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Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Rainbows In The Dark

Tilly & The Wall release their second album Bottom Of Barrels today, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little surprised that they’ve stuck around this long. If ever there was a candidate for fast-track novelty band status, it’d have been these tap-dance-powered sunshiney Omahans signed to Saddle Creek’s farm team label.

But their debut Wild Like Children was solid if maybe a little long for maximum effectiveness. Behind the tap-dancing and summer camp counsellers on upppers persona you actually had some good songs so I was perfectly happy to give them the old thumbs up, particularly after seeing them live a couple times. They were like injecting pure glucose into my eyeballs and eardrums, but in short controlled doses – neither of their opening sets were longer than half an hour – they were the most fun ever.

Which bring us to the new record. It’s simultaneously better and not – on one hand, their sound has grown. There’s actually drums on a couple of tracks, and for that I applaud the band for not being too beholden to their aesthetic and doing whatever’s best for the songs. On the other hand, some of the songwriting has crossed that dangerous line of treacle and now they don’t just sound like camp counsellers, they sound like Church camp counsellers – so positive and affirming that you just know they have to be shooting up behind the mess hall after hours. Back on the plus side, Neely and Kianna’s harmony vocals still sound great and Derek Pressnall’s voice sounds even morer eerily like Conor Oberst’s but without the annoying vibrato – which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about Bright Eyes.

The band will be at the Mod Club on June 11 with David Dondero for a mini Team Love-in. Considering what I said earlier about “short, controlled doses” we’ll see how well they hold up in a headlining context. Bring insulin, just in case. I’ll be running a little Tilly contest next week, so stay tuned. More Tilly content to see and hear – the band discusses the effectiveness of free downloads in marketing something as cliched as a tap-dance powered folk-pop combo to The Los Angeles Times and Take Your Medicine has some live Tilly audio and video. There’s some MP3s from the new album below and they’ve got a MySpace but there’s no new audio there so all you can do is become, like, BFF with them all.

MP3: Tilly & The Wall – “Bad Education”
MP3: Tilly & The Wall – “Lost Girls”

The reason you have to wait till next week for my Tilly contest is because this week, if you’ll note the shiny new Mission Of Burma contest banner up in the corner, I’ve got one set of the super-limited edition A Time To Punctuate 12″ series to give away, complete with fancy ethings, courtesy of Matador. That’s EIGHT 12″ singles, people. Super limited edition. File under: amazing. You can listen to the tracks here and become the band’s friend here but you can only win the 12″s here. And The Phoenix talks to the band (as DJs) who today release what some are calling their heaviest album yet, The Obliterati. And hey – Pitchfork loves it – what higher endorsement is there? They’re at the Horseshoe on July 26.

Illinois Entertainer talks to Mike Cooley of Drive-By Truckers while The Monitor chats up Jason Isbell and Minnesota Public Radio has got a recent radio session up for listening. I just picked up A Blessing And A Curse the other day (it’s out officially in Canada today) and have to say it’s another triumph for the boys (and girl) from Alabama. And I think Isbell has clinched the title of fave Trucker – “Daylight” slays me.

The Guardian discusses the demise of Grandaddy with Jason Lytle while The Houston Chronicle compares the band with The Flaming Lips while The Seattle Times talks to Wayne Coyne with nary a mention of Grandaddy. So Much Silence has the audio from Lytle’s recent stop at Cincinatti’s WOXY.

24: Finally – some educational content to the show. How to kill a man with a penknife silently from behind! Actually, this is some of the most graphic violence we’ve seen nice. Yes. So, twenty minutes in and everything scary has been addressed. Now it’s time to go after everything simpering! Have Jack and Logan ever actually met before? Not really the best foot to get started on, tasering the secret service and interrupting the President’s Sudoku session. Ah, if it were only really so easy to kidnap the President… Aside – man, David Palmer selling car insurance during the commercial break. Surreal. End aside. Now this wasn’t a season finale climax I was expecting… talking. Jack and Logan talking. Oh, here’s some gunplay. That’s more like it… and Jack loses. But lo and behold, a hysterical First Lady somehow manages to ask exactly the right questions – BECAUSE SHE WAS IN ON IT. Huzzah! You know, I found this more gratifying than if Jack HAD shot him. See? Violence isn’t the answer to all our problems – only most of them. And now, I guess the Vice-President takes over. I dunno, man. I saw Twin Peaks – he’s crazy. Oh, Bill and Karen are TOTALLY going to get it on. That’s nice – we know how well CTU romances work out. Bill’s gonna lose a limb.

HAHAHA. THE CHINESE HAVE THE LAST LAUGH. DO NOT FUCK WITH US! Remember this post from last season? I may have been off by a season, but I STAND BY IT. And I’ll stop shouting now. So not the most action-packed finale, but definitely a satisfying and ballsy one. And a decently strong season all around with relatively minimal WTF moments. Except one – where’d Chloe’s ex-husband come from again? I must have blinked when he was introduced.

np – Mission Of Burma / Vs.

By : Frank Yang at 8:19 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    I think Chloe’s husband is like Buffy’s little sister – he never actually existed before now. All in all, a pretty good finale, and not one that’ll make me hate Logan less. Damn, I hate that man. So. Much.

  2. Justin says:

    I love Hood and Cooley but you’re right about Isbell. He tends to produce my favorite track on the album and "Daylight" is it. Bring on the solo album!

  3. TS says:

    All season I was wondering how long it would take the Chinese to hop on a supersonic jet and come over and get Jack. The question is – what about the bald guy (from Fame)? What’s up and when are we going to see him again?? In any case – Prez Logan’s wife was hands down the best character this season – along with Christopher Henderson. The fuckedupedness was entirely stupendous kept me guessing all season long. So – is 24 taking place in China next year? Will Bill and Karen get to take a trip overseas together? Does Chloe know Mandarin?

  4. Karl says:

    I was slightly disappointed they didn’t lay out the cash to license some Marvin Gaye to backdrop that Bill-Karen scene, which was oddly reminiscent of the end of Sink the Bismarck.

    And with the VP moving up, I look forward to having Jack team up with Agent Cooper to make the midget talk forwards.

  5. Roy says:

    ha, saw Tilly and the Wall opening for Architecture in Helsinki at Ekko… it was two odd/great bands for the price of one.

  6. yoti says:

    I can’t support Tilly at all. I saw them open for Rilo at the Horseshoe and I thought they were pretty bad, even by novelty band standards. IMHO, they could have used (a) a lot more practice and (b) some better songwriting. I think the only other band that I have seen that has made me feel worse after seeing them was Islands who opened for Metric last time around and are on their own tour at the moment.

  7. david says:

    I’m with you on Isbell. His tracks have been by far my favorites on the last three albums.

    Right now, Jason’s solo album will probably be sold soon at shows, a lot like Patterson’s was for a couple of years before New West finally picked it up for distribution.

  8. bozairzere says:

    Karl yer a genius. Coop!!
    It was a damn good ending. there is an article in today’s nypost that says Jack ain’t gonna be in China for long. I think I read they’ll be filming in the UK too.
    Funny the actor who played Pres Logan was the same tit who tried to stop Hunter from burning the first hotel in "Fear and Loathing…" guess he moved on up and then out…