the Dodos; Or, the Whale @ Cafe du Nord (Noise Pop 2008!)

February 29th, 2008

Tonight I saw the Dodos and Or, the Whale at the Cafe du Nord.

I got there in the early part of the Bodies of Water set. Already people with badges were being turned away from the door. There was a small crowd of frustrated and nervous people outside. The Bodies of Water were pretty prog and energetic in a way that did it for some, but not really for me.

The crowd continued to swell as Or, the Whale took the stage to set up. After they’d managed to fit the seven of them and all their instruments onto the small Cafe du Nord stage, they did a quick set of mic and instrument tests and launched into their set. It was a mix of new and old tunes with people singing along to “Call and Response”, nodding their heads to “Givin up Time” (with Matt and Linsday singing lead) and quieted down for the beautiful new tune “Shasta”. (I was singing this song most of the walk home.) In the end, the set came and went too quickly.

The Dodos took a while to set up, with their quirky instrumental set up. There was Meric on guitars, vocals, loop pedals and trombone. Logan’s on drums and vocals and tambourine-taped-to-his-shoe. For the first time in the times I’ve seen them, they had a third on stage: Joe, I’m told, of the Gris Gris. He handled vibraphone, toy piano, casio keyboard, gong and trash can (I’m serious).

It’d been months since I’d last seen this band and almost immediately upon the start of their set was I reminded by how much energy they put into their set. They played a set of new and old tunes, including the new and addictive “Jodi” and the old favorite “Fools”, both right near the front of their set.

Meric’s a great guitarist and you can whitness his hand clenched and twitching in such rapid succession to bring out those fast fingerpicked passages. He sings with passion and abandon. But, I must say, the most compelling member of the group is Logan. I was transfixed by the intensity with which he plays the drums. He’s on the edge of his stool or standing up, hands choked up on the drum sticks and his arm a blur of inventive drum patterns.

The group’s non-verbal communication is really something, too. The only other rock group I’ve seen be able to seemingly communicate this well mid-song is the Mates of State and those two are married. Meric and Logan will just glance at each other and seemingly know what to change or what to do next.

They came back for an encore after applause from the appreciative crowd. They played for the encore, I think, three old favorites: (which might have been) “Trades and Tariffs”, “Horny Hippies” and “the Ball”.

Between Or, the Whale and the Dodos, I think everyone that was there got what they were coming for and a little more.

Updated: Photos added. More after the jump or view my photo album.

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Song obsession friday! (for the week ending February 29–leap day!)

February 29th, 2008

Song obsessions are those songs that we listen to on repeat. I noticed that my obsessions are often a week long. I also thought that other people might have similar obsessions. I’ve collected a panel of a few like-minded individuals and gotten their “song obsessions of the week.” Quite often it’s easy to explain why the song is good; it’s much hard to explain why we’re obsessed. Maybe you’ll become obsessed with one of these.

Adrian (me):
Two Sheds – It’s Hard (mp3) (buy)

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I’m still obessed with this track that I found originally through the a Bay Bridged podcast. It’s still the distorted guitar and melancholy and melodic vocals that are getting to me.

Camper Van Beethoven – All Her Favorite Fruit (Orchestral Version) (mp3) (available free from epitonic or buy)

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Snowden – Anti Anti (mp3) (buy)

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Talk about catchy, I’ve been obsessed with this song/album on and off since I first heard it. The “Oh-oh-oh-oh..” at the beginning snags me every time and I have to listen to it again.

Natalie K:
Bon Iver – Skinny Love (mp3) (buy)

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I’ve been hearing about Bon Iver for a little while now, but it wasn’t until this month, when his album For Emma, Forever Ago was finally released, that I really paid attention. And this song got the hallowed triple-repeat the first time through the album. It’s such a simple song, but those “My my my”‘s get me every time, as well as how it gets progressively more plaintive with each chorus.

Alberta Cross – Known for Long (mp3) (buy)

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It’s safe to say that I’m completely obsessed with anything Alberta Cross puts out. “I’ve Known for Long” is one of the slower, more emotional tracks off of their debut EP The Thief and The Heartbreaker. This acoustic version was released recently on their UK EP. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend connecting with their full body of work. I’m waiting anxiously for stateside tour dates.

This week is a first twice in the same regard: repeats of previous song obsessions. My song obsession is the same as my obsession last week and Natalie K’s obsession is the same as Oz’s one week back in July. A second opportunity to hear a couple songs and a couple new songs.

Or, the Whale on KZSU, setlist, photos, mp3s

February 28th, 2008

Last night I hosted ipickmynose-fav Or, the Whale (myspace) on KZSU.

I didn’t know beforehand, but they decided to do an acoustic set: guitars, banjo, accordion, a variety of percussion and lots of voices. Given their sound and this set up, it had a real front porch feel to it. It was loose and fun while still keeping the musicianship that the stage show has.

Here’s what they played:

  • Call and Response
  • Threads
  • Crack a Smile
  • Bound to Go Home
  • Givin’ up Time*
  • Shasta*
  • Isn’t She Awful
  • Death of Me

* unreleased songs

Here are a couple tracks from last night’s show. It was a challenging set up for our sound engineer. It sounded pretty good, but these are slightly on the rough side. I think they capture the fun of set up.

Here’s a slow and subdued version of their normally upbeat-rocker “Call and Response”. I almost didn’t recognize it.

Or, the Whale – Call and Response (Live at KZSU) (mp3, exclusive, originally on Light Poles and Pines)

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“Shasta” is a new tune I first heard at their Starry Plough show a few weeks ago. I really love it. It’s slow and beautiful and definitely worth a listen.

Or, the Whale – Shasta (Live at KZSU) (mp3, exclusive, unreleased)

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my Mountain Goats interview posted

February 28th, 2008

Head over to the Bay Bridged to read the interview I did with the The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle.

Here’s a sample:

TBB: Now that you’re touring with a drummer and even playing electric guitar on occasion, I’ve heard people talk about the Mountain Goats “rocking out” more than before. Do you see this as a change in the amount of “rocking” or just its manifestation?

JD: I personally don’t, but that’s because I don’t equate rocking with instrumentation. My old solo shows back when I was just totally spazzing out all night, those rocked harder than any ten full-combo rock bands. Any day. Give me enough liquor and cause for a bad attitude and I’ll still put me & an acoustic guitar up against most any band who think they rock. I have always had something of a chip on my shoulder about this.

Go check out the full interview.

Treasure Island 08

February 28th, 2008

Despite my doubts there will be another Treasure Island Festival in 2008. No confirmed artists yet.

So that’s another in the mounting list of festivals in SF:

Of course there are some great smaller festivals as well.

on sale soon (02.28.08 edition)

February 28th, 2008

Posted every Thursday On Sale Soon is a weekly series of the tickets going on sale that weekend.

Where to get tickets: The Independent, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Fillmore, Warfield, and other Livenation venues. Another Planet booked venues like Greek Theatre @ Berkeley, Palace of Fine Arts, etc. Bimbo’s.

Wow, this is a great on sales week. I’ll definitely get Death Cab and I’m from Barcelona tickets. That REM/ Modest Mouse/ the National bill at Berkeley is unbelievable. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about that already.

4/26 is shaping up to be a tough choice for concerts. Mark Kozelek w/ David Bazan or mum or the Swell Season. I think they’ll all be good shows.

On sale now/ Thurs Feb 28:
4/18 Gossip @ Bimbo’s
4/29 Minus the Bear @ Bimbo’s

5/27, 5/28 Beirut @ the Grand (pre-sale codes “flying” and “gulag” respectively).
5/31 R.E.M., Modest Mouse, The National @ UC Berkeley Greek Theater (What??)

6/27 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss feat. T Bone Burnett @ UC Berkeley Greek Theater

On sale Sunday March 2:
3/26 Katt Williams @ The Warfield

4/10 Jackie Greene @ The Fillmore
4/20 Cypress Hill @ The Fillmore
4/23 Death Cab for Cutie, The Cave Singers @ The Fillmore
4/25 Sasha & John Digweed @ The Warfield
4/25 Kimya Dawson, Angelo Spencer, L’Orchidee D’Hawaii @ Herbst
4/26 The Swell Season (aka the artists from Once) @ Paramount Theatre
4/26 mum @ the Independent
4/27 Yelle @ the Independent
4/29 Black Mountain @ Blakes
4/29 Mike Doughty’s Band, The Panderers @ The Fillmore
4/29 I’m From Barcelona @ the Independent
4/30 Akron/Family @ the Rickshaw Stop

5/4 UFO @ the Independent
5/15, 5/16 Hot Tuna @ Great American
5/17 Bassnectar @ The Fillmore
5/20 Kathleen Edwards, The Last Town Chorus @ the Independent
5/21 M83, Berg Sans Nipple @ Great American
5/23 JGB featuring Melvin Seals @ Great American
5/27 Teitur, Jessie Baylin @ Great American
5/28 The Cure with 65daysofstatic @ HP Pavilion

6/2 The Long Blondes, The Young Knives @ Great American

7/17 Wall of Voodoo’s “Call of the West” @ Great American

Double check all information as venues and promoters often change on-sale times and days up until the last minute.

my noise pop schedule, shows that aren’t sold out yet

February 26th, 2008

Noise Pop starts tonight! Are you psyched??

I’ll let you know which shows I’m heading to and some other great shows (among those that aren’t sold out yet–after all, what good is it for me to tell you about concerts that you should see but can’t?)

Shows I have tickets to:

Feel free to say hi if you see me.

Free events I want to check out:

Other shows (that aren’t sold out, as of this posting) I can recommend:

What shows are you psyched about? What’s not to miss?

Or, the Whale on KZSU Wednesday 2/27 9-10pm PST

February 26th, 2008

Or, the Whale at the Starry Plough, Feb 9

Prepare for Thursday’s Or, the Whale (myspace) Noise Pop show (with the Dodos) by listening to their appearance on KZSU the previous day Wednesday Feb 27 from 9-10pm PST. I’ll be acting as the host.

I love this band and they do a great set live. I saw them a few weeks ago and they’ve been working on some new tunes which sound really good. We’ll see if I can’t get them to play any of those.

You can listen at 90.1FM or online.

Cash by Johnny Cash

February 25th, 2008

I finished Johnny Cash’s second autobiography, Cash: the Autobiography a couple weeks ago.

You’ve seen Walk the Line (probably) so you know the Johnny Cash story, approximately at least.

But there’s a lot more to this book than the story of his life. In fact, this isn’t so much the story as the stories of his life: vignettes, tales and anecdotes from many different periods of his life.

Some parts are funny. Some are poignant. Some give you a better background to where his music’s coming from and the artists he grew up on. There are even a couple advertisements for things he likes (like the Carter Family Fold he’s totally upfront about these endorsements).

I was most interested in the stories of music on the farm growing up–listening to the radio late at night, singing out in the fields–and also of the story of how the partnership with Rick Rubin came about. There was another interesting snippet about preparing for a mid 90s concert (with an audience of younger people) at the Fillmore.

The style is very fluid, conversational, upfront and personal. There’s a ghost writer, but it honestly feels like he must not have done much because it seems like Cash put down these words himself.

At some point I read someone say something like Cash by Johnny Cash is the best music biography or perhaps the best writing on music. I can’t find who said that or the context now, but I’m leaning toward that sentiment. It’s an engaging and entertaining read and give a good background and context to this great artist’s music.

You can buy it at Amazon.

Love is Chemicals, HIJK @ the Bottom of the Hill 2/22

February 24th, 2008

On Friday I saw Love is Chemicals’ (myspace) CD release show at Bottom of the Hill.

I got there after the Don’ts set, just before HIJK (myspace) went on.

Their set up is the standard rock trio set up (bass, guitar, drums) but with some keyboards thrown in here and there as well. HILK’s style has crossover appeal but still has some pleasant quirks. I’d place it somewhere between “art pop” and “radio alternative pop”. It was a fun set with plenty of head nodding. They even covered a Love is Chemicals song.

Love is Chemicals came on after a short set of DJed music (by BagelTed). Their set up is keys/ bass, guitars and drums. Their sound reminds me of some of the 90s indie rock sounds that I came of age listening to. They put on a solid set.

This was the CD release show for Love is Chemicals’ Song of the Summer Youth Brigade. You can stream it and buy it at the band’s website.

More photos after the jump and at my photo album.

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