We made a late reversal on Friday night, opting to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Black Angels at Martini Ranch instead of the Black Keys and Jay Reatard at Marquee Theatre. It’s a good thing, too, because I heard Reatard was sick and didn’t play.
From what I can tell, the Black Angels were a last-minute addition to the lineup for the show, which was sponsored by a cigarette company. (No, I didn’t give them any of my information, thank you.)
The contrast of the night was surreal. The Black Angels – full of reverb and psych-rock revival – playing at a venue in the heart of Scottsdale that also happened to be hosting “Juicy Ladies Night” at an upstairs room. Odd, to say the least.
I’m not sure most in attendance knew what to expect when the Black Angels covered the place like a blanket, a thick fog of reverb and distortion. Certainly anyone who stumbled in from “Juicy Ladies Night” knew right away they took a wrong turn. For those of us who didn’t grow up in the nascent days of psychedelia and punk in the ’60s and ’70s, we can be thankful a band like the Black Angels will show us the way.
The group is preparing to release its second full-length, Directions to See A Ghost (Light in the Attic Records) on May 13. You can pre-order the record a month prior to the release date and receive a bonus EP with four unreleased tracks (details here).
Check out the lead single, Doves, described in the record’s liner notes as “an interpretation of love.”
Last Wednesday I went to the Last Exit in Tempe with the selfish intentions of seeing Source Victoria and then taking off. But then The Via Maris kept me around for a song … and then two … then three … then the whole set.
It makes sense that singer Chad Sundin is a Valley native. The Via Maris’ music, like Calexico, expertly conveys the feelings of living in a desert metropolis, especially on the title track to the band’s first album The Wilderness Underneath: “Even though the air is dry, the ground is feeling softer now.”
As Serene Dominic of the Phoenix New Times put it: “Sundin has waged an internal tug-of-war between belonging to the desert he came from and feeling decidedly landlocked.” It’s a feeling not uncommon among a lot of young people in Phoenix – we envy a city like Los Angeles but wouldn’t dare move there.
As big as Phoenix has become, it’s still seeking an identity – socially, musically and all points in between. The Via Maris, an alternative to alt-country, follows the likes of Calexico and Giant Sand in helping us feel like we belong.
The group is releasing its second album, The Bicentennial, with a release show on April 11 at St. Augustine’s Church in Tempe (1735 S. College Ave.). It starts at 7:30; cover is $5. Nick Jaina (Portland, Ore.) and David Williams (Utah) also are performing.
This is 2 minutes and 31 seconds of joyous piss and vinegar. More than a breakup song, Extinction extends the trusty middle finger to the singer’s ex. Or, as Robot Mark succinctly put it: “It’s just a good old fashioned fuck you to that bitch who wasted your time. He doesn’t owe anything to her. And that’s that.”
I know I’ve been squeezing out a few posts on the news of this Kanye West show in June in Glendale, but I’m getting myself pretty geared up for it. I mean, I haven’t been to a big arena show in a really long time, and the money I spent Thursday on pre-sale tickets for the show is just … sigh … let’s just say I’m selling the naming rights to my first born to afford it. (Yes, Wells Fargo Murphy makes a great name, I think.)
Seeing N.E.R.D. is no doubt one of the highlights for the show. It’s odd, but I’ve been waking up recently singing the group’s Rock Star for some reason. (But then, I had a dream yesterday morning that the National were playing Phoenix and Lenny Kravitz opened … what … the … hell?)
Check out a new track, Everyone Nose, from the group’s forthcoming LP Seeing Sounds.
I’m pretty new to the world of Jay Reatard, which appears to be a twisted and sometimes bloody mess. When I told a friend I was on the fence about going to see him open for the Black Keys this Friday at Marquee Theatre, his response/promise won me over: “It’s the best 18 minutes of your life.”
The only other time I’d really heard Jay Reatard’s name was from a friend who plays in the band Tokyo Electron, which toured with Reatard (or do I say “Jay”?) in 2007.
Pitchfork has the scoop on a series of 7-inches being released by Matador, Reatard’s new label. I can’t even keep track. Apparently, he’s prolific and stuff.
One of the tunes I’ve been enjoying in preparation for the Best 18 Minutes of My Life is Nightmares, from the 2006 record Blood Visions. Like most of his tracks, Nightmares starts and stops before you realize it (2 minutes, 15 seconds), but it pulls you in with a surprisingly catchy chorus/hook.
Also, Reatard is sharing a new song, Tiny Little Home, on his blog.
MySpace, a social networking site you might have heard about, has started a studio-session feature called Transmissions. It looks fairly new as Nada Surf and (gulp) James Blunt appear to be the only artists in the archives thus far.
The Nada Surf session is, well, good … but also kind of awkward. A few strange camera angles seem to catch singer Matthew Caws staring off into the nether. I suppose that’s natural when you’re playing in front of an audience of cameramen. I’m just happy to see the band dig back a little bit for some older tunes.
Here’s a couple of the videos. Go here for more music and interviews. You can also buy the performance on iTunes (duh).
No, I didn’t go to South by Southwest (again), and, I gotta say, the coverage of the festival this year seemed to increase tenfold. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Just an observation. I did grow a little weary of it by, ooooh, the second day.
Hearing this set – albeit a short five songs – confirmed a couple things: a) I probably need to get this record on vinyl; b) I really should have gone to Tucson to see him last week at Plush (probably one of the finest venues in the state).
Anyway, be sure to subscribe to the NPR All Songs Considered podcast to get the full download, which includes an interview in which Vernon notes that the live setting gives the songs a chance to “crawl out of their shell,” a great way to describe it considering he wrote the album in an isolated cabin in the woods.
Also, from listening to the full set (I clipped out a bit of the banter in between songs) you get the sense that Vernon is truly appreciative and grateful for the fans and for being able to play for them.
Bon Iver, live at SXSW, 3/13/08, The Parish (via NPR):