Uber-psyched that they’ve announced the Jay Reatard documentary Better Than Something is going to do an actual run of theater showings across the nation next month. It premiers in a few spots on March 2nd, including out here in Portland at the Clinton Street Theater. If you never got into Jay, he was the modern essence of what “punk” is really all about, and the mother-fucker knew how to write some killer tunes. I think when people hear of the stupid name, and that he died at 29, they think he must have just been some idiotic G.G. Allen wanna-be primed for a quick drug-related death. But it wasn’t like that – the kid had an amazing ear for melodies, an incredible soul for punk and rock, and it’s really amazing that these guys were able to get supposedly great footage of him just before he died 2 years ago. Watch the trailer below, it seems sad and magical all at once. I’m also throwing in the video for “See/Saw” – one of my faves from the Matador Singles Release in 2008. It was one of my top albums that year. And if you’re in one of these spots you should go get tix, have a few cocktails and celebrate.
3/02 – 3/08 Brooklyn, NY – Nitehawk Cinema
3/02 – 3/08 Memphis, TN - Malco Studio on the Square
3/02 – 3/08 Seattle, WA - Grand Illusion Cinema
3/02 – 3/08 Portland, OR - Clinton Street Theater
3/03 – 3/05 Phoenix, AZ - FilmBar
3/08 – 3/11 Los Angeles, CA - Egyptian Theatre at the American Cinematheque
3/09- 3/10 Bellingham, WA - Pickford Film Center
3/15 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center for the Arts
3/26 Austin, TX - Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
4/11 – 04/12 San Francisco, CA - Roxie Theater
When I first heard Dylan Baldi’s tunes as Cloud Nothings last year, I put the young Ohioan at the top of my list for today’s Neo-Punk sound. His self-titled major-label debut felt like somebody had found a box of lost Buzzcocks recordings. But exactly 366 days later, his latest Attack on Forever, has already found this kid who seemingly hasn’t yet in his life needed to buy a razor, escalating his sound into a much deeper and twisted realm – touching on something closer to The Birthday Party or even dare I say Nirvana. Here’s the new video for “No Future/ No Past” which features an older man getting dragged away in some paranormal fashion – it’s incredible. The song and video both increase in forcefulness throughout, and if you’ve got good headphones, I sincerely recommend rocking them the first time to embrace the full experience of this video. The resonant drone at the end makes the final scene all the better – you won’t even care that Urban Outfitters drops their production logo at the end.
You gotta give it to Wavves’ front-wonder-boy, Nathan Williams. The kid seems to take no qualms in coming off like an utterly obnoxious So-Cal burn-out, essentially because that’s who he is – but he totally is pulling it off to massive victory. He’s become the most synonymous name with the modern surf-pop, dream-punk sound. He’s dating Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast – the synonymous female name with the genre. He loves weed, and does nothing more but post videos of him puffing the ganj. And he pulls off a move like nailing “Liquid Swords” with the mother-fucking GZA.
I’m not sure how many hip-cats in the music scene really watch a lot of Fuel TV, but apparently they have some music clip thing called the Daily Habit where really good, relatively unknown bands come and play. There’s a killer Black Lips cut on there somewhere. Anywho, Wavves completely crushes the background groove – fairly unreal, Roots-like, kind-of-nail, and the GZA is just pimping out his swag on the top. And maaad props go to bassist, Stephen Pope, for rocking the brand new Grateful Dead tye-dye in the midst of it all. Classy move of tri-musical convergence bud, seriously. Watch the clip below. And just in case you’re clueless on Wavves and how obscure this cover-move is for them, the video for “King of the Beach” is underneath. (I told you the boy likes Grass…pause it at 9 seconds in to see their very own Wavves pot-grinder.)
All right, I live in a new corner of the country, and after a few weeks of being attacked by the collective, neuro-waves of slow-motion that exist West of the Rockies, and my body’s inert realization that this voyage is far more than temporary, I’m ready to start shitting some fucking music here again. I’m back, I’m angry on Tuesdays, and let’s kill it. What better synonymous re-entry could I ask for than the badd-fucking-ass promo video that Sleigh Bells just released today for their February 2012 sophomore release, Reign of Terror. I hate to say it, but with The White Stripes officially done, the Sleigh Duo has to be the most awesomely evil, Bro and Fly-girl act out there.
When I saw them open for LCD Soundsystem last year in a lofty auditorium, it was one of the loudest things I’ve ever heard – let alone loudest bands. But Alexis Krauss still manages to look fucking-amazing, and kills it. The smaller, intimate stage definitely seems like the far-more ideal spot for them. If you don’t have last year’s Treats yet, it’s a must-have for the modern noise-rock, one-man shred-attack with a hot grrrl who wants to kick your ass, band-lover. It’s dope, and gets you pumped up with a little swagger smirk in your heel.
Anyway, I love the idea of a promo video for a new album. It’s like in the 70′s when the radio would play those ads -”If you enjoyed the dark vibes of The Velvet Underground, then you’ll love the hot new hits from front-man Lou Reed!” And then they play 5 seconds of each song off Transformer. Whatevs, that shit’s awesome if you’re really into it, you know? God, I know I was pumped when they played the preview for Back to the Future III at the end of Back to the Future II. Anyway, just watch the shit – it’s so awesomely evil in a dark witch kind of way, and makes you want to be front row with the band.
And here’s the one Mom-friendly tune, “Rill Rill” – I still think it’s my favorite, but it’s all about how it falls in with the context of the album.
Other than the 500 un-answered emails in my inbox, I really have to rave about the power of taking a fortnight hiatus from the Internet. Although once I remembered I’m trying to rock a daily music blog, reality once again showeth her bitter face. So with a ton of great music happening right now that I need to catch up on in literary form, I thought I’d start by posting the link to my latest album review of Arabia Mountain by the Black Lips. Ok, if you don’t know the Lips, no not those Lips, these Lips – no not that Black Something band, this Black something band. Anyway, if you don’t know the motherfuckin’ Black Lips, then you must understand that this decade-old Georgian group are the heart and soul of early-punk rock-redemption. Sure, it doesn’t look good on a trophy, but every band that thinks they can be the next Strokes is blind to the fact that they’re souls have already been claimed and squandered by the Black Lips.
Originally known more for their completely absurd punk attitudes that were known to reach near G.G. Allen levels in regard of on-stage genitalia and body waste, the past few years and albums have seen the Lips mature into a climatic musical equality of that outrageous attitude. Arabia Mountain is truly a timeless album that could have been admired at any point in the past 5 decades, and much in the same mentality as Dr. Dog, this band has not reverted to sounds of rock’s past, but rather picked up the disregarded pieces of rock’s soul. Here’s a snip of my review and a link to the full thing:
“But the reason for fewer antics these days is that after 12 years of legendary moments that already exist in the pantheon of epic rock and roll scripture‚ the Black Lips have become really‚ really‚ fucking good. Arabia Mountain‚ the Atlanta‚ Georgians’ third record for Vice Records‚ completes a succession of tightening form for the band‚ and finds their garage-punk‚ rock-smash sound unified into a timeless album that lies somewhere between The Modern Lovers and Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power. 16 tracks deep and without a moment of drag‚ sometimes it’s easy to tell these were the guys who got bored quickly in high school.” http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1295/Black-Lips—Arabia-Mountain/
Here’s a clip of they’re epic encore from the Heaven Club in London in 2008:
And here’s the cut of one of faves off the new album: “Time”:
Distant, loft-inducing vocals – a dull but warmly steady, pulsing snare – raw, simple, but synched guitar licks with alot of reverb. Those are essentially the 3 characteristics that have made the LP and EP releases from Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils so appealing and alt-critically adored over the past year. So their performance at Winooski, VT’s Monkey Bar the other night, which admittedly is a very tough room to play in as you are essentially crammed into a window by the front door, thus horrible acoustics…anyway, the best way to describe their performance at the Monkey on Monday night was whiny, forced vocals – a forgotten and off-tempo snare – sloppy, confused guitar licks lost in the vacuum of the ill-conceived stage. I’m not saying I necessarily blame the band, but that shit was really fucking bad. And I only say it, because I’ve enjoyed the band’s music before and hope they can understand my constructive criticism as a way to elevate them to superior athletes of their craft and contributors to the modern lexicon of our sacr-religious musical culture, but that shit friggin blew. When they busted into their most quasi-known song, “Daydream,” I headed for the door.
And you know…I’m sure any band based on echoey vocals like My Morning Jacket or something, would also sound horrible in the Monkey Bar, but they would be willing to adapt. And sometimes that’s what you gotta do, you need to be willing to change up the gameplan a little bit so it at least seems like you’re in control of the situation, and not just letting yourself accept an ass-raping from a stage not well constructed to your sound. If any bands out there are looking for lessons in constructive adaptation and communal interaction with surroundings, I’m available for a rather steep fee. Contact info can be found above.
And fans attending these shows need to realize that it is definitely in their place to acknowledge when the band you’ve been rocking on your iPod because Pitchfork gave their album a 7.8, are pulling off a rather wankerous and dodgy performance. If you just roll with it and put a fake smile on your face to pretend like the show is just as dreamy as you could imagine, then the next time they roll into town the band is going to be comfortable with just sonically pissing in your beer. I’m just saying, not to say anything about the Monkey, or MSR Presents with Matt Rogers and Nick Mavodones who fucking work their asses off to bring alternative music into our Northern Vermont community that otherwise would speed right by on their way to Canada. Nor against the hipsters of Burlington and Winooski, who really are very nice people when you get to know em, just a little shy and more full of Phish-angst than your regular Brooklynite. Anywho…here’s the studio cut of said track from before – good, summertime Joy Division-esque stuff.
Here’s the intro and link to my review on Cleveland’s Dylan Baldi and his radical neo-punk band, Cloud Nothings: Good shit:
So like most audiophiles of the new millennium, the Pavement reunion tour last year brought tears of joy to my eyes on many occasions. And while band-member Bob Nastonovich is bummed to hear it, I personally think it’s great that Stephen Malkmus has stated he won’t be making any new Pavement albums or songs. When you retired on a good note, it’s best to just come back and play the hits and not tarnish your fans’ love with new crap – I’m looking at you Jane’s Addiction. That being said, I can’t fucking wait for a new Malkmus album. And no, it’s not some sort of weird fanboy hypocrisy to be craving his solo stuff while loathing the idea of new stuff with his old band – that’s just how it is. I am. You are. Whatever. Eat it.
Anywho, last Spring there were rumors circulating that Beck was gonna be producing the new album. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it at the time and mostly forgot about it til a friend mentioned it the other day. Which led me back to the Malkmus and the Jicks website where I noticed this post from October:
0ur future wise–we started recording with beck hansen in the late winter, and plan on getting back into it before the year is over… I dont know when the record will come out or what it will sound like. It is in a protools state of non reality right now.
So yeah, I guess it’s real, and I am for sure elated. The idea of two of my favorite independent producers working with each other, let alone that they both provide a significant soundtrack to my life already – well it’s enough to make me go skipping in the sleet. Easily my most anticipated album of the year, or next two years even. Here’s one of the greatest youtube videos of all time:
If you’re worried that every new amp-driven indie-rock band has to play neo-surf-punk, then Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings could be playing your redemption songs. Sure to make half of Brooklyn rip their jeggings, up until now Dylan Baldi has recorded all his low-fi recordings in his parents’ basement. With the recent release of his self-title full length debut on Carpark records, (home of my beloved Dan Deacon) Baldi has again proven that in our modern age of over-saturated crap-flop, obsessive production, and heartless electronics, a fly 18 year-old can still make the dopest shit out there in his rents’ mud-room.
Playing all the instruments himself on the recording, Cloud Nothings is fuzz-friendly grit-pop composed by a kid who’s not afraid to repeat himself. Baldi seems to brilliantly reach beyond his age, and intelligently realizes that if a line or a pocket sounds good enough, then it’s probably best to hang around it for a while. Unforeseen loopings of grooves move this music past simple garage rock, and make it lean more towards the music Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) would be making if he wasn’t so sure the whole world was paying attention. And he’s sure got somebody on his team who knows how to make a hell of a video or two.