November 12, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

I watched the new Oasis tour documentary Lord Don’t Slow Me Down on Saturday night, and I was thoroughly entertained beyond what I had anticipated. It’s a look at a band that seemed unstoppable in the cocky cocaine madness of ’95-’96 (years which Noel admits he doesn’t remember. At all.) now doing the unthinkable and growing up a bit. Stable girlfriends, kids, and years of living the rock n roll lifestyle seem to have muted the Gallagher brothers just a tad (even though they are still devastatingly funny to watch, and pull off an epically rocking show with the best of ‘em).

LDSMD provides an all-access look at the band on their 10-month world tour for Don’t Believe The Truth in 2005. As a document of those months, the footage underscores both the high of the huge crowds that sing at the top of their lungs to every word — regardless of their native language (pretty tingly-cool when everyone breaks with “Sooooo, Sally can wait….”) but also the monotony of the *same* blessed pickin’ questions from every single interviewer, a thousand times over, and the jet-lag and disorientation and inner workings of living together with the same folks for that long in a bus. I liked the small, quiet insights best: Liam ape-dancing alone in a dressing room when he apparently didn’t know the cameras were taping, the guys playing a rollicking board game of Frustration backstage (and man, I miss the sound of that dice popper from being a kid), the tinkering around on the instruments in a music store somewhere in urban Tokyo on a day off.

The film is mostly shot in iconic-feeling grainy black and white, except for a few notable scenes in hyperbright ’70s-style Technicolor, like a performance of Champagne Supernova, and a shot of Liam leaning back into the sunshine on the back of a skittering speedboat in the Sydney harbor. It’s a visual treat in the arthouse film style. The elusive angles used in filming lend it a weight that made me feel like I was watching an epic lost Beatles doc or something. Which I suppose may be a point. Combined with the second disc of the complete epic Manchester homecoming concert, this is a vastly entertaining look at a seminal rock band still doin what they do so well.

As for the music this week, I finally attacked some of the emails I’ve been meaning to get around to, and found a few ace new tunes to grab our ears:

Speaking of guys from Manchester . . . Polytechnic is a feisty Britpop quintet that have been called “one of the most uplifting sounds to have emerged from Manchester in recent years — fashionably angular but also joyously buoyant.” (Rock Sound Magazine). I can catch the comparisons to Supergrass, The Shins, and even CYHSY – they’ve got a fun and unique jangly blend of shimmering vocals lit to a danceable perfection. They have two shows on American soil this week, Wednesday at LA’s Spaceland, and Friday at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. These guys are unsigned but sound to me as if they might not stay that way for long. Down Til Dawn is out now.

Sad Songs
The Pendletons
Not a sad song at all, unless sad songs make you want to scream and yell and dance around a sticky-floored backroads bar to this toe-tapping bit of catharsis. The Pendletons are from Athens, GA and their brand of urgent, catchy tunes share a rawness and a jangle with someone we’ve heard before out of Athens (Peter Buck has been seen at their shows, raising a beer to the lads). Rolling Stone recently said that their new album Oh! Me sounds “like Vampire Weekend on a semester abroad with Arctic Monkeys.” I am all in for that kind of action.

Out of Time
Jason Collett

I saw Broken Social Scenester Jason Collett a few months back at the Bluebird (and he’s back in Denver this week with Feist) and his unique brand of earthy twang and clean beats stole my heart. His newest album is called Here’s To Being Here, and this song sounds to me like a hypothetical moment where the droningly lyrical poet in Bob Dylan joins Apostle of Hustle, with a bit of late-night sexy bluesy swagger to it. The new album is out February 5 on Canadian label Arts & Crafts.

Girls And Boys In Love
The Rumble Strips
So is it just me or does the name of this British band sound exactly like it could be the hip new bikini wax to ask for? That’s awesome. But oh, then I remembered that rumble strips are those divots along the outside of the lane lines designed to jolt awake drivers who doze, so nevermind. These Rumble Strips are from London, and this selection is a lighthearted song that sounds best while driving, reminding me of a super peppy, clap-happy Robert Smith. None of the band’s trademark horns here, but it’s a soundtrack for youthful tomfoolery. They are finishing up some Irish dates, and then hitting the US on tour with the Cold War Kids in just a few cities: DC, Philly, NY, LA, and SF’s Popscene in December. Girls and Weather (two fluctuating topics) is out now.

Stuck Between Stations (acoustic)
The Hold Steady

In honor of me seeing the Hold Steady again tonight (with Art Brut) in Denver, we’ll end our roundup with this fantastic tune from last year’s Boys and Girls In America album (ps – now being re-released in the UK with the elusive “Live from Fingerprints” tracks included).

I am not sure where this acoustic version was recorded, but for me it highlights the lyrics even more; I still find them crushing and hopeful all at once:

these twin city kisses.
sound like clicks and hisses.
and we all come down and drown in the mississippi river.

we drink
we dry up.
we crumble into dust.

we get wet we corrode
we get covered in rust.

I can’t wait for the show.

[photo from Chicago Metro Halloween show, credit]

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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