Tuesday, December 26, 2006

new SHINS via video shot by fans. this is the first single from upcoming record out in January.
MTV reality competition show I'm from Rolling Stone starts January 7 and the candidates for the editing position are behaving like they're on vacation. Sure enough, 2.5 minutes into this 5-minute promo they start getting called on that. These guys were chosen from a pool of thousands of applicants? note the assignment for Lollapalooza. I thought Lollapaloza died like 10 years ago.
The Cure’s Festival 2005 DVD was released December 5. This concert features guitarist Porl Thompson, part of the quintessential Cure line-up circa 1985-1993. I'll watch this after I'm done with the Cure in Orange on youtube. could take a while.
no, seriously, that last record from Brand New was hot. here are tracks from latest, if your connection doesn't fail.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stars of Track and Field: Centuries Before Love and War (Wind-Up)
release: January 16, 2007
styles: Rock with some electronic help
rating: ***

Portland, Oregon trio Stars of Track and Field has two sides to them. One is the soft indie electronic side ("Lullaby for a G.I.") and the other is big rock, nearly arena-sized ("Movies of Antarctica.") The band began experimenting more when they replaced the bassist with programming, which may have led to such a difference within the same record. Hushed indie electronic is great and all, but the band actually does better when it's trying to be the next Embrace or Coldplay. I'm totally serial. -Kenyon


Honey Power: Macrosilly (Seksound)
released: September 1, 2006
styles: Indie Rock
rating: *1/2

The name implies cutie indie pop, though this band from--of all places--Estonia is more like a less antagonistic Art Brut or the Fall. Honey Power's instrumentation is rooted in the school of post-punk and it's neither exciting nor memorable. The vocals are like a hungover Mark E Smith while the guitar never produces power or anything as sweet as honey. -Kenyon
Steve Almaas & Ali Smith: You Showed Me (Parasol)
released: October 17, 2006
styles: Indie Country Rock/Pop
rating: ***

If the Raveonettes ever explored their country-western side more, it would probably resemble something like this. Steve Almaas, whose history goes as far back as early Minneapolis punk band Suicide Commandos, combines harmonies with book-writer Ali Smith. With the expected pedal steel and ringing country-style guitar, there are several songs that work splendidly (the breezy "Absolutely Free" and the chugging "#7") while only a few wonder off track ("Culebra," featuring an old school Casio rhythm, loses focus). "I Don't Like to be Alone" could have been about Texas, but instead it's an ode to New York City as well as country music's greats. -Kenyon

Thursday, December 21, 2006

VNV F-in Nation. TOUR 2007 . next record out April 2007.
first leg- April, covers the East and Midwest
second leg- June/July, covers the West and South

15-18 Mar 07 - USA : Austin (TX), South by South West Festival
05 Apr 07 - USA : Miami (FL), Studio A
06 Apr 07 - USA : St.Petersburg (FL), Jannus Landing
07 Apr 07 - USA : Atlanta (GA), Masquerade
09 Apr 07 - USA : Charlotte (NC), Tremont Music Hall
10 Apr 07 - USA : Norfolk (VA), NorVa
12 Apr 07 - USA : Washington DC (DC), 9:30 Club

13 Apr 07 - USA : Philadelphia (PA), Trocadero Theatre
14 Apr 07 - USA : New York (NY), Irving Plaza
15 Apr 07 - USA : New Haven (CT), Toads Place
17 Apr 07 - USA : Burlington (VT), Higher Ground
18 Apr 07 - USA : Boston, Axis
20 Apr 07 - CAN : Montreal (QC), Club Soda
21 Apr 07 - CAN : Toronto (ON), The Docks
22 Apr 07 - USA : Detroit (MI), St. Andrews Hall
24 Apr 07 - USA : Cleveland (OH), Peabodys
25 Apr 07 - USA : Chicago (IL), Metro
26 Apr 07 - USA : Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

my morning jacket "it beats for you", starring caldwhale.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hammock: Raising Your Voice...Trying to Stop an Echo (Darla)
released: November 20, 2006
style: Bliss
similar: Manual, Robin Guthrie, Sigur Ros, Emerald Down
rating: *****

Gorgeous. Stunning. Sublime! Deserves no distractions or interuptions from barking dogs, people talking and general noise pollution. A candidate for best ethereal rock record of the year. -Kenyon

Casper & the Cookies: The Optimist's Club (Happy Happy Birthday to Me)
released: August 22, 2006
styles: offbeat post-Elephant 6 indie rock/pop
rating: **1/2

Given the varied instrumentation, boy and girl vocals and the list of bands they've played with (Marshmallow Coast, Dressy Bessy), it shouldn't come as much shock that they're from Athens, GA and include an ex-member of Of Montreal. In comparison to Elephand 6 artists, Casper & the Cookies is less about Brian Wilson and psychedelics and more about a quirky stew of instruments and optimism. It's not the most exciting indie rock album ever, and in fact it's confusing at times. Still, there are at least a few enjoyable experimental indie tracks to warrant the cute band name. -Kenyon

Beau Tand: s/t (Pinstripe)
released: December 12, 2006
style: singer/songer with dance music
similar: Barry Adamson, Maxwell Implosion
rating: *1/2

Former Eighteenth Street Lounge DJ from Washington D.C. that I'm sure has a very alluring voice....when he's not singing. On this debut as Beau Tand, he's got that right idea to be a singer/songwriter with various styles of music blended together, but most of this just sounds like a washed-up Tom Jones or a tortured Neil Diamond. It's not quite the classic noir film soundtrack music the press release indicates. -Kenyon

Friday, December 15, 2006

classic vintage video.
John Waite- "Change" (1982)

he's pissed off at his girlfriend because she's doing coke.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Morning Jacket: Okonokos concert DVD/CD
released: October 31, 2006
rating: *****

It seems like overkill for a band to not only release a live DVD while they're still on tour but release it only a year after the last proper album. Having just seen the country-rock-ethereal My Morning Jacket for real (see below), it was an unusual chance to experience a very similar performance via DVD so soon. All the songs here sound phenomenal and the band uses the lighting to its advantage on a stage decorated with plant life and stuffed animals. Aside from each wonderful song sounding incredible on its own, the very little time they take between each song keeps the momentum going as well as perplexes me how they barely take a breather. Just when you're trying to finish processing how good one song is, the next one, whether it's from Z or It Still Moves or a random gem from frontperson Jim James' early recordings. Before the concert actually starts, there's some irrelevant wierd stuff going on with a party circa 1900 involving people and animals which flows into the concert. It makes Okonokos a little more surreal than your average concert recording. -Kenyon

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band played at the local venue here and I missed it. I'm a fool! I've seen him a few times at the now defunct local bar, both solo and in the band Miracle of 86, and I could tell right away, especially solo, that Kevin was the real deal, a passionate singer. (see my review of his 2003 record at allmusic!) In this song with the Goddamn Band, my impulse comparison is a cross between Dashboard Confessional and John Mayer, but that hardly does justice. here's the live-ish video for "Me and My Friends" off Put Your Ghost to Rest out now on....Capitol!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

one big holiday.
My Morning Jacket/the Slip at Roseland. 11.30.06
all photos © 2006 Kenyon Hopkin. Shannon has a full review HERE.

slip inside this house. one of the best most appropriate openers ever.

after that curtain/sheet came down, mmj was like wow.

best looking photo. though the top half of drummer's hair looks like a face.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fast Food Nation (2006) **1/2

As a statement, Fast Food Nation should get its message across to the unconverted. As a film, it started to drag when, of all people, Bruce Willis is discussing the quality of hamburgers with star Greg Kinnear and when Ethan Hawke is talking about suburban life. The problem with the story--derived from the book, which is essential reading in more detail--is that there is too much uncompelling time spent on the lives of the characters and not enough on the issues with the fast food industry. In one of the three plots, which would work better if they intertwined more, immigrants from Mexico walk a great distance to cross the border and get jobs. Yes, it's a long, long journey. It's not fun. I get it. But we don't need to see more than a half minute of them walking and getting picked up in a van. In the second story about a girl working at the restaurant, there's an attempt to get to know her, her mother and uncle Ethan Hawke. This only stalls the issues. In the third story, there's a lot more that could have been explored than the idea that there's literally crap in the hamburgers. The immigrant workers' story is the only one that gets intense, whether you agree with Mexicans coming here or not. And at the end of Fast Food Nation, when we finally see how the cows are killed, mutilated and broken down in pieces for Americans to put in their mouths, there comes to mind the idea that, well, some suckers are doing this horrible job every day. And, according to the film, desperate abused illegal aliens are the ones doing it. It's only a small part of what's wrong with the fast food industry as well as the country's culture. If the slightly entertaining and minorly thought-provoking Fast Food Nation can prevent a handful of people from eating animals or even take action, then congrats to director Linklater. Otherwise, the cows are still screwed. PS. note the My Morning Jacket poster towards the end. PS. there's a lot of cameos here, so expect people in the theater to be declare out loud, "Bruce Willis!" or "Avril Lavigne!". shut up. -Kenyon

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Gingerdead Man (2005) * (no stars if you dislike murderous talking Gingerbread men).

Grade Z dumbness that is so pitifully acted and scripted that it's a laughable goody. So low-budget that the whole movie takes place in a bakery. It is all in the bakery because the Gingerdead Man booby-trapped all the exits! At 70 minutes (nearly 10 minutes of that is the credits) you really can't even call this is movie. The trailer is all that needed to be made, though there's a scene near the end that's pretty twisted. And yes, that's Gary Busey. Who knows what compelled him to do this.