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Monday, November 5th, 2007

Angst For The Memories

Let’s hear it for efficiency in concert-going. Technically, I hit up three different shows in under 24 hours over the weekend – two were in-store matinees, sure, but still. That’s getting the most out of a day. The proper show was at the Tiger Bar, in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Easy Tiger nights and with nothing whatsoever to do with Ryan Adams. Actually that’s not entirely true, but mostly.

First on the bill was The Rural Alberta Advantage, a local trio that’s proven more than a little elusive since I first saw them way back in February both in regards to seeing them live or even getting a copy of their 2006 EP. Happily, both proved worth the wait. It’s hard to accurately describe the RAA, which is odd since there’s really not that many ingredients at work – strained hollers, sweet harmonies, frantic acoustic guitars, whirring synths and loads of percussion – but you’d start from the intersection of Neutral Milk Hotel and Yo La Tengo and head west towards the Rockies. A little folky, a little funky and a lot of pop – I eagerly await the proper full-length, hopefully out in the new year.

I actually have a bit of a history with The Wooden Sky – not a “we found a dead body in the ravine and swore never to talk about it” history, but simply that I’ve seen them a few times over the past few years – and my old band played with them once – and it’s been interesting to see them develop. Of course, back then they were called Friday Morning’s Regret, which was the name they originally released their debut album When Lost At Sea under, but in May they announced their new identity and re-pressed all their CDs accordingly. Does that make my copy a collector’s item?

Dressed in skeleton make-up to celebrate the Day Of The Dead, The Wooden Sky reminded me of why I was always so impressed by FMR. I’d remembered them as a Neil-ish alt.country band with sharp arrangements and solid songwriting but they’ve since injected a heavier dose of rock into their sound, recalling Whiskeytown at points (there’s your Ry-Ry content), as well as some strings and keys to mix things up. Though you could still easily and accurately call them a roots-rock band, they evidence an ambition to be more than that – as though understanding that while roots are what they are, they don’t stop you from growing up and out in whatever direction you like.

Photos: The Wooden Sky, The Rural Alberta Advantage @ Tiger Bar – November 2, 2007
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “North Dakota”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “The Wooden Sky”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “The Dethbridge In Lethbridge”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Sleep All Day”
MySpace: The Wooden Sky
MySpace: The Rural Alberta Advantage

The aforementioned in-stores maintained the country-ish vibe of the weekend, with the incomparable Sadies stopping in at Rotate This on Friday evening and then Sonic Boom on Saturday afternoon. Both times, Dallas Good mentioned how daunting the format was for them as they’d never played live acoustically before but if they were having any difficulty, you sure couldn’t tell. They still played as fast and furiously as they would have on their electrics and I found that the (relatively) quieter set allowed them to showcase their other strengths that might otherwise get overlooked, namely their songwriting chops and vocal work. The latter was most evident on songs from New Seasons, where the vocal harmonies and interplay between the Good brothers had the fingerprints of producer Gary Louris all over them. Though you’ll never hear me say anything remotely like electrified Sadies are a bad thing, acoustic Sadies are pretty terrific as well and should be something they consider doing more often.

Photos: The Sadies @ Rotate This – November 2, 2007
Photos: The Sadies @ Sonic Boom – November 3, 2007

The Handsome Furs have a date scheduled for December 20 at Lee’s Palace.

Commercial Appeal talks punk and tacos with Ted Leo.

Spoon-terviews with The Orlando Sentinel, The Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News.

Daytrotter went all Chicago-lovin’ last week by featuring OFFICE (session, interview) and Andrew Bird (interview, session).

NPR has launched a new music-oriented site that gathers all their wonderful content – live sessions, concerts, interviews – into an easy-to-navigate hub. Loverly.

The New York Times features Zach Condon of Beirut… in their Fashion & Style section. BeatRoute and Harp also have pieces on Beirut, one longer, one shorter.

Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear annotates their Spring 2007 tour itinerary for Harp.

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post10 Responses.
  1. Lauren says:

    Hey Frank –

    The nov 8 show w/ rebekah higgs at the drake is just industry. she’ll be playing for the public the same night at tiger for no shame.

    cheers,
    Lauren

  2. Frank says:

    yup, I got an invite. No Shame will probably run too late for my old bones on a weeknight. But we’ll see.

  3. Aimz says:

    Nice Sadies photos Frank! Caught them at the ‘Shoe on Friday night and they rocked it for about 2 hours! Awesome.

  4. Tug says:

    That gentlemen looks somewhat like Colin Meloy. Or maybe I’m crazy.

  5. Mike says:

    The new NPR site is reminiscent of the CBC radio 3 site. It’s about time they made one more exclusively dedicated to music, because I’ve always found it hard to navigate their site for the sole purpose of listening to their music features.

  6. steve says:

    ‘north dakota’ is brilliant… why haven’t you talked more about these guys?

  7. Daniel says:

    frank,

    where did you get the info on the handsome furs at lee’s?
    I can’t seem to find a new NA tour itinerary anywhere.

    cheers

  8. Frank says:

    I got the HF dates from their Canadian distributor. It’s an eastern Ontario jaunt. Full dates:

    Ottawa Ontario Club Saw December 17, 2007
    Kingston Ontario Grad Club December 18, 2007
    Kingston Ontario Grad Club December 19, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Lee’s Palace December 20, 2007
    London Ontario Call The Office December 21, 2007
    Guelph Ontario Jimmy Jazz December 22, 2007

  9. Daniel says:

    nevermind, I found the link on myspace:

    HANDSOME FURS have just announced five Canadian shows in support of their recently released debut album "Plague Park."

    A limited number of tickets have been reserved exclusively for fans of HANDSOME FURS and will be made available to them through a special presale hosted by Ducat King Ticketing, which begins THIS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD, 2007 @ 12:00 PM Eastern Time. By purchasing tickets through this presale, you can get your tickets before they go on sale to the public while saving some money on service charges.

    To buy tickets for these special holiday shows, CLICK HERE

    HOLIDAY TOUR DATES:

    DEC 17: Ottawa, ON @ Club Saw
    DEC 18: Kingston, ON @ Grad Club
    DEC 19: Kingston, ON @ Grad Club
    DEC 20: Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
    DEC 22: Guelph, ON @ Jimmy Jazz [FREE SHOW – NO PRESALE. First come first serve on night of show]

    For the latest news and info on HANDSOME FURS:

  10. lionzub says:

    "Angst for the memories"

    Great line from the movie Glory Daze