Stranded In Stereo: August 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Office Spend 'A Night At The Ritz'

It's the week of combing through the Band Of The Week archives. Chicago's Office have spent loads of time diligently crafting their debut for New Line Records, A Night At The Ritz. Now they've sweated all those hours during the week and pulling overtime some weekends, the band is taking a much needed vacation. In lieu of going to the beach or visiting war torn nations, the band will embark on a US tour this October to celebrate the release of Ritz. on September 25th. Please catch them, suits and pleated skirts in tow, as they bring their brand of fun rock to a venue near you.

10/04 - Grog Shop - Cleveland
10/05 - El Mocambo - Toronto

10/06 - La Sala Rosa - Montreal

10/07 - Great Scott - Boston

10/11 - First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia

10/12 - Ottobar - Baltimore

10/13 - Duke Coffeehouse - Durham

10/14 - The Earl - Atlanta

10/15 - Bottletree - Birmingham

10/16 - Minc - Houston

10/17 - The Mohawk - Austin

10/18 - Loft Palladium - Dallas

10/20 - Larimer Lounge - Denver

10/22 - Paper Heart Venue - Phoenix

10/23 - Casbah - San Diego

"The Ritz" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Portugal. The Man. Touring.

It was Mission Of Burma, who exclaimed in the appropriately titled "Period," that 'Maybe there's a time a place to punctuate!' That definitely what the case seems to be with Alaskan rock and rollers Portugal. The Man.

Now, I'm not gonna lie, for the few years that they have been in existence, I always thought it was Portugal comma The Man not Portugal period The Man. I think the period is cooler come to think of it.

Anyway, this isn't a post about one's perfection with grammar and such. The band have just released their second album Church Mouth on the California based Fearless Records. Not to be a man to utilize the pun so much, but the trio definitely don't show any fear through the dozen songs that make up their second long player.

They come off rather swell to me on record, but I hear one can obtain the whole picture when seeing them live. Fresh off of one round of shows in the US, the band has just announced another slew of dates for the fall which finds them supporting Rocky Votolato.

Tour Dates:
09.17 Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Station
Iowa City, IA @ The Picador
Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theatre
Chicago, IL @ Abbey Pub
Milwaukee, WI @ Stonefly Brewery
Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
Brooklyn, NY @ Luna Lounge
Montreal, QC @ Club Lambi
Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo
Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Harrisonburg, VA @ The Pub
Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant Street
Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
Ybor City, FL @ The Orpheum
Orlando, FL @ The Social
Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds
Atlanta, GA @ The Loft
Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Covington, KY @ The Mad Hatter
St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Nightclub
Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
San Antonio, TX ­@ Rock Bottom Bar
Austin, TX @ Subb’s BBQ

Download: "Sugar Cinnamon" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Georgie James To Go 'Places' On Tour

Formerly known as a SiS blog band of the week, Georgie JamesSaddle Creek. The home of Bright Eyes, et al, will release the DC duo's debut, followed up that honor by getting signed to Places. On September 25. Over the course of its dozen songs, the album channels the dance punk notion of John Davis' former band, Q And Not U (opener "Look Me Up," the super catchy single "Need Your Needs,") fused together with Laura Burhenn's self-released solo material (the bouncy piano highly noticed on "Cake Parade" and the keyboard gloss of "Cheap Champagne.")

Catch them on the road in October and November as they criss cross the US of A with the likes of Barsuk buds Aqueduct and hometown pals Le Loup, and cross the border to the Great White North alongside Ted Leo.

Tour Dates:
09/08 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
10/03 - Europa - Brooklyn
10/04 - Revolution Hall - Troy*
10/05 - Main Hall - Montreal*
10/06 - Barrymore - Ottawa*
10/07 - The Mod Club - Toronto*
10/08 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland*
10/22 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill**
10/23 - Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta**
10/24 - Taste - Orlando**
10/26 - Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge**
10/27 - The Mohawk - Austin**
10/29 - Modified - Phoenix^
10/30 - Casbah - San Diego^
10/31 - The Echo - Los Angeles^
11/01 - Rickshaw Shop - San Francisco^
11/03 - Holoscene - Portland^
11/04 - Crocodile Cafe - Seattle^
11/06 - Kilby Court - Salt Lake City^
11/07 - Hi Dive - Denver^
11/09 - Gardner Lounge - Grinnell^

11/10 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis^
11/11 - Schubas - Chicago^
11/16 - Black Cat - Washington DC^
*with Ted Leo/Rx
**with Le Loup
^with Aqueduct

Download: "Look Me Up" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Release Tuesday

One of the greatest live shows I had ever seen was almost a year ago when the Flaming Lips came to the Allentown Fair. To describe the show in one sentence is nearly impossible: the music, the light spectacle, the confetti, the streamers, the dancing aliens and santas. If I had to use only one sentence, I would go with something along the lines of 'Wayne Coyne is a Showman.' He comes out in a suit, shooting streamers in to the crowd before entering his bubble to walk across and make contact with the crowd before launching in to "Race For The Prize."

For those of you who've never been so lucky to catch them live, now's your chance to do so from the comfort of your home, free of finding confetti in your bloomers the morning after (unless you invite Rip Taylor over or you just have your friends over and you throw your own for effect.) With the
UFO's At The Zoo live DVD, the band descended on the zoo in their home state of Oklahoma to play before the masses. It was also the debut of their new entrance to the stage, a large UFO-looking dealy. Besides featuring live standards ("Fight Test," "She Don't Use Jelly," "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton,") the DVD also features behind the scenes footage and talkng to members of the audience as they wait all day in line. Better yet, the DVD is the all new MVI format, meaning you can watch the DVD, and then rip the songs to your computer to listen all day long. Hip hop hooray.

UFO's At The Zoo Trailer:

Buy: UFO's At The Zoo [Here]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rogue Wave Back At The 'Gate,' Announce Tour

When I was at SXSW last year, I spent Saturday afternoon watching Rogue Wave for the second time. The night before, I saw them headline the Sub Pop showcase (the same one that introduced me to Flight Of The Conchords,) but that afternoon they played an acoustic set at the Day Stage at the convention center. It was a completely different experience from the rock show the night before; their might of been one song or two that was played in both sets. I was just happy to hear them do "Nourishment Nation."

Afterwards, they did a signing and I talked with them for a brief moment asking what their plans were. They were going to go back on the road, but it seems they wanted to take a break instead. That was 17 months ago and since then, lead singer Zach Rogue became a father, guitarist Gram LeBron lost his brother, former bassist Evan Farrell left, and we all know about drummer Pat Spurgeon and his dire need of a kidney.

Doesn't seem like there was much of a break these last 17 months, but the band prevailed, got a new bassist in the form of Beulah's Patrick Abernathy, and have made another classic album. Out September 18th on Brushfire Records, Asleep At Heaven's Gate finds the Wave sailing uncharted territories. Of the dozen songs on the album, half of them go well over 5 minutes, including the abrasive opener "Harmonium," and the immaculate duet "Chicago X 12" with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf. On first listen, I didn't get the record: it didn't sound like Rogue Wave, there was no "Bird On A Wire," and I was held up after "Lake Michigan." I tried again 24 hours later, and it had connected with me. The back half alone is so spooky, so eerie (see: "Ghost," "Missed," even the near funky rock of "Phonytown.") You can tell that all the events mentioned above made this album what it is. Besides it being a phenomenal piece of music for the fall, I'm just happy to hear Roger Moutenot producing something other than Yo La Tengo.

After a few dates supporting Feist right before the album's release, the band will go coast to coast in October.

Tour Dates:
9/9/07: Burlington, VT: Flynn Theatre *
9/11/07: Baltimore , MD: Ram’s Head Live *
9/12/07: Upper Darby, PA: Tower Theatre *
9/13/07: Pittsburgh PA: Carnegie Music Hall *
9/14 /07: Grantham, PA: Messiah College *
9/15/07: Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Theatre *
10/10/07: The Casbah: San Diego, CA
10/11/07: El Rey Theatre: Los Angeles, CA
10/12/07: Bimbo’s 365 Club: San Francisco, CA
10/15/07: Wonder Ballroom: Portland, OR
10/16/07: Neumo’s: Seattle, WA
10/19/07: Bluebird Theatre: Denver, CO
10/20/07: The Bottleneck: Lawrence, KS
10/21/07: The Waiting Room: Omaha, NE
10/23/07: 400 Bar: Minneapolis, MN
10/24/07: Double Door: Chicago, IL
10/26/07: Mod Club: Toronto ON, Canada
10/27/07: Cabaret Music Hall: Montreal QC, Canada
10/29/07: Iron Horse Music Hall: Northampton, MA
10/30/07: Paradise Rock Club: Boston, MA
11/01/07: The Bowery Ballroom: New York, NY
11/02/07: Maxwell’s: Hoboken, NJ
11/03/03: Johnny Brenda’s: Philadelphia, PA
11/05/07: Black Cat: Washington, DC
11/06/07: Satellite Ballroom: Charlottesville, VA
11/08/07: The Earl: Atlanta, GA
11/09/07: Mercy Lounge: Nashville, TN
11/10/07: The Bottletree: Birmingham, AL

Download: "Lake Michigan" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SiS At Lollapalooza - Day Three

For the final day of Lollapalooza, it was obvious who the Snatch and I were there to see.

For my fifth Pearl Jam show, I wanted to be as close as humanly possible to Eddie Vedder and the rest of the grunge pioneers. Where we ended up was with a nice spot along the "T-Rail" with no obstructions in the way, about just as far back as I was when I saw them in Hershey back in 2003.

We took the morning off; there was no one that just jumped out on the schedule that I really wanted to see first thing in the morning (Julliette and The Licks? Pass. Plus, I had injured myself the night before on an escalator. No, Mom, I wasn't drunk.) So after soaking in the pool, we headed down to the park for our final day to see the South End of the park already flowing with avid PJ fans sitting on blankets, drinking beer, wearing their tired and true shirts from tours they did back in the early 1990s. We had just missed Lupe Fiasco's set, but staked out our spot and got a chance to listen to Tapes 'n Tapes on the MySpace stage. Nothing new there; I like them, yes, but I guess I am just growing tired of always hearing them play the same songs. Even the new ones they played (which I heard them test out at a headlining gig in May) weren't stellar. They finished up and Kings Of Leon came on stage. I've always liked this family collective from the south, but their newest album Because Of The Times never set in with me. They totally tore it up, and the crowd was stoked for their performance. The new songs finally made sense: "On Call" and "Knocked Up" were two of the four songs I acutally enjoyed from the record, and seeing them live made me want to dig out my copy of the album. Older fare like "Molly's Chambers" and "The Bucket" were sweaty smashes, and the set closing "So Night, So Long" found Eddie Vedder coming out to belt out some words and smash some tambourines. Great times were had by all.

We then sat as My Morning Jacket set up and !!! played in the background. I couldn't tell much of what they were playing, but from the faint sounds I heard coming our way, I did notice they played "Dear Can." MMJ's set, meanwhile, kind of made me feel like we were lead on to see one thing, and only got half of what was advertised. Billed as a set with Chicago's Youth Symphony, they didn't not step on stage until the band was almost done their third song of the evening. Once the dozen or so kids were set up stage right, they only contributed to every other song. There were definitely some songs I thought they should have played on, though their set closing rendition of "Movin' On Up" made up for everything.

As the sun was set, and the air was cool, Perry Ferrell walked on stage for a very brief introduction to the event's final act. Opening with a monster rendition of "Why Go," Pearl Jam barreled through a tight set of the hits ("Better Man," "Even Flow," "Do The Evolution,") a song or two I had yet to see them play live ("Not For You,") and closing with their other standard show ender, that my cousin and I now always refer to as a Pearl Jam song ("Rockin' In The Free World," as once brought in to this world 20 years ago by Neil Young.) Next to Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard, PJ is easily my other favorite band to see live, but this definitely wasn't their best set. The band was electrified and full of energy, but the song selection I thought was poor. I know, in a festival setting you can't just play whatever you have to appeal to the masses, but more of a variety would've been a warm welcome. Either way, Vedder shouldn't of been edited by AT&T for speaking his mind if the #1 song in the country finds a 17 year old proclaiming that girls make him suicidal.

All in all, it was a great weekend, time of my life, bruised knee that still hurts withstanding. Either way, I'll be there again next year, G Snatch in tow, and other people I am sure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SiS At Lollapalooza - Day Two

Better late than never, part two of my weekend coverage finally comes around a week later.

Saturday at Lollapalooza, for everyone, proved to be the busiest of three days. With the multiple scheduling conflicts, bands one after the other at opposite ends of the park. The G Snatch and I, we spent parts of the day split up: while he wanted to relive his days of Warped Tour past (Motion City Soundtrack causing the biggest mosh pit of the weekend at the MySpace stage,) I wanted to catch the band that keeps on garnering all the attention (Cold War Kids on the other side of the shrubbery at the Citi Stage.) I planned on staying there and staying put to finally bear witness to the live frenzy that is CSS, but they missed their flight from the Virgin Festival. The band would eventually go on to write a burning missive on their website detailing how they'll never fly United. Ever. Again.

When we did get together, though, the Snatch and I had only the best of times: Tokyo Police Club started things off early in the day at the AT&T Stage, through the rallying cries of "Cheer It On" (they get 10 points for name checking themselves in the chorus.) Before them, we saw Matt & Kim play before a huge morning crowd over at the Adidas Stage, both convince that an awestruck Matt was about ready to blubber by the number of people who came out at 11 in the morning to see them barrel through "Yeah Yeah" and other songs from last year's self-titled debut. The legendary (don't know how I feel about using that word) Aussie trio of Silverchair played to a crowd more interested in hearing them play cuts from Frogstomp, but would be disappointed to see Daniel Johns and the boys playing mostly stuff from the recently released Straight Lines. The crowd would return the favor by not really participating nor singing along, causing Johns to tell the crowd "Don't let me down, you'll make me cry!" Guess he thought he was still Down Under where they still have a commanding following.

Spoon, on the other hand, had a huge crowd at the MySpace stage. The rain didn't stop the crowd from going Ga Ga (I'll never tire of using the title to write) with new songs like "Don't Make Me A Target" and "Don't You Evah," while treating the crowd to classics like "The Fitted Shirt" and "I Turn My Camera On."

The Snatch and I split for the headliners this evening: while he caught Muse's loud performance with ridiculous light show in tact, I saw Interpol play to a bunch of frat boys and other hipsters. Surprisingly, the American Eagle-clad frat boys I mentioned didn't just sing along to the new songs from Our Love To Admire (such as "No I In Threesome" and "Rest My Chemistry,") but were also very familiar with the songs from their near perfect debut, Turn On The Bright Lights (the highlight of the night for me was the band's amazing rendition of my all time favorite Interpol song, "Say Hello To The Angels." Hell, they even played "Not Even Jail." Rusty = floored.)

I promise Day 3 will be around tomorrow, and before this week is over, I've got pictures for you all to see. Maybe even some video footage?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

SiS At Lollapalooza - Day One

Sorry for the delay, folks. Not all blogs can be like all the cool ones that can get daily updates in. I'm just too good and busy for that.

For the third year now, the annual edition of Lollapalooza has been held at Grant Park in Chicago. I've been to Chicago, and this park is just a sight to see. Well over a mile long, and anchored in the middle by the famed Buckingham Fountain, it's the perfect location for a three day festival. Looking down at the north end of the park to your left, you get the entire Chicago skyline in the background; and when you would look to the right, you would see the nice breeze was coming from Lake Michigan, right across the street.

Friday found me getting my Lollapalooza kicked off, as expected, with the magical Elvis Perkins In Dearland. This being my third time seeing Perkins, and since Ash Wednesday is one of the best debuts to come out in the past few years, it was nice to be among other fans of Perkins. Live, Perkins is much better, playing the songs that make Wednesday what it is (the solo opener "It's Only Me," the crowd pleasing favorite "While You Were Sleeping,") and the songs that he plays live that haven't been commited to tape ("Hey," and, honored by my request, "Dooms Day.") The band were told at 12:15 they were done, and it looked that the people that came to see Perkins and Co. were going to have a not-so-happy start to their Lolla 07 experience, Perkins then apologized to the crowd for the terrible misunderstanding and finished up the last 15 minutes. Donning a hat, suit, and what was a torn-sleeved button down shirt, I yelled asking if he was hot up there? His answer: "No, I've got air conditioning."

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists were given a near homecoming welcome, since they do reside on the Chicago based Touch & Go label. Barreling through new classics to be off of Living With The Living, they also gave rousing performances of "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" and "Me And Mia." True to his participation in festivals, Leo did not let down and had fallen during the opening number "Sons of Cain." Leo addressed the crowd about this, and let us know he had cut his hand. Not as bad as the head in to the microphone incident at last year's Pitchfork Festival.

Later in the afternoon, G Snatch and I separated: he headed south to catch Jack's Mannequin, while I stayed north at the Bud Light stage to see The Polyphonic Spree. A few of my co-workers caught when they had came through Boston, and I regret not joining them. Tim DeLaughter and his Fragile Army of 20 strong commanded the audience and had their undivided attention for their hour set. "The Championship" showed them declaring victory, before the costume change from their black fatigues to their classic white robes. They then paraded (in front of me) right through the crowd, hand in hand, making me think that DeLaughter is just as much of a showman as Wayne Coyne. And then, they lead the crowd through an amazing rendition of Nirvana's "Lithium," capping off my vote for best performance for Friday.

One of the band's that got rave reviews and a good bit of attention was the Citi Stage presence of Silversun Pickups. G Snatch had been waiting for this moment all of his life, and it did feel quite right as bassist Nikki Monninger (who is quite the attractive female bassist -- take that, D'Arcy says G Snatch) used her harmonies to compliment lead singer Brian Aubert and his grand showmanship. The set mostly covered last year's Carnavas, with the crowding going wild during "Lazy Eye" and "Rusted Wheel."

We saw the last few songs of the set by Blonde Redheaed - I thought I had heard all the bad music that comes out of that whole scene in Brooklyn when I saw Gang Gang Dance, but this might've taken the cake. The crowd seemed entranced by their moody, hypnotic grooves that were coming out of the trio. And then, as we plotted ourselves a good for LCD Soundsystem, we endured the lack of a party that was Satellite Party. I don't think it can be that great when the founder of this wonderful festival uses his new band as a vehicle to relive the past (see the four Jane's Addiction songs played, including the underwhelming opening of "Stop!" and the very lackluster "Jane Says" that ended the set. Rusty and G Snatch say - quit your day job.)

James Murphy then took command of the MySpace stage and the dirt baseball field turned in to a club floor and, dare I say it was a mosh pit(?) Definitely was not like that when I saw them in May, but they still take the cake for one of the best live shows I've seen all year. I knew it would be said, and Murphy made festivalgoers well aware of the irony that as they started "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" that Daft Punk would be playing right across from them when they finished their set. As LCD closed their set with a stunning version of "Yeah," Murphy instructed the crowd to 'Go, go see Daft Punk. Go right now.' And we did, and we saw two guys in robots suits and a bunch of lights. And lots of drunk, sweaty people dancing for 90 minutes. Pretty good way to end the first day.

Saturday, and lots, er, loads of pictures coming soon.

Friday, August 3, 2007

SiS at Lollapalooza

Greetings from Chicago! Right now, I'm moments away from seeing Elvis Perkins in Dearland kick off my Lollapalooza experience. I'll be out here all weekend taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells, and God knows what else. Alongside my travel companion, G Snatch, we are two of oh, what's that figure Perry, 200,000!?

Three days, 130 bands, here's the highlights of who I am going to (try and) see:

11:45 - Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Adidas Stage
1:00 - Colour Revolt - MySpace Stage
2:30 - Polyphonic Spree - Bud Light Stage
5:00 - The Rapture - Playstation Stage
5:00 - Silversun Pickups - Citi Stage
7:30 - LCD Soundsystem - MySpace Stage
8:30 - Daft Punk - AT&T Stage

11:45 - Matt & Kim - Adidas Stage
12:45 - Tokyo Police Club - AT&T Stage
3:30 - Cold War Kids - Citi Stage
7:30 - Spoon - MySpace Stage
8:30 - Interpol - Bud Light Stage

12:15 - The Cribs - Bud Light Stage
4:15 - Kings Of Leon - AT&T Stage
5:00 - Peter Bjorn & John - Citi Stage
5:15 - Yo La Tengo - Adidas Stage
6:15 - Modest Mouse - AT&T Stage
8:00 - Pearl Jam - Bud Light Stage

Stay tuned to the blog as I try to update it infrequently over the weekend, or at least give daily summaries.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Formative Years: "Head Trip In Every Key" by Superdrag, 1998

The reunion tour is on. I've been listening to this one too much lately to not revisit it for "Y'all."

1998 was when my formative years were winding down; though I had discovered ...The Dandy Warhols Come Down right on time, it wasn't until March (maybe February) of 98 that I had picked up I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One which would go on to change me forever.

That April, I got my grubby hands on Head Trip In Every Key, Superdrag's follow-up to 1996's power pop explosion known as Regretfully Yours. I was enticed by the packaging alone: the 60s/70s motif of the chick listening to music with those old school stereo headphones; even the paper the booklet was printed on fit the time. And the cooper font as well, which was the standard Superdrag logo for the rest of their career.

The band wasn’t looking to make another “Sucked Out," instead taking major label monies to meticulously craft one of my all-time favorite albums, and the unanimous fan favorite among ‘Drag heads. “I’m Expanding My Mind” opens up the album in an attempt to detach themselves from their previous works, inviting listeners in by using an orchestral orgy of instruments that sound like the horizon to usher in the new era.

"Mind," though, was not the only attempt at branching out in to previously unknown territory. Though the other dozen songs have a glossier production to make their power pop glow (see "Hellbent," "Shuck & Jive,") most importantly John Davis and the boys crafted a masterpiece right down to its Trippy title. Like the opener, "The Art Of Dying" ends the album with a mass of strings, pitted against heavy guitars and lead singer Davis going far out on his sitar. The band also captures power pop glory while tangoing with brass flourishes on "Mr. Underground." But perhaps, though, the best bridging of the of the catchy guitar pop of Yours and the branching out brought forth by Trip can be found in "Bankrupt Vibration." Starting out with acoustic guitars and some more sitar and handclaps, the driving chorus eventually breaks halfway to a locomotive ending that keeps on chugging along, picking up the pace at break neck speed only until it is derailed at the end of the line.

The band would go on and, like most great bands of their time on Elektra, be dropped from the label and release more acclaimed albums. 2000's In The Valley Of Dying Stars found the band channeling the glossy pop of Trip while 2002's Last Call For Vitriol (coincidentially enough, their swan song,) brings forth a more lo-fi approach while showcasing drunken country songs for their sweethearts, thanks to the inclusion of guitarist Mic Harrison.

Since the band broke up in 2003, John Davis ventured on a solo career, releasing a self titled album, but apparently missed where he got his beginnings. The original line up featuring Davis, drummer Don Coffey Jr., bassist Tom Pappas, and guitarist Brandon Fisher will hit the stage together for the first time in almost a decade this fall.

Download: "Bankrupt Vibration" [mp3] // "The Art Of Dying" [mp3] // "Head Trip In Every Key*" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]
*unreleased demo from the Head Trip sessions