Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"Drunk Driving, Don't Do It"

Wilco Concert
Mobile Civic Center Theater
Mobile, Ala.

Nothing can really ever prepare you for a Wilco concert, even when you've already seen them before. Nothing prepares you for that feeling when they start playing that song that just gets you. I never fail to get that feeling every time I have seen Wilco.

Fellow music staffers Birdwell and Claire and I headed down to Mobile for the show last night. We also met fellow music staffers Morgan, Logan, and Parker there. WVUA music staff was straight up representin!!!

Wilco opened up the show with "You Are My Face" off of Sky Blue Sky and then went straight into "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart", one of my all time favorite songs ever. While it may seem like it would be impossible to pull it off live, Wilco does it. They can do the impossible.

The first half of the show was slower, mid-tempo songs. Still completely sexy. Highlights for me included "Pot Kettle Black", which I had requested. "Via Chicago" is always incredible live, with Glenn back there pounding like a hurricane on the drums while Jeff still sings coolly upfront.

They aren't in order, but here are the songs they played:
You Are My Face
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart*
Shot in the Arm
Impossible Germany
Pot Kettle Black***
Side With Seeds
Jesus, etc.
War on War
Via Chicago*
Magazine Called Sunset
Muzzle of Bees
What Light
I'm the Man That Loves You
Heavy Metal Drummer
Pick Up the Change
Box Full of Letters
Passenger Side*
I Got You
Outtasite (Outta mind)*
Handshake Drugs
Dreamer in my Dreams
Airline to Heaven*
California Stars*
Hate It Here
Wishful Thinking

The show was incredible. We WVUA kids were lucky enough to meet every single member of Wilco afterward, however individually. But who cares?? We met them all!!

If you went to the show, what was your favorite song?

Friday, February 1, 2008

And they're off...

I know its early, but I already have two front runners for top album of 2008. #1--Lupe Fiasco-The Cool, #2 King of Prussia-Save the Scene. January has had some good music thus far, which means 2008 should be chalk full of harmonious delights.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CMJ New Music Report 1/28

The new issue of CMJ has come! Always exciting for a dorky music director. This issue is all about the top records of 2007.I made it in with my personal top 10:

1. Against Me! - New Wave (I mean really, are you surprised?)
2. Chuck Ragan - Feast or Famine (Chuck yeah!!!!!)
3. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (I freaking have one of the song titles tattooed on me.)
4. Weakerthans - Reunion Tour (Who's pumped about the show on March 30??)
5. Two Gallants - Two Gallants (Yes, I am from the city where they got beat up.)
6. Tegan and Sara - The Con (Not Tegan and Stupid as music staffer Birdwell calls them.)
7. Okkervil River - The Stage Names (ATX representin', yo!)
8. Bella - No One Will No (I saw them at CMJ Marathon. I danced.)
9. White Stripes - Icky Thump (Because you can't be a pimp and a prostitute.)
10. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible. (Yeah.)

I forgot about the Snake the Cross the Crown though...and apparently the PSA Homeless Youth of America that Canada from Pirate! included in his list.

Against Me! and the night that changed my life


Once upon a time, in a land far far away, on a night unlike any other...

...Okay, maybe it was last March in Austin during the South by Southwest music festival, I was convinced by a hoard of random guys to stay to see Against Me! at the Sire records showcase.

I mean, when a dude with a large red beard tells you that staying to see this band will change you life, you know something is up.

So I stayed. I danced the night away, tried to sing along when I could..and hey, it really was nothing short of magical.

Not even a year later, Against Me! is my favorite band. Yes, right up there with my beloved Wilco. I've seen them 5 times this year in five different cities (Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Athens and Birmingham).

So a few weeks ago, I decided it was a fantastic idea to drive to Athens so that I could go to the Harvest of Hope benefit concert that Against Me! was playing at the 40 Watt. Probably not the best idea in the world, but it worked out.

I talked to the guys for Harvest of Hope for a long time, and that foundation is fantastic. Unlike other benefit shows, these guys are out in the crowd and hanging out. You actually feel like you are at something that matters.

I got to hang out with JJ, one of the promoters we work with at the station before I went to the show...which was completely amazing and where I got kicked so hard in the face I forgot who I was for a second. It was also my first time to hear "Those Anarcho Punx Are Mysterious" live.

After driving through a freaking blizzard in Atlanta (ok, myabe I am exaggerating a little), I made it to Birmingham to interview Tom Gabel. I got some dirty looks from Foo Fighters fans as the manager led me into the backstage at the BJCC.

It sounds a lot cooler that it was, and that's why it was so awesome. While I guess technically it was an interview, it honestly was just two kids hanging out and talking about music. We still kept talking even after my questions. Gabel's a smart guy; he's honest, and he's also truly passionate about what he does. While New Wave is apparently a disappointment to some of the older fans (it was #1 on my Top 10 Records of 2007), it's hard to imagine why. The album is solid, the lyrics are meaningful, and the band is really excited about it..and I definitely trust these guys more than the other clowns that are out in the mainstream right now.

Moral of the story? Trust random dudes with red beards.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

End of the Year Lists

Twenty Greatest Albums from 2007

1. LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
2. Radiohead: In Rainbows
3. Feist: The Reminder
4. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
5. Burial: Untrue
6: The National: Boxer
7. Dinosaur Jr: Beyond
8. Jose Gonzalez: In Our Nature
9. Jens Lekman: Night Falls Over Kortedala
10. Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity
11. Kanye West: Graduation
12. M.I.A.: Kala
13. Battles: Mirrored
14. Sally Shapiro: Disco Romance
15. Okkervil River: The Stage Names
16. The Twilight Sad: Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters
17. The Field: From Here We Go Sublime
18. Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
19. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
20. Caribou: Andorra

Does anyone else have a list? If not, you should totally make one.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall It's The Way You Land

Thanks for this.

The question posited to me was whether or not this album was "Christian."

I don't think that a silly question, I took it seriously.

It is, and it isn't- it doesn't have to be and it doesn't have a choice not to be.

Cryptic, but that's the album. It is dogmatic, and dirty and in so many ways what it claims to be.

The Soulsavers are aptly named, as it really does get to the meat of the matter of the soul and the lyrics beg for saving.
"Revival" is a good single, but the deeper voice from Mark Lanegan is chillingly reminiscent of Johnny Cash- as is noted on their website concerning the second single "Kingdoms of Rain." The man's voice is enthralling, but the lyrics are simple, roots/americana based. In "Ghosts of You and Me" there is a fair amount of borrowing, but the emotion is felt throughout.

Highlights are certainly "Revival" & "Kingdoms of Rain", but I also fancied "Ghosts of You and Me," the stand out "Spiritual" is simple and a prayer against a man's greatest fear- a lonely death.

The production value is superb, the quality of the entire album is cohesive, this album is tarnished silver with all the functionality despite its aged appearance.

"Jesus of Nothing"is another notable track (it was hard not to note something about every track), but continues the story telling from Mark Lanegan and the Soulsavers, with a biting chorus, probably the track risking the most of a blashphemous label, yet it doesn't desecrate.

The final track is "No Expectations" but it is also an outro for the album, segmented by a significant, but not lengthy pause between the dark and personal lyrics of "No Expectations"- in which the themes and lyrical elements from the previous songs culiminate- and the almost phantasmal instrumental outro.

Consistency this complete for an album is rarely seen, while the few standouts I mention are either the singles or Spiritual- lyrically simple, the whole album exudes a sort of intoxicated dreary divine quality. I recommend watching the videos for "Revival" and "Kingdoms of Rain" as well.

If you like Johnny Cash's recently produced works (or perhaps the Sneaker Pimps/Portishead, some elements are reminiscent) and soulful introspection, this album is for you.

Now, the matter of the content and soul saving?

Art does reflect life, and if the content of this album is evidence enough- then Lanegan's own pain and redemption is in it for the long haul.

As far as Christian? Not terribly, this is a sinner's album, for sinners, but the point of that is that it is Christian dogmatic- dealing with those elements and loads of suffering- which is what blues & country had done alongside gospel, only this is something else, something dark, brooding and very much singular to the Soulsavers.

Chuck Yeah!

So last night, fellow music staffer Birdwell, his girlfriend Casey and I trekked to Atlanta to see the man, Chuck Ragan (formerly of Hot Water Music), himself doing what he does best: being a badass.

It was a great set, even though he did not play my favorite song "For Broken Ears".

But he did close out with "California Burritos", which made me happy.

Chuck Yeah!

Check out these Chuck records:

Los Feliz
Feast of Famine
Blueprint Sessions

No Idea Records is a good place to look for Chuck stuff.