Friday, July 30, 2010

Orca Team

Just poking around the inter-web-thing (listening to Brian Turner's show on WFMU mostly), and found this very appealing video by a band called Orca Team, from Portland. It's called "Let It Go" and I have now played it four times in a row without getting the least bit tired of it.

Want to have a go?

Things I like about this video, in no particular order, include:

1. The tuxedo.
2. The balloons
3. The hand-made, orca-themed drum-head covers
4. The bassline
5. The dreamy clarity in a world of un-thought-through commitment to fuzz
6. The song itself...which is really, really nice.

So yay, Orca Team...why not get the hell off the west coast and come see us out here?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh, my god have I been wasting time today…

This is embarrassing. I got this app that lets you upload images into iTunes for all the records that iTunes doesn’t recognize, which is a pretty good chunk of mine, and I’ve been doing this ALL FREAKING DAY, can you believe it? I feel sick and obsessive and vaguely criminal. (It is especially time-consuming and pointless on dial-up.) But on the bright side, I believe I’m finished now. It all looks really nice. Thanks for asking.

Meanwhile, Blurt’s got a review of Streets on Fire This Is Fancy, which you might recall from my mix CD, but otherwise check the Myspace.

The single’s called “No One’s Fucking to the Radio,” (which is probably true, because all I can ever find is talk and sports call-in shows and crap like that, and who wants to do the nasty when Rush is on or some meathead is droning on about the Red Sox?). Anyway, I really like this band, which is from Chicago and influenced primarily by post-punk but in so ragged and desperate a manner that it seems less a pose than a necessity.

Here’s the first paragraph:
The Streets on Fire missed the dance-punk revival by some five or six years, about the ideal span to forget how tired everyone had become of the manic, pounding beats, the epileptic arm flailing, the hip-jutting, the tortured yelping, the relentless onslaught of hi-hat and bass. It's good timing on the part of this Chicago four-piece, because there was never anything wrong with this sound, not when it was done with conviction. The Streets on Fire have that in spades. It sounds like their hair really is on fire here on this debut, and that is always, always a good thing.

The rest is here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Acid Eater

I’m not sure how I missed this, but my review of Acid Eater’s brilliant Black Fuzz on Wheels ran sometime a week or two ago at Dusted.
Acid Eater is a such great name for a band, especially this band, evoking as it does, the corrosive effect of acid on any kind of surface, the mind-expanding properties of LSD and, just to top things off, the Ramones’ one and only covers album. Black Fuzz on Wheels, the second album from this Japanese punk band led by Yamazaki Maso (also known as Masonna), is a virulent onslaught of crusted garage punk sound, growled and grumbled in indifferent English, fed through echo-plexy distortion mirrors and adorned in an oddly festive way with manic trills of Farfisa. Like Guitar Wolf, Acid Eater takes everything you know about garage rock and turns it up 10 notches, in a sound that is a cartoonishly brilliant exaggeration of what you’ve come to expect.

The whole review

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jim Jones Revue

Veteran rocker Jim Jones (ex of Thee Hypnotics) has a pretty kicking five-piece now…crazed like the Stooges but way swampier and rootsier (they do Little Richard’s “Hey Hey Hey” for instance, and the piano sounds awesome).

You can listen to their live set on WFMU here (it’s a streaming MP3)

Or catch the video of “Rock & Roll Psychosis”

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Arab Strap song, two reissues coming

Chemikal Underground is reissuing Arab Strap's first two albums, The Week Never Starts Around Here and Philophobia and, as a teaser, has made this previously unreleased track's called "Daughters of Darkness," and it's really good. Enjoy. TGIF.


I've been a huge fan of Mahjongg's for five, six years now, since I saw them open for Macha in NOrthampton in 2004. I interviewed Hunter and Caryl there (she's not in the band anymore), and which you can read about that here, if you want. My copy of Raydonkong, I am very proud to report, is a CDR burner with Hunter's address scrawled across it.

So, yeah, of course I wanted to review the new one Long Shadow of the Paper Tiger, their second on K. I was a little put off by the production, but it's still pretty great in parts.

For this, their third full-length, however, this gang of musical anarchists dips into a new cache of sonic material—multi-platinum sounds like auto-tuned vocals and sleek dance beats. The process is the same—chopping blippy bits of tone into Afro-funky rave-ups—but the source material is disturbingly commercial. It takes a little getting used to, especially on the uncharacteristically shiny front half of the album.

The rest

I put "Devry" on my last mix, and since it doesn't look like they're giving anything away, better check that out if you're curious.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crap, my dulcimer is hammered again…

I’ve been dipping in and out of a really remarkable record called Travel er’s Advisory by Matthew Young, which is out now, jointly, on Drag City and Yoga Records. Recorded originally in 1986, this was Young’s second record, following Recurring Dreams. He played all the instruments, most strikingly a hammered dulcimer, which is present on almost every track and the dominant sound on most of the instrumentals. There’s a really haunting, spooky cover of Michael Hurley’s “Werewolf” – for that one, he switched to banjo – and an odd, kind-of-anticipating-chillwave home-made dance-rhythmed track called “Dummy Line”, which Drag City is offering as a giveaway.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Go see Deer Tick…who knows what’ll happen?

So, when I was doing the research for this show preview (yes, actually, I do do research), all the reviews talked about McCauley being drunk and random…which naturally made the piece more fun to write. Kinda like the album, though, which is on Partisan and out since early July. You can check out “20 Miles,” for free.

Here’s the preview

Deer Tick
9pm, $12. Johnny Brenda’s.
John McCauley of Deer Tick is fast becoming one of the most unpredictable performers in roots rock. Teetering like Westerberg on the fine line between drunken brilliance and incoherence, he is known as much for his meandering monologues as for fiery musical intensity. Deer Tick’s latest album The Black Dirt Sessions fuses heart-scorching country authenticity with the guitar overload of 1970s radio, and if McCauley doesn’t close with aninebriated cover of the Mats’ “Can’t Hardly Wait,” it’ll be the equally triumphant, equally out-of-control “Mange” from the new record. This show is no place for the detached observer, either. “If you don’t want to get covered in beer or confetti at one of our shows, I’d suggest not standing up in the front,” says McCauley. (Jennifer Kelly)

Want to see for yourself? Here are the rest of the dates:

WED 07/21/10: Baltimore, MD - Ottobar *
THU 07/22/10: Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel $
FRI 07/23/10: Floyd, VA - Floydfest
SAT 07/24/10: Floyd, VA - Floydfest
SUN 07/25/10: Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theater ~
TUE 07/27/10: Orlando, FL - The Social ~
WED 07/28/10: Miami, FL - Grand Central ~
THU 07/29/10: Tampa, FL - Crobar ~
FRI 07/30/10: Tallahassee, FL - Engine Room ~
SAT 07/31/10: Atlanta, GA - Buckhead Theater ~
SUN 08/01/10: Nashville, TN - Exit In
TUE 08/03/10: Oxford, MS - Proud Larry's ~
WED 08/04/10: Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone ~
THU 08/05/10: St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway ~
FRI 08/06/10: Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
SAT 08/07/10: Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
SUN 08/08/10: Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
MON 08/09/10: Toledo, OH - Mickey Finn's
TUE 08/10/10: Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
WED 08/11/10: Cleveland, OH - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
THU 08/12/10: York, PA - Capitol Theater
FRI 08/13/10: New York City, NY - Webster Hall

Europe 2010:
FRI 10 September 2010: Dorset, UK - End of the Road Fest
TUE 28 September 2010: London, UK - Cargo
WED 29 September 2010: Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
THU 30 September 2010: Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute
FRI 1 October 2010: Glasgow, UK - Captain's Rest
SAT 2 October 2010: Belfast, UK - Auntie Annie's
SUN 3 October 2010: Dublin, Ireland - Whealans

Here they are covering “Can’t Hardly Wait.” What a great song.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The them and all you get is the drummer from U2

Don’t mind me, just indulging my garage rock proclivities with a review of the new album by The Mullens, out now on super-retro Get Hip Records.

The Mullens, out of Dallas, churn out 1960s-style rock with power pop tunefulness, tipping a nod to all the expected garage rock forebears - Stones, Kinks, Who, Dolls, Ramones to name a few. It's Hard to Imagine, their fourth album, is a good time, but a familiar one, with hard, cynical Glimmer Twins struts ("Something for Yourself") next to oddly sweet paisley daydreams ("Cellophane"), crashing Kinks power chords ("You Really Move Me") co-existing with laid-back Byrds-ish country psychedelia ("Someday").

It ran last week at Blurt. Read the whole thing here.

The MySpace

Monday, July 19, 2010

600 posts…how about a new mix to celebrate?

My 600th post has arrived, so I thought I’d use the occasion to share some tunes that I’ve been listening to lately.

DL the mix here

1. !!!’s “The Hammer”: the darkest, spookiest cut on !!!’s fourth full-length, an album which is quite a bit lighter, more disco, less funk, than earlier efforts, but still pretty rad.

2. The Streets on Fire’s “Astronaut Love Triangle”: Been really liking this post-punk-ish outfit from Chicago, who are angsty and ragged in a way that bespeaks not premeditated edge as a marketing strategy but actual almost-coming-apart-at-the-seams. Which I prefer, obviously.

3. Mahjongg’s “Devry”: My favorite dance/afro-beat/techno/free improv band went a little nuts with the autotune on their latest, The Long Shadow of the Paper Tiger, but I really like this song.

4. Acid Eater’s “Searching for Love”: Like Guitar Wolf with farfisa. Those crazy j-punks.

5. So Cow’s “So Cow Vs. the Future”: Freaking LOVE this band, here live on WFMU presenting their obligatory one-song-with-the-band-name-in-it.

6. Ty Segall’s “Girlfriend”: Best song off Melted, quite possibly best Ty so far. (I’d say ever, but he’s moving so fast it’s hard to get a handle on him.)

7. Batusis, “Big Cat Stomp”: Surprisingly hair metal instrumental from the new collaboration between Cheetah Chrome and Sylvain Sylvain.

8. Adam Franklin and Bolts of Melody’s “She’s Closer Than I’ve Ever Been”: Breathtakingly beautiful fuzz from the Swervedriver frontman’s latest album.

9. Wild Nothing’s “Chinatown”: Very nice dreamy guitat pop from hotly tipped VA songwriter with a new album out on Captured Tracks.

10. Carissa’s Weird’s “Blue Champagne Glass”: In which you can hear Mat Brooke try out the vaulting hooks and dreamy tunefulness that later turned up on Band of Horses and, especially, Grand Archives.

11. Mountain Man’s “Mouthwings”: Very lovely a capella harmonies from this three woman alt-folk outfit who met at nearby Bennington College.

12. Current 93’s “Tanks of Flies”: Who knew that the end of the world would be so god-damned pretty?

13. Shannon Stephens’ “Panic”: Sufjan protégé has a self-titled record out, the follow up to last year’s excellent Breadwinner, and I don’t know about you, but I’m hearing a little bit of Linda Perhacs here.

14. Brett Eugene Ralph’s “Kentucky Chrome”: one of those novel-in-a-song phenomenons, from an actual writer of fiction, with the help of a couple of neighbors from Kentucky, like Will Oldham.

15. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, “Silver Shirt”: The undisputed highlight of the pair’s new all-covers album, a bittersweet take on no-hit-wonder Plummet Airlines’ mid-1970s a-side.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Polite Sleeper and So Cow

I’ve been talking about going to the new Flywheel for months, but not doing anything about it. Last night, finally, we went to a show at the new space, which is, during the day, the Easthampton Town Hall. It’s a nice set-up, actually, with more room and much cleaner bathrooms than the old Flywheel. It feels actually, like a high school gym in some ways, a flag in one corner, tin ceiling painted over, wooden floors and large electric fans (which were needed last night, it was really hot).

So, anyway, we went down more or less on a whim, since Sean’s off from theater this week, and we don’t have to get up very early. (Also, my business has been dead in the water for a couple of weeks, hope it picks up when people get back from vacation.) There were four bands, two I’d heard of, two I hadn’t. The two I’d heard of were Polite Sleeper (from Brooklyn, though they play Philadelphia all the time and I’ve written about them) and So Cow from Ireland. I’m just going to talk about these two bands, because the first one, whose name escapes me, was notable mainly because the sound was lousy. It might have been some kind of Vivian Girls-Black Tambourine-Vaselines take on messy, girl-fronted pop, but really, all you could hear was the bass and guitar. The girl who sang was almost entirely inaudible. We left before the last band.

I was really glad to get a chance to see Polite Sleeper, because I’d been enjoying their CD, Lake Effect, off and on. The album is a keyboard-heavy, jittery, baroque pop, and, sure enough, they’d brought a pretty elaborate keyboard set, including what looked like the insides of a baby grand. The live set is quite a bit more nervy and punk than the recorded material, with the rhythms really pumped up and the lush, dreamy parts kind of disappearing. Jason Orlovich, the singer, he of the Darnielle-ish yelp and vibrato, has a very intense persona onstage, jumping around antically and dragging the mic stand all over the stage. The vocals weren’t really loud enough to hear lyrics, but I’m pretty sure they did “Driving Ohio,” but not my favorite “These Are Not Fall Colors”. It was really good, though, a lot more energized and cathartic than I expected…though, geez, wouldn’t you think I’d expect bands to be louder and rougher live by now?

So Cow was even better, also a trio. It sounds like it was originally kind of a solo project for Brian Kelly (no relation, I do have a brother-in-law with that name, but different guy), but for this show, it’s a trio, and the rhythm section is really good. Also crucial, because what So Cow does in its short, fast, intense blurts of song, is cram a whole history of punk rock in – with bits of ska, pub rock, hard-core and noise all jammed in together. It sounds like a mash, but really it’s not, and that’s where the rhythm section comes in, drum and bass, rough-housing over time changes and mood swings, intensely on all the time, so that you always know exactly where you are, and the hard stuff – change-ups, sudden stops, etc. – goes pretty flawlessly. They’re not polished exactly, but very, very tight…and a helluva lot of fun. If you get a chance, go see them. They’re at the Seaport tonight with the Ohsees (another awesome band, do it, NYC’ers) and then back to Ireland.

There are a whole bunch of MP3s at the Free Music Archive from a live show they did at WFMU. Go here to check them out.

I’m interviewing !!! today, and really not very well prepared, so I’d better get on that, hadn’t I?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I wrote my Current 93 James Joyce

Okay, just for fun, I submitted two paragraphs of my latest review, the one of Current 93's Baalstorm, Sing Omega, to I Write Like, and it said that I sounded like James Joyce. I haven't been this amped since another site that does similar magic for photos said that I looked like Kate Winslet.

Anyway, here are the two paragraphs.

David Tibet’s latest, the third in a series that began with Black Ships Ate the Sky, dances again with the apocalypse, though this time the world’s end seems like a quieter, more personal event. Most of the abrasive, distorted elements of Tibet’s sound have been toned down, his wilder incantations reined in, so that the main tenor is one of acquiescence, acceptance and nostalgic fondness for the world going down in flames.

As always, Tibet is engaged in large themes: lust, sin, redemption and a physical, wholly non-metaphorical battle between good and evil. Aeon, a Greek word for, variously, “life,” “the life force,” “eternal life,” and Plato’s world of ideals, plays a recurring role in his intricate mythology, along with Aleph (possibly a stand-in for everyman) and Baalstorm, the violent finish to life as we know it.

Joycean, yeah, I'll take it.

And the rest of the review, unless you'd rather just read Ulysseys again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Woods feature

I've got a pretty long, pretty complicated feature up right now at PopMatters about Woods the band and Woodsist the label, which I was really proud of until it turned out that there were four-five fairly minor factual errors in it, which the source pointed out , and now I don't want to ever do a feature again. But, bad luck, I'm interviewing Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby later today, so right back on the horse.

Here's the Woods thing:

Out of the Woods: The Freaky Beautiful World of Woodsist
By Jennifer Kelly 12 July 2010
You can call it bucolic psychedelia. You can make comparisons to the Beach Boys or the Grateful Dead. You can evoke campfires and fireflies and beachside keg parties. But when you’re aiming to describe the hand-made, DIY aesthetic that surrounds the band Woods, the labels Woodsist and Fuckit Tapes and the loose fellowship of fellow travelers that surrounds them, please don’t use the term “lo-fi.”


Monday, July 12, 2010

Carissa’s Wierd…just to drive your spellcheck crazy

Had a kind of quick turnaround review of the Carissa’s Wierd retrospective, out this week on Sub Pop sub-label Hardly Art…very nice, wish I’d had more time with it. This is a band that came and went with mostly local (Seattle-area) recognition, but whose members went on to form Band of Horses and Grand Archives. I said:

Carissa’s Wierd, the intentionally misspelled, quietly radical Northwest indie band that never broke big, made a music that distills adolescence. Moody, disconsolate, tetchy dissatisfaction ran through the band’s songs, rising to the surface in twitchy bits of percussion, occasional profanities, and a profound discomfort with the way things are. Yet, like teenagers, as the songs recoil from the real world, they draw back into a cloudier, dreamier space, defined by whispered verses, twining strings and sweet collisions of parts and counterparts. The songs are often beautiful, but never exactly easy, their effortless melodies shot through with stinging, scornful angst.



“The Color that Your Eyes Changed with the Color of Your Hair”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another van theft

Phosphorescent had their van and all their equipment stolen last night in Brooklyn. They don't care about the van, which was insured, but the instruments are another story.

Here's what they said:

Last night, after an amazing show at Pier 54 in New York City, Phosphorescent’s rental van -along with all of their equipment – was stolen from outside a residence in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Last night’s show was the first night of their scheduled six-weeks US Tour. Among the stolen items was Matthew Houck’s custom, irreplaceable 1955 Gibson ES-125 guitar, vintage amplifiers, and a vintage pedal steel with losses totaling around $40,000. If anyone has ANY information or leads on what might have happened, or if you see any of this gear in pawn shops, on Craigslist, etc, please call the NY Police Department, Vector Management, or anyone you think might be able to help recover this gear. The van rental company is insured – they are covered for their van and are therefore not greatly concerned with recovering it. Phosphorescent DOES care though, greatly, about recovering any of this gear possible, and about right now figuring out how to rally up and make this US Tour happen. Anything anyone can do to help would be simply amazing. We have set up a Paypal account for anyone wishing to donate funds to help replace gear – anything helps. We will be sending updates about the upcoming tour dates ASAP. Thanks in advance for any goodwill and assistance and thank you for your support over the years.

Paypal donations can be sent to:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brett Eugene Ralph’s raw country noire

This is the second time in a week that I’m covering artists that emerged out of Louisville’s hardcore punk scene, though with the first, Coliseum, you could tell, and with the second, Brett Eugene Ralph’s Kentucky Chrome Review, I challenge you to find a trace of it. Ralph is a writer first, a musician secondarily, but he’s pretty good at the music part, too, and he brings in a whole passel of bold-faced collaborators to this project: Catherine Irwin, Jason Loewenstein, Will and Paul Oldham, Wink O’Bannon, Paz Lenchantin and others. My review went up today at Dusted, beginning:

“Traditional sounding, with its stately fiddles, close harmonies and Americana-rooted melodies, Brett Eugene Ralph’s Kentucky Chrome Review is, like all country worth listening to, nonetheless wildly unconventional and rebellious. There’s no moral certitude, no just desserts in these songs. It’s country without the god and patriotism, a non-judgmental peephole into landscapes of teenage strippers, abusive fathers, murderous boyfriends and unfettered, unglamorous dissolution.”


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Low…low…low…lowdown

Boz Scaggs
7:30pm, $49.50-$59.50. Keswick Theater.
After a string of three platinum records, including the No. 2 charting, ubiquitous Silk Degrees, suave-voiced Boz Scaggs left his highly marketable blend of funk, R&B, jazz and classic rock behind in the early 1980s. He bought a club in his adopted San Francisco and began hanging out with jazz musicians. His last full-length, 2008’s Speak Low, bears the imprint of this period, revisiting jazz standards like Chet Bakers “She Was Too Good to Me” and Johnny Mercer’s “This Time the Dream’s on Me.” His shows split the difference, reimagining 1970s radio hits like “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” with slinkier, more sophisticated arrangements and slipping in some covers of old favorites. (Jennifer Kelly)

Er, yeah, that was me, urging greater Philadelphia to catch the Boz Scaggs show at the Keswick tonight, in a fit of nostalgia for my lonely, AM-radio tracked teenage years, in which Silk Degrees played a large, unscripted part. (No, I did not buy the record, but in the 1970s, you didn’t need to buy the record to hear it all the time.)

Anyway, if you miss this series of solo shows you can still catch Boz in a 1970s-a-paloosa of a tour with Donald Fagen (cue ear-wormy, unshakeable-once-you’ve-let-it-in “Hey 19”) and Michael McDonald (ditto, only it’s “Wildfire”). Did I mention that Boz used to play with Steve Miller (“I’m a picker…I’m a smoker…I’m a midnight joker”)?

Okay, dates for the Dukes of September Rhythm Tour (Boz, Donald, Michael)

August 2010
19 - Danbury, CT - Charles Ives Center
20 - Atlantic City, NJ - The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
22 - Loudoun, VA - Belmont Country Club
25 - Charlotte, NC - Roadrunner Mobile Amphitheatre
26 - Atlanta, GA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
28 - Raleigh, NC - Raleigh Amphitheatre
29 - Richmond, VA - Innsbrook Pavilion
31 - Boston, MA - Wang Theatre

September 2010
2 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
3 - Wantagh, NY - Jones Beach Theatre
6 - St. Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair
8 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
10 - Cincinnati, OH - PNC Pavilion
11 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
14 - Council Bluffs, IA - Mid-America Center
15 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater
17 - Tunica, MS - Harrah's Tunica
18 - Kansas City, MO - Starlight Theatre
27 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
29 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre

October 2010
1 - San Francisco, CA - Golden Gate Park (HSBF)
2 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint

Really sorry about this, better tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stereo Total and Coliseum

Stereo Total's "LA CA USA" ended the side on half a dozen of my mix tapes in the late 1990s, partly because it was 2 minutes long, mostly because it was so awesome. (These were the driving around to the playground years...a little punk rock went a long way towards making me feel like my old self. And Sean liked it, too, though not as much as SFA's "Chupacabra"). Anyway, with all that baggage, how could I not review the new Stereo Total? And how could I not, ultimately, be disappointed?

My review at Dusted today, begins:

The difference between retro cool and anachronism is one of attitude. You can pillage all the referential kitsch you want – whether roller-rink synth lines, electro-clash machine-drums, J-pop croonery, glitter-ball dance beats or advertising jingle cleverness – from whatever decade and stay current, as long as you maintain the right degree of certitude. “Le hip, c’est moi,” is the necessary stance. Start to doubt yourself, and it’s all downhill.

The rest

Ooh baby, it's "Baby Ouh!"

On the other hand, I had no real expectations for the new Coliseum, having missed the whole KY hardcore backstory, as well as the the earlier Relapse records. So I sort of enjoyed the new House with a Curse and urged everyone in Philadelphia to get the hell down to the show yesterday.

6pm, $10. Barbary.
Ryan Patterson got his start in Kentucky hardcore band National Acrobat before forming the legendarily abrasive Black Cross with his brother in 2001. His latest band, Coliseum, seemed at first to be a continuation of his uncompromising Black Flag-and-early-Dischord-referencing journey. Lately, a switch from hardcore mainstay Relapse Records to the more expansive post-rock territories of Temporary Residence has heralded a change in Coliseum’s sound. House with a Curse, the band’s latest, has string parts, discernible melodies and backing vocal cameos from Bonnie Prince Billy and J. Robbins. Though still blistering, still built on monumental riffs, still ragged with metal-shredded vocals, Coliseum’s songs have taken a more distended approach, with a droning undercurrent that might remind you of Kyuss. (Jennifer Kelly)

"Blind in One Eye"

What's that? You don't live in Philly? You might still be able to see Coliseum. Dates:
Wed July 7 - Bethlehem, PA @ Secret Art Space *
Thu July 8 - Brooklyn, NY @ Europa *
Fri July 9 - Allston, NY @ Great Scott *
Sat July 10 - Montreal, QC @ Friendship Cove *
Sun July 11 - Ottawa, QC @ Maverick's (18+) *
Mon July 12 - Toronto, ON @ Parts & Labor *
Tue July 13 - Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Community *
Wed July 14 - Cleveland, OH @ Grop Shop *
Thu July 15 - Detroit, MI @ Smalls (21+) *
Fri July 16 - Dayton, OH @ Blind Bob's *
Sat July 17 - Toledo, OH @ Frankie's *

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Couple new reviews at Venus

Wow, it’s so hot. I ran this morning early, but still had to cross the road to stay in the shade, because the sunny side was like an oven you could bake cookies in…I am still faintly brown on top, but a little runny in the middle (and this is making me hungry).

Okay, so last week was a HUGE week in terms of my writing actually seeing the light of day, with two interviews turning up at PopMatters, three reviews at Dusted and two at Venus. I know I’ll hit a dry spell soon and I should save stuff so I don’t have to do those ridiculous, “here’s what I listened to twice over the weekend, and liked but have no idea what to say about, so why not just check out the MP3” posts. But I can’t resist. Here are two new reviews from Venus.

The Harvey Girls I’ve Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately

The Harvey Girls (neither named Harvey and only one a girl) have been making eclectic electropop since the early ‘00s, splicing dreamy psychedelia to scratchy folk-hip-hop beats. The married couple, Melissa Rodenbeek and Hiram Lucke, has a penchant for sprightly melodies and shadowy subject matter. Resolutely odd—in a charming way—the pair might remind you of Beck on a soft, pastel-tinged bender or Mercury Rev after getting a cheap beat box for Christmas.


Peg Simone Secrets From the Storm
Peg Simone is one hell of a blues guitar player. Her fourth album, The Deeper You Get (self-released), was an eerie mesh of whispered secrets, spectral slides, and detuned dissonance. A stunning conflation of Delta heat and No Wave cool, it reminded you at once of Jimmy Page and Sonic Youth. It caught the ear of rebel heavyweights including songwriter Reid Paley, Pixies frontman Black Francis, and perhaps most importantly, ex-Swans drummer Jonathan Kane. Kane tapped Simone for guitar duties in his current project, the critically-acclaimed, blues-based experiment February, incorporating her hypnotic slides into his already monumental drones. All this history is important because Simone’s latest album, Secrets from the Storm, builds on it and the partnerships she’s developed since The Deeper You Get. Kane plays with her, most mesmerizingly in the heavy-rhythmed “Mirst & Avel,” and his wife, poet Holly Anderson, contributes hallucinatory lyrics to three of the songs, matching Simone’s unworldly guitar textures with fever dream narratives of death and intoxication.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th…check out 3 Leafs

I had a bunch of reviews run last week at Dusted, which I’ll be catching up on as I can, but for now, check out this self-released vinyl-only album by 3 Leafs, a Bay Area psych rock outfit that draws members from Citay, Tussle, Subarachnoid Space, Fresh & Onlys and a bunch of other bands. I said:

All these tracks are loose and improvised, seemingly driven less by how they would sound to other people than how they sound to the players involved. Listening to Space Rock Tulip is like eating at a club where chef’s cook for each other after hours. The skill is there, the ingredients excellent and the presentation ever so slightly jacked up by competition among peers. They’re making it for each other and they could care less whether you like it…but you will.

The whole review

There’s a soundcloud page where you can download some of this band’s work, as well as a blog that has the whole of Space Rock Tulip for download.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I had hardly finished my snotty comment in the Phosphorescent post on PopMatters’ slowness in running music features when I noticed that they had, ahem, just posted my Somi interview. How embarrassing. I apologize.

Anyway, Somi, the multinational, multi-genre’d soul-jazz-world singer…

I took this one on as a lark, knowing very little about the singer but kind of intrigued by her story. It’s not my usual kind of music, to say the least. (I like classic soul and African music a whole bunch, but this is a little too smooth for me…to each his/her own.) Still, it was an interesting interview, and lots of people do like her music, so why not check it out?

Somi: A Complicated Sense of Home
By Jennifer Kelly 2 July 2010

“I’ve come to understand that home is always within us,” says Somi, a vocalist whose transnational heritage is as unclassifiable as her jazz/world/pop/R&B infused sound. Somi spent her childhood in Zambia (where her father worked for the World Health Organization), her adolescence in suburban Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, a post-college stint in East Africa working with AIDS orphans, and she retains strong emotional and cultural ties to her parents’ home in Rwanda and Uganda. With her third album If the Rains Come First, Somi says that she has come to a more all-encompassing sense of who she is and where she comes from – and how that sense of self, and home, gives her strength. “To move through the rains, the challenges that life brings, we can always go to that place within ourselves to find that open palm that’s willing to help us.”


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ty Segall knocks me out again

After a slight dip in my enthusiasm – nothing extreme, just a little “eh” – circa Lemons, I’ve returned to feverish advocacy for Ty Segall, the punk-garage-rockabilly-psych phenom from SF with ties to all the bands out there that I care about – Oh Sees, Fresh & Onlys, Sic Alps, Kelley Stoltz, etc. etc. My review at Dusted (where he was dominating our college radio charts for several weeks in a row) ran yesterday.

I said, ”This is the best album yet from Ty Segall, as joy-ride thrilling as the debut, as clearly delivered as Lemons, but with stronger, more varied writing. Still sloppy, still unpremeditated, but with a little more melody, Melted is the one we’ve have been waiting for.”

Kinda wishy washy, huh?

“Girlfriend” is the best song, but it’s full of good songs.