27 May, 2007

Upcoming Events

Summer's nearly upon us, and with it comes Concert Festival season - and this year offers an especially choice selection of performers.

The Detroit Festival of the Arts generally promises a fun time just for showing up, with numerous local artists and restaurants offering their wares for display and sale. But the music also provides a strong hook, and this year promises a pretty stellar line-up. Of special note (in DiS's opinion, anyway) are:
Dengue Fever - '60s style Cambodian psych pop by way of San Francisco.

The Dansettes - NYC septet who make Motown/Soul tracks that sound like they came from Berry Gordy's secret stash.

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Even if they didn't have such a harrowing back story - the musicians in this group all met in a refugee camp while fleeing the notoriously violent civil war - the All Stars would still be a must-see act. African pop meets folk meets reggae meets R&B.

Lelavision - Less a concert and more a theater performance, the group plays sculptures and pieces they've created, incorporating dance and high energy movement.

In July is the TasteFest, er Comerica CityFest (yay corporate sponsorship), which features a rather impressive line-up, including the Wailers, Femi Kuti, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, and Cheap Trick (c'mon, you know you want to hear "Surrender" and "I Want You to Want Me"). The inclusion of Spoon and YLT seem far more hip/indie than usual, wand you won't hear any compaints here.

Other upcoming concerts/shows of note:

May 29:
The Rosebuds, Land of Talk, Mason Proper
Blind Pig, Ann Arbor

June 2:
Skinny Puppy/Otto Von Schirach/Sword Heaven
St. Andrew's Hall

June 3:
The Clientele, Beach House
Magic Stick, Detroit

June 3/4:
Dinosaur, Jr., Awesome Color
Blind Pig, Ann Arbor

June 6:
The National, Talkdemonic
Magic Stick, Detroit

June 7:
Voxtrot, Favourite Sons, Au Revoir Simone
Magic Stick, Detroit

June 12/19/26:
Apostle of Hustle (monthlong residency)
Blind Pig, Ann Arbor

June 15:
Northern Soul Night
CAID, Detroit

June 16:
Motor, Kill Memory Crash, Dethlab
CAID, Detroit

June 17:
Shiny Toy Guns, Stars of Track and Field, The Hourly Radio
(while DiS has no real use for STG, SoTaF put out one of the better albums of last year, and would probably make for a decent live experience)
Magic Stick, Detroit

Radio Free Thursdays!
The fine DJs of CJAM will host a rotating residency at The Avalon Front for two months this summer (and hopefully longer!). Each week will feature a different CJAM DJ playing the music of their program. The Dreaming in Stereo night will be July 5th.

25 May, 2007

set list 25 May 2007

A set which I think speaks for itself... There are more CDs I'll need to recommend, which will be coming forthwith, promise.

Rick White – Beat – Memoreaper – Bluelog
the Rosebuds – My Punishment for Fighting – Night of the Furies – Merge
the Rosebuds – El Camino – Unwind – Merge
Clinic – The New Seeker – Visitations – Domino
The Black Angels – The Sniper At the Gates of Heaven – Passover – Light in the Attic
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – 666 Conducer – Baby 81 – RCA
The Horrors – Draw Japan – Strange Hours – Loog
Pale Moon Gang – All the Nightcrawlers – s/t – Fast Loose
The Runaways – Queens of Noise (live) – the Best of – Polygram
Edith Massey – Hey Punks Get Off the Grass – Hey Punks Get Off the Grass – Big Spurt
Mystery Jets – The Boy Who Ran Away – Zootime – Dim Mak
Mando Diao – The Wildfire (If It Was True) – Ode to Ochrasy – Mute
Mad Juana – Steel Will – Acoustic Voodoo – Azra
Chris Randall – Two Trains Comin’ – The Devil His Due – Positron!
Meat Beat Manifesto – No Words Necessary – RUOK? – Run Recordings
DJ? Acucrack feat. Toni Halliday – So to Speak – Sorted – E-Magine
Daniel Ash – Spooky – s/t – Psychobaby
Primal Scream – Accelerator – XTRMNTR – Creation
Stars – Calendar Girl (Young Galaxy remix) – Do You Trust Your Friends? – Arts & Crafts
Elsiane – Morphing – s/t – Vega Music
Cocorosie – Black Poppies – The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn – Touch and Go
Joy Division – These Days – Heart and Soul – London
Radio 4 – Rise Up – Party Crashers single – Astralwerks
Black Strobe – Girl Next Door – Burn Your Own Church – Playlouderecords
Gary Numan – Remind Me to Smile – The Collection – Castle
Phillip Glass – Heores – Heroes Symphony/the Light – Naxos

Now it's off to sleep and then to the BRMC show. Still a bit miffed about the Horrors dropping out, but hopefully the replacement band will prove worthy of the spot.

Control trailer

Finally! The trailer for Control, the Ian Curtis biopic is out. It looks bloody good, I have to say. Let's all cross our fingers the movie makes it to North America sooner rather than later.

Here you go:

21 May, 2007

finally, the long-promised show reviews

I have to say, this was a completely mind-blowing weekend - how often does one get to experience so much good music in a row? What follows is my attempt to convey the sheer awesomeness of it all, a task almost instantly doomed to failure. But here goes anyway:

Saturday, May 12: Mando Diao/Pop Levi/The Films at the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

First up was The Films. For an American band, they have a very Brit vibe to them, all jangly rock which one wouldn’t be worng to say has a certain Ferdinandian Mokeys quiality to it. That said, it’s not bad, and rather well put together. As for their performance, they did well in the thankless slot of First Opening Band. And apparently their lead singer is possessed of an innate and undeniable charisma, as during the first song, when he chided the audience to come up close and fill the vacant front-of-stage floor area, they actually did, and in droves. Now that’s a rock star.

Pop Levi came next. They came out and began with an extended intro to the new album opener, “Sugar Assault Me Now.” It was kind of a cool idea, but after a couple of minutes, it felt like time for the song to actually begin. The band were on, and sounded pretty much just like on disc, which could be good or bad depending on one’s outlook. The upshot was the almost parodic point after the first song where Levi kept asking the sound guy for more reverb on the vocals. “More reverb. Mo-orrre reeverbbb. Mooorrre rrreevveeerrbb.” Still, good fun.

Then Mando Diao came out, and everyone in the place met their new favourite band. From the first note it was all systems go!, and the band didn’t pause for a second. The band was giving everything, were blood-brother tight, and energetic like an ADD-addled ten year old on a sugar buzz. And the audience was giving back as good as they got, waving hands, dancing, totally into it. It was one of those perfect rock and roll moments that you wish could happen at every show.

Sunday, May 13: Lisa Gerrard at the Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
A better writer could give you all kinds of details about the show: the intimacy of the venue (roughly 1,100 person capacity), the minimal stage set up (white cloth draped in the back, piano and keyboard behind Lisa), or technical details about the performance (her range, pitch control, etc.). And I’m sure if you do a search, you’ll find that better review (and if you do, send a link). However, all I can say is this: I’ve only been to two shows that have had an almost transcendant quality to them, where the music just took over. This was the second (the first, in case you’re wondering, was Diamanda Galas in a church somewhere in Canada). Her voice was amazing, and however good it sounds on disc, whatever effect it has, that’s nothing compared to the live experience. I’ll spare any more cliches, suffice it to say if you ever get the chance to see her, run don’t walk to it.

Monday, May 14: Morrissey at the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor

Say what you will about Mozzer, but the man can put on a show. The set was a decent mix of new and old, peppered with some classic Smiths tracks (opening with “The Queen is Dead” is a recipe for success). The band was on, his voice was great, and he threw not one but two shirts into the crowd. For the most part, the idea of being fifteen again holds no appeal whatsoever, but in this case, it was perfect.

(For a real, properly written review, here is a recap of his performance in Milwaukee (and it even has a picture of Steven sans shirt). It features the exact same set list, so there you go.

(And you can see a photo from the show here, which is much better than one taken from a camera phone in front of the stage.

18 May, 2007

set list 18 May 07

This was the "Mark blew out his vocal cords at the Morrissey show and can't talk all that well" show. *sigh* Well, we all have to be 15 again every now and then, no? Anyway, lots of new good stuff this week, some of which I'll comment on soon. And with that, I give you this week's set:

Aja West & Friends – Wanna Get Up – Total Recall 2012 – Mackrosoft
Keren Ann – Lay Your Head Down – s/t – Delabel
Stirling – Ostalgia – The Fall of the Winter Palace – Aporia
Chet – The Shepherd – Fight Against Darkness –
Luke Doucet – It’s Not the Liquor I Miss – Broken (and other rogue states) – Six Shooter
Rufus Wainwright – Tiergarten – Release the Stars – Geffen
The National – Brainy – Boxer – Beggars Banquet
Fembots – Demolition Waltz – The City – Paper Bag
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – God Is In the House – The Abbatoir Blues Tour – Mute
Sinead O’Connor – Psalm 130 (Out of the Depths) – Theology – Koch
Nathan Lawr – Bury Me Blues – Secret Carpentry –
Goose – Modern Vision – Bring It On – Skint
Shitdisco – Reactor Party – Kingdom of Fear – Fierce Panda (cut off – grrr…)
Gorillaz – All Alone – Demon Days – Virgin
Kraftwerk – Das Modell – Das Mensch Maschine – Electrola
Junior Boys – FM (Tensnake Mix) – The Dead Horse EP – Domino
High Watt Electrocutions – The Thief Steals in the Night – Night Songs – Introspection
Throbbing Gristle – Above the Below – Part Two: Endless Not – Mute
The Young Gods – Everythere – Super Ready/Fragmente – Ipecac
Dungen – Gor Det Nu – Tio Bitar – Kemado
Max Romeo – I Chase the Devil – War Ina Babylon – Mango
Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come – The Harder They Come soundtrack – Island
Girl In a Coma – Clumsy Sky – Both Before I’m Gone – Blackheart
Elastica – Stutter – s/t – DGC
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y Control – Fever To Tell – Interscope
the Smiths – Oscillate Wildly – Louder Than Bombs – Sire
Echo and the Bunnymen – The Killing Moon – Songs to Learn and Sing – Sire

Expect the aforementioned reviews, along with notes/reviews from the Weekend of Awesome Music that took place last week. Yes, I know it's overdue, but, ya know, life and all that.

11 May, 2007

set list 11 May 07

Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder – Soukora – World Circuit Presents – Nonesuch
Björk – Earth Invaders – Volta – Atlantic
!!! – Sweet Life – Myth Takes – Warp
Green Go – You Know You Want To – s/t – Burnt Oak
Psychic TV – Good Vibrations – Hex Sex: the Singles Part 1 – Cleopatra
Mando Daio – Long Before Rock n Roll – Ode to Ochrasy – EMI/Mute
Pop Levi – Pick-Me-Up Uppercut – The Return to Form Black Magic Party – Counter
Belle and Sebastian – Sukie in the Graveyard – The Life Pursuit – Matador
Phil Upchurch Combo – You Can’t Sit Down (Parts 1 & 2) – Mojo Mod Club Party – Mojo Magazine
the Clutters – Radio – Don’t Believe a Word – Chicken Ranch
Electric Six – She’s White – Fire – XL
Arctic Monkeys – Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend – Brianstorm single – Domino
Primal Scream – Kill All Hippies – Xtrmntr – Sony
Cat-A-Tac – Needles and Pins – Past Lives and Former Lives – Needlepoint
Psychedelic Furs – President Gas – Forever Now – Columbia
Arab Strap – Don’t Ask Me to Dance – The Last Romance – Transdreamer
The Book of Lists – Lost Weekend – s/t – Scratch Recordings
the Kinks – Til the End of the Day – Greatest Hits! – Reprise
the Pretty Things – Baron Saturday – S.F. Sorrow – Snapper UK
Smith – Baby, It’s You – Death Proof – Maverick
The Small Faces – Get Yourself Together – Mojo Mod Club Party
The Jam – Town Called Malice – 45 – Polydor
Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Oliver’s Army – The very Best of – Rykodisc
The Clash – Let’s Go Crazy – Sandinista! – Epic
Desmond Dekker – 007 (Shanty Town) – Club Ska ’67 – Mango
The Specials – Too Hot – s/t – 2 Tone
Sam Cooke – Summertime – the Best of – Columbia
Serge Gainsbourg – Je T’aime Moi Non Plus – Master Serie Vol. 1 – Polygram France
Morrissey – If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look at Me – The Youngest Was the Most Loved single – Attack
Lisa Gerrard – See the Sun – The Best of – 4AD

Mando Diao/Pop Levi; Lisa Gerrard in Toronto; Morrissey - yes, it's going to be a busy weekend. Why does everyone have to schedule their tours at the same bloody time?

04 May, 2007

set list 4 May 07

Mad Juana – Ghost Riddim – Acoustic Voodoo – Azra
Arctic Monkeys – Balaclava – Favourite Worst Nightmare – Domino
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Lein On Your Dreams – Baby 81 – RCA
Maximo Park – Girls Who Play Guitars – Our Earthly Pleasures – Warp
Wire – On Returning – 154 – Revovler USA
Adult. – Herd Me – Why Bother? – Thrill Jockey
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Hold Tight – Death Proof Soundtrack – Maverick
Ponys – Harakiri – Turn the Lights Out – Matador
Magazine – The Light Pours Out of Me – Real Life - EMI
the Icicles – Chasing Fireflies – Arrivals & Depatures – Microindie
Camera Obscura – I Need All the Friends I Can Get – Let’s Get Out of This Country – Merge
the Rosebuds – Hold On to This Coat – Night of the Furies – Merge
Yoko Ono – Walking On Thin Ice (Pet Shop Boys Mix) – Open Your Box – Astralwerks
Chromeo – Fancy Footwork – Fancy Footwork – Last Gang/Turbo
Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill – single – Lex
Rondo Brothers – Hard Rocks the Roof – Seven Minutes to Midnight – Citrus to Citrus
Tricky – Black Steel – Maxinquaye – Island
Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position – The Magic Position – Low Altitude
Jarvis Cocker/Beth Ditto – Temptation – Youtube clip from NME Awards
David Bowie – Queen Bitch – Hunky Dory – Ryko
Feist – Honey Honey – The Reminder – Arts & Crafts
Modest Mouse – Fire It Up – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank – Epic
Dntel – Roll On – Dumb Luck – Sub Pop
Laura Viers – Ocean Night Song – Saltbreakers – Nonesuch
Stephen Merritt – In the Spring, When I Was Young – Showtunes – Nonesuch
Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake – Saktvshiva – From the River to the Ocean – Thrill Jockey
Deerhunter – Spring Hall Convert – Cryptograms – Kranky
Public Image, Ltd. – Rise – The Greatest Hits So Far – Virgin

02 May, 2007

albums worth hearing

I promised at the start that there'd be reviews along with the playlists and video nonesense. I don't know if this counts, but here are a few things that have been getting me excited of late:

1) Arctic Monkeys (Favourite Worst Nightmare). To be honest, up until now I never understood what the fuss was all about, and to be honest I'm still not sure why the first album and EP got as big as they did, save for the Brits' love of hype. With the new album, however, the Arctics (or is it Monkeys?) have finally delivered the album their press has been promising. Tight, taut, loud, rude, and all aroud a good time. www.arcticmonkeys.com

2) The Pipettes (We Are the Pipettes). Pre-fab British girl group guitar pop. Melodies you'll be humming thirty seconds after hearing coupled with a sense of modern cheek and attitude that make it perfect summer music. Just in time, no? www.thepipettes.co.uk

3) The Icicles (Arrivals and Departures). Along a similar vein, a group from Grand Rapids, MI, who seem to know a thing or twelve about writing a good hook. Bubblegum in the best sense, sure to put a smile on even the most cynical listener's face (hi, how are you?). www.theicicles.com

4) Chris Randall (The Devil His Due). This has been one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in a long while. Since the 90s, Randall has fronted the group Sister Machine Gun, who've been doing the guitar-based industrial thing long before (and after) it was cool to do so. On this, his solo ablum, he changes things up completely, and goes for a swampy blues/country/roots sound. Amazingly, he pulls it off well beyond reasonable expectation. Think of Tom Waits' rough edges with Nick Cave's sense of foreboding, and you're getting the picture. These songs were giving me chills the first time I listened. Get this now. www.chrisrandall.net

5) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Baby 81). This is the album we've been waiting for. Maybe the last couple of albums were them trying to throw off all the Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons, but it's good to see them come back to the rock camp. Cocksure and swaggering, this one delivers. www.blackrebelmotorcycleclub.com