A Tiny Bar + The Flaming Lips = Joy

Last night I had the great fortune to see The Flaming Lips play a teeny tiny bar, The Belly Up, in Aspen, Colorado. The excitement of seeing a band that sells out venues to the thousands in such an intimate setting was palpable. Everyone was smiling knowing they were in for a treat. Even though the venue size was constraining, they did not hold back on their usual theatrics. In typical fashion, Wayne opened the show with his hamster ball trick, busting stage lights and his man bubble along the way. Cannon confetti guns, laser lights, smoke machines, dancing bears and bouncing balls added to the euphoria of the evening. Considering the joint only held a few hundred, it had to be a money losing proposition for them. But joy of that performance was so transcendental it will not soon be forgotten. What a great show to wrap up 2010. While I’m no concert photographer, I hope you enjoy some of my amateur shots and video. Long live The Flaming Lips!

Christmas Was a Total Bummer…

Tape Deck Mountain: “Blue Christmas”


“Christmas Time is Here Again


For San Diego-based Tape Deck Mountain, anyway, who released a couple of lo-fi Christmas tunes for your holiday blues listening pleasure. On a happier note, the band (one of my favorites in 2009) will release a new EP called Secret Serf on 1/11/11. I wonder how many albums are going to be released on that day. It’s gotta be auspicious or something, right? Anyway, all bummer aside, here’s to a very merry christmas. Bah humbug.

Cowboy and Indian – “Hurt My Pride”

Who can get enough of Daniel James’ gravely, soulful vocals? I can’t. So I was happy to see that the Leopold and His Fiction frontman is now also a member of the newly formed group Cowboy and Indian consisting of Daniel (vocals and guitar) Jazz Mills, and actor Jesse Plemons (of Friday Night Lights). They put together this video for the track “Hurt My Pride”, which sounds so good, and expect to release their full length album in the Spring of 2011.

Doin’ It Old School with Nick Waterhouse

Nick Waterhouse & The Turn-Keys – “Some Place”

San Francisco-based Nick Waterhouse is a purist and just wants to make records …. the way they used to. And he’s done just that with his self-produced 45 RPM single, “Some Place” – a greasy, 60s era R&B, booty-shakin romp. Down to the Tee. The labels have been designed and hand letterpressed by an independent local printer; the recording was never processed by a computer, mastered from tape to lacquer; and the pressing was done manually with a true flat profile the same way the labels used to do it. Now that’s creative integrity. And oh yeah, it sounds effing awesome too. Buy it here. (Thanks Victor for the tip!)

My Top 25 Albums of 2010

ArtistDeerhunter
AlbumHalcyon Digest
Track“Desire Lines”


ArtistTame Impala
AlbumInnerspeaker
Track“Vital Signs”


ArtistNew Mexico (formally Apes of Wrath)
AlbumHave You Met My Friend?
Track“Abused and Amused”


ArtistTy Segall
AlbumMelted
Track: “Imaginary Person”


ArtistLower Dens
AlbumTwin Hand Movement
Track“A Dog’s Dick”


ArtistFuture Islands
AlbumIn the Evening Air
Track“As I Fall”


ArtistThe Radio Dept.
AlbumClinging to a Scheme
Track: “This Time Around”


Artist: Woods
Album: At Echo Lake
Track: “Blood Dries Quicker”



Artist: Mount Kimbie
AlbumCrooks & Lovers
Track: “Blind Night Errand”


ArtistSea of Bees
AlbumSongs for the Raven
Track: “Marmalade


ArtistSonny & The Sunsets
AlbumTomorrow is Alright
Track“Lovin’ on an Older Gal”


ArtistTamaryn
AlbumThe Waves
Track: “Mild Confusion”


ArtistSun Airway
AlbumNocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier
Featured TracksPut the Days Away”


Artist: J. Irvin Dally
Album: Despistado
Track:  “The Little Ones”


Artist: Royal Baths
AlbumLitanies
Track: “Nikki Don’t”


Artist: The Dig
Album: Electric Toys
Track: “You’re Already Gone



Artist: Phantogram
Album: Eyelid Movies
Track“When I’m Small”



Artist: Caribou
Album: Swim
Track: “Sun



Artist: Local Natives
Album: Gorilla Manor
Track“Sun Hands”



Artist: Twin Tigers
Album: Gray Waves
Track“Everyday



Artist: The National
Album: High Violet
Track“Afraid of Everyone”



Artist: The Black Keys
AlbumBrothers

Artist: The Black Ryder
AlbumBuy the Ticket, Take the Ride
Track: “Gone Without Feeling


ArtistWarpaint
AlbumThe Fool
Track: “Undertow


ArtistGeographer
AlbumAnimal Shapes
Track: “Original Sin”


Benjamin Leftwich – “Rebellion (Arcade Fire Cover)”

Artist: Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Album: A Million Miles Out (EP)
Homeland: UK (York & London)
Track: “Rebellion (Arcade Fire Cover)”

“Come on hide your lovers underneath the covers…” Just loved this stripped down cover of Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion” from UK singer/songwriter Benjamin Leftwich. It gives new perspective and appreciation to Win Butler’s lyrics and almost seems more fitting, given the context, in this tempo. Well done, Benjamin. His debut EP “A Million Miles Out” out now that is simply lovely. And the fact that we use the same typefonts for our logos is even all the more compelling. Check out the video for one of the tracks on the EP, “Atlas Hands”.

One to Watch: Abbe May – “Mammalian Locomotion”

Artist: Abbe May
Album: Forthcoming
Release Date: May 2011
Homeland: Australia (Perth)
Track: “Mammalian Locomotion (original)


“Mammalian Locomotion (Kevin Parker & Cam Avery of Tame Impala) Remix”


Dang. The Australian invasion continues. This week it’s Abbe May – a gritty, bluesy, rock n roll throw down. “Mammalian Locomotion” is a track off her forthcoming LP due out in May next year. Kevin Parker and Cam Avery of Tame Impala have just crafted a remix of the track, making her ‘One to Watch’ status even more legit. Tour dates to be announced soon.

New Music: The Western States Motel

Artist: The Western States Motel
Album: Freeway Freeway Riverbed
Homeland: California, USA
Release Date: February 2011
Track: “Country and Western Song”


The Western States Motel is the brain child of Monterey, CA native Carl Jordan. I fell in love with his home recorded EP, Painted Birds Flying in the Orange Mirror Sun, way back in 2008. Now he’s back with a new LP due out early next year called Freeway Freeway Riverbed.

Invisible Children Holiday Benefit @ The Troubador 12/20

Guards – “Long Time”

Mountain Man – “Animal Tracks”

For you LA-based folks, there’s a great show for a great cause coming your way courtesy of KCRW on December 20 at The Troubadour. Best of all the event is being curated by friends Rollo & Grady and our very own Yours Truly. On tap for the line up are Mountain Man, Guards and an acoustic set by Deer Tick frontman John McCauley. There’s also a surprise, secret headliner in store that will be making their debut performance. Details will be announced soon but it’s good, trust me.

All proceeds will go towards Invisible Children’s programs to help the war-affected people of East Africa. Tickets are $15. Now go do some good and buy one  here.

The Black Ryder @ Popscene

Photo by Adam Morse

The Black Ryder“Gone Without Feeling”


Had the pleasure of catching the Australian-based shoegaze group, The Black Ryder, at Popscene last Thursday for their live San Francisco debut (along with the funny and talented @heyitsadam). Let’s just put it this way; I’m very fond of Australian bands, I like shoegaze and I really like hot women playing instruments. So it was a winning combination. Visually and sonically it was a sultry and seductive experience.  Supporting them for the show on bass was Dirty Laundry TV host, Malia James. And here I thought she was just another indie music blogger.

Their debut album, Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride, is out on tastemaker label Mexican Summer now.