Like Calexico did this summer, Neko Case has released a video promo for her upcoming record, Middle Cyclone, which features one of the strangest chick-holding-a-sword-on-the-hood-of-a-muscle-car album covers I've ever seen. She talks about both the writing and recording processes, and shows off her new piano-laden barn. I'm voting with Kevin for a Rialto Theatre record release show in March.
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In other New Pornographer news, the can't-miss Carl Newman is set to release his second solo record next month, and from the first promo song, Get Guilty sounds like another winner.
Across four New Pornographers records and one solo project, Newman has never come up with a bum song. And I don't doubt that his influence is growing among younger songwriters who are looking to upend and reconfigure pop songs without losing the catchiness.
If only Newman could see fit to put Tucson on his tour itinerary. We know he's no stranger to the Mexican food that's famous in these parts.
A.C. Newman - There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve
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Fast becoming one of Tucson's favorite singer-songwriters, Tracy Shedd released the fantastic Cigarettes & Smoke Machines on TeenBeat Records this fall. Now comes a free live EP, and anyone interested should download the slightly stripped down versions of five Cigarettes & Smoke Machines songs.
Tracy Shedd - Never Too Late (live)
Live From WMBR 88.1 FM [EP]
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The Crooked Fingers are the latest band showcased at Daytrotter, with four free downloads of live in-studio performances. Highly recommended.
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The 2008 Best-of lists have been flying fast and furious for weeks now, but I prefer to wait until the end of the year to put so much energy into reflecting on the one that's just past. Look for the Catfish Vegas top albums, top songs, top shows and other sundry artifacts of 2008 in early January. If you're curious and/or impatient, review the 2007 Catfish Vegas year in review.
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And get ready also for the next round of the Celebrity Death Pool. There's still more than a week left, but in 2008 this crowd has already bid a special farewell to Sir Edmund Hillary, Gordon Hinkley, Evan Mecham, Estelle Getty and Studs Terkel. By my quick review that's it, which would make for a clear winner, and dethrone our three-time defending champion, but all of the 2008 participants should review their picks.
And the 2009 Celebrity Death Pool is coming up soon, so sharpen up your mind pencils and start thinking, of both the creative and the obvious picks. You never know what can happen. It's a shame nobody got Charlton Heston, but at the same time, I'm glad nobody was prescient enough to throw in a Heath Ledger guess. I was especially surprised to see the Dakota Fanning pick, as well as Artie Lange, who was chosen by not one, but THREE participants. Amazing.