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.
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.
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.
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).