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Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Down In The Valley

Merge Records had a very solid 2006 and they start of ’07 with on a good foot with the January 23 release of I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, the debut full-length from the Los Angeles outfit formerly known as The Brokedown but now handing out business cards reading The Broken West.

These days, the term “power-pop” brings to mind – for me, at least – tunes that are as smart alecky as they are hooky, possibly with unnecessarily clean production. Not an inherently bad thing, but it can get a little samey after a while. Thankfully, The Broken West recall a time when the term meant big, ragged and swaggering sounds – huge debts are owed to Big Star and The Kinks and the eras they represent. These are names that get dropped a lot, but in this case the influence is true and paid proper respect. Guitars jangle and harmonies are stacked high and it all comes with a appealing amount of roughness and blue-collar grit. Some of the rootsiness more evident in their earlier incarnation still comes through, but mostly this is a fine, no frills rock album of the sort you don’t get enough of these days. Always welcome in my house.

Their Spring tour doesn’t bring them any closer to Toronto than Cleveland (which is to say not very close at all) but I’m sure they’ll make their way up here at some point. The New Pollution has an interview with Broken Westerner Dan Iead about how they ended up on one of the most respected indie labels in America.

MP3: The Broken West – “Down In The Valley”
MySpace: The Broken West

There’s a new video for M Ward’s “Requiem”, taken from Post-War. and intended to accompany the release of the EP for said song next month. An EP for “To Go Home”, also from Post-War, is due out next month and Ward is at the Mod Club next Saturday.

Video: M Ward – “Requiem” (YouTube)

The Washington Times talks to Matthew I Heart Music in its piece about how government funding helps/affects independent musicians in Canada. And speaking of I Heart Music, Matt’s got a recent Asobi Seksu radio session ripped for your listening pleasure.

Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post show My Morning Jacket some love, Colorado-style.

The Globe & Mail and The Gateway discuss the solo life with Emily Haines.

Seattle’s one-man studio project Aqueduct will be rounding up a full band when they stop in town on April 3 for a free show at the Horseshoe. Their/his new album Or Give Me Death is out February 20. Check out a couple songs from it below.

MP3: Aqueduct – “Living A Lie”
MP3: Aqueduct – “As You Wish”

24: First the small bits – when Morris and Milo go head to head, I just stare at their facial hair, trying to decide whose is more dubious. I think Milo wins, though considering that they were fighting over Chloe, they both sort of lose. I love how Jack’s learning to get his badass side back by manhandling yuppies. Maybe by hour eight he’ll be ready to handle a girl scout troop. And you know, you could give dress him up like some Alien/Predator hybrid with Darth Vader’s voicebox, but Kumar’s not threatening. He’s just not. A moot point now, though.

Like I mentioned yesterday, a lot of today’s two hours were standard 24 convention, but more like a whole season’s worth of the usual crammed into the first sixth of the season, almost like they were forcing themselves to get their usual fallbacks out of the way so they could (hopefully) spend the rest of the season trying something new. Like the shock ending which wasn’t really a shock – it was really the only thing they could do, right? It’s like one of the producers suddenly realized, “hey – these aren’t REAL people we’re killing. Let’s take em all out”. But the extra threat of the fallout certainly makes the rest of this season more interesting, though I dunno about those four other bombs. Look at all the hassle they went through to get this one hooked up, and everyone involved is now dust. Are we supposed to believe that a) the other four are in Los Angeles and b) they’re all plug-and-play? But Jack’s having to take down Curtis was definitely pretty rough. And nice touch with the vomit. That’s going the extra mile. And some bonus content – Cracked lists off four thisngs that 24 would have you believe (only four? Via Largehearted Boy) while the Jack Bauer Kill Count is dutifully logging every kill Jack makes this season (as they did the past five).

By : Frank Yang at 8:24 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Justin says:

    I really like The Dutchman’s Gold and am really looking forward to the full-length coming out next week.

  2. Sam says:

    that’s what i meant yesterday about Kal Penn. first off, how old is he (and the other kid) supposed to be playing? a teenager?? second, he just isn’t pissed at all. just acts that way and it stinks. and i really hope they can now steer to some new ground with Jack seriously leaving CTU. wtf would the season be about now?? i’d love it if it would become a drama for Jack instead of being rethreads of past seasons where they have to find ‘the other bombs’ (ohhum). i liked the first four hours, but it’s time to change it up before it become a parody of itself.

    i like that Milo is back. also like Morris.

    wtf was wrong with Curtis/Roger R Cross?? i was just happy to see him get it (see: Kal Penn comment). he was just annoying the fuck outta me.

    Shaun Majumder was a nice touch, though, wasn’t he? but they killed him already? wtf?? wasn’t expecting that.

    have a great day.

  3. Andrew says:

    Ah, the old "what is the definition of power-pop" debate…personally, I’d rather focus on the jangle and harmonies and the catchy melodies. The smart-alecky lyrical content is more of a recent innovation courtesy Fountains Of Wayne and a handful of others, and it’s not exactly one that this power-pop fan welcomes. The Broken West song you posted is more up my alley!

  4. Carly says:

    Free Aqueduct show? I saw them in San Francisco (with Mates of State and Smoosh) and it was worth way more than free. Hurray!

  5. Matt says:

    Why does every terrorist attack on "24" take place in L.A.? Would it be so bad if the writers actually sent Jack on a mission somewhere else? I wish they would’ve shown us some scenes of Jack in China…

  6. Karl says:

    The shock ending wasn’t the only thing they could do. Similar events have been averted in past seasons. And the revelation of "more" keeps things tense and moving.

  7. TS says:

    Not sure what was more shocking – Jack Bauer vomiting or the nuclear bomb! In any case, nice to have Jack back and it’s nice that Cloe has gotten over Edgar’s death. Alas, poor Edgar, we knew him well!

  8. Emma says:

    Here’s a related playlist:

    <a href=\’http://www.seeqpod.com/musi…‘>The Broken West and Others – SeeqPod Music</a>