Flaming Lips, Spoon + Ted Leo to play Forecastle Fest!

Whoa! Louisville’s Forecastle Festival really stepped it up this year by booking the Flaming Lips to headline this year’s event. Looks like our summer just got a little bit brighter. [via BSSB]

Forecastle 2010 Lineup
Flaming Lips
Widespread Panic
Drive-By Truckers
Heavyweight Dub Champion
Break Science
Dar Williams
Cap’n Jazz
Two Fresh
Mucca Pazza
Company of Thieves
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek

[MP3] Iretsu: “Humbuzzer”

Yesterday I knew nothing about the existence of Iretsu. Today I’m anxiously awaiting May 27, when I can hear the rest of their new album.

MP3: Iretsu – Humbuzzer
This track reminds me of how music used to sound when I was 18 and everything was new to me. It’s not just that I can’t give an easy reference point for “Humbuzzer,” but it just sounds fresh compared to most of the things I’ve been hearing for a while — even other things I like. But, gun-to-my-head what does it sound like? Maybe Greg from Deerhoof’s side project with a vocalist who grew up listening to Sparks?

Iretsu on Myspace

[VIDEO/MP3] Happy Hollows: “Big Bad Wolf”

MP3: The Happy Hollows – Big Bad Wolf

I just got passed along this video and MP3 for the Happy Hollows’ track “Big Bad Wolf.” It’s not from their record Spells (which I’ve recently fallen in love with), but comes from their “Imaginary” EP from 2008. But hey, with a video this good, I think a year and a half is worth the wait.

Pick up Spells from Autumn Tone records

Portugal. The Man @ 20th Century Theater 3.21.10

Is it wrong that the band I was most looking forward to seeing during the week of SXSW wasn’t playing SXSW at all? No, even with the thousands of bands playing that week in Austin, I was most looking forward to getting home, jumping in a car and driving to Cincinnati to see Portugal. The Man.

MP3: Portugal. The Man – The Dead Dog
MP3: Portugal. The Man – Work All Day

I foolishly missed Portugal. The Man’s show at Bonnaroo last year, only to get into the band a few months later and really regret missing them. So I knew the next time they came within a reasonable distance of my house, I had to make the trip. And man, was it ever worth it. Aside from being constantly slammed in the back of the head by the drunk bros who started a weak mosh pit (the downside to a good showing at Bonnaroo?), it was a fantastic show.

The strange thing about trying to remember PTM’s set is that I can’t really recall what they played with that much accuracy. I seem to remember being slightly let down when I realized they hadn’t played some of my favorite songs, but that feeling is so overshadowed by the excitement I felt when they played the half dozen or so songs that I love. So while I think they might not have played “Work All Day,” they did play “People Say” and “60 Years” and “When the War Ends” and… Well, you get the idea. It’s hard not to have a set loaded with great songs when you’re averaging a fantastic album released every 3/4 of a year.

As if seeing one of my new favorite bands play a show wasn’t great enough, Portugal. The Man played a few covers that seemed picked out of my iTunes most played list. About halfway through the set we got a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” (which I drunkenly professed on my 21st birthday to be my favorite song — I see no reason to take it back) that lead into a cover of MGMT’s “Weekend War.” As soon as they made the switch, the lights dimmed and the lazer light show (above) kicked on. It was, in short, completely awesome.

The encore had two equally awesome covers as well. The first was Harry Nilsson’s “One,” which was so seamlessly integrated into the set that I almost didn’t notice they’d started playing it. The second was a joint effort between all three bands, Port O’Brien, the Dig and Portugal. The Man. To end the show, all the bands came back out and did a heartwarming take on the Kinks’ song “Strangers.”

More photos after the break

Continue reading Portugal. The Man @ 20th Century Theater 3.21.10

[SXSW] the Black Keys @ the Mohawk 3.20.10

The Black Keys played only one show at SXSW 2010, so the pressure was on. Everyone in the audience had already passed their test: somehow make it through the long line, into the venue, secure a good spot and hold it through the uncharacteristically frigid weather we were forced to endure. Now the question was, could the Black Keys make their one SXSW show a knockout? Well, if you’ve ever seen them before, you know they couldn’t do it any other way.

The Black Keys are in that rare group of two-person bands I’ve seen that rock harder than most four- or five-person bands (that also includes Death From Above 1979 and the White Stripes). But maybe more importantly, they’re one of the few groups I’ve seen many times and have yet to put on a bad show. Maybe it’s because their music is pretty straightforward — blues rock riffs and a lot of rocking out — but whatever the reason, they always deliver and their show at SXSW was no exception. We got a nice long set packed with newer hits and even a few back catalogue tracks — enough to make the long wait in the cold totally worth it.

More photos after the break

Continue reading [SXSW] the Black Keys @ the Mohawk 3.20.10

[SXSW] Broken Bells @ the Mohawk 3.20.10

I kind of feel like I owe an apology to Broken Bells. I was kind of harsh on “the High Road” when we first got to hear it and only recently have come around. It took me a few spins of the record (and the realization that “the Ghost Inside” is one of my favorite tracks of the year so far) but I’ve finally joined Team Broken Bells. So what better way to celebrate than by catching Danger Mouse and James Mercer live for the first time?

I can’t say that Broken Bells put on a great show, but I can say that if I didn’t know the two primary members were musical mega-stars, I would have thought that they did a remarkably good job. But when your previous gigs include writing arguably the best song of the last decade (“Crazy”) and being in one of the best indie pop groups of the past decade, it’s hard for people not to have elevated expectations for your show. So really, I guess the fact that I wasn’t disappointed is a weird way of saying that they did a great job.

More photos after the break

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[SXSW] Demolished Thoughts (Thurston Moore, J Mascis + Friends) @ the Mohawk 3.20.10

Thurston Moore’s set at the Mohawk was admittedly fun, but it was another case where I couldn’t shake the feeling that there were literally thousands of people who should have been there rather than me. I was having fun and enjoying the show, but a set pairing Thurston Moore and J Mascis with a few of their buddies just seems like something only a superfan should get to enjoy.

Throughout the whole set, I couldn’t help think that Thurston Moore is the generation before mine’s Mick Jagger — and if so, he is completely kicking Mick’s butt. I mean, compare what they do when they want to team up with friends and make music: Thurston rocks out with his buddies on some minute-long punk songs… and Jagger does this. You win this round, Thurston.

[SXSW] Local Natives @ Stubbs 3.20.10

Given it was my third time seeing Local Natives in three days, you might think that my excitement would have waned noticeably before their show Saturday at Stubb’s. Not so. No, I knew I had to soak in all the good music I could at SXSW and sometimes that means seeing one of your favorite bands multiple times.

Local Natives had a packed crowd before their show at Rachael Ray’s event, which could have been due to their great live show but also could have been due to the free bloody marys. But since free booze is like water at SXSW, I’m betting it had more to do with their reputation for a great show.

More photos after the break

Continue reading [SXSW] Local Natives @ Stubbs 3.20.10