Wednesday, January 23, 2013

McDowell Mountain Music Festival brings The Shins, The Roots to Phoenix

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

If you're tired of waiting for the Coachella lineup to be announced or for the tickets to go on sale so you can watch them sell out in half an hour, a March festival a bit closer to home might tide you over until those weekends in April.

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Phoenix is gearing up for its ninth year for a weekend of performances from March 22-24.

This year's lineup runs the gamut of genres, and includes a handful of mainstream artists as well as plenty of bands from the Phoenix area. Indie rock band The Shins will headline the festival's first night, their first show in two months after coming off their 2012 world tour. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will have the stage before them. The second night's main stage will see Jimmy Fallon's house band and neo-soul group The Roots after a few performances by Deer Tick and Iration, among others. The festival's final performances include psychedelic rockers Dr. Dog, the progressive bluegrass Yonder Mountain String Band and progressive rock band Umphrey's McGee.

Since its beginning, the festival has supported family-based charities, and all proceeds will be donated to Ear Candy Charity, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Centers.

Tickets went up at the beginning of the year, and prices will stay at their lowest until the first of February. Day passes currently sit at $40, and ticket packages for the entire festival start at $120. Tickets can be picked up at the festival's website.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Postal Service Reunion Rumors Are No Longer Rumors

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Those rumors going around about The Postal Service reuniting to perform at Coachella just got a little more realistic.


In a press release sent out by Sub Pop, which released the band's only album, Give Up, in 2003, the label announced that not only would Sub Pop be putting out the Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition in various formats on April 9, but that the band would be announcing tour dates soon. (You can bet they won't be returning to Solar Culture Gallery, where they performed their second-ever show on April 5, 2003.) No word yet on whether collaborator Jenny Lewis will be joining the band on the live dates.

From the press release:

Sub Pop is thrilled to share the news that The Postal Service, the much-beloved, long-distance collaboration between Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, will reunite this spring to celebrate the 10th anniversary and deluxe edition reissue of their universally acclaimed release, Give Up. The Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition will include the original 10-track album along with 15 bonus tracks (including the 2 brand new songs "Turn Around" and "A Tattered Line of String," a previously unreleased live recording, and every other official recording the band has ever released—as well as cover versions of Postal Service classics by The Shins and Iron & Wine) and was mastered by Grammy nominated engineers Emily Lazar and Joe Laporte. Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition will be available as a 2xCD, 3xLP and digitally on April 8 in the UK and Europe and April 9 in North America via Sub Pop. A very limited “Loser” edition of the 3xLP will be pressed on colored vinyl.

Fun fact: Give Up is only the second album in the Sub Pop catalog that has sold over a million copies. The other is, of course, Nirvana's Bleach.

Track listing after the jump:

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The Black Angels Are Headed to Tucson, Preview New Song

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Austin-based psych-droners The Black Angels will embark upon a nationwide tour from early April through the end of May in support of their upcoming fourth album Indigo Meadow, due out April 2 on Blue Horizon.

That tour includes a headlining slot at their own Sixth Annual Austin Psych Fest, which will run April 26 - 28, and will also feature appearances by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (appearing at the Rialto Theatre on May 30), Deerhunter, Tinariwen, Warpaint, Clinic and dozens more, some yet to be announced.

Although it hasn't been announced on Club Congress' website yet, The Black Angels' tour also includes a scheduled stop at the downtown hotel on May 22. Wall of Death is slated to open the show.

An email sent out today by the band's publicist includes a sneak peek at Indigo Meadow's first single, "Don't Play With Guns," which according to the press release was "penned just days before last year’s mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado."

Check it out:

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Monday, January 21, 2013

It Was Phil Spector and Carole King, In The Studio, With The Microphone: The Implications Of The Crystals' "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)"

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM

The strings tip-toe around the whispering percussion, and then the girl states her case: "He hit me, and it felt like a kiss". Turns out that she slept with another guy, confesses to her boyfriend the next day, and he smacks her up. Call 911 and have the cops haul this guy away? No. Call the record company, because they have a different kind of hit ready to go.

The perpetrators? Convicted ladykiller Phil Spector and co-songwriter/feminist icon Carole King, along with King's husband Gerry Goffin. The Crystals recorded this 7-inch single in May and June of 1962, with Spector at the mixing board and teenaged singer Barbara Alston behind the microphone. Shortly after, it was released to a public who, at the dawning of the Women's Liberation movement, were shocked at a record that so brazenly condoned violence against women. Immediately recalled and shelved, the song grew in cult stature until by 1994, Courtney Love recorded an ironic cover version of it.

"He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" grows more tense as Alston sings about her boyfriend beating her up because he loved her; "he hit me, and I knew he loved me, if he didn't care for me, I could have never made him mad." And then the orchestra swells, the back-up singers explode, and the song climaxes, with Barbara Alston full-throatedly declaring, "he hit me, and I was glad!"

Listening to this song is like viewing violent pornography: You know its wrong, but it is sugar-coated and engineered to turn you on. "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" makes me nauseous, and this is why I love music.

One final note: Despite Spector's best attempts, The Crystals were not merely puppets for his agenda. When touring the segregated South, member La La Brooks refused to pander to white fans. "If I can't go to their bathrooms, then why should they have my autograph?" That sounds better than turning the other cheek.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Attractive Nuisance #1: The Raiders

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

File #1: The Raiders, Indian Reservation (1971, Columbia Records)


As the inaugural entry of Attractive Nuisance, I should stipulate my aims for this space. My primary goal is admittedly indulgent: I wish to write passionately about misunderstood, overlooked, or dismissed albums, and the artist(s) responsible. I also, however, greatly hope that this space becomes a place that attracts and fosters a like-minded community of music lovers who feel compelled to express themselves in the comments (wink)—not uniform music lovers, mind you, as dissension is both necessary and encouraged. To start, let's head (Pacific North-) Westward, where we meet up with Paul Revere & the Raiders:

The first sound on Indian Reservation (1971), appropriately, is Paul Revere’s piercing, whinnying organ, helping to open the album with its titular smash hit. Funky and of-its-moment—Native American activists championed "red power" during the period, occupying Alcatraz Island in 1969 and clashing with federal marshals at Wounded Knee in 1973—the title track would go down as the only #1 song in the canon of the recently renamed the Raiders; only Revere and singer Mark Lindsay remained from the group’s halcyon days.

As Paul Revere & the Raiders, the group charted a fun path in rock primitivism, meshing colonial attire and daffy showmanship with a lean, raw rock ‘n roll sound—they even served as a kind of house band for Dick Clark's Where the Action Is. Many of the group's singles from the era, be it the nervous jangle of “Hungry” (#6 in 1966), the prickly vamp of “Kicks” (#4 in 1966), or the psychedelic tremble of “Him or Me, What’s it Gonna Be?” (#5 1967), remain sacred artifacts of an era where chart presence was tantamount to prowess; additionally, of course, they’re catchy, great fun that reminds listeners of the indelible fertility of this musical period. In an interview for with The Big Takeover from 2011, Mark Lindsay cites 1967 as his favorite year, musically and personally (“Everything was really poppin’”), before conceding that “rock ‘n’ roll began to develop a sad, dark undercurrent” in the following years.

Well, in that sad, dark undercurrent came Indian Reservation. The album was an evident slapdash attempt to capitalize on the astounding success of “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)”—the track itself arguably exploiting contemporary American history—by affixing the track with eight additional non-originals and Lindsay’s “The Turkey,” which sounds every bit the meandering studio gag. Still, there is both a resonance and a skillfulness to the Raiders’ exuberant handling of the material, which should be abundantly clear on the bounding funk-swarm of “Indian Reservation” (a track that, I would wager, has heavily influenced many of Jack White’s compositional decisions). Meanwhile, the Raiders twist Terry Melcher’s “Take Me Home” into a lascivious, ecstatic disco-boogie; “The Shape of Things to Come,” an apocryphal tune from the satirical cult film Wild in the Streets (1968), becomes a frenetic, unhinged barn-burner with plenty of ‘70s AM riffage; the Raiders nail both the soul and schmaltzy of “Heaven Help us All,” seemingly sending up Stevie Wonder’s po-faced take; and P.F. Sloan’s apocalyptic lament “Eve of Destruction” is deftly transformed from Barry McGuire’s shaggy, Dylan-esque folk into an almost dementedly giddy, bounding folk-rock number.

The only definitive assessment one can fairly have about Indian Reservation is that it does not serve as an ideal primer for Paul Revere & the Raiders. As an assured, idiosyncratic, disheveled, and appropriately angry musical document of its time, however, it demands attention. Although it is an extremely difficult album to locate digitally, Indian Reservation is worth a record store crawl for the seriously committed. For the rest (who can access Spotify), below are selections that exemplify both its eccentricities and feats.

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Arizona Band Blessthefall Recognized in Alternative Press Magazine as Most Anticipated for 2013

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Blessthefall, a metal band from Phoenix, Ariz., was recently honored with being in Alternative Press magazine’s latest issue, which features the yearly preview, "Most Anticipated Music of 2013."

The band has been privileged to be a part of this issue before, for their last album two years ago.
Along with Blessthefall, other bands such as A Day to Remember, Jimmy Eat World, The Maine, Paramore, and 20 other high quality bands are in the AP article are that have exciting new things coming to look forward to this year.

“It’s a huge honor because that's the biggest music magazine besides Rolling Stone,” said guitarist Eric Lambert about their recognition in the issue.

I was able to talk with lead guitarist, Lambert, about what there is to look forward to in the coming year for the band, as well as discuss what makes the band what it is today.

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The Rialto Theatre Is Killing It, Booking-Wise, Right Now

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Ignoring this writer's preferences toward R&B for a moment, the Rialto Theatre has been announcing shows all this week (Local Natives, the Festival en el Barrio, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Soul Asylum and a few others) and if you're a music fan, you should be very, very excited for the lineup of shows coming to our town in the next few months.

Today, they announced that Rodriguez is coming to town on April 19. Now, you might not have heard of Rodriguez a year ago, but riding the success of Searching for Sugar Man, a 2012 documentary covering his strange music career, including his sudden, massive fame in South Africa, the Detroit native has been covered on NPR, 60 Minutes and performed on the late night talk show circuit.

That show will be an amazing opportunity on its own, but HOLY CRAP JEFF MANGUM IS COMING TO TOWN.

Formerly the frontman of Neutral Milk Hotel and now doing seemingly whatever he pleases, floating in and out of the spotlight, Mangum's masterpiece, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, is one of the best indie-rock albums of all time. Weird, compelling and brilliant, it's one of the albums I go back to over and over again. Who knows what Mangum is going to do, what he'll play, but I'm in when tickets go sale next Wednesday the 23rd.

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Grammy Hype Gets a Bump From The Black Keys

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

  • Courtesy of The Black Keys

Speaking from experience, it takes heavy motivation for music fans on the far-out fringes of the mainstream to sit through the Grammys. Between the Chris Brown-induced nausea and gaudy Lady Gaga get-ups, the show is rightfully criticized for being all about theatrics and not about, you know, the thing they’re handing out those little gramophones for: the music.

This year, though, things are looking up: the nominations seem to be catering to all corners of the market (the safe corners, of course; let’s not give them too much credit) and have finally shaken off their shameless Taylor Swift crush along with the rest of Hollywood's males. Then, once they released this little preview video, via Rolling Stone, they pretty much had me sold.

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