Incoming: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Feb. 23


Stateside Presents has unleashed a whole batch of upcoming shows, already filling up that 2010 calendar I don’t own yet.

Other than the St. Vincent show on Feb. 11, I’m most anticipating the Phoenix debut of young Scottish foursome We Were Promised Jetpacks on Feb. 23 at Rhythm Room. (Bear Hands opens the show.)

WWPJ put on quite a (loud) show when we saw the band in Tucson in September as the opener for The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit on the Fat Cat world domination tour. Now with a little seasoning as a touring act, it’ll be interesting to see how WWPJ plays on this second U.S. leg. There definitely was a tense/raw edge in Tucson – similar to what you’d hear on the debut full-length These Four Walls – that I hope hasn’t faded.

(Photo credit: Neil Thomas Douglas)

Here’s a video snippet I took of the band performing It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning in Tucson:

Jimmy Eat World (?!), Source Victoria, Reubens Accomplice, El Oso Negro at Modified tonight

In what is shaping up to be a show I’ll regret missing for years to come (thanks, work), it appears Jimmy Eat World is playing a full-band “secret” show tonight at Modified as the venue winds down its 11-year run as an indie music venue.

Though not officially announced by the band as I type this, Jimmy Eat World did send out this tweet earlier today: “Stay tuned today for a surprise announcement. If you live in PHX and have plans for tonight, cancel them.” And, well, it’s in the press now, too.

So, if you’ve never seen Jimmy Eat World at a 150-person venue (I did … back in the Clarity years), now’s your chance. Reubens Accomplice, Source Victoria and Ian Stupar of El Oso Negro will play acoustic sets prior to JEW’s performance. Should be epic. Someone please take lots of video.

Frightened Rabbit on Daytrotter


With Frightened Rabbit expected to release an album – The Winter of Mixed Drinks – on March 9 (album artwork abovve), I’m a little surprised the band didn’t offer anything new for its recent Daytrotter session, like the first single, Swim Until You Can’t See Land.

Not that I’m complaining. The four-song set includes three tracks off my 2008 favorite The Midnight Organ Fight, and the band even reached back to its debut, Sing the Greys, to dust off The Go-Go Girls.

According to the band’s label, Fat Cat, here is the tracklisting for The Winter of Mixed Drinks:

01 Things
02 Swim Until You Can’t See Land
03 The Loneliness and the Scream
04 The Wrestle
05 Skip the Youth
06 Nothing Like You
07 Man/Bag of Sand
08 Foot Shooter
09 Not Miserable
10 Living in Colour
11 Yes, I Would

You can also catch tireless frontman Scott Hutchison performing an Oxjam set in Edinburgh for Off the Beaten Tracks.

Modified memories: Ami Johnson (booking manager)


Modified Arts, an all-ages venue in downtown Phoenix that has been a staple of the local music scene and a vital venue for touring indie bands for nearly 11 years, will change direction and transform into a space focused mostly on art. (Read more here and here.)

As such, I am collecting thoughts and memories from the musicians who played there and the fans who attended its many shows. This is less an obituary and more a celebration of a less-than-perfect but charming venue that, as we know it now, will be missed.

This entry comes from Ami Johnson, the booking manager at Modified who recently was named “best bouncer” by Phoenix New Times.

I will be the first to say I am not an expert on Phoenix and everything and everyone that has helped shape it and dream it into the stimulated hot spot it is today. I moved here from Flagstaff only 5 years ago with, essentially, “big dreams”. But since being thrust into the culture a couple years ago, it’s been my goal to learn as much as possible from those successful and inspirational people around me. The kind of people that create, the kind of people that create change.

That is one of the main reasons I’m going to miss Modified Arts. Meeting new people everyday that have such an impact on those around them. Hearing people connect with others through their music. Seeing an absurd amount of show attendees packed into a small area just catch a little glimpse of something amazing. It was a special place where those life changing musical experiences would happen no matter if there were 20 people in the room or 200.

As I come upon my last week with Modified in my care, I know my woman hood will get the best of me and I will cry. I already got a little watery eyed during the Sea Wolf show a couple months back. I’m gonna miss turning on the vents because it smells, but then turning them off because it’s so cold. I’m gonna miss holding my breath watching the speakers sway when the crowd would start to jump or dance around. Definitely gonna miss running to Circle K because we ran out of change and them saying, “This is the last time!”

And no matter how many times I say I won’t, I will miss answering questions like, “Oh, is that beer in the cooler?”, “Can I leave and come back in with this stamp?”, “What is this stamp a picture of anyway?” and of course the crowd favorite, “Can you turn on the air conditioning?”. I just wish I took a tally of how many times I heard “Can I get my girlfriend in?”. I admit, I love it. I had a great time taking care of a simple building that had the ability to be such a huge and essential part of so many people’s lives. At first, I was scared out of mind but the community welcomed me with open arms. Thanks so much for that. I’ve had a blast sitting up front, it has made me into an extremely lucky person to have had the experiences I’ve had there.

My only regret is I never got to play on the stage myself. Well, I did once, but no one was there. And it was awesome.

Jared Bell (Lymbyc Systym)
Stephen Chilton (Psyko Steve)
David Jensen (Art for Starters)

The Twilight Sad: Seven Years of Letters (video)

If a video could perfectly capture a band’s style and temperament, look no further than the Adam Stafford-directed clip for The Twilight Sad’s Seven Years of Letters, the new single from the standout 2009 album Forget the Night Ahead.

In typical unnerving Twilight Sad fashion, this video is gray and bleak — some might even say downright haunting. Though seemingly cathartic in the end, the means to reach it are fairly chilling.

Giveaway: Port O’Brien’s Threadbare on vinyl


I usually don’t make it a habit to run contests and such around here. But I’m making an exception this time because I think Port O’Brien’s newest, Threadbare, is an album deserving of reaching as many ears as possible.

With that, I can tell you I have five copies – FIVE! – of Threadbare on vinyl to give away to a handful of lucky souls. And I’m not really interested in making you jump through hoops to win. Just send me an e-mail to with something like “Threadbare vinyl” in the subject line by the end of this coming Sunday (Dec. 6) and I’ll pick five entrants at random.

Good luck and thanks for playin’.

I Used to Love H.E.R.: Van Pierszalowski (Port O’Brien)
Port O’Brien on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic