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  • Go Team! + The Grates

    Ott 18 2005, 0:54

    Went with friends to catch The Go Team! at Emo's last night. I like to catch the buzz bands live to see what all the fuss is about. In the case of The Go Team!, I'm still not sure. They had a couple songs I got into, but the rest were like "Meh." Especially the instrumentals (only Mogwai can pull those kinds of things off live, IMO, but that's me).

    On the other hand, opening act The Grates rocked massively. For the first time since Kaito!, I was blown away by a live show. You can download Sukkafish here. The female lead singer was just totally cute and rambunctious, and though they lacked a bassist, they filled out the sound with spastic Sleater-Kinney guitar bursts and a female drummer who had some powerful rhythms going on--more Corin Tucker and less Meg White. I guess you could also compare them to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!, but with a better, cuter singer. Funny tour videos at their site, too. Of course, I've now discovered that Interscope signed them. And touring with a high profile act like Go Team! will generate some buzz.

    I also need to buy The Rogers Sisters' new one. Totally forgot about them since SXSW.
  • Okkervil River - Black

    Ott 14 2005, 2:43

    Is it me or does Okkervil River's Black sound like the Counting Crows?
  • T. Rex

    Ott 12 2005, 3:18

    My latest adventure into early 70s foraging has been Marc Bolan and T. Rex. I scored "Born to Boogie," the DVD documentary that Ringo Starr directed of Bolan "Magical Mystery Tour" style at the peak of his fame in '72. I have to give the concert performance 4 stars as well as the performances from the bottom of the Apple building featuring Ringo and Elton John backing him playing the hits like "Children Of The Revolution" (also covered by The Violent Femmes). The interstitial Fellini-esque bits are mostly crap, but damn could he rock out. It got me to thinking how much Bowie possibly stole from him in those early years. And while Bowie broke America, Bolan floundered after his '72 peak until his death in '78. I used to own the T. Rextasy compilation on cassette (from the Columbia House record club).

    While reading up on him, I found a few interesting tidbits, including this urban legend about his death:
    In April 1960 Mark saw his new American hero Eddie Cochran perform at Marc's local 'haunt' the Hackney Empire, where the TV show 'Oh Boy!' was filmed. Apparently after the concert Cochran let the adoring young fan carry his guitar to a waiting limo. Tragically, only days later, on his way to the airport, the star was killed as his taxi slammed into a lamp post. Throughout his life Marc was convinced of the mystical significance of that evening when he was handed Eddie's guitar. The tree now acts as a shrine to his memory, cared for by TAG.

    Another speculation was that Bolan formed his name from concatenating "BOb DyLAN." And he met his first wife June Child during his frequent visits to the office of Pink Floyd's management company Blackhill Enterprises (home of one of his idols, Syd Barrett), where she worked as a publicist.

    "Born to Boogie" featured Geoffrey Bayldon, who Bolan and Ringo loved in the TV series "Catweazle." After watching a short bit from that show (about a wizard from an eleventh century Britain ruled by The Normans who travels forward to 1969) in the DVD extras, I'd love to get my hands on a copy.
  • Bloo Oyster Cult

    Ott 7 2005, 2:06

    Not too much music listening today. I got waylaid on a project, and now it's dark. I have a caffeine headache from this tiramisu shake (tsp. instant coffee, c. milk, 2 tbsp. yogurt, 2 tsp. protein powder, tbsp. sliced almonds and ice) that is like liquid crystal meth when combined with morning coffee. Got turned on to Julian Cope's Blue Oyster (no umlaut for me) Cult essay this morning by a blog. Julian Cope can write better than 100% of the Pfork staff, btw. Why is it that musicians like Cope and David Byrne can write so eloquently while many of us in the younger generation hide behind trope and artifice? From Cope's essay, I discovered this Lester Bangs krautrock piece for Creem that I didn't get a chance to delve into due to the unexpected work thing.

    So I tried out Cope's BOC mix and was somewhat unimpressed. On first listen, it sounded typical of the early 70s blooze rock trend. They were supposed to be the answer to Black Sabbath from what I read. But they come off like 13th Floor Elevators mixed with some San Francisco bands and the MC5. I have to admit that the guitarists have some chops. Perhaps the answer to entering this world is to turn off the lights and burning one down with your favorite media player visualizations providing the visual accompaniment. Or placing the LP on your turntable while burning incense with the purple lava lamp.

    What's more interesting to me is the backstory of how rock scribe Richard Meltzer, Sandy Pearlman and even rock icon Patti Smith were concocting all the lyrics for them (a la Roky Erickson). Most of the band didn't even understand what the Hell they were singing about. As Cope quotes Bangs: "It was only inevitable that groups like Blue Oyster Cult would come along, singing in jive chic about dehumanization while unconsciously fulfilling their own prophecy albeit muddled by performing as nothing more than robots whose buttons were pushed by their producers."

    How they got from the early bluesy hippified sound to the radio-friendly tracks "Burning for You" and "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" is another good question.

    In other news, my gym was playing some other old 70s radio hits yesterday. I still like a lot of those old songs. Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," Walter Egan's "Magnet and Steel," and the one I heard yesterday, Bob Welch's "Ebony Eyes." I need to keep those LPs in mind when I hit the Austin Record Convention in a couple weeks. The only problem with those LPs are that mixed in with the FM radio gold is the overproduced dross that surrounds them--what the punkers were reacting to. You can't skip tracks.

    Had to stop the BOC for a while because it was aggravating my headache. Off to grab some Advil.
  • Pandora

    Ott 5 2005, 19:28

    I'm trying out Pandora, the musical recommendation service which pulls data from the music genome project to create a playlist. To begin the service, you're supposed to input your favorite song or artist. Naturally, I chose my number 1 nostalgia band Pavement. So far, it's turned up a few interesting tracks in the 90s music mold, some from artists I had pooh poohed before based on snap judgments (Sebadoh, Archers of Loaf). It also brought to mind a couple of Austin bands that were influenced heavily by the 90s aesthetic--Fivehead and Subset. I discovered a couple new bands as well (Des Ark, Gossip). Got one repeat song already--bastards.

    Rewatched the Bob Dylan documentary again last night. Scorsese really emphasized the freak quotient of Dylan's early years with the circus sideshow references and some of the folk/outsider artists (i.e. John Jacob Niles, and even if Johnnie Ray was considered normal at the time, how in the Hell could that warbling caterwaul of his make the radio nowadays?). I love things like this music and film credits page. Why don't more movies and television shows have this kind of thing? I'm always pausing the DVD when the music credits rush by at the end of the movie in tiny type. Or is there a free Web site database out there now that covers movie music credits?

    I also enjoyed hearing Webb Pierce and that Joan Baez live television spot (I think it was "Virgin Mary"). But Baez' soprano voice can grate on my ears. I like it better when she sticks to the lower registers. Of what I listened to on iTunes, I like "The First 10 Years" best.
  • Clue to Kalo

    Ott 4 2005, 16:26

    The last track that really caught my ear is Clue to Kalo with the song "Your Palsy to Protect You." I think I downloaded it off some mp3 blog last week. Something about the combination of exquisite harmonies and Byrdsiness(?) that spoke to my gut. I downloaded five other Clue to Kalo tracks that just didn't live up to that one. I'm desperately trying to find new music lately after realizing I've fallen into complacency, but nothing others are recommending is really speaking to me. However, Kanye on SNL last week blew me away. I'm a hip-hop dilettante--the very thing that gets ripped apart by the hardcore contingent. So sue me. I'll take a great melody and arrangement over beats any day. I was brought up on saccharine. What's wrong with that? I'd like to know. And here I go again...