Archive for September, 2006

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

CONTEST – TV On The Radio @ The Opera House – October 12, 2006

More contests than you can shake a stick at! This time, I have one pair of tickets to the sold-out TV On The Radio show at the Opera House in Toronto on October 12, courtesy of Universal Music.

Expect them to play selections from their new full-length Return To Cookie Mountain and to generally kick your ass sideways. I didn’t know boo about them before seeing them in June and I, as they say, saw the light.

To enter, email me at with your full name in the body and “I want to see TV On The Radio” in the subject line. Contest closes midnight, October 1. CONTEST IS CLOSED.

MP3: TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
Video: TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me” (YouTube)

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Sorry About The Delay

Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear were originally supposed to be in town at the ElMo this past Saturday night in support of their new record Yellow House, but abruptly cancelled when they got a better offer for how to spend their Fall – opening for TV On The Radio. At first, I thought it seemed a peculiar bill but the more I listen to their respective new albums, the more sense it makes.

While stylistically quite different – Grizzly Bear’s pastoral, ghostly medieval folk songs are light years (and centuries) removed from TVOTR’s urban, post-modern, synthesized soul but they’re both dense, challenging works that for all their experimentalism, still manage to have enough accessibility points so as to not be impenetrable. But that said, I’m surprised at the number of comments on the the Grizzly Bear record that declared instant love for it – I was definitely intruiged by it from the get go, but it’s been the very definition of a slow grower for me. That the record is beautiful is obvious – but it’s an intangible, ethereal sort of beauty. I’m still feeling kept at a bit of a distance, like the attraction is purely aesthetic. The emotional connection isn’t there yet. We need to talk a little, first. Get to know one another. It might take a while yet, but I’m patient. But either way, their show at the Opera House on October 12 should be quite the mind-altering experience.

Brooklynvegan recently conducted an interview with chief Bear Ed Droste while Stereogum got a look into their studio. Droste also does the blog thing from the road. The band has been unusually generous with MP3s from the new record – here’s three tracks from the new record, Salon can hook you up with another and finally, there’s a track from their recent mini-album of early material.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “On A Neck, On A Spit” (from Yellow House)
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Lullabye” (from Yellow House)
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Knife” (from Yellow House)
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Sure Thing” (from Sorry About The Delay)
MySpace: Grizzly Bear

As for their tourmates, CMJ talks to TVOTR about the importance of their Prospect Park show back in June. and Jambase also have features on the band, which is kicking ass and taking names over at Metacritic. Like Grizzly Bear, I am still growing into Cookie Mountain, but it’s happening.

The Toronto Star talks to Polaris-winner Owen Pallet, aka Final Fantasy, about spending the next year with that adjective next to his name.

You may already have grabbed it from elsewhere, but there’s a new, sanctioned Okkervil River song up for grabs – “The President’s Dead” led off the Overboard And Down Aussie-only EP, but will be getting a domestic release as the A-side of a limited edition 12″ single (that’s vinyl, folks). The b-side is another track from the EP. And another new song has cropped up on a compilation accompanying the new issue of Yeti. Alls I can say is that if these songs are any indication of where the band’s songwriting is at right now, I am declaring their new album – whenever and whatever it is – tops for 2007.

MP3: Okkervil River – “The President’s Dead”

Since no one I asked knew, I did some sleuthing and found out that why? are opening for Yo La Tengo at the Phoenix next Monday as well as many other dates on the tour. Of course, once I found this out I was emailed the exact same info…

So who saw Lambchop on Sunday? Good? I will have to satisfy myself with reading press clipping sfrom The San Francisco Chronicle, The Globe & Mail and The Philadelphia Inquirer as well as this downloadable radio session with WNYC. Many of these links courtesy of Merge.

Check out the new video from Mates Of State – is there anything about this band that ISN’T stupid cute?

Video: Mates Of State – “Like U Crazy” (MOV)

Billboard reports on the distribution deal that will finally see Nellie McKay’s Pretty Little Head finally get a release on October 31 via her own label, fully 10 months after it was initially supposed to come out.

Some shows – The Dears have booked a 2-night stand at Lee’s Palace on November 16 and 17 (via For The Records) and after touring all of Europe and North America, The Hidden Cameras will return for a hometown gig on December 14 at a venue to be determined. And simply because I can’t resist – Guns’N’Roses have booked a date at the ACC on November 15. Anyone want to start a pool as to how long before they cancel that gig?

np – Sparklehorse / Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

CONTEST – Supersystem @ The Smilin' Buddha – October 13, 2006

Another day, another contest. Courtesy of Touch’N’Go, I have 2 pairs of passes to see Supersystem at the Smiling Buddha Bar in Toronto on October 13 to give away. I don’t know too much about these guys though I think I’ve got a copy of their new one A Million Microphones around here somewhere… But from what I can gather from the support materials below, this show will be intense. And no, I had no idea where the Smiling Buddha was either. It’s at College and Dovercourt.

To enter, email me your full name at with “I wanna see Supersystem” in the subject line. Contest closes midnight, September 30. THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

MP3: Supersystem – “White Light/White Light”
Video: Supersystem – “White Light/White Light” (MOV)
eCard: A Million Microphones
Stream: A Million Microphones

Monday, September 25th, 2006

The Sun Always Shines On TV

I used to watch a lot of TV as a kid. Like A LOT. Naturally, as I got older there was less time for boob-tubing and the television landscape is quite different now with the advent of TV-on-DVD and cable shows that run on their own schedules, but I still get a bit of a tingle when September comes and with it, the new (network) television season. I’m of the opinion that despite the amount of utter dreck on the air, that we’re still in the middle of something of a television renaissance right now. I can’t remember the last time (if ever) there were so many shows on that I’ve heard good things about or would like to try and catch if only I had an infinite amount of time at my disposal. But as it is, I’ve had to be very picky and choosy about what I watch because otherwise, I’ll watch everything. It’s depressingly easy to hook me on a show – I watched 90210 for three or four season in university even though I found it wretched. I just couldn’t stop (and it was great for procrastinating).

Anyway, with the departure of The West Wing, it looked as though there were going to be some pretty big openings in the time I was willing to allot to TV programming. 24 doesn’t start till January and man cannot live on Veronica Mars alone (well, I probably could but that’s another topic…). But thank goodness for Aaron Sorkin and his new show Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Premiereing last week, it looks like it will more than fill that White House-shaped hole in my life. It has much of the same creative team, some of the same cast and even the same credits font as The West Wing and based on just the first episode, it looks to have the same creative spark that made Sorkin’s last show so beloved.

Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are a team of comedy writers who are recruited to take over an SNL-type comedy show after the former producer has an on-air meltdown. Naturally, they have a history with the show, its cast and the network and there is much promise in the relationships and politics that ensue. I’ve always thought Perry was capable of much more than Friends allowed, so it’s great to see him get a role that will (hopefully) let him realize that potential. Whitford has more than proven he’s a great match for Sorkin’s writing and I was rather surprised at how well Amanda Peet did as the new network president. The reviews so far have been pretty positive so hopefully it can find a large enough audience to convince NBC it’s worth the incredibly high production costs. But while the show is being lauded, the mock-blog they set up to promote it isn’t so lucky. Note that Defaker is down right now – temporarily or for good?

A show I’ve been browbeaten into watching lately – and I’m glad for it – is the new Battlestar Galactica. Pretty much everyone I knew with any sort of geek to them was telling me how great the new show was, so I gave in and watched the miniseries. Then the first season. Then the second season. And yeah, I will happily admit it’s pretty damn good. I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking – it leans more than a little on ideas from Starship Troopers and V – but it is almost perfectly executed and that can count for a lot more than originality. Like pretty much everyone else, I’m eager as hell to see how season three plays out starting in two weeks, though The Resistance web episodes have been bitter, yawning disappointments. Those are thoroughly inessential but I’m not holding it against anyone. has a conversation with show creator Ron Moore about the show’s politics and what to expect from the next season.

As for Veronica Mars, season three of that premieres on October 3 and for the first time, it will be simulcast in Canada on the otherwise abhorrent Sun-TV network. Hooray. The Chicago Tribune talks to creator Rob Thomas about season three, the pressures of being a show on the bubble on a new network… and Richard Grieco.

I do still have a vacancy for a decent, half-hour sitcom to fill in for Arrested Development. I’ve started watching The Office but still have season two to catch up on. Anything new this season look promising? The AV Club tries to help out, and I do appreciate that.

And this TV post gives me the opportunity to clear out some MP3s I’ve been sitting on for a while but never found the right time to post – indie rock TV theme song covers! Anyone got any more worth hearing? And I’m ignoring tracks from those Saturday morning cartoon theme tributes a while back, everyone’s heard those.

MP3: The Breeders – “Theme From Buffy The Vampire Slayer
MP3: Spiritualized – “Theme From The X-Files
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Theme From The Simpsons
MP3: Sonic Youth – “Theme From The Simpsons
MP3: The Wedding Present – “Theme From Cheers
MP3: South – “Theme From Cheers

np – Grizzly Bear / Yellow House

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 50

Lullaby Baxter / Garden Cities Of To-Morrow (Boompa)

The second album from Montreal’s Lullaby Baxter sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a montage from a romantic comedy. Picture cycling through the countryside, baguette shopping, dancing in the park fountain. Though sung entirely in English, there’s a definite Gallic feel to this record. Baxter’s rich, lightly menthol-smoky voice sounds marvelous singing her breezily nonsensical lyrics atop the gentle, tasteful orchestration. Contemporarily timeless and equal parts pastoral folk and urban jazz, listening to this makes me want to wear a beret and go feed some pigeons.

MP3: Lullaby Baxter – “Rattled Little Clam”
Video: Lullaby Baxter – “Rattled Little Clam” (YouTube)
MySpace: Lullaby Baxter

Kunek / Flight Of The Flynns (Play Tyme)

Hailing from Oklahoma, Kunek’s debut album Flight Of The Flynns is composed of finely-crafted, elegant and baroque pop, rich with strings, piano and Jesse Tabish’s mournful vocals. All six members of the band are multi-instrumentalists and their musical prowess is very much in evidence across Flynns, the arrangements and ambition in evidence are incredible impressive for a rookie outfit but for all their technical ability, they always remain in service to the song and the emotions held therein. From start to finish, this record exists in a state of shimmering, suspended sadness, as though examining a single moment in time from every possible angle. Though the heart-on-sleeveness occasionally strays into alarmingly Coldplay-ish territory, it remains impressive nonetheless.

MP3: Kunek – “Coma”
MySpace: Kunek

The North Atlantic / Wires In The Wall (We Put Out)

San Diego’s North Atlantic are lucky they fess up to the Archers Of Loaf influence because listening to their debut Wires In The Wall, the resemblance is remarkable and trying to deny it would have been futile. Vocalist Jason Hendrix’s rough bark is startlingly Bachmann-esque and the band taps into the same raw, punk energy and righteous collegiate angst that the Chapel Hill stalwarts mined over a decade ago. It’s a recipe that surprisingly hasn’t been utilized very often in recent years so as a result, The North Atlantic sound quite fresh and vital. I’just m curious to see if after The North Atlantic runs its course, if Hendrix becomes a folk singer. The band are in town at Sneaky Dee’s on Tuesday night.

MP3: The North Atlantic – “Scientist Girl”
MP3: The North Atlantic – “Drunk Under Electrics”
eCard: Wires In The Wall
MySpace: The North Atlantic

np – TV On The Radio / Young Liars