Monday, December 31, 2007

Catfish at the Clubs: Best Shows of 2007

I guess it'd be more accurate to say "at the clubs and the parks and the amphitheaters and whatnot." I had some of the best musical moments of my life watching live music during the past year. I made my way to about 35 shows this year, from a dozen or more great local Tucson bands to some of America's greatest living legends.
It's next to impossible to rank this type of stuff, so here's 12 of the best shows, in chronological order.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Plush, Jan. 9
This show demonstrates as good as any one of the greatest treasures of seeing live music in Tucson: the opportunity to watch very great performers in very small venues. Still, I was surprised Malkmus didn’t book a larger venue. Since he played nearly all new songs, I didn’t know a single one the whole night, but it didn’t matter. He’s a strange genius on the guitar and Janet Weiss on drums is an incredible addition.
Download: Stephen Malkmus - Merry Go Round (live at Plush)

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Club Congress, April 14
One of Britain’s weirdest exports, Hitchcock’s wordplay is like no other songwriter. And he’s the best banterer I’ve ever seen. I’d caught him twice before solo acoustic, but with the full band (including Peter Buck) of his latest recording partners, it’s even better.

Guthrie Family Legacy Tour – Centennial Hall, April 29
Arlo has long been a favorite of mine, and this was the first time I got to see him perform. He’s a rich storyteller and a great songwriter in his own right, plus it never hurts to be able to draw on a song pool like his dad Woody left us. I left the show amazed in equal measure at his humor and his humanity. Download: Arlo Guthrie - In Times Like These (live Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2006-08-12).

Alejandro Escovedo & The Drive-by Truckers – Rialto Theatre, May 5
It might seem like a strange double bill, but they definitely went well together. I’d seen Alejandro once before, stuffed into Congress, but it was great to see him fill that room with sound. And the Truckers are one of the best live bands out there today, with enough songs to keep going and going and going (plus they were kind enough to preview some new ones).

Bob Dylan – AVA Amphitheatre, July 24
Dylan returned to the desert just over a year since his last Arizona shows and this performance was much better than the more sedate one at the TCC Arena. The Modern Times songs sounded great live and as usual, Dylan threw a couple curveballs into the set. The harsh and jagged “Masters of War” remains as stinging an indictment as it was more than four decades ago. Download: Bob Dylan – Señor (Tales of Yankee Power) (live Tucson 2007-07-24)

Chango Malo cd release show – Club Congress, Aug. 17

Leave it to Chango Malo to take over Congress inside and out, invite eight other bands and turn their CD release show into the party of the year. And in all that mess of bands and friends and beers, they rose above it all with a show as tight as it was drenched in energy. The album rips too.
All in all, the night was a strong statement about the quality of bands regularly playing downtown Tucson. The scene is excellent, varied, energetic and above all, musically inspiring.

Hotel Congress Festival – Aug. 30 to Sept. 2

A handful of local bands impressed on Friday, and the Friends of Dean Martinez mesmerized before the Weird Lovemakers brought the whole damn thing crashing down Sunday night, but the standout set of this festival (far and away) was Okkervil River’s Saturday set. I was front and center with a bunch of friends for the rambunctious and passionate performance that had as many sing-alongs to new stuff as it did old. I’d had a copy of The Stage Names for a few weeks by that time seeing most of it live was an absolute thrill.

Download: Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe (live in San Francisco)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – San Francisco, Oct. 5 to 8
I already wrote about this one extensively, so I’ll just say that Jeff Tweedy performing “Remember the Mountain Bed” was just one of those moments when life doesn’t get any better. Check it out: Part 1, Part 2.

And from the festival:
Jeff Tweedy - Remember the Mountain Bed
Emmylou Harris - Sin City
Gillian Welch - Pocahontas

The Hold Steady (with Art Brut) - TLA, Philadelphia, Oct. 23
I was definitely lucky when my East Coast travels coincided with this show. I've listened to the Hold Steady as much as any other band during the last two years and Boys And Girls In America has been as much of a go-to album as I've ever had. (Major props also go to the Hold Steady’s performance at Plush on June 4. I was a hell of a lot closer to the band there, but I gotta go with the Philly performance for a larger and rowdier crowd and top-notch openers.)
Check out NPR's All Songs Considered podcast to download performances from both bands (a couple weeks after the Philly show).

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (with The Swim) – Club Congress, Nov. 1

It was a treat to watch some friends sharing the bill with one of their heroes.
Ted Leo absolutely rocks, but he deserves respect for much more than his music. He's unabashedly political and brings intellect to the pursuit than most activists.
Check his Web site for a "news" section that's more or less a blog
And find a live Ted Leo show here.

Bookmans Party in the Park (Calexico) – Nov. 3

"... let Tucson's favorite sons and their best mariachi friends let loose with what must be about the best of the dozen or so shows of theirs you've taken in. Remember how you first saw Calexico with maybe a couple hundred people stuffed into an art gallery by the railroad tracks, must've been 1999 or 2000. Remember how they seemed to have a pedal for the passing train, and how they set the room on fire. Remember how on three or four albums since those same musicians captured a hell of a lot more attention and without a doubt became one of the world's greatest bands. Sit in anticipation for a particular song, a Bob Dylan cover you'd been soaking in for months, with several different bootleg recordings, before finally hearing them back Willie Nelson on "Senor." Celebrate as the trumpets bellow loud and mysterious. Shimmy and sway as the show stretches many songs and songs and songs afterwards. Depart with a poster and autographs..."

Neko Case – Rialto Theatre, Nov. 15
I talked a friend into flying in from San Francisco for the show - one of only two solo dates this fall for Neko. Her guest performances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival were nice little teasers for this show. The tunes from her latest album just soar live and there's plenty of quirky banter.
NPR broadcast Neko's show in LA the next night and has it available for download here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Celebrity Death Pool 2008!

Ladies and gentlemen, it brings me great pleasure to announce that the Celebrity Death Pool is being hosted here for the first time in 2008.

We've got a three-time winner on our hands in Mr. Tim Finnagain, who is really starting to creep me out. He won the 2007 contest by correctly predicting the demise of Lady Bird Johnson and Brooke Astor. That follows his 2006 win for Shelley Winters, John Kenneth Galbraith and his 2005 win for the Pope and Arthur Miller (what do you 'spose those two are talking about in the afterlife?). And Finnagain was only one year off on Boris Yeltsin.

So let's see if anyone can dethrone our resident psychic.

New to the contest this year is a prize for our winner: One free year of Immortality, from the diety of your choice.

Put your picks in the comments - we're looking for about 10 guesses per person, but don't worry about going a few over if you're really feeling a psychic connection with the Grim Reaper.

Get your picks in by Jan. 7 and good luck!

UPDATE: Alright, because of some slackers out there, we're gonna extend the deadline on this here contest until JANUARY 13.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm So There

I'm off in a few to go see I'm Not There with some fellow Dylan nuts. I've read a ton about the film and how Todd Haynes approached the project (some of the more interesting articles are here and here) and I still don't really know what to expect.
There's no way I could possibly approach this as just a movie; I'm more of the mind to make it a couple hours of intense study and attempts to pick out all the subtle details pointing to Dylan's career.
I've been absorbed in the soundtrack since it came out. Calexico and Stephen Malkmus definitely come out as winners, but whoever played gatekeeper on the project gets the real credit. There's hardly a bum artists in the lot (I'm not a fan of Jack Johnson, though he's passable here), but the best part of the whole thing is the fact that it didn't just dredge up the hits again. The two biggest songs - All Along the Watchtower by Eddie Vedder, et. al and Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Antony - are the album's weakest moments to me.
Highlights start with Calexico and Willie teaming for "Señor" and include Yo La Tengo's "I Wanna Be Your Lover," Marcus Carl Franklin's "When The Ship Comes In," The Hold Steady's "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" and of course, Dylan's own "She's Not There," among many others.
Wolfgang's Vault hosted an I'm Not There concert from New York for a short time and I hope that it sees the light of commercial release, because The Roots' take on Masters of War may just be the most stunning Dylan cover I've ever heard.
So here's hoping it's a great film - and stay tuned for commentary.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Forty-three miles toward Ruidoso

Maybe I picked the guy up just because it's Christmas. It's a good enough reason, I suppose. Plus there are karmic factors at work, good deeds to build up and strengthen the soul and stuff. Besides, this world ain't always a nice place, nor is it true that our own decisions are the only things that could leave us stranded one day.

But I think the thing that most pushed me to act was looking at the dude in the pale gas station light and getting pissed off at the sudden and clear realization that it was easier to imagine myself as callous enough to just say no and walk away than it was to even begin wrapping my head around the notion of being as down-and-out as he was.

It was strange enough that I was there to begin with. I almost always take the back way from Phoenix to Tucson, which would've put me 20 miles away when I needed fuel, but figuring traffic would be light on the interstate I opted for the quicker route.

So there I was - at a Circle K on Ray Road, just east of I-10 - when a guy asked me if I was headed to downtown Phoenix. Nope, I said, Tucson. I went in for a coffee and when I got back outside, he said he was really trying to get toward El Paso. He'd already tried hitching on the interstate, but a cop picked him up and dropped him back there.

Weighing how helpless he looked against stranger-danger type notions that this was about to be the worst mistake I'd ever made, I kinda nodded and agreed to run him up to the nearest truck stop headed east.

He picked up a couple bags from behind the dumpster and thanked me as I bungee-corded the trunk shut.

His story - or at least the timeline - was a little shaky, but he'd been living on the streets of Phoenix since the end of November, when his car was stolen, and he was trying to get back to Ruidoso to see his eight kids, including an 11-month-old daughter.

The guy had a beard and scruffy longish hair under a ball cap, and even though from his stories and his general appearance he'd clearly fallen to hard times before this homeless stint in Phoenix, he didn't look the 38 he said he was.

He'd left New Mexico for Phoenix with a couple chicks to make a pot run, and he didn't tell anybody because he didn't want them to get the wrong idea about him and the chicks. One of them ended up taking off in his van and he'd been stuck since.

Collecting cans was supposed to earn him enough to get a bus back, but those had been stolen. The only clothes he had were from a dumpster except the coat, which a woman gave him, saying it was a gift of Jesus' love, or some such charitable words that had enough weight that they kept echoing in his mind when he thought to pawn the coat for a hit of heroin.

He quit using five years ago, but he'd been shot in the leg in Jacksonville, Florida during a pot deal gone wrong, and the painkillers led him right back to junk. By Christmas he was three days sober and he said he was even over being sick; he'd eaten a hot dog and a cheeseburger today, the most food he'd had since getting trapped in Phoenix.

I nodded some, and offered the occasional huh, yep or no shit, but just let him ramble. Somebody to talk to must've been at least as big of a gift as a ride out of Phoenix.

I let him off at the Love's in Arizona City. For a bit I considered taking the dude all the way to Tucson, but it seemed the most practical thing was to get him near some truckers rather than simply dump him off in another city where he could get harassed by cops at every turn.
I didn't catch his name, and even though I didn't sense any hint of a threat at any time, I never got comfortable.

I hope he gets home. I hope he actually wants to be home. He said a few years ago, before he got into dealing, some friends had asked him for advice on raising kids. Those were the proudest moments of his life, when he was an example of a good dad, not like the old man he had, who took to beating his kids regularly enough that it seemed he couldn't think of anything else to do.

I hope he doesn't get sucked back into dealing. He'd wanted to be a real G. It was easy enough at first, but you get a little successful and you get enemies. And he'd only gotten beat down because that's the way it turned out, not because he wasn't willing to beat somebody else down.

I hope being proud of his kids' skateboarding and knowing his wife wants to help him means something when he's no longer strung out and staring at a long and seemingly impossible road home.

I've never picked up a hitchhiker before, and I hope the 43 miles actually helped.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Burma Shake & Shimmy

OK everybody, it's time to announce the latest mix:

Burma Shake & Shimmy

Gillian Welch - I Want To Sing That Rock 'n' Roll
Billy Emerson - Every Woman I Know (Crazy 'Bout An Automobile)
Otis Redding - That's How Strong My Love Is
Van Morrison - You're My Woman
Bob Dylan - Workingman's Blues #2
Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
Feist - Intuition
Arcade Fire - (Antichrist Television Blues)
The Seychelles - 13 hundred songs, 3 and a half days
Wilco - Impossible Germany
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Me and Mia
The Deludes - Sedation Nation
The Swim - King Cortez
Dream Syndicate - Tell Me When It's Over
Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks
Hold Steady - Can I Please Crawl Out Your Window
M. Ward & Zooey Deschanel - When I Get to the Border
Neko Case - Set Out Running
Arizona Amp and Alternator - Velvet and Pearl
Kristin Hersh - Your Ghost

Download the mix as a zip file. (Note: files are mixed mp3 and AAC - deal with it - and pay attention to the info file.)

This isn't a holiday mix, or a year-in-review type thing. I've basically done one mix in the summer and one mix in the winter for the past decade. The last few winter mixes have gotten a bit intertwined with year-end type thinking, so I've actively tried to limit the 2007 songs here. New-to-me stuff pops up out of the distant and near past all the time anyway, plus there are bootlegs to find, and I regularly discover new infatuations with albums I've known well for years, so there's never a shortage of tunes to consider. I'll probably throw together a best of 2007 later, but this is the official half-year mix. (Glad we got that cleared up... )
Burma Shake & Shimmy follows The Strangest Oscillations. (Follow the link for info on other previous mixes.)


Less than two hours spent between Best Buy and Bookmans and I can confidently state that Christmas shopping is done! I certainly won't be handing out the most creative bundle of gifts this world has ever seen, but they're all right in line with what's been requested.
That said, I'm moving right along with winter - knockin' on the solstice, ready for a trip up North, set to embrace many friends after too many months and damn near prepared to let this year roll over zeros, to put 2007 into the books and get goin' with its successor.
On that note, keep your eyes peeled to Catfish Vegas Presents... in the coming days and weeks for a few treats.
First up will be the latest of the biannual mixes, with tunes stretching from 1955 to this fall, spread across rock, soul, folk, country and the usual unclassifiable desert concoctions, from favorites both new and old.
Shortly thereafter I'll be unveiling the year in review, complete with top music and film choices. As a special treat, I'm recruiting Stu Leblanc for a year in haiku, as well as his top song picks of 2007.
And this year, the Celebrity Death Poll will make its debut on Catfish Vegas Presents...
Then Arlo Guthrie Day is right around the corner and I know you'll want to hear what's in store.
Lastly, have a great holiday everyone and remember that rock 'n' roll, humor, good friends and family and a few beers every now and again are what it's all about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dan "Dewey Cox" Bern

As far as I'm concerned, Walk Hard already comes with impressive credentials as a film, springing forth from the realm of Jud Apatow.
But then today I got news that Dan Bern had a hand in writing most of the film's songs, and something tells me the music will be just as good as the rest of the humor.
Bern is a tremendous songwriter, made up of a little Dylan and an overflowing bucket of dry wit. He's an unapologetic lefist and sees power in songs just as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger did. He's a bit nasally, but he can play a mean harp, and if anyone alive could write a talking blues song for the Internet age, it's Dan Bern.
The first I ever heard of Bern was the song "Tiger Woods," and the memory is a bit shaky, but it was somehow tied up in Comedy Corner, a sketch group I knew and loved dearly. And the song got tremendous airplay (not quite the right word since it wasn't on the radio, but 'play' by itself just doesn't work here) at parties I and others threw all throughout college. You can't go wrong when a tune starts with the lyrics "I got big balls..."
It was later I started approaching the rest of his work, after hearing "Jerusalem" at a friend's house, but it was the New American Language record that really made me see just how skilled a songwriter he really is. He hadn't abandoned humor by any stretch, only now Bern used it to dress up heartache and disillusionment and the powerless that stems from the fact that world sometimes just ain't gonna be the way we'd like it, no matter how hard we try.
Here's a verse from "Black Tornado"
And everyplace I go is one less place I could call home
And every girl I kiss, well I just cross her off my list
I don't go far
I just go crazy
I buried all of my old clothes out in some field in West Des Moines
And if you judge me tonight
Judge me by the songs I write
That's who I am to you
From what I understand, Bern lives out in New Mexico now, but that doesn't bring him out to Arizona on tour with any frequency. I did get the chance to see him play once, just over three years ago, in Flagstaff. It was late October, leading up to an election day that would ultimate be a devastating one. He was passionate about change, about using his music to bring people together and to make some change in the world. And even if you don't succeed, that trying just may just add up to being the moments worth living for. So, it was a great show, and as I said at the time: "Anyone who calls his band the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy has a lot up his sleeve."

And the fact that this guy has his hands in writing songs for a biopic spoof must mean that the movie has a lot more going for it than just what's on the surface.

Check out some live tunes:
Dan Bern - Tiger Woods
Dan Bern - Jerusalem
Dan Bern - New American Language
Dan Bern - President
Dan Bern - Black Tornado
Find the whole set over at

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas, from Tom Waits

I saw this over at Aquarium Drunkard. Stop by, and pick up the Neko Case cover as well...


I invented a new food today: the bratadilla. Take a bratwurst, but instead of placing it inside a bun, wrap it up in a quesadilla.
It's the type of fantastic that can only exist in the presence of a deep and lazy gluttony.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I like the cold. Not the real cold, but the cold here. I like the lower 40s at night, and sitting in the bright sun to take advantage of the day. I reckon I'll head on downtown for some coffee and some sun here in a bit, and make some more progress on Sometimes A Great Notion. About 200 pages in I definitely love the book, but it's a slow read, with constantly shifting points of view.
Then it's on to a holiday party, the first bit of recognition I'm ready to give to the season. That, and tonight the stupid-ass hay rides and hot chocolate stands hit the overly festive rich neighborhood just down the road. I'm not a total bah humbug type, but I can't stand the extra traffic and yank-mammas trying to find parking on the side of the road that stretches the last minute of my drive home from work out to about 10 minutes. Bah.
And then it's on to see The Theory. They're a local band I caught a few months ago doing a damn good acoustic set. I dig their set up - sexy chick singer/guitarist and stoic dudes on bass and drums. The bass player I know as Honeysocks, and the singer Harriet Brown performs solo as well.
The Theory - Meet Me On Saturday
Honeysocks - Dingos Ate My Band

The Unwelcome Guest

I can't let Mr. Chair have all the fun.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Say it ain't so...

And to the surprise of nobody except Roger Clemens' lawyer, the baseball world learned today that at least dozens of players over the past decade have been juiced to the gills.
Since there's absolutely no telling how many home runs, strike outs or early returns from injuries are due to the magic of chemistry, let's just figure that the pitchers and the hitters were more or less even, cheaters or not.
And rather than dwell on what's being called baseball's worst scandal since the Black Sox, or at least its darkest days since the 1994 strike, let's all just celebrate the game, music style.
But first, here's a photograph I have framed in my living room, of Jackie Robinson in the 1952 All-Star Game. Now that's baseball.

First up is a jumpin' swing tribute to Jackie:

Buddy Johnson - Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball

I tracked that one down from Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, which has a wonderful episode devoted to baseball. And the host even gets into it himself:

Bob Dylan - Take Me Out to the Ballgame

And let's not forget another Minnesota native singing during the Seventh Inning Stretch:

The Hold Steady - Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Baseball ("the one constant through all the years...") doesn't do too bad in the movies either. The Natural and Major League are definitely two of the best, but my favorite has got to be Field of Dreams. It's baseball as magic, as a mythic America, a metaphor for fathers and sons and all that's good about life:

James Earl Jones baseball speech

And I was hoping to leave everybody with Vin Scully's call of the Kirk Gibson home run that won game one of the 1988 World Series, but I had no luck finding it online in audio or video, so instead here's Jack Buck's radio call:

Kirk Gibson - 1988 World Series

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Golden Opportunities

My inbox today contained news of a great idea from a great band: Okkervil River is releasing a free covers album via their web site.

The so-called Christmas mixtape, Golden Opportunities, was recorded in bits and pieces while the band was on tour over the last couple years. And aside from a somber taken on their own "Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas," it's all covers, taken from the likes of Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and Serge Gainsbourg.
What's more interesting, as the first couple listens are starting to indicate and as Will Sheff made clear to Pitchfork, is that the songs chosen are thematically related to the band's latest album.
I see some instances (Joni Mitchell's "The Blonde in the Bleachers") in which the covered songs are direct inspirations for The Stage Names.
Two very interesting parallels are at work here: First, Sheff takes creative and imaginative inspiration from favorite songs in a similar (but subtler) way as he did on Black Sheep Boy. And second, Golden Opportunities functions as a companion to The Stage Names in much the same way that Black Sheep Boy Appendix both thematically extended its predecessor and took the paths less chosen.
Download the nine-song album (along with liner notes and artwork) here.
That Sheff is a careful lyricist is not surprising, but he's also quick on his feet and has a sly wit he doesn't often show. Dig this:
I was talking with drummer Travis Nelson when the band played Club Congress in September (I've been friends with them for several years now) and he was describing the Conan O'Brien show they'd recently played. The nutty Jeff Goldblum was the other guest, and the day before the taping, Sheff rewrote a verse of "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe," a song filled with movie-related imagery, to reflect Goldblum's illustrious film history. They backed off the idea at the last minute on the advice of management, but the verse emerged shortly afterwards.
At The Independent in San Francisco, Sheff told the tale himself, injecting the verse at the beginning of the song.
Hear it for yourself:
Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe (Live)
And after downloading Golden Opportunities, check back with Okkervil River's web site Friday, when the band will post answers to fan's questions about the covers.

Monday, December 10, 2007

From whence they came...

Modest Mouse are one of those bands that I had two introductions to - years apart and unrelated - and still took a bit of time to grab on my own.
This, of course, was waaaay back when such was possible, not in the pre-Internet days, but definitely in the pre-everything-we-now-use-the-Internet-for days.
When "Convenient Parking" showed up on a mix tape from Portland, I'd never heard of the band, and if Zia didn't have the album, then in those days I wasn't going to find it.
The band stuck around in my head a bit, but I didn't hear anything else until "Gravity Rides Everything" came in on recommendation when I was living in Phoenix and asking close friends what their five favorite songs were (this of course being the first time I did that, not the much-expanded second time, when I polled 105 people). Freaktown said it reminded him of driving through the hills of his Southern California home at the time.
Ah, and Zia had Modest Mouse this time around. I told Dr. Chung when I bought The Moon & Antarctica, and he said they've been the next big thing for a while (presumably since I first heard and half-ignored them).
Revisiting that progression, I'm interested mostly in the fact that Modest Mouse is probably one of the last bands (at least new, indie-type bands) that I discovered without blogs or myspace, and in the case of "Convenient Parking," without burned CDs, Napster, mp3s, or even the Internet at all.
Word-of-mouth still drives most music discoveries (personally, to be sure, but I'd wager it's a pretty universal truth), but that secondary bit of exploration is exceptionally easy now. And in that regard, I think it's far easier to simply forget where, when or how I pick up that first scrap of information about some new music or other. I can trace Modest Mouse directly to CKB and Freaktown, and countless other bands back to the original friend (or occasionally zine or magazine) source. Not so much with newer stuff. (Iron & Wine a good example there - I can't for the life of me pinpoint a single source or two even. I vaguely remember having a sudden interest, then hearing a number of songs from wherever - most likely illegally - and buying several records in short order. Now I'm a fan all the way.)
This is mostly a roundabout way to start thinking about the Modest Mouse show tomorrow at the Rialto Theatre. It's my first time to catch them live, despite all those years.
And in that spirit, here are some live tracks, recorded for an XFM session:
Modest Mouse - Float On (Live)
Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty
Modest Mouse - The World At Large

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pat Garrett y Billy the Kid, por Sam Peckinpah

There's nothing quite like watching a movie and seeing Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan speaking in badly dubbed Spanish. Gracias a Dios the Spanish channel doesn't dub the soundtrack.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Da Windy Easy

I had a good conversation the other day with a good friend who's relocated to Chicago. He's one of many and I can't help but think all of my Chicago pals are sort of on the same wavelength -- they're all fighting off that stupid cold wind, they all have the same landmarks day-to-day, they meet up at bars I've never set foot in... It's such a fun city and I definitely need to visit again, hopefully this spring or summer.

But in the meantime, feast on some Chicago tunes:

First up is The Seychelles, a one-man outfit that splits the difference between indie rock and drum'n'bass. Sometimes I hear huge Pavement influences (musically, not vocally), sometimes it's far dancier stuff of a vintage I just don't know. Much of the Seychelles stuff has a great solitary feel that I really dig. It's a guitar/keyboard/drum machine combo that few people do quite so well.
The Seychelles - 13 Hundred Songs, 3 and a half days
The Seychelles - Breakdance at Tiffany's

Next up is Lost Armada, a four-piece that like many others owes a great debt to the Replacements and Neil Young. They can be full-on rowdy or back-porch strummy and do each with plenty of conviction. They've got one EP out this year, but here's an earlier demo track that shows power and songwriting chops. There's no shortage of barroom country/punks who have called the Midwest home, but don't skip over these guys.
Lost Armada - All Light Exchanged For Sight