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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Like I Do

Every year, I try to come away from SxSW with at least a couple of wholly new band discoveries – I’m talking above and beyond confirming or dismissing the quality of the acts heading into Austin already possessing a considerable amount of buzz. Just bands come across randomly either by club hopping or maybe from the MP3 mega-torrent who I’d never heard of previously. Past discoveries include Dirty On Purpose (random club hop), Decoder Ring (MP3 torrent) and The Oktober People (didn’t even see them – handed a free CD) and for 2007, you can add San Francisco’s Minipop to the list.

I caught them the first night of the fest and to recap – despite a set plagued with technical problems (how often do you blow a power circuit at one of these showcases?) and a generally crummy venue (sports bar!), I was won over by their winsome but not wimpy dream pop. The copy I got of their debut album A New Hope confirmed the potential on display before the power went out – Minipop are tapped into something special. Much of that comes from the pipes of lead singer/guitarist/keyboardist Tricia Kanne, which possess a weary sweetness that remind me of of The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler – Sundays fans know that this is not a comparison to be made lightly, but I think it’s deserved. Her voice is that beguiling.

The band behind her does a fine job of adding weight and where necessary, rock, to the proceedings without ever becoming overwhelming and the songs range from solid to sublime. The opening one-two punch of “Fingerprints” and “Like I Do” should be enough to win over anyone but the rest of the record is hardly filler – it’s a remarkably solid and consistent collection of sparkling, melodic, dreamy pop, especially for a debut from a band just two years old. Even though their star deserves to rise high, I don’t expect that a cross-continental (to say nothing of international) tour will be in the offing anytime soon so I’ll be happy to have caught them, be it briefly and sort of calamitously, in Austin and be patient.

Performer has a nice feature/interview with the band. And note that the video below is for the version of “Fingerprints” on 2005’s The Precious EP – the version on A New Hope is different.

MP3: Minipop – “Like I Do”
Video: Minipop – “Fingerprints” (YouTube)
MySpace: Minipop

Pitchfork offers up an expansive interview with Jarvis Cocker, who releases Jarvis in North America today, and ironically the only working link I can find for it at a reasonable price is the import version. Eiter way, you can stream the whole thing at Spinner below:

Stream: Jarvis Cocker / Jarvis

Also on offer this week – the new one from Fountains Of Wayne.

Stream: Fountains of Wayne / Traffic and Weather

Shots Ring Out talks to Scott Cudmore, director of the first video from Great Lake Swimmers’ new album Ongiara. Great Lake Swimmers are in town in a couple weeks for a double-header at the Church Of The Redeemer (April 14), but are currently out west, as evidenced by interviews with the University of Calgary’s Gauntlet and Edmonton’s Vue Weekly.

Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “Back Stage With The Modern Dancers” (YouTube)

Things I’d Rather Be Doing has a terrific interview with Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg about the reissue of Palo Santo next Tuesday, including the best description of the Shearwater/Okkervil River relationship you’ll ever read. And for some Okkervil content, head over to NPR where they’ve got a session recorded for KEXP during SxSW available to download. The double-disc Black Sheep Boy: Definitive Edition is out now.

24: You want an update? How’s this – the question isn’t whether or not Jack finds the two remaining bombs before the day is up, it’s whether or not I can make it through the remainder of the season without gouging out my eyes as punishment for continuing to watch such an inane show. You’ve got a President who’s going to be hooked on trucker speed before the day is out and who just launched a nuclear strike to prove he’s a man, a hardass CTU agent who’s really just looking for spiritual fulfillment and a Russian traitor who’s willing to cut off his arm to… well, I’m not really sure what Gridenko’s plan was but I suspect that selling out his accomplice to a bunch of drunken bar patrons and then dying under the boardwalk wasn’t part of it. Eight more hours? Seriously? I suspect I’ll stick it out for the rest of this season but after that… we’re done.

And I don’t know if this is especially useful for anyone but I’ve tweaked my concert calendar to hyperlink to the websites of all the bands listed. Now since this is still just my own personal calendar of stuff I’m planning to attend, it’s only useful if you want to get a sample of what I’m going to see, but maybe you’ll discover something interesting. You never know.

By : Frank Yang at 8:16 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Peter says:

    Frank,
    I haven’t read your blog much this season for 24 because I really haven’t found much of a fuss to make this show about. But I do agree with your recent comments, last night’s episode was a total waste of time. I feel myself forcing to watch the show every Monday night for the fact that I don’t want to fall behind. I even stated last season that this one should have been the last one, but if they keep on the trend that it is…well lets just say Kiefer’s 3 year deal on the show will be cut short.

  2. Chris says:

    I finally agree with you about 24. This season better pick up.

  3. Torr says:

    minipop sound too close to eisley for comfort. in fact, they sound exactly like them.

  4. Frank says:

    yeah, they do sound like Eisley but I find the songwriting a lot stronger and more mature and the production a lot less major label slick. They’re more like what I wish Eisley was like but since I have them now, Eisley can be whatever they want.

  5. Brads says:

    Quitting 24 cold turkey is far easier than you think, Frank. I stopped watching about a month ago and never looked back. I end up catching the most inane moments on the Soup or Best Week Ever, which only furthers my resolve… I mean, what was up with that autistic-not-autistic guy? Such a silly, silly show.

  6. TS says:

    I still love 24 – but it has become a little cartoonish and soap opera-ish this season. My big issue with the show is how people can get dressed into fancy suits in less than 2 minutes.

    However, I will still watch, cause I love Jack Bauer!!!

  7. Karl says:

    I thought I caught a glimpse of shark fin last night on 24, but if I gave it up, I wouldn’t laughsnort my way through the summaries of James Lileks and Dave Barry:

    http://www.lileks.com/bleat

    http://blogs.herald.com/dav

  8. Shawn says:

    There is no shark jumping this season. Cougar attacks/Kim Bauer drama all but ensured that 24 could never go down. Those storylines were the WORST thing that ever happened to the show…and I still loved it.

  9. Five says:

    The tough thing w/ 24 is that sometimes it DOES get back on track. Seasons 3 & 4 were awful, and season 5 was a return to form.

    Have you checked out Heroes, Dexter, The Wire, Life on Mars? I’d be interested to know what you thought of those. I’ve tried pushing The Wire on you before…

  10. cat says:

    i’ve gotta agree with brads. i stopped watching 24 this season after about two episodes, and i do NOT miss it at all. i tivo’d it for last night, just to check in and see, and i erased it after watching the highlights from last week. i used to be a big fan, but the show just blows now.

  11. jin says:

    and here I thought I was the only one to notice the comparison from Eisley. Personally, I’d pay to see Minipop because their sound is more refined and affirmative; unlike Eisley’s emo-tic (some extent, by all means not all) verses.