26 March 2009

I'm published! / this week's Roundtable

one small step towards becoming a music journo...maybe? have a read of my Morrissey review from 14 March (Warner Theatre) here (on Popwreckoning). I may post more thoughts and pics related to my gig experience later, I just figured you'd want to read what was in the blogosphere before I update again here.

FYI "Something is Squeezing My Skull" has been added this week to the 6music playlist.


RoundTable returns for another week, with musician Chas Jankel, journalist Leonie Cooper, and this week's Rebel Playlist winner, Patrick Wolf.

1. Maximo Park - "The Kids Are Sick Again" - Patrick Wolf thought it sounded like a jingle and had a personal grudge against them - lol. I agree with the consensus that this tune isn't great. The problem? It's forgettable.

2. Empire of the Sun - "We Are the People" - this doesn't grab me as much as the previous "Walking on a Dream." maybe b/c then, they were fresh (to me)?

3. Polly Scattergood - I missed the title. probably b/c I agreed with Leonie's assessment of "too twee."

4. Fan Following (?) - "Drowning Man" - first thought? the Duran Duran song. the instrumentation's great, but I didn't get the lyrics b/c of it.

5. Morrissey - "Something is Squeezing My Skull" - y'know, I didn't like this v. much the first time I heard it. now that I've seen it live (literally) and on a couple tv appearances, I can say it's a grower. I don't particularly care for the lyrics...but hey, it's Morrissey :) and yay, I love Patrick for what he said about Steven.

6. In Case of Fire - "Enemies" - yikes. this reminds of why I don't listen to bad "American indie" - thrashing guitars with vocals you can barely make out. oh dear, oh dear. not a fan.

7. the winner - new album from Gomez - I dunno why everyone's gone gaga over this. have I lost the plot???

24 March 2009

"best of" upcoming events - late March 2009 edition

b/c I'm hopelessly behind on things, we're on the last full week of March before I can get out a "best of" list...

Nemone (6music)
24.03 - Royksopp interview
25.03 - Chew Lips interview

Steve Lamacq (6music)
24.03 - Paul Smith (Maximo Park) interview
27.03 - Doves interview plus live tracks recorded in Maida Vale

Radcliffe/Maconie (Radio2)
23.03 - Colin Meloy (Decemberists) interview
25.03 - Jackie DeShannon interview

Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
25.03 - Blue October performance

Jimmy Fallon(formerly Conan O'Brien) (NBC)
28.01 - Morrissey performance - watch here

Leno (NBC)
24.03 - PJ Harvey and John Parish performance
25-27.03 - Prince performances

Letterman (CBS)
23.03 - Bloc Party performance
24.03 - White Lies performance (this is so ironic b/c they're taping this in NYC this afternoon, and I'll be on the train home from their gig when they play this on tv)
26.03 - U2 performance
27.03 - Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt performance

oh yeah, and I have a ticket to see Doves in June!

20 March 2009

Wash Post article on 14 March Morrissey gig

from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postrock/2009/03/live_last_night_morrissey.html
(ed. note: I went to high school with Dave Malitz, the author. not that he remembers me or anything.)

Live Last Night: Morrissey

The Warner Theatre was the site of a unique phenomenon on Saturday night. No, not the scores of Morrissey fans who lunged their arms toward the stage with the hope that the iconic singer would simply reach down and touch them. It wasn't even the sweat stain on the back of Moz's shirt that was the shape of a perfect heart. (Broken many times over, no doubt.)

It was the fact that this show -- by a performer who is most famous for fronting a beloved British rock band that broke up more than two decades ago and is nine albums into his solo career -- was not at all an exercise in nostalgia. The best moments were tracks from "Years of Refusal," the latest success in Morrissey's comeback trilogy, and showcased a vitality that most veteran performers can only dream of.

Songs such as "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" were among the most appealing during the 90-minute set that gave true believers plenty of reasons to swoon but probably didn't add too many new, fully-fledged members to the cult of Moz.

While the five-piece band, centered around guitarists Boz Boorer (Morrissey's longtime collaborator) and former Red Hot Chili Pepper Jesse Tobias, was putting an extra charge into the muscular rockers that populate his recent albums, the 49-year-old singer did his Morrissey thing as only Morrissey can -- and should -- do.

His singular, dramatic croon, once a seemingly perfect match for a gentle guitar jangle, now sounds just as natural on top of crunching power chords. He sang with authority as he added flourishes to some of his sharpest barbs. He lassoed the mic chord with his usual gusto, played to his adoring minions and even curled into a fetal position after a particularly massive version of the Smiths hit "How Soon Is Now."

Another pair of Smiths chestnuts, "This Charming Man" and "Ask," were given crisp, alt-rock makeovers, but it wasn't an evening for big sounds only. In fact, Boorer strapped on an acoustic guitar for a number of quieter tunes, with affecting versions of "Death of a Disco Dancer" and "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" proving that Moz's tender side is still firmly intact.

Despite a string of canceled gigs earlier in the week blamed on strep throat, Morrissey seemed in both good health and spirits. His stage banter was the usual collection of brief non-sequitirs -- "At the Warner, you have been warned" or "So you see, it's not Justin Timberlake. Are you disappointed?" -- and he twice ripped off his shirt to reveal a sculpted torso and arms, which are surely in their current state thanks to a heavy regimen of baby lifting.

After a tidy, 20-song set, any number of hits could have been chosen for the encore, but "First of the Gang to Die" was a fitting choice. While not from the new album, the 2004 single helped jump-start Morrissey's current revival. And like many of the other songs performed Saturday, while it may not be that old, it's well on its way to classic status nonetheless.


19 March 2009

this week's Roundtable

6Music's very own Shaun Keaveny joined 1965 Record's James Endeacott and Andy Cairns from Therapy? for Roundtable this week

1. the winner - Super Furry Animals - "Inaugural Trams"- I can't get into the weird vibrating effects applied to the lead singer's voice. I've never gotten int SFA so maybe I need to get over that hurdle first before I can enjoy this track. do you have to be a Brit to get them?

2. Alessi's Ark - "Over the Hill" - really fab. a Joni Mitchell for today. (that is if she actually plays guitar. I don't know this, b/c months ago I tried to add her as a friend on MySpace and couldn't find the link.) I really liked her single "Horses" so I am biased!

3. Brakes - "Don't Take Me to Space (Man)" - heh, the lyrics are funny. which is difficult to do, judging by music as of late. not digging it as much as the last single...but good.

4. Middle Class Rut - "I Guess You Could Say" - this isn't taking me somewhere special. not impressed.

5. Maccabees - "Love You Better" - sorry, but this is rubbish. which is funny b/c their last single was a lot better, once I got used to it. this one - not so much.

6. Grandmaster Flash - "Shine All Day" - I miss the days of "White Lines" (yeah, I am a Duran Duran fan.)

7. selections from Pet Shop Boys's new album, including "Love Etc.,""Beautiful People," and "Pandemonium" and "Did You See Me Coming?" and "Building a Wall" in full - I really like "Love Etc." I like good dance music, so a poppy/dancey album from PSB is great. wooo, I can see myself movin' and groovin' to "Did You See Me Coming?" on the dance floor.

16 March 2009

no Roundtable review for 12/03 / upcoming events / Dave Simpson talks about the Doves' latest

I hate it when your blog eats your work before you can post it! argh...

no review of Roundtable from last week - sorry, it had nothing to do with Gary Crowley pinch-hitting for Steve Lamacq, I swear! I was swamped here and also worrying about how I was going to get home from seeing TATE. hey, when you're a girl who goes to gigs by herself most of the time, it's an issue. trust me.

still high from the Morrissey gig here Saturday. stay tuned for more details.

in the meantime, have a look at Nemone's upcoming guests:

17 March La Roux*
17 March Paul Mcgann - you know him as the Eighth Doctor
18 March IT Crowd
19 March Metric
24 March Royksopp
25 March Charlie Brooker
25 March Chew Lips
26 March Lissy Trullie

*the La Roux phone-in had to be rescheduled for 20 March b/c of a scheduling conflict with the Lily Allen tour

and next on the Hub:
23 Mar - The Rakes
27 Mar - Doves (they were with Mark Radcliffe last Tuesday)
30 Mar - PJ Harvey & John Parish
06 Apr - Bat For Lashes


Dave Simpson is quickly becoming one of my fave Guardian writers. today, he posted this about the return of the Doves. other notable pieces:

live review of Carl Barat in Wakefield
review of Rhino's Smiths compilation
previously aforementioned discussion on the Airborne Toxic Event

13 March 2009

Airborne Toxic Event at the Black Cat (D.C.), 12 March 2009

this review will be short and sweet (for me!)

first, I want you to read this msg from the band's MySpace, 'cos I thought it was sweet to us. dunno why, but many artists and fans do not like D.C. fans - they think we're too uptight - and I'd really like to change that.

From: the airborne toxic event
Date: Mar 13, 2009 2:00 PM
Subject: New U.K. dates announced, Arizona dates rescheduled..
Body: So we're on our way from Washington D.C. to Chapel Hill, NC, having played Boston, New York, West Chester, and New Jersey, and D.C. this past week. There's rain and snow and trees without leaves in every direction. Such days are a requiem, a sort of meditative echo chamber of thoughts about the show, people we've met, people we miss, places we're going and places we've been.

We used to say it was surreal, but the strangest thing is how familiar the feeling is now.

D.C. was INSANE last night. Thank you.

We're happy to announce that we've added two new shows in the U.K.
in May:

Wed May 6 - Sheffield, U.K.
- The Leadmill

Fri May 8 - London, U.K.
- Koko

Tickets went on sale at 9:00 a.m. this morning (U.K. time).
You can buy them for both shows HERE.

We always have a blast in the U.K., and we can't wait to go back (and then back again).

Also, both of our Arizona shows—Mon Mar 23 in Tucson and Tue Mar 24 in Scottsdale—have been rescheduled.
The new dates are:

Tue May 19 - Scottsdale, AZ - Martini Ranch (rescheduled from March 24)

Wed May 20 - Tucson, AZ - The Rock (rescheduled from March 23)

All tickets will be honored.
If refunds are necessary, they can be made at the point of purchase

We miss you, we love you, I mean, we wonder where you are, like, right now..

Anna, Daren, Mikel, Noah, and Steven
the Airborne Toxic Event


the gig was amazing. my neck and back was getting a bit stiff and hurt while waiting, b/c if you're up front, you're basically eye level with everyone's knees (haha). I liked the Henry Clay People, TATE's friends from Los Angeles, they really engaged the audience. was less impressed by Alberta Cross, they were great technically but I wasn't a fan of Petter Stakee's singing. I feel terrible, but I'm not sure of the lead guitarist's name - the singer didn't introduce the band - so I'm at a loss, but dude, you were smoking!

then came TATE a little after 10.30. WOW. I've been to my share of gigs but this one was truly impressive. I felt bad that lead singer Mikel Jollett had to go on after only a week of convalesce (from laryngitis and a high fever) and considering he probably has a similar constitution as I do, I felt doubly bad. (have a read of this Guardian article, it made me well up. really, seeing him sweat on stage after one song made more worried b/c I wondered if he was having a feverish relapse or maybe it was the meds. my own musical aspirations were quashed by a similar diagnosis so seeing someone overcome that and succeed AND have fun? truly powerful.) but enough of this seriousness...

above all, the band wanted to make sure we were having an awesome time, and they did that. they were all over the place, jumping on the stage, leaning on each other or getting in each other's faces for their own and our amusement, and did I mention the songs were spot on as well? I was singing along as was everyone in the club. I loved every minute of it.


here are some photos from my excellent vantage point front and center:

the totally fierce shooz of Anna Bulbrook - you can make out her violin bow higher up in the photo. having a female violinist/keyboardist in makes their band truly unique - and I love that they have a strong, independent woman who sings like a mystical siren too. girl power!

Mikel Jollett singing "Wishing Well" - a song he says he took from real life

Mikel adjusting those pesky pegs on his electric

sorry this one's fuzzy - it's Mikel leaning on bassist Noah Harmon during one of the songs. I couldn't react fast enough and thought I better snap away than miss the moment.

I have more if anyone's interested. but in the interest of keeping this short, thought I'd post my faves.

all in all - a pretty unforgettable night! folks, if you get the chance to see them live - go! you won't be disappointed. I only wish I could go to that Koko gig in May...

but no. I am going to see one of Mikel's heroes (and one of mine!) on Saturday, Morrissey!

05 March 2009

a quandary / this week's Roundtable

I have a problem. have to decide between Peter Bjorn & John (who I am now nicknaming PB&J) with Chairlift supporting at the 9:30 Club OR Noah and the Whale at the Black Cat. both are in town on Saturday 2 May. I've sent a note to the Whale blokes saying if they bring Emmy the Great along on their NA tour, there's no contest.

Thursday - Lammo welcomes Eddie Argos, Richard Jobson and Johnny Dee onto Roundtable

1. the winner - PJ Harvey and John Parish - "Black Hearted Love" - I know it's blasphemous, but I never got into Miz Harvey. when the song came on, I mistook it for a new track from the Pretenders.

2. the Big Pink - "Velvet" - this makes me smile. it's cloying, but cloying like a blanket that envelops you when you need it. shoegazing is back, woooo!

3. the Blockheads - "Greed" - WTH is this? it sounds like bad white hip hop. Ian Dury and the Blockheads were monumental in their day and now we've got this???

4. Delphic - "Counterpoint" - hrm. it's very electronic, Eurythmics-y. I don't hate it but I don't love it to death either.

5. Neil Young - "Johnny Magic" - Phil of 6music says this - and the whole album - is about Neil building an electric car. lmao.

6. Hatcham Social - "Murder in the Dark" - another example of too many '80s sounding - synthy - songs all coming out at the same time. interesting that some chatters thought it sounds like a super fey, super young David Byrne, but I don't see it. David could sing circles around this bloke.

7. PeteR Doherty - tracks from his new album "Grace Wasteland" - plus "Through the Looking Glass" and "New Love Grows on Trees" in full - it's just not emotive enough for me.

03 March 2009

Barry Manilow vs. the mall rats

as reported originally by MSNBC/AP:

Barry Manilow to be used against mall rats
New Zealand town hopes ballads will pacify or drive away unruly teens

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - It'll be Barry Manilow versus the mall rats.
The New Zealand city of Christchurch hopes that putting the American crooner's smooth and gentle tones into the mix of music to be broadcast through the central mall district can pacify unruly teens who congregate there, or at least convince them to go elsewhere.

"The intention is to change the environment in a positive way ... so nobody feels threatened or intimidated," Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale told The Associated Press. "I did not say Barry Manilow is a weapon of mass destruction."

A group of several dozen young people regularly spread rubbish, spray graffiti, get intoxicated, use drugs, swear and intimidate patrons at the outdoor mall, he said.

The city council, police and local property owners covering 410 businesses agree that "nice, easy listening" music like Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You," "Mandy" and other hits might change the behavior of loitering teens.

But one 16-year-old told The Press newspaper that unfashionable music wouldn't deter them.

"We would just bring a stereo and play it louder," Emma Belcher said.

Lonsdale countered that the city would then hit them with anti-noise laws.