Archive for the 'Show Review' Category

22
Jun

Case of covers

posterCaught the second night of Neko Case’s two night run at the at the Warfield a couple weeks ago. It was a fabulous evening with that big-as-a-house voice of hers in fine form and along with regular companion Kelly Hogan we were treated to some of the best between song banter in the business. Unfortunately the new material from Middle Cyclone was delivered with less enthusiasm then the older stuff she played. I couldn’t help thinking a well placed cover would have livened things up a bit. To that end I threw together of couple of songs by other folks Neko’s done over the years.

Alone & Forsaken A Hank Williams cover that first appeared on Neko’s 2001 release  Canadian Amp. When she opened for Calexico at The Fillmore back on July 7th, 2004 she came out during their set and did this spectacularly haunting version with them.

Brown-Eyed Handsome Man Now we’re talkin’ lively. This comes from a great compilation on Bloodshot records called Hard-Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson. Buy it here.

Buckets Of Rain (Bob Dylan)

Knock Loud (Sook-Yin Lee) A staple of her live set for a while, Neko’s version of this first appeared on Kill Rock Stars’ 2002 collection Fields and Streams. Both this and the Dylan track are form the 9:30 Club in DC on 4/9/06

Lord Dont Move The Mountain Neko Gets her gospel on with a Bessie Griffin number during a Peel Session at BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London, 9/13/00

Runnin’ Out Of Fools From the same Peel Session, the way she delivers this Aretha Franklin tune makes the hair on my arm stand up.

Poor Ellen Smith A 19th century tune from the fabulous collection of murder ballads by the Mekons related Pine Valley Cosmonauts called The Executioner’s Last Songs Volume 1. Proceeds from this record and a second volume benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project. Buy it here.

Stay A Little Longer Again with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts from their 1998 debut Salute the Majesty of Bob Wills

The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise A hit for Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1951, this is from a solo record by Neko’s secret weapon, Jon Rauhouse’s Steel Guitar Air Show.

River Of No Return From another Rauhouse solo record, Steel Guitar Rodeo. Neko does saucey almost as well as Marilyn Monroe did in the movie of the same name with Robert Mitchum.

Get ‘em all zipped right here: Case Of Covers

13
Dec

NHT’s Best of 2008

Every blogger’s gotta have one so here’s my list for the best of a pretty strong year. Click on the album covers for band websites.

#1 Blitzen Trapper – Furr (Sub Pop)

The finest 6 piece band in Portland delivers an adventurous stunner on their fourth record. There’s so much going in every song I feel like I’ve heard a whole record’s worth of ideas after two or three tracks. Where do I start? It’s the Kinks meets Of Montreal, early Dylan meets Wilco, After The Gold Rush era Neil Young meets Beck.  And I’m diggin’ the 80’s hair metal logo!  Suffice to say that if my boys sing along to every tune then it’s been in pretty heavy rotation around the NHT house.  I do skip “Black River Killer” when the kids are around; hard to explain that one to a nine year old…

God + Suicide

Black River Killer

That last one is downright chilling live.

#2 Crooked Fingers – Forfeit/Fortune (CAI/Red Pig)

CF’s latest sheds the freak folky Americana leanings of their past efforts in favor of a Blitzen Trapper type rock infused with Arcade Fire’s sense of drama (without their tiresome aura of self-importance) and tasteful doses of Latin and Eastern European flavor. Guests include Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews), Tom Hagerman (DeVotchKa) and Neko Case. This may be Eric Bachmann and his shifting brood’s best yet. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to include the cover art (hey, we’re kid friendly ’round here)

¡No Me Lo Des!

Luisas Bones

The Crooked Fingers released this one all by their lonesome. Buy it here: http://www.crookedfingers.com/

The Golden Hour

#3 Firewater – The Golden Hour (Bloodshot)

Original review here.  Tod A can still bring it after 10+ years out of Cop Shoot Cop. A brilliant travelogue about Tod’s 3 year sojourn through India, Pakistan, Israel & Turkey, bringing a solid rock foundation to showcase music from halfway around the world.

Some Kind Of Kindness

Weird To Be Back

Leeds me to believe Tod’s happier living out of a suitcase…

#4 Buena Vista Social Club – At Carnegie Hall (World Circuit)

Original review here. Finally a magical night of Cuban music sees the light of day. Music that was a revelation in 1998 on the studio record is nothing short of incendiary in this live setting. The sheer joy and exuberance of these incredible musicians, many playing the US for the first time, pours out of the speakers.

Chan Chan

El Cuarto de Tula

#5 Paul Weller – 22 Dreams (Yep Roc)

The Modfather takes a bold, audacious step outside the comfort zone that dulled his last couple of albums and succeeds in spades. Solo record #9 is his most varied yet, touching on Brit folk, blue eyed soul, jazz, crunching rock, driving psychedelia, Middle Earstern grooves and piano ballads. So inspiring to see an artist still able challenge himself after 30+ years. Guests include Robert Wyatt, Noel Gallagher, Graham Coxon (on drums, only Weller could bring together the Hatfield & McCoy of Brit rock), Gem Archer and Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock is all over this (he also gets a production credit).

All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You)

Push It Along

#6 The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement (Domino)

Review of “Standing Next to Me” single here. A collaboration between Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and Miles Kane (Little Flames, Rascals). It’s early Bowie’s 60’s symphonic-pop meets Love meets The Yardbirds with Enio Morricone and John Barry flourishes. Delicious.

My Mistakes Were Made For You

Separate And Ever Deadly


#7 The Dodos – Visiter (FrenchKiss)

One of my favorite local bands I haven’t seen live yet. ‘Course I don’t get out much… Their second album is smile inducing from start to finish. Another guitar-drums duo (I was hoping bands without bass players was a passing fad) fills so much space with so little. Here’s a couple tracks from Visiter live from The Doug Fir Lounge, Portland recorded in October of last year:

It’s That Time Again > Paint The Rust

And my fave tune from Visiter: Fools

#8 David Byrne/Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Todomundo)

Original review here.  If Nonesuch hadn’t reissued their first collaboration My LIfe In The Bush Of Ghosts this new record may never have happened. Getting back in touch for the reissue, Eno mentioned he had a large cache of tracks and Byrnne offered to compose lyrics. Sheer beauty ensued.

Life Is Long

One Fine Day

Available only on their website it here.

#9 Foals – Antidotes (Trasgressive)

This post-new wave Oxford, UK 5 piece sounds like Gang Of Four for a post Arctic Monkeys world. So catchy, so much fun. Here’s a live version of one of my favorite tracks of their full length debut:

Red Socks Pugie

Thanks to Indie Boy for the recording. Ther’s more live and rare Foals than you can shake a stick at here. Here’s another fave of NHT:

Cassius

#10 Raconteurs – Consolers Of The Lonely (Warner Bros.)

One of the best shows I saw all year. Jack White is a straight up rock star, Brendon Benson is an underrated genius, great songwriting,  driving guitars, killer hooks, what’s not to like?.

Carolina Drama

Salute Your Solution

When they played “Carolina Drama” at Slim’s White stepped to the front of the stage to deliver the last couple of versus without the aid of amplification. You could have heard a pin drop as his voice reached every corner of that room. Gave me the chicken skin…

And the best of the rest, hopefully to be fleshed out in the near future:

#11 Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal (Back Porch)
#12 The Botticellis – Old Home Movies (Antenna Farm)
#13 Los Campesinos – Hold On Now, Youngster (Arts & Crafts)
#14 Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West)
#15 Antony and the Johnsons – Another World (Secretly Canadian)
#16 The Zydepunks – Finisterre (Nine Mile)
#17 Jesca Hoop – Kismet (Columbia)
#18 Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers (Super Ego)
#19 Calexico – Carried to Dust (Quarterstick)
#20 Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)

05
Dec

Blitzen Trapper Independent setlist & video

Tuesday night at the Independent Portland’s Blitzen Trapper graced our fair corner of the world with the best live performance of the year in these parts for a mere $12. They did over two thirds of my favorite album of the year so the rest was gravy, and what gravy! “Country Caravan”, about their hometown of Portland, was delivered with the kind of emotion only homesick fellas near the end of a grueling tour can muster. “Last Thing On My Mind” brought tears, “Black River Killer” was haunting as hell. The whole night was just amazing, and the hospitality of drummer Brian behind the merch booth was icing on top of gravy. Enjoy a couple of videos from that night (with many thanks to atomjack). I must of been ten feet to his right tops.

Furr

and Wild Mountain Nation

The setlist (also thanks to atomjack):

Sleepytime in the Western World
Fire & Fast Bullets
God and Suicide
Saturday Nite
Black River Killer
Furr
Country Caravan
Gold For Bread
Jericho
Love U
Echo/Always On/Easy Con
Summer Town
Wild Mountain Nation
Not Your Lover
Devil’s a-go-go
The Gambler (a hillarious partial cover of the Kenny Rogers song)
Last Thing On My Mind
Miss Spiritual Tramp

01
Oct

Calexico at The Fillmore

Calexico delivered a fabulous set at The Fillmore Sunday night dominated by songs from the new record Carried To Dust.  I’m sure Joey Burns and John Convertino are just as tired of the term “return to form” as Mike Mills and his compatriots in R.E.M. I don’t know what everyone’s’ prattling on about. I loved Garden Ruin and thought Sunday’s version of ‘Roka’ was good enough to hope for more off that record. From the limited listens I’ve been able to give the new album I agree it feels more like their breakthrough Feast Of Wire (which provided five songs to the set) but implying Garden Ruin was a misstep does it a grave disservice. Of course when all is said & done Calexico is first and foremost a live band so the fact that they only played one song from Garden Ruin gives NHT the impression that John & Joey aren’t very fond of that record either.

Anyway, below is my attempt at reconstructing Sunday’s show. Unless otherwise noted  this is from their show at The Fillmore back on 7/16/04 (at least it’s the same room). I’ve included a few bonuses since I don’t have a recording of Calexico doing the fantastic Jorge Ben cover that Jairo Zavala sang or the new song my old friends from Chico Barbara and Terry Manning came out to play (they do a great version of The Handsome Family’s ‘Too Much Wine’ too BTW).

Calexico at The Fillmore 9/28/08 (reconstructed)

Gypsy’s Curse #

Roka #

Bend To The Road *

Across The Wire

Man Made Lake * @

Sister City (improvised song?)

Sunken Waltz

Writer’s Minor Holiday *

El Gatillo (Trigger Revisited) *

Inspiracion *

Two Silver Trees *

Quattro (World Drifts In)

Slowness *

Alone Again Or (Love cover)

The News About William *

Not Even Stevie Nicks

Victor Jara’s Hands*

Crystal Frontier

—encore—

Minas de Cobre

Better by Bounds (featuring Barbara & Terry Manning)

Fractured Air (Tornado Watch) *

Comanche (Jorge Ben cover)

Jesus And Tequila (Minutemen cover)

Guero Canelo

* – These are all new songs. If you want to hear ‘em buy the new record here.

# – recorded in someone’s living room in front of about 100 people in Berlin on 4/1/06 (I kid you not & that’s all I know about this recording)

@ – from a Morning Becomes Eclectic session circa 2002

Bonus Tracks

Alone & Forsaken (Hank Williams cover with Neko Case from the same ’04 Fillmore show)

Comanche (from the debut record from Jairo Zavala’s regular band Depedro, based in Madrid)

All Tomorrows Parties (Velvet Underground cover with Iron & Wine from the 9:30 Club in DC on 11/30/05 while touring to support their brilliant collaboration In The Reins)

Setlist courtesy of the Calexico setlist archive. BTW: Calexico’s very taper friendly. If you want more live recordings check out the Internet Archives for shows posted by fans and the band themselves

04
Apr

Birds Of Avalon at the Hemlock Tavern

I’m definitely getting too old for the midweek show. In my twenties I could have pulled off rocking out on a Wednesday night and head in to work Thursday morning without blinking an eye. Right about now I wish both eyes were closed in blissful slumber. But I’m not complaining ’cause the set Raleigh, NC based Birds of Avalon put on at the Hemlock Tavern over in SF last night was worth every ounce of pain I’m feelin’ now. Since they played the Hemlock Monday night too and what with Jay Reatard and the Black Keys rocking different clubs not too far away me and just a couple dozen other folks had Birds, Olympia, WA’s Nudity and local rockers Dzjenghis Khan all to ourselves. Luckily twenty bodies feels like a crowd at the Hemlock and Birds of Avalon killed it like people were hanging from the rafters.

After getting the kids to bed I ended up missing all but the last two songs of Dzjenghis Khan’s set. Their super fuzzed 60′s garaged up punk Cream meets Motorhead wall o’ sound had me regretting I didn’t see more.

The WidowDzjenghis Khan (from their 2006 demo)

Nudity’s set was dominated by their epic track ‘The Nightfeeders’. Clocking in at over twenty minutes of Can meets Hawkwind psych rock it lost my attention somewhere in the middle but got me back to a decent head-bob by the end. An edited (and enjoyably concise IMHO) version is streaming at their myspace page.

Night ConcentricksNudity (a Nightfeeders remix snippet from their current 12″)

I can’t think of a better husband and wife guitar slingin’ punch in the gut than Birds Of Avalon’s Cheetie Kumar and Paul Siler. The former The Cherry Valence members are flat out kill good. Their set last night made it even harder to wait the three weeks are so between now and the show they’re opening for The Raconteurs at Bimbo’s on the 23rd. Check out their website for one of the most hectic tour schedules I’ve ever seen (Visalia?!) and streams of their new album Outer, Upper, Inner (see geeky superfan photo on the right).

Horse Called DustBirds Of Avalon (from their debut Bazaar Bazaar)

You have one last chance to check them out before the Raconteurs show (if you were even able to get tickets) tonight over in Oakland at Eli’s Mile High Club, again with Nudity.

29
Feb

Quasi @ Noise Pop

I don’t get out to see bands as often as I’d like but I definitely make a point of trying to see Portland based Quasi whenever they make the trip South to the Bay Area. I’m always left with the feeling that I’ve been hanging out with friends after one of their shows. No rock star attitude, just excellent music performed by genuine people. Janet Weiss (current Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks and former Sleater-Kinney beat-keeper) and Sam Coomes (who used to be in one of my favorite local bands The Donner Party as well as doing Heatmiser with Elliot Smith) have been making a very distinctive brand of pessimistic power pop for over fifteen years now. They inject a healthy dose of atonality into the indie rock formula that keeps things interesting and Sam’s catchy crooning is a perfect foil for lyrics brimming with irony and cynicism. Ms. Weiss is one the best drummers around and I’m crushing on the heft added by Jicks bass player Joanna Bolme (who is apparently a full fledged member now). Last night’s show at the Rickshaw Stop was not the smoothest show they’ve done in these parts but Sam forgetting the words to a tune or two or starting a different song than the one his band mates were charging into is part of their charm.

To give you an idea of what their live show’s all about here are a couple of tracks from the bonus live cd that came with 2003′s Hot Shit, called Live Shit (natch) :

It’s Raining
Under a Cloud

A big reason to go see more bands: the “self-released sold only at shows” CD. Taking advantage of obsessive completists like myself is a time honored tradition and Janet was up to the task, selling me a copy of Quasi Self Boot 93-95 that features sundry outtakes and singles like this nifty Prince cover:

Take Me With You

I was very impressed by the opening set (and first show ever) by peoplepeole, a new side project from Tyson Vogel (Two Gallants) featuring
Andrew Kerwin (Trainwreck Riders), Antonio Roman-Alcala (Dear Nora) and Jesse Sabin. Great noisy guitar indie rock that sounds like this: Rock Ins.

Janet Weiss will be back with Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks for a free show at Amoeba Records this Wednesday.




Catch me on KALX in Berkeley

I host the Cuppa Joe show on KALX in Berkeley every other Wednesday from 6 to 9 PM. You can tune at 90.7 or online by clicking HERE ------------------------------------------- NEXT SHOW: October 28 FUNDRAISER SHOW!! ------------------------------------------- Check out past playlists HERE
Got something I HAVE TO HEAR? Wanna send me free stuff? Email me at mike@nowhearthismusic.com

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Quick note about the tunes

The mp3s on this blog are to give folks a little taste. Imagine they're those little pouches on the bag your Sunday paper comes in. You know, the one's with a packet containing just enough toothpaste to brush your teeth once or twice. They are left up for a limited time. If you find something you like support the artists by dragging your friends to their shows and/or buying their CDs/records/schwag. If you are the artist (or their label/representative) and don't want an mp3 on here, please email me (mike@nowhearthismusic.com) and I'll remove it posthaste.
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