Sunday, June 28, 2009

Phosphorescent; These United States @ Prospect Park

Phosphorescent; These United States
@ Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY - June 27, 2009

From what little I heard of Phosphorescent, it sounded like nice Indie folk sure to please all the parents and their little kids in the crowd.

These United States are a pretty fun, pretty consistent stompin' post-hippie band. Not too much jam, which was a good thing.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: Mid-June 2009

Action Painters
The kids put out a self-titled collection of new and old and new-old stuff, including a snappy cover of "Money Changes Everything" and a revamped, smashing version of their own "456".

Zee Avi - "Bitter Heart"
She sounds like the Ditty Bops and Norah Jones all rolled into one.

Death - For All The World to See
This actually belongs in one of the earlier playlist posts but the day I stop playing "Keep on Knocking" is the day I concede to being wrong about something, anything.

Fanfarlo - "The Walls Are Coming Down"
Like Beirut but happy.

Finding Fiction - "Them or Me"
Another good anthem rocker for the year.

The Pains at Being Pure at Heart - The Pains at Being Pure at Heart
This could have been posted anytime this year but it is really in the last month or so that I have come to fully appreciate this remarkable debut record, particularly songs like "Young Adult Friction" and "Everything With You". Along with the Metric and Camera Obscura records, this may very well complete the soundtrack to the summer.

Suckers - "Easy Chairs"
I saw these guys many moons ago when they were nothing. They made a fine impression. But who knew they would become such raves?

Honorable Mentions: The Evening Rig, Miike Snow, Peaches, Viva Voce,

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The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: May 2009

Oops we skipped over May! Meaning we missed:

Brakesbrakesbrakes - "Crush on You"
Maybe the 90's are coming back afterall - a grungey sound with those semi-sweet mid-90's pop lyrics. Figures they're English...they just must be now getting into it.

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
Right now, Metric's Fantasies is the best record of the year. This is number 2.

Elks - "Collide"
They just could be just another one of the many bands with an animal for their name, but instead Elks choose to copy the anthemic indie rock the likes of Longwave and Parts & Labor. Tis a fine choice. Besides, there has to be someone out there not listening to Grizzly Bear.

Great Northern - "Houses"
Excellent new track from the not-a-fluke dark rockers out of Southern California. Eat it Silversun Pickups!

Ben Harper & Relentless 7- "Shimmer and Shine"
Harper dropped the Innocent Criminals and the pot-head friendliness in exchange for Relentless 7 and just rocking the hell out. Good call. He's still a sap in the lyrics department though. Actually this isn't too different from "Crush on You".

The Hold Steady - A Positive Rage
Yeah I don't know who these guys are or why they have a live record or why I play it almost every day...

I Was A King - "Norman Bleik"
Picking up where "Saints" by Army Navy hasn't really left off yet, this is a strong power pop number from Scandinavia. How do they keep doing that over there?!

King Khan & The Shrines - "Land of the Freak"
All thanks to that gig in early May, I can't stop playing this James Brown meets Greg Cartwright escapade.

St. Vincent - tracks from Actor
I haven't heard much of the new record but "The Strangers" satiated me for a spell.

Honorable Mentions: Jarvis Cocker, Passion Pit

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lucero; Howard Tate & The Sweet Divines @ Madison Square Park

Leave it to the nature of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party to bring about an eclectic afternoon of free music, headlined by the Memphis band Lucero who are Social Distortion-gone country. Lucero have a bi-polar image: they're an older group of guys (well...they LOOK older but it may just be the beards and the premature gray hair) who appeal to a young crowd, and they, like their crowd, look menacing until they turn out to be a bunch of softies. They have the cred of a respected country-punk band but there is more than a whiff of suburban-esque, trashy (in a bad way) blase about them. Nevertheless, it is a solid time - especially when the keyboards and pedal steel fire up. Ben Nichols is a country punk in every sense of the word, and any guy who writes a record inspired by a Cormac McCarthy novel is alright by me.

Howard Tate would be a legend if more people knew who he was. The original soul singer of a couple of hits (including the superior cut of "Get It While You Can"), Tate's voice is a stirring, stark reminder of what may have arguably been the most consistent genre in any stretch in any period of American popular music. His talent may only be outmatched by his personal story, wracked by the worst of musical career downfalls. In his recovery over the last few years, he's taken on new challenges (weight gain in exchange stopping drugs), but his voice is still crisp and heart-rendering. Backed by the Sweet Divines (one of the two spin-offs of the late, great Dansettes) and their relaxed, able backing band (some of the unsung heroes of garage soul, lost in the spotlight of the Dap-Kings and the Shrines), Howard captured the hearts of the bbq-stuffed, rain-soaked crowd.

On the bbq - I had some whole hog on a bun with slaw from Martin's of Nashville - mmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. That is some tangy spice right there on some succulent meat. Yowsers.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Hold Steady @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

The Hold Steady
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - June 10, 2009

They started off - surprisingly - with "First Night". They played all of Boys and Girls America. They played "Knuckles". They played "How A Resurrection Really Feels". They sounded absolutely perfect. The crowd was packed with total fans - everyone singing along to everything, including all the b-sides (like "Arms and Hearts" and "Girls Go For Status"). No real mosh pit problems, no stage crashing, no crowd surfing, just intensity. In summation, after seeing this band many, many times - this was the best yet. And that's saying a lot.

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