The Thermals @ Pitchfork 7.19.09

I managed to catch all of the Thermal’s set at Pitchfork (no small feat for someone covering the whole festival on their own) and had some of the most fun I’ve had at a show all year. It was a near-perfect combination of songs off their fantastic new record Now We Can See, hits off their past records and some wisely-chosen ’90s covers. Any time I can clap along to “Now We Can See” and then yell along to a cover of Green Day’s “Basket Case,” you can assume I’m having a great time.

My First Time …with Cale Parks

It’s time again for another installment of My First Time, the series where I ask some of my favorite bands to share stories about their musical “firsts.” Everything from the first song they ever wrote to the response they got when they first played their songs for their family. It’s all here. Because after all, the best way to see where a person is going is by understanding where they’ve been.

MP3: Cale Parks – One at a Time

Cale Parks is the drummer from Aloha who also moonlights as a solo artist. His newest EP To Swift Mars is out now on Polyvinyl.

My First Time… with Cale Parks

First record you bought
Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock It Takes Two Cassette Single. My earliest memories were of buying cassingles at the mall. My parents would give me $5 if I was good. I could get 2 cassingles this way.

First record that changed your life
There are different eras of records that progressed with age, but I would be lying if I didn’t say OK Computer blew my mind in high school. It’s what everyone says, I know, but come on.

First concert you attended
Lollapalooza Tour 95. I was skinny and little with shaggy hair. Someone mistook me for Beck in the mist tent. I was stoked.

First concert that blew you away
Sonic Youth’s set at Lollapalooza. I think they did all of Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star straight thru. This was right before Washing Machine.

First time playing live
Snare drum soloist in 5th grade school choir’s Little Drummer Boy.

First tour (horror stories, unexpectedly great shows, etc)
1999 Aloha tour. I was very young. Basements, smelly hardcore shows, 2 bands / 1 van.

First instrument you learned and/or first piece of equipment you loved
I initially took piano lessons as a kid, though I didn’t own a piano of my own. I do still use my first Casiotone though. I’ve had it since I was 8.

First band you were a part of
It was more of a concept than a band that actually played music. We were in 3rd grade. It was a hip hop duo. I was called DJ 2000 and my best friend was MC Hurricane. We just sat around drawing what our album cover would look like. I tried to beatbox and he tried to rap on the playground and at each other’s house after school.

First time getting press and/or being interviewed
Probably an Aloha interview from back in the day for a zine or something. I can’t remember.

First song you wrote and/or recorded
It was my first attempt at playing every instrument myself on a friends 4-track in college. I just remember starting from scratch with only drums, trying to remember the song’s changes in my head. It ended up sounding nothing like what was in my head. I don’t think there was singing or a title involved.

First awesome thing that happened solely because you were in a band
Getting paid to play.

First horrible thing that happened solely because you were in a band
Being totally broke.

First reactions from your family when you played them your music
They liked it. My family are musicians too. They like my music and all the projects I mess around in. They’re supportive. My dad leaves the best itunes reviews.

First musical obsession (band, song, singer, genre or otherwise)
Probably late 80’s – early 90’s hip hop and r&b. It was all around when I was little and the music was just fun. You didn’t have to identify with any scene. It’s the first genre I loved. Then came grunge, which led to punk, which led to a short backlash of jam bands (the jazz musician in me), then back to punk, then idm. Now, I’m a mess.

Girl Talk playing at the University of Kentucky in August

Yup, the rumor is now official. Girl Talk will be playing the University of Kentucky Student Center Grand Ballroom on August 27. Tickets are $10 with a UK ID, no word on what they’ll run for the non-Wildcats out there.

Two things: UKSAB, way to not book something completely lame for once; and Grand Ballroom staff, you have little to no idea what you’re in for. Also seeing Girl Talk play on a dry campus is going to be interesting. Flasks will likely be the biggest fashion accessory there.

Women @ Pitchfork 7.19.09

It must be mindblowingly, unfathomably strange to be a young band in 2009. Thanks to the internet, regular Joes can have a niche hit song a few weeks after it’s recorded. Now sometimes that catapults people with debatable talent into a position they shouldn’t be, resulting in horrible shows, meltdowns or any number of other problems (insert Wavves joke here?). But sometimes it just means that a good young band has a highly receptive audience.

Now, calling Women’s song “Black Rice” a hit might seem to be a little bit of a stretch, but the crowd let out waves of cheers during the opening riff. And I was glad I caught it; it’s a great song off a really good record. In fact, it made me a little sad. Their show was a ton of fun, but I wasn’t overly familiar with their album so I couldn’t enjoy each song as much as I could with “Black Rice.” But still, very good show from a band that I believe has the potential for a lot more of the same quality.

new Echo and the Bunnymen: “Do You Know Who I Am?”

I can’t remember if this is the new song they played when I saw them at SXSW, but that’s not really surprising. This is a little more sunny and glossy than I usually like my Echo and the Bunnymen songs to be, but it’s fun so I’ll let it slide.

Stream “Do You Know Who I Am?” at Echo and the Bunnymen’s site

[STREAM] Simian Mobile Disco + Jamie Lidell: “Off the Map”

Seems like a match made in electronic heaven, right? Jamie Lidell’s soulful wails overtop of Simian Mobile Disco’s beats. Thankfully the finished product lives up to at least most of the hype. This track is off SMD’s upcoming Temporary Pleasure LP and available to stream right now.

Stream “Off the Map” on Jamie Lidell’s Myspace

[MP3] new Fishboy: “Broken Bones” // Fishboy announce tour in support of “NOM” EP

I have no idea if this is a photo from a Fishboy show or what, but you have to admit the look on Eric’s face is pretty awesome. Apologies for not using a press photo, but I’ve gotten enough mileage out of the one they have to warrant this.

Fishboy! I’ll admit that I was vaguely confused about their “NOM” EP as maybe a handful of you were too. So in that case, I’ll recap: Fishboy scrapped a couple songs from their last album Albatross, but instead of trashing them, they handed the vocals over to their friends the Om Nom Noms. Songs were built around the vocals and the result is the “NOM” EP. You can buy it on vinyl/CD at their store or stream the whole thing on Fishboy’s muxtape. It’s fantastic pop and I suggest you start with “Broken Bones.”

MP3: Fishboy – Broken Bones

And what’s more, Fishboy have announced a string of dates taking them from Denton to pretty much everywhere on the west coast. Go see them if you’re in the neighborhood!

Fishboy on Myspace

Fishboy Tour Dates
*08.15.09 Denton, TX Haileys
*08.16.09 Austin, TX Hole in the Wall (with Pataphysics)
*08.17.09 Houston, TX Super Happy Fun Land
*08.18.09 Tulsa, OK 1208 S. Jamestown Ave. House
*08.19.09 Albuquerque, NM Cirque Gallery
*08.20.09 Tuscon, AZ Dry River Space (with Andrew Jackson Jihad)
*08.21.09 Phoenix, AZ Trunk Space
*08.22.09 San Diego, CA Maple Street House
*08.23.09 Los Angeles, CA Echo Curio (early)
*08.24.09 Santa Barbera, Ca Biko Garage
*08.25.09 Fresno, CA TBA
*08.26.09 Santa Cruz, CA TBA (with James Rabbit)
*08.27.09 Bay Area, CA Speak Easy (with Half-handed Cloud)
*08.28.09 Davis, CA TBA
*08.29.09 Portland, OR TBA
08.30.09 Seattle, WA Vera Project
08.31.09 Olympia, WA TBA
09.02.09 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court (with Awful Truth, Forrest World)
09.03.09 Denver, Co TBA (with Pacific Pride)
09.04.09 Lawrence, KS Replay Lounge

(*dates with IJI and Watercolor Paintings)

[MP3] new Sea Wolf: “Stanislaus” // Sea Wolf tour dates, including KY show

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I first posted on Sea Wolf over three years ago. Since then they’ve released their debut album, released an EP and toured the world. Now LP2 is finally ready for me/us to obsess over, nitpick and (hopefully) enjoy.

The first track for our consumption, “Stanislaus,” can be streamed here. You can also download it if you input your email address. “Stanislaus” is, truthfully, what Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes should sound like. It’s folk music, but the interesting kind. Instead of background noise, Sea Wolf have crafted a song that draws you close, making good on its promise of a good yarn and an even better tune.

Stream or download “Stanislaus” from Sea Wolf’s new record White Water, White Bloom

Sea Wolf tour dates
Sept 14 — Santa Barbara, CA — Soho Restaurant & Music Club
Sept 15 — Costa Mesa, CA — Detroit Bar
Sept 16 — Pamona, CA — The Glass House
Sept 17 — Los Angeles, CA — Troubadour
Sept 21 — Portland, OR — Mississippi Studios
Sept 22— Vancouver, BC — Media Club
Sept 23 — Seattle, WA — Sunset Tavern
Sept 25 — Salt Lake City, UT — In The Venue
Sept 26 — Denver, CO — Hi Dive
Sept 29 — Minneapolis, MN — 7th Street Entry
Sept 30 — Milwaukee, WI — Mad Planet
Oct 1 — Chicago, IL — Schubas Tavern
Oct 3 — Indianapolis, IN — Radio Radio
Oct 4 — Newport, KY — Southgate House
Oct 7 — Columbus, OH — Wexner Center
Oct 9 — Toronto, ON — Sneaky Dees
Oct 13 — Boston, MA — Paradise
Oct 14 — New York, NY — Mercury Lounge
Oct 16 — Brooklyn, NY — Union Hall
Oct 17 — Philadelphia, PA — North Star
Oct 19 — Washington DC — DC9
Oct 24 — Nashville, TN — Exit In
Oct 28 — Austin, TX — Emos Jr.

Blitzen Trapper @ Pitchfork 7.19.09

In the time since they played our SXSW event, Blitzen Trapper have grown to be one of the most respected young bands out there. And with two widely-released, even wider-respected albums under their belt, why shouldn’t they be? Wild Mountain Nation is fantastic and Furr just might be even better. Luckily for Blitzen Trapper they’ve got the live show to back it all up.

So with as many solid songs under their belt as Blitzen Trapper has, it was hard to be pulling for too many songs in particular. If I heard “Black River Killer” (I did) and maybe a handful of songs from Wild Mountain Nation (ditto), I’d be happy. Blitzen Trapper were one of the few bands I was able to watch/listen to the entirety of their set. After I finished photographing them, I went off to the side of the stage and laid in the grass, just enjoying the sounds of a band that makes me feel happy to be alive 2009.

More photos after the break.

Continue reading Blitzen Trapper @ Pitchfork 7.19.09