Monday, October 15th, 2007
The Victory Choir
I am fully prepared to accept that I may have been the only music blogger to get excited when I received the press release on Friday afternoon announcing that the new American Music Club record was completed, had a title – The Golden Age – and would be hitting stores on February 19 of next year via Merge.
AMC were never the most popular band in their first go-around and when they reunited a few years ago, the news didn’t necessarily set the world afire. But while all the other bands from the 80s burying hatchets in hopes of a nostalgia-fueled payday might be making more money, they could only dream about releasing a new record half as vital as 2004’s Love Songs For Patriots. Of course, I bet AMC would like to have made half the money that those other bands have, but I digress. Love Songs proved that Mark Eitzel’s pen hadn’t lost any of its wit, pathos, romanticism and venom and years of driving a bus in Los Angeles hadn’t dulled Vudi’s guitar chops either – its place in my favourite albums of 2004 was well-earned.
In the three years between then and now, there’ve been membership changes in the Club – the rhythm section of Danny Pearson and Tim Mooney have left the band on account of the shift of their base of operations from San Francisco to Los Angeles, their places taken by Steve Didilot and Sean Hoffman from The Larks. I am going to resist copying and pasting the notes on the new album on the band’s website, presumably penned by Eitzel, but encourage you to click through and give a read – they’re hilarious.
Also worth noting is that the band is planning a North American tour for Spring of next year – NORTH AMERICAN. To me, that implies Canada. Unless they mean Mexico. But I’m hoping Canada. They passed us by when touring Love Songs – Toronto, anyways, maybe they played Vancouver – necessitating a trip to Chicago to properly pay homage. Which was great, but it’d be much nicer (and economical) to have them come to me this time.
No previews of the new record yet, so in the meantime sample something from the last one and their meagre pickings on YouTube. You know a band is underground when they’ve got videos out there (whither “Johnny Mathis’ Feet”?) and they haven’t made it to YouTube.
But those of us wanting to hear new material from American Music Club need not wait until February – Hard To Find A Friend has curated a holiday compilation entitled Peace on Earth: A Holiday Album that features a new track from AMC amongst offering from Great Lake Swimmers, The Long Winters and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. The comp will be available in digital form on November 13 for $7 and all profits will go to Toys For Tots. A great idea and worth your money. And I apologize for bringing up the holidays in mid-October.
But if we must look to December, let’s not look past the first week of said month for that’s when the venerable Horseshoe Tavern here in Toronto celebrates its 60th anniversary. While festivities will run the whole week, the actual birthday is December 5 and that evening, it will host the first-ever local show by former Pulp and Longpigs guitarist and producer extraordinaire, Richard Hawley. I’m only just discovering his stuff but already I’m certain it’s going to be a pretty special show and though it’s probably too much to hope he tours with an orchestra… I hope he tours with an orchestra. Or a big band at the very least. His latest album is Lady’s Bridge and you can watch the first couple videos from it below. Tickets are $15 and should go on sale this week.
Also coming to town for a little ‘Shoe-shaped cake are the Jon Langford’s Waco Brothers – they’re going to be playing on December 7 and if you were planning on seeing any of Joel Plaskett’s five gigs there from December 10th through the 13th, you better call ahead and make sure that the Waco Brothers have left the place standing.
Pitchfork has an interview with Steve Earle covering all breadth of topics (Dylan, Springsteen, Emmylou, Sex Pistols) but not his new record Washington Square Serenade. NPR is also streaming a concert recorded at the World Cafe.