Thursday, March 9th, 2006
Barfight Revolution, Power Violence
It’s hard not to have some sort of pre-conceived notion of what to expect from a band with a name as goofy as Margot & The Nuclear So-And-So’s, but the reality of the band is almost certainly not what you might think. The Indianapolis-based outfit isn’t some rollicking whiskey joint house band (which was what my imagination supposed), but a rather elegant ensemble crafting lushly orchestrated slices of heart-in-teeth, rootsy but occasionally rocking indie-mope reminiscent of Matt Pond PA and Nada Surf.
Their debut album, The Dust Of Retreat, originally came out in 2005 but is being re-released by Artemis on March 28 with some remixing, remastering and re-recording. Though it occasionally skirts a little too close to the emo-folk end of things, the record is a wholly engaging listen both musically and lyrically and the band is remarkably tight and focused, especially for an eight-piece. The band are playing a slew of showcases at SxSW but their main one is at Nuno’s on March 16 at 8PM. They will also be in town on April 3 with South for a show at Lee’s Palace. Lots of MP3s from Musical Family Tree, including these two tracks from Dust Of retreat. And there’s also a MySpace page, natch.
Harp advises you to forget everything you thought you knew about Calexico before picking up Garden Ruin when it’s released on April 11. Kevchino.com also has an interview with Joey Burns and Stereogum has some MP3s – one of their contribution to the John Fahey tribute album and one from the new record. The Garden Ruin track sounds amazing.
Mogwai’s Mr Beast hit stores Tuesday, and even after just a couple days I’m finding it a huge improvement over Happy Songs For Happy People. They’ve discovered the sinister sonic possibilities of the piano and seem to have found a perfect meeting place between noise and melody in which to reside – it’s great. They skipped Toronto over for their present March tour but will do us the honour of coming back to play the Phoenix on May 16. Even four years on from the last time I saw them, my ears still tremble at the thought of being exposed to Mogwai-scale volume, but I think I’m ready to give it another go. And Prefix has the video for “Friend Of The Night”.
Neko Case has finally made public her long-overdue new website, just in time for the release of Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, currently kicking ass at Metacritic and in my CD player. While the songs themselves are still sinking in, the sounds are rapturous. Her voice, the production, the arrangements, the performances… whew.
Someone ripped off Film School’s van – and all their gear in it – in Philadelphia. Pitchfork has the astonishing true crime story, while the list of missing gear is up on their MySpace page. A few shows have been cancelled but their SxSW appearances are still on.
Jon Auer of Posies fame will finally release his debut solo record Songs From The Year Of Our Demise on May 2. This thing has been sitting on a shelf somewhere for something on the order of years, so the fact that it’s actually finally seeing the light of day is remarkable.
And also, check out the confirmed cast for the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust. Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro and Claire Danes? Wow, that’s some respectable star power. I will have to re-read the book to remind myself of who they might be playing.
np – Mogwai / Mr Beast