Of Montreal @ the University of Kentucky 9.22.06

I learned something last Friday. A free show will attract two types of people: die-hard fans who travel upwards of five hours to see their favorite bands, and people who probably haven’t been a to concert in years, let alone one involving near-nudity and whips.

MP3: Of Montreal – She’s a Rejector

As it was the first date of a new mini-tour for Of Montreal, they broke out all sorts of new equipment, costumes and fan-pleasing treats. While many fans (myself often included) seem to cling to the complaint that they rarely vary their setlist from show-to-show, Friday’s concert proved why they don’t have to: they’re not focused on what they play, they’re concentrated on the showmanship of how they play.

One might say that Of Montreal’s new show is a valiant display of one man’s struggle to be free–of his clothing, that is. Kevin Barnes alternates between channeling the icy cold, sexual appeal of Prince, and the raw energy of Iggy Pop. Granted, he left the broken glass at home, but they found other ways to spice up the show. At one point, Kevin’s bandmembers bound him in plastic wrap and whipped him with a riding crop. Maybe Hissing Fauna… is the S&M record?

Theatrics aside, the Of Montreal show was still amazing. All the between song antics and costume changes were less a distraction and more icing on a very wild (fruity?) cake. As has become so characteristic of me that’s it’s probably stereotypical of me to say this, but I enjoyed their covers more than anything. The Late B.P. Helium lead the crowd in the the catchy chants of the Brazillian classic, “Bat Macumba” while Kevin changed clothes for the first time. Then they later reworked “Till There Was You” from my favorite musical, The Music Man, before ending with a spot-on cover of Peaches’ “F*ck the Pain Away” that allowed Kevin to make the concert even more sexual.

The Walkmen: “Many Rivers to Cross”

The Walkmen are doing a song-by-song cover of the Harry Nilsson album Pussy Cats, due out this fall. I wasn’t a huge fan of their last album, but strangely embrace this one a little bit more. Still, I usually find myself longing for their return to Bows and Arrows.

MP3: The Walkmen – Many Rivers to Cross
Talking their recent Calexico admiration a few steps away from where they found themselves on A Hundred Miles Off, The Walkmen carry this one on a revolving cast of strings. First of the family is the “heart” of the song: the mournful cry of their slide guitar. Far to gentle to be considered a hook, it backs up Hamilton Leithauser’s vocals and is finally allowed to do a miniature solo halfway through. Without wanting to gloss over the bass contribution (the part of which is beautiful in its simplicity and reserve), I have to say that the violins in the back are what really moves me. They’re constant, and are able to keep the song moving when it might otherwise be tugged down. But curiously, this is a song that delights in stopping that momentum. Just when they’ve got a good thing going, a drumbeat stops us cool in our tracks. If nothing else, these are guys who understood what made the original so great, and have given their hearts to trying to recreate that feel.

The Walkmen on Myspace
Buy Pussy Cats

Thunderbirds Are Now! Start Tour, Offer MP3s

Thunderbirds Are Now! are touring in support of their new album and one of my favorites of the year, Make History. In addition to stopping everywhere–except Kentucky, of course–they’re also offering three free downloads from the new album on their myspace, two of which you can download below.

MP3: Thunderbirds Are Now! – The Making of Make History
MP3: Thunderbirds Are Now! – The Veil Comes Down

Thunderbirds Are Now! Tour Dates
9/29 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
9/30 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
10/1 Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
10/2 Winnipeg, MAN, CA @ Collective Cabaret
10/4 Saskatoon, SAS, CA @ The Basement
10/5 Edmonton, ALB, CA @ Powerplant
10/6 Calgary, ALB, CA @ Broken City
10/7 Vancouver, BC, CA @ Richards
10/8 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
10/9 Portland, OR @ Towne Lounge
10/10 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
10/12 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of the Hill
10/13 San Diego, CA @ Beauty Bar
10/14 Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
10/16 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
10/17 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
10/18 Omaha, NB @ Sokol Underground
10/19 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar w/Rescue
10/20 Denton, TX @ Hailey’s
10/21 Austin, TX @ Emo’s
10/22 Houston, TX @ Walters
10/23 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
10/24 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
10/25 Tallahassee, FL @ Beta Bar
10/26 Orlando, FL @ Firestone
10/27 Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds
10/28 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
10/29 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
10/30 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
10/31 Philadelphia, PA @ The Northstar Bar
11/1 New York, NY – CMJ @ Piano’s
11/1 New York, NY – CMJ @ Galapagus Art Space
11/2 New York, NY – CMJ @ Studio B
11/3 New York, NY – CMJ @ Piano’s
11/4 Boston, MA @ TT the Bear’s
11/5 Montreal, PQ @ La Sala Rosa
11/6 Toronto, ONT @ Sneaky Dee’s
11/7 Bowling Green, OH @ Howard’s Club H
11/8 Cleveland, OH @ The Spot at Case Western Universitye

The Gothic Archies: “Walking My Gargoyle”

The release of the new The Gothic Archies album, The Tragic Treasury: Songs From A Series of Unfortunate Events, is soon; Friday October 13th, to be exact. Fifteen songs–one for each book, plus two bonus works–make up their soundtrack of the Lemony Snicket books. I’m not going to risk posting any tracks because of possible RIAA involvement, but I think we can make due with some streams. I usually don’t stream any songs, but I’ll make an exception for Stephin Merritt.

WMV STREAM: The Gothic Archies – Walking My Gargoyle
WMV STREAM: The Gothic Archies – Scream and Run Away
After a decade’s worth of music, I still have no idea when Stephin Merrit is being serious. Most of the Gothic Archies’ work that I’ve yet encountered seems to be penned with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and after sampling some of the Lemony Snicket songs, it would seem that they’re quite in line with this theme. “Walking My Gargoyle” is a too-cute song that summons the mental image of somber-looking Merritt happily displaying his pet gargoyle to passers-by with more than just a little bit of pride.

The Gothic Archies on Myspace
Buy The Tragic Treasury: Songs from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Download one of the older Archies’ songs from the album at SVB.

Black Keys Vinyl Giveaway

MP3: The Black Keys – Your Touch

Another sweet giveaway! This one is for an autographed copy of the new Black Keys album, Magic Potion, as well as a signed poster.

Shoot an email to matt @ youaintnopicasso.com with the subject “Black Keys Vinyl” to be entered to win. I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, October 6th. Unlike every contest until now, this one is open to anyone in any country!

Buy Magic Potion on Amazon

Locksley: “Let Me Know”

It’s fitting that Locksley’s new album is entitled, Don’t Make Me Wait. Fitting, since it’s been a long time coming. Combining bits of their last EP, their MTV theme song and some new work, this is the album a lot of people have been waiting for. But was it worth the wait?

MP3: Locksley – Let Me Know
For a while now I’ve been fighting an internal struggle: is that fact that Locksley sound very close… okay, exactly like the British Invasion bands enough to make their music less worthwhile? My answer is no, and here’s why. Unless litigious-worthy plagiarism is involved, then you really have no choice but to let the music stand on its own. And when you do that, you’ll find that their music is really rather enjoyable. Like a blissful union of super-early Beatles and garage rock of the 90s (no, not grunge), they’re powerful, catchy and fun.

BONUS MP3: Locksley – She Does
One of my favorite Locksley songs that wound up on the new album. It’s top quality stuff that often winds up in my head.

Locksly on Myspace

Totally not related to music, I know, but DailyEpisodes.com is the best thing I’ve found on the internet in a long time. You can stream all the Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park, Futurama and American Dad episodes. Kill time with it quickly, as I’m sure it won’t be around much longer.

Eric Metronome: “The Beginning of the Beginning of the End”

Duffy over at Donewaiting sent me his record label’s newest superstar, Eric Metronome. He’s got that singer-songwriter thing going on, but without the lame coffeehouse atmosphere.

MP3: Eric Metronome – The Beginning of the Beginning of the End
Eric makes it very clear what he wants the listener to focus on in this song: his voice. With his guitar strummed so precisely, it’s easy to understand where the ‘Metronome’ comes from. But in spite of the trudging, near-lifeless quality to his guitar, “This is the Beginning of the Beginning of the End” is still very much a vibrant song. Lyrically it echos the album’s title, You Should Be Happy, a couple of times while still keeping up the Elliott-Smith’s-happier-younger-brother feel to the song.

Buy You Should Be Happy

Dark Meat: “Angel of Meth”

Phew! Man, that Of Montreal show just about took it all out of me. But now that I’m somewhat rested from it, I think it’s time to get back to business. I know of no better way to do that than by posting ANOTHER Athens band, and one that was suggested to me by BP from Of Montreal: Dark Meat.

MP3: Dark Meat – Angel of Meth
Take a beginning that sounds like a less cult-like, more genuinely hippie Polyphonic Spree, add in a dash of alt-country Wilco-esque slide guitar and you’ve got the basic beginnings for Dark Meat. From there, we have to add in a bit of Benni Hemm Hemm’s brass section and vocals that answer the question “what if the guy from the Hold Steady could actually sing somewhat well?” Strangely, when you put this whole mess together, it winds up in the same countrified vein as the Drive By Truckers. It’s a sort of trippy folk music with a Southern slant.

Dark Meat on Myspace

The American Revolution @ UK 9.22.06

There’s something about a free show show that brings out the excitement in people. Case in point, The American Revolution’s show this past Friday at the University of Kentucky. I can’t imagine any more than a handful had heard of the band before, and even fewer had probably seen them. Still, the crowd’s excitement when the band took the stage was only matched by the electric screech of feedback which shot out from Robert’s amp moments later. Pretty fitting start, if you ask me.

So The American Revolution have yet to release anything (except a song or two online and one on a free comp in Lexington). Actually, I’m not even sure that they’ve settled on if they’re “Thee” or “The” American Revoultion. Still, they worked well as a group. False starts aside (Robert is notoriously bad at count-offs), they pretty much melted the faces of everyone in the room. Lead guitarist Craig Morris shared solos which seemed to have been expertly crafted in feedback-filled basements, but were far more likely just brilliantly improvised.

MP3: The American Revolution – Shes Coming Down

I’m not sure how everyone else took to it, though. The show, being free and all, attracted a wide range of people, most of whom were probably not used to the distorted fuzz of Robert’s guitar-through-a-bass-amp antics. But anyone with an open mind, and ears none too sensitive couldn’t have been completely without enjoyment. I mean, I’m a pop kid and I found it entertaining.