Friday, June 30, 2006

Here's last night's setlist - thanks to Ateaseweb! Yeah it was just that amazing.


01 You And Whose Army?
02 The National Anthem
03 2+2=5
04 15 Step
05 Morning Bell
06 Arpeggi
07 Videotape
08 Kid A
09 Dollars And Cents
10 Street Spirit
11 All I Need
12 Nude
13 Paranoid Android
14 Bangers 'n Mash
15 The Gloaming
16 Idioteque
17 Follow Me Around
18 Everything In Its Right Place

Encore 1

19 There There
20 Down Is The New Up
21 The Bends
22 How To Disappear Completely

Encore 2

23 House of Cards
24 Lucky

Full review coming shortly, but for now we are off to Band of Horses...

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Radiohead Tonight!

I'm off to the Greek tonight with two last row tickets! King Kerwin sold his soul to Thom Yorke, and scored ninth row. Tuesday night's setlist in San Diego was one of the best I've seen, so we'll just keep our fingers crossed.

Hope they play some of this:

[mp3] Radiohead - Wolf at the Door (live)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Forward Russia @ The Troubadour

“Seriously, what is everybody thinking?”

Within a half filled Troubadour, this whisper of a scream shimmied along my shoulder, funneled into my ear through my haphazardly placed tissue (a poor excuse for hearing protection). The question, aimed at the non-existent, made me lookout over the outer reefs circling my small island of fandom. They were small reefs and I was a small island, but Forward Russia was a massive volcano erupting lava, which gave the bird to everyone as it decented through the crowd - a group of faithful, blog buzzing, hyperbole drenched fans.

“They are the resurrection of At the Drive-In!”

“Its basically what it would sound like if the Blood Brothers made ballads.”

Yada, yada, yada. Even though the Troubadour was only half full, we are still looking at it as such; there wasn't a half empty bottle of anything at the Troubadour this past Saturday. Whiskas’ riffs were as achingly harsh as they are on the album. Tom was his usual spastic, sweaty, Ritalin reduced temper tantrum. With her tiny voice and heavy hand, drummer Katie Nicholls was as cute as Pebbles Flintstone before she unleashes her whack-smack-mallet-attack on an unsuspecting Jurassic herbivore (What? You guys must not of seen the Director’s cut).

I smiled, I sang, I shimmied, I swayed, and at times...I even waited. For what may you ask? For the band to catch a breath, and with those inward gasps refocus their sites on killing the crowd with their next tune. The only problem with these pit stops along the way, was their ultimate lack of seamlessness. The songs were tight, but their “breathers” reminded us that the band is still young on the road, and have yet to reach the point where art becomes life and the seams between the two are sown tightly together. But is that asking too much? I really can't say, and I don't know if Forward Russia can either. Basically, the band has an opportunity to ask themselves what they want their audience to receive from their live shows: a set boiled and brewed through and through or a twelve course meal with burps and belches between song and dance?

But maybe all that was needed was a few more kids in the crowd, which goes back to the first question, "what was everybody thinking?"

[mp3] Forward Russia - Twelve

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rocco Deluca @ The Troubadour

Brotha Braedon made it to the Rocco Deluca show last week, and he's here to share his experience:

If you haven't heard of Rocco Deluca yet, you need to listen up. His music is a fusion of blues and soul, mixed with rock and a punk rock heart. In Rocco's words, "The music I was raised on had heat. Energy. That feeling of aggression. The music of today seems so washed out and generic. To get 'em back we need to stick the real soul, that punk element back into it. It's the only way I know how to play it."

Rocco's father was the touring guitarist for the old famous blues player, Bo Diddley. Rocco himself became the opening act for Taj Mahal, John Mayall and John Lee Hooker, and has played with the late great Johnny cash. Rocco plays the Dobro steel guitar for most of his set, and plays it with agression. His vocals are powerful, extremely melodic and sung from his heart. With his band, Rocco Deluca and the Burden, he has put together an amazing compilation of great music. The band just left for a European tour, where they have gained great popularity and will be back in the states in a couple weeks. Make sure to catch the next show.

For more info:

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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Dynamic Duo: Tapes n' Tapes / Cold War Kids @ The Echo

As we pulled up to the Echo on Friday night, the huge line outside the club reminded us how smart we were for buying tickets early. It also reminded us that our tickets were still at home. Not a good start considering we live off Wilshire and the 405 (about an hour round trip for you non-Los Angelites). So we're not catching The Figurines tonight, but with enough high-speed maneuvers, we'd make it in time for Cold War Kids. Braedon was more responsible than us, and made it for The Figurines opening set (photos below). He gave it two thumbs up, and I believe him.

It's 10:15 and we're sitting front and center, waiting for Cold War Kids to begin like nothing has happened. What looks like the band's continued sound check, suddenly turns into a lamenting piano ballad - the train's left the station. The band quickly picks up pace with a slew of Up in Rags favorites, refusing to give the audience a moment's breath. Cold War Kids is a bullet train.

I really enjoyed the band's EPs prior to the show; however, since the 16th of June, I have developed an obsession. When "Hospital Beds" comes through my speakers, I now hear the energized live version. I spoke to Whiskas (guitarist from Forward Russia) after their set the next day, and he couldn't picture CWK playing a rockin set. It's nothing I can explain, but if you see them live you will understand.

[mp3] Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds

Tapes n' Tapes are ready to begin their first song, and it's clear they have a lot to live up to. Not only do they have a bombardment of internet press to justify, they are also following up a 10.0 performance by Cold War Kids. Without a hint of doubt, Tapes jammed out an exciting, guitar heavy set.

While the song arrangements are generally simple, the band's full-bodied sound and addictive melodies left me more than satisfied. It was the type of show that puts a big smile on my face. I didn't look behind me much, but I can assume everyone was having a blast. Tapes covered most of The Loon, and dove into some new material as well. Don't ask me for a setlist, because I don't even know where to begin.

[mp3] Tapes n' Tapes - Cowbell

Thank you to Braedon for taking some of the best photos this site has ever seen.

Continue reading "The Dynamic Duo: Tapes n' Tapes / Cold War Kids @ The Echo"

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wolf Eyes release Human Animal

Wolf Eyes' first semi-major label release, Burned Mind, showed the frightening results of a noise band recording with a budget. Instead of the more distant recordings found on Dead Hills and Dread, the album's clean production brought everything terrifying detail to the surface. Now the trio is back with Human Animal on Sept 26th, and Sub Pop has a little statement perpared:

"During one four-week period at the dawn of ’06, they laid down the ideas that would shape the new album in their studio, the Terror Tank. This new slab is the first with Mike Connelly (of Hair Police and the Gods of Tundra label) replacing Aaron Dilloway. Though he no longer tours with the band, Dilloway remains involved and helped to mix the new record with BMG (who also did the deed on Burned Mind).These songs are rotten with metal, reeds, consciousness-erasing islands of black doom; bass-heavy rippers, late-night free-terror jams, afflicted dog-hearts, underwater crabs: pure mayhem."

Human Animal

01 The Driller
02 Four Strings of Satanic Heritage
03 Rationed Rot
04 Leper War
05 Human Animal
06 Rusted Mange
07 A Million Years of Graveyards
08 Noise Not Music
09 Lake of Roaches

[mp3] Wolf Eyes - Dead Hills 2

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Jimmy Gnecco of Ours @ Knitting Factory

Distorted Lullabies was a perfect title for Ours’ debut album. Those two words captured the essence of Ours’ sound, a mixture of nightmares sung by angels; a voice that could have equal presence among heavenly messengers as it could unleashing the most unearthly screams human ears have come into contact with. With a voice as operatic as anything in the last quarter century, Jimmy Gnecco, the singer/songwriter and main piece of Ours, could be Jeff Buckley’s long lost brother, Freddie Mercury’s estranged son, all funneled through the lifeblood of Bono. Hyperbole much? If you have heard him, then you understand. If you haven’t, then you have your chance to redeem yourself.

This coming Wednesday, June 28, Jimmy Gnecco will be performing a very special solo acoustic show at the very intimate AlterKnit lounge at the Knitting Factory. Jimmy’s special solo shows are among my most cherished concert experiences. I only wish more had the opportunity to take part in it. After working with Rick Rubin over the last year or so on Ours’ new album, this little gig will be a great way to get to preview the new songs that the band has been prepping.

Here is a tune from one of Jimmy’s solo shows, an unreleased tune that captures the hopeful haunt that Jimmy has become known for.

[mp3] OursI Heard You Singing (Live)

06/28/06 – Knitting Factory (tix)

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Small Talk with the Little Ones

It was bound to happen. Everyone’s soon to be favorite band had some serious questions to answer. Where did they come from, who did they know, and what big dark secrets did they have hiding in that closet of theirs? Fortunately, the Content had the opportunity to have a little chat with Edward (guitar, vox), and Ian (guitar) from the Little Ones - after their show last month at the Prospector in Long Beach. They laid it out for us about sprouting from their previous endeavor (Sunday’s Best), the band’s chemistry, and working with the renowned Jesse LeDoux on the artwork for their debut Sing Song EP.

(Note: Be sure to check out the bottom of the interview for some tunes from the Little Ones and a glimpse into their emo past in their former band, Sunday's Best. All photos by Braedon.)

RC: You guys have known each other forever it seems. Have you always been partners in the creative process?

Ed: Yeah, I think so. We have the same tastes and stuff like that.

Ian: Basically, we’ve been working together since Sunday’s Best, which started in the late nineties. So after that finished, we continued…it was like “we’re done!” but the next day I’m at (Ed’s) place working on new stuff. So, we’ve been working together for some time.

Ed: Kind of like Steely Dan. (laughs)

Ian: I’m Walter Becker.

Ed: Then I’m Donald Fagen.

RC: Everyone is really enjoying your music right now and its basically being described as “happy” music. With all that is going on in the world today with the war and all the politics surrounding that, how do you think that is reflected in your music or is it more of an escapist approach?

Ian: I knew you were going to say that.

Ed: Here’s the thing. I just noticed when we first started making music right after Sunday’s Best, I thought that we weren’t really having fun right away and it wasn’t really “fun” music. And all of a sudden we started hitting this…I don’t want to say “sweet spot” but...we turned a corner and all of a sudden we realized, “Wait! This is what we should be making.” We didn’t say, “Okay, we should write ‘happy’ music.”

Ian: It evolved naturally into what it is now. Like Ed said, we turned a corner and when everybody is doing it collaboratively it is just naturally manifested from whatever it is we are feeling.

RC: Is that how “Uncle Lee’s Rule of Feet” came about? (Note: Uncle Lee’s Rule of Feet is the standard the band set in the writing process where a song was only suitable if all the band’s feet were shuffling.)

Ed: Yeah, exactly. It’s like with anything that you do in life. You figure out “Hey, I’m having fun, so this must be good.”

Ian: Yeah, you can shake your ass to it and the music becomes a manifestation of that, the feet shuffling, everybody moving together as a whole, a collective effort, a positive effort. I wouldn’t necessarily say it is escapism because that would be just like an “ignorance is bliss” type thing. It’s more that, yeah, there is some shitty shit in the world but we don’t have to be completely bummed out about it all the time and have a billion stickers on our car and walk around in a big ball of rage. There are still things to be happy about and its good to have good and great friends. We are thankful for that and we revel in it. I had a time when I was angsty but now I’m an adult and I’m a pretty happy guy.

Ed: No more eyeliner and everything. (laughs) And also, if people have fun then that’s the point. I think it took us a long time to figure out that, part of playing music is for yourself because you enjoying performing, but it’s also seeing people have a reaction to it. I realize now that that is what makes it. You are not going to win everyone over every night but if there is one person having fun then…

RC: You guys have been winning them over though. I think in your live shows and for anybody that we have played the music for is feeling the same way.

Ian: We are fortunate to have that.

RC: The Branches Recording Collective is the label you’ve started up. Is the feeling and emotions that you portray in your music the basic feeling that you are going for in the collective?

Ed: Yeah, the idea of branches and how things grow in different directions. Hopefully that manifests itself in our music.

Ian: We weren’t trying to so outwardly follow that metaphor but that idea and imagery is still one source and it worked really well.

RC: Is there anybody else that you are working with in Branches?

Ed: No, it’s just us. Eventually it would be nice to put out stuff when we have the ability to do that, to put out other people’s stuff and to experiment and do other things with friends.

Ian: But at the moment the collective is us, the five band members.

RC: When I think of collective I think of Elephant 6 and that whole community there.

Ian: Yeah, we don’t have an army of bands. (laughs) Not yet at least.

Ed: Well, Greg has a rap record called Homie.

Ian: Yeah, that’s Branches #002. (laughs)

RC: Your artwork is also a special representation of your music. How did you get together with Jesse LeDoux (who did the artwork for the Shins, Elliott Smith, etc.)?

Ed: It’s always funny when people compare the artwork to the Shins because its like, duh, he did it. It’s the same style. Well our friend Graham McRae knew him and we sent him some of our music and he liked it and decided to do the artwork.

Ian: If there is any imagery to be added to this, that would be it. We thought it was fitting and he did too.

If you haven't given the Little Ones a chance, you really should. Here are a couple of the Content's favorite tracks off their
Sing Song EP (eventhough we love the entire thing).

[mp3] The Little Ones -
Lovers Who Uncover
[mp3] The Little Ones -
High On A Hill

Now take a look into the Little Ones' emo past when Edward and Ian were a part of the now defunct, Sunday's Best.

[mp3] Sunday's Best -
Instead, He Falls

Let us know what you think about their transformation, and the music they are making now. Be sure to catch The Little Ones out and about these next couple months. If you don’t know where to find them then go here. And if you need to carpool to Spaceland in August, let us know.

Continue reading "Small Talk with the Little Ones"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lessons with TaughtMe

It’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised, and that's exactly how I was introduced to TaughtMe. A friend invited me to catch the Salt Lake City trio, in a special one off performance from their recent tour, at a home in the Hollywood Hills. However, rather than being greeted by the usual party band performing cover songs on par with Kidz Bop, I was introduced to the soundscapes of TaughtMe. Sounds that thump and crunch under vocals that haunt as much as they soar.

On their recent album, Arms As Traps, TaughtMe blends genres by merging the electronic with the acoustic, resulting in an eclectic brew that is as familiar as it is distant. Think of Sigur Ros’ “Glosoli” getting Americanized, with acoustic guitar and a solid bass line. Think of Bjork backing a folk outfit, which includes all of her bells and whistles. Somewhere amid that mess is TaughtMe, and they are hoping for your approval.

[mp3] TaughtMe – Where I’m At
[mp3] TaughtMe – Twig

Check out a few more tracks on TaughtMe's Myspace.
You can order Arms As Traps here.

Check out the video for "Where I'm At." Enjoy.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sound Team @ The Troubadour

The Sound Team / Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Division Day tour has an over-arching theme of kindness built into it. I don't think I've ever seen that many genuinely nice musicians under the same roof. Plus they all play great music! Needless to say, this made for quite a pleasant Thursday evening.

Thanks to Rock Insider, The Content knew it was important to show up early and catch Division Day's opening set. Unfortunately, we were minus a camera upon arrival to the Troub (Casey saved the day by bringing her camera a bit later). Division Day had an amicable pop feel that made me appreciate the sunny weather around me, and created some nostalgia for my high school music collection (I mean this as a compliment).

[mp3] Division Day - Tap- Tap, Click - Click

Next up was Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, who won top prize for being the nicest guys around. The first half of their set remains somewhat of a blur. I enjoyed the music, but didn't gain anything from the vocals. Both singers felt hesitant in front of the mic at first; however, by the second half of the set the band had relaxed, and everything flowed more smoothly.

[mp3] Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - House Fire

Sound Team was the main attraction for the night, and easily justified their top billing with a sharp, dance-inducing live set that made it hard to believe six people were all playing on stage at once. I'm convinced they are hardwired into each other's brains, because they couldn't seem to miss a note. While there was a lot of sound coming from the instruments, Matt Oliver's vocals always managed to break free from the wall of synth. The band's crisp production left the crowd shaking its tail feathers throughout the set, and The Content went yapping all the way home.

[mp3] Sound Team - Movie Monster

Can't ask for anything more than a hat-trick performance at the Troubadour.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Even More New Radiohead

Just when the Content thought we had given you all the new Radiohead you could ask for, the boys started playing even more new tunes as they began their North American tour. “Videotape” might be my favorite of the news songs that Radiohead has debuted, and the closest the band will ever get to their own “With Or Without You.” If nothing else, these tracks seem to add to the fact that the new album is not going to be anything to complain about.

To hold you over.

[mp3] Radiohead - Videotape (Live)
] RadioheadDown Is The New Up (Live)

06/29/06 – Greek Theater
06/30/06 – Greek Theater

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Xiu Xiu in the Air Force

In an earlier post called Love it/Hate it, I discussed some of my favorite artists that lay quarantined in my music collection. The tracks that never make it onto a road trip mix - "Ok gang, lets start this trip off right with a little Locust!" The post was originally going to be about Xiu Xiu, but somehow morphed into me confessing my "noise" habit.

Most of my friends don't know I listen to Xiu Xiu. It's not from me denying allegations - it just never comes up. They've never heard of the band (aka Jaime Stewart), and I'm never going to play them a song. In the past I've held similar reservations with other artists (Blood Brothers, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse), all of whom somehow turned into household names.

I doubt Xiu Xiu will be making it on the OC anytime soon, unless Seth puts a Fabulous Muscles poster on his wall next season. Jaime Stewart has two things going against him: he's gay and he's brutally honest. His albums leave me with a voyeur's guilt that only Bonnie 'Prince' Billy can match.

I confess that La Foret is still sitting in my itunes, mostly untouched. Maybe it was just bad timing, but somehow I couldn't hold onto it's subtle whispers. Xiu Xiu's, Air Force, is coming out on Sept. 12th, and I'm really excited about it. Have a few MP3s and some far off tour dates!

[mp3] Xiu Xiu - Boy Soprano
Xiu Xiu - Buzz Saw

West Coast Dates:

11-05 Eugene, OR - WOW Hall
11-07 Visalia, CA - Howie and Sons
11-08 Goleta, CA - Hard to Find Showspace
11-09 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
11-10 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall

Get the full dates here.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pop Music according to The Pipettes (or I’m trying to get your number – part deux)

They don’t love you and they don’t want to hold your hand. The Pipettes’ history of pop music doesn’t include any band called The Beatles and stays away from mentioning that king called Elvis. Their “Book of Genesis” begins with Phil Spector, “the first Tycoon of Teen, the first Pop Genius, the first person making this crazy new music who was actually of the age of its audience, the first guy with any power in the music industry who actually liked this stuff.”

Given the Pipettes deification of Spector, it is understandable how this threesome sounds as if they were just teleported from the 60s - a time when the Ronettes and the Crystals were developing their music in a quite cynical and pedestrian fashion. Be warned however, the Pipettes aren’t a knock off group – they do pop right. A perfect mix of retrofication and modernization, which helps you understand what the modern Top 40 is really missing in their songs.

I pray this will help the kids dance.

[mp3] The PipettesPull Shapes
[mp3] The PipettesYour Kisses Are Wasted On Me

My love affair with the Pipettes isn’t helped along at all by the gorgeous centerpiece of the band, Gwenno. Her vocals cut through the wall of sound in “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me,” and left me wanting more from the blonde beauty. Fortunately, she has a side project that is anything but pop-via-Spector. Gwenno sounds a bit like Stars meets Postal Service meets euro-pop. That’s the easy part. The hard part is that Gwenno Saunders used to have her own TV show, was part of the Lord of the Dance ensemble, and has won numerous awards for representing Cornwall in the Welsh Music Awards and the Eurovision Song Contest. I think I may have gone too deep.

[mp3] GwennoLime Chord
[mp3] GwennoDance Alone

Continue reading "Pop Music according to The Pipettes (or I’m trying to get your number – part deux)"