The first show of a 3 night stand in San Francisco from Austin, Texas’ Spoon. The indie rockers put on a great show, playing cuts that spanned their notable discography, though focusing on the more recent Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Spoon will be playing again on October 13th at The Parish in their hometown of Austin as part of a Benefit for Texas Democrats & Mark Thompson, Democratic Railroad Commissioner Candidate.
Merge Records will celebrate its upcoming 20th anniversary in operation with SCORE! Merge Records: The First 20 Years. Preorders for this deluxe subscription-only box set, which includes special artwork and packaging, begin September 8th and quantities will be limited to the number of subscribers enrolled between Sept. 8th and the January 2009 delivery of the first two volumes.
A total of 14 custom compilations will each feature the curators’ handpicked Merge selections as well as exclusively commissioned original artwork. These compilations and additional exclusive content will be delivered only to SCORE! subscribers throughout Merge’s 20th anniversary year of 2009.
The curators of the first volumes will be Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Phil Morrison, director of Junebug, “The Upright Citizens Brigade” and numerous music videos. Curators for future volumes will include Amy Poehler, David Byrne, author Jonathan Lethem, artist Marcel Dzama, Momofuku chef David Chang and many more to be announced.
Additionally, the entire SCORE! Merge Records: The First 20 Years project will benefit specific charitable causes handpicked by the curators.
Watch for future announcements regarding SCORE!-related projects and special events commemorating the first two decades of the label that has brought us the likes of Arcade Fire, Spoon, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, She & Him, Neutral Milk Hotel, Superchunk and so many more.
Merge Records: website
Filed under: music news | Tagged: amy poehler, arcade fire, conor oberst, david byrne, david chang, jonathan lethem, lambchop, m. ward, marcel dzama, merge records, peter buck, phil morrison, rem, she & him, spoon, superchuck, upright citizens brigade | Leave a Comment »
I feel bad for anyone who was unable to attend American Eagle Outfitters’ first ever New American Music Union festival in Pittsburgh’s South Side Works.
That being said let me relay what you missed.
The festival differed from most in many ways. First of all, it was set right in the middle of the city. Concertgoers could shop and dine at any of the South Side Works’ many shops and restaurants, including American Eagle, BCBG, Tosca and The Cheesecake Factory. Upon entry, any general admission or student ticket was given a voucher for a festival t-shirt and a BPA-free water bottle, bearing the festival’s logo. I found this fantastic. Not only did we receive a fantastic musical experience, but there are free goodies, too! To go along with the water bottles, NAMU had two free water stations available, where you could fill your bottle with fresh, clean water at no charge whatsoever.
The setting was fantastic for more than just dining and shopping in the city. Once you entered the main stage area, you had the stage before you and turning behind you, were greeted with a breathtaking view of Pittsburgh’s hills and sky, University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning jutting majestically from the lush greenery. One also could not have asked for better weather. Before the festival began on Friday, rain showers made it seem as through we’d have a soggy experience, but by 3 PM, the clouds parted and the rain had cooled the city, giving us a cool, clear, and calm 2 days to enjoy NAMU’s phenomenal line-up.
Opening the show were New York’s Tiny Masters of Today. The tween-aged family act left something to be desired, but was surprisingly adept for their age. Their songs were simple, but something you would expect from twenty to thirty-something hipsters, as opposed to a 12 and 14 year-old brother and sister. While the vocals seemed monotone and off-pitch to start, they improved as the set continued, leading me to attribute it to nerves. The crowd responded to them quite well, despite my suspicion that they are widely unknown to most of the concertgoers. Closing their set with a humorous, but accurate, cover of House of Pain‘s “Jump Around,” Tiny Masters of Today are, at this point, more of an endearing novelty group. However, I can see them evolving greatly with a few years time. Definitely one to watch out for.
I’ve expressed before the difficulty I have with watching a DJ spin a set and being able to review it like a band playing. Orange-jumpsuited duo NASA took this into account and made their set fantastically entertaining. Though the set was a bit too loud, it was far from disappointing. Weaving familiar songs such as Heart‘s “Magic Man,” Blur‘s “Song 2″ and Rage Against the Machine‘s “Killing In The Name Of,” they keep the audience interested in more ways than one.
Not only were our DJ’s fantastically animated and interactive, a few minutes into their se, a pair of girls painted green with silver swimsuits emerged, dancing along as NASA introduces their “Martian Ladies.” Eventually, they are followed by a pair of astronauts in blue jumpsuits. One of these astronauts was a straight up b-boy, while the other is clearly proficient in popping and locking. Finally, some sort of space monster showed up; another dancer wearing what appeared to be a bear suit, topped by a reptilian mask. If you like electronic music, but find yourself bored just watching a DJ manipulate some turntables and a laptop, NASA is a group to catch.
Just as dusk rolled around, The Black Keys took the stage. The Akron, Oh. duo managed to steal the show not only for the night, but for the entire two-day affair. Somehow, they manage to make a guitar and a set of drums sound like so much more as frontman and singer Dan Auerbach writhed around the stage. The guitars were bluesy, soulful, and even a bit crunchy, prompting solos that can only be described one way: face-melting. There are not a lot of words that can be said, other than the Black Keys brought the house down and Pittsburgh to its knees on Friday night.
Closing the night was Pennsylvania’s own hip-hop heroes, The Roots. While their set was flawless, they were still no match for The Black Keys but still managed to bring the crowd to frenzy; couples swayed and made out to their sultry beats and hands were in the air cheering them on. All in all, a good way to close the night.
Saturday’s first big draw was Gnarls Barkley. The full band emerged in matching, burgundy prep-school style vests with Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse standing out in gold blazers. Throughout the set, Cee-Lo lost articles of clothing, ending with his white dress shirt unbuttoned over a white tee, claiming, “my shirt ripped while rockin’ out for y’all!” This group is phenomenal, with every bit of instrumentation live, right down to the xylophone riff on “Gone, Daddy, Gone.” The entire set, the audience was unable to hold still, dancing along to every song.
Following was Spoon, who can only be described as hypnotic. In the same way it was impossible to ignore the group, it was also possible to completely lose yourself in them. The band had brought along live horns, which, frankly, I’m kind of a sucker for. The bass drum drove right into your core…
The Raconteurs took the dusk spot on Saturday night, ushering in the night with—well, frankly–awesomeness. As the highlight of that evening, people in the all-access crowd pulled themselves on top of tour buses to watch them play. Jack White and Brendan Benson share the stage well, each aware of when it’s the others turn to shine. Their songs got longer and longer, the group working their way into a slow, haunting, bluesy feel with every guitar solo being absolutely incredible.
Finally, the biggest draw of the entire festival, Bob Dylan took the stage…and was utterly disappointing. Not once did he pick up a guitar, being known for being a guitar-based songwriter. Dylan stayed on keys and harmonica for his whole set, barely moving and letting his band do all of the work. Sure, he’s known for not being a great vocalist: he’s actually known for being quite a bad singer. This was worse. Age has lent an extremely gruff quality to Dylan’s voice, making him sound as though he’s channeling Tom Waits, and causing his lyrics to be even less intelligible than usual. It was difficult figuring out what songs he was even playing.
What. A. Letdown.
Festival curator Anthony Kiedis expressed interest in keeping the festival going in years to come and I pray to God that he does. I can only hope that something like this gets bigger and better with each year, and if this groundbreaking first try is any indicator.
Pittsburgh’s big new music festival can only go up from here.
Photos: C.C. Chapman for A.E./NAMU and Melissa Franko for wyep.org
Filed under: concerts | Tagged: anthony kiedis, blur, bob dylan, brendan benson, cover whore, dan auerbach, gnarls barkley, heart, house of pain, jack white, music festival, nasa, new american music union, Rage Against the Machine, sara bellum, spoon, the black keys, the raconteurs, the roots, tiny masters of today, tom waits | Leave a Comment »
Clothier American Eagle Outfitters is hosting it’s first music festival this summer featuring an eclectic mix of big artists on the main stage as well as 15 of the country’s best college bands on the side stage. The two-day New American Music Union festival is happening in Pittsburgh, Pa. at the historic SouthSide Works on August 8th and 9th. The SouthSide Works location was chosen because it is the home to the American Eagle Outfitters headquarters.
Tickets are on sale now (students: $25.00, regular: $49.50) and you can find all the details at
. Please note that the New American Music Union is a rain or shine event and, as with all things, the line up is subject to change.
Main Stage Lineup:
Bob Dylan and His Band
The Black Keys
Tiny Masters of Today
The Duke Spirit
(more to come!)
Side Stage Lineup:
Bears (Kent State U)
The Company Kang (Whitman College)
The Black Fortys (U of Southern Illinois)
The Depreciation Guild (NYU)
The French Horn Rebellion (Northwestern U)
Magic Bullets (College of San Mateo)
The Delicious (Indiana U)
Elizabethan Report (BYU)
Nothing Unexpected (Robert Morris U)
The Royal Bangs (U of Tennessee)
The Steps (U of Texas)
Gospel Gossip (Carleton College)
Math the Band (U of Mass Dartmouth)
Flying Machines ( The New School)
My Dear Disco (U of Michigan)
New American Music Union: website | tickets
Following on a standing room only U.S. tour that culminated in the Don’t You Evah EP (entering Billboard’s singles sales chart at #1!), Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, Eric Harvey and Rob Pope-collectively known as Spoon-have confirmed their final live engagements of 2008.
The full band will be headlining the KNRK Pet Aid Benefit in Troutdale OR, playing their biggest ever New York show July 15th at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, appearing at the Mile High and Pitchfork festivals, making their debut at the Hollywood Bowl September 20th supporting Beck, and concluding with a three-night residency at the Fillmore Theater in San Francisco-the last dates of the tour (below) and first Spoon SF headline engagement since the July 2007 release of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon’s first Top 10 album.
Remaining 2008 Tour Dates:
Jun 13 – KNRK Pet Aid 2008/Troutdale, OR
Jul 15 – Prospect Park/Brooklyn, NY
Jul 19 – Mile High Festival/Denver, CO
Jul 20 - Pitchfork Music Festival/Chicago, IL
Sep 20 – Hollywood Bowl/Hollywood, CA
Sep 22 – Fillmore Theatre/San Francisco, CA
Sep 23 – Fillmore Theatre/San Francisco, CA
Sep 24 – Fillmore Theatre/San Francisco, CA
3/13: The Cavern, Dallas
3/14: SXSW,Club Deville, Bigshot Touring Showcase
3/15: SXSW, Club Deville, Hot Freaks Party
3/15: SXSW, 421 3rd St., Nylon Magazine Party
4/01: Mojos, Columbia
4/02: Uptown Theater, Kansas City*
4/03: Capitol Theater, Davenport*
4/04: Vic Theater, Chicago*
4/05: Bogarts, Cincinnati*
4/06: Emerald Theater, Detroit*
4/07: Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh*
4/10: WXPN Free Show, The Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA
4/11: Sonar, Baltimore*
4/12: Norva, Norfolk*
4/14: Centerstage, Atlanta*
4/16: Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale*
4/17: House of Blues, Myrtle Beach*
4/28: Night & Day, Manchester
4/29: The Borderline, London
4/30: Bodega Social, Nottingham
5/01: Thekla, Bristol
5/02: Nice N’ Sleazy, Glasgow
5/03: The Faversham, Leeds
5/04: Academy, Birmingham
5:06: Paradiso, Amsterdam
5/08: Kleine Elserhalle, Munich +
5/09: Starclub, Dresden+
5/11: Baschkapp, Frankfurt+
5/12: Lido, Berlin+
5/13: U&G, Hamburg+
5/14: Saal Tepferdt, Haldern+
5/20: Schubas, Chicago
5/21: 400 Bar, Minneapolis
5/23: Caterina Winery, Spokane
5/24: Berbatis Pan, Portland
5/25: Sasquatch Festival, Seattle
5/27: Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
5/28: The Echo, Los Angeles
5/29: The Beauty Bar, Las Vegas
5/30: Monks, Salt Lake City
5/31: The Bluebird, Denver
6/02: Saint Louis
* = w/ Spoon , The Walkmen
+ = w/ Lonely Dear, Guilemotts, Soko
Spoon will release their EP for Don’t You Evah on April 8, 2008! The disc features several remixes, and the original version of the song by The Natural History. Spoon have also announced dates across the Midwest & east coast in April with White Rabbits and The Walkmen!
1. Don’t You Evah
2. All I Got Is Me
3. Don’t You Evah (Ted Leo’s I Want It Hotter Remix)
4. Don’t You Evah (Diplo Mix)
5. Don’t You Evah (Matthew Dear Mix)
6. Don’t You Evah (DJ Amaze Mix)
7. Don’t You Evah (Doc Delay Fixerupper Mix)
8. Don’t You Ever (The Natural History version)
04.02.2008 Kansas City MO @ Uptown Theater #
04.03.2008 Davenport IA @ Capitol Theater #
04.04.2008 Chicago IL @ Vic Theatre #
04.05.2008 Cincinnati OH @ Bogart’s #
04.06.2008 Detroit MI @ Emerald Theatre #
04.07.2008 Pittsburgh PA @ Carnegie Music Hall #
04.09.2008 New York City NY @ Terminal 5
04.10.2008 Philadelphia PA @ Electric Factory %
04.12.2008 Norfolk VA @ Norva #
04.14.2008 Atlanta GA @ Center Stage Theatre of Atlanta #
04.16.2008 Ft. Lauderdale FL @ Revolution #
04.18.2008 Nashville TN @Vanderbilt Alumni Lawn &
04.19.2008 Indianapolis IN @ The Vogue Theatre
04.20.2008 Lawrence KS @ Liberty Hall
# = with The Walkmen & White Rabbits
% = with The Walkmen
& = with The Avett Brothers & Colbie Caillat
Everyone loves a good spoon, whether they prefer to be the big spoon or the little spoon. But staying in one position with your arm pinned under another person gets uncomfortable after a while, not to mention it can actually cause you some physical harm. Abnormal pressure is put on the muscles when you’ve got the weight of another person on top of them. The blood vessels and nerves are also strained under the extra pressure and can eventually result in a condition termed “radial neuropathy,” whose symptoms include weakness in wrist dorsiflexion and finger extension. Who knew spooning was could be so dangerous?
Brody’s description in Mallrats explains it perfectly:
“You know how when someone lays with their back to you and you lay behind them really close and you throw one arm over them? It’s called spooning. But you gotta put the other arm somewhere. You can either lay on it or just shove it in between your bodies. The only other option is to stretch it above your head. But sometimes my arm pops out of the socket when I’m sleeping like that. So, I was constantly searching for someplace to keep my arm while still laying close to her.”
Mehdi Mojtabvi has created the perfect answer: The Love Mattress. The middle of the mattress is solid, but at both ends there are foam slats that allow limbs to comfortably slip in so entwining with someone doesn’t have to become uncomfortable or strain any limbs that would normally get in the way. Mojtabvi won Red Dot Online’s Creative Design Concept for this little beauty. Too bad it’s still just a concept.
I refuse to make a Top 25 list for the albums of 2007. I honestly am not comfortable making music a competition in which bands are picked apart to decide which album sneaks past the others as the “Best of the Year.” More importantly than that however, who the fuck am I to decided who is the best of the year. That’s just my opinion, and nothing more. So instead PopWreck will be posting its thirty favorite albums of the year, praising those discs that didn’t leave our players. I hope you enjoy.
There is nothing sexier than a girl who has wit. Of course, having a potty-mouth that can drop the f-bomb in a manner that almost makes it seem cute, thanks to a British accent, doesn’t hurt either. But setting all attraction based qualities aside, Allen is really fucking catchy. Her songs not only get inside your head, they cling there with a white-knuckle grip on your brain, looping like an iPod stuck on repeat. This preggo princess puts her finger on the perfect way to write an album pieced together with poppy hooks. Look for Lily to have the staying power needed to be more than just a flash in the pan artist.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is the “shake your ass” album of the year. It really is that simple. I mean do the math. (Catchy horns) + (unpredictable drum patterns) x (creative lyrical content) > most of the albums this year. Spoon’s ability to balance their desires to do their own thing while remaining somewhat appealing to the masses of snobbish mainstream music critics is a feat within itself. Few bands can successfully reinvent themselves on every album, the way Spoon does on every song.
It appears that dating Zach Braff has really paid off. I mean, it seems that the only thing better for a musical career than being in tight with him, is sleeping with Winona Ryder. Hell, just ask The Shins. Anything he touches sells records. But lets not take any credit away from the artists themselves. Zach simply promotes his music taste, while they actually make great music. And Mandy Moore is no exception to this rule. Wild Hope sports a depth and maturity I was surprised to find from a girl who once rhymed her name with “candy.” The lyrics feature stories about growing up and leaving painful situations to find herself during a quarterlife crisis type setting. John Alegia’s production style fits Moore’s pitch perfect vocals, creating the same catchy story driven style of album he did with Rachael Yamagata (who makes a cameo on the album) on “Happenstance.” With alt-country guitar progressions and cello and piano mixed throughout, Mandy is responsible for one of the year’s most beautiful albums. That’s something I never thought I would say, and for that, good for her.
I know, I know! They’re selling records. They’ve changed their sound. They’re on the radio. They’re sell outs! I’ve heard it. Furthermore, I don’t care. There is enough room in my heart for Modest Mouse before and after Good News For People Who Love Bad News, and there is certainly room for the here at PopWreck. That said, this album is easily among the best of 2007. I mean, how can you argue with the addition of Smiths guitarist/songwriter Johnny Marr? And does radio play and album sells really undercut how complex and creative this album actually is? Not when the band is still producing album with similar qualities to Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, and Arcade Fire. As long as itchy guitar riffs and strained vocals remain in place, Modest Mouse will always be Modest Mouse. So let go of the broken heart that comes with sharing indie’s once best kept secret, and just be happy they’re still making music. It could be worse.
Beirut The Flying Cup Club
Beirut does something for me that very few bands ever do; they don’t remind me of anyone. Now, while I can compare them to bands with similar line-ups or instrumental structuring, their sound remains completely their own. What’s even more refreshing about this realization, is the fact that it’s very, very rare to find such originality in a group whose circular creative force pivots around an artist who is barely old enough to drink. Zach Condon is merely 21 years of age.
But none of that really matters of The Flying Cup Club. Condon was once quoted in an interview as saying that he wanted a sound with “big, glorious, over-the-top arrangements,” all of which are present and accounted for on the Beirut cut. Owen Pallett’s string arrangements add remarkable depth to the album, much the same way he has on the Arcade Fire albums and his own project, Final Fantasy.
The Flying Cup Club plays as more of one large track, rather than an album of smaller tracks. This bodes well for the bands ability to keep listeners focused on their product. This near flawless album will remain in my player for a while. I can promise you that.