Thursday, February 28, 2008

Return of the Verve

Richard Ashcroft will be damned if My Bloody Valentine gets all the attention!

April 28th and 19th at the WaMu.


Return of X

As just mentioned below, the Airborne Toxic Event became the second best band from Los Angeles as of last night. The band that holds the top spot - and has been holding it down for 31 years now is, of course, X. Exene, John, Billy, and DJ will be returning to New York in May to celebrate this milestone. Still no talk of a new record with Billy as far as anyone knows. Billy hasn't made an X record since Ain't Love Grand back in 1986.

Opening for them will be the Detroit Cobras, the covers band that had a strong cult following for years before unexpectedly turning into hipster darlings in 2007. This has to be tamest opener for X possibly since another Michigan band, the Fags, opened in 2003 Juliana Hatfield in 2005. That's a good thing though.

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Pela @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Pela; Apollo Sunshine
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - February 27, 2008

Brooklyn's Pela came out a whompin' and a whoopin' with their thunderous pop-rock. When they are exquisite, they are the utter definition of it. Led by the whirling vox of Billy McCarthy (who boasts a fine fedora), the band hammers away like a construction crew, not unlike the National (whose drummer was hoppin' around the show) but with a concentrated effort to stomp and jig (and not pause for much else). It should be noted that after about half the set, it did start to wear down but this may have been more from Pennypacker's exhaustion than from the band's music. This was no letdown.
Apollo Sunshine, on the other hand, was bad. After starting off with a pleasant dream-rock song and then a rollicking power-chord ripper, it looked good. But the remainder of the set was drenched in prog-jam affairs that put the thing on autopilot and into snoozeville.

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Your New Favorite L.A. Band: The Airborne Toxic Event @ Pianos

The Airborne Toxic Event; Bombaldi
@ Pianos
New York, NY - February 27, 2008

With their first few chords, the Airborne Toxic Event instantly became the second best band from Los Angeles (hard to top X y'all). Driving power pop, substantive deeper melodies at work in the background, anchored by the deep, flowing voice of Mikel Jollet - this band covers all the bases and then some. This wasn't just a typical show either. This was a PACKED Pianos waiting for these guys, a band arriving only with 3-song EP at the merch table. Furious yet elegant, the total package, the ATE cover all the bases of rock n' roll and lived up to what were obviously high and enthusiastic expectations.
It felt like a CMJ show. An overcrowded Pianos, managers/publicists swarming the band in seconds after the set was over.
It cannot be overstated what an unbelievably good time this was. It's not even March yet, and this may have been the show of the year. And where the heck did they come from? It may be premature, but we may be looking at the next big thing here...
And as previously mentioned, here is a band with a great literary reference, but they've proven that DeLillo's White Noise isn't just an ode to the wonders of fat chicks. That's what the book was about, right?

Caught Bombaldi upstairs while waiting for the doors to open. Seem like nice guys working through the pop-rock thing. More hits than misses. Just don't get the costumes though. But at the rate things are going, these guys will be packin' em somewhere soon.

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Stephin Merritt on Fair Game

Listen here.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Basia Bulat: "In The Night"

With a beautiful voice, Ms. Bulat seems headed for big things, and it will be interesting to see which route she will take. Her music is ripe to go the pure Indie way or crossover to mainstream pop radio. Like her fellow Canadian Neko Case, she has the voice for alt-country but also like her fellow Canadian Sarah Mclachlan, she can add some weight to otherwise conventional radio (lord give us back those days of Fumbling Toward Ecstasy).

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Alan Toussaint On Harry Shearer's Le Show

It was an hour of rock n' roll history.
He wrote this:

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscartone News!

  • The 80th selection for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is by far the best choice the Academy has made in a very long time (American Beauty? Schindler's List? Honestly, it may be Annie Hall). The best film made since Pulp Fiction, this almost rights the wrong made when that film lost.
  • The only thing wrong about the Coens winning Best Director was missing out on Julian Schnabel's rant.
  • My ability to psychically predict these things in the seconds before the announcement fell apart this year. I blew it on the actress awards. But Tilda Swinton - who is one rock n' roll off-beat bad ass in her own world who happens to visit ours from time to time - deserved it from among the field. Ellen Page should have won for lead but it's OK, she has a long, successful career ahead of her.
  • What a strong Actor field, only containing the waste of Johnny Depp's nomination (though that is by no means a swipe at him). The spot should have gone to Frank Langella. Javier and Josh Brolin should have both been in the leads (with Bardem winning), and Tommy Lee should have been in Supporting for No Country, and should have won it. Oh well. And you'd think that with all the "milkshake" love of late, Daniel's clip would have been that, not "I've abandoned my child!"
  • Carr points it out best: Acting sweep for Europe, combined with the trifecta victory of the American fringe Coens - plus the Once win - and you have a night in which the Hollywood factory really faded away, and art for art's sake was applauded.
  • Screenplay awards went as they should have (Wait, really? Wasn't Michael Clayton's genre-breaking script better than the annoying excesses of Diablo Cody's Juno?), but the bigger story is that Cormac McCarthy was at the show, in the flesh.
  • Once, god dammit. Once. It did it. And ace move to bring Marketa back on. That beautiful, warm gal deserved that moment. What a triumphant night for artistic integrity (though the performance could have done without the orchestra; The beauty of that song is the spartan simplicity of it).
  • The picture of "Roderick Jaynes" was terriffic. Shame he didn't win.
  • When did Jack Valenti die? The Academy really needs to ask the audiences to abstain from applauding and just let the memorial play out in a respectul silence (with applause at the end). The applause roller coaster that occurs is sickening.
  • No Obama speeches? Kind of surprising.
  • Ms. Adams. Marry me. If not, it's ok. Mar is right up there with ya.
  • Stewart wasn't as risky as he was a couple years ago, but he was just as funny and this time he had the crowd's support. He's been the only good host since Billy Crystal's first few go-rounds.

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Woody Allen Meets Billy Graham

Part 2

Encore, Encore: The National @ BAM

The National; My Brightest Diamond
@ Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House
Brooklyn, NY - February 23, 2008

The National took advantage of the excellent acoustics at the BAM Opera House on this, their second of two nights closing out the Brooklyn Next festival. Backed by strings, reeds, and horns (and on "Ada" by Sufjan Stevens), in front of beautiful backdrops, and in a gorgeous piece of art & architecture that is the opera house, the band made a very strong case for the superlative "best band in the world". Though it is a title not given to any band out of the cause of mental health, these guys really are taking a stab it.
The enthralling, enchanting voice and aura of Matt Berninger, singing his peerless lyrics, provide the depth and direction for the bedrock, original sound of the band. They articulate his words in song just about as good as he can himself. This is one successful arrangement. And when he's off running into the crowd, standing on arm rests to pound out "Mr. November", the band is holding the fort down on stage. When he's, whether he admits it or not, essaying the definitive capture of these times in this country in "Fake Empire", they are finding new ways to build a chamber of ethereal and heart pumping sound. And when they all work together as the unit they are on the now classic "Abel" or the towering, perfect "Apartment Story", it is simply the best. Period. The best.
Only 1 disappointment: No "All The Wine". Scandalous.

My Brightest Diamond, the project of Shara Worden, was a quality choice of an opener for this particular kind of show. A hybrid of classical, opera, cabaret, American Gothic, and punk (yes that reads like a description of an electronic-less Bjork but there is some originality here of the first order), this is an acquired taste even if one is aiming to see even a symphonic chamber rock band like the National. If you have the patience, this will work for you. It also helps to be in the setting that it is in.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stay Positive: More on the New Hold Steady; Hot Chip Videos; Big NYC Fest

  • Craig and Tad of the Hold Steady talked with Pitchfork about the new record, tentatively titled Stay Positive.
  • Hot Chip played 3 songs and Alexis took some questions for The Interface.
  • Look what's coming to Liberty State Park, another over cooked festival, but the line-up, as is usually the case, is awful tempting:
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    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Magnetic Field to Close

    The best little thing down on Atlantic Ave (by Henry St) is closing up March 31st. Rats. It has been a more than decent venue in terms of line-up but it was a little frustrating to get the bathroom if the place was packed. It was too tiny for its own good. But a lot of great times have been had: King Khan & BBQ Show, Miss Alex White, SSM, DC Snipers, the Black Hollies, Mondo Topless, the Insomniacs, the Bamboo Kids, the Anabolics, and the Hard Lessons. It was Brooklyn's consistent home for garage. Maybe we can head down there for one last time by 3/31.

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    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Pissed Jeans Reviewed in the Times

    by the paper's Jazz expert, Ben Ratliff. No joke.


    The National on Fair Game

    It was a packed edition so the band was only on the air for one song but you can hear their full set here.

    The band will be at BAM's Opera House this Friday and Saturday and L Magazine says it best:
    If we were passengers on Oceanic flight #815 from Sydney to L.A., we would want our time-honored "one CD allowed if stranded on a deserted island" pick to be The National's Boxer.

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    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    New Gorbachov; New Looker

    The Irish band, Gorbachov, who released one of the most fun songs of the decade in "Beat Machine", have some new material out, led by the pretty solid "Go On My Son". It's on Pirate Industries.

    Meanwhile, Serious Business has issued the latest Looker single, "Gates of the City", some of the band's best work yet released. Hear it on the band page.

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    Monday, February 18, 2008

    The Hold Steady's Fourth Record is "in the Can"

    The band's website says it all in pictures.
    And Franz looks like a rabbi.

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    The National Coming to Fair Game

    Stereogum leaks the news that the Cinci-five have recorded a set for Faith and the gang, to air presumably soon.

    Update: tomorrow.

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    Carbon/Silicon: "The News"

    You can think whatever you want about the song's message but don't mess with that awesome riff:

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    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Schedule Two: Videos of the Hold Steady, St. Vincent, the Thermals, more...

    Not a bad site at all, just needs some embedding features.

    Tapes 'n Tapes (1 of 2)
    Akron/Family (1 of 2)
    The Hold Steady
    Asobi Seksu
    Grizzly Bear
    The Thermals
    Andrew Bird
    The Rosebuds
    St. Vincent

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    Last Observations on WRXP, Promise

    Alright, alright, it's a good station. "Road to Nowhere" by Talking Heads? That catchy Fratellis hit from last year? Beck's "E-Pro" and Spoon's "The Underdog"? OK, they got me. It makes the Aerosmith and Sheryl Crow and random 70's arena or (gulp) prog song acceptable.

    Now all they need is a spunky DJ with no prior radio experience to fill in the early weekend morning slots...I wonder who they could pick...hmm....

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    Dream Ticket: The Dirtbombs and the BellRays; MySpace Update

    Unfortunately for us Yanks, it's only happening - as of right now - on March 11th in Auckland. The Datsuns, no slouches themselves, are also on the bill.

    It has been a Pennypacker dream (before there was even a Pennypacker) to see the Dirtbombs and the BellRays on the same bill. There is arguably not a better matched pair of bands. It would be, at least for this blog, the Dream Ticket to end all dream tickets. Forget Police and Costello, R.E.M. with Modest Mouse and the National, Obama and Clinton. This is it.

    Help start the campaign to get the BellRays attached to either some leg of the U.S./Canadian upcoming tour or to get a rain check for the future. Pennypacker knows that the west coast, just as much as the east coast, would want to see this happen.

    And on a side note, this is the last all-out rock pairing Pennypacker would want to see for the Dirtbombs. Ideally, it is time to mix it up. Mr. Stoltz certainly seems to be a real difference from the typical Dirtbombs openers but let's go a step further. Let's tap into Mick's love for dance and techno music. Obviously this is blog bias here but Dirtbombs/Hot Chip? Dirtbombs would have to open there but how about Dirtbombs with the Rapture? Ol' Pennypacker wagers the Dirtbombs could headline the Bowery or the Music Hall of Williamsburg with the Rapture opening. It's all just ideas...


    Meanwhile, the MySpace page has been restored. Hopefully, for good. The content will be restored over the long weekend.

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    Sam Champion, Drug Rug, The XYZ Affair, Salt and Samovar @ Bowery Ballroom

    Sam Champion; Drug Rug; The XYZ Affair; Salt & Samovar
    @ Bowery Ballroom
    New York, NY - February 15, 2008

    So Sam Champion apparently isn't named after the local-turned-national weatherman. Yeah right. Either way, the band Sam Champion revels in an array of 70's arena, southern, and hard rock with many deviations to 80's pop rock (including a cover of Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby"). It's easy to see why they've been a New York happening band for awhile, but they also really should have taken off by now. What's the hold up? This is prime material for major success.
    Insta-Clip 1
    Insta-Clip 2

    The other 3 bands of the night have all been reviewed before and while none of them were bad the first time around, they all exponentially improved since those first times.
    Drug Rug has mutated some of the country stomp from the CMJ show into power chord rock n' roll. They can really get a fire going, especially lil' Sarah Cronin with her Angus Young-style spasms, using a guitar that's probably twice her body weight and practically her height. The band, which seems leaner from the first review, has really tapped into something solid, whether it be from their own material or in a cover of a friend of theirs, who is in a band called Viva Viva (though I swore Sarah said "Diva Viva" which had me wondering about the rhyming schemes and what they are smoking up there in Boston).


    Alex Feder and the lads in the XYZ Affair bookended their set with their twin power pop hits of 2007 but in the middle they played a sly take on Indie pop. They really sound like no one else. The affable, friendly quartet were joined by a small horn section to do a little Earth, Wind, & Fire post-Valentine's groovin'. Watch out for these guys: they had the largest crowd of the night. Side fashion note: guitarist/keyboardist Russ looked like the second coming of Billy Zoom last review in July, now he's sporting a Joe Jackson/Woody Allen combined look. It's good.

    Insta-Clip 1
    Insta-Clip 2

    Salt & Samovar seemed to offer a lot more than what was kind of a lumbering set at the O'Death show in December. They incorporate a larger sound, variations on rock and country, and maybe even a little surf on one or two songs?

    DJ Awesome Goodtimes spun records between sets and now some observations: The Rapture's "Get Myself Into It" is a smash hit and PEOPLE STILL LOVE THE DARKNESS. THE DARKNESS. But the Strokes' "Hard to Explain" killed the crowd. That's right. New Yorkers were still sweet on the Darkness but not the Strokes. `

    Whoever booked this show deserves a slap on the back. This is one of those rare gigs where every act on the bill is a known or budding quantity in the New York music circle. And it was the right mix. Kudos.

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    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Secret Lower East Side Venue Uncovered?

    If it is, that will probably spell the end of that.

    Gothamist reports on a fairly large-sized venue, called The Rumor Mill, (though the link reveals it is more than just a live space) that's been hiding out on Attorney St for quite a bit now. Who could have played there? Jandek? But read some of the comments, it's not really a venue so to speak. It's really a recording studio with invitees to attend the recordings. Or so it says. And some of the other comments reveal an interesting musical history.

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    The Long Blondes Are Coming

    The spunky, sassy Long Blondes will be at Studio B on May 15th and the Bowery Ballroom the next night.

    Quite a season already shaping up in the spring.

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    Sons and Daughters: "Gilt Complex" !!!!

    Now THIS is a rock song:

    March 22 at the Bowery Ballroom

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    New Pornographers: "Myriad Harbor"

    Finally, a New Pornographers song Pennypacker can get behind. Always been a fan of Neko, but the big collective has been...ehhh...but this is a good one:

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    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Dirtbombs News

    • The new record, We Have You Surrounded, is out next week. The tour kicks off tomorrow night in Detroit. The band will be making stops in Chicago and Iowa before going off to Australia for a spell. Following that, they return to North America for a major 50-city-plus tour, with Kelly Stoltz, Dan Sartain, and the Terrible Twos opening up along the way at various points. Locally, they will of course be playing Maxwell's, but this time they are also playing the Bowery Ballroom for the first time since July 2004, the very first time yours truly ever saw them play. Anticipate reviews of both those shows as well as the Philadelphia and Toronto gigs here on the blog.
    • Excellent article in the Detroit Metro Times on Mick's life & career, plus what the future holds.
    • Irish Indie label Infirmary Phonographic will be putting out a new single very soon; The single will have one original and a cover of a Suicide song.
    • As you may have noticed, the MySpace page run by yours truly has been ransacked, either by a hacker or MySpace itself. It's not looking good for a complete recovery but hopefully, even in its diminished form, it will remain the outlet for the band on that social network. Drag.

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    Dream Ticket: The Police with Elvis Costello & The Impostors

    Via Bumpershine

    Local dates are bad: Early August at Jones Beach and PNC.

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    Looker, Scott Biram, Others on VIMBY

    The Budos Band
    Dappled Cities
    The Willowz
    And a profile of the First Unitarian Church venue in Philadelphia

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    Monday, February 11, 2008

    More New York Radio News: KEXP Invades

    Now THIS is what should be happening:

    KEXP, the excellent Seattle Indie music station, announced today it will be taking over blocs of programming on 91.5 FM here in New York City, starting March 24th. The flagship program will be 3 hours morning drive-time followed by a simulcast of the Pacific morning show.

    This is exactly the kind of programming radio needs today and it seems to only be able to come from public radio.

    Update on WRXP: It's getting better. The concept is being fleshed out, and while it may not mean excellent music to these earbuds 24/7, it is turning out to be a noble effort. Also, they played Costello's "Oliver's Army". You can't beat that.

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    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    One of the All Time Greats Passes: Roy Scheider

    The actor passed away today. He was great in great films and great in bad films. His biggest contribution was to the dark golden age of 70's cinema, starting off with the biggest gem of all:


    Grammytone News!

    • Never really into Hip Hop as a whole, certainly never into techno as a whole but damn, that Kanye/Daft Punk collab was the performance of the night.
    • Amy Winehouse was not only respectable in her performance, her acceptance speech was actually thrilling. London! Rockbuster Clue: What did the vineyard owner say to the robber? "Hey! Me wine house!"
    • Missed Feist but caught the Foo Fighters: this is why the Grammys stink. Even with Jason Bateman calling out the "idiots" for not knowing who John Paul Jones is.
    • But this is why rock n' roll is the greatest: Fogerty with Little Richard and the Killer dwarfs all the unnecessary Beatles love tonight.
    • Stripes went 2 for 4, winning Best Alternative Album and Best Rock Single by a Band. They lost the award for packaging for their USB key. Next year, for the brand new Best Merchandise Award, they'll be sure to win.
    • Mainstream country music has been garbage for years but Vince Gill has always been one of the more appealing personalities and he proved it tonight for taking it to Mr. West, all in good fun.
    • Barack Obama went 5 for 5 this weekend against the Clintons. He swept Washington state, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Maine over Hillary. Then he bested Bill for the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy.
    • I really don't get Kanye's need for recognition from the industry. Is this a gimmick?
    • Best Album: not a shock after all. Kanye and Winehouse splitting it up all night, so split the difference and give it (as they usually do) to a legend. More Obama-rama: Herbie wins minutes after Will.I.Am's little thing, whatever that was, and of course Mr. Hancock was in Will's Obama-video. "Yes We Can" indeed.
    So in summation:

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    MGMT is one of the current crop of Brooklyn hipster bands but their big story is that they were discovered early by Columbia Records and signed to a major deal right off the bat, a sign that the big labels are looking to rethink their gameplan in the current music scene and industry.

    "Time to Pretend" is a deserved hit, but "Kids" is their real showcase for just how good they actually are:

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    New York Has A Major New Rock Station

    This is an unexpected development. After 20 years of playing mostly terrible "smooth" Jazz, CD101.9 called it quits on February 5th. In its place is WRXP, and it's billing itself in a unique way. The station says it is independent-minded, in that the DJ's have control. It's not free-format like the immortal WFMU, and it's not a pure Indie rock station, but it says it has an independent spirit, at least in terms of operation. And one thing that sounds really appealing is the "intellectual" branding, as in the DJ's will not be shock jocks, but real rock music lovers. No shtick or gimmicks or dumb names.

    But - as to be expected - it's far from perfect. As the dependency on radio has vanished (due to the horror of corporate playlists and the awesome power of the mp3 and the Ipod), there's no real need for this kind of station. Any time something sour comes on (and it seems to come on frequently), it just proves the lack of necessity for such a station. The station isn't working too well because they aren't as bold as they claim they are. In the 20 minutes I sampled, they played rather popular Van Halen (I fucking hate Van Halen) and Led Zeppelin tracks. Q104 is good for that. They also played some tepid modern rock that fails at contemporary pop stations. Counting Crows? Come on dudes. If I had caught the station's first three songs, I'd have flipped out in ecastasy: "Rock n' Roll" by VU, some R.E.M., and Costello's "Pump It Up" and later followed by, among others, the Flaming Lips...but it becomes very easy to pick apart the playlist after that, as is natural for a snob or for anyone really, in this consumer-in-control technological era.

    If there is one real silver lining to this, it's that all those "smooth" Jazz listeners who were too scared to hear the good stuff, the real Jazz, on WBGO can now head that way and see what the JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZ is alllllllllllllll ABOUT, YA SEE!

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    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    TIME FOR DEATH: Murder by Death and O'Death to Commit Malfeasance Together

    April 4th. Bowery Ballroom.

    Murder by Death


    And this macabre feast will be fresh off the heals of the 3/29 O'Death show with Langhorne Slim at the Music Hall.

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    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    New Maritime Video: "Guns of Navarone"

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    Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

  • From Big Love: "If I want a caboose that old, I'll call Union Pacific." This may have caused the single longest laugh in my head that I have ever had.
  • Invest in potash before it is too late.
  • If there is one thing about Lost I cannot stand, it is the frequent killing of good looking women.
  • I liked Romney's quitting speech. He tried to bring back 2004. He stopped just shy of accusing the left of sedition. Karl Rove must have had a tear in his eye.
  • At the gym, I heard a chap saying "How could anyone have voted for Giuliani? Look how he raised the bridge toll!"
  • I was recently labeled a "faggot" by a long time friend for saying I liked Morrissey. I dread the reaction once the news gets around about Hot Chip. I have to make sure not to sing the line in "Ready for the Floor".
  • So MySpace is dead. Pennypacker is checking out of the interweb social networking business. The Facebook is good for Scrabble but that's about it. Once the bands have cut down on the MySpace, that's it. It's all over. From now on, give Pennypacker a CB radio, a telegraph, and a steam powered death device.
  • Speaking of steam, steampunk is actually pretty cool. Too bad I have no intention of spending anytime in the culture of it. But I will construct a rotary phone that can convert into a gyroscope that can shoot steam-powered bullets of death.
  • I recently caught Tim Gunn on The Daily Show. I remember him from my year of regular television watching, when I had the cable. The man is brilliant.
  • I caught up with that recent Simpsons episode with the 90's flashback. It's really sad that the show had to reinvent its backstory to make up for all the time on the air. The only pop culture reference from the 90's the episode didn't contain was the one about that brilliant animated sitcom that would occasionally have flashbacks to the 70's and 80's. A whole generation of kids have now grown up not understanding the Joe Piscopo references. Sad indeed.
  • 4 references to television in this post. 1 show via DVD, two online, and only one of the programs actually watched on a television set as it aired.
  • The concert calendar hasn't been empty lately, just the Pennypacker Savings Bank. Unlike the big boys, this little operation can't get into shows for free yet. But there is plenty of stuff to see and hear so stay tuned.

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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Fearless Music: For Better and Worse

    Syndicated TV rock n' roll show Fearless Music recently scrapped its five band format for a 10 band format, in which the bands are shown only briefly. This is terrible.

    But on the other hand, the show has redone it's website and, among other things, it has made its archives more accessible. Highlights:

    Heavy Trash

    Hot Chip



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    Sunday, February 03, 2008


    The last Democratic debate brought the two candidates back from the brink of irreconcilable differences and brought the base back to loving both candidates, rather than hating one over the other. And not only was the session not the war that it was last time, it was barely a debate. It was more of a Democratic party strategy session, with a hashing out of the minor (though substantive) differences on a few issues. It was so encouraging that at the end, Wolf Blitzer felt imbued with the spirit to ask the ultimate question: Dream ticket?

    And the dynamics have changed so much, the concept of Hillary being the number 2 isn't immediately laughable. For about 5 seconds anyway.

    Tuesday: Clinton edges out Obama but doesn't finish him off. A few primaries down the road and by the end of the month or by mid-March, it's over. And she picks him for the number 2. They need each other now. They've come this far, and this country is in need of one, last desperate attempt to save it from the end that it appears to be heading for, that why-the-hell-not let's get a 2-for-1 deal. Yes, the concept of having BOTH a woman and a not-white candidate on the ticket will be met with "too much at once, too soon" but this is it. Do or die. Now or never. In 2008, the Democratic party will either nominate a woman or a black man. Do both and show the world that America can still live up to the 238 year old hype that it's never actually had a good hold of.

    But don't count out the idea of Obama at the top of the ticket yet either. This is officially a movement. And there hasn't been a movement that doubled as a presidential campaign in a very long time. It is a bona fide movement. And not only is it about the number of people it is inspiring, it is about how it is inspiring and how much.

    This shit may just be real, son.


    OK, OK I won't lie. Who are we kidding? What do you think is the real reason for the sudden change around here?


    Did you really think I was finally excited again because of his flashy rhetoric and this dopey song? Do you really think the country can be saved by this guy and his hopes and his dreams? Brotha, Please. This about is the hotness. Look at these goddamned sexy sexy people loving this guy and this movement. I even had one of them checking me out on the subway because I was reading Vidal's Burr.

    I mean, he even makes Scarlett smile. Legitimately smile.
    Goddamn! Now that is what a movement is supposed to be like.

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    Shwa Losben @ Rockwood Music Hall

    Shwa Losben; Chris Bergson Band; Franz Leadon
    @ Rockwood Music Hall
    New York, NY - February 2, 2008

    Indie pop sensation Shwa Losben played to a packed house at Rockwood, delivering the hooks and melodies reminiscent of a young Brendan Benson, but without the look of malnourishment, which goes a long way.
    The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
    Photo by John C or Robyn S

    Video by GothicDawn:

    Chris Bergson and his band would be a proper fit on the Raven n' the Blues or the Roadhouse podcast, if he hasn't been on either of those shows yet.
    Franz Leadon is a satisfying acoustic guitarist and he certainly had his own crowd in the palm of his hands.

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    New Hard Lessons Video: "See and Be Scene"

    One of the best songs of 2007 finally has a proper video, a spoof of the scenesters and it's exclusively at

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    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    My Teenage Stride @ Don Hill's

    My Teenage Stride
    @ Don Hill's
    New York, NY - February 1, 2008

    First a personal note. Never been to Don Hill's before, have no idea what this mondo party is. I walk in. People dancing. 5 seconds later, as if on cue, Camera Obscura's "If Looks Could Kill" comes on and people go nuts. It was like an entrance theme. I love that band.


    Remember the 80's? My Teenage Stride certainly does, and - this is critical here - they remember the good parts. It took me a few weeks to figure it out but they recall, mostly, the Jam (without a keyboard). Power Pop - New Wave - Bar Band. A nice little trifecta to craft ditties if ever there was one. The band, particularly their lead singer, seemed to think they were terrible and that they "need improvement". Eh. If that's what he thinks, so be it. John Q. Public certainly liked it, so chew on that buddy. And don't mess with "To Live And Die In The Airport Lounge", already one of the best songs of the year (Number 1 on the Pennypacker Ipod Top 20 Countdown, 2 weeks running).
    Add this unit to the cadre of bands like Looker, Action Painters, and Wormburner - New York bands not exactly part of the current hipster set but carving out a solid niche of no frills, all fun substantive rock n' roll.

    "you got to be a child to have straaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange problems". I love it.

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