Friday, June 30, 2006

Math Rock: Metric Rarities

(I suppose a snappy little pun is a bit more elegant than describing them as "indie post-punk, synth-infused, female-fronted dance-rock.")

Apologies for the rather lengthy hiatus.

Metric is an from Toronto by way of New York City. It features the irresistible Emily Haines, who has also collaborated with Broken Social Scene, Stars, The Stills and Delerium, among others. Their most recent effort, Live It Out, has a very rocking, punk-influenced aesthetic, and is quite abrasive at times. As is the case with other artists, I often find myself drawn to older, mellower material. Unfortunately, the band never released this set of songs, but through the miracles of modern technology, they've been distributed. Also included is the synthtastic MSTRKRFT remix of "Monster Hospital". MSTRKRFT includes Jesse F. Keeler, formerly of the drums-and-bass duo Death From Above 1979 (R.I.P.). Enjoy:

Grow Up and Blow Away

1. Grow Up and Blow Away [Link]
2. On The Sly [Link]
3. Torture Me [Link]
4. Fanfare [Link]
5. Parkdale [Link]
6. Raw Sugar [Link]
7. The Twist [Link]
8. Rock Me Now [Link]
9. Soft Rock Star [Link]
10. White Gold [Link]
11. Hardwire [Link]

Monster Hospital (MSTRKRFT Remix) [Link]

Buy It Out: Here
Info on Emily's upcoming solo album and an mp3: Here

(Note: Updated links on February 10th.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

There Is A Spoon: Live At The Nokia Times Square Theatre

(That's actually the Bowery Ballroom, but close enough.)

Indie rock got a great boost from Spoon's excellent, lo-fi Gimme Fiction last year. The gems are many on the album, most prominently the strutastic "I Turn My Camera On," which has been featured on a Jaguar (pronounced Ja-goo-are, apparently) car commercial ("XK Launch"). But it's really just another entry in a string of awesome releases from the band, and this particular concert draws from both older and newer work.

This show was graciously recorded, once again, by Matt Casey on November 5th, 2005 in the Nokia Theatre at Times Square. Again, it's hosted by the excellent etree live music archive. Thanks a bunch to both of them. Enjoy:

Disc 1:
1. Intro
2. Telamon Bridge
3. The Beast and Dragon, Adored
4. Someone Something
5. Lines In The Suit
6. Metal School
7. The Delicate Place
8. I Turn My Camera On
9. Sister Jack
10. I Could See The Dude
11. Paper Tiger
12. Jonathon Fisk
13. Vittorio E

Disc 2:
1. They Never Got You
2. I Summon You
3. The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine
4. The Way We Get By
5. Anything You Want
6. 30 Gallon Tank
7. The Fitted Shirt
8. Encore Break
9. Small Stakes
10. Me And The Bean
11. My Mathematical Mind

Turn your cameras on: Here
More Spoon on etree: Here

Monday, June 19, 2006

European Union: Bloc Party Les Black Sessions

Bloc Party is recording a new album, tentatively scheduled for a September release. After lighting up just about every indie "Best of 2005" list with the fantastic Silent Alarm and bringing in a host of notable artists (including the aforementioned Ladytron) for a remix album, anticipation is running justifiably high. There's undeniable energy and craftsmanship in the sound, but what really separates the band from peers fixated on, say, underage drinking is the ability of each song to capture the stress and uncertainty of modern life. (Sadly, it's probably this ambition that has deterred their popularity in a rather comatose United States, but that's just my cynicism showing.)

This set was recorded on Maison de la Radio in Paris, France on February 2nd, 2005. It's a great overview of the band's album, along with a few b-sides. Enjoy:

1. Intro
2. The Marshals Are Dead
3. Positive Tension
4. Banquet
5. This Modern Love
6. She's Hearing Voices
7. Helicopter
8. Luno
9. Plans
10. Like Eating Glass
11. Little Thoughts
12. Encore
13. Tulips
14. Price of Gasoline
15. So Here We Are

Party further: Here
Many more live recordings (including today's): (Fan Site) +
Blog Party

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Living Vicariously: A Perfect Circle In Portugal

Pitchfork's review of the new Tool record more or less dismisses the album, "rather than delving further into experimentation or exploring their strengths, Tool have made an...A Perfect Circle record." While I'm obviously biased, I'd hardly call this a negative development. The analogy that Tool is the masculine, cerebral, number-cruncher, while APC is the more feminine, emotional, ethereal being is fitting, but both aspects are necessary, in my opinion, for really satisfying music. To write off (no pun intended) the mellower, almost confessional elements of the 10,000 Days is to ignore what is one huge progression, the incorporation of personal experience in already meaningful subject matter.

But with the awakening of Tool comes the subsequent uncertainty involving A Perfect Circle's future. The band is a supergroup of sorts, with a latest incarnation of (left to right) guitarist James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), drummer Josh Freese (The Vandals), bassist Jeordie White (Marilyn Manson) and the core of singer and lyricist Maynard James Keenan (Tool) and songwriter and guitarist Billy Howerdel (guitar tech for many of previous bands mentioned). The band is sadly on what is perhaps permanent hiatus, but we're happily able to relive the glory days with the miracles of modern technology.

This show was recorded on January 20th, 2004 at Lisbon Coliseum in Portugal, during the tour supporting Thirteenth Step, with what I'd consider to be the peak of APC setlistism (if such a word existed). Enjoy:

1. Intro
2. Vanishing
3. Pet
4. The Hollow
5. Magdalena
6. Band Intro
7. Weak and Powerless
8. Orestes
9. Blue
10. I Want It That Way (Tongue-In-Cheek Backstreet Boys Cover)
11. Rose
12. The Package
13. 3 Libras
14. The Nurse Who Loved Me (Failure Cover)
15. Gravity
16. The Outsider
17. The Noose
18. Judith

Buy APC albums: Here

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hardly Scum and Villainy: Eisley At WMUC

It's fitting that the dreamy, indie pop quintet Eisley derives its name from the Star Wars Cantina, as the music they make is nothing if not otherworldly. The bright hooks and soaring melodies have a whimsical, dare I say, almost magical quality. The influence of artists such as Radiohead and Pink Floyd, combined with what is essentially a family band (the group is comprised of four siblings and a cousin), makes for quite a unique dynamic.

This set was recorded on March 23rd, 2005 at the University of Maryland's WMUC (88.1 FM). Enjoy:

1. Golly Sandra
2. Marvelous Things
3. My Lovely
4. The Escaping Song
5. Plenty of Paper
6. Telescope Eyes (Mp3 missing, sadly)
7. Memories

Official Bloggery: Here
Demos and Live Tracks: Orange, Gold & Green (Fan Site)
Buy Albums: Here

Prescription for Punk: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists At The South Street Seaport, NYC and Elsewhere

The Pharmacists brought their energetic brand of literary, politically-conscious indie rock to NYC's South Street Seaport almost a year ago with a rather comprehensive setlist, spanning what is quite a robust discography. The show was recorded by Matt Casey and hosted by the excellent etree live music archive. The length is admittedly a bit daunting, especially if you've yet to hear anything by the band, so I'll start off with a few taster tracks. These first three tracks were performed acoustically by Ted. The first two are off of the latest effort, Shake The Sheets, and the final cut is the now infamous Kelly Clarkson (with Yeah Yeah Yeahs insertion) cover.

Criminal Piece (Domestic Disturbance Bootleg)
Me and Mia (Domestic Disturbance Bootleg)
Since U Been Gone / Maps (for UGO Players)

If you're feeling sinis...adventurous, rather, here's the full Seaport setlist. Enjoy:

1. Intro / Little Dawn
2. Sons of Cain
3. Dial Up
4. Me and Mia
5. The One Who Got Us Out
6. Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?
7. The High Party
8. The Sword In The Stone
9. The 11th
10. Counting Down The Hours
11. Timorous Me
12. Shake The Sheets
13. Encore Banter
14. Hearts of Oak
15. I'm A Ghost
16. 2nd Ave, 11 AM
17. Biomusicology
18. Banter
19. Parallel or Together?
20. Suspect Device (Stiff Little Fingers Cover)

Fill Your Prescriptions: Here (or elsewhere, of course.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Salutations and Synthesis: Ladytron In Vancouver

In an effort to produce something meaningful in the existential wasteland that is the months between high school and college (and hopefully beyond), I suppose it's as good a time as any to start up a blog. Welcome. These things are inherently esoteric, so I'm afraid you'll be burdened with my musical tastes and biases, but hopefully the selection will be diverse enough so that something will appeal to you. If nothing else, it should keep me out of trouble, eh?

Now, to the four hipsters (in the best possible sense) at the top. The band is Liverpool-based Ladytron, quite the microcosm of European diversity. From left to right, Scottish siren Helen Marnie, founder and mastermind Daniel Hunt, Cantonese-Brit Reuben Wu, and Bulgarian Mira Aroyo. I suppose their music would fall under syth-based electro-pop, but their sound, particularly on their latest album Witching Hour, has become increasingly fleshed out and impressive.

This show was recorded on March 5th, 2003 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the extensive tour for their second full-length, Light & Magic. Most of the setlist can be found on that release, along with a few older cuts from their debut, 604. While it's not quite the icy perfection found in the studio recordings, the sound quality is quite solid, and it is a fine intro to the band.


1. True Mathematics
2. Playgirl
3. Cracked LCD
4. Blue Jeans
5. Fire
6. Black Plastic
7. Evil
8. USA vs. White Noise
9. Seventeen
10. Discotraxx
11. Turn It On
12. Oops Oh My (Tweet Cover)

Buy Ladytron albums: Here (and at your favorite retailers.)
Stream the KCRW Set: Here

(At some point, I should probably look into getting a decent host, but I suppose a somewhat ad hoc approach is fitting, and adequate, for now.)
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