Muxtape! Muxtape! (What? What? What?)

25 04 2008

Anyone else really loving this whole Muxtape thing?

What you do is go to their website, create a username that will serve as your domain on the site, and then post 12 mp3s to create a virtual playlist. It beats the hell out of waiting to upload your mix on SendSpace or burning a bunch of CDs if you want to share your mixing skillz off (and you know you do).

Caveats: you can’t post more than one song from a given artist or your muxtape will be taken down, and right now it only accepts music files in the mp3 format… other than that, nothin’.

For example, mine features the musical stylings of Atmosphere, Metric, MGMT, and Department of Eagles among many others (… eight others, to be exact.)

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John Vanderslice and The Show is the Rainbow at The Billiken Club (April 17, 2008)

24 04 2008

What better way to celebrate my newly birthdayed self than road tripping it out to St. Louis my favorite artist for to see? It is so appropriate that my comeback to the blog underworld comes at the hand of one Mr. John Vanderslice and his astonishing performance and St. Louis University’s Billiken Club.

Allow me to go on a bit of a jealous rant for a second… The Billiken Club. What a genius concept, really. SLU, a wet campus full of, as far as I can tell, the most uppity and toootally hip hipsters around, happens to have on their campus a concert venue that allows them to reach into their deep private university pockets and pull in amazing national names like Dan Deacon, Enon, Menomena, Caribou, The Twilight Sad, and the Mountain Goats among so many others. It would be one thing if that was it, but it’s not. They also are able to put on concerts with good regularity with FREE admission. Que ridiculo! Being in College Music Committee here at Mizzou, I have a vague idea of what kind of budget we student activities committees have to work with, and we basically wring every last dime from that budget to pay for talent to come out to Columbia, and even when we charge for entry, we STILL lose a lot of money. At this point, I just more or less try not to think about what the operating budget must be for that place… but I digress.

After a quick detour (unplanned) to a Schnucks for directions ol’ lady Gina and I got to the Billiken Club, like the competent young ladies that we are, just in time to see one man band The Show is the Rainbow a.k.a. Darren Keen set up. From the very onset of his frenetic live show, I knew two things: 1. This guy is crazy. 2. I kind of want to marry him.

The Show is the Rainbow’s Darren Keen… during one of a few moments of rest.

Mr. Rainbow hails from my new neighbor to the northwest… Nebraska! He also harbors a lot of resentment towards midwestern behemoth Saddle Creek golden boy Conor Oberst (vomit here) and the rest of his label-mates. In fact, I think he played 3 songs in a row about his hate for the record labels and how they “reject [him] every day.” “Sometimes I don’t even send them demos and they still reject me,” said Keen. A shocking revelation, what with songs like “Do the Skinny” – ostensibly about a girl who weighs 400 pounds, then loses 300 pounds “so she can fuck skinny hipster guys.” The catch? “… all the fat goes in her pussy, so none of the guys can get their dicks in.” Poetry!

He was an outrageously entertaining, and straight up outrageous, performer – running laps around the audience, literally at times, all on a broken foot. How was it broken? By being drunk and naked and falling off a runway at a show in Minnesota. Yep, that’s my kind of guy.

Moving along, Gina and I went outside between sets to enjoy the finally nice weather while simultaneously enjoying a cigarette. And then we did both of those things whiiiile simultaneously chatting up Ian Bjornstad keyboardist/sometimes accordionist in the ol’ Vanderslice band. Super nice guy, super curly and awesome hair, super used to be an ESL teacher in California, super kind of flirted with Gina. Uhhhh….

Anyway, we made our way back inside, and up to the front like the totally not lame fangirls that we are. John, Ian, David Douglas (drums/moog), and the touring violin god that is Daniel Hart took the stage, making “dad jokes” as they played a wide range of songs, spanning years of their discography. Granted, I now love about every song that John has put out over the years, so I am more than a little biased in my views, but the crowd seemed just as excited as we were about the set. Highlights included “The Tower,” “Tablespoon of Codeine,” “Exodus Damage,” and of course, “White Dove.”

Towards the end of the set, the audience voted to forgo a fake “oh hey, we’re gonna leave guys” and then cheer them on for an encore, and instead opted to just take the energy from the set and move it outside to the cool midnight air. John brought his acoustic guitar, Ian brought an accordion and xylophone, Daniel brought his violin, and David brought out a floor tom to perform a handful of songs sans microphones. It was truly unique, and their performance of “Numbered Lithograph” could not have been any better.

Daniel Hart, Ian Bjornstad, John Vanderslice, hipsterzzz (note the Converse/Vans).

With everyone gathered around the musicians, the atmosphere was great and I really couldn’t help but love SLU for being cool enough to not only permit, but foster, this sort of relationship between performer and audience.

As people trickled out after buying their merchandise (John Vanderslice pillowcase, anyone?) Ian introduced us to Daniel and John. While Daniel and Gina talked violins, John and I talked gardening and songwriting – two activities he finds to be very similar. After their current tour ends, Vanderslice et al. will take to the studio to record their next album. Whether it will be ready for a tour in the fall, not even they know, but with a track record like his for both recordings and live shows, those who know, know that John Vanderslice is worth the wait.

Downloads:

School is Cool” – The Show is the Rainbow

White Dove” – John Vanderslice

Exodus Damage” – John Vanderslice

BONUS

Thanks to Schedule Two, based in Minneapolis, for providing concert footage of John and the band’s March 19th performance… Check it out, and footage from other great artists at www.scheduletwo.com.





Don’t Call it a Comeback…

12 11 2007

Wow… a mark of a vacation coming up soon is when the professors start piling on the work. School’s been insane, and I’m almost kind of glad then that October was basically a drought as far as good shows go. On the 30th we road tripped it out to St Louis University to attend their free Hallow-indie show at the Billiken Club featuring my all time favorite… Menomena!

Two great bands opened for them, the first was The Jumbling Towers, a local band that evokes the early (and good) days of Modest Mouse in their musical style, but with a vocal style like nothing I have come across before. The second act, Illinois, was also absolutely phenomenal… they’ve been touring forever it seems, as they came through Houston a few months back with The Hold Steady and are now just kicking off their tour with Menomena. Fans of Weeds (which every really should be) might recognize their song “Nosebleed” from the “Brick Dance” episode from Season 3. They’ve got a very eclectic folk-rock sound that the crowd really seemed to respond well to.

Menomena played a good set as well, although it was identical to the set they played in Houston in June – not that I have any complaints about it, but I’ll be excited to see them end their touring and get back in the studio sometime soon.

Next comes November, which brought about the appearance of probably the best mash-up artist around, Girl Talk. Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, is by far the best reviewed mash DJ, his accessibility coming from his use of both top-40 and more old school sound bytes.  Girl Talk shows are somewhat famous for their stage-breaking, nearly raver atmosphere, and last Thursday at Mojo’s was no exception. With a laptop covered in plastic for protection from sweat and silly-string, Girl Talk kicked out the jams for the manic crowd

By the time I emerged from the Girl Talk show, I think I had danced off 10 pounds and I was completely drenched head to toe in sweat, both my own and that of probably about 30 other people… it’s been a good 4 days since that show and I still am at a loss of words as for how to describe it. All I can say is: Best. Concert. Ever.

Downloads:

Asian Car” – Jumbling Towers

Nosebleed” – Illinois

Cough Coughing” – Menomena

Twenty Cell Revolt” – Menomena

Muscle n’ Flo” – Menomena

Hold Up” – Girl Talk

Bounce That” – Girl Talk

“‘Knife’ Remix (Grizzly Bear vs Clipse)” – Girl Talk





Mixtape!

1 10 2007

New mixtape is hot off the presses… it’s called “Hot Dog Sandwich,” as a tribute to my favorite kind of sandwich that I miss so dearly, and you can pick it up here. (via FileFactory)

Tracklist 

1. Shout Out Louds – “Tonight I Have to Leave It”
2. The Wildbirds – “Way Down Low”
3. Asobi Seksu – “Strawberries”
4. M.I.A. – “$20”
5. ABX – “Bros Before Whoas (Black Rob vs. Panda Bear)”
6. Cadence Weapon – “Sharks (feat. Final Fantasy)”
7. Tokyo Police Club – “Citizens of Tomorrow”
8. M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”
9. The Go! Team – “The Wrath of Marcie”
10. Donovan – “Hurdy Gurdy Man”
11. Arcade Fire – “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
12. Digitalism – “I Want I Want”
13. Car Stereo(Wars) – “Hey Hey Stick Stickley”
14. Tree Wave – “Sleep”
15. Blitzen Trapper – “Sci-Fi Kid”
16. STV SLV – “Got To Get Vans”
17. What Made Milwaukee Famous – “Almost Always Never”
18. Greenskeepers – “Back In The Wild”
19. The 1900s – “Two Ways”
20. Spoon – “Don’t You Evah”

Enjoy!





Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem at the Starlight Theatre (September 28, 2007)

29 09 2007

Just typing out that title, “Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem” makes me giggle… I would say that I have no words to express what a momentous concert it was, but that is untrue.

After much shuffling of rides, I rode to the Starlight Theatre out in KC with my friend and fellow Music Committee member, Doug. We left Mizzou around 4:30, and after a quick detour into Kansas on our way to the show, got to the venue just before 7. Unfortunately, unlike some of my fan-boy friends, we were not among the first however-many to arrive and get these orange bracelets that allowed you to go down to the front.

(I should also note, for the uninitiated, that the Starlight Theatre is an outdoor theatre. Maybe Houston gives it away too easily by calling our outdoor theaters things like “The Miller Outdoor Theatre,” but I had no clue that I was gonna be outdoors in the Missouri chill for this one, which would be my only minor complaint… and even still, I choose to blame the weather.. stupid Missouri.)

We hit up ye olde merch table, bought some tasty $4 water, and assumed our position in the orchestra section.

LCD Soundsystem was the opening act, which really just seems so strange that THE LCD Soundsystem was opening for someone… but it was incredible nonetheless. They (James Murphy plus his touring band of Hot Chip guitarist Al Doyle, drummer Pat Mahoney, bassist Phil Skarich, and keyboardist Nancy Whang) started the set with “Us v. Them” off of LCD Soundsystem’s latest album, Sound of Silver. It’s a good, solid jam, but I was more excited when he followed it with the party staple of ’05 “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” off of the 2005 self-titled album. Continuing, they played “North American Scum,” the absolutely phenomenal “All My Friends,” “Someone Great,” and “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.”

The energy in the crowd, most of them undoubtedly there for Arcade Fire, was pretty amazing. It is not often that you can look out on a crowd of more than a thousand people and see them all dancing, whether they mean to or not, to a band that most have never heard. I would credit it to James Murphy’s incredible emotional energy, which is almost as tangible in his video for “All My Friends,” his ode to the 1990’s rave culture, as it was live. Because, really, what is more universal than late nights with friends, dancing around on drugs, and bittersweet nostalgia?


Video for “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

Arcade Fire was next on the Starlight stage. Televangelists screeched out of screens set up around the stage, growing into a cacophony that frenzied the crowd before the band took the stage as the pages of the famous neon Bible flashed on the screens.

The band (sans the incomparable Owen Pallet) took the stage and launched into what was one of the most visually spectacular shows I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. A set of pipes hung in the back as cameras placed about stage provided images of band members that were projected about the stage in brilliant contrast. The effect was strong as people left their seats and crowded in the aisles in order to be just that much closer to the band.

Arcade Fire is a very physical band to begin with, not necessarily in a “thrashing” sense, but they perform in a way that makes them seem as if they are physically pulling every note and word from some deeper place within themselves. Band members hammer away on the glockenspiel, pound on drums, and dance like the crazy, crazy Canadians that they are. They did a good job of playing from both their debut album, Funeral, and their more recent album, Neon Bible, and also incorporated a The Magnetic Fields cover (“Born on a Train”) into the set, saying that Kansas City, “seems like a train kind of town.”

Other highlights included the crowd-pleasing “No Cars Go,” as well as what I think is the greatest rock song of the year, “Intervention” – a song that Win said is “about the governor, or former governor, of me and my brother’s home state.” What state is that? Why, Texas, of course! (Fun fact: Win and William are from The Woodlands). But none compares to when the Fire played “Rebellion (Lies)” to close out the set… it is probably my favorite song I’ve ever seen played live.


“Rebellion (Lies)” live on Letterman

Arcade Fire setlist: Black Mirror, Keep the Car Running, Neighborhood #2 (Laika), No Cars Go, Haiti, In the Backseat, Born on a Train (The Magnetic Fields cover), Intervention, Antichrist Television Blues, Well and the Lighthouse, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), and Rebellion (Lies).

It was a brilliant show, all in all… the atmosphere, the energy, the sweat that covered my friend Danny as Win Butler walked through the crowd.

Downloads:
“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem
“Kick Out The Chairs” – MUNK feat. James Murphy
“Intervention” – Arcade Fire
“Rebellion (Lies)” – Arcade Fire

ALSO: Please look here and consider supporting Partners In Health, an organization working to provide free health care in Haiti, Regine’s birthplace.





Kaiser Chiefs = Sucka Bs

19 09 2007

Well while I’ve been waving my White Rabbits flag all over the place trying to drum up support for them, I was unaware that the Kaiser Chiefs had canceled their tour… I was wondering though why White Rabbits guitarist Alex Even was still bumming around town a few days after their show at Mojo’s.

via AntiMusic

“We’d like to apologize to fans in America and Canada, especially those who have already bought tickets, but something had to give. We’ve been extremely busy all year and had no time to focus on the future, we plan to have new material out as soon as possible and we’ve wanted to record all summer.

“This needs to happen before our European & UK shows at the end of the year so we can play a few of our new songs live, we’re keen to explore new ground, beyond the sound of our first two records, so we’re headed back into the studio to begin that process.”

Too bad, I’m sure that there were a lot of folks out there who were pretty excited when they saw the billing for this tour, and not only does it hurt the fans, but also the supporting acts, who are reportedly pretty bummed about the whole deal as well.

 

Cancelled Tour Dates:
September 18 – Dallas, TX (House Of Blues)
September 19 – Houston, TX (Warehouse Live)
September 21 – Nashville, TN (City Hall)
September 22 – Atlanta, GA (The Roxy)
September 24 – Chicago, IL (Cabaret Metro)
September 25 – Detroit, MI (Majestic Theater)
September 26 – Toronto, ONT (Carlu Theater)





Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party at The Pageant (September 14, 2007)

16 09 2007

After finally breaking down Friday morning on my way to Bio lecture, I decided it was about time I went to the Student Health Center – where I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and they loaded me up with about 5 different prescriptions.
I took my medicine, started feelin’ pretty happy, and then hopped in ye olde Jeep and made a run for St. Louis in order to escape the horror that is parents roaming the hallways of Cramer Hall here on Parents’ Weekend at Mizzou.

We left town around 5 and made it into St. Louis around 7, ate at Bread Co. (Panera everywhere else) and then walked back down to The Pageant to see Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party perform.

The ticket said 8:00, which I assumed to be the door time, but when we got there, Smoosh was already a ways into their set. While they are nothing fantastic, for a couple of 12 and 14 year old girls from Seattle on synth, drums, and xylophone, they were pretty okay. Actually, maybe they were more than okay, but my appreciation of them was overshadowed by my jealousy… who on Earth could ever dream of opening for bands like Pearl Jam, Bloc Party, The Go! Team, Cat Power, Mates of State, among others, when you are only 12… that is straight up insanity. I must give them credit for being badasses… Asya (the keyboardist) evidently rocked so hard that she bled all over her keyboard and kind of grossed out Final Fantasy.

Asya of Smoosh (imagine her just bleeding all over right then… hardcore.)

Cranking ’em through like pros, Smoosh finished their set at around 8:30 and cleared the way for Final Fantasy (a.k.a. Owen Pallett) to take the stage. Now, while Owen Pallett may not necessarily ring a bell, I’m hoping everyone knows of Arcade Fire by now, yes? Well, simply, Owen is the violinist for Arcade Fire.
And he is crazy talented. And kind of a cutie. But also he is gay, unfortunately for me.
He was set up stage right, and I was down in front at stage left, so I don’t have any pictures of him.. but just imagine a cute little guy up there with his violin, singing while an artist created some of the most amazing picture stories on an overhead in the middle of the stage.

He played eight songs with the artist (one for each of “Final Fantasy’s 8 Schools of Magic”) and a few more just by himself.

Final Fantasy’s Eight Schools of Magic

“The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead

He was the best.. the only thing I can complain about is the fact that I was standing near the most dick-headed kids on Earth. For real. Fucking teeny-boppers had a sarcastic comment to throw at ANYTHING that Owen did – from the times that he sang into his violin (“Hey! Hey! That’s not a microphone! HA HA HA”) to the art that was being displayed. Midway through the show I wrote myself a note: “Remember to only go to indie shows from now on.”

For serious people.. he just wants to play his violin. That’s all.

So unfortunately Final Fantasy’s amazing performance had to come to a close, and Bloc Party took the stage, did a whole bunch of typical rock star gimmicky crap and then I felt cheated for going. Plus, the bouncer full on yelled at me for using my brand new camera midway through. At what level does a camera become qualified as a “professional?” When it is no longer a point-and-shoot? When it has a detachable lens? When I am a paid photographer?

I did manage to get a couple shots off though…

Anyway.. Bloc Party was okay. They played “Banquet” which is kind of the only song I like, and then during their finale Owen and Smoosh came back out and danced with Bloc Party, and Owen gave those jerk kids down in front cake, why? Because that’s what Jesus would do. Am I saying Owen Pallett is Jesus? Maybe I am.

Maybe I am.

Downloads:
The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead” – Final Fantasy
Sharks (with Final Fantasy)” – Cadence Weapon
Many Lives (49 MP)” – Final Fantasy
Helicopter” – Bloc Party
Banquet” – Bloc Party