Thursday, July 31, 2008

So Maybe I Have a Thing for Jersey Guys...

Considering that Amy won't talk to me until I make this public, it's time to confess, especially since she's already upset with me for not making it to Philly for a visit yet!

A few Saturdays ago, I was browsing around SoHo on a mission to find a decent size bag before heading uptown to grab drinks with a few friends later in the day when suddenly Perry, my favorite Jersey guy, was calling.  His childhood best friend had extra tickets to the Bon Jovi show and wanted us there in an hour.  Perry had to rush there from Hoboken; fortunately, I was already in the city and not back home in CT.  

We met on Central Park East, filed into the park, found little bits of grass and made quick lawn friends with a guy who LOVED to play Crazy 8s.  Turns out he'd been on a few dates with a girl in our group, so half our group quickly bailed to find some new lawn, while we continued our battle.  Three hours of card games filled our afternoon before Bon Jovi came onto stage (and yes, we are very competitive at childhood card games).  

He actually played for two hours and the crowd was loving him.  I came into the show expecting much more of the over 40 crowd in leather and lace, but Bon Jovi gave me enough wardrobe and dance entertainment to last a few weeks, although Perry warned that he would kill me if I said anything contrary about The Boss when we saw him a few weeks later.   We love Jersey guys in July, particularly those in the above 45 set (and yes, that would be a record).

I had a few moments of wishing that Weins were at the show with us, but she was proud of me for finally making it to a Bon Jovi show, which was surprisingly enjoyable.  Then we headed off to Brother Jimmy's where I relived our post-holiday party excursion from two years ago, before I snuck down to Rockwood Music Hall to cleanse my musical soul.   

(Oh yeah, since I work in sports marketing, I can't forget to mention that this concert was brought to you by Major League Baseball in celebration of the All-Star Game.  Ticketed Attendance:  60,000)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guest Spot: Phil heads to 8x10 in Baltimore to check out Superland and Woo-Yellow Dubmarine

Of all of my friends around the country who've offered to cover shows/concerts from their hometowns, no one has approached it with such commitment (and submitted their reports so timely) as Phil in Baltimore. PT had a free Saturday as his wife was on call, so the boy headed to the 8x10 in Baltimore and had already sent me his report before I made it back to my friend's apt tonight. I keep telling Woody that Phil is setting a very high standard, should Woody ever decide to actually start covering the bands in Vegas...but that boy is still in the honeymoon phase, so it might be a while. Without further ado, here's PT's report from the night. (I think the first line was meant as a note to me, but I love it and decided to keep it in...I only wish that PT had arrived at that state from a night at The Crystal.)

I saw Woo-Yellow Dubmarine and Superland at 8x10 in Baltimore. A young crowd welcomed both College Park based bands.

So why should you be excited about bands that include a bunch of turtles (aka terrapins)? Both bands know how to get the crowd dancing, so if you're looking for some music that encourages fun, then these are bands for you.

Woo-Yellow Dubmarine combines reggae beats with a Beatles influence to produce both original tunes and a number of Beatles covers. A solid rhythm guitarist (also lead singer) combines with the bass player to lay down a dance-able beat that the talented lead guitarist builds upon to create great improvised solos. I'd like to see the drummer and
back-up rhythm player (bongos, etc.) do a little more to differentiate the band's sound. Their parts were very straighforward. Also, the vocal harmonies weren't particularly strong on the band's original

Woo-Yellow Dubmarine played about half orignal songs and about half Beatles covers. The guys in the band looked like they've barely graduated from the University of Maryland, so they have plenty of time to grow in the complexity and uniqueness of their sound.

Superland (formerly Soul'd Out) combines a talented lead singer with a Jamiroquai-esque voice with an excellent four piece horn section (two trumpets, a tenor sax and a baritone sax). The band has a James Brown influenced funk and soul sound, but, much more than Brown, the lead
singer's smooth voice makes for a very pleasing musical quality in each song. Superland has no lead guitarist -- instead, the lead singer and horn sections provide the embellishments and improvisation. A solid bass player and drummer provide the beats you'll need to feel like dancing.

If either of these bands comes to your area, then take some time out of your schedule to go and see them. Both bands will get you moving.

Superland perform at Sante Fe in College Park, MD

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm Missing She & Him and MGMT in New York this weekend

My ND friends and I made plans to go see a certain corporate sounding man from New Jersey this weekend way back in January, so while I was excited to see that MGMT were playing the Pool Parties, I was definitely bummed to find out it was the same day as the Boss's show at Giants Stadium. And today I'm bartending a big horse shoe tourney at some oil tycoon's place in Connecticut, so no She & Him, but my roomie is heading to it.

She & Him's show at Terminal 5 has been sold out, I believe.

MGMT is playing the free McCarren Park Pool Parties (brought to you by JellyNYC) on Sunday with the Ting Tings & Black Moth Super Rainbow. I wish I could check it out, but they're a Brooklyn band, so I'll see them again. For now, I'll just have to throw some of their live tracks onto my tailgate mix for tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend and some of the mp3s below.

She & Him - Change is Hard (live)
MGMT - Destrokk

Love She & Him's video for Why Do You Let Me Stay Here

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Air Guitar Battles: More from Federer & Murray

It seems that Nike already has another Federer/Murray (Rhys Darby) ad ready and waiting...this time Murray seems to think he has the advantage at air guitar, but Roger shows him up once again.  

These Nike commericials are making me love Federer more and more...I might even sing him my favorite Flight song.

Bon Iver in New York & Brooklyn Next Week

I am so excited for this show.  I fell in love with Bon Iver when NPR first posted his concert from the Rock n Roll hotel in February.  After that For Emma, Forever Ago was an immediate purchase.  The album is beautiful, but I'm attached to the live experience...I often fall asleep listening to one of his live shows.  Luckily, I snagged tickets to the Brooklyn show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg for next Wednesday months ago and it's almost finally here.  (He's also playing the Bowery the night before.)  

He's touring with Bowerbirds through August 3rd, then will be opening for Wilco on a few North American dates before heading to Europe.  


Tour Dates:
07/25/08 Portland, ME - SPACE Gallery   w/ Bowerbirds 
07/26/08 Boston, MA - Museum Of Fine Arts   w/ Bowerbirds 
07/27/08 Dennis, MA - Cape Cinema  w/ Bowerbirds 
07/29/08 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom   w/ Bowerbirds 
07/30/08 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall Of Williamsburg   w/ Bowerbirds 
07/31/08 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church   w/ Bowerbirds 
08/01/08 Washington, DC - Black Cat   w/ Bowerbirds 
08/02/08 Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theatre   w/ Bowerbirds 
08/03/08 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center   w/ Bowerbirds 
08/04/08 Indianapolis, IN - The Lawn at White River State Park   w/ Wilco 
08/06/08 Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theatre   w/ Wilco 
08/07/08 North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts   w/ Wilco 
08/08/08 Cary, NC - Koka Booth Amphitheatre   w/ Wilco 
08/10/08 Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/11/08 Nashville, TN - Exit/In   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/12/08 Bloomington, IN - Waldron Arts Center   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/14/08 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/15/08 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/24/08 San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival 
08/25/08 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/26/08 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour   w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/29/08 Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater  w/ A.A. Bondy 
08/30/08 Seattle, WA - Neumo's  w/ A.A. Bondy 
09/11/08 London, UK - Shepherd's Bush Empire   w/ Bowerbirds 
09/12/08 Bristol, UK - Trinity Hall 
09/13/08 North Dorset, UK - End Of The Road Festival 
09/15/08 Manchester, UK - Academy 2 
09/16/08 Gateshead, UK - The Sage 
09/17/08 Edinburgh, UK - Queens Hall 
09/19/08 Amsterdam, Netherland - Paradiso 
09/20/08 Arhus, Denmark - Vox Hall 
09/21/08 Oslo, Norway - John Dee 
09/23/08 Stockholm, Sweden - Berns 
09/24/08 Gothenburg, Sweden - Pusterviksbaren 
09/25/08 Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega-Small Hall 
09/26/08 Hamburg, Germany - Theater @ Reeperbahn Festival 
09/28/08 Berlin, Germany - Postbahnhof 
09/29/08 Munich, Germany - Ampere 
09/30/08 Koln, Germany - Gebaude 9 
10/02/08 Paris, France - Maroquinerie 
10/03/08 Brussels, Belgium - Botanique 
10/04/08 Groningen, Netherlands - Take Root Festival Osterpoort
10/05/08 Tourcoing, France - Grand Mix 
10/07/08 Dublin, Ireland - Tripod

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jessi's Reading 7.23.8

I like the Dakota, but not as much as Palazzo Chupi.

Hey there. It's been a while. My email is full of random links that I've found. And since Woody loves photos, maybe we'll throw in some of those from recent things, although I'm afraid he's seen them all on facebook. Oh well. I'll be out photographing again this weekend--ND friends be warned.

Apparently I'm a really bad wife, at least by 1930's standards, which I think makes me quite the catch.  I took an actual weighted test from a magazine back then and scored a 23, which made me "very poor (a failure)!"  I swear, drink and tell risque stories while wearing red nail polish and I've yet to put the kids to bed.  I sent it onto Kelly and she scored a -13, which might have made me a little jealous.  

Kelly gave me a good laugh with this one, as we do whenever we're reminded of the Barenaked Ladies.  The band's lead singer, Steven Page, was arrested for felony possession of cocaine and marijuana, which could mean 15 years in jail for the boy.  I find it somewhat ironic that they just released their first kids' album and it's titled Snacktime.  

Yale's Rare book collection has a book from 1831 warning children of possible accidents.  The entries are fantastic and if my mother only knew that this book existed as a child, I would've been even more terrified of everyday activities.  I've always been afraid of worrying dogs and being mauled alive, but now I'm worrying about being scalded at the table or tumbling down the stairs.  The illustrations really do it for me.

  "I Met the Walrus" is a cute video that a guy made illustrating the interview that he did as a teenager with John Lennon after sneaking into his Toronto hotel room in 1969. I can only imagine what was going through 14 year old Jerry Levitan's head as he asked his hero these questions.  

A Ohio professor shares his experience grading AP test essays in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  My high school allowed us to take the tests, but didn't teach for the AP, which I really appreciated.  I have serious problems with so many schools simply teaching for the tests. My American History class was fantastic as Mr. Farley was a history nut, whose vacations consisted of running around the country visiting presidential tombs.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to Brooklyn Tonight: Jezebel Music Feature at Union Pool

I've been roaming around CT the last few days looking like a bleary eyed girl after a concert still wearing my bright yellow ear plugs.  (Our office is one of those creative, open, loft-like spaces with no ceilings on the offices or conference rooms, which makes it really loud; thus, the ear plugs are necessary to get me through the day.)   Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything since my busy weekend of live music, but am just suffering from some crazy headaches.  I have no idea where these are coming from, but I'm hoping that a little live music tonight will be just the cure. 

I actually saw three of the four bands (The Antlers, The Loom and Spanish Prisoners) at the nyctaper anniversary show at Pianos in May.  Hopefully, I'll make it into town in time for Little Bear & the Bad Touch.  The show starts at 8 pm and I believe tickets are 8 bucks, as well and is being produced by Jezebel Music.    

The Loom released their EP last month and I missed the release for the Woody wedding, so I'm excited to see them again and get my hands on the EP and free myself of the streaming on MySpace.  The Antlers released The New York Hospitals EP in early June and emails with EPs attached are the best sort to receive.  I'd heard about Sharon Van Etten before, but her voice really completes The Magnetic Fields' cover, "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing." 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guest Spot: Wolf Parade's Live Show Furthers Emily's Appreciation of At Mount Zoomer

This post comes from Jessi's friend Emily (and new Chicago correspondent):
I am submitting my thoughts on Wolf Parade exactly one week after hitting up their show at the Chicago House of Blues.  I was mortified to see that Jessi did not have any mention of Wolf Parade and felt this band deserved the credit it was due.  
I have been a huge fan of Wolf Parade ever since they released their first album, Apologies to the Queen Mary. In fact, I would actually say that this album is one of my favorite albums of all time (and my iTunes proves it, as 4 of the 12 tracks are the top four most played songs on my iTunes). 
Prior to the show at the HOB, I had seen them live twice before - when they opened for Arcade Fire at the Riviera (btw, this show is on my favorite shows of all time list) and then again at the Metro in 2006 during their tour with Frog Eyes.  Needless to say, I had been looking forward to seeing them for quite some time. 
I will say, however, that I was slightly disappointed with their second album, At Mount Zoomer, as I personally didn't find the songs on this album as intense as those on the first.  Seeing them perform the songs from this album live has completely changed my opinion.  The tracks on At Mount Zoomer are just as, if not more powerful, than those on Apologies... 
Bottom line, the concert was awesome.  The new album is much better than I realized and I have newfound appreciation for At Mount Zoomer. I strongly recommend checking out this band if you every have the opportunity to see them live.  If you're simply in need of a taste of their music, check out my personal favorite:  "I'll Believe in Anything." 
I also recommend listening to any or all of these bands, as they're side projects/prior bands that some of the Wolf Parade members are in:
Sunset Rubdown
Handsome Furs
Frog Eyes
That's all for now.  I'm sure you're be hearing from me again after Lollapalooza (assuming I survive the heat and do not get trampled while Rage Against the Machine plays).  I promise more insight and photos with that write up.

(Jessi's note:  Emily really did lay into me for not discussing Wolf Parade, so much so that I immediately went to check out their tour dates.  Might have to weasel my way into Terminal Five in a few weeks.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can I just have a Moment to Rave about Nick Cave? (he does have a fabulous moustache after all)

photo by Steve Gullick

I'll be the first to admit that I was probably a bit late to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.  I still remember the moment of discovery, when I saw the video for "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" on TV.  Lord only knows what I was watching, although I do feel like I was in Athens at the time.  That song was an immediate download and I can still picture the video in my head, although it's been years since I've seen it.  Since then he's been my personal treasure that I occasionally seek out for further fulfillment.  I have to be in the right mood for Nick Cave, but when the moment strikes, I'm all in.  Although there are my favorite songs that I could listen to whenever.  

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! was one of my actual record store purchases this year and hello massive photo booklet!  (I think the music gods knew how much I like moustaches and wouldn't let me get the digital release.)  I was determined to get the record from the moment I first heard a few singles on KEXP.

I have to thank Alan at sixeyes for the periodic Nick Cave posts that make my day.  (I thought he was the one who posted the Black Sessions, but I can't seem to find the link.)  I'm adding personal favorite from the Black Sessions, "The Ship Song," below, as it hasn't left my head over the last few days.

The band is signed to Anti Records, an indie label that really surprised me when I checked out their artists the other day.  Lots of bands that I really enjoy form their roster.  

Guest Spot: Jody Hits the XPoNential Music Festival

Once again Jody joins the blog to give us a music update from Philly.  Jody is our singer-songwriter/folk music expert, too.  She actually writes her guest spots, unlike Kelly, Nick and Emily.  Someday, right guys?

Guest Spot:  Jody

I live in Philly, yet commute to Delaware every day for school.  As a student, I am way too cheap for either an iTrip or satellite radio, so I rely heavily on 88.5 wxpn on my drives.  As a non-profit station based at UPenn, they are the only commercial-free radio around (though Daddy G would argue that all their ads really are commercials). And they play a really good mix of music – from live Phish and Dead to up-and-coming artists to Philly local bands, like Amos Lee.  Every summer, the station hosts a big festival.  I remember the days when it was just “singer/songwriter weekend.”  Now it’s grown to four days and has a cool new name, the “XPoNential Music Festival.”  See how they stuck their call letters in there all fancy?

I embarked on my latest assignment for The Blog when I headed over to East Philly (otherwise known as Camden) on Saturday for some tunes and some beers.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.  Fortunately, I borrowed a friend’s…only to find out the batteries were dead.  Maybe if The Blog were paying me, I would focus more on being prepared.  (Editor's note:  Someday the blog will have iPhones for both of us.  This will probably be in 8 years.)

We arrived just in time for Nicole Atkins’ set.  I know a few of her songs, and I must say, she has an awesome voice.  At one point, Gena and I were trying to figure out who she sounds like…only to realize she just sounds like herself.  I highly recommend giving her a listen.

Next up was one of my favorite bands, Railroad Earth.  I saw these guys for NYE a few years ago, with my hippie crowd, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  They are an awesome live show, if you’re one for bluegrass jam bands.  I was bummed that they only had a 40 minute set, but they made the most of it.  A majority of songs came from their new album, Amen Corner, but they did mix an older song or two – Railroad Earth and Bird in a House.  These guys come back to Philly in Sept, and I will definitely be hitting that show.

After Railroad Earth was Philly native Amos Lee.  I love his music.  Very mellow and laid back.  He gave us a pretty decent set, and the crowd was really receptive, probably because xpn pimps him so hard.  He seems like he’d be fun to party with.

Saturday night’s closer was Michael Franti and Spearhead.  We LOVE Michael Franti.  Unfortunately, I did not get to meet him or his people at the meet-n-greet, but we’re giving him some Blog love anyway.  His music just makes you want to jump around and dance.  Many of his themes revolve around the awful mess that GW has gotten this country in abroad, so these songs resonate even more with the election season approaching.  I bet Obama has them on his iPod.  If you’re unfamiliar, check these guys out.  Overall, it was a good, inexpensive day of music.  Hopefully, xpn will bring in even better acts next year.

Jody's Listening Recommendations:

Nicole Atkins - Maybe Tonight | zS

Railroad Earth - Bird in a House (Coming soon...gotta get it from the Jody's collection)

Amos Lee - Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight | zS

Michael Franti - One Step Closer to You | zS

I am almost out of bandwidth, so use the zS links to download the songs.  


Guest Spot:  Jody Catches 6 Day Bender in Asbury Park

Live from Bonnaroo!  Updates from The Jody

Radiohead "House of Cards" Video with Lasers!

This has been one of my favorite songs from In Rainbows and I love that once again, the band had to be innovative and refused to use cameras or lights to shoot the video. Love the shots of the cul de sac; kinda creeped out by Thom Yorke's laser scanned face.

Check out the making-of video and description.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Waterfalls & Manhattanhenge

Last night I had an hour after the No Age show before I had to be uptown, so I headed back to my car, grabbed my big camera and blended in with the tourists along the East River to check out the waterfalls, or should I say Olafur Eliasson's The New York City Waterfalls.  I took these photos just below the Brooklyn Bridge and you can see the falls by Manhattan's Pier 35 in the distance in the photo below.  There are two more falls:  between Brooklyn's Piers 4 & 5 and on the northern end of Governor's Island.  

I'd heard about the kayakers who capsized by the falls on my drive in and had been thinking, wow, that would be a cool thing to do with a great vantage point, but on second thought, we all know that I'd end up in the water just like them.  And for you nerds who want some details on the falls, it cost $15.5mm to install, but is expected to generate more than $50mm in revenue.  

Tonight is Manhattanhenge--when the sun sets in perfect alignment with the Manhattan grid.  This means the big camera is going to be on me again today and I'll probably be darting out of some establishment just before 8:25 to catch a few photos.  

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's a City Weekend Again - Kicking it Off with No Age at the Seaport

The boats at the seaport better be ready for the sounds of L.A. tonight!

The weekend is almost here and we are excited!  I feel like I've been traveling for the last month and besides my dinner with Perry a few weekends back, I've hardly been in the city for the weekend to roam.  It's a half day tomorrow, as I work in sports and we don't believe in working past 1 on Fridays in the summer.  New roommate Evie likes to remind me that I have a fabulous life.  This is because she is a doctor and has horrible hours.  I have a fabulous life and make no money because of my industry, but I'm okay with this.  

My plans to be in the city by 2 might not work out so well, as I somehow ended up with a flat tire on my way to dinner in Greenwich tonight.  Thankfully, there was a nice guy who helped me, even though I wanted to show off my tire-changing skills that I acquired a few months ago when I lost one in North Greenwich.  

No Age and Abe Vigoda are playing the free show at South Street Seaport tomorrow and I plan on being there.  I'm a little nervous as the sound system was not good for the last show I saw there in August, but I get the feeling that its going to be a good show.  Pop Tarts Suck Toasted has been excited for the show all week and interviewed both bands.  

Saturday I plan on making my way to my first musical boyfriend David Byrne's installation at the the Battery Maritime Building.  I also have visions of making it to the waterfalls on the East River at some point, but I'm going to be realistic here.  There are lots of friends in the city that I would love to catch up with this weekend.  That night should find me at The Living Room or Rockwood Music Hall, although I'm leaning towards meeting some friends of Evie's at the latter, since AG will be no where to be found at The Living Room.

Happy weekend everyone.  We'll see where the next few days actually take us and keep your fingers crossed that I actually find a tire for my car tomorrow or else I'll just be at the beach by my house all weekend.  

Thursday, July 10, 2008

XPoNential Music Festival Kicks Off in Philly Tonight

The XPN 4 day festival kicks off tonight at the Camden Waterfront (close enough to Philly in my opinion) with the Blind Boys of Alabama.  We're sending Jody on yet another concert mission and she'll be checking in from the shows on Saturday.  

The girl is also an XPN member, so she has access to the artist meet and greets and is on a mission to meet Michael Franti on Saturday.  Should this not happen she'll probably claim that her loaner camera had some catastrophe, which is highly plausible.  She's been known to destroy some cameras in her day and went years only using a disposable one.  

Below are some artists we're most excited about at the concert.  (Again, Jody hates previews, so I get to pick whatever music I want.)  

You'll be sure to take away some good fashion sense and maybe even save your heathen soul at this show.  

She's someone you should just see, plus I'm in one of my anglophile moods today.  
He sounds like the perfect combination of the music on which my dad raised me.  Springsteen is releasing a charity EP with some celebrity appearances from the Magic tour, including "All My Friends" with Alejandro, which I've, of course, included below.

Jody gets full credit for introducing me to both Michael Franti and Amos Lee.  His last album, Yell Fire! has been a favorite since she sent it my way and gets plenty of play during my runs.  His new album, All Rebel Rockers, comes out in September and we're awaiting its arrival.   
As with most of Jody's recommendations, Amos is a great singer-songwriter and had a strong stretch as my go-to mellow music at work when his self-titled record came out in 2005.  Plus, he's from Philly, no less!
This is good rock 'n roll...just what you need to rejuvenate your musical spirits after 4 hours in the sun and many more to go.  

You should definitely recognize her song, "Take Me the Way I Am," and it has hand-clapping, no less.  (A little Jessi Confession time here.  I'm addicted to Grey's and I want Alexandra Patsavas's job, the musical genius behind those soundtracks.)  
Maybe it's because they're from Staten Island, but I love their sound.  It's different and just what I need right now.  It makes me want to film some sexy, dark 70s movie with fabulous coloring and awful clothing and use them on the soundtrack.
I caught them at The Hold Steady show two weekends ago in a rain storm and enjoyed their set, even if their music is something the Canadian likes a lot more than I do.  

Monday, July 7, 2008

That's Him! That's The Guy! (b.o.i. #2)

Beautiful, elegiac songs about three generations of failed marriage fill That's Him! That's the Guy!'s 2008 LP An Army Life. With elegantly simple melodies strummed on guitar and banjo, David Martin and Joseph Scott bring the poignant lyrics to the forefront with their vocal harmonies. The songs haven't escaped my head since the tracks found their way to my inbox a few days ago. I was jokingly, yet appropriately, warned before listening that the lyrics were quite uplifting. My favorite "Red Folder" holds the instructions for how to handle his loved one's death; however, I can't get enough of the strings that sweep in throughout the song and how the guitar builds after the first refrain.

Considering my love of all things Canada, it seemed like fate that they found their way to me. Joseph Scott plays in the band Canada and David Martin is from Canada.

The duo recently moved to New York from Michigan and have one show on their calendar:
August 24th at Goodbye Blue Monday in Brooklyn



Of course, there's some YouTube to go along with the post. Here's a live performance of "Polish Lancers" from what might have been their last show in Michigan.

And now to the Bands of Influence part. If you're here to grab Sufjan Steven's "The One I Love" cover or "The Dress Looks Nice on You", be sure to download the mp3s above from That's Him! That's the Guy! The band's sound has drawn comparisons to Sufjan, Iron & Wine and Mountain Goats. I just happen to love Sufjan the best.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Animatronic Rock-afire Explosion Band Covers New Music

As a girl who's gotten used to shopping for groceries at Stew Leonard's, a grocery store that is a half wooden maze and half food-themed Small World, the recent videos from Rock-afire Explosions didn't seem that out of the ordinary.  I'm used to bears in mountain clothes and the entire dairy section singing to me in animatronic form.  What's amazing is how well the programmers synced the animals with the lyrics.  

Aaron Fletcher and Chris Thrash, seemingly of Creative Engineering, are the force behind these videos.  Their quite simple website lets you bid on a song via paypal that you'd like to see performed by the band.  Most end up being programmed for a couple hundred bucks, but MGMT has the highest winning bid of $1200, although I'm a little afraid that the mountain bear and piano gorilla might ruin my current song association.

Below are the videos for MGMT's "Electric Feel" and Usher's "Love in This Club," which is roommate Jeremy's current favorite song.  I have to say that I love every time that the Usher bear looks skyward during the song.  Fantastic.  

YouTube also has the videos for Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie," Madonna's "4 Minutes" and The White Stripes's "Conquest."

Oh, and Wikipedia has some info on the history of Rock-afire, a restaurant chain designed to compete with Chuck E. Cheese, although I'd never heard previously heard of it.  From what Wiki has to say, Aaron Fletcher used to voice several of the characters in the early 1980s.  

Friday, July 4, 2008

Frightened Rabbit & Oxford Collapse End Tour at Southpaw in Brooklyn 7.2.8

Frightened Rabbit with Oxford Collapse during the encore

I left the Frightened Rabbit show in May thoroughly impressed and have been telling my friends and the new ones I met on the road about the band since then.  The show at Southpaw in Wednesday night reaffirmed what I'd been saying all along.  

Frightened Rabbit ended their US tour in Brooklyn--home of Oxford Collapse, their tour mates for the last three weeks.  It was evident how much the two bands enjoyed each other on the road as Scott mentioned multiple inside jokes--many of which were Eddie Murphy related--and the Oxford guys even left a little surprise for Scott next to his set list--too bad the photo's too explicit to go beside the set list below.  

Both bands watched each other from the crowd (half the guys were even in the crowd to support the unremarkable opener The Lame Drivers and I'd originally thought Dan from Oxford was a Frightened Rabbit super-fan after The Lame Drivers said they were excited to see Oxford, Dan yelled "WHAT ABOUT FRIGHTENED RABBIT?" and walked off).  

There was plenty of intermingling on stage as Scott sang and hit the tambourine during Oxford's set, Dan added to the percussion of "Go-Go Girls" and everyone piled on the stage during the final song, "Keep Yourself Warm."  I loved how singer Michael Pace was eagerly snapping photos of Dan like a proud father at a little league game while he was on stage and the guys and their friends continued the photo work through the rest of the show--also making me feel justified in occasionally using my flash, even if I was bookended by two actual photographers. 
Dan joins the stage for "Go-Go Girls"

The crowd seemed more familiar with Frightened Rabbit than those at the Pianos show five weeks ago.  Everyone was clapping along to "Music Now" after just a few notes and the guys got me quite excited as Andy moved to the keyboards for "Backwards Walk" and began the song with the first part of The National's "Fake Empire"--and we all know how much I love The National.  

Scott came out for a solo performance of "Poke" to begin the encore and the song has turned into a spiritual experience of sorts each time that I've seen them.  A hush quickly fell over the crowd and I could hear people shushing anyone others to be quiet.  My favorite part was when Scott stepped away from the microphone and was just singing into the crowd, making the performance seem all the more exposed.

After "Poke" the band and Oxford returned to the stage for an energetic, tour-ending celebration of "Keep Yourself Warm."  The guys were all smiles and Scott even threw in some lines from Oxford Collapse's "National Parks" at the end.  

I will admit that I was a little bummed that the keyboard was blocking most of my views of Grant, as I love watching him behind his kit.  His Muppet's Animal t-shirt was fantastic, though

It had been a busy day at work as I got ready to dash out of town for a few days, that I never remembered to charge my cameras, so I only got a fast rendition of "Please Visit Your National Parks" from Oxford Collapse and the first half of "Good Arms" before the battery died.  (Videos are at the end).  Either way there's tons of photos from the show:  

Frightened Rabbit's Set

Oxford Collapse's Set

They loved their docksiders

Everyone during the encore, "Keep Yourself Warm"

Set List
1.  I Feel Better
2.  Fast Blood
3.  Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
4.  Be Less Rude
5.  Old Fashioned
6.  Music Now
7.  Modern Leper
8.  Go-Go Girls
9.  The Twist
10.  Head Rolls Off
11.  Fake Empire --> Backwards Walk
12.  The Greys --> Square 9 
13.  Poke (solo)
14.  Keep Yourself Warm

Have a listen:
Frightened Rabbit - Go-Go Girls from Sing the Greys

The first half of Frightened Rabbit's "Good Arms vs Bad Arms"

Oxford Collapse's "Please Visit Your National Parks"

Frightened Rabbit returns to the UK for a few remaining dates in July and August:
July 8 - Madame Jojos in London
July 10 - The Library in Leeds
July 13 - T in the Park in Kinross
August 9 - Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester

Oxford Collapse is taking most of July off before the release of their new album in August.  (Check their MySpace for dates if you're on the East Coast or in the Mid-west.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Third Favorite Kiwi Teams up with a Leggy Brunette for Nike Ad

Justin A. (not his real initial) made my morning with this Nike ad after he saw it on FanHouse. The thought of Murray being successful at anything after his run of luck on FotC is comical in itself, but Murray as a tennis superforce/superhero just blows my mind...And now I'm envisioning this as the Bird v Johnson McDonald's shooting contest ads for the new millennium.  

Love the boys from Flight (and Mel, of course).  Let's just hope if season two ever comes to fruition it lives up to our high expectations from season one. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Concert Tonight then I'm Getting Outta NYC!

I guess we could call this another field trip, but I seem to take a lot of those lately.  I'm heading to Brooklyn tonight for Frightened Rabbit and Oxford Collapse at Southpaw--doors open at 8; show at 8:30.  

Then I'll be sipping on the sweet, sugary sweetness of multiple Red Bulls and making my way to Philly for a few days.  Any phone calls between the hours of 12:30 and 2 am tonight will be appreciated, as my favorite late night keep-me-awake phone buddy on the west coast just married himself off.  

Have a great Fourth and be sure to write!

I think my co-worker, Ruemenapp, is secretly in both bands playing tonight.  He's the guy in the purple shirt in the video and the lead singer for FR.  The resemblance is eerie.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

If you didn't know, we love all things Canada here at the blog.  Happy Canada Day!

Jessi's Reading 7.1 - Justin A. Special Foodie Edition

This is Justin A. (not his real initial), my seatbuddy and foodie extraordinaire. This photo was taken the day of the David Sedaris field trip and managed to put a smile on my face at the 4 1/2 mark when it seemed like I'd never leave B&N.

Since Justin A. has yet to start his own food blog, which he really, really should, here are some food links that I've enjoyed in the last week.

Mark Bittman, NYT's food writer, gave a great TED talk about what is wrong with the way we eat and how we got ourselves into this position. (I love TED talks, be sure to check out the one from my favorite author...and I still need to get to the Super Hero Supply Store in Brooklyn.)

Slate discusses the correlation between our decline in savings and rising obesity rates.

And here's one for fun. Can you identify the candy bars by how they look on the inside?

Cloud Cult - Breakfast with My Shadow

Norwegian Artists Salute The Purple One's 50th Birthday with 5 CD Compilation

Where did my glee over The Purple One begin?  There are so many possibilities.  It could've been the day Sizzle insisted that I immediately load his Greatest Hits and B-sides onto my iPod.  (Sizzle is a wrestler and you do what he says.)  Or maybe it was after all those Chappelle skits gave me the giggles and the Canadian the chuckles.  (So good.)  It might have even been the juke box at The Junction, pumping I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man into the Athens night, made even better with a Junction Punch in hand.

Nevertheless, The Purple One has taken protection of one's copyrights to a new level.  The Radiohead issue was utterly laughable, so much so that I didn't even say anything about it previously.   Now he's sued the 50 Norwegian artists who covered him (Coachella performance be damned) on a 5 disc Birthday Tribute.  Correct me if I'm wrong lawyers, but with copyright law, you don't have to obtain the original artist's permission for covers, you just need to pay the compulsory licensing royalties.  

Either way, the songs are streaming on the above link or you could even buy a limited edition of the tribute.  Just don't ask me how many dollars equal kr 300,00.  

It's entertaining and sometimes comical to hear the different spin on his songs.  The label chose to represent a variety of genres in this compilation.

And for your own entertainment, some crazy Prince links:
(I would've had a photo up top, but I'm afraid of The Purple One and his platforms.)

PS  Thanks to The Blue once again
PPS My insomnia is back in full force.

Sidetracked! Fate Leads Me to Colbert Nation Headquarters

Fate in NYC has been a funny thing lately.  I just keep happening upon things that I have slight obsessions with, such as the Palazzo Chupi.  Sunday was no different as I'd been planning on parking in the West Village, actually near the Palazzo, but decided to get off in the Meat Packing District as I was going to end up in that wretched, slow-moving tourist trap that is Times Square later in the day.

Luckily, I got off and immediately found a wealth of parking spots on 54th...right in front of the Colbert Report!  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a fascination with Stephen Colbert.  The Canadian and I loved him on the Daily Show and have watched the Colbert Report since it's debut.   Although I will admit that we weren't sure what to make of it in the first week, but we were hooked by the second.  

My favorite Stephen--I can say that, my Dad and brother spell it with a v--recently ran another Green Screen Challenge, this time with a very somber and boring McCain speech entitled Project Make McCain Exciting.  Entrants were asked to liven it up.  Here's two of my favorites:  McCain in Vogue (Kelly, I think this is as close to Mandonna as the Republicans would ever get) and Pulp Fiction.