Entries tagged with: Big Star
Lucero's new album, All A Man Should Do, will be out September 18 via ATO and the band have shared another song from it, a cover of Big Star's "I'm in Love with a Girl." They recorded it at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the original was made, and features backup vocals from Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, as well as The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (who played in latter-day lineups fof Big Star). Lucero frontman Ben Nichols told us about the cover when Andrew Sacher interviewed him earlier this month:
With the last two albums we had gone deeper and deeper into our Memphis roots and influences. We had the Sun Studios boogie piano and the Stax Records B-3 organ and the horns. We had a blast. With the new record it was time to focus on other influences. This is the only album I've played only acoustic guitar on. So right from the start it was going to have a more subdued sound and a lighter touch. That happened to fit the mood of the songs I was writing. And the Big Star cover fit in there perfectly. I've said in other interviews that this was the record the 15 year old Ben would've loved to have recorded in 1989. A lot of what I was listening to way back then influenced this record. And "I'm in Love With a Girl" has that same innocence and that same feel. AND there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity of having Jody [Stephens] and Ken [Stringfellow] and Jon [Auer] do harmony parts. They were all in town and we made it work somehow and the result is unlike anything on any other Lucero record.Listen to Lucero's Big Star cover below.
by Andrew Sacher
photo: Lucero at Riot Fest Chicago 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
Lucero will release their new album All A Man Should Do on September 18 via ATO. After two of the band's biggest-sounding horn-filled records, much of the new one sees them returning to a softer sound. It's actually the first album in their 15+ year career where frontman Ben Nichols played only acoustic guitar. We already posted first single "Went Looking For Warren Zevon's Los Angeles," which is a great example of that softer/acoustic sound, though new single "Can't You Hear Them Howl" brings the horns back and more closely recalls the last two records. Listen to that one below.
I recently spoke with Ben about the new record, their upcoming Sailor Jerry-presented tour, looking back on lyrics he wrote 15 years ago, True Detective, the unlikely Lucero sample A$AP Rocky used on his new album, and more. You can read that interview below.
The band's tour hits NYC on October 8 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show are still available. All dates are listed below.
photo: Sondre Lerche @ Bowery Ballroom, 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Sondre Lerche spends most of his time in Brooklyn these days but was back in Norway last month where he appeared on talk show Trygdekontoret, performing a solo acoustic cover of Big Star's "Thirteen" (a popular choice recently). You can watch that below.
In June, Sondre will play a few East Coast shows, hitting Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and finally Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 30. Tickets for that show go on sale today (4/1) at noon.
All dates are listed, along with the "Thirteen" video and a Rdio stream of Sondre's 2014 album Please, below...
photos by PSquared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
Tobias Jesso Jr @ Baby's All Right, 3/27/2015
Canadian sensation Tobias Jesso Jr played two NYC shows last week, coming off his well-reviewed solo debut, Goon, and appearances at SXSW. We caught his show Friday (3/27) at Baby's All Right, which was as packed as I've ever seen it, and pictures from his set are in this post.
Jesso's album is steeped in a Laurel Canyon retro sound, and he's not denying those singer-songwriter roots. His label has even made a magazine ad that looks straight out of Rolling Stone or Playboy in 1972 which were in turn made into t-shirts you could buy at the shows. You can spend his whole show picking his songs apart if you want -- there's Carol King, there's Harry Nilsson, there's Randy Newman, there's the Cheers theme song -- which is even easier to do when it's just a man and an electric piano. (He played a couple songs on guitar as well.) But Jesso is a pretty charming guy with self-effacing humor, and the heart-on-sleeve lyrics clearly connect with his audience who were either singing along loudly (like on "How Could You Babe") or pin-drop quiet. Like him or not, he's gonna be playing much bigger places next time.
In addition to his own songs, Jesso did a couple covers as well -- "Georgia on My Mind" and Big Star's "Thirteen." Setlist and more pictures from Baby's All Right (including some of opener Okay Kaya), below...
Producer and engineer John Fry, who founded Memphis' Ardent Studios and Ardent Records and worked on all three Big Star albums, died yesterday (12/18). Fry had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and suffered a "cardiac event." He was 69:
It was Fry who once said that, "Your moods are affected by your surroundings. I think there is something that operates in Memphis...and at Ardent. I can't explain what it is. You come record here, something good happens to you."Rest in peace, John.
That indeed happened for scores of artists over the 40-plus years since Fry -- who died on Thursday in Memphis -- opened his doors. Ardent hosted sessions by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, ZZ Top, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan, Al Green, the Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, the White Stripes, the Replacements, Three 6 Mafia, scores of Stax Records artists, Cat Power, M.I.A. and, of course, Big Star, who Fry mentored and made three albums with, and whose members used Ardent "kind of like a school" according to the group's drummer Jody Stephens, who's now general manager of Ardent Music LLC. -[Billboard]
Americana powerpop band End of Love existed in the early '00s in NYC. Original members Jay Deegan, Jennifer Groves, and Irwin Menken reformed the band with a couple additions you may recognize: Wilco's Nels Cline on guitar and Big Star's Jody Stephens on drums. The band's forthcoming new album, Ghosts on the Radio, was recorded in Memphis' Ardent Studios and also features appearances from Wilco's John Striatt from Lee Ranaldo (Menken spent time in Lee's band who has opened for Wilco whose members have also played with Jody in Golden Smog). You can stream "100 Years" from it below.
The new lineup of End of Love will be making their live debut in NYC on July 17 at The Bowery Electric with The Tall Pines, Margo Valiante and Chris Lind on the bill as well. Tickets are on sale now.
That Bowery Electric show is one of a few coming for NYC duo The Tall Pines whose new EP, Black Ribbon, is out next week (6/24). They play a show as part of the Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival on August 19 with Sweetback Sisters, and other places listed below..
Meanwhile, Nels Cline, who just the other day performed with the Les Paul Trio at Iridium and at the Ornette Coleman tribute in Prospect Park, kicks off a North American tour with Julian Lage this week. The tour begins Friday (6/20) at Single Cut Beersmiths in Queens.
Dates are listed, along with a stream of Black Ribbons' title track, below...
Big Star tribute @ Summersage (photo via @brunobocchese)
We didn't get the album in order, although the exact ordering of the album has always been a bit ambiguous anyway. One dissenting voice in the crowd was complaining loudly that no-one was mentioning Alex Chilton, the perfect reply came from the stage via Django Haskins (who among performing was the designated announcer) who said "everything we're doing tonight is about Alex Chilton". In essence, what could have been an event laboured with sentimentality was dealt with love, everyone (performers and audience) knew why we were there, because Chilton's songs have touched us, we got a few nice anecdotes during the evening but the songs speak for themselves.Big Star's Third: An Orchestrated Performance happened as part of Central Park Summerstage on Sunday (6/30) with Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, the dB's Chris Stamey, Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue, Mitch Easter, Pete Yorn, Ken Stringfellow, as well as only original surviving Big Star member, drummer Jody Stehpens, and more. Did you go to the show? How was it?
One highlight of the evening saw one of my favourite singers, Sharon Van Etten (who also lives in my neighbourhood, I keep hoping I'll bump into her one day!) deliver a beautiful duet with Ken Stringfellow on Dream Lover. - [Some Other Sucker's Parade]
If you're looking for more Big Star, the new documentary on the band, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, opens in NYC today (7/3) at the IFC Center. Jody Stephens will be at the 7:45 showing (tickets) for a post-screening Q&A, and will also introduce the film at the 10:10 PM screening (tickets). The filmmakers, who will also be around tonight, will participate in a post-screening Q&A at the 5:15 showing on July 4 (tickets). The film, which is also available on demand, opens Friday (7/5) in Los Angeles, with additional cities to follow. All playdates are below.
Forty years ago a mob of rock critics gathered for a convention cooked up by a promoter for the Memphis band Big Star, which played a praised set. That image of a cherished, practically mythic concert for an adoring and grateful few helps lay down the mood for "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me." A well-sourced account of a perfect, broken dream, Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori's slightly shaggy documentary captures what it's like to discover music so good it seems as if it were made just for you.You can watch a trailer for the film below.
photos by PSquared Photography
Wilco w/ Tommy Stinson // Wilco w/ Yo La Tengo
Wilco have been pretty busy this year. After playing Bonnaroo on June 14, they made their way to North Adams, MA this past weekend (6/21-23) for their own Solid Sound Festival. Wilco themselves performed day 1 and day 2, and we caught them the first day when they did an all-covers set (except for "Kingpin") with a number of special guests.
Yo La Tengo joined them on a cover of YLT's "Tom Courtenay" and during the encore for The Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner." Replacements/Guns N Roses bassist Tommy Stinson joined them on a cover of The Replacements' "Color Me Impressed." And Brooklyn indie pop band Lucius appeared for covers of of The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," Abba's "Waterloo," (there's a transition) and The Band's "The Weight." They also did a couple Big Star covers, Pavement's "Cut Your Hair," Grateful Dead's "Ripple," Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun," Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," and many more. Pictures from the show are in this post. The full setlist and some videos are below, and you can also download audio of the entire set at NYC Taper.
Wilco have no plans to slow down this summer. They're about to kick off a tour with Bob Dylan (who they also covered at Solid Sound), which comes to the NYC-area for four shows in July. Most of the tour (and three of those NYC-area dates) are with My Morning Jacket, except the Jones Beach (7/27) show, which is with Beck (who also plays Prospect Park in August).
On day 1 of Solid Sound, we also caught a set from the reunited legendary gospel funk group The Relatives. Pictures of their set, more of Wilco's, and the Wilco setlist/videos, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Kurt Vile at Bowery Ballroom in May (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Kurt Vile released his new album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, this past April. It's a fantastic double album which takes the style he perfected on 2011's Smoke Ring For My Halo to new, ambitious heights without ever overdoing it or dragging. If you haven't listened, I couldn't recommend it enough.
Kurt just released a video for the third single from that album, "KV Crimes." The video was directed by WFMU host Tom Scharpling (who has also directed videos for Ben Gibbard, Nude Beach, and Aimee Mann) and features lots of people clapping, singing along, and waving KV flags as Kurt is paraded through his hometown of Philadelphia. Check it out below.
Philly has also given their hometown hero another honor as well. Matablog reports...
By mayoral decree, August 28 will officially be Kurt Vile Day in Philadelphia! On that date, Kurt will give a free solo performance in City Hall Courtyard at 5:30pm for the season finale of the City Hall Presents summer concert series. Prior to his performance, the City of Philadelphia will present Kurt with the Liberty Bell Award, the highest honor the City can bestow upon one of its citizens. This award is given only to native Philadelphians, and is presented in recognition of outstanding professional achievements and civic generosity.Way to go, Kurt.
As mentioned, Kurt Vile will be in NYC for the free 4Knots Music Festival on June 29 which takes place on Pier 17 at South Street Seaport. The rest of that lineup is also great, and includes names like The Men, Parquet Courts, Marnie Stern, Reigning Sound, White Lung, and more. Show starts at 1 PM.
The next day (6/30), Kurt will hang around NYC for the previously announced Big Star's Third tribute show on Central Park Summerstage. In addition to KV, that show will also include vocalists Sharon Van Etten, Marhsall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Reeve Carney, Jonathan Donahue (Mercury Rev), and Beck Stark backed by a band that includes Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (The dB's), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), Charles Cleaver, and Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony). That show starts at 7 PM, is open to all ages, and is totally free.
Kurt also recently performed live on KEXP. You can watch a video of that performance, the new music video for "KV Crimes," and the list of updated Kurt Vile dates, below...
Summerstage has just announced its 2013 season. Highlights include:
Flatbush Zombies / The Underachievers (6/4, Red Hook Park)Summerstage's whole 2013 calendar is below.
Ty Segall's new band Fuzz (6/6, Red Hook Park)
The Zombies/Django Django (6/15, Central Park)
Femi Kuti/Sinkane (6/23, Central Park)
Members of REM, THe dB's, Rosebuds and more in celebration of Big Star's Third (6/30, Central Park)
She & Him / Camera Obscura (7/6, Central Park)
Black Sheep / Das EFX / Marley Marl (7/18, Queensbridge Park)
Lianne La Havas / LP / Quadron (7/27, Central Park)
Ben Howard / Michael Kiwanuka (7/28, Central Park)
Pete Rock vs. DJ Premier (8/27, East River Park)
Mac DeMarco (8/28, East River Park)
Veronica Falls at South Street Seaport in June (more by Amanda Hatfield)
UK indie pop outfit Veronica Falls, who are touring in 2013 with great new band Cheatahs, just spoke to us about their ten favorite things of 2012 music, film, and TV-wise. It was singer/guitarist James Hoare, specifically, who sent his list over, and he really likes Girls. He's got the single for "My Ma" by the now-defunct band, the solo album by frontman Christopher Owens (which actually comes out next year, but we'll let it slide), AND the television show of the same name all in his top 10 list. He's also got fellow indie poppers Mac DeMarco and Woods, and reveals his classic rock soft spot by including the new Rolling Stones song.
James' full list is below...
"First-time director Elgin James has had a very unique journey to filmmaking - from spending time in the foster care system to forming the notorious FSU gang to serving a year in a maximum-security prison. Homeless as a teenager, Elgin James was a fixture in Boston's hardcore punk scene, helping found a national street gang that targeted neo-Nazi skinheads and drug dealers. He has now put his violent past behind him with his striking directorial debut Little Birds.Back in 2010 we pointed out that FSU "street gang" founder Elgin James, pictured with all his muscles above, is now a filmmaker with a movie called Little Birds. It played at Sundance 2011 (as the synopsis above points out). It's now August 2012 and we can report that Little Birds is opening in NY and LA theaters on the 29th of this month, but you don't need to wait that long to see it... BrooklynVegan is proud to present a FREE screening of Little Birds at Knitting Factory Brooklyn on Monday, August 20 (that's the flyer up above). The free screening starts at 8pm, and is first come, first served (we've rarely ever had to turn anyone away).
15 year-old Lily (Juno Temple) and her best friend Alison (Kay Panabaker) live on the shores of the Salton Sea among rundown trailer parks, rotting household items, drained pools and decaying streets. What was once an oasis for the wealthy and famous has become a near ghost town, leaving its residents fighting for breath in the deep end. Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker shine in this mesmerizing coming-of-age story of finding escape and innocence lost. The film was one of the most buzzed about premieres at Sundance last year and features an all-star cast including Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth."
The soundtrack for the film is out digitally this Tuesday, August 14, via Lakeshore Records. It features four original tracks from the film's director Elgin James, as well as tracks by Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Linée, and Big Star. Pick up your copy at iTunes, but first listen to Elgin James and the Suicide Gang's "I Will Die Young", one of the album's songs that is making its premiere in this post. You can stream it, along with the film's trailer, below...
photos by Lori Baily & Ted Barron
DOWNLOAD: Tift Merritt & Norman Blake - Thirteen (Big Star) (MP3)
Tift Merritt w/ Matthew Sweet & friends @ the Big Star Tribute in March (by Lori)
Tift Merritt's is now on tour with Stephen Kellogg, and though tickets are unfotunately sold-out for their show at City Winery (May 6th), she has added another NYC show and this time it's FREE. Tift Merritt will play Madison Square Park on June 22nd at 6PM after her tour with Kellogg, but before she heads out on a string of UK dates with Greg Allman. All tour dates are below.
Add the June 22nd free show to the growing list of free shows happening Madison Square Park this summer. Another is the music portion of the Big Apple BBQ.
Tift Merritt joined an all-star cast that stood up in praise of the late great Alex Chilton (of Big Star) at Baruch College on March 26th, a shade more than one year after he suffered a fatal heart attack. Big Star's Third was the focus of the show, and it featured a revolving cast of musicians on vocals....
"Stipe's performance of "Kanga Roo" was at once fragile and unbowed, while his R.E.M. cohort, singer-bassist Mike Mills, found the holiday in the Christmas song "Jesus Christ." Alternative-country singer Tift Merritt was a vital female addition, showing that the vengeful kick of "You Can't Have Me" could go both ways. Other voices included Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo ("O, Dana," "Take Care"), Norman Blake of the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub ("Nightime"), Matthew Sweet ("Big Black Car") and Django Haskins of the group The Old Ceremony, who carried the bleak weight of "Holocaust" with a wise plain poise." [Rolling Stone]During the encore Tift performed "Thirteen" with Norman Blake. A recording of that cover from the show is avaialble for download above. A set of pictures from the show are in this post. More of them, with all of Tift's tour dates, are below...
It looks like the above-pictured limited edition "BIG STAR - Third - Test Pressing Edition - Box Set" (1 In Every 300 Sets Will Contain Actual Test Pressings From The 70s.) is the most expensive/most bid on item right now on Ebay from this past Saturday's Record Store Day. People are trying to get $200 for them, which is a bargain compared to how much someone wants for one of the Arcade Fire Coachella balls (note: if you recognize their eBay item description, that's because it's copy & pasted right out of the BV post).
Ted Leo & Michael Stipe @ IFC House during SXSW
"Big Star's third album, Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album was never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations. That changed in December 2010, when an all-star band unearthed the original scores, assembled an orchestra and performed Big Star's Third at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Performers that night included Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (the dB's) - the creative catharsis they experienced prompted plans for a historic concert in New York City.Tickets are still on sale for the Saturday show. More details including the full setlist with performers noted, and other show details, AND a SXSW video of Ted Leo interviewing Michael Stipe (Michael didn't perform in Austin, though he did take part in a last minute live-streamed Japan benefit telethon) (Ted did play SXSW) at IFC House last week, below...
Just announced is Michael Stipe of R.E.M. who'll join a mind-boggling array of indie rock all-stars to recreate Big Star's Third at Mason Hall at Baruch College on March 26th. Stipe will perform one of Chilton's most iconic songs, "Kanga Roo". The show's line-up of songs/performers is unveiled today as well (see below)." [press release]
"Big Star's third album, Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album was never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations. That changed in December 2010, when an all-star band unearthed the original scores, assembled an orchestra and performed Big Star's Third at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Performers that night included Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (the dB's) - the creative genesis they experienced prompted plans for a historic concert in New York City.BIG STAR THIRD is happening at Baruch Performing Arts Center (at Baruch College) in Mason Hall (17 Lexington) on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Tickets are on presale now (password: Alex), and going on general sale Thursday at noon. More details with the lineup listed out, below...
On March 26th, a mind-boggling array of indie rock all-stars will gather to perform Big Star's Third at Mason Hall. Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Tift Merritt, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Will Rigby (the dB's), Matthew Sweet, Chris Stamey (the dB's), Jody Stephens (Big Star) and M. Ward (She & Him) will be joined by The Lost in the Trees Orchestra with Jane Scarpantoni, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Brett Harris, Sidney Dixon and Matt McMichaels to recreate the original scores and breathe life into a bittersweet album that has impacted generations of musicians. Some very special guests will be announced in the days to come. As the evening unfolds, Chilton and Stephen's musical ideas that were far ahead of their time 35 years ago will resonate in the hands of a collective of sympathetic, top-notch musicians. "We have been trying to create a concert piece that can have a life in years to come, trying to keep the spirit of the music and make it come across with the right emotions live," Stamey told Indy Week. "There's something about this record that connects with my generation, and apparently many generations."
The assemblage will perform Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety - fans can expect additional Big Star and Chris Bell songs as well. "It's easier as time passes to revisit that album because it came out of such a dark period," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told the Raleigh News and Observer. "There were brilliant moments in the studio, especially Carl Marsh's string arrangements, which really take it to a whole other world. But it could be emotionally difficult to watch certain things happen. I was so close to it at the time that I could not see what it was.""
Pete Seeger @ Clearwater Festival 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
City Winery will be hosting a three-night oil spill relief benefit, dubbed Reclaim The Coast, on July 23rd, 25th and 30th. The lineups vary for each...
July 23rd: Pete Seeger, Richard Barone, James Maddock, Elysian Fields, Mike Doughty, Lucy Wainwright Roche, The Roches, Julie Gold, Peter Yarrow (More TBA)Tickets for all three are on sale.
July 25th: Ian Axel, Ed Romanoff, The Madison Square Gardeners, Paula Valstein, The Spring Standards, The Wellspring, Rich Pagano (More TBA)
July 30th: Marshall Crenshaw, Martin Rivas, Christina Courtin, Among the Oak & Ash, Jay Nash (More TBA)
They'll also have a packed house for "Channeling Chilton - A night of Alex Chilton's Music" on July 28th. The confirmed lineup includes Yo La Tengo, Marshall Crenshaw, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Doug Garrison, Rene Coman, Alan Vega, Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Fran Kowalski, Chris Stamey, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn), Jay Proctor (of Jay & the Techniques), Bill Cunningham, Gary Talley, Terry Manning, Evan Dando, Jesse Malin, Danny Kroha (of The Gories). In light of the recent passing of founding Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, it should be an emotional night.
Tickets are on sale.
More info on the Gulf Coast relief effort are below...
The sad news came [July 19th], via a tweet from Ken Stringfellow of The Posies: "Another sad loss for Big Star fans as Andy Hummel passes away after long illness." Over on DC9, in a morning must-read, our own Jesse Hughey confirms it: Hummel, founding bassist of the band that influenced the likes of R.E.M., the Replacements and myriad other power-pop comers, died after a two-year struggle with cancer at his home in Weatherford. The longtime Lockheed-Martin engineer was 59, and his death comes but four months after singer-songwriter Alex Chilton's. [Dallas Observer]At SXSW earlier this year, Hummel played at the Alex Chilton tribute show and appeared on a Big Star panel. A picture and videos from those are below...
photos by Ryan Barkan
Just as everyone at the SXSW Music Festival was finding their groove Wednesday, news of the death of Alex Chilton hit. "Austin's in shock about Alex," read one of the countless social media memes. On Saturday, heartsick Big Star fans got to hear Chilton songs performed by a cast of guest musicians sitting in on the regularly scheduled Big Star showcase, held down by the remaining members of the band's current incarnation, Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow and Jody Stephens...The full setlist with more pictures and a video from the show, below...
But first a letter from Chilton's widow, Laura, who the 59-year-old musician had only recently married, was read by publicist Heather West [video below]...
...Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets lumbered through "In the Street," otherwise known as the theme song for That 70's Show. M. Ward of She & Him croaked an elegant "Big Black Car." Mike Mills of R.E.M. found his religion with "Jesus Christ." John Doe of X dispatched a crystal clear "I'm in Love with a Girl." And in what was the night's biggest surprise, Sondre Lerche provided an intense, harmonic "The Ballad of El Goodo."
And that's how it went for the entire hour and a half, with guest musicians including Chris Stamey, Chuck Prophet, Evan Dando, Amy Speace, the Watson Twins, Susan Cowsill, and original Big Star member Andy Hummel (who came in from Lithuania for the show) all getting a chance to pay tribute to Chilton. A rendition of the classic "Thirteen" was one of the final songs of the night, the lyrics of which encapsulated not only the special moment that was taking place in the storied Antone's blues club, but the entire SXSW Music Festival: "Rock & roll is here to stay/ Come inside where it's okay." [Rolling Stone]
Big Star @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple in November (more by Lori Baily)
Alex Chilton, the pop hitmaker, cult icon and Memphis rock iconoclast best known as a member of 1960s pop-soul act the Box Tops and the 1970s power-pop act Big Star, died Wednesday at a hospital in New Orleans.Such sad news that rippled through Austin last night. The Saturday night show may instead turn into a tribute, but nothing announced yet. Big Star played Brooklyn in November. RIP Alex.
The singer, songwriter and guitarist was 59.
"I'm crushed. We're all just crushed," said John Fry, owner of Memphis' Ardent Studios and a longtime friend of Chilton's. "This sudden death experience is never something that you're prepared for. And yet it occurs."
Chilton had been complaining about his health earlier Wednesday, Fry said. He was taken by paramedics from his home to the emergency room but could not be revived.
Chilton and Big Star had been scheduled to play Saturday as part of the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. [Commercial Appeal]
photos by Lori Baily
Happy Holidays! I take on more than I can handle. That results in a lot of unposted content. In the name of catching up, while also taking it easy during this final week of the year, here's some of that lost material.
Where was Alex Chilton on Wednesday night? At the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, he was onstage, more or less, standing at the far right, sometimes even near his microphone (and sometimes even using it). But as has been the case on and off for the last couple of decades, he was frustratingly hard to find.Kurt Vile opened for Big Star at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on November 18th. More pictures and the setlist from the Scenic-presented show, (especially sorry for the delay on this post) below...
It was the first New York show in several years for Big Star, Mr. Chilton's band, still plying the songs that for a few years in the early 1970s helped shape what power pop was to become, even if it was coolly received at the time. (An impressive Big Star boxed set, "Keep an Eye on the Sky," was released on Rhino in September.)
But memories are made in a variety of ways. The resurrection of Big Star in the early 1990s cemented its legend, and also the lineup: Mr. Chilton, who also played guitar, and the drummer Jody Stephens from the original group, rounded out by the guitarist Jon Auer and the bassist Ken Stringfellow, who were enlisted more than 15 years ago to fill out the band during its first comeback and never left. [NY Times]
DOWNLOAD: Deerhunter - Carve Your Initials Into the Walls of the Night (mediafire)
Atlas Sound @ MHOW in October (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
It's one of two dates currently booked for the group. The other is a February 26th show in San Francisco.
Over the weekend (12/12), Bradford posted a 2005 Deerhunter CD-R, Carve Your Initials Into the Walls of the Night, as a free download on his blog. He writes: "It features only me and Moses and is very experimental in nature. This was during our "tape phase" when we would often play shows as a duo (or as a trio with colin) playing only tape machines and vocal loops." The recording is linked above. Its tracklist, more info, Bradford's favorite albums of 2009, and tour dates below...
Kurt Vile on WFMU @ UCB - Oct 7, 2009 (notladj)
"Kurt opened the night with two solo numbers that haven't appeared on any record, to my knowledge. I recognized "Peeping Tomboy" from one of the Ray Concepcion videos from Kurt Vile's last Silent Barn show, which I've posted below. If I had any doubt that Kurt Vile has any more good material left in him after this new album, "Peeping Tomboy" puts my worries to rest. With the October 6th release of Childish Prodigy, it was no surprise that Kurt Vile and the Violators mostly performed songs from that album. However, he performed a couple of songs off Constant Hitmaker, and they were given the Violators treatment. Of course, KV and the Violators tackled "Freeway," the song that Kurt once referred to as their Billboard chart hit, "right above 'Like a Rolling Stone.'" By far, the live version of "Freeway" is my favorite, mostly due to J Turbo's added harmonica part. No "My Sympathy" this night, but Kurt said he would definitely play it at his next NYC show. I will be there." [LAMIMAB]That review of from Kurt Vile's show at Mercury Lounge last night (10/7). A few hours earlier he played a set at UCB that was aired live on WFMU (that's where the picture was taken).
Kurt Vile and the Violators are now on tour, but they'll be back soon. They were just added as opener on the November 18th Big Star show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Some tickets are still available.
A bunch of videos below...
Another rarities compilation that stands out this week is Local Currency, an album that collects obscure tracks by singer-songwriter Franklin Bruno from 1992-1998. As an added bonus, buyers of Local Currency receive a download coupon for a covers EP of Franklin Bruno songs, with contributions by Lou Barlow, Laura Cantrell, Mac McCaughan, Jennifer O'Connor, and Mecca Normal.
The 7-disc Velvet Underground box set of 7"'s, The Singles 1966-1969 is incredibly tempting, even if I already own most of the songs in multiple formats.
New music I can recommend this week includes The Dodos' Time To Die, Grand Archives' Keep In Mind Frankenstein, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's ...And The Horse You Rode in On, Simon Joyner's Out Into the Snow, and Slaraffenland's We're On Your Side.
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir are playing the Bloodshot BBQ in Brooklyn later this month.
What new music can you recommend this week? What's on your shopping list?
"Big Star served as a Rosetta stone for a whole generation of musicians." -Peter Buck, R.E.M.
Rhino is releasing Big Star's 4-disc boxed set which includes 98 tracks spanning from 1968-1975. This power pop band created music that turned artists as diverse as Cheap Trick, R.E.M., and The Replacements into Big Star fans. The 4-disc boxed set, Keep an Eye on the Sky, includes extensive liner notes, rare and never-before-seen photos, and insightful essays about the cult of Big Star and the band's history. These influential tracks will be released September 15, 2009.I'm not sure what Record Store Day has to do with anything, but that's a picture of the 7" above.
Also, on RECORD STORE DAY, a special Limited edition Big Star 7" Vinyl will be available. Only 3,500 vinyl will be pressed. These 7" vinyl will only be available at independent records on September 5th.
Big Star is:
Jon AuerJon and Ken, both members of the Posies, joined in 1993. The Posies recently got back together to perform "Frosting on the Beater" at Gramercy Theatre and The Bell House. Ken often plays solo shows, like when he opened for Robyn Hitchcock at the Bell House recently. Jon also plays solo shows, like the one he has scheduled at The Bell House on September 15th with Fountains of Wayne.
Alex Chilton (original member)
Jody Stephens (original member)
Alex Chilton still plays shows too, often in Hoboken, and sometimes with The Box Tops. In 2005 he survived Katrina. Posts about him are usually accompanied by comments like "Big Star please!"...
Tickets are on sale for a Wednesday, November 18th Big Star show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple.
Videos from a show Big Star played in Hyde Park in July, with a picture of the Rhino box set and the tracklist, below...