Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Headlines! Cheap Creed tickets, Pearl Jam and more

Today, I interviewed James from Yo La Tengo. We talked about the new album, "Popular Songs," touring, cover songs, the album's art (which is fantastic) and various other topics. Lot of stuff in only 20 minutes.

This leads me to a question: What's the most embarrassing tune in your iPod/record collection/stack of 8-track tapes? Send me an e-mail at

Thanks in advance for the responses. Anyway, onto headlines!

• Creed tickets to next week's show (Wednesday) are only 10 bucks for a limited time. You have until Monday, Oct. 5, at midnight to lock them down. I assume they're getting rid of these tickets because no one is buying them. Count me not surprised at all.

• Paul McCartney has a new CD/DVD coming out. He played at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, as a celebration of sorts to open the field. If you recall, the Beatles played a famous concert at Shea Stadium, the Mets' former residence.

• From the "How awesome does this sound" department: Mos Def and the Black Keys jammed at Spin's offices.

• Pearl Jam's new release hit No. 1 on Billboard's charts. See the below entry on the Monsters of Folk.

• Want some new Nirvana? Pitchfork has a previously unreleased track from the "Bleach" reissue at their site.

• Others aren't a fan, but I quite like Jimmy Fallon's show (if only I stayed up late enough to watch). I should have last night because Sunny Day Real Estate was on.

• Britney has a new "club track." It's called "3."

• Springsteen and E Street Band are going to play several albums in their entirety.

• Don't know if you're on Twitter or not. I am. A lot of musicians are too. Here are 10 to follow.

Monsters of Folk debuts at No. 15

Those Monsters know how to chart records.

The indie super group of M. Ward, Jim James, Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst sold nearly 35,000 records in its first week, enough to hit 15 on the Billboard charts.

A pretty good debut, doing better than Oberst's solo records, but not nearly as good as his Bright Eyes albums.

"Outer South," out in May, it did more than 19,000 copies (14,361 physical and 4,823 digital) in its first week. Oberst's self-titled solo release with Merge sold 28,918 copies in late 2008, charting at No. 15. Bright Eyes hit No. 4 on Billboard in 2007, selling 58,000 copies of "Cassadaga." In 2005, "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" debuted at No. 10, selling 56,000 copies.

It should be noted that these are all debut week numbers. "Wide Awake" has gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.

I wouldn't have expected this release to do as well as Bright Eyes, to be honest. For the casual music fan who has heard of Bright Eyes, it's probably not as apparent that these are the same dudes.

Once the music gets out there (both on the road and on the radio) I bet this thing will sell a lot more records.

We shall see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thom Yorke and... Wait!? What!?

So, Thom Yorke...

Interesting guy. He released those solo tracks last week and now has decided to play a few live shows (something he rarely does without Radiohead).

Who does he recruit for his band? Flea. Yeah, that Flea. The one from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Does anyone else find this to be a somewhat odd combination?

It would be really wild if Colin Greenwood was replaced by Flea. I guarantee the next Radiohead album would have a different sound.

Anyway, the press release states rather sternly that Radiohead is not, in fact, breaking up.

Read the rest of the release:

Thom Yorke announced last night at
that he has assembled a band to play a pair of shows October 4 and 5 at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater. Thom, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco, Flea and Nigel Godrich will play material from his 2006 album The Eraser as well as new songs.

Local act Lucky Dragons will support.

Radiohead is not breaking up.

As previously reported, Thom Yorke released the FeelingPulledApartbyHorses/The Hollow Earth 12-inch on September 21. The single will be released digitally October 6. Both tracks were produced by Nigel Godrich and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

Early headlines!

Social Distortion was pretty awesome last night. I'm pretty tired today.

In other news, I did finally talk to Mike Mogis yesterday, and I'll post some of that stuff later. Also, the Kings of Leon refused an interview request, saying that the band is "taking a break from press." That's a new one...

Anyway, I didn't get to them yesterday, so here's an early version of headlines!

• The woman who inspired the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" has died.

• Hayley Williams of Paramore went blonde! Craziness. Good thing I got a reference to the "fiery-haired frontwoman" in the paper a few days before the makeover. Video here.

• They announced the new season of Austin City Limits. Everyone from Mos Def to Okkervil River to the Dave Matthews Band are on the list. And everyone's hyping up Them Crooked Vultures (the Zeppelin-Foo Fighters-Queens of the Stone Age supergroup), whose episode will air Feb. 6. Cool names, but I'm not entirely convinced. Here's some shaky video from a Brixton Academy show.

• Weezer are getting a lil help from Lil Wayne for the track "Can't Stop Partying" on the band's new album, "Raditude." Sounds like it could be cool. On that note: Folks, this album is likely not going to be as good or groundbreaking as their first three-or-so albums. Get over it and stop complaining. This "They're calling their album 'Raditude?' What a joke" and "It'll never be as good as 'Pinkerton'" bullshit that I keep hearing is annoying the hell out of me. The band you fell in love with in high school/college moved on. It was 15 years ago. So should you.

• Bon Iver did a set in an LA cemetary. At sunrise. I thought the set they did last weekend at Slowdown was pretty awesome, but I'm pretty sure the cemetary show wins first prize.

• You can stream the "Where the Wild Things Are" soundtrack.

Unrelated to music: I am a nerd. So, naturally I love this Star Wars Jedi bathrobe.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Music Preview

If you've been outside in the last few days, you've noticed it's fall.

Must be time, then, for a Fall Music Preview.

I went ahead and highlighted the biggest concerts coming to town and biggest album releases. It's all there, along with a load of music clips for you to listen to:

Main story (focusing on the Monsters of Folk)
Notable fall concerts
Notable fall album releases

I imagine that some may not agree with me, but that's totally cool. What are the albums/shows that you're anticipating most? Tell me in the comments.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Looking ahead at the weekend

There's a lot going on this weekend, musically. I won't be able to get to any of it, really, as I'm committed to a bunch of other stuff.

• Tonight is Os Mutantes, the Brazilian psychedelic rock band. I was first turned onto them by Brian at Anitquarium Records (their website doesn't point this out, but the store is located on 13th St., just north of Howard. Go check them out). I'd really never heard of them until he told me it was his favorite record at the time. Anyway, they had been apart from the mid-70s until a few years ago, but are now back together and have a new album, "Haih Or Amortecedor."

• Airborne Toxic Event is at Slowdown tonight, but the show is sold out. I wanted to go, but have other stuff going down. I saw them at Lollapalooza and they were fantastic. Hopefully, they'll do that "Goodbye Horses" cover (originally by Q Lazzarus and in "Silence of the Lambs") that I heard them do. Quite good.

• UUVVWWZ is doing the Sydney tomorrow night. They seem to be playing Omaha a lot more since they signed with Saddle Creek. I wonder when they're going to do some new stuff, since their album was out with Darren Keen's label since sometime last year.

• If you like hip hop, check out Brother Ali at the Waiting Room tomorrow. I don't know the material well, but his publicist has been e-mailing me about it constantly for the last week. If you're interested in listening, go to Ali's site.

• Sunday is Flogging Molly at Stir. I first saw them at Warped Tour like 8 or 9 years ago. It was one of those, "Who is this band? Let's go check them out," kind of situations. They're a good live band, but I have to admit to liking the Dropkick Murphys a little better. They're louder and a little more punkrock, in my opinion.

Anyway, lots of options. If you plan on hitting any of these up or want to tell me how they were, say so in the comments.

Cheap tickets for Stir

Sometimes it pays to use Twitter.

I follow the Stir Concert Cove, mostly because they announce acts on there sometimes and because they always post interesting things about what's going on backstage.

Today, they posted about cheeeeeap tickets. I think they're trying to fill up the shows.

Anyway, go to today at the following hours for $5 tickets to Cheech & Chong and Flogging Molly (that's Sunday).

Posted at Stir's Twitter page:

Five Dollar Friday! $5 Cheech & Chong tickets! ONLY, 4:20pm-5:20pm today ONLY, Code: SMOKE

Five Dollar Friday! $5 Flogging Molly tickets! ONLY, 5pm-6pm today ONLY, Code: MOLLY

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Headlines! He-Man, Cursive and more

Well, I was supposed to talk to Mike Mogis the other day. Then yesterday. Then today. Still hasn't happened. Guess the uber-producer/"I-can-play-every-instrument-under-the-sun" guy is pretty busy.

When that happens, I will post some stuff that won't fit into the Monsters of Folk story that I'm writing.

Went to Built to Spill last night. Outstanding show and I got to talk to Doug Martsch for a little bit afterwards. He might be the nicest guy in rock 'n roll. And he also might have the best beard in rock 'n roll. Just sayin'...

I'll write a proper review later. Until then, feast on headlines!

• Unrelated to music: The new He-Man movie still might get made. Other people are hoping it doesn't come to fruition considering what a travesty they consider "Masters of the Universe" to be. I, for one, love that movie. It's one of a handful of films that defined my childhood. (It also features fine performances by Frank Langella, Courtney Cox and Dolph Lundgren.)

• The Foo Fighters have one of the new songs from their greatest hits comp out. Listen.

• Here's one of those new Thom Yorke songs.

• Don't think I've mentioned this in the blog yet, but Cursive did a Daytrotter set the other day.

• MGMT was on "Yo Gabba Gabba." Stereogum has the video.

• GeekSugar did a post on the three best sites to find live music in your town. Those sites are cool, but I recommend checking your local sources, like 1% Productions, SlamOmaha, (shameless plug) or the website of your favorite venue (most of the local spots have one). If you're looking for general tour information on any one of thousands of bands or venues, I'd definitely check out Pollstar. Concert tours are (very literally) those guys' business and it's all they do.

• Unrelated to music: I'm so glad Nicolas Cage never ended up being Superman.

• Neutral Milk Hotel will reissue its albums on vinyl.

• Paramore has a new album. And the entire thing is streaming online.

• Spin has a Q&A with the Monsters of Folk.

• Lily Allen might have given up music. She says that she doesn't plan on doing another album.

Owl City

I need to get some questions together for my interview with Owl City.

If you haven't heard the electronic-pop "band" (it's just one guy, Adam Young), go listen.

Anyway, I'd like to drop in one question from a reader. Sooooooooo, e-mail me or post comments here on the blog. I'll ask Adam the best one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What a week(end)

The last five days has been, by far, the best music-centered five days that I've had in the last year.

Friday, I got to see Silversun Pickups at Slowdown. If you recall, the LA foursome kicked out one of my five favorite sets at Lollapalooza over a month ago. I was pretty pumped to see them coming back.

Saturday, I witnessed Bon Iver in all its glory. I also saw them at Lolla. While it was cool, I was about 150 yards away and I could barely see the stage. Saturday, I was on the floor at Slowdown and could have hit Justin Vernon in the eye with my cell phone if I felt like throwing it. Much better show.

Took the day off Sunday, but got to check out Phoenix at Slowdown on Monday night. Holy crap. One of the top shows (if not the best) I've seen all year.

Let's break it down:

Silversun Pickups

Like I said, I was excited to see this band again. Walking into Sokol Underground, it was hot. Not as hot as a Faint show, but holy soaked t-shirt was it nasty. Turns out the show sold out.

I showed up late and missed the openers (in fact, I inadvertently showed up late every one of these nights and missed the opener at each show... I need to have a better concept of time, I guess).

After "No Secrets This Year" and "Royal We," frontman Brian Aubert acknowledged the heat, saying "It's hot as fuck in here, man," before remarking that "This is a beautiful place." I don't know if Sokol is beautiful, but it's certainly a weird venue.

The band kept things up-tempo and loud, but didn't drown themselves out. The floor folks were bouncing the whole show.

Fun moments were when bassist Nikki Bonninger took some vocal parts in songs that she usually only does backup for. And drummer Christopher Guanlao is a spitfire. He easily has the highest-mounted cymbal on a drum kit that I've ever seen and the kid can certainly play.

I don't have much to say about keyboardist/synth guy Joe Lester. But, then again, his parts are kind of designed to fit into the background and fill out the sound of Aubert's fuzzy guitar parts and the drums.

It's quite amazing to me that Aubert is able to play his guitar that way and sing at the same time. Most of the songs are riff-based melodies, meaning that it's not verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Aubert's parts sound similar verse to verse, but they're always changing in subtle ways.

Anyway, they blew the roof off the joint with "Panic Switch." (Watch the YouTube video. Audio quality ain't great, but it will do.) Then they did it again with "Lazy Eye." It was incredible to see them rile up the crowd and practically tear down the walls with one song before amping it up to another level on the next one.

Sadly, most of the crowd hear the two songs they came for and left before the encore. For me, it meant a closer spot, but folks could have stuck around to hear "Substitution" (the group's new single) and a few more songs.

Bon Iver

The OWH's Dane Stickney and I wandered down to Slowdown to see Bon Iver on Saturday. We weren't sure what to expect. I saw the group at Lolla, but like I said, I could barely hear it and certainly couldn't see.

I mean, Bon Iver's album has 9 songs on it. What were they going to fill the rest of the time with? And most of the songs on the record are Justin Vernon with an acoustic guitar (there's more than that, I know, but them's the basics). What could they possibly do?

Well, they got loud, for one. Vernon actually strapped on a Les Paul for most of the show. It wasn't Metallica, blow-your-ears-out loud, but the volume was quite a bit higher than expected (in a good way... it was pretty cool to hear some of these songs with a little more oomph behind them).

The band was also augmented with a full three drum sets, which were all utilized during the live rendition of "Skinny Love." Vernon actually took a seat on a stool and strummed his acoustic while he sang, but the drums came crashing in on the chorus. (Watch below... drums were louder in person, but still cool in the video.)

That was probably my favorite moment, but they also did a cover of "Your Love" by the Outfield that was amazing. "I hope it's not too ironic," Vernon said before starting the song. It could have been, if they did it the wrong way, but it ended up being quite excellent with the slow, moving melody that they accompanied it with. (Here's a link.)

They closed things out by playing "Worried Mind" with opener Megafaun (whose few weird-ass songs I saw, I didn't like very much), a slow folk tune. (Another link.) Everyone went home happy.


Not joking, maybe the best show I've seen in 2009. It was outstanding, from the lights to Thomas Mars' vocals to the crowd dancing up a storm.

They got the night going kicking things off with "Lisztomania," up-tempo enough to get the crowd going and representative enough to give a taste of what was to come, but not so much to blow their whole wad at the opening. (See below...)

The group's drummer was on fire. His drumming wasn't Neil-Peart-like intrusive, but it was in your face enough to be the backbone of the whole band. Everyone played off of him.

The set was heavy on "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix," the group's latest album but considering the amount of times that I've listened to that disc lately, I certainly didn't mind. I honestly didn't know the band's older songs as well, but they fit in the set wonderfully.

In my mind, the group was so good because they took a set of songs that were (by themselves) amazing and then went ahead and performed them. They didn't get onstage and pick through their parts. They threw themselves into it and really put on a show. Just looking at the band, it was apparent in their movements and in their eyes.

Frontman Mars was easily the most grateful person I've ever seen onstage, bowing and thanking the crowd in both English and French.

But Mr. Mars, we should have been thanking you.

Local CD releases

Hey folks, I've been away from the blog a bit lately because I'm busy tracking down people and information for this fall music preview.

Speaking of which, I'm including a list of local releases. If you have a CD that's coming out between now and the end of 2009, I want to hear about it.

Call (402-444-1557) or e-mail ( me with your band's name, album title, release date and release show/party details (if you're having one). I want to include as many local titles in the list as I possibly can.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monsters of Folk out today

You've probably heard enough about it, but the Monsters of Folk (J/Yim J/Yames, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis) album drops today.

I recommend buying it. It's really freaking good. Surprisingly so, in fact.

I thought with these four together, they could either produce something amazing or something completely disparate and awful. Turns out that Mogis must have been able to reign them in and put together a cohesive album.

Read the review that Dane Stickney and I wrote for The World-Herald.

I'm actually going to be speaking to Mogis this afternoon and I'll be asking about what it was like to work with these three guys. I'll post a few of his comments later and I'll also be writing something for Sunday's paper.

The Monsters will also be playing on Conan tonight, so check that out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day off

Forgot to add that I'm going to be out of the office Friday, so no blog until Monday.

I will be at Silversun Pickups on Friday and Bon Iver on Saturday, so look for Tweets from both. You can see my Twitter feed at right or just go right to my Twitter page.

Have a great weekend folks!

Headlines! Rural Alberta Advantage, Pavement and more

Last night, I spoke to Dennis Casey, guitarist for Flogging Molly. Nice guy, but didn't seem too interested in the interview.

Today, I talked to Jonny Wickersham from Social Distortion. He's been with the band for 10 years and we talked about all kinds of stuff (while he was skateboarding no less). So, the most embarrasing thing on his iPod? "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. Seriously.

Stories on both of those bands will be in next week's GO. Today, you'll find stories about Silversun Pickups, Bon Iver, Phoenix and Built to Spill.

Anyway, onto headlines!

• Rural Alberta Advantage has a new song, but they don't have a name for it. Listen to it and suggest a name. If they pick yours, you'll win a Threadless prize pack.

• Speaking of those guys, they were on WUVM from Milwaukee and did a version of "Barnesyard." (RAA stuff is all the way at the bottom.)

• Muse, who were pretty good in its appearance on the VMAs, have a new video.

• Some sad news: Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary died.

• Spin asks what Pavement's setlist should be when they reunite (in a year). I keep wondering why they're putting off the reunion for a year from now (and, if you buy tickets this weekend, do you expect them to still follow through with the reunion next September?).

• Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins are going to release some EPs. 11 of them. For free. What will they think of next?

• Last night, the Flaming Lips were on Stephen Colbert. After their performance, the entire "Embryonic" album is streaming on

• Weezer released the tracklist for its new album, "Ratitude."

• Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam is going on tour. For the first time in ... wait for it ... 33 years. Holy crap.

• Hayley Williams, the fire-headed frontwoman of Paramore, talks to Spin. The article is titled "tough questions," and while it's a good interview, I fail to see anything tough about it.

SC loses Tokyo Police Club

This just in: Tokyo Police Club is leaving Saddle Creek Records.

From a press release:

Tokyo Police Club, the Newmarket Ontario quartet hailed by Rolling Stone as "poised to become the biggest Canadian export since Molson," have signed an exclusive U.S. recording deal with mom+pop. The band is currently recording its second full length album, with an expected release projected for early 2010.

Don't know what happened there. The band appeared to be doing really well after its last release, appearing on TV shows, going on tour and opening up for Weezer. Why they chose to go to a new label, I'm not sure.

mom+pop was formed just in 2008 and, so far, only includes An Horse and Joshua Radin. The label is run by the guys who do QPrime, an artist management company. QPrime's lineup is pretty impressive, but Tokyo Police Club isn't on the list (they're with Team 8 management).

I'm not too worried about Saddle Creek, to be honest. This is a decent loss, but the label has added several new artists to the roster (Old Canes, Rural Alberta Advantage, UUVVWWZ, O+S, Sebastien Grainger), and some of those will do good things if they keep at it.

Pavement is back... it's official

I never really believe anything until I have a press release in-hand (or in-inbox).

But Pavement is really coming back. For serious.

Here's the release I got from Matador Records:

After years of speculation, the most important American band of the Nineties is returning to the stage with the lineup of Mark Ibold, Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and Steve West reuniting for dates around the world in 2010. Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion.

Described in their own Wikipedia entry as having experienced "moderate commercial success," Pavement's catalog for the Matador, Domino, Drag City and Treble Kicker imprints has come to define in the eyes of many the blueprint for independent rock over the past generation. An evidentiary compilation release is planned to coincide with the touring sometime in 2010.

The first show announced is a New York performance on September 21, 2010 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. A pre-sale begins at 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, September 18, 2009 (tomorrow). The password for the pre-sale is ZOWEE and the ticketing link is The general on-sale is slated for 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, September 25, 2009. Please note that tickets will be available without surcharges from the Nokia Theatre box office in Times Square and from Earwax at 218 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.

Please visit for details on this on-sale as well as all Pavement news as it develops.

Well, there you have it. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. I'd love to see Pavement (in a year), but I'm not going to New York to see them.

What do you think about Pavement coming back? Share in the comments.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crazy day!

Hey folks.... Was kind of absent from the blog today. I got caught up with a photo shoot this morning along with a meeting about some cool new stuff we're going to bring to in regards to music. Can't really spill the beans yet, but it will be wildly different from anything that we've done before.

I also received new Saddle Creek releases from Old Canes and Land of Talk. I'll be doing reviews of those (and a few other recent acquisitions) pretty soon.

In Thursday's GO section and on, I wrote a whole bunch of stories. Be sure to look for those.

I'll do headlines and other news in the morning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Headlines! Vampire Weekend, more Kanye, Silversun Pickups and more

No random intro from me... I'm not planning on hitting any shows tonight (maybe Kyle Harvey/Brad Hoshaw tomorrow). Planning on saving my energy for Silversun Pickups, Bon Iver, Phoenix and Built to Spill in the next week or so. Lot of shows...

Anyway, headlines!

• This is probably the biggest thing of the day for me: Vampire Weekend announces its new album. What's it called? "Contra."

• Sorry for more about Kanye, but he said he was ashamed on the premier of the Jay Leno Show last night. Then he got down with Jay-Z and Rihanna.

• Sufjan Stevens has a new song up at Spin. I guess it's about the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

• Jay Farrar (Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) did a record about Jack Kerouac. Now, they're going on tour.

• Sometimes Paste, the music magazine, does more pop culture-y lists. This time, they did the funniest Twitter hashtags.

• The Silversun Pickups have a new video that I like. It's for "Substitution" and it involves good-looking women playing musical chairs. Anybody else going to the Silversun show on Friday night?

• I heard rumblings of this yesterday, but I guess now it's official: Kanye and Lady Gaga are doing a co-headlining tour. I probably wouldn't pay to go. Lady Gaga's opening set for New Kids on the Block was pretty terrible (don't judge... I was there on OWH business) and whatever ludicrous ticket price they settle on probably is too much to pay to see Kanye alone. Also, the closest the tour is getting appears to be Chicago. No thanks.

All hail nerdcore

It's likely that you've never heard of nerdcore.

The word is another one of those genre words that's combined from other genres and words (like emo, screamo, shoegaze, nu-gaze, bitpop, tri-hop and a million others).

Anyway, nerdcore is basically hip-hop and rap, but it's done (mostly) by white guys and it's (mostly) about stuff like Star Wars, comic books and video games.

In my opinion, most of it is pretty terrible. But there are a few shining stars out there, including MC Frontalot and mc chris (Chris performs Oct. 15 at the Waiting Room).

mc chris, for example, is no Jay-Z, but he's pretty good if you like hearing raps about Boba Fett and arcades. Some of the rhymes are genuinely good ("I'm nice, and sweet/and I shower twice a week./Kids diggin' on my speak/cuz I represent the geeks" from "Falynn") while others are just funny ("My backpack's got jets/Well I'm Boba the Fett/Well I bounty hunt for Jabba Hutt/To finance my 'Vette' from "Fett's Vette").

Today marks the release of the documentary, "Nerdcore Rising," which follows around Frontalot on tour and features other nerdcore-ists. It also features interviews with comedian Brian Posehn and Weird Al Yankovic as well as some actual rappers.

There are a few things made clear by the trailer: 1. These guys really are nerds. 2. They're really passionate about what they do. 3. Their fans, also nerds, absolutely love this stuff.

Here's a few tunes:
"Nrrrd Grrrl" by mc chris"

"Final Boss" by MC Frontalot"


This is how I'll always remember the guy.

Quality's kinda crappy, but this is the only clip I can find that has the whole 6-minute skit.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Headlines! VMAs, Cursive and more

The pop culture world is ablaze today with talk of Kanye West and his douchey move toward Taylor Swift. For those that didn't watch the VMAs last night (I'll admit to it... I was pretty bored), Kanye jumped onstage and stole Swift's microphone after she had won the moonman for best female video. He proceeded to basically say that she didn't deserve it and that Beyonce Knowles did for her "Single Ladies" video.

1. What an ass. 2. That "Single Ladies" video is pretty stupid, even though it ended up winning video of the year. 3. Feel kinda bad for Taylor Swift, especially since she was talking about being grateful that a country artist could win a VMA before the hip hopper grabbed her microphone.

Paste says Swift shouldn't be mad. Apparently, his outburst may have helped ratings. Kanye apologized on his blog, but then took it down.

It was the most interesting moment of a pretty awful show. Most of the performances (except for Muse and Taylor Swift) were pretty lackluster and unless you're a fan of the CW, the Hills or Twilight, you probably didn't recognize many of the presenters.

I'm even a big fan of Russell Brand, but he was incredibly annoying, especially his habit of SHOUTING into the microphone all night. Calm down, dude. It's just live television.

Personal favorite moment was Gerard Butler getting a New York street crowd to yell "Haroo!" with him before he introduced Muse.

Anyway... headlines!

• Spin talks about the good, the bad and the ugly at the VMAs.

• Apparently All Tomorrow's Parties in New York was pretty sweet. Not as sweet? Sufjan Stevens' costume.

• A couple big names are getting together for a romantic comedy. Not who you expect though. Michael Stipe, and... uh, Barry Manilow? What the hell?

• Wolfmother did an acoustic set for Spin.

• Cursive is still doing a bunch of shows, special sets and the like. Check out these four songs Kasher and co. did for Luxury Wafers.

• NOFX kicked out the jams at a 15th anniversary celebration for the Warped Tour. Wonder if that show is as fun as it used to be. It's one of the only touring fests left, isn't it?

• U2 kicked off its tour last night.

Today's Mail: Shadows Fall, new Simon Joyner, that Metalocalypse Dethklok CD, Don Ray Band (never heard of them), Drive-By Truckers, a compilation of Cy Coleman songs, The Summer Set, Brooke Waggoner, Manassas (Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash), Lita Ford (seriously?) and a new Foreigner album (wait... what?)

Image from

Reviews: Matt & Kim, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Gaslight Anthem

Last week was pretty busy with shows. Didn't see anything local (hoping to fix that with a Kyle Harvey/Brad Hoshaw show on Wednesday), but I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw...


First up was Matt & Kim at the Waiting Room. I don't think it was at capacity, but it was one of the larger crowds I've ever seen there. Also one of the younger crowds I've ever seen there.

The girls in front of me in line had those minor music venue parental consent forms and quite a few people had an "X" drawn across each hand in black magic marker. Guess Matt & Kim's dance-rock-pop-whatever music resonates with the high school/college age crowd.

Dance, they did. The last time M&K were in town was a show at O'Leaver's attended by very few people, so the duo was pretty excited to see a club full of people jumping and dancing.

Favorite moments in the set were "Yeah Yeah" and "Daylight," which the duo performed with a lot more energy in the set than on their albums. Couple other cool things were when they worked in parts of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Apache" by Sugar Hill Gang and "Final Countdown" by Europe before during and after songs. I thought they were pretty sweet, but I think those parts might have been lost on some of the younger folks in the crowd.


Thursday night was Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Slowdown Jr.

The set was good, although it was nearly impossible to hear singer Kip Berman. Not sure if he was drowned out in the mix or if he just doesn't sing loud enough.

That leads me to my chief complaint of watching shows in the Slowdown Jr. configuration (for those of you who haven't seen a show that way, they close off the main stage area and set up a smaller stage at the other end of the bar, near the door.) It's way too damn loud.

Every time (even for Brad Hoshaw... not a loud guy, per se), it's been ridiculously loud. I don't know if it's the proximity to the speakers on that end or what, but the volume was high enough that it made it quite difficult for me to pick out words and instruments. It kind of blends together and sounds all muddy.

Despite my issues with the sound, the band was good. I was surprised by the lack of turnout, especially after all of the buzz swarming that band since their stint at SXSW.


Last review is for the Gaslight Anthem, who performed Friday night at Sokol Underground. I had originally promised by brother that I'd go with him to see raunchy, country-fried comedian Rodney Carrington at Stir, but it got rained out. I was more than happy to head to south 13th Street instead.

Gaslight was great, but were pretty underserved by the venue. I really don't like the Underground, to be honest (though I don't know anyone who likes that place).

A lot of fedora-wearing, neck tattoo-sporting folks crammed into the basement to hear the band kick out its Springsteen-inspired tunes and some of their earlier punkier offerings. The crowd was going nutty, which the band was feeding off of. Singer Brian Fallon, especially, was really getting into it.

A couple meat-heads in the front got in a fight at the beginning of one song, causing Fallon & co. to stop playing and Fallon started reprimanding them from the stage. One of the guys involved started yelling back at him, prompting Fallon to respond, "Hey, I don't know if you want to do that. I got a gold tooth and nothing to lose." Classic. Eventually, he calmed things down by telling them to go to opposite ends of the room and chill out.

The band performed most of "The '59 Sound" album and a few older tunes. They also did a cover of Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust," which was pretty straightforward but I think they did better than the original.

For me, I like the band's newer stuff from "The '59 Sound" a little better, though I think I might have been outnumbered by the punkers there. I'm curious to see where they go with the third album. After all the Springsteen comparisons, I think they might start shying away from that style a bit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Hey folks. Promised some headlines early this morning. Well, that didn't happen. More Dan Brown/"Da Vinci Code" nonsense to deal with.

Saw Matt & Kim last night with Honey & Darling. Honey & Darling have an EP release coming up soon.

Matt & Kim were fantastic. I'll post a review a little later.

In some dreary news, I guess two folks leaving the show last night got robbed. At gunpoint. Does this freak you out? It sure does me. Freaky part (for me) is that I walked past one of the victims on the way to my car, who I'm sure was robbed moments/minutes later. Shit... Walk to your vehicle with a friend, folks. As someone else pointed out, that's not going to stop them from carrying a gun, but it's probably safer.

Anyway, headlines!

• See my earlier posts, but everyone's getting up in arms about Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5. Didn't that game come out last week? Why is everyone just getting to this now? Seems like it's the news of the day.

• Paula Abdul won't be on "American Idol" this season. Ellen DeGeneres will be. I don't know what her musical background is, but should be funnier.

• Ryan Adams (the indie guy, not "Summer of '69" Bryan Adams) is bringing his record label back to life.

• I guess the guys in Starfucker are having trouble with the name the chose. Can't imagine why... Anyway, after this tour they're going to change it. Favorite headline was from Paste, which read "Starfucker realizes its named Starfucker." Ha!

Wow... not a lot going on other than Courtney/Kurt/Nirvana stuff today.

Anyway, going to Pains of Being Pure at Heart tonight at Slowdown. Follow me on Twitter for updates from the show.

Old Canes

I mentioned earlier this week that Saddle Creek group Old Canes was putting out a song through Stereogum. Well, the band did, but I never got it.

I went poking around Stereogum's site and found it.

Good stuff. I can't wait to hear the whole album. I'm also hoping that Saddle Creek gets the rights to the first OC album because I'm going to want a copy of that too (a few tunes from OC's debut are at the band's MySpace).

Here it is, "Little Bird Courage," for your enjoyment:

Cobain update

Well, apparently Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic do have something to say (earlier, a release said they had "nothing to say whatsoever").

Here it is, for your reading pleasure:

We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate - we have no control whatsoever in that area.

While we were aware of Kurt's image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character. This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in "re-locking" Kurt's character so that this won't continue in the future.

It's hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists' music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better.

Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl

Cobain in Guitar Hero

Have you seen the video? If not, take a minute and watch it. (I'll wait.)

Well, in it Cobain's likeness rocks out to Billy Idol and Bon Jovi. Some people are freaking out.

Now, supposedly Courtney Love is suing. Not surprising, but I doubt she'll get anywhere as (see below) she gave the rights to Activision. And do you think she was somehow unaware as to what was going to happen? Yeah, right.

Here's what Activision has to say:

"Guitar Hero secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain's likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero® 5."

As for Cobain's Nirvana bandmates, the same press release said:

Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, the two surviving members of Nirvana, have no say whatsoever in the usage of Kurt Cobain's likeness.

Not surprised by Grohl and Novoselic's reactions at all. They probably don't want to fight with Courtney Love if they don't have to. They have no rights to Cobain's likeness and probably have enough to deal with when they have to consult her with Nirvana stuff.

I think it's weird, but not really offensive. Would he have ever sang those songs in real life? Highly unlikely. In fact, he'd probably be pissed about it. But he's not here any more and Ms. Love controls the rights to his image.

Do you think Slash would ever pick up a guitar and jam on some Pat Benatar? Probably never. But you can make the Guns N Roses guitarist rock out to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" in Guitar Hero III. Yeah, he's not dead, but it's just as ridiculous.

I think it's cool that Cobain's even in the game (and that he's sporting a cardigan and a Daniel Johnston shirt). The weirdest thing, to me, is that in every video I've seen (with the exception of the picture above) he's not playing a guitar. In a game called Guitar Hero. Fantastic.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Headlines coming tomorrow

I've been working on this Dan Brown story all afternoon. If that name doesn't ring a bell, his novels should... he's the guy that wrote "The Da Vinci Code."

Anyway, his next novel, "The Lost Symbol," is dropping next Tuesday. This means he stands to make a few million more dollars, Tom Hanks will act in another movie and I didn't have time to get to headlines.

How about, dear readers, I drop some headlines first thing in the morning? Sounds like a good compromise to me.

Have a wonderful night folks. I'll be at the Waiting Room to watch Matt & Kim tonight. See you there.

Paying attention to Apple

I'm going to be reading a bunch of Apple-related news this afternoon during it's rock-themed event.

I always find it odd, that only tech blogs follow this stuff. Why not music blogs? This stuff affects music fans and musicians probably more than anybody else.

I'm mostly checking MacRumors' Twitter for updates, but I'm augmenting it with photos and updates from Engadget.

This stuff should be interesting. So far, they've talked about updates to the iTunes store, iTunes itself and features for iPods. Will we hear about more iPod stuff? Tablet? The Beatles???

We'll see...

Update (1:22 p.m.): Well, that was kind of underwhelming. There are some cool things happening with iTunes and iPods, but none of the huge Beatles-level announcements I think some were expecting.

The highlights:

New iTunes: iTunes 9 has some new features. One, Genius Mixes, is just an extension of the already-cool Genius Playlist. Basically, you pick a song and iTunes makes a continuous mix of related tunes.

Other thing is syncing. Now, you can sync more than just select playlists, you can sync by artist, genre or any number of other things. This is a big one for me, to be honest. I have a lot of music and not nearly all of it fits on my iPod. Now I can choose not to add No Use For a Name or Lou Barlow instead of scrolling through my entire library and unchecking each freaking song.

Third, they're offering up the iTunes LP. Basically, you buy a whole album and you get all the stuff that would come in a regular album (liner notes, lyrics, etc.) plus extras like videos and such.

iPhones and iPod Touch: They're putting a bunch of video games on them, but this time it's realy ones like Assassin's Creed and Madden '10. This would be cooler if I owned one.

For the Touch, they're also changing the price to be 8GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. Great, again, except the only one that makes sense to me is a 64GB because my 30 GB classic is beyond full. Looks like I need to save up some dough.

iPod Classic: 160GB for $249. That's more like it. That's the kind of space I need.

iPod Shuffle: Frankly, I don't care about this. I need something with much larger capacity.

iPod Nano: This seems to be the big one. They're getting cameras, speakers, microphone and a built-in FM radio. 8GB for $149, 16GB for $179.

My question is this: Why don't the other iPods get cameras and radios? Don't know why they wouldn't include that, but I suppose it's only a matter of time. And what kind of camera does the Nano get? Cuz if it's not better than the one that's in my phone, I certainly don't care. My phone's camera is more than 1 megapixel (that's better than the first digital camera I ever owned), but it still sucks.

All in all... Pretty underwhelming, as I said earlier. This just seems like functionality that was coming sooner or later. No new iPod formats, no revolutionary iTunes stuff, no Beatles.

The biggest news seems to be the iTunes LP. For my money, I'd still rather buy a physical item and then rip it into iTunes at the sound quality that I prefer. Then I have a real copy of the CD and the liner notes. Extra videos? Uh, who cares. I'll find it on YouTube if I really want to.

I think the only reason they announce all this stuff at once is to generate news stories from people like me (sadly, I took the bait), the tech websites and the Associated Press.

New Old Canes coming today

Old Canes, the latest group coming from Saddle Creek, is dropping a new song today.

According to the Old Canes Twitter page, the song will be dropped via Stereogum's "Gum Drop" newsletter.

Gum Drop drops a new mp3 every Wednesday. Sign up, if you want.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Headlines! Beatles, Paramore and more

There's not a ton going on today, but everyone (it would seem) is talking about the Beatles remastered albums coming out tomorrow.

I'm pretty interested to see if Apple will announce the Beatles catalog being available on iTunes.

Personally, I'd go to Homer's and pick up a remastered Beatles CD for $9.99 before I'd pay $10 or more for the lower-fidelity iTunes files. But I don't think iTunes is focusing on me. I think they're after the guy who just wants a copy of "Yesterday" and either doesn't care about the sound quality or doesn't want to spend 10 bucks.

Would you buy the Beatles on iTunes? Post below in the comments.

Onto headlines!

• The Daily What explores how to pick your favorite indie band. This one made me crack up a few times.

• All of that Beatles stuff (remasters and Rock Band) comes out tomorrow. Pitchfork reviews all of the remasters. Chuck Klosterman wrote about them, too.

• Entertainment Weekly featured the Beatles (seemingly with every other news outlet on the planet). They ranked the fab four's albums.

• features the best "summer songs" from this year. I'm not sure if they mean the best songs that came out this summer or the best "summer jams," so to speak. Either way, here it is. Can't say there's a song on this that I don't like (yeah, even the Brad Paisley one).

• Paramore's got a new song out. Here's an acoustic version. Spin also reviewed the band's new album.

• The "best-named festival ever" award goes to the Fuck Yeah Fest. Apparently the festival, in its sixth year, went pretty well.

• Paste ponders what the hell is going on with Iggy Pop. A valid question.

• Forgot to mention this earlier, but Jay-Z's album came out today. It was scheduled for release on Friday, but I guess it leaked or something.

• Today's unrelated to music feature: I don't care much about Dragon-Con, but the picture that goes with this post is priceless.

Today's Mail

Usually I post this as a portion of the daily headlines, but I got a ton of stuff today. Here's how it breaks down:

Boys Like Girls, "Love Drunk"
Haven't listened to it yet, but these guys became super popular over the last few years with tunes like "Hero/Heroine" and "The Great Escape." It's pretty poppy rock stuff and seems like the sort that's super-popular with 14 to 18-year-old girls. This will inevitably sell a ton of copies.

Sea Wolf, "White Water, White Bloom"
The second album from Sea Wolf, who will be in Omaha on Sept. 28. I honestly don't know a lot about this band, other that seeing its name pop up from time to time. Will be listening.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart, "Higher Than The Stars"
They play here Thursday. I'm going to do my best to be there because these folks are fantastic. This disc is an EP from the shoegazy, indie-poppy band, who released its much buzzed about full-length in February. Go to the band's MySpace, listen to its songs, come to the show Thursday. (Oh, and if you want to know more, look for my interview with the band Thursday online and in GO).

After Midnight Project, "Let's Build Something to Break"
I have nothing on this group other than what's in the press release. They're on Universal Motown, but the release said they broke into L.A.'s "indie scene." These seem like opposites. We'll see.

Bon Iver, "For Emma, Forever Ago"
Justin Vernon, the guy behind the band, isn't doing interviews. But his press people kindly sent me the CD, which was on several best-of 2008 lists. His show in a few weeks is sold out, so sorry if you didn't get tickets yet. Saw Bon Iver at Lollapalooza and, despite the rain, the show was outstanding. I'll be at Slowdown next week to watch.

Monsters of Folk, "Monsters of Folk"
Well, this is the biggie... Out Sept. 22, the new album is the brainchild of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, M. Ward and Jim James (still going by the solo moniker Yim Yames... weirdo). I haven't heard more than the few tracks that were released early ("Say Please," "Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)" and "The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me"). I liked those, but they seem pretty dissonant, like one guy was obviously the writer of each track even though each song is credited to the whole band. I also can't help but think of the Traveling Wilburys when I think of this band. Here's hoping this album is just as good (or better) as the Wilburys. I'll find out later this afternoon when I give it a spin.

Simian Mobile Disco, "Temporary Pleasure"
The fourth album from the electro duo, "Temporary Pleasure" has so far garnered good reviews. I've never heard a lot from this band/group/whatever, to be honest.

Rodrigo & Gabriela, "11:11"
This disc has a DVD with concert footage and interviews as well as "tutorials." What that means, I'm not entirely sure. I like their last album, so hopefully I'll like this one too.

Sooooooo... Lots to listen to today. I'll probably do reviews of some of these eventually.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Headlines! No assholes, Monsters of Folk and more

Today, I got stood up by the guitarist from Flogging Molly. But, it's OK. I have two weeks to interview the guy. We'll get to this eventually.

Anyway, I finally got around to catching "(500) Days of Summer" last night. (Two viewings of "Inglourious Basterds" and a few other films came first.)

Not only was it a funny, cute-in-an-indie-sort-of-way movie, but the soundtrack is fantastic. I got it a few weeks ago and enjoyed stuff from Regina Spektor, The Smiths, Black Lips and Hall & Oates (yes, seriously), but it gets even better when you hear it in the film.

If you pay no attention during the rest of the film, wake yourself up when you hear the opening notes of "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates. You'll see what I mean.

Onto the important part: headlines!

• ATP in New York is coming up soon. Apparently, they have a "no assholes" policy.

• In the name of all that is awesome, Beck and MGMT do a Leonard Cohen cover. Wow. I guess Devendra Banhart was there too.

• This has actually been up on the band's site for at least a few days, but Stereogum has a thing on Monsters of Folk's album art. I would have preferred the block-lettered image that was on the band's site before.

• Paramore did a cover of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" for BBC. It's a pretty straightforward cover (although on acoustic guitars), but female vocals from Hayley Williams fit perfectly on that song.

• Pollstar asks if this was the best concert summer ever. I suppose it's possible, but I only made it to shows here and to Lollapalooza. Seems like festivals are taking over, which end up being amazing experiences — if you can afford to go. Check out the discussion thread.

• Jay-Z announced his fall tour. Guess what. Omaha ain't on it. Are you surprised? I'm not. In related Jay-Z news, they did a track-by-track review over at Spin.

• And today's "completely-unrelated-to-music" feature: The top 10 weirdest moments on "The Muppet Show." Enjoy.

That's a wrap, folks. Enjoy your long holiday weekend!

OEA Award Noms

If you haven't gone and nominated your favorite local band (or artist or theater or whatever) to win an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award, you still can. They extended the deadline to Sept. 7.

Live Music is on the fourth page of the ballot. All you need to give is your name and an e-mail to fill out the form.

May the best man/band win.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eli's new project

I guess Eli Mardock doesn't have enough to do.

The guy from Eagle*Seagull has a new solo project, Eli Mardock Is An Idiot.

A few weeks ago, Mardock told me about why it's taken so long to get Eagle*Seagull's newest album released. Last I heard, the band still doesn't have a U.S. release date.

Anyway, you can catch Mardock's solo thing at the Waiting Room on Sunday. He's opening for Fortnight and Yourself and the Air. 8 bucks.

Headlines! Conor Oberst, Thom Yorke and more

Welcome to the blog, for those of you who wandered over here from Tim McMahan's lazy-i. Thanks to Tim for linking to the blog and my Twitter. Go ahead and peruse the blog and leave comments where you wish. I like getting feedback.

Anyway, today has been a day full of interviews, edits and writing. I'm mostly working on stuff relating to the Beatles remasters coming next week and next week's GO section (comedian Rodney Carrington, Gaslight Anthem and Pains of Being Pure at Heart).

In this week's GO, I have a story on Matt & Kim and a short thing on pop-punk group Straight Outta Junior High's CD release.

Anyway, onto the headlines!

• Radiohead's Thom Yorke released two new songs. In the official e-mail I got, he wrote, "'FeelingPulledApartbyHorses' is written & played by Jonny and I and is a radical rework of an old tune that's been kicking around without a home since 2001? i think. 'The Hollow Earth' is a bass menace that was born out of the Eraser period but needed a little more time."

• At Outside Lands last week, the guy from Deerhunter didn't know who Conor Oberst was. Apparently he said "Oh, you mean Bright Eyes?" after a fan clued him in. Good work, dude.

• Speaking of, a bearded Conor alluded to the Mystic Valley Band being done with during the group's two sets at Outside Lands. (Here's another short review.) Does he mean the end of the band forever? It is the last date on the tour, so he might have meant "for now." But, it's possible he's done with the MVB. He does have Monsters of Folk album and tour coming in a few weeks. Then presumably he'll record for next year's Bright Eyes album and do a tour or two for that. We'll see.

• I mentioned Say Anything yesterday. Well, frontman Max Bemis played some acoustic tunes for Spin, including a new track.

• Tim Kasher from Cursive did some acoustic songs for The Tripwire's Backyard music thing.

TV on the Radio is taking some time apart. It appears they're keeping pretty busy though. Kyp Malone is going on tour as Rain Machine and the rest are up to other projects.

• Today's "it's not related to music" feature: There's a trailer up for the new "Boondock Saints" movie. Probably won't be as good as the original, but I'm still stoked.

Fighting over a family tree

Update (10:15 a.m., 09/04/2009): There's also a thread over on Slam Omaha, which gets even more involved. I'll say it again: I could have written a book on Omaha music (hell, I'd like to), but it's not going to fit on one page of a newspaper. No way, no how.

Sorry if you got left out. Sorry Luigi Waites got left out. Sorry we called it the "Omaha Music Scene" instead of the "Saddle Creek Connection." But I'm not stupid. I know there's more than indie rock here and I know who Preston Love is.

It is my pleasure to cover as many of you worthy local folks as possible along with the wealth of music that passes through town. Let me know what you're up to. Tell me when you're playing. My e-mail: My phone: 402-444-1557. My address: 1314 Douglas Street Suite 700 • Omaha, NE 68105-1811

Now, back to the original post....

* * *

If you picked up Sunday's paper, you could read a little thing called the "Omaha Music Scene Family Tree." It's still online.

There's been some discussion about it at Tim McMahan's lazy-i including people saying it's a letdown, misrepresentation or any number of other things. I understand exactly why people say that, mostly because it starts with Saddle Creek and includes (for the most part) a bunch of Saddle Creek bands, people and those closely related to them.

Would "Six Degrees of Saddle Creek" been a better headline? In hindsight, yeah.

I will say that there was a disclaimer in that thing for a reason, which was (as stated) that there wasn't nearly enough room for everything. No freaking way could all of that fit on one page and still be readable.

Well, we started with SC because they're the big guys. It's a logical starting point. But anyone who pays any attention to music around here knows that they're not the only thing in town.

You should see the original draft (hand-scrawled across a few pages of a legal pad). It includes Kyle Harvey and Slo-Fi. Names like Scott Gaeta, Steve Bartolomei, Adam Hawkins and Marq Manner show up. So does Hotel Frank, Dan McCarthy and Simon Joyner (come to think of it, Simon Joyner is on the final draft).

There's even a list of bands, people, stores and venues that I hadn't found a home for and was looking for a way to incorporate.

But I work for a newspaper, and it was time for editing. You could make an entire 8-page section out of the Omaha music scene, but I only got the cover of ETA (our Sunday entertainment section). Lots had to go. More than half, probably.

Lastly: As for the suggestion that I don't go to shows, those claiming such don't know what I look like. I've watched several of those complaining perform and/or standing in the crowd at the same shows I'm at — many times.

I don't walk up to everyone in the room and say, "Hi, I'm Kevin. You know, the guy from the newspaper?" But I love live music. I'm out there as much as I can be.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Headlines! Jay-Z, Cobain in 'Guitar Hero' and more

Another crazy day here in the newsroom. Look for some stuff coming on the Beatles next week.

Wait, haven't you heard? Yeah, the boys from Liverpool are releasing remastered versions of all of their albums. I'm excited to pick up a few of them, for sure. Vinyl versions will becoming next year.

Anyway.... headlines!

• 311 (above) announced a fall/winter tour today, including a Nov. 14 show at the Mid-America Center. Tickets on sale Sept. 19.

• Anyone else excited for the new Jay-Z album, "The Blueprint 3?" I am. If you don't want to wait until it drops next week, MTV is streaming it.

• Paste Magazine is asking for readers' top films of the decade. What are yours?

• Remember that Kurt Cobain "Guitar Hero" avatar that I mentioned? The folks at Spin think it does some weird stuff that Kurt would have never done. Would Kurt have wailed on a Bon Jovi song? Probably not.

• Say Anything has a new single and video. I kinda like it. But it's catchy enough that I'll probably hate it in a few months when I hear it on the radio a few hundred times.

• Jack White is doing some stuff with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

• The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (in town Sept. 10, look for my interview the same day) have a remixed version of "Higher Than The Stars" on the band's new EP. Check it out.

RAA on Daytrotter

I've been waiting for this since I saw the Rural Alberta Advantage at Slowdown a few months ago. After the show, I talked to Nils Edenloff about the band and the show (who, by the way is one of the nicest rock band guys I've ever met).

Anyway, Nils told me they were headed back to Canada the next morning, but they'd be stopping at doing a Daytrotter session while they passed through Illinois.

Well, a few months later, here it is. I guess that's the lag time between bands recording and when it actually shows up on the site. No complaints here though.

The session has "The Air" and "In the Summertime" from the band's Saddle Creek debut, "Hometowns." It also includes unreleased tunes "Two Lovers" and "Barnesyard" (which may be my new favorite tune from RAA).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

These are the best?

The Internet is made for top 10 lists (or top 50 or 100 or whatever).

They're great fodder to draw in readers and they provoke all kinds of comments and debate.

In fact, I'm going to fuel the fire with one of them, Pitchfork's 50 best videos of the 2000s.

This is actually one of the worst "top whatever" lists that I've ever seen. Most of the videos are pretty terrible.

Well, terrible in anyone but the minds of Pitchfork's "we're so indie and hip" staff writers.

Example: MGMT's "Time To Pretend." Great song. A personal favorite from last year. That's the song though. The video? It's awful. It's just a bunch of random images and day-glo crap, very little of which is clever or interesting.

In my opinion, a video should be pretty memorable to be in the top 50. This is especially in an era where anyone can film a music video on the cheap with a handheld digital video camera and a copy of iMovie (and quite a few folks have).

Anyway, they did have some good ones. Some favorites on their list: Elton John's "This Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore," Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg's "D*** in a Box," OK GO's "Here It Goes Again" and Justice's "D.A.N.C.E."

What did they miss? A few of my favorites from the last 10 or so years are:

• Matt & Kim's "Yea Yeah" is a great example of cheap and lo-fi, but hilarious and also matches the song's energy.

• Gnarls Barkley's "Smiley Faces" places C-Lo and Danger Mouse within America's musical fabric in pretty clever and funny ways.

• I hate to endorse anything these guys do (and this song is pretty truly awful), but Nickelback's "Rockstar" video is chock-full of great cameos (including several actual rock stars) as well as weird and dedicated fans.

• How about any one of 10 different Foo Fighters videos? "Breakout," where first date goes horribly awry. "Long Road to Ruin" has the rockers posing as soap stars. And "Learn to Fly" was from '99, but it's still hilarious.

• The Pitchfork list has a few fan-made vids, but they forgot to include one of the best of all time: the "hands" video of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger."

Do you have any favorites that myself or the Pitchfork folks missed?