Jeremy BaldersonAt first, it’s hard to imagine what need there is for a Craig Finn solo album. After all, he gets to run roughshod over The Hold Steady records with as many words as he can manage to pair with their classic rock attack – has he really got a backlog of ideas that don’t fit that broad and welcoming template? As Clear Heart, Full Eyes, out next Tuesday but now available to stream in whole at NPR demonstrates, yeah he does.
It’s not as though any of these songs couldn’t have easily been made into Hold Steady numbers; Finn’s character-driven songwriting style is still immediately recognizable. But the mood is more thoughtful and the musical accompaniments chosen are simpler and slower – though not acoustic and strummy, it should be made clear – and allow Finn to occupy enough of a different timbre and cadence to clearly distinguish him from the manic character who fronts The Hold Steady. It’s the sort of record that fans will enjoy for its own merits but also make them appreciate the next Hold Steady record even more.
Clash gets into the literary inspiration that goes into his work while Pitchfork and Hitfix talk to him about going solo and what’s next for The Hold Steady.
MP3: Craig Finn – “Honolulu Blues”
Stream: Craig Finn / Clear Heart Full Eyes
School Of Seven Bells have revealed details of a Spring tour in support of Ghostory, out February 28. The Toronto date is May 2 at The Hoxton.
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “The Night”
Hospitality were just here last week but they’ve already scheduled a return date for February 29 when they’ll be supporting Tennis at The Horseshoe. Their self-titled debut is out January 31.
MP3: Hospitality – “Friends Of Friends”
Beirut have announced a July 19 date at The Sound Academy, part of a Canadian tour in support of last year’s The Rip Tide. Tickets are $35 general admission, $50 VIP.
Video: Beirut – “Santa Fe”
NPR has a World Cafe session with Real Estate, who play a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace this Friday. The Boston Globe and Montreal Mirror have interviews.
Nada Surf has made their new record The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy available to stream ahead of its release next week over at NPR. They play the Opera House on April 4.
MP3: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”
Stream: Nada Surf / The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
Stuff like iTunes sessions don’t typically get my attention, but one coming out on January 24 does – because a) it’s by Wilco and b) it’s all of eight songs long, picked from all throughout their existence and featuring a cover of “Cruel To Be Kind” with Nick Lowe. So yeah, maybe I’ll buy that. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, and there’s interviews with Jeff Tweedy at The Denver Post and Glenn Kotche at The Los Angeles Times.
The Stool Pigeon talks to Chairlift about their new record Something, out January 24 and followed by a show at The Horseshoe on March 28.
Stereogum checks in with Sharon Van Etten about the state of her new album Tramp, out February 7. She plays Lee’s Palace on February 21.
Opening up that show are Shearwater, who’ve offered up another track from their new one Animal Joy. It’s out February 14.
MP3: Shearwater – “You As You Were”
The first official preview of Sleigh Bells’ forthcoming Reign Of Terror is now available to hear. It’s out February 21 and they play The Phoenix February 18.
Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”
Another tune from the new Lambchop record Mr. M is available to download ahead of its February 21 release date.
MP3: Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”
The Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, and Metro talk to Joe Pernice about the Scud Mountain Boys reunion tour, which kicked off this week in Boston and hits Lee’s Palace on February 25.
The Decemberists will be entering their hiatus in grand fashion, with the released of their first live album, the double-disc We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11). It will be out on March 13; Rolling Stone has specifics.
Rolling Stone has an MP3 from Threads, the new record for Minneapolis’ Now, Now. It’s out March 16 and they may or may not be opening for The Naked & Famous at The Sound Academy on April 5 – I’ve seen both that they are and aren’t.
MP3: Now, Now – “School Friends”
Rolling Stone has got an MP3 from the new Justin Townes Earle album Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now available to download. The record is out March 27.
MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now”
DIY profiles Howler, who are at The Drake Underground on April 5. They’ve also released a live session video recorded at the Rough Trade store in London.
Video: Howler – “Back Of Your Neck” (live at Rough Trade)
Wayne Coyne talks to Rolling Stone about a new The Flaming Lips record that will be made up of collaborations with other artists such as Bon Iver (who, let’s be honest, would probably agree to collaborate with anyone who asked) and which may be out as soon as April.
Lower Dens have announced a new record – look for Nootropics on May 1 – and also released the first MP3 from it, which is kind of great.
MP3: Lower Dens – “Brains”
DIY has a feature piece on Guided By Voices, who aim to release their second reunion album Class Clown Spots A UFO in or around May.
Ryan Adams has released a new video from Ashes & Fire.
Video: Ryan Adams – “Chains Of Love”
There’s also a new video from Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes & Keys.
Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “Underneath The Sycamore”
aux.tv talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.
Dean Wareham gives an interview to Music Times Two and offers some thoughts on a Luna reunion (not likely, but not impossible).
Filter has a two-part feature piece on Tom Waits.
Tags: Beirut, Chairlift, Craig Finn, Dean & Britta, Death Cab For Cutie, Decemberists, Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Hospitality, Howler, Justin Townes Earle, Lambchop, Lower Dens, Nada Surf, Now Now, Real Estate, Ryan Adams, School Of Seven Bells, Scud Mountain Boys, Sharon Van Etten, Shearwater, Sleigh Bells, St Vincent, Tom Waits, Wilco