Stranded In Stereo: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Takka Takka's Migration

I remember a few years ago being in college, just when I got in to the whole blogger scene so to speak, and being introduced to Takka Takka. Their debut album,
We Feel Safer At Night, became a favorite the final fall of my college years that ever since I like to break it out that time of year. While the title track was such an introspective beauty, it was "Coco On The Corner" that was my jam.

So the other day, their new album
Migration was in my mailbox and I was so delighted to put it on. The album, produced by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah member Sam Greenhalgh, picks up where NIght left over, yet it, uh, Migrates in new and rather natural directions I would say. Lead singer Gabe Levine says it's all about being where you from and how you got there, but is just as equally about existng in places you don't belong. Nothing wrong with existential questions like that, right? It's an album that is crisp and brisk and be right up their with their last album as the perfect soundtrack for the fall. It should be a part of yours, too.

The band released
Migration his week on the Ernest Jenning label, and had their record release show last night in NYC at Pianos. (Random fun fact #77: I saw Takka Takka once. At CMJ 06. At Pianos. Imagine that). Make sure to catch them as they migrate around the eastern portion of the US:

8/7 - Highline Ballroom - New York, NY
9/7 - TT The Bear's - Cambrdige, MA
9/10 - Black Cat - Washington, DC
9/11 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lollapareview: Brand New

Finally, after all the times we have mentioned him, traveling companion and BFF for fucking life Gianni Antonaccio chimes in on someone he's excited to see this weekend.

When @ Lolla: Saturday / 4:30 / AT&T Stage

Some are reminded of the cookie-cutter pop-punk band with witty lyrics about relationships that released their debut album Your Favourite Weapon in 2001. Many others think of Deja Entendu, the album that nearly every college student circa 2003-2004 (myself included) knew the lyrics to by heart and would sing drunkenly at parties. But moreso even than that, when I think of Brand New, I am immediately reminded of the raw, dark, and powerful emotion of 2006's The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, which is in my opinion their crowning acheivement to date. Yet although Brand New has been one of my favorite bands to come out of this decade, somehow their live show has always escaped me. That will all change this Saturday, when they grace the main stage at Lollapalooza. Come find me and sing along to "Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't", "Sowing Season", and more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Stranded Local Q&A: Hi8us

The local spotlight this week is on a band that makes no apologies for their Boston heritage- accent and all. That’s not to say that our local spotlight artists typically cower from their New England roots, but these guys do it with some humor. Hi8us, the 4 piece -group we’re highlighting this week, draws its inspiration from a wide sample of genres and time periods, citing influences like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. With these pop stars in their minds, the sound Hi8us has crafted for itself is as listenable as anything you’ll hear.

The band of twenty-something-year-olds just finished their debut full-length album, Superficial Deep, that’s set to come out the first week of August. Determined not to let it end up as an indie release that falls under the radar, the group is having an album release party at The Middle East Upstairs on Friday, August 8.

Hi8us is about to embark on a bigger scene than just Boston. The group has a tour planned to kick off immediately following the release party for Superficial Deep. The tour will take them from Canada to the West coast, making manifest destiny a part of not only America’s blood, but Hi8us’ too (go wikipedia that phrase if you were sleeping in history class).

Without further delay, Stranded in Stereo puts Hi8us on the hot-seat for five grueling questions.

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

We don’t pronounce our “r”s. Those pesky “r”s slow you down when you are singing a wordy song. We can get through our material much more efficiently when we can substitute a nice “ah” in there instead of another boring consonant.

Also, we feel that we have carved out a unique little sound, having played together for several years now. There is an incubation period you go through as a group where each individual member’s style has to find its spot. Over time, the four of us have become quite comfortable with each other’s personalities as players. Having gotten to that point, we know where each of our strength’s lie, and we are able to showcase those elements in our collective sound.

As far as us being better than all those non-Boston bands… eh, “better” is a pretty subjective term when it comes to pop music. I think what sets us apart right now is that we are playing songs we want to play. Our songs don’t fall neatly into a genre. Some people want to label us an indie rock band, some want to call us a jamband. We think we are both of those at times and neither at other times. The point is that we are playing for us and not to fit in with a particular scene. We are just trying to play the music we hear in our head, not take ourselves too seriously, and have tons of fun in the process.

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:

Rogue Wave

The Roots

Hall & Oates

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge

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.)

I wouldn’t say that any one particular genre has an overwhelming influence on our songs. Instead, I feel like we have taken key pieces from a few select genres and melded them into something that is our own. For instance, we play a song called “The Crawl.” The song starts out with a relatively standard verse/chorus arrangement, then there is a complete departure from that theme and we get into a dance/house-style jam section for the rest of the song. As a complete composition, it has structural elements of a song from a band like Social Distortion, as well as something you would hear from a band like The New Deal.

We want our songs to dig deep enough so the people who listen closely are able to sink their teeth into something that we are doing, but also remain straightforward and keep it palatable. It’s rock ‘n’ roll.

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

The Sevens on Charles Street.

For streaming audio and MP3's, head over to

(Press Photo Credit: Melissa Watkins)

The Walkmen's You & Me for $5. Right Now.

You & Me, the new album from The Walkmen, is shaping up to become one of my favorite albums of 2008. Its somber, lovelorn and melancholy tales are the perfect soundtrack for a 3AM soaked in alcohol and ... love, yes. I've been enjoying it so much that the band no longer wants to wait for you to have it. Starting today and for three weeks only, you can buy the album online for a mere $5.

It's definitely worth the $5 and with every purchase the band promises to match your money by donating $5 to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. So, what are you waiting for? Drop your $5, download the album and we can finally rock together to "In The New Year" and waltz ever so slowly to "Red Moon".

Download: "In The New Year" [mp3] // Buy: You & Me [here]

Lollapareview: Broken Social Scene

When @ Lolla: Saturday / 6:30 / Bud Light Stage

I've seen them twice before. The first time was in 2005, when a pre-"1, 2, 3, 4" Feist opened up for them at the 9:30 Club and joined them for her Broken Social Scene contributions. The second time was almost 52 weeks ago, one of those MySpace Secret Shows here in Boston, at the smaller-than-my-bedroom TT The Bear's. This time, I'll get to see them among thousands and thousands of other people. They'll play new stuff from the newest BSS Presents album, Brendan Canning's delightful
Something For All Of Us, they'll play stuff I'm sure from Kevin Drew's Spirit If... as well. Maybe they'll also slip in a new song or two like they are known to do from time to time. I'm kind of hoping for this one to woo the crowd: If not, I'll take "Stars And Sons" on repeat any day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Kings Of Leon - "Crawl"

So, my co-worker checks this new Kings Of Leon song out and I ask her how she likes it? "Terrible" she goes. "It's all electronic-y," a statement that made me all the more curious. So I download it to give it my first listen and turn around to let her know, "It's not electronic-y - it's Zeppelin'y!" A deep fuzz bass groove and tight drums accompany Caleb Followill's vocals that are just doused in reverb. Man it is quite good. Repeat listenings are required.

"Crawl" is the lead off track from the upcoming Kings of Leon album,
Only By The Night, which RCA will unleash unto the world September 23rd.

Download: "Crawl" [mp3]

Lollapareview: Does It Offend You, Yeah?

When @ Lolla: Saturday / 12:30 PM / Bud Light Stage

One of my favorite albums that I sort of purposely neglected the other week was
You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into, the debut album from Does It Offend You, Yeah? I don't know why anymore why I neglected it so, maybe because I was ashamed to admit that "Let's Make Out" is one of the catchiest songs of 2008. Some find it annoying, but a lot of us around here agree that songs like "Dawn Of The Dead," "Doomed Now" and the epic "With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You)" take the cake. "Heavy Heart" has this total 80s sheen to it that when that sax or whatever it is comes in out of nowhere in the middle, I am reminded of the great INXS who I raised myself on. I hear their live shows are kind of hit or miss, but I guess we shall find out Saturday, now won't we?

Monday Morning Newsletter (7/28/08)

If you hadn’t heard, Fox doesn’t like brown people, but it takes Nas to man up to the redneck media behemoth. On behalf of, Nas delivered a 600,000-signature petition to the Manhattan studios of Fox. The petition calls out Fox for their blatant racist remarks against African Americans. José would like to point out that when a rapper is pointing out your faux pas, you have gone too far.

Mugison will be releasing a new album, Mugiboogie, August 19th on Ipecac Records. Jose Fritz has officially called dibs. If anyone, even Eavvon O'Neal attempts to poach it, Jose will hand out a beating.

Rap star DMX is going to spend some time in the pokey. A grand jury has charged DMX, aka Earl Simmons, with one count of theft and one count of identity theft. Earlier this month, Simmons was arrested for failing to appear in court, failure to pay fines, driving without a license, and animal cruelty. Searches of his home allegedly turned up weapons, drugs, dog carcasses and abused pit bulls. The indictment is the latest in a string of crack-head decisions for the 37-year old rapper.

Nine Inch Nails' The Slip became available this week as a CD with bonus DVD. The Gatefold LP comes out August 12th. Only 250,000 individually numbered units will be pressed. The bonus DVD includes several live performances. It’s the perfect gift for retards that paid $300 for the Ghosts triple LP.

Just this week Yeah Yeah Yeahs front-woman Karen O finally debuted her side project Native Korean Rock. For the past 3 years, she has been recording lo-fi pop songs under the pseudonym. The coming out ceremony was a 30 minute set at Brooklyn’s Union Pool.

Producer Scott Storch, 34, is on the run. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to show up in court in a child-support case last month. He also owes over $500,000 in real estate taxes. Previous to his tenure as a bandito, Storch has produced for Mariah Carey, Fat Joe, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim and others.

Alice Cooper's new album dropped this week. He recruited former Kiss drummer Eric Singer, with bassist Chuck Garric and guitarists Keri Kelli and Jason Hook. Infamous guitar-wanker Slash also appears on the track "Vengeance Is Mine.” While José prefers his Billion Dollar Babies era material he is pleased the old geezer tries to rock.

Take it from José: do not sample the Rolling Stones. Stones music publisher Abkco Music is suing the crap out of Lil Wayne for sampling their song "Play With Fire." The suit claims that Lil Wayne's version is clearly derivative of the music and lyrics. Universal Music Group stands accused of copyright infringement and unfair competition. Jagger is seeking a cease and desist order, unspecified damages and satisfaction.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lollapalooza: One Week Away

Stupid blurry picture. Anyway! So, this time next week, I will be taking in the sounds of Rogue Wave on the MySpace stage in the South End of Grant Park, or Southapalooza as the Lollapalooza map clearly notes it this year. This is my second trip to the Windy City for the annual fest that goes down in one of the most beautiful places ever (I mean, really - an awesome park with the skyline of Gotham City on one side, and Lake Michigan on the other - $5 bucks says Zach Rogue makes a reference to it as an intro do the song "Lake Michigan") and I wanted to give you, fellow readers who are attending the fest, some tips and tricks for how to get around Grant Park and take care of yourselves.

Hotel - Cheap Is Good!
Now, it might be because I have privledges through the great friends in my life, but you don't have to stay downtown y'know. Why not save hundreds of dollars and stay at a nice hotel out by the airport? Most hotels out that way have free shuttle service to and from the airport and other things like public transportation, so you can take the El downtown and be a few blocks away from Grant Park. Don't get caught up staying at some luxurious place that overlooks the park - big deal. All you need is a place to sleep and shower at, you aren't staying the weekend there.

Stay Hydrated!
Seriously, it can get pretty hot out there, so you want to make sure you drink plenty of water. They allow you to bring in 2 one liter bottles of water that are sealed (can't let people bring in spiked drnks) which they'll be selling in mass quanities at the 4,831 convenience stores nearby. I suggest only bringing in one because, A) it's easier to carry one thing, not two and B) because there are several water fountains around the park where you can refill your bottle for free. Also, that second bottle will get warm quick, which is blaah. They'll have alcohol on site, so make sure you see one of those attractive promo models by the fountain when you enter to get a 21+ wristband and head over to the new for '08 Biergarten. This is good because this mean's they will have more than just Bud and Bud Light. I suggest keeping in to 1-2 beers a day, spaced out during off-peak heat times (anytime after 4 or 5 PM being that).

Me, not staying hydrated. Also, I'd like to note that I no longer have such long hair and that crazy facial hair going on.

To Rush or Not To Rush?
With the opposite sides of the park mirroring one another in both set up and scheduled set times, you might run in to the occassional dueling band feud or, even worse, one band ending at one end of the park, and the next band you want to see startng the second they end literally a mile away. This brings the debate of where does the sacrifice come in? Do you want to miss the end of one band's set to gaurantee you see the other band start? Do you care how close you are to the stage? These are all important factors to take in when deciding when and where you will be speedwalking to. Please, don't run - I don't remember seeing many people running by the Buckingham Fountain, but I don't think it is necessary. Also, if you are going to see a band you've seen previously, you've already seen them - it's arlight to miss them play a song or two. Hell, I skipped out on the second half of Spoon's set last year to get a good spot for Interpol. It was the fifth time I had seen them, and this was my maiden voyage on the Interpol sea. But, yeah - no rushing, we're all probably going to see Radiohead so let's take our time, ok? Plus, if you want to get close to the front, I really had no problem - people are pretty spaced out tend to clear out between each band and the time between their sets so you can get pretty close.

Holy shit, a lot of people - yes!

Close without rushing - LCD Soundsystem in '07.

Pack Lightly
Or better yet, don't pack at all! Do you really need an extra t-shirt or another pair of shoes because the ones you are wearing don't match the shirt you wore in to the park? This isn't a place for fashion, it's a place for music and fun! Plus, you don't want to hold the line up getting in, so make sure if you do bring a bag in (I have my WXRT drawstring bag from last year still - super handy!) that you have it emptied out as you approach the main gate so they know your camera is just that and not a swiss army knife or something.

Have Fun!
That's the real reason we're all there anyway, isn't it? Go on, be yourself, and have a blast! At least that's what I plan on doing.

The frequently mentioned and best friend for life, Gianni Antonaccio, having fun during the Kings of Leon set last year.

So, there you have it! Now it's time to start doing your laundry and pack your bags and bring those rechargable batteries for your camera!

To see my schedule and make your own custom one, click here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Cold War Kids: "Something Is Not Right With Me"

Last week it was the announcement of a new Cold War Kids album and a running order. This week it's an MP3 of the new single, "Something Is Not Right With Me". What starts out with a bass line straight outta LCD Soundsystem land comes in the near-disco beat and lead singer Nathan Willett's distinguishable vocals. This quick little number definitely makes me want more from their new album, Loyalty To Loyalty, which will be out on Downtown September 23rd.

Download: "Something Is Not Right With Me" [mp3]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Formative Years: Orange by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, 1994

1-2 the drums and guitars go in unison. 3-4 the subtle strings slowly rise, hiding no more. The band wails as the lights flicker and strobe across the stage, tied up in combat with the string section. And just when it reaches its climax, a shift. The tempo dramatically changes after the exclamation of "The Blues Explosion!" The canned crowd roars. Spencer goes on to discuss the opening track's topic, "Bellbottoms," before the third act approaches. A dynamic rave-up that finds Spencer in his trademark delivery that I've always compared to a mixture of James Brown and Elvis Presley with the swagger of Mick Jagger for good merit.

And that was just the first song.

In the folklore that is My Formative Years the novelization, Orange would've almost ended our story four years after its release in 1998. When the album originally came out in 1994, it was mainstream folk like Weezer and Pearl Jam seeping in to my psyche, forever making that impression that helps me continue to be a fan to this day (the latter, by and large, the former - not so much from my recent scribes on that new album they have.) At some point between the album's release in pristine shiny digipak, line drawing of a Theremin and the words Blues Explosion draped in the title's color palette and the day I would own it, that cartoon introduced me to them. Beavis & Butt-Head weren't just for a good laugh, but sometimes for some interesting music. The one band I took away from the dozen or so episodes I cared to watch in my youth was that of the Blues Explosion, JSBX for short. The video for "Dang," in all its glory clocking in at 1:48, made this all possible, this obsession fully realized. Poorly shot, cheaply edited by way of the UFO on a string, something just entranced me. I never heard it before - dissonance in popular music. Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug went the drums, the guitar responded to Spencer's muffled announcements. The harmonica in the chorus squealed, leaving way for that Theremin from the album's cover.

That song was the least of my interest. The second half has the trifecta, the 1-2-3 punch that rivals anything in their catalog. "Dissect" makes its grand entrance with Russell Simins' pounding of the skins. "Blues X Man" was the song that made me realize that, yes, they name check themselves quite a bit, in a 1960s revivalist kind of way, and I love every bit of the shtick. "Don't ya / want a / Man like the / Blues Explosion!" The production so raw, how the vocals are all up in the mix and muffled and buried in the right channel. This was my introduction the world of lo-fi, yet the band tried to escape it leaps and bounds by being something hi-fi in said lo-fi world.

But it was the finale of the above trifecta, "Full Grown," that has got to be one of the best JSBX songs. Maybe an all-time favorite song of mine. I mean, what's more humorous than a song starting right off with a bass drum and the declaration, "Baby, baby, you so like to fuck!" by Spencer before Simins and guitarist Mr. Judah Bauer repeat the expletive! And finally, when you think the sonic assault is going to thrall you like the vocals, nothing. The loud 4/4 drums continue, introducing handclaps and a nice rockabilly guitar lick. Deep moog note sneaking in here and there.

After that you needed no more, it should've ended right there, with the instruments dropping out, save for the off-key moog, and the expletive again. Instead, we get a shout out to Matador head honcho and a phoned in Beck cameo ("Flavor"), and the instrumental outro that is the bastard child of "Low Rider" ("Greyhound").

So, with this all being said, sweat pulsing down my forehead from just thoughts of this record being put on, you should only have the same urge to yell "Blues Explosion!" that I do at the moment. They continued this trend through a few more albums, where they somewhat succeeded (Now I Got Worry) and not so much (the experimental Acme, the swan song Damage). Nothing since 1994 has seemed to touch what they unleashed upon that world that year, and I doubt nothing ever will.

Buy Orange [here]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

XX Teens Ready The Goons

This year's hot commodity out of the UK is a band calling themselves the XX Teens. The band have already made a name for themselves at home, with NME bestowing upon them the prestigious Single of the Week title for the track "Onkawara", and now are ready to make a name for themselves here in the states.

The band's debut full length,
Welcome To Goon Island, will be out September 30th from the fine folks at Mute. The five piece make a raucous and catchy sound that makes me think that if the members of Blur were 10 or 15 years younger and were just breaking it in this decade, they might sound like this. Especially goes the case with first single "Darlin'" - with all the oi's and the awesome brass sample, it's slowly becoming yet another song I find getting stuck on repeat. For the visually inclined, here's the video (mp3 awaits you audio peoples below):

Welcome To Goon Island:
The Way We Were
Ba (Ba-Ba Ba)
Only You
My Favourite Hat

Sun Comes Up
For Brian Haw

Download: "Darlin'" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dandy Warhols: Earth to The Remix EP, Vol. 1

The Dandy Warhols new album has been available digitally for a few months now, and we're still a few weeks away from the physical release of ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols..., but the band is finally ready to drop something tangible on the public's greedy hands.

Being made available in select independent retailers tomorrow (select as in 400),
Earth To The Remix EP Volume 1 is a free 4-track EP with exclusive remixes of Earth tracks from each member of the band. Check out what will take up 38 minutes of your day:
1. Come the Fuck On – A Peter Holmstrom/ Jeremy Sherrer Remix
2. The Monster Mish – A Taylor-Taylor / Jacob Portrait Remix
3. Welcome to the Skin-up Remix – Fathead / Jeremy Sherrer
4. Dub In The Lotus – A Zia McCabe / Jeremy Sherrer Remix Paul Brainard

So, be sure to grab that while your out doing your new music shopping tomorrow. The band
is currently on the road in Europe and have mapped out their US tour that will take place in
September and October:

Sep 09 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue*
Sep 10 - Madison, WI @ Barrymore*
Sep 12 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater*
Sep 13 - Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus*
Sep 14 - Montreal, QC @ Club Soda*
Sep 16 - Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theatre*
Sep 17 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5*
Sep 20 - Philadelphia, PA @ TLA*
Sep 22 - Washington, DC @ 930 Club*
Sep 23 - Atlanta, GA @ The Center Stage Theater*
Sep 26 - Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall*
Sep 27 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater*
Sep 28 - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up*
Oct 01 - San Diego @ Belly Up
Oct 03 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern #
Oct 04 - San Francisco, CA @ Warfield %
Oct 05 - Portland, OR @ The Roseland Theater

All shows with the Upsidedown
*With Darker My Love
# With A Place to Bury Strangers
% With the Charlatans
^With Monstrous

Download: "The Legend Of The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers (AKA
The Ballad Of Sheriff Shorty)" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday Morning Newsletter (07/21/08)

Saturday 54-year old Sex Pistols singer John Lydon broke open a can of whoop-ass. On the receiving end was 25-year old Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke. The backstage mele led to the arrest of *Foals *singer Yannis Philippaki for his attempts to forcibly stop the dispute. Okereke claims that the attack was racially motivated. Lydon maintains that he's just fucking tired of being asked about Public Image Ltd. Jose would like to see the instant replay.

This week Christie’s auctioned off a lot items from the home of James Brown. Christie’s had projected a haul of 2 million from the sales but netted only $800,000. Sold from the South Carolina house were over 350 items including his medical bracelet, his Hammond organ, a black cape, pink leather couches, even the man’s astereo system. The proceeds are ear marked for Mr. Brown’s tax debt.

Deerhunter are planning to release their third full length,
Microcastle, this October. The album will be availably on Kranky in the U.S. and is rumored to me less noisy and more listenable than anything previous. They’ve also been confirmed to be touring with Nine Inch Nails beginning in August. Does anyone else remember when they were just famous for putting pene de venado on their album cover?

Also this October, Gang Gang Dance will be releasing their third album,
Saint Dymphn. The album contains no pene de venado but is more dancey than anything previous. Before the full album drops, they will be giving a digital download sneak peek.

A tragedy in Moscow last week, as dozens of ravers at the Aquamarine Open Air Festival burned their retinas. A laser light show ran amuck and caused 12 cases of laser-blindness. The owner of a Moscow laser rental company told Reuters that the accidental blinding were due to "illiteracy on the part of technicians.”

On August 16th the Queens Of The Stone Age will be holding a memorial show for their former bandmate Natasha Shneider at the Henry Fonda Theater. Shneider, died of cancer July 2nd. PJ Harvey, Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Matt Cameron, Brody Dalle, Jesse Hughes, Billy F. Gibbons, Chris Goss and Alain Johannes. Proceeds from the funerary go to pay Shneider's medical bills. Donations can be made at

Kylesa will be hitting the Jam Room studio next week to start recording a new album. The CD will be released on Prosthetic Records in 2009 . The untitled release will be produced by guitarist/singer Phillip Cope.

Jose just heard about Fratello Metallo this week and giggles uncontrollably at the sight of a 62-year old Capuchin Friar belting out cookie monster vocals in Italian.

The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti is working on a side project with his girlfriend, Binki Shapiro. The duo has recruited guitarist Rodrigo Amarante, of Los Hermanos to fill out their line up. It’s to be produced by Beau Raymond. Rough Trade will be releasing their first album this fall even though the trio has recorded nothing and has no name. This promises to be incredibly bad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

UNKLE End Titles Giveaway

We already gave you some MP3's last week, and now we want to give you the whole thing! That's right, we've got a great UNKLE giveaway for you this week.

In celebration of the digital release of their new album,
End Titles ... Stories For Film, we're giving away some copies of the album. Now I know, some of you are scratching your heads, hours after seeing The Dark Knight, going "copies? But it's only available digitally, Rusty!" Yes, this is true, but the band will be releasing it in physical form on September 2nd, so you can say this is win it before you can buy it way in advance. Two winners will not only receive a copy of the CD in super limited edition packaging only available in the US through the band's website (see that nifty picture above), but also on vinyl as well. A third winner will win the album on CD in the above pictured limited edition packaging only.

How can you win? Just e-mail me your five favorite albums of the year and will pick winners at random next week. Until then, we give you UNKLE's take on the theme to the X-Files theme that will be featured in the new X-Files movie that hits theaters next week.

Download: "X-Files Theme" [mp3]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

SIS Club Night Has a Surprise This July

This has got to be the most exciting Stranded In Stereo Club Night of them all. Why do you ask – because we have a surprise for you! It is a shocker. It is a bomb dropper. You will go nuts when you see who we have playing this one. Who is it? Like I am going to tell you! To find out, just make sure you get there early. Our super special, New York-based guests will take the stage at 8:30 PM sharp. Don’t you dare be late! We also have some other great bands playing as well, yes!

SIS Club Night – Wednesday July 23rd – 8PM - $3

at Rehab (formerly Club Midway) - 25 Avenue B - NYC
F or V to 2nd; F, J, M, or Z to Delancey/Essex

Again, I ain’t saying nothing!

Dan Torres (930 PM)
What are people saying about Dan Torres that hasn’t already been said? He’s been called a razor sharp songwriter, one who is powerful and moving. He is a man with a powerful voice and intelligent lyrics, a new prophet for the hopeful who own a tear-stained copy of Grace. If you like your rock to be compelling, passionate and meaningful with both substance and style, then you’ll love the songs of Dan Torres.

Will Stratton
(1015 PM)

Will Stratton has produced something stirring and hyper-personal, yet universally beautiful on What The Night Said, his debut record. What really defines the music – and the album – is the lushness of Stratton’s vision, poetically and musically. So many accomplished artists have effectively set off after this precarious balance of levity and gravity; on this album Stratton ranks with the absolute best. Join us and Will for a special full band performance.

Anthem In (1100 PM)
On September 15th of 2007, Allen Orr and Ashley Proffitt met in a rehearsal space in the Lower East Side, exactly seven years to the day after the two of them met for the first time in Atlanta. They bonded over a mutual love of Def Leppard’s Hysteria, and Anthem In was born. Ashley knew Keith Vogelsong in Atlanta, where he was fronting The Blue Hour. Keith moved to New York to relocate the record label he runs, Goodnight Records, and about five minutes after he got off the plane, Ashley nabbed him as Anthem In’s bassist. Drummer Paul Petitto was procured by theft from the band he was playing with at the time in New York, Russian Vogue, and Anthem In was complete.

New Death Cab For Cutie Video: "Cath..."

So I came in to work this morning and right away watched the new video for "Cath...," the second single from Death Cab For Cutie's rather phenomenal Narrow Stairs. Let me tell you - I haven't seen a video in, well, I honestly can't recollect the last time I saw a video that just acted out a song word for word, moment for moment. While the band is sitting and reciting the tale from their grassy knoll of a dressing room, the tragedy plays on in the church as Cath, I presume, is about to marry - gasp - maybe the wrong man!? To find out just what happens, you'll just have to watch the video.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best New Music of Right Now (07.16.08)

In our second edition of our new weekly column of what is tearing up the stereos and iPod's of us SIS folk, Rusty gets his chance to let people know what's been kicking his ass. Spoiler alert: NO. ABE. VIGODA. *gasp!*

High Places - 03.07 - 09.07 (Thrill Jockey)
You might've seen my thoughts on their live set a few posts down when I saw them the other night, but sometimes it is records that are always the better formal introduction. The Brooklyn duo actually had their friends at eMusic release this collection of 7" singles from the title's frame earlier this year, before Thrill Jockey picked them up out of free agency and wanted to give people something to tide them over until their self titled full length in September. The seven singles on here range from paranoia ("Shared Islands"), to songs that actually had me dancing ("Head Spins"). Of the three bonus tracks that round out the disc, it's all about the alternate version of "Freaked Flight" that helps one fully realize that High Places are definitely on to something. Mary Pearson's beautiful vocals fit perfect with the schizophrenic sounds swirling from channel to channel.
Download: "Head Spins" [mp3] // [Buy Here]
Lackthereof - Your Anchor (Barsuk)
Menomena's Friend And Foe dominated my 2007, and I think that Danny Seim's side-project might just own me for the rest of the summer. On his ninth (yes, ninth - Menomena was supposed to be his side project once), Seim channels his kindred spirits in Menomena on the fantastic "Choir Practice", while making a name for himself in "Last November", a song with a chorus worthy of being used as the soundtrack to some shitty MTV program to make it that much better. But what comes as the total shock is the closing number - a cover of The National's "Fake Empire". Looking at the tracklisting, I thought, "no way", but yes way, indeed! A very intimate reading of a very intimate song. Good job, Danny boy.
"Last November" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Quiet Village - Silent Movie [K!7]
I almost had forgotten about this record until last night. Not too long ago, I curated one of my many mixes and had "Free Rider" as the opening track after some unlisted noise took up the first 30 or so seconds. Last night, I put on Silent Movie for the first time in a good while. It's a tight, well-oiled late night soundtrack. Between the production style and the samples and other noises, it sounds like it's stuck between late 60s sunny beach love stories and early 70s cops chasing bad guys scenes. Whatever the case, I like it either way. A sunny tale of cops chasing love lorn beach folk? There we go, much better.
Download: "Free Rider [mp3] // [Buy Here]
Women - Women (Flemish Eye)
I think only one word is needed to describe this musical year - and even this post - brevity. Brief and concise must be the mantra some bands are following in a year where money is tight, and gas costs more than your favorite mp3 download (seriously, each record discussed here so far clocks in at 30 minutes or less). On their debut, Alberta, Canada's Women run through 10 songs in 29:29. Where some can be longer, like the near five-minute epic "Shaking Hand," there's some questionable minutes like "January 8th". And in the middle of all this, there's "Group Transport Hall". In what has to be the best 71 seconds of 2008, the band summons a song that Guided By Voices would've written if they stayed the course of Alien Lanes. Verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, bridge, end scene. Acoustic guitars, call and response, I'm gonna play this song for the 43rd time now.
"Group Transport Hall" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

The Stranded Local Q&A: Media Made

We welcome our newest blogger, Laura G, to the SIS fold this week. Her first report finds her hanging out with the latest band caught in Boston's spotlight, Media Made.

Media Made began as a solo project for Christian Medice’s (guitar, vocals) pop/rock introspect but in early 2008, it evolved into a full-fledged quartet. Medice’s former band mate, Jared Kaner (bass), was first to jump on board with Media Made. Shortly after, Medice’s college buddies Dennis Dohert (guitar), who has a solid rock ‘n roll background, and Jeff Villanueva (drums), with a jazz background, were added. The four members of Media Made each bring a fresh outlook to the band, producing a very hip and bold sound. With dozens of enlightened pop songs ready to share with Boston and the rest of the world, Media Made is set to tour in the fall.

Christian Medice, guitarist and vocalist of Media Made, 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 can make your booty shake real good… that’s gotta count for something.

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 Honorary Title (great songs), Boys Like Girls (great dudes), Butch Walker (my man crush).

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:
The Paradise and Middle East… both good clubs.

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.)
We conceptualize 4 on the floor starting off every song.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is:
Daisy Buchanan’s. Isn’t that everyone’s favorite bar?

Catch them live: July 29th @ Johnny D’s for a benefit to raise funds for non-profits Veterans for Peach and Iraq Veterans Against War
Listen here:
"Picture Perfect" by Media Made

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SIS At The Club: Abe Vigoda / High Places

For 7:30 on a Monday evening in Cambridge, I was surprised to see there was already a line of 20, maybe 30 people outside the Middle East. There they all stood, smoking cigarettes, tickets grasped in their hands, as they awaited for the doors to open at the top of the hour. Man, people really want to see No Age, don't they, I thought to myself.

Once I was in the club and I had taken the last spot along stage right, I started to take notice to something. As I looked around the group of individuals surrounding me and took notice to their hands, it was all big black X's abound. No wonder there was already a crowd formed - they were all kids. Usually, I lump in with my age bracket of one slightly older than the people inside the venue already, and I show up with some time to spare to catch the band I want to see. But this night, I was there to see the earlier bands, the bands supporting who everyone else was really there to see. Though feeling like the oldest one there, and because there was next to no one really hanging out in the 21+ section (a first I had never seen at the Middle East since moving here over a year and a half ago,) deep down I was happy. The underage Rusty of yore was elated that night, knowing that the youth was still coming out seeing bands who weren't on the map quite yet, who weren't right above the underground.

After an opening set from local sampler / No Age sound man
Palm, they walked on stage, they of Abe Vigoda. They looked sleepy at moments: Michael Vidal tuned his guitar, alfalfa standing up in the back. Juan Velasquez in an oversized Jesus & Mary Chain shirt that wasn't ironic nor unfashionable. Within 10 minutes of Palm ending, the AV had started their set. "Live Long" signaled the start of something I had been waiting for since Skeleton came in to my life like angel from the skies a few weeks back. "Animal Ghosts" would find Vidal singing and shuffling, thrashing on his guitar while Velasquez would play like a light swtich, going from sway to stifle. Reggie Guerrero, the oldest Vigodan at 22, played with precision and pep, clanging on the cowbell when appropriate. Of the nine songs played that night, seven were from the tour de force Skeleton, the others were brand new. The final number, listed on the piece of envelope set list as "Jammer," was the most brutal and abrasive thing I've heard from them, yet beneath it all was one of the catchiest melodies I've heard in awhile. Juan ended the set just clamoring about his side of the stage, before resting his guitar appropriately on his amp. When Michael kept yelling his name at the end, it was overpowered by the feedback erupting. "I like broke my string I play that song on, I had made up the entire song," I heard him say. Improvising never sounded more well rehearsed. Oh, and "Skeleton" was epic as well to see that in the flesh. Abe Vigoda Set List:
Live Long / Animal Ghosts / The Garden / Don't Die / Lantern Lights / Bear Face / Cranes / Skeleton / Jammer

Afterwards, the duo of
High Places plugged in for their set. Showcasing breakbeats, exotic noises and Mary Pearson's sweet vocals, Robert Barber cooked up a sweat as he turned knobs and playing his drum pad. While her vocals were buried in the mix earlier in the set, they would soon become as prominent as the beats and loops that pulsated through my body for their entire set. While playing what I hope are already underground club hits outside of their native Brooklyn from their 03.07-09.07 singles comp, they also previewed new material from their upcoming self-titled full length and that amazing contribution of their's on that split single with Xiu Xiu. Did the crowd prove Pearson wrong on her welcoming claim that Boston was nothing but prudes when it came to shaking money makers and getting the groove thing on, or other assorted cliche phrases described to dance? She exclaimed at the end of the set that we weren't prudes after all. The crowd's reception was very warm to High Places for their first night ever in Boston. I could only predict big things for them as the year goes on. High Places Set List:
Sandy Feat / The Storm / Golden / Oceanus / The Tree / Namer / Head Spins / From Stardust to Sentience / New Grace / Gold Coin / Vision's The First / Freaked Flight

View more pics [here]

Buy: Skeleton [here] // Buy: 03.07 - 09.07 [here]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cold War Kids Bring Us Loyalty

Almost a year ago was the last time I caught the Cold War Kids - playing to one of the biggest crowds I saw at one of the side stages at Lollapalooza. Sure, I was excited to hear "St. John," "We Used To Vacation" and "Hang Me Up To Dry" for the millionth time live, but what was even more exciting was the few new songs they rolled out. While my mind is vague now on how some of the new songs sound, I do remember them introducing the track "Dreams Old Men Dream" and being blown away by the progressions the band was making.

Apparently, making progressions is the case with their sophomore effort, Loyalty To Loyalty, due this September on Downtown. According to the communique I've received, the 13 songs string together a masterpiece that is both lush and textured. It's an album brimming to the cusp with the poignant, intimate narratives and brooding atmospherics the Kids be known for.

Loyalty Numbers:
Against Privacy
Mexican Dogs
Every Valley Is Not A Lake
Welcome To The Occupation
Golden Gate Jumpers
Avalanche in B
I've Seen Enough
Every Man I Fall For
Dreams Old Men Dream
On The Night My Love Broke Through

The band will be touring this fall in support of Loyalty, with dates starting in late August:
08/22/08    Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco, CA
08/23/08 Sunset Junction Festival, Los Angeles, CA
08/24/08 Les Schwab Amp, Bend, OR
09/20/08 Street Scene, San Diego, CA
09/27/08 Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
09/28/08 Richards on Richards, Vancouver, Canada
09/29/08 The Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA
10/01/08 The Neurolux, Boise, ID
10/02/08 In The Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
10/03/08 Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO
10/10/08 Fine Line Music Café, Minneapolis, MN
10/11/08 Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL
10/14/08 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
10/15/08 Webster Hall, NYC
10/16/08 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
10/17/08 Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
10/18/08 Nightclub 9:30, Washington, D.C.
10/20/08 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
10/21/08 Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
10/23/08 Lola's, Ft. Worth, TX
10/24/08 Emo's Alt. Lounge-Outside, Austin, TX
10/25/08 Warehouse Live, Houston, TX
10/26/08 Voodoo Music Experience, New Orleans, LA
And, as an added bonus, here's the band playing "Welcome To The Occupation" at their most recent Brooklyn gig. Oohs and aahs all around.

Monday Morning Newsletter (07/14/08)

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Joshua Wilkes, lead vocalist of the Legendary Shack Shakers. The arrest warrant charges Wilkes with exposing his genitals to hundreds of teens and adults in the audience. The venue was a nonprofit facility in downtown Nashville with three stages, an indoor skate park, and a coffee bar. A Rocketown representative stated "we are all treating this as a very serious criminal matter." The band claims that it is a mass hallucination brought on by ergot in the sacramental wine.

The Cargo Cult Revival will be heading out on tour this August, bringing their dirty stoner prog mess from Hartford to the Midwest. The governor of Iowa was quoted as saying “Damn yankees better stay away from our women and children!”

David Vincent, the lead singer of Morbid Angel, was detained by police this week in Italy. The charge strangely enough was for weapons possession. Vincent was taken into custody at the Milan airport when custom officials found his bullet-belt. The belt was not worn but was inside his checked-in luggage. José endorses both bullet belts and bandoliers. Vivá la revolución!

Metallica has announced that in addition to traditional CD and digital releases for their upcoming album, Death Magnetic, they will also have a special edition coffin box. It includes a CD of album demos a “making of” DVD, and some tchotchkeys. The coffin box joins the ranks of other coffin boxes put out by the Misfits and Alice Cooper.

Zao has confirmed that they are entering the recording studio this summer with original drummer Jeff Gretz. Zao stated on their website: "There is a new record written and we will be recording in the next few weeks. We are really excited about the new material and hope to have a new song up soon."

The band Boston has a new singer, 43 year old Tommy DeCarlo. His resume indicates his previous gig was as a credit manager at Home Depot. DeCarlo replaces original lead singer Brad Delp, who committed suicide last year. DeCarlo got the job through his MySpace page.

The band Why? have scheduled a massive summer tour. They begin in Germany in July and return to the U.S. in September. Then in October they begin a strong of dates in France, then England and Ireland in November and a scheduled deportation for illegal narcotics before Christmas.

The Recording Academy's Grammy Foundation gave a career award to Sir George Martin this week. Martin, now 82, is the most successful record producer of all time. He’s has over 50 chart-topping hits and one-billion units sold.

Scottish indie-pop band The Vaselines formed in 1986 and existed just long enough to release a handful of much-loved cult EPs and a single album. This week the Vaselines played their first-ever string of U.S. shows leading in to their performance at Sub Pop's 20th Anniversary explosion in Seattle.

Friday, July 11, 2008

DemROCKracy is in Order

Are you in a band? Do you believe in democracy? Big supporters of the upcoming election? Want to give your band some exposure? Well, don't we just have the ticket for you.

Rock The Vote has teamed up with MySpace Impact to bring you the DemROCKracy contest. It's pretty simple: if you're in a band and have a MySpace, head on over to their site to download a voter registration tool to place on your MySpace. And the band that gets the most fans to register to vote by August 15th wins a pretty sweet prize: the chance to open up the Rock The Vote Ballot Bash, which is being held during the Democratic National Convention in Denver on August 25th.

What are you waiting for? Sign up here!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Lost Ones Now Available

I’m not much of a comic book guy, at least I haven’t been for quite some time. But man, when those new Spider-Man and Batman and any other movie hits the big screen, I’m the first one in the door. But then there was this new graphic novel called The Lost Ones that actually piqued my interest. A first for a man who doesn’t like to read cartoons, but watches them on a daily basis.

So, what is The Lost Ones all about? No, it’s not a sequel to The Lost Boys -- that just came out on DVD. Lost tells the story of four friends who leave their beloved planet Earth and find themselves in the middle of one epic, intergalactic adventure. All they wanted to do was go out on the town for the day and hop, skip and jump from planet to planet. Instead, they find that if they don’t watch themselves, they might not even make it back home.

What makes The Lost Ones is that it doesn’t follow traditional ways of distribution. Sure, they’ve made it available in paperback in select stores, but the easiest way to get it is to download it as a PDF – for free mind you – from the Zune website. And if you’re too lazy, you don’t even have to download it, you can just read it on the website. That way you shouldn’t get lost trying to find it.

Here's the trailer:

Download: The Lost Ones [here]