Monday, July 31, 2006

Pitchfork Opening Party w/ Sunset Rubdown, Voxtrot, the Joggers @ Metro

Vacations are always good and yet they hardly ever turn out to be vacations. Our schedule over this past weekend made our average lives feel laidback. Of course, its no secret that when you combine some of the best music acts of the moment with humidity, heat, sweat, hot dogs, deep dish, and tragically un-hip youth, you are going to have some major work on your hands.

It seems that there was a mix up with the travel agency, because I don’t remember ordering my weekend with extra heat. Isn’t that the main reason to get away from LA at this time of year? Fortunately, our first extravaganza of the weekend took place in the shade as we scored some wicked good seats to the Cubs/Cards game at Wrigley Field (thanks Lauren). Our once a decade observation of America’s favorite pastime, and filling up on some of Girodano’s famous stuffed crust pizza post-game was really only a precursor to our date with Ryan Schrieber at the Pitchfork Festival Opening Night Party.

After standing in line behind Mr. Schreiber outside the Metro (he has to stand in line at his own party?), we promptly arrived in time to catch the Joggers. It’s always difficult to fully appreciate a band that you have heard very little of. Yet, the magic that encompasses great bands can still be conveyed through music that you aren’t already acquainted with. The Joggers might not be that band, but their promises seemed a little more grounded than their bill-mates, Voxtrot.

It’s really hard to not like Voxtrot. They have a lot of ingredients for success: the looks, the sound, the hooks, the voice, etc... but for some reason I’m not completely buying it. Their pop-goes-indie sometimes comes off a little too TRL, and their pogo-ing made me feel like I was in the wrong venue. Of course, their throw back melodies, McCartney bassist, and “prettiness” can’t be seen as a lost cause when placed in perspective with their stand out tracks like “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives.” It’s just scary what could happen to these guys given a shine selling producer, and label looking to turn them into the next Fall Out Boy.

All these inconsequential critical thoughts of these opening bands were lost when Sunset Rubdown’s Spencer Krug began strumming through the opening song of the set. I wish I had a copy of this tune because it was the highlight of the evening. Even after the Rubdown played through beefed up highlights “Stadiums and Shrines,” and an extended take of “Three Colours” off the EP, all I could think about was how great their first track was. After seeing the Krug clan at their first stop on their tour back in early May, it is amazing to see how tight and controlled the band has become. The current state of Sunset Rubdown, as portrayed through their live performance, is sure to quell any thoughts that this is just a toned down Wolf Parade, and further solidifies Krug as one of the premiere songwriters of this generation.

[mp3] Sunset RubdownThree Colours
[mp3] Sunset RubdownStadium and Shrines
[mp3] Voxtrot - Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives
[mp3] The JoggersEra Prison

Stay tuned for the Content’s recap of day one and two of the Pitchfork Music Festival in the coming days.

Continue reading "Pitchfork Opening Party w/ Sunset Rubdown, Voxtrot, the Joggers @ Metro"

Chicago!!! (The King and BWH return from Pitchfork)

After a musically fulfilling yet physically exhausting weekend, we are now on our return back to our gloryhole, Los Angeles. Since our day tomorrow is going to consist of catching planes at god awful hours, the Content would like to leave you a few pics to get your mouths salivating for the full recap of our weekend in the "windy city" as well as a few of our favorite songs from the weekend. See you soon.

All things go.

Sunset Rubdown - Jason Believe Me, You Can't Trust Your Dreams
Man Man - Engwish Bwudd
Liars - Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack!

IGIF has a nice recap of the Pitchfork Festival Opening Party at the Metro. Connor and Nate didn't get to catch the whole show so check back with us tomorrow for our thoughts on this gem of a party.

Continue reading "Chicago!!! (The King and BWH return from Pitchfork)"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Best Kind of Cover Song

Cover songs have always held a strong tradition in rock n' roll. They give artists a chance to salute their heroes, and at the same time present a personal take on a song. When someone learns to play guitar, their musical library rests solely on cover songs; however, eventually out of this constant replication comes a unique musical voice, which allows an artist to write his or her own music. Once equipt with this new identity, a musician is able to return to a favorite song and explore new directions with it.

To review: Person learns cover songs to become musician, New musician leaves cover songs to craft a unique sound, Established musician returns to cover songs to infuse with new musical identity.

...or something like that.

Get to the damn MP3s Nick. So here are some current covers that I am enjoying lately.

[mp3] Final Fantasy - Modern Love (Bloc Party)
[mp3] Werewolf - No Love Lost (Joy Division)
[mp3] Blood Brothers - Under Pressure (Queen)
[mp3] Death From Above 1979 - Luno (Bloc Party)
[mp3] DeVotchKa - The Last Beat Of My Heart (Siouxsie and the Banshees)

Continue reading "The Best Kind of Cover Song"

The Top 10 List: (Modern) Singers (in no ranking order)

Given that some of my favorite artists of forever have come through town recently (with many more on the horizon), I thought that it would be appropriate to compile a shortlist of sorts for my Top 10 (Modern) Singers that I have come into contact in my life. Of course, it is completely unfair to put these in any ranking order since they all have different talents, and gifts that all need to be praised differently.

1) Jeff Buckley
Grace is one of those lasting records for me. I thought that it just fell into my hands at the right time, until I realized that a lot of people have had such a similar experience. For me, Buckley’s music was a realization that a voice was also an instrument, rather than just a tool to get your thoughts across. I remember sitting in my Volkswagen bus in high schoo,l and just trying to understand how he could possibly hit those notes at the end of this song. Just when you think he had reached his limit, that’s when he pulled the rug out from under you.

[mp3] Jeff Buckley - Grace

2) James Grundler
I think James Grundler (Golden State, Paloalto) gets too much flack for sounding like Thom Yorke. The truth is that a lot of his older songs really do sound like Radiohead knockoffs. This fault many times distracts listeners from hearing the massive lungs that this guy has, which allows him to belt notes with precision and ease. We have given him the nickname “the Ramp” for the way his voice launches into these jaw dropping high spots.

[mp3] James GrundlerMade of Stone (Live)

3) Jimmy Gnecco
The first time I heard Gnecco sing was at the Troubadour in LA, where by the end of the show he was climbing up the railings oscillating between his head voice and falsetto. His voice could be called Jeff Buckley’s banshee at moments, yet his voice can downsize into a Bono-like warble. His scream is the craziest vocal performances I have ever witnessed. Yeah…the craziest…ever.

[mp3] OursFallen Souls

4) Thom Yorke
It’s impossible not to have Yorke on this list. In Radiohead’s early years he was known for his range that translated into being emotionally effective. Of course, it is hard not to get the chills when he hits and holds in “Creep” and “Sulk.” But as Yorke has matured, his vocals have separated themselves from having to rely on his “power lung,” and yet still trying to hit the emotional bull’s-eye. I think that he has damned good aim at this point in his life.

[mp3] Radiohead2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)

5) Bono
As a living legend of vocal rock, as well as full-time do-gooder, it is hard to discount the influence that such a voice has had. In other words, how many of the listed artists secretly used, “Where The Streets Have No Name” as vocal practice when they were growing up? I bet that number is higher than we might want to believe.

[mp3] U2 - Acrobat

6) Bjork
Only one female makes the list this time around; yet, this little Icelandic princess could probably out huff, out puff, and blow down any freakin’ house that stands in her way. Only a true vocalist can tour with an orchestra without being cheesy (sorry Metallica), and make an album with only vocals and not come of pretentious. Bjork’s voice during the outro of “Joga” seems to be continually on the rise, and reaches the realms of impossibility.

[mp3] Bjork - Joga

7) Cinjun Tate
Way before Garden State, Remy Zero was one of my favorite bands (I guess Zach Braff and I do have something in common). Cinjun makes you hurt with the ease that his voice weave its way into harmonies and up scales seamlessly. “Hollow” might be my favorite RZ tune of all-time, and possibly the reason they were deemed the American Radiohead when Villa Elaine was released. If you dig, check out Cinjun’s heartbreakingly beautiful new band Spartan Fidelity.

[mp3] Remy Zero - Hollow

8) Jeff Mangum
Mangum isn’t the guy that should be picked for the team, and yet when you see him out on the court he has some crazy insane skill, like being able to speak at a louder volume than anybody else on the playground. Before you realize it the whole school is sitting around mesmerized by the, “I-can-sing-louder-than-you” boy who is sitting atop the basketball hoop. And then we applaud and he runs away. Forever? For some reason I have a really good feeling that he will be back for the second half.

[mp3] Neutral Milk HotelTwo-Headed Boy

9) Nick Urata
DeVotchKa’s Nick Urata is the type of guy who sings his way out of problems as well as into heartache. Your mom would get a crush on Urata as soon as he opened his mouth, and started warbling in his Spaniard goes eastern-European accent (no don’t go thinking Borat now). That is all before your girlfriend started drooling and the lesbian in the corner decided to switch teams. Don’t believe me? I have experienced it with my own eyes, and us lonely guys are the ones who have to deal with the heartache. Thanks Nick.

[mp3] DeVotchKaTwenty-Six Temptations

10) Maynard James Keenan
First off, I can’t believe I am actually putting A Perfect Circle song up on the Content. But being a true Maynard fan (and Pushit was 15 MB) I couldn’t help myself. Maynard’s voice is as good a croon as it is a growl, and at 40-ish he still has it in him. Since Tool looks to be on the out and A Perfect Circle is kaput, I would like to see Maynard try to do something outside of the whole power chord, art-rock genre. Just imagine if he pulled a Beirut.

[mp3] A Perfect CircleThree Libras (Acoustic)

Continue reading "The Top 10 List: (Modern) Singers (in no ranking order)"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Test Icicles Spin-off Bands

"This whole 'band' trip has made me really insecure, embarrassed and unsure of myself and pretty much everything. its been a total blur and at the same time a long, drawn out torture session. I guess we had some fun moments here and there, but there was no shaking that ever-underlying discontentment and depression and confusion always lurking beneath the surface."

Myspace isn't a perfect fit for every band (can you imagine Maynard running the Tool myspace page?), but for Test Icicles it was their place of solace while on tour. Everyday a lengthy bulletin would appear from Dev, Rory or Sam discussing their day-to-day struggles. This steady Myspace habit helped humanize Test Icicles for me. People forget that the trio's combined age is right around 60. Creating a 4-track demo at 19 doesn't entail signing your life away to rock n' roll. No one is sadder about the demise of Test Icicles than me; however, I have to respect their decision and... wait for them to release new shit.

Ladies and gentlemen, that time has arrived.

Lightspeed Champion

Dev wins the award for most diverse Test Icicle, with his compact acoustic tunes. His Myspace page talks about his singer songwriter approach being his original direction, and it's exciting that he has returned to it.

In classic TI form, this is what he had to say about his new endeavor:

"I'm going to be working hard on this for some time and hopefully the outcome will be out soon for all to hate. I guess all I can say is that this time it's not completely one big joke, which means when it sucks it's all my fault, lolz."
[mp3] Lightspeed Champion - Last Night SUCKED
[mp3] Lightspeed Champion - Waiting Game

Myspace page

Raary Deci-Hell

Rory keeps the TI tradition alive with this set of rough and noisy demos. His Myspace page is for :RAT:ATT:AGG:, but the current posted songs are his personal demos. Apperently, the full band is in the process of recording at the moment, so keep checking their page. These demos are a bit thin. Missing the elements that balanced Test Icicles; however, I'm excited to hear some fully recorded songs.

[mp3] Raary Deci-Hells - Can We Fix It?
[mp3] Raary Deci-Hells - What's Going On?
[mp3] Raary Deci-Hells - The Pedler

Myspace page

As an added bonus here are a couple Test Icicles 4-track demos:

[mp3] Test Icicles - Circle Triangle Square (demo)
[mp3] Test Icicles - Who Ate All the Offal?

Continue reading "Test Icicles Spin-off Bands"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Remy Zero Returns? - Cinjun Tate @ the Hotel Café

As Cinjun Tate took the stage on Saturday night at the Hotel Café I looked around at the silent smiles that filled the room. The crowd was eclectic in gender and background, mothers and uncles enjoyed their views behind tables positioned properly at center stage, indie kids with cameras tried to capture a shot of their high school hero in between finger swipes of their long, well positioned hair, and mystery guests hid in dark corners waiting for their cues.

But the happiness that graced these faces was soon abandoned as Cinjun began to power through the opening chord progressions of his set. Unknown to the crowd, these opening three songs, set to grace the upcoming Spartan Fidelity album, portrayed the beauty in sadness that Cinjun has fashioned so well over the years. The following songs, “Before the Last Kiss (I Wish)” and “Oil on Water,” originally recorded for a future Remy Zero disc before the band parted ways, was a metaphorical bridge between the Spartan Fidelity and Remy Zero songs of the set.

“India” an unreleased gem, might be one of the prettiest melodies to ever escape Cinjun’s mouth. Introduced with enthusiasm, it is easy to ascertain that Cinjun has a lot of expectations for the song. With the haunting instrumentations and mock choir harmonizing that drips over Spartan Fidelity songs it is easy to imagine where such high expectations stem from. With their eternal smiles, the crowd could easily imagine what the final cut could sound like, a love swept lullaby for a rain soaked sunset.

“It’s just one happy song after another,” facetiously exclaimed Cinjun half way through his set. But as the smiles continued to grow it was obvious that there was a grave distance between the happiness that Cinjun was joking about and the joy the crowd was experiencing. This was, however, the resurrection of our long lost hero of vocal rock. Few true crooners have come forth in the last few years in an era that has become more adept to embrace experimentation through partially tuned yelps, dance beats, and sharp guitar tones. It was funny that Cinjun would ask at this point in the show if we remembered the band he used to be in – Remy Zero.

And that’s when the lights went out. I swear I got hit with a rush of blood to the head or a kick in the teeth when Cinjun made his next move. With my guard down, Cinjun invited two of his former band mates, Cedric Lemoyne and Jeffrey Cain, to the stage to share in the next song. With that being said, our mystery guests hiding in the dark corners emerged with instruments in hand. Was I hallucinating? Was this a dream? Did I really just happen to drop in on a spontaneous reunion show of one of my favorite bands of all time?

“But listen, this is the important part,” exclaimed Cinjun, appropriately pausing before the punch line, “this is the newest song by Remy Zero.” Somewhere between hysterics and half hushed proclamations of the return of Remy Zero, my mind and body froze. The new song, entitled “Anger,” featuring both Cedric and Jeffrey on guitar, brought back the Caino sway and Cinjun bent wrist, hand signals. As Cinjun tiptoed his way to releasing his billowing hum it seemed as though he were releasing the strain of years of built up tension.

Listening to Cinjun, and a downsized Remy Zero perform their songs, was a reminder of how much love there is for a band that has given so much to their audience. After closing with “Hermes Bird,” the trio exited the stage amidst a crowd of loved ones. With handshakes, hugs, and smiles eager to know what the future holds it must have been hard for these former band members not to feel the love and appreciation this crowd had for the music these three had participated in making.

With only one new song under their belt it is hard to know if this really is the return of Remy Zero. But as a fan speaking for a crowd that glimpsed hope in their second coming, we love you, we miss you, and it was a joy to see you play together at least one more time. Rock music might not need another savior but it would be nice to know they are at out there.

[mp3] Remy ZeroMandolin (Demo)
[mp3] Remy ZeroHermes Bird (Live Acoustic)
[mp3] Spartan FidelityLocust

Buy Spartan Fidelity's Excava-11 on iTunes or Amazon.

Continue reading "Remy Zero Returns? - Cinjun Tate @ the Hotel Café"

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Album Leaf @ Detroit Bar

Growing up is a strange process. It seems that I look back on my high school years as a complete world in and of its self. The romance of puppy love, the innocence of hormones, puberty, first kisses, last kisses, junior varsity, tardiness, “unsatisfactory behavior,” yearbooks. It was all there and is associated with that place that many (do to the fact that we grew up there and our parents still reside there) call home. But now, after moving away and creating my own home away from home, it is strange to return to that place where I spent the best years of my life.

An opportunity as such was available to me this past evening as we “roadtripped” to Costa Mesa to catch the Album Leaf at the Detroit Bar. But coming home without the assurance and support of your usual support group, i.e. friends and family, makes for a much different experience than to visit by means of a social gathering, a relative’s birthday, or a best friend’s sister’s graduation party. At the Detroit Bar, the friends I had come with, all from different parts ranging from LA to Salt Lake City, were running into people they knew from here or there resulting in a semi-embarrassed self that ques
tioned whether he was really in a familiar place at all.

This mindset played around within my head as I watched the superbly talented Lymbyc System power through their opening set. It’s easy to be let down by a two-piece, but this band of brothers, Mike and Jared Bell, though lacking in numbers made up for it with sound. Their keys and drum dichotomy created instrumental soundscapes that could rival the emotional density of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai. What resulted in their minimalism in instrumentation and band members was a truly synergistic sound where the end amount surpassed the sum of its parts.
The Album Leaf, on a small tour testing out new material for their upcoming album, Into the Blue Again, played through a healthy set pairing new songs with some older highlights. The newer songs seemed to pick up where In A Safe Place left off which is always a tad bit underwhelming. Since the Album Leaf have the great talent of duplicating their songs live in an almost verbatim fashion, it is fair to say that the new material is strong adding a little more power behind the band’s punches.

Yet, some of the Album Leaf’s usual shortcomings are still apparent. Jimmy Lavalle still writes songs based around his skill of crafting hopeful synth symphonies layered atop a garden of ticks and tacks. When Lavalle opens his mouth to accompany any of his songs it seems that he is hiding behind the lush instrumentation that he is known for. Of course it is easy to hide a voice that is all too forgettable. It is just a wonder what a pairing it would be to have a voice that could match the lush sonic orchestras that Lavalle creates. Such pairing was seen on “Over the Pond” where Sigur Ros front man, Jonsi Birgisson, added his vocals to the mix to create one of the more powerful songs on In A Safe Place. I don’t know what the final plans are for Into the Blue Again but I wouldn’t mind Lavalle pulling a Santana and grabbing some strong lungs to couple with his music.
The Album Leaf will be releasing Into the Blue Again on SubPop on September 12. Be sure to check out their Myspace to preview four new tracks from their upcoming release.

You are who you know.

[mp3] The Album LeafSpinning Makes Me Dizzy
[mp3] The Album LeafMicro Melodies (Live)
[mp3] The Lymbyc SystemMy Lost Last Step

Continue reading "The Album Leaf @ Detroit Bar"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pitchfork Playlist Day 2

Here is the second half of our festival playlist. I can't decide which day I'm more excited for. This will be my first time seeing Spoon, so I'm leaning towards Sunday. I don't know much about Os Mutantes, but I've only heard good things. Lets be honest, I'm basically excited for every second of this event. One week and counting...


[mp3] Danielson - Ships the Majestic Suffix
Os Mutantes -
[mp3] Spoon - Sister Jack (Demo)
[mp3] Yo La Tengo -
Sugar Cube
[mp3] Devendra Banhart -
Support the Troop (Xiu Xiu Cover)
[mp3] Aesop Rock -
Commencement at the Obedience Academy
[mp3] Liars - Mr. You're On Fire Mr. (Peel Session)
[mp3] The National -
Looking For Astronauts
[mp3] Jens Lekman - Jule (remix)
[mp3] Tapes 'n Tapes - Jakov's Suite

Continue reading "Pitchfork Playlist Day 2"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pitchfork Playlist Day 1

Last week I received an email from Ryan Schreiber saying that he wanted Rewriteable Content to do complete coverage of the Pitchfork Festival, all expenses paid. Pretty sweet huh? I thought so too, until I realized that was 5 AM and I had been dreaming. Dreaming or not, The Content will be attending the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago next week, no expenses paid. I know what you're thinking - no Content for 5 days! I'm sure we'll all survive.

3 days off work + 41 great bands = 1 happy Nick

As a consolation prize for anyone who will not be at Union Park, we've decided to put together a festival playlist for each day. My excitement for seeing Man Man is boiling over at this point. Mark my words: Despite them playing at 2:30 pm, and it being 100 degrees, I will be dancing my ass off.

[mp3] Man Man - Feathers
[mp3] Destroyer - Your Blood

[mp3] Silver Jews - Black and Brown Blues
[mp3] The Walkmen - The Rat
[mp3] The Futureheads - Skip to the End
[mp3] Ted Leo & Rx - The Gold Finch And The Red Oak Tree, The

[mp3] Art Brut - Modern Art (acoustic)
[mp3] Mountain Goats - Going to Port Washington
[mp3] Band of Horses - St. Augustine

Continue reading "Pitchfork Playlist Day 1"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My summer of Tsiganskaya musika (Gypsy Music)

The tsigani (or gypsies) used to hang out in the tunnels that ran under Marksa Street during the summer. I remember their weathered, dark skin and striking eyes. Their children would hold their hands open in eagerness for a kopeck or two to drop. These young recipients would quickly dash their new treasures into their pockets to return with immediacy for a refill. Sometimes during these underground walkthroughs, the temperature would rise to unbearable heights as my body would become covered with eight to ten sets of small tsigani hands all asking the same question: where’s the money?

It’s no wonder so many believed in the rumors of their mysticism. With bright cloth woven into their hair, mismatching patterns of foreign fabrics flowing to their heels, and shiny homemade jewelry weighing down their frail frames, it is hard for any westerner to understand the completely alien culture that was alive in this nomadic people. This mysticism might be the essence that has me so captivated at the moment in my recent splurge into gypsy music, Balkan brass, and western interpretations of the like.

After falling in love with Gulag Orkestar, as well as simultaneously basking in nostalgia as I study (review) Russian in summer school, my playlist has been overflowing with gypsy music since the beginning of the summer months. Please enjoy a few of the few pleasure I am basking in at the moment.

[mp3] BeirutBratislava
It is hard to deny the role that Zach Condon has played in my recent love affair with Balkan brass. “Bratislava” steers way from the storyboard songs of Gulag and transfers its listener into the foreign country of its inevitable conception. It is hard to imagine being surrounded by anything else than foreign tongues and gypsy head rags as “Bratislava” comes alive with its layered horns and indecipherable mumblings of Condon.

[mp3] Kocani OrkestarSiki Siki Ba Ba
My first introduction to Balkan brass came after Zach dropped this influences during his guest post on Said the Gramophone. “Siki Siki Ba Ba”, now a Beirut live staple, has a “circle dance” vibe and bounce; a communal street gathering where smiles adorn each instrument and high knees possess all the dancing legs.

[mp3] DeVotchKaSuch A Lovely Thing
The mysticism that surrounds one in trying to understand the gypsy ways is quite possibly the same thing that goes through my mind when I contemplate DeVotchKa’s slow rise to recognition. DeVotchKa have taken their eastern European influenced sound and turned it into a breeding ground for heartbreak and lovemaking. Here, Nick Urata’s caped croon haunts. Amidst a dimly, candlelit brick tunnel you can see the devil dance of a lovesick gypsy.

[mp3] Neutral Milk HotelThe Fool
Originally written for a short film, whose title it shares, “The Fool” is the long winter marching song for a hunchbacked kulak. This fool’s heartbroken march back to his homeland is a timely intermission in the seamless In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Yet “The Fool” still has the power to transport us into that foreign land where streets are actually paved with stone and baths are reserved for hot days in rivers and streams.

[mp3] Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass BandZulumcar
“Zulumcar” is the taunting belly dance of the gypsy princess. Just as “Siki Siki Ba Ba” is a communal circle dance where the whole town seems to get up and sing, “Zulumcar” is a lone gypsy woman’s song where the only circling is done by her, around you, her lone listener.

[mp3] Gogol BordelloStart Wearing Purple
All things are well that end well. Right? Such music, as that made by Gogol Bordello, captures all that is annoying about gypsy music. The polka push that is avoided by these previous bands is completely accepted by the Bordello as their drunken shouts of blasphemy and stomping dance steps remind us the reasons why this genre is sometimes so hard to digest.

Thank goodness my summer of gypsy music will be able to come to life in one form or another. With the Content’s high recommendation for shows of the mid summer (and into fall) we announce you two very special engagements at the Troubadour here in LA. Enjoy.

8/18/06 – Devotchka @ Troubadour (tix)
10/21/06 – Beirut @ Troubadour (tix)

BONUS [mp3] BeirutSiki Siki Ba Ba (Live)

Continue reading "My summer of Tsiganskaya musika (Gypsy Music)"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I can see the venom in their hearts

I'll keep this short, because I can only hold back the vomit in my throat for so long. I'm sure you've all seen the video for Cobra Starship's "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)," and if you haven't then be sure to check it out below. The Content wasn't planning to give this, amazing display of all things wrong with music, any space on our page; however, new shit has come to light, and we couldn't resist. Apparently, the Snakes On a Plane record release party is coming to the Key Club on August 16th, and "super group" Cobra Starship will be there tearing the house down. Let's see... if they get a 60 minutes set, then that means we only get to hear "Bring It" 20 times. Can anyone say "mass suicide!"

"Oh calm down Nick, it's just suppose to be fun." Blah, blah, blah. I know fun, and I know irony - this song has neither. How sweet is this fake SOAP poster I found though?

[mp3] Cobra Starship - Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)

Just who comprises this eclectic group of cyborgs?

Maja Ivarsson [mp3] The Sounds - Rock n' Roll

William Beckett [mp3] The Academy Is - Check Marks

Travis McCoy [mp3] Gym Class Heroes - Papercuts

Gabe Saporta [mp3] Midtown - Sister Golden Hair (America cover)

Continue reading "I can see the venom in their hearts"

Monday, July 17, 2006

State of Permanence: Arizona

The big question that is struggling for an answer amongst bloggers is the aspect of permanence (or lack thereof) of bands in the blogosphere. It seems that this permanence is really the coat of arms for blog bands, their stamp of approval in a world that passes from the first big thing to the next on a day-to-day basis from blog-to-blog.

I am not one for the prophecies of bloggers, but when I read IGIF’s lotto numbers, and big bets behind their boys Arizona being the next big thing in the land-o-blogs, my ears perked up. I wanted to call them out, and go all in on their far too eager bet before “the turn.” But in listening to Arizona more closely, a promising young band was introduced to me, whose sound I can do little than call a good buy, a strong bet, or a hot chip.

“Some Kind of Chill” is a familiar friend telling a story you have heard a million times. The reason you are listening to him this time is the same reason you listened to his heartache before – his melody makes you recognize his reality. His simplicity makes you see why it is so easy to forget the beauty, and power within a simple melody - after it is done up with strange strings and towering thumps, beating and wrapping their long, round fingers around its slim, precious frailty. “Chill” is golden in its development – if you left it alone on a stage with one spotlight and one voice, its beauty would still be there, even without the harmonizing, shakers, and guitar solo.

August 18th will be a good day for those of us that have waited for Arizona’s debut, Welcome Back Dear Children. But in the month or so of anticipation still upon us, Arizona have gifted us with a few B-sides on their Myspace page. Oh do please go and take a listen.

Take a road trip.

[mp3] ArizonaSome Kind Of Chill
[mp3] ArizonaSurviving The Savior

In keeping with our pledge to the “State of Permanence,” we do solemnly swear that you will be seeing more from our dearest Arizona. Amen.

EDIT: You can now by Arizona's debut Welcome Back Dear Children on iTunes. Check it out here.

Continue reading "State of Permanence: Arizona"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Me, Myself and I: Surviving the Myspace culture at Radiohead

Without a camera or recording device, I have no exciting relics from Radiohead's performance at the Greek to share with you . We've posted all the new songs (here), and I'm sure you've seen the setlist (here), so what else is there to tell you? I thought I would take this moment to talk about crowds, and the ever growing me-generation. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a senior thesis on the adverse effects of Myspace. It's merely an observation on what I'd describe as The Radiohead Concert Phenomenon.

Amateur philosophies, cat calls and celebrity spottings have become the three staple products of any Radiohead concert. Can I get some philosophical rhetoric? Radiohead is a band that makes complex records, which ask a lot from their listeners. They want people to engage with their music, and gain knowledge and perspective from it. These are all reasons why they are the greatest band of our generation. However, there are many bands that have sought out such lofty goals and failed, because they lack the talent and/or subtlety to create great music. Out of 1 Radiohead, comes 1,000 tainted clones.

This analogy can also be translated to Radiohead fans. Everybody has an opinion, but with 1 thought-out analysis, comes 1,000 heads filled with hot-air. Watch the "movie line" scene in Annie Hall if you need a reference for the, content without substance, found in soapbox preachers. Am I preaching with this post? I sure hope not. Obviously I understand the need for dialogue, or I wouldn't be writing this post. My main concern is what's motivating people's discussion at Radiohead concerts. Are they using their pre-concert moments at the Greek to gain more understanding for why they're there, or do they just want to hear their own voice echoing throughout Griffith Park? This conveniently brings me to my next point.

What's up with all the Thom Yorke cat calls during every quiet song? Everyone thinks they are on a first name basis with him, and their tone is always has a hint of condescension. "We love you, THOM," "Marry me, THOM." He's singing this gorgeous version of "You and Whose Army?", and these people are trying to perfect their comedic timing. It blows my mind. The me-generation doesn't get that yelling "Free Bird" is basically the worst idea EVER. Will that awful, awful joke ever end?

This post turned into a bit of a rant, but I wanted to get some thoughts out there. It sounds like I must have had the worst time at Radiohead, but there is nothing farther from the truth. I sat in the last row of the Greek, next to the lovely Natalie Citro, and let 24 Radiohead songs wash over me like a fresh rain. It just makes me sad/confused when the guys in front of me are fighting over popcorn, while Thom serenades us with "Videotape."

As an ode to An Inconvenient Truth, here are some great live versions of Idioteque.

"We're not scaremongering,
This is really happening."

[mp3] Radiohead - Idioteque (live @ Coachella)
[mp3] Radiohead - Idioteque (live @ Victoria Park)
[mp3] Radiohead - Idioteque (live @ Boston)

Continue reading "Me, Myself and I: Surviving the Myspace culture at Radiohead"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stream the new Killers - "When You Were Young"

Oh the anticipation is killing me! The "best album of the last 2o years" (according to Flowers himself) is slowly creeping into existence. Here is a first look, sneak peak, preview party of sorts of the Killers new single "When You Were Young." Flowers breaks out his best Sprinsteen impression on this one, that is if Springsteen ever wore eyeliner and encased his guitar in jewels. Let us know what you think since our day is busy and an indepth listen isn't exactly possible for the next few hours.

For your streaming pleasure.

[stream] The Killers - When You Were Young
Win Low - Win Hi - Real Hi

Continue reading "Stream the new Killers - "When You Were Young""

Jimmy Gnecco @ Knitting Factory / Hotel Cafe

I once read an article entitled “Jimmy Gnecco is not Jeff Buckley.” Some fans are adamantly prone to point this more than apparent fact out; they circle around it forcing you to listen to all their reasoning and rumors based on “he said, she said” rhetoric, which distracts attention from the real reason Gnecco’s music is being listened to in the first place.

During Gnecco’s performances such trivial factoids of whether he ever played with Buckley, or whether he was in fact Buckley’s guitar tech are put on hold. These intimate acoustic shows, as they were this past week at the Knitting Factory and the Hotel Café, are holy ground for lovers of Gnecco’s music. As Gnecco’s initial notes leave his lips, mouths stop working and eyes and ears open to only the one voice upon the stage. With the comedy that has become of modern Christianity, it is no wonder that the crowd has gone to exercise their sense of reverence on such an occasion as a rock show, where the preacher actually speaks to the heart of those in attendance. This religiousness comes from the fact that this genre’s savior has already been lost once, through the tragic passing of Buckley himself.

Of course it isn’t fair to say that those that waited for hours outside of the Hotel Café are just in line to get their Buckley fix. Both Gnecco’s and Buckley’s music are far different machines that share a common essence found in the stunning vocals and lack of pretense in their delivery. Over the last few years, with the restructuring of the band, writing some of the his strongest songs to date, and teaming with Rick Rubin to record the yet unfinished third album, Gnecco seems to have found the sound that he has been searching for all these years.

Each of the new songs, only a handful of which were performed this past week, shows Gnecco more grounded in his place than ever before. The live gems “God Only Wants You”, “Mercy”, and “I Ran Away To Tell The World,” portray a more mature Gnecco, one that isn’t hiding behind his voice but rather allowing the songs to speak for themselves. Some of the older songs off of Distorted Lullabies and Precious, such as “Red Colored Stars” and “Meet Me in the Tower,” during which Gnecco was joined onstage by the braver of the talent in the crowd, contain a special character that isn’t as prevalent in their recorded versions.

With the strength of his new songs and the time that has been spent in the album’s preparation it is no wonder that much anticipation surrounds Ours’ upcoming release. With Gnecco taking some time off to refocus after the recent passing of his cousin, one can see that he longs to be out in front of the crowd again. When that time comes, The Content will be the first ones to let you know.

OursGod Only Wants You (Live)

OursI Ran Away To Tell The World (Live)
[mp3] OursMercy (Live)

Continue reading "Jimmy Gnecco @ Knitting Factory / Hotel Cafe"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Playing the dating game with books and songs

Summer is attacking LA with every flaming hot blowtorch it can find, and The Content is fighting back by boycotting all physical activity. Yep - nothing but concert attendance, and reading on the couch. Join us in this war against the evil heat, by staying inside and reading from the Rewriteable Content Book List. Since this is a music site, I decided to spice up the list by pairing an appropriate song to each book. While some tracks are meant to enhance your reading experience, other pairings solely share a theme or mood that transcend their respective mediums. Enjoy!

Libra by Don Delillo

[mp3] Mogwai - Friend of the Night

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

[mp3] MF Doom - Doomsday

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

[mp3] Lightning Bolt - Assassins

Watchmen by Alan Moore

[mp3] The Clash - Straight To Hell (live)

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

[mp3] William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops IV 1.2

Fear and Loathing in America by Hunter S. Thompson

[mp3] Modest Mouse - Trucker's Atlas

Previous Post - Sunday Reading

Continue reading "Playing the dating game with books and songs"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Messes that clean up nicely

Los Angeles can be a dirty place sometimes. Making frequent travels throughout our fair city, one can find the abandoned housings of old flower shops, overgrown and infested gas stations, and boarded up windows that, prior, framed an array of the best imported rugs from the middle east. It’s a shame the dreams that have been forgotten behind those plywood windowpanes, and healthy weeds. In all that mess lies the dreams of yesteryear, the seeds planted by working men and women that were never harvested, or a father’s romantic memory that is only held in a dilapidating photograph.

This is how I imagine Messes’ music. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter claims the dirt and dust for his name, only to remind us of the beauty that can lie within if we only choose to see it. With finger picking that would make Sam Beam blush in awkwardness, and a voice that scratches through the throat of David Bazan, Messes is a refreshing and familiar sound in a city that seems to be as alienating as it is intriguing. With only these few songs to go off of, one might have a new song to soundtrack the descending sun touching down over PCH, or a lullaby that could sit in for a mother’s whisper.

We introduce you to Messes.

[mp3] MessesLight In My Eyes
[mp3] MessesGoodnight Clementine

Check out a few more tracks on Messes' Myspace.

Continue reading "Messes that clean up nicely"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pre-Order Kite Flying Society's Debut LP!

The day is upon us ladies and gentleman. Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite band, Kite Flying Society. Though we are by far not the first site to post about this San Diego quintet, we did have the distinct advantage of attending the same highschool as Dustin Illingworth (lead singer). The Content=1, Blog World=0.
KFS are proof that Southern Californian pop is not a dead art. Surf culture and the Jack Johnson Cult believe that living by the beach entitles a person to a carefree life, full of sun, sand and two chord guitar tunes; however, that is not humanity. The Beach Boys wrote some happy surf songs, but their greatest creations always contained an element of tragedy. Listen to "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and you will find a heartbreaking song within the polished, barbershop vocals. While the soul-warming climate of Southern California is an integral part of KFS's sound, the band never exploits it with laidback song writing.

Kite Flying Society writes bite-size pop gems that shape to the listener's mood - beautiful melodies for a Summer evening, reflective lyrics for a Winter's rain.

After releasing a handful of songs via myspace, the five-piece have completed their first proper album, Where Is The Glow?, and have it available for pre-sale order now! The LP will be released on July 28th, but if you act now the band will throw in a bonus CD-R. These guys are going places, so get on the train before it leaves the station.

Come see KFS play:

7/27/06 -Lestat's San Diego, CA
7/28/06 -
The Whistlestop San Diego, CA
8/8/06 -
Spaceland Los Angeles, CA
8/11/06 -
The Acme Portland, OR
8/15/06 -
The Make-Out Room San Francisco, CA
8/16/06 -The Casbah San Diego, CA
8/19/06 -
M-Theory San Diego, CA

Listen to KFS:

[mp3] Kite Flying Society - If I Could Split
[mp3] Kite Flying Society - Groundflower
Kite Flying Society -
Love & Seagulls
Kite Flying Society - Esthetes Are Easy

Continue reading "Pre-Order Kite Flying Society's Debut LP!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Cinjun Tate @ the Hotel Cafe

Last night we played a game of trying to hold our breath as we walked from the doors of the Brite Spot to the entrance of the Echo. Childish indeed, but needless to say nobody made it (I won the bet, boo ya!). This wasn't the first time I have used the tactic of holding my breath to try and prove a point. After the eternal nonexistance of any pulse or movement on the Spartan Fidelity website, home of Cinjun and Shelby Tate of Remy Zero, I decided to proclaim my disapproval by publicly announcing that I would hold my breath until some sort of life, music, or keystrokes resulted. Unfortunately for my lungs (as well as for the fans), nothing next to a hiccup has occurred on the site over the last year, but that all changed about five minutes ago.

On July 22, Cinjun Tate, the voice behind SF and RZ, will be playing a show at the ever intimate Hotel Cafe. I am just going to act as if this is a little belated birthday present from Cinjun to myself, since I am as giddy as a school girl smothered in cotton candy, and fat off funnel cake. So thank you Cinjun, my post dated thank you card is in the mail.

A breath of fresh air.

[mp3] Spartan Fidelity - By This River
More can be found here.

7/22/06 - Hotel Cafe (info)

Continue reading "Cinjun Tate @ the Hotel Cafe"

Pete Yorn @ Fingerprints

What else is nostalgia good for, than to remind us of the places we’ve been, and the place that we seem to effortlessly reside in at the present? As a result of my most recent nostalgic trip, a low octane snooze fest into my senior year of high school and back again, I have realized that a lot has changed for me in the last 5 years. My hair is a little longer (unsurprising to many), I can now speak in a foreign tongue (thanks to my two-year stint in frozen tundra), I have moved out (moved back in and moved out again - for good), and despite all the Peter Pan skills I claim to have used to fight the contrary, I can finally call myself one of those pesky, weathered adults.

This seemingly endless list of introspection was all made possible by one short drive with a dear friend to catch one of my favorite artists of the early double-oughts, Pete Yorn. As an attempt to reconnect with the magic that won him initial praise as an acoustic songwriter, Pete Yorn has been making stops around the country at independent record stores and small venues- all in early preparation for the August release of his third full-length, Nightcrawler.

His recent performance at Fingerprints in Long Beach, did much more than allow Pete the opportunity to delve into his past solo magic; but instead granted access to many a fan’s memories of yesteryear. For the girl front row center (as well as for myself), the Fingerprints show was a reunion of sorts, a recollection, for fan and artist, of the early days before late show appearances and the headlining at larger venues. Given that Fingerprints was Yorn’s second ever in-store (his first being at the Virgin Megastore on Sunset), there were many who had come to relive the intimate moment that had been shared amidst Fingerprints’ record art walls and coffee shop stage. Playing a short set that included the much loved, “For Nancy” and “Closet,” Yorn also showcased some new tunes available off his new EP, Westerns, a collection of Nightcrawler outtakes that all share the western and rockabilly influence that Yorn proclaimed to have fallen under in the past few months.

In all honesty, the rockabilly influence that I was preparing for was hardly as drastic a departure as my imagination had allowed me to think up. The songs off Westerns are as much the usual “Yorner” as were the songs off Day I Forgot and musicforthemorningafter. With that said, it is a little disheartening that one of the most promising artists of 2000 is on the same road that he started on. Fortunately, Yorn walks this road strong and proud, and it is fair to say that he does it well. Asking this storyteller to exit the sound that he has seemingly mastered and that so many love, might be like asking Bob Dylan to do a reggae album. In other words, asking Yorn to release anything than solid, Americana pop rock sing-alongs, might be too much to ask for. Or is it?

Yorn ended his set with the Dylan classic “Blowin’ in the Wind,” a reminder of the distance that still remains between the two. One, a title of legendary status weathered and fortified by the timelessness of his art; the other, a promising, still young songwriter that has miles to go before he sleeps. Hopefully, with the release of Nightcrawler in August, we might be able to see a new side of Yorn, a display of the way that he has grown and changed over the last five years.

[mp3] Pete YornThe Good Advice
[mp3] Pete YornDon’t Mean Nothing (Live on WOXY)

Continue reading "Pete Yorn @ Fingerprints"

Friday, July 07, 2006

Blood Brothers set to release Young Machetes!

Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap...

As you may or may not know, I am obsessed with all things Blood Brothers. Never missed a tour, have all the shirts, love the side-projects... a typical psycho. So you can imagine this little piece of news sent me flying: The Blood Brothers have already completed their new LP Young Machetes, and will be releasing it via V2 on October 10th. We gave a little blip about their recording process a while back.

The track list has been released; however, it is not in sequence.

"Set Fire To The Face On Fire," "We Ride Skeletal Lightning," "Lazer Life," "Camouflage Camouflage," "You're The Dream, Unicorn!" "Vital Beach," "Rat Rider," "Spit Shine Your Black Clouds," "1,2,3,4 Guitars," "Lift The Veil, Kiss The Tank," "Nausea Shreds Your Head," "Johnny Ripper/Stevie Ray Hendrixson," "Huge Gold AK-47," "Street Wars, Exotic Foxholes," "The Giant Swan."

Sounds about par for the course with their past work.

[mp3] The Blood Brothers - Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck
[mp3] The Blood Brothers - Birth Skin/ Death Leather
[mp3] The Blood Brothers - Anthrax (remix)

Thanks to The Stranger for hooking us up with the details!

Look out for some tour dates coming up mighty soon.

Continue reading "Blood Brothers set to release Young Machetes!"