dylan Gets Deluxe Treatment



The classic Bob Dylan rockumentary, Don't Look Back, will be reissued on DVD with a bunch of extras in the 65 Tour Deluxe Edition.

D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars) directed the original film, which followed Dylan on a 1965 British tour, and it was critically acclaimed for its inside look at the young singer/songwriter when it hit theatres in 1967. The new version has been digitally transferred from the original film, which also features Joan Baez, The Animals' Alan Price, Marianne Faithfull, Donovan and Dylan's manager, Alan Grossman. Pennebaker and Dylan tour manager Bob Neuwirth provide audio commentary.

The two-DVD package also includes Bob Dylan 65 Revisited, an hour-long film featuring previously unseen archival material, with commentary from Pennebaker and Neuwirth. The original 168-page 1968 companion book to the film, the theatrical trailer, a Pennebaker filmography, a Dylan discography, and cast and crew member biographies are also included along with collectible packaging.

A "Subterranean Homesick Blues" flip book, which provides a frame-by-frame look at what many people consider to be the first music video, is included along with an alternate version of the song's infamous cue-card sequence.

Docurama will release both the deluxe two-DVD set and the single-disc remastered version of the film on Feb. 27.