The Hold Steady @ Warsaw

Damn. Just damn.

I probably never would have expanded my appreciation of the Hold Steady if I didn't have plans to go to this show. I always thought they had a couple good songs and a slightly jarring lead singer who prefers shout/talking the lyrics. 

But I heard they were awesome live so I got tickets and spent a lot more time with their two albums which steadilly grew on me. The lyrics especially began jumping out as funny, weird, smart, and decidedly different from the standard ambiguous, heart-on-sleeve stuff. They're more like stories about really fucked up people with seriously unexpected geographic(Ybor city) and pop culture(Drop Dead Fred) references. They are songs about being young, high and American in very sketchy circles. While the self-destructive world he describes is one we have all encountered at some point and wisely backed away from, Frontman Craig Finn's characters star in it. Nose bleeds from sniffing Margarita mix. Coming into the E.R. drinking juice from a jam jar. Trying to buy drugs from Mackenzie Phillips. He consistently serves up imagery that you secretly wish you had the balls to be a part of.

Last night was a between-tours show in their local hood of Williamsburg(Greenpoint I guess). I have never in my life seen an indie crowd so into a show. It was a solid hour and a half of pogo-ing, capped off with "Killer Parties" as an encore that blew the doors off the Polish National Home. Their rep as a fun-as-hell bar band doesn't begin to describe how fun it is. Know the songs. Then see this band.

My only regret is not hiring them to play my wedding.


Cursive Album Due In August

It's called Happy Hollow and it will feature a prominent horn section, replacing the unexpected rock band instrument role previously occupied by cellist Greta Cohn. If you didn't know, she left the band to move to New York and have very short, awkward conversations with me in San Loco Tacos. 

Anyway, horns rock.


Raconteurs Sell Out Irving

Jack White and Brendan Benson's indie supergroup, whose album isn't even out yet, just sold out Irving in a minute online, and twenty minutes at the box office. I was waiting on line at the box office but came away with nothing but a promotional button and about fifty stickers. I'm going to the Hold Steady at Warsaw that night anyway, but thought I'd find a good home for a couple hot tickets through barter or generosity. For future reference, Irving holds about 200 at the box office for people in line, but the line forms 15 early and many of the waiters are scalpers.

Anyway, who wants a sticker?


Yeah Yeah Yeahs Album Out Today

Your cool friends will tell you it's rad. Your too cool friends will tell you it's an audio recording of Karen O being Gwen Stefanized.

I'm squarely on the side of it being the shit. Their feedbacky, gritty, New Yorky, caterwallininess is pretty much gone. They got a new producer who gave their sound a big spitshine, but the bottom line is it's really catchy and rockin'. 

It will mean a lot of new fans who were weirded out by everything but "Maps" on their last album, and that will annoy a lot of people. But at least they didn't Liz Phair themselves at all, and there are still plenty of bands out there that you can scare your I. Banker friends with.

Built To Spill Dates Pushed Back

I had four tickets to see BTS at Irving Plaza in May but the band postponed the show two seasons to the night of my wife's 30th birthday.

I have been informed by my wife that a Built To Spill concert is not quite what she had in mind for this occasion.

Her loss. Who wants her ticket? I'll meet you at
119 before.

BTW, the BTS album is going to be incredible. The three tracks I've heard are crazy good. One's at iTunes, 8 minutes of bliss for 99 cents.

Google Enables Lazy Blogging

I just got a Dashboard Widget, like a mini app for macs, that allows me to post to the trow mow a lot easier. This may mean a lot more posts with absolutely no pics or hotlinks.

Or it's just one more twitch of energy before the mouse dies quietly in the glue trap of my waning interest.


I'm Not Vic Chestnutt, I'm Not Bob Mould

M. Ward played a sold-out show at Warsaw last evening. Michael Pitt, famous for playing Kurt Cobain in Gus Van Sant's biopic, opened with his band Pagoda. Apparently, when Gus yelled "Cut" on the final shot of that movie, Michael didn't hear him and is still in character. The look was pretty spot on. The song-writing was not. The crowd was not into it and his decision to smash his amp into smithereens for a big finale was not the right move. He got booed. Then he had to come back onstage and pick up the smithereens. As Sam said, he was an actor-turned-rock-star-turned-janitor.

Ugliness behind us, Matt Ward took to the stage with a rhythm guitarist, bassist and drummer. Halfway through his set, Jim James came out for a few numbers and the crowd was happy a lot. The set spanned M.'s three albums. He did his whole "Look how fast I can touch every part of my guitar" thing. He did a lot of piano numbers. He played a couple new ones including a song about our president being a "punching bag that's gonna get hit". Smart career move after Conor won the Song of the Year Plug Award for his "The President's a Jerk" song. The crowd absolutely demanded a second encore and he obliged with a solo version of "Carolina".

Sorry no pics. They're pretty strict at Warsaw.


Bishop Allen Resurface, Declare 2006 "Their Year"

The Harvard Popsters are releasing a new album soon, but in a pretty well-concieved gimmick, they are realeasing an EP every month until the full length drops. The new one is out today, only 1,000 will be pressed. I ordered one for anyone that wants to burn it. It will also be on iTunes eventually.

They have the first track as an mp3 on their site. It's not any of the new songs we've heard live and is pretty mellow. Check it.

They're playing Piano's on Friday, Feb 10th. San Loco afterparty, yo.