Stranded In Stereo: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (06/30/08)

John Oates of the duo Hall & Oates, is planning to become a cartoon character complete with tight pink pants with the new series J-Stache. The show portrays Oates as a contemporary family man dragged back into rock-stardom by his anthropomorphic moustache. The lip fuzz in question will be voiced by comedian Dave Attell.

Remember last month when Steven Tyler said his foot hurt and that he was in rehab for said pesky foot? Well it was crap. 60-year-old
Aerosmith front man admitted recently that he was actually taking more pain pills than Rush Limbaugh. Tyler went on to claim that he’s been sober since 1986, the last time he was in rehab. Right, and Gary Coleman isn’t a midget.

Dead Heart Bloom has announced plans to release three EPs in the remaining months of 2008. The first EP will be titled Fall In; I remember seeing this band in 2002 back when they were called Phaser. Before that the band was named “people that hang out with Boris Skalsky” which while mundane was strangely accurate.

Yesterday it was formally announced that
Tom T. Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. he was informally inducted back in February. I had no idea who that was and I actually had to consult Wikipedia for the name. I think Nashville has run out of country artists worth awarding.

We celebrated Alan Vega’s 70th birthday this week. The vocalist from duo Suicide will be commemorating this event by releasing a monthly series of limited edition 10-inch vinyl EPs. He also will be releasing a six-CD box set featuring early live material and rarities.

Boy George has been officially denied a US Visa and may not enter the country. His upcoming tour will almost certainly be canceled. Strangely the cock-lock is due not to his past cocaine busts in New York, but to his impending trial for imprisoning a male prostitute in his apartment.

More somber news this week as the daughter of Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman
passed away. 5-year old Maria Sue, was run over by his son with the family SUV, a Toyota Land Cruiser. A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol would not release the age of the son but did say that no charges are expected. José sees many Gringo stereotypes here but is restraining his vaquero instincts.

The Chemical Brothers, are dropping a two-disc best-of album in September. The Astralwerks release Brotherhood follows five consecutive #1 albums in the UK. The second disc features new material including collaborations with Noel Gallagher, Spank Rock and other people only famous in England.

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday this week with white rapper Will Smith. The celebration concert drew nearly 50,000 fans to London's Hyde Park. Other bands included Queen, Simple Minds, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Annie Lennox and Razorlight. It was rumored that Winehouse was even coherent out of respect for the occasion.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Neil Halstead: New Album, MP3 For You

Neil Halstead is a man who wears many hats. Outside of his growing solo career, he was also not only a founding member of Mojave 3, but also of Slowdive, the early 90s slowcore favorite. And now to add to his solo collection of music, he's readying his second album, Oh, Mighty Engine, due July 29th on Brushfire Records, his first for the label.

To get your, um, engines ready, we offer you the first taste of the new album in the form of the track "Paint A Face". It's a laid back acoustic number perfect to put on and sit back and ... paint faces to.

Download: "Paint A Face" [mp3] //

Shugo Tokumaru

Shugo Tokumaru hails from Tokyo and plays music that most Westerners can easily dub as "exotic," but with most Japanese artists, there is that otherworldly feel coupled with an eye towards assimilation of American culture. If there were a great music library somewhere in the world that housed every record from every genre, this would be the guy that new how to locate each and every title.

Exit is his US debut, which is out September 2nd on Almost Gold Recordings. It's a blend of pop, folk and new music drawing inspiration from such diverse artists as Brian Wilson and Sun Ra. If you don't like anything, but claim you like everything, than this is the record for you.

Download: "Parachute" [mp3]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 in Music So Far, Part 1

And here we are again - halfway through another year. This means it is time to look at the best music that 2008 has offered up to us so far. Like last year's inaugural half way meet, I'm offering up a two day fest, predicting what my Top 10 might look like at year's end, but listening them in alphabetical order as opposed to actually predicting their ranked spot.

And for the record, last year's prediction scored a 60%, but this year I think will be different. Different as in less han last year's score. So, let's begin.
Abe Vigoda - Skeleton - PostPresentMedium
You might remember last week when I, uh, how to put this nicely - went ape shit over this album. I could easily just end this paragraph right now, let you click on the words ape shit and you can read my initial thoughts that spewed from my mind, but what fun would that be. Since then, I've listened to this record - a lot (149 plays logged in on the Last FM account, #1 for the week - #2 had 30). I've even told people who I shared the album with, my sheer excitement and joy, that this is my album of the year. I wonder if I'm right - it is even interesting to start off with this, but it's only because of the alphabetical order. I guess we'll see in December. [Buy Here]
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours - Modular
"You must hear Cut Copy, they're all the rage!" is a statement I heard from many a person earlier this year as the band was getting ready to drop their sophomore effort. Message boards I frequent were also getting excited as the release date was looming. So, following all the hype I had to check them out. Although the lead off track, "Feel The Love," streamed off their MySpace unimpressive to me, it grew, and the next track, "Out There On The Ice" was infectious, as was many of the tracks ahead of it that would swerve in and out of each other for the near hour duration. And then I caught them live a few weeks ago, playing to a sold out crowd at the Paradise. And let's just say I don't think they were all there to see co-headliners, Black Kids. [Buy Here]

The Dandy Warhols - ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... - Beat The World
Outside of the aforementioned Abe Vigoda, this, too, I have proclaimed a premature AOTY statue in its honor. But, this, I have a problem with. I'd hate to give the honor to an all-time favorite, I feel like its cheating. Its like showing a lack of effort for finding a real Album of the Year. "Well, these guys put out the best album of their career, a near flawless effort, I'll just give it to them." What fun is that? But see, it's true. Their sixth album is by far the greatest - after the huge letdown that is Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, the band string together the best songs of their career. The punch of "Mission Control" - "Welcome To The Third World" - "Wasp In A Lotus" - "And Them I Dreamt Of Yes" is immaculate. The band finally made an album you know they've been dying to make for years and it's pleasing to mine, and all of their fans, ears. [Buy Here]
French Kicks - Swimming - Vagrant
Upon first listen of this Brooklyn based band's fourth album, I was let down. Nothing caught me at all: there was no "So Far We Are," no "Knee High," and especially no song that was winner of Rusty's Favorite Song of 2006, "England Just Will Not Let You Recover". This was to be the record they've always wanted to make - a self-produced, self-recorded organic experience that sounded like no record prior in their catalog. After multiple listens, I found the hooks. The fade in of a stifling hi-hat in to their trademark off-kilter beats on "New Man" was the first inclination that there was gold to be mined after all. Was that a ukelele on the beginning of "Love In The Ruins"? And those harmonies on "The Way You Arrive" have to be the prime example of what they were trying to achieve, the whole organic experience fully realized. [Buy Here]
Hot Chip - Made In The Dark - DFA/Astralwerks
The first and only time I saw Hot Chip was at CMJ in 2006, playing to a hot and sweaty bunch of folks at Webster Hall. It would be the first time I would ever get the chance to hear one of the greatest Hot Chip songs, ever, Dark's opening number "Out At The Pictures". It was like nothing I had ever heard before, I can't explain how it was different but it just was. The rest of the album also had its share of 'club bangers' like "Pictures": whether it was the rave-up "Hold On", the striking guitar intro that leads in to near Talking Heads territory on "One Pure Thought", or the side to side sway one could become accustom to on the track "Wrestlers". They wanted to bring their live show to a record and boy did they. [Buy Here]

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weezer: The "WTF" Continues

Weezer recently stopped by AOL for one of those live sessions and boy is it .. interesting to say the least.

Sticking mostly to material from the recently release sixth overall, third self-titled effort more notably known as The Red Album due to its color modification, the band also revisited Pinkerton fave, "Why Bother?", which featured guitarist Brian Bell on lead vocals. This move made me prompt the question, 'Gee, Weezer, why bot--" Ha ha ha, I am funny, oh yes.

The other songs were weird choices if I may say so, outside of lead single "Pork & Beans" and "Troublemaker", as the band played deluxe bonus tracks "King" (lead by bassist Scott Shriner) and the iTunes only bonus track that is actually a demo from Make Believe, Brian Bell's "It's Easy," which I actually .. don't .. mind. Even though I hate to admit it.

The most interesting clip comes with their performance of "Miss Sweeney," complete with Rivers Cuomo dressed in a suit, singing behind a desk to Miss Sweeney herself, whoever that poor actress is. I guess this could be the next single? Maybe this could be the treatment for the video.

You can the see rest of the performances and an interview right here.

The Stranded Local Q&A: Faces on Film

This week’s local band spotlight shines on one of Boston’s hidden musical gems, Faces on Film.

Faces on Film was formed back in 2004 after Fiore graduated from The College of the Holy Cross. He and the members of this earliest incarnation gathered together some demos and scored a gig at the Middle East, but found their performance to be somewhat sloppy. After playing around Boston, New York, and Chicago, further recording in 2005 helped them find their focus. After several revisions of the line-up, Faces on Film (which now consists of Fiore, David Hinckley, Elio DeLuca, Gavin McCarthy, and Aaron Trail) has recorded a new album, The Troubles, which is filled with unrepressed honesty and self-expression. Echoing the vocalizations and textures of Modest Mouse with effortlessly meticulous guitar work, their sublime songwriting mirrors the steady path the band has forged for itself.

Mike Fiore took a few minutes to answer the same five questions Stranded In Stereo always asks:

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because
We have Steve Gisselbrecht.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well
The Microphones and Joanna Newsom. And Neil Young.
Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is


Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

Yeah, there are things that affect the writing in that way, but I don't think a particular genre does it for me. The things that do don't even have to be musical, necessarily. I usually find a lot of the same qualities in all of the things I like, be it a song, or a poem, or a drawing. I suppose I just try to attach myself to those little moments of clarity, and imitate them as best I can.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is
The Druid.

[Myspace] (stream songs from The Troubles here!)
Catch them live: July 9th @ Middle East Upstairs with the Bon Savants and Badman.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Video Nasties Have A ... Video!

Current Band of the Week Video Nasties don't just use the form of promotion in their name - they do have music videos. Above this paragraph of text is the video for their single "Karl Blau". Who is Karl Blau one might ask? Is he even real? The answer is yes: Karl Blau is a musician from the great state of Washington and has released album on the seminal K imprint before. Whether or not the song is about him I do not know, and you know what, I prefer to keep it that way. I like a little mystery in my life every now and then.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (06/23/08)

Beck will release a new album on July 8th. Modern Guilt will be his first release on DGC since 2006. Producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton described the LP as a melding of hip-hop and punk folk like everyrthing else Beck every did. To Support the record Beck has already scheduled dates in the US and Europe.

This week Ted Nugent sold off a large share of his wild game trophies. The iconic guitarist is a well-known hunter and gun nut. What was not well known was that the Nuge had bagged a rhinoceros and a zebra both of which are for sale. The Nugent family is selling off the trophies to simplify a move to a more remote compound a little closer to scenic Waco, Texas. For the record Jose preferred his material with the Amboy Dukes.

Volcom Records will be releasing Totomoshi's new album, Milagrosa, July 8th. The Frisco-based metal act will be touring nationally in support of the album. For the record, Totimoshi was intended to be gibberish but in the Chinese language Hakka, the word means a constipation. This is only the second record on Volcom Jose has cared about in 8 years.

I know I promised not to write about Amy Winehouse but this is just classic. After smoking more crack than Richard Pryor, Winehouse has ruined her lungs. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, has stated that Amy has early stage emphysema and will have to wear an oxygen mask unless she gives up the crack pipe. At least she didn’t set herself on fire.

The experimental and existential band Negativland is releasing a new album, Thigmotactic, July 15th. Since the 1970s, Negativland has showered us in a series of self-indulgent, loops, cut-and-paste tributes to Dadaism and self-debasement. So Jose was surprised when he heard that Thigmotactic included actual songs. Mark Hosler, a founding member of Negativland, apparently was tired of banging on pots and pans.

The new Guns & Roses album leaked this week. Gag. Jose laughs every time that he sees that YouTube video of Axl getting pegged in the nards with a water bottle. Normally Jose will not approve of a crotch shot, but Axl is an exception.

Slipknot, the biggest band in Iowa is releasing their fourth opus All Hope Is Gone. The work is slated for an August release. The band previewed the album for 24 hours on their website this week. Already naughty bloggers have leaked the unmastered versions of the songs. Nine guys in red jumpsuits: if they weren’t wearing masks I’d think they were a pit crew.

The hip-hop duo Dalek has founded a new record label, Deadverse Recordings. They already have albums by Oddateee, and Laura Minor. In the near-term, Dalek plan to stay with Ipecac Records, but in the future, there is no telling what success will do to them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

SIS Giveaway: Joe Strummer

We all know who Joe Strummer is, and what he's famous for. He was the lead singer of punk stalwarts The Clash and also had a superb solo career. He also did the score to one of my all-time favorite John Cusack movies, Grosse Pointe Blank, with his band the Mescaleros.

For all you Strummer fans this week, we've got a little win it before you can buy it contest. First is the acclaimed documentary, The Future Is Unwritten, which was helmed by famed filmaker Julien Temple and won't be out until July 8th.. Not only does our winner receive this 2-disc DVD set, but also the soundtrack featuring songs from Strummer, The Clash, Elvis Presley, the MC5 and more! And as an added bonus, our winner will receive a copy of The Clash's Revolution Rock DVD as well!

What are you waiting for? Enter to win!

The Future Is Unwritten trailer:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New The Walkmen: You & Me

I've only seen The Walkmen once, and it was last March on tour with the Kaiser Chiefs and Annuals. Rather than try and make new fans, they more catered to their own, playing mostly brand new material when their previous effort, A Hundred Miles Off, wasn't even a year old. Either way, the songs stuck with me and are now ready to be unleashed on to the world.

The Walkmen's fourth full length (not counting their track-by-track rendition of
Pussy Cats) is called You & Me, and will be their first release on the Gigantic imprint when it hits stores August 19. Looking at the titles and listening to some of the lyrics, their is definitely some sort of semi-relationship concept involved. From missng one while away (the waltz-y "Red Moon"), to the maybe we aren't so well off ("I Lost You"), the album's 14 tracks continue to contain themselves among the standard Walkmen formula to a positive result.

The first track we have to check out is "In The New Year". While the guitars rollick during the verses, the drums come in before an organ is late to the race, chasing to catch up with the rest of the song. Stream it!

In the New Year - The Walkmen

Can't Stop Spinning: Skeleton by Abe Vigoda

Since it came in to my possession 36 hours ago, this is about the only thing I listened to. I took a break to check out that new record from Women and then Nouns by No Age, since they're touring with them and have been semi-lumped in to that whole, erm, noise scene. My problem is I don't think they belong - Abe Vigoda is almost too poppy for that whole lumping of a genre, or better yet, the one's who would best be fit to really become a forerunner, even though people think that Nouns is just priceless (I kinda beg to differ).

Skeleton starts off with drum fills abound and bright guitars. "Dead City/Waste Wilderness" borders the afro beat that Talking Heads pioneered on Remain In Light and Vampire Weekend hone today, save for the fact that, y'know, it's dirty. It's muddled, befuddled, the vocals are buried deep in the mix that Michael Stipe of the Fables era would be astonished. All but :45 seconds it makes that shift, maybe in to the "Waste" portion of the song, melodies and beats repeat with a cowbell that's so doused in reverb that you think it might be an empty can or spokes on a bike. It slides conveniently in to "Bear Face" which then goes right in to "Lantern Lights" two minutes later with it's declaration of the line 'Take one leaf, take two' before harmonies swell below. The only time they could even be remotely involved in this noise scene comes with "Whatever Forever" which uses its 42 seconds of existence to hum and explode like "Freezer Burn" would if Aphex Twin covered it. Skipping ahead to the end, the title track is total schizo - drumsticks click, we are to feel the bridge break, and when it breaks down out in to what would be a chorus, the vocals and words have never been more clear. "Don't break me out! Don't break me out!" is declared before the band has a minor thrash and breaks in to the chorus again and again and again. When all is said and done, the 14 songs that take up all of 32 minutes have left me in total m = b mode. This record is not leaving my ears anytime soon.

Their MySpace declares they are of a genre known as Tropical and Regional Mexican; a YouTube performance dubbed them Tropicali since they reside in LA and are tropical at times. When I finally stumbled upon their bio,
Skeleton is labeled as a punked out Graceland (guess I wasn't so far off since all the cool hipster kids listen to that record all the time now for some reason). Their hollow yet full sounding jams can be best described by our own Jose Fritz as listening to the band do their soundcheck while waiting in line outside. More disjointed that Die Princess Die, more herky jerky than The Joggers have been at times, this band is destined to be something - that is - if they aren't already.

Skeleton is out July 8th on PostPresentMedium.

Download: "Skeleton" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Stranded Local Q&A: Aberdeen City

This week’s band spotlight is on Aberdeen City, a local four-piece described by the Boston Phoenix as creators of "...glimmering, agonized, anthemic indie pop." On the strength of their 2006 album The Freezing Atlantic, they have received a slew of awards, including the Phoenix’s 'Best Local Album' (2006), as well as Boston Music Awards for 'Best Local Album' and 'Best Local Rock Band of the Year' (2006).

Brad Parker, Chris McLaughlin, Ryan Heller, and Rob McCaffrey have been winning over audiences outside of Boston as well with a strong presence on the CMJ charts and appearances at the CMJ Music Marathon and SXSW. They recently teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Morrissey, Talking Heads) to re-work the tracks on their debut LP, and are currently working on a new record.

Guitarist/keyboardist Ryan Heller took a few minutes to answer the same five questions Stranded In Stereo always asks:

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because
None of us actually grew up here, but as an outsider I have noticed that people seem to be actually miserable here-- not like that fake Williamsburg miserable we've all gotten to used to hearing-- and that makes for some good rock music. But then again I like my rock music with more than a splash of authentic misery. See Elliott Smith.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well
I've learned from touring that it's ha
rd to know who you fit with and who you don't- I guess that's why we have booking agents. Our most fun tours have been with bands whose audiences weren’t necessarily down with the sad sounds of abcity-- and it kinda makes sense. But fit aside, and in no particular order: The National, Death Cab and Bloc Party are band I like who seem like they'd be fun lovin' tourmates. Or I'd like to tour with the Electric Six like ten more times.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is
The Paradise.

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

Brad listens to lots of classical music. He likes the idea of interacting lines as an alternative to chords. Chris likes dance music. Come to think of it, I think I'm the only person in the band that might actually listen to us if I wasn't in the band.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is

Harvard Gardens on weekends. Boston, MA.


Download: "God is Going to Get Sick of Me" [mp3]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lollapalooza Schedule Is Set

"Schedule is out .... Ugh .... Frustrating. Fucking Brand New vs Explosions In The Sky. Argh!" was the text I received from best friend and frequent mentionee (it's not a word, I know, so sue me. Or is it?) Gianni Antonaccio this morning upon entering the office, in regards to the schedule for this year's Lollapalooza being released. More furious texts and a phone call came my way asking for my opinion. Looking over it, I see no true conflicts, but another good work out in the sun running from stage to stage for three days straight. Here's some initial highlights:

Friday, August 1 (full schedule):
- Bang Camaro at 11:15 AM? Weird? Not Weird? Undecided.
- If the layout stays the same, the south end of Grant Park is the place to be Friday with Rogue Wave in the early afternoon (1:15PM - MySpace), Bloc Party possibly debuting new material (6:15PM - AT&T), Radiohead tour buddies Grizzly Bear behind the bushes (5:45 - Citi) and Radiohead unopposed Friday night (8:00PM - AT&T).
- North end folk will get treated to sets by Cat Power (5:15PM - Playstation) and "other Friday headliner" The Raconteurs (6:15PM - Bud Light)

Saturday, August 2 (full schedule):
- A run back and forth day with Does It Offend You, Yeah? starting the day early followed by current favorite album maker Mason Jennings (11:45AM and 1:30PM - Playstation), or do you run to the south side and see Dr. Dog (1:30PM - MySpace) and then stake out a good spot for MGMT (3:30PM - MySpace) to then turn around and see Brand New (4:30PM - AT&T) to then run all the way over to get the best spot humanly possibly for Broken Social Scene (6:30PM - Bud Light) and then toss up the headliners. Wilco (8:30PM - Bud Light) or the reunited Rage Against The Machine (8:30PM - AT&T). Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, August 3 (full schedule):
- For me, it's all about the clutch ending, yet odd pairing on the north side. The National (7:15PM - Playstation) in to headliner Nine Inch Nails (8:15PM - Bud Light).
- Throughout the day, there's plenty to relax and catch: Black Kids play one of their first post-Partie shows stateside (3:30PM - Citi), Prince wannabe's Chromeo (3:15PM - MySpace), and Chicago rockers Office (11:30AM - Playstation) all deserve your undivided attention.

So, the schedule is set. Pack your bags, Bring in your allowed bottle of water, bring cash for the chicken on a stick and BBQ sandwiches, and I'll see you - in six weeks.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (06/16/08)

Jose would like to point out that he was wrong two weeks ago: R. Kelly was acquitted this week. This means that it is in fact ok to pee on your 13-year-old groupies and even to video tape it. Lo siento, go forth and be free my urophilic companeros.

Village idiot Nicole LaScalia (no relation to Justice Scalia) is suing Mudvayne, Clear Channel, Korn and Live Nation over a concert injury. On March 8, 2006 LaScalia fractured her leg at the KBPI Birthday Bash. Clear Channel has called the suit “frivolous.” Korn’s management only stated that they “cannot comment further on the suit as it is a legal matter.” Lawyers take all the fun out of a good story.

Black Box Revelation, will begin their first US tour this month. The Belgium-based band only will be in the states long enough to hit the highlights: New York, LA, San Diego, etc. They’ll spend the rest of the time pimping their new album, Set Your Head On Fire. I’ll warn you now these little twerps are all in high school but they also rock like the Stooges.

Scott Weiland and Eric Kretz of
Stone Temple Pilots are being sued by their label, Atlantic Records. Atlantic states that Weiland and Kretz owe the label three more album. Members Dean and Robert DeLeo, dropped by Atlantic in 2003, are not named in the suit. If the U.S. third circuit court of appeals can sort this out, the product would be the band’s first album since 2001.

Chris Martin of
Coldplay turns out to be a whiney bitch. He stormed out of an interview with John Wilson for BBC Radio 4's cultural arts program, Front Row, after only 9 minutes. Bandmate Will Champion stayed behind to complete the interview. Wilson asked a softball question about the title Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Martin began crying and stormed out of the studio. Jose sees a future blurb about rehab.

Metallica played an all-classics set at Bonnaroo Friday night presaging their next release. The band has said repeatedly in interviews that it will be a return to their 1980s thrash roots. The album, apparently dubbed Death Magnetic, is due for release in September.

Kanye West didn’t make the same impression. Instead he was two hours late irritating the concert-goers. YouTube is now hosting several dozen grainy videos of the crowd chanting "Kanye sucks" and pelting the empty stage with glow sticks. I didn’t even make up the glow sticks thing. Hippies really do that.

Alanis Morissette got dumped again; do we get to look forward to another album of girl-angst? Ex-boyfriend Ryan Reynolds ditched her for Scarlett Johansson (can’t fault him there.) Sadly the new album released this week seems to be another 12 songs of Buddhist mumbling about peace and harmony. Hunt that girl down! Jose wants to see a catfight!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Colourmusic Ready Debut LP

Colourmusic are not all British, contrary to the English spelling of their name. The band, who has a love for thecolor wheel burnt in to our minds in elementary school art classes (Roy G. Biv is prominently displayed as their MySpace background), actually call the great state of Oklahoma home. The British touch comes from member Nick Turner, originally from England, who formed the group with Ryan Hendrix upon meeting at Oklahoma State University a decade ago.

The band recently finished up supporting British Sea Power on their US tour, and are now ready to unleash their debut album upon the world. Titled
f, monday, orange, february venus, lunatic, 1 or 13 (phew!) the album will be available digitally and on vinyl first on August 19th, while the CD will be available September 9th, all through Great Society. And, what better way to get your Friday started by checking out the first song from the record, titled "Put In A Little Gas".

And although they're fresh from the road, they'll be all around the midwest this summer:
June 26 - Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
June 27 - Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
June 28 - Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
June 29 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
June 30 - St Paul, MN @ Turf Club
July 02 - Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
July 03 - Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
July 04 - Des Moines, IA @ 80/35 Festival
July 05 - St. Louis, MO @ The Bluebird
July 06 - Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge

Download: "Put In A Little Gas" [mp3]

NXNE Recap (Thursday)

Going to a city you've never been to before and being expected to hit the ground running is tough. The benefit of familiarity is not there -- I don't know any shortcuts, how to use the subway or how the city is laid out. But after a few quick hours in Toronto, I gained a quick, albeit basic, grasp of how things ran and how to get around.

After the boring technical stuff, like checking in (slowest wait at a conference ever, and I was the next to be helped) and meetings, my first show was locals The Books Elusive, whose set was scheduled for 9 pm at Holy Joe's on Queen St. W. You never want your night to start off on the wrong foot, but I think it might be just as bad for it to start on such an amazing high.

This power duo (stress on the word "power") is practically unheard of in the States and that is fucking ridiculous. From the first song until the last, they tore through a set that saw them beat the shit out of their instruments, make fun of the kids on couches and litter the floor with drum sticks, all without sacrificing one bit of musicianship. I sort of wanted to call it a night after their set, but there was still more to see.

Up next was Nova Scotian nautical core group I See Rowboats, who obviously were not used to the relative heat of Toronto. Ha! Their set in a very tightly packed Cameron House was like an aural postcard from the Maritimes, with strings over swaying and buckling guitars and an epic rhythm section. If you're in Ottawa tonight, make sure you check them out.
At Rivoli, PEI band and Stranded in Stereo favorites Mardeen took the stage just after 11 pm to a surprisingly packed house. They're another band that has fallen victim to the ridiculous amount of taxes that need to be paid to play in the States. While they are quickly becoming a household name north of the border, they couldn't get arrested in the US. Unless they had a trace amount of marijuana on them, of course. Their new record, which is filled with yet more power pop gems, is out now.
Two Hours Traffic took to the stage next, but I made the mistake of going outside to make a few calls. When I tried to get back in, I was told I had to go to the end of a very long queue that was not moving.
At fests like this, I never waste my time, so I walked up through Chinatown to Rancho Relaxo for Ketch Harbour Wolves, a band that is onto something very intense -- and very special. The venue was a step away from being a sauna, but the set was brilliant. Despite the late hour, I was able to stay on my feet until the last song. They ended a very impressive night of music from some of the best up and coming bands in Canada. I decided not to walk back to Queen St. for These New Puritans -- it was late and really, what if they couldn't match up?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rogue Wave's "Chicago x 12" Video

My all-time favorite video is "Sugarcube" by Yo La Tengo. One of my favorite albums of last year was Rogue Wave's Asleep At Heaven's Gate, especially the song "Chicago x 12". When I caught them here in Boston back in April, Zach Rogue intro'd the song by discussing the new video they recently filmed with Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk. So, where does "Sugarcube" fit in here? Eleven years ago, Odenkirk directed and starred in the video for said song, and Odenkirk does this one justice as well.

I shall say no more. Watch now.

NXNE 2k8 Preview (Two Hours Traffic)

When you listen to Two Hours Traffic’s Little Jabs, it’s a bit of a surprise to find out they’re not from California. The mix of solid guitar melodies, steady drumming, and singer Liam Corcoran’s pleasing vocals creates a collection of toe-tapping pop songs that are reminiscent of warm summer days. Little Jabs sounds like a more mature Phantom Planet with a hint of Nada Surf. It’s the perfect prescription for sunshine sing-alongs (there are some catchy “Oooh Ooohs”) and soundtrack romance. Two Hours Traffic has an addictive sound that you won’t mind listening to even after putting it on the shelf—I dare say you’ll look forward to revisiting this gem of a record. Check them out at this year’s NXNE.

by Erin Kapor

Download: "Stuck For The Summer" [mp3]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Stranded Local Q&A: KID:NAP:KIN

This week’s local band highlight comes from KID:NAP:KIN, bringing some kickass guitar licks, exuberant vocal harmonies, and solid bass work to the table. Selling out shows at the Middle East and firmly marking their territory in the Boston music scene, this clean-cut three piece band cemented their spot as a local favorite when they were selected as the Best New Act at the Boston Music Awards in 2007.

After a few line-up changes and one escape to Canada, what started off as a four-piece band has boiled down to an energetic power trio. Since 2005, Dan (vocals, guitar), Pat (drums, vocals), and Jamila (bass, vocals) have steadily built up a solid repertoire, including an EP and two full length albums, Touring The Riot Scene and Hush, Now...

Having performed twice at the venerable SXSW music conference and the Berklee College of Music showcase in New York, these guys are not far from winning over new fans all across the country.

All three members took the time to answer the same five questions Stranded In Stereo always asks:

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because
Gigantic mutant rats prowl the city keeping their beloved bands safe and the stray cat population down.... But being from Boston doesn’t make us better than anyone else.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well
The Fall of Troy, Jimi Hendrix (yes, he’s still alive), Rod Stewart (even though he’s dead), Stone Temple Pilots, Apollo Sunshine, New Kids On The Block.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is
Jamila: The Middle East

Pat: Great Scott. Killer discounts for drinks (they make em stiff) and Carl books super rad bands.

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

Anything visual, really; words and shapes, stage performances, film. All of these themes and visuals I’ve got in my head from everything I’ve taken in over the years ends up playing a role in how certain parts come out in our music. Some people see music in colors, I see music in shapes and structures. Certain words generate energy when you visualize them, elements like water or crashing waves vibrate an intense anxiety and recall overwhelming emotions and visions of destruction. While it’s not something that is necessarily conveyed to the listener, these elements make for fun song writing based on visuals and emotion rather than chord structure, patterns and rules.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is

Pat: Does my living room count? I've got a bar stool.

Jamila: Great Scott
Dan: I prefer diving into an exhilarating political discu...I mean whatever venue gives us drink tickets!

Download: "Heroin Grillz" [mp3]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NXNE 2k8 Preview (Ketch Harbour Wolves)

The next time I set sail from a rocky, cloud-covered coast, it will be to the music of Ketch Harbour Wolves. This Toronto band creates music that is dark, yet it's not short on hope, as evidenced by the stark beauty of the instrumentation, much like The Acorn or The National.

According to their Myspace page, "[the band] hail from across Ontario while fostering a deep connection to Nova Scotia where in 2003 the band's predecessor, The Flying Buttresses, was forged in the small coastal town of Ketch Harbour. After almost two years of intense musical experimentation, near destitution, and enough stories for a lifetime of songs, singer Jonathan Tyrrell and drummer Brian Urbanik packed their van and drove the seventeen-hundred kilometres home to Ontario. It was back on familiar ground that they would begin to lay the foundations for what would become Ketch Harbour Wolves."

Check them out at Rancho Relaxo on Thursday, June 12th at midnight during NXNE.

Download: "Leaves" [mp3]

SIS Club Night #5

It’s finally June. The weather is warming up, the days are even longer, meaning your nights can be even longer than that! With that being said, we look to capitalize on this annual occurrence known as the Summer Solstice by bringing you this month’s hot and sweaty edition of our Stranded In Stereo Club Night.

SIS Club Night – Wednesday June 18th – 9PM - $3

at Rehab (formerly Club Midway) - 25 Avenue B - NYC

F or V to 2nd; F, J, M, or Z to Delancey/Essex


Emanuel And The Fear [9:30] Emanuel and the Fear is a ten piece rock band/orchestra consisting of members that have played/toured with Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, Mars Volta, and The National to name a few. The group is a brilliant new approach to the modern rock band consistently capturing the audience with beautifully, intricate scores laced with eloquent, quivering vocals.

The Naked Hearts [10:15] The Naked Hearts hail from New York, and are definitely out to make a name for themselves. While L Magazine says that the band "Makes sludgy guitar rock perfect for rainy days or the morning after something bad happens", claims that the trio's "Minimalist post-punk grooves and spooky male/female vocals land them somewhere in Joy Divison and Helium territory". Only way to find out for yourself is to catch them live.

Day For Night [11:00] It's a simple story: (three) people who like (a lot of different) music (a lot) got together and slowly found a sound that made them blissful. That's how every band should happen. Their self titled EP is a stunning debut; t's as though Day For Night emerged from the womb fully formed, taking up where a host of gloomy 4AD bands left off. Dream pop? Not a chance. This is ‘dream-rock.’

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Kooks Cover PB&J, in Boston Tonight

Is it too soon to be covering recent hits? Should there be an amount of time between when a band releases a song and another high profile band gives their treatment of said song?

Either way, The Kooks don't think they should wait around. The band recently covered Peter, Bjorn & John's whistling anthem "Young Folks" and .. it's rather good, no? If you haven't heard it yet, your friends here at SIS want you to listen to it. Right this very second. Go. Now.

In other relevant Kooks and Boston news, the band is playing at the Paradise tonight with the Morning Benders. You may not know it, but the Morning Benders were the first band featured in our Stranded In The Kitchen column over on the main site. Make sure you check that out as well.

Download: "Young Folks" [mp3]

Monday Morning Newsletter (06/09/08)

The proggy-as-fuck Russian Circles added two weeks to their tour schedule with Coheed And Cambria and Secret Machines. Their hometown of Chicago has begun to show signs of withdraw.

The legendary music icon
Bo Diddley has died. He’d had a stroke in May last year, then a heart attack three months later. He died at home in Archer, Florida; he was 79. His real name was Ellas Otha Bates born in McComb, MS. He may be the only person for whom a beat is named. The bio-diddly beat. Even Jose cannot speak ill of the man.

Sparks performed all 21 of their albums in their entirety in a month-long stretch of shows in London. They played one album per night at the Islington Academy, and on the 21st night debuted their 21st album. That's approximately 250 songs. Of course if the band had any stamina they could have performed double albums in half the time.

The Raveonettes have announced a string of US and European tour dates. Sadly guitarist Sharin Foo was not permitted to enter Europe because of her association with U.S. White House advisor Henry Kissinger. Her sister Sune Rose Wagner will be taking taker her place.

Oneida is releasing their ninth full-length album, Preteen Weaponry, on August 5th. This will not be on their long-time label Jagjaguwar, but on their own vanity label, Brah Records, which Jagjaguwar distributes. Yeah that’s way different. Preteen is wholly instrumental. They are resting their voices for their 10th album due out in 2009.

Car manufacturer Toyota has been releasing a string of sampler CDs co-branded with their
Scion series. In a desperate attempt to embrace the indie and trendy, labels like Daptone, Vice and Iheartcomix were all courted. This strange capitalist dance has culminated recently with the two-disc, party-packed Scion Sampler Volume 21: IHEARTCOMIX Remixed. I don’t know whether to yawn or puke.

The innovative and legal peer-to-peer download site QTrax is a step closer to a real launch. They inked a deal with
EMI Music this week ensuring the ad-supported music service has access to their catalog. EMI is the second major label to cave in after Universal Music signed last month. Qtrax was supposed to launch in January but well... denial is a powerful force.

Friday, June 6, 2008

NXNE 2k8 Preview (The Books Elusive)

When I first heard The Books Elusive (just a few days ago, I might add), my first thought was "Oh, fierce indie rock two piece! Just like Blood Red Shoes!" Umm, not so fast. The Toronto-based TBE are less math rock and more garage rock, bringing to mind Patti Smith and the Arctic Monkeys. One thing that does connect these two bands are a fiercely DIY spirit, a need to do things on their own and to get their hands dirty all for the love of rock n' roll.

Perform is out now on the band's own Overdue Records. You can catch them at this year's NXNE on Thursday, June 12th at Holy Joe's -- they go on at 8 pm.

Download: "Conspiracy" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Brushfire Records Giveaway!

People buying CDs might not be the hip thing to do anymore, but people sure do still like their vinyl, we all know that. So do the fine folks at Brushfire Records who are helping out in this week's giveaway.

We don't have one or two, or three, but four Brushfire Records 12" samplers! It's chock full of some great music from Mason Jennings, Rogue Wave, Matt Costa, G. Love & Special Sauce, and that Jack Johnson guy who also serves as the label's head honcho. And if you are concerned you won't be able to listen to it because your new turntable needles haven't arrive via the mail yet, fear not for each winner will also receive a coupon to download the entire sampler - for free!

To enter, click here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Simon Says No! In The Flesh!

So I was snooping around YouTube and came across this clip of Band of the Week Simon Says No! playing a show sometime last year. Maybe they'll bring their brand of rock and such to the US sometime? Until then, we'll have this to know what the live experience may be like.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Dandy Warhols Video: "Mission Control"

The last two and a half weeks of my life have been consumed by this new Dandy Warhols record. It's their best album to date, and I hate to spoil what will be coming in a few weeks, but is ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... my album of the year? I usually hate to have one of my all-time favorites take such a claim, but right now this is the one thing that has grabbed my attention more than anything. You know why? Because I wasn't looking forward to it. The live songs I found on YouTube last year did nothing to hold my interest, but now I can listen to this record from start to finish (ok, save for the last song, "Musee D'Nougat," 15 minutes of blubbering about candy bars? No thank you) and it's just great.

Anyway, I was trolling the internet last night and came across the video for "Mission Control" on their MySpace. Courtney Taylor-Taylor: is that a ponytail you are hiding back there? Anyway, the band's in outerspace, disclosing nicknames and classifying marriage information. And Zia McCabe hasn't looked any hotter.

(Video removed per request)

You can buy the album now via their subscription service which includes an automatic download of the album and a free poster and all that stuff I mentioned a while back. If you rather just wait and buy the CD at your local retailer, you can pick it up on August 19th. The band have a few Northwest dates booked later this month before they head over to Europe for the summer. A full scale US jaunt is scheduled for September.

06/17 Victoria, BC @ The Element
06/18 Vancouver, BC @ The Vogue Theatre
06/20 Seattle, WA @ Showbox
06/21 Portland, OR @ Roseland

The Stranded Local Q&A: Big Digits

Who likes to get messy with some good ole’ electro-fun? This week’s local band highlight comes from Big Digits, here to make it easy for us to dance to our little hearts' content.

Having only been together since 2003, TD (vocals), Mac Swell (vocals, production), and Mark E. Moon (DJ, guitar) have already grabbed the attention of audiences across the boards with their abrasive, shouted lyrics, and have earned some serious respect with song titles like “Why Did You Reject My Steve Perry Fan Fiction?”.

Speeding through the tough Boston circuits, Big Digits snatched the cover of Northeast Performer in 2007, received glistening reviews of their latest record, “Smoke Machines in Lazervision,” and have even opened for M.I.A. at the Worcester Palladium -- impressive feats for a fairly young band.

Quirky humor, uncanny pop sensibilities, and some serious danceability make Big Digits bizarre and compelling. As Northeast Performer put it, “...refrain from calling it ‘weird’. Think outside the box; a far more apt description would be ‘refreshingly unconventional.’”

The members of the band took some time to answer the same five questions Stranded in Stereo always asks...

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because

Being a band from Boston, you are constantly at a disadvantage. You gotta work your tail off to eke out the smallest bit of success.

Rent and the overall cost of living in this area are very high. Thusly, musicians and artists have to work full time jobs in order to sustain here and working takes away time from doing what you really want to do. There’s a balance we aim to strike, but results in a lot of sleep-deprived work days and drained from work nights.

There’s that, and also the population here is so tra
nsitive. Peeps move to boston for college or grad school. They are here for 1-5 years and then bounce. It’s very difficult to create a fan base in your home town when most people are just passing through.

But you have to keep at it – keep the drive alive. You gotta keep playing shows and booking your own tours and finding pockets of people inside and outside of Boston dig your music and will go to your shows and support your endeavors. If you can do that, you can claim victory.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well
We had a really rad time touring with Casy & Brian a few years back and have been hoping to reprise that tour at some point. We’d also love to tour with Plastic Little who are our cosmic twins and Philly brethren. M.I.A. and Daft Punk would be dream scenarios of course.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is
There are many great venues in Boston. I’d hate to single out one as the best and alienate the others. We’re not always attracted to the proper bar/club atmosphere, though. Dirty smelly sweating dancey house shows are kinda the best. Playing at Brookline High School and on a bus from Oakland in Medford were two other recent experiences of note.

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)
Pop is a huge influence. We aim to be as creative, interesting, and different as possible but pop music keeps us in check. No matter who you are you cannot deny that “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson or “Hung Up” by Madonna are perfect songs. That and the Pixies formula of Loud-Quiet-Loud guide us most of the time.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is

I really dig Razzy’s which is just a couple of blocks from my house and is simply the realest in real: $2 Molson drafts, no HD tvs, free popcorn, drop down office style ceilings with gold squiggly lines painted on
it, moms and grandmoms behind the bar, karaoke …

Gotta give a shout out to Zuzu’s in Central Square too, because they employ TD and have helped us tremendously over the years.

Download: "Rescue 911" [mp3]
Catch them live
: June 15th @ Great Scott w/ Love is All & Mean Creek // July 5th @ Middle East Upstairs w/ Chinese Stars & Foreign Islands.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Release Tuesday: Weezer

Sigh. They did it again.

They could easily be the subject to a several entry piece under the My Formative Years moniker, but I just don't have the heart in me to do it anymore. James Montgomery said it best, so good that people asked if I had written that. He said, rather, questioned why was it that every few years this decade that when there was a new Weezer album announced that we got excited, because we all knew we were going to be sorely let down anyway?

I was a junior in high school when Weezer (The Green Album) came out, and was left unimpressed. That fall, I collected all those live mp3's of new songs from the several legs of the Midget Tour, and awoke every morning before school to download those songs that would or would not make Maladroit. There were some good songs there - "Living Without You", "Listen Up", "How Long?" - but none of them made the album. Instead, fans were given a record Rivers Cuomo was so sick of putting together that he let the A&R people at Geffen put together the final running order.

And then, nothing for three years. The only good between Maladroit and Make Believe was the last time I saw the mighty =W=, July 27, 2002 on the Enlightenment Tour. Best Weezer show I ever saw, as they played Pinkerton almost in its entirety. No "El Scorcho," but with "Butterfly" as the third or fourth song in that night, I was mighty pleased.

So, yeah, present day. There's a new Weezer album, and it's called Weezer (The Red Album). When I first read that the single was going to be something called "Pork & Beans," I was ready to denounce what excitement and fanboyishness left, but then I heard the song. And it was good. Actually, it was pretty damn good, save for the questionable lyrics. And then I found out the music was originally written back in 1998. So much for Rivers still bringing the A-game.

What upsets me this time around? Everyone getting a stab at taking the lead during the second half of the 10-song set. I don't mind Pat Wilson singing, I dig The Special Goodness, so "Automatic" doesn't make me cringe. It's Brian Bell's nasal-y whine during "Thought I Knew" and Scott Shriner's thugish appeal on "Cold Dark World" that just take away from it. It makes me that much less of a Weezer record than it already is. It does have a few moments that shine: "Troublemaker" might share the same chords (more or less) of "The Good Life", but it sure as hell beats the "boo-ya" chorus of "Everybody Get Dangerous". I won't even touch "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", aka "The Greatest Reason For Me To Suspend My Allegiance To This Band".

If one wants to spend a few extra bucks for another four songs and a fancy booklet with running commentary from the band, you find some songs that should be on the actual album. And maybe if they were ("The Spider", "Pig") and they replaced "Thought I Knew" and "Cold Dark World", then maybe this album wouldn't be so bad and maybe I'd be able to say it's better than anything else they've put out this decade.

Sigh. That really bothers me. How can anyone, a fan, a blogger, a critic, think that this record is better than Make Believe. If anything, it makes Make Believe look like a record that is much better than already is. I mean, that record had the awful single that crushed my hopes and then had great songs like "Freak Me Out", "Peace" and "Perfect Situation" among others.

Oh well, I hate to say it but I'm done I think. Hang it up Weezer, hang it up.

On the plus side, without "Pork & Beans" we wouldn't have this:

Buy: Weezer (The Red Album) [here] // Buy: Weezer (The Red Album) [Deluxe] [here]