Entries tagged with: The Figgs
by Bill Pearis
Arriving on the mid-'70s London scene as a rough'n'ready product of the pub-rock era -- an R&B- loving Nick Lowe with a sharper, more ambitious pen, as it were -- Parker predated Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, both of whom would second his illustration that the singer/songwriter idiom could be recharged, giving intelligent rock fans an excitable and energetic alternative to (slightly) older guardsmen like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Randy Newman and Van Morrison. - [Trouser Press]Last year, pub rock survivor Graham Parker reunited with his old band, The Rumour, to make Three Chords Good, their first album together in 31 years. You can stream the album below via Spotify.
Graham and the Rumour are currently touring the record in America and will be playing the previously mentioned NYC show at Concert Hall at the NY Society for Ethical Culture on Saturday (12/1, tickets) with openers The Figgs, and then The Paramount Theatre in Long Island on Sunday (12/2, tickets) which is a co-headling show with Ian Hunter. All tour dates are below.
Parker's had a long career, and had college radio hits with his 1988 album The Mona Lisa's Sister and has kept on going since. He may be about to get another moment in the spotlight as fan Judd Apatow tapped Parker to not only contribute songs to his new film, This Is 40, but also appear in the film. The comedy, a sideways sequel to Knocked Up (about Paul Rudd's character from that film) will be out in theaters December 21. The soundtrack was produced by Jon Brion and also features Norah Jones, Fiona Apple, Lindsay Buckingham, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Paul Simon, Wilco, Loudon Wainwright and more. Tracklist is below, as is the trailer for the film.
A list of tour dates, album stream, videos, and the This Is 40 trailer and soundtrack tracklist, below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: PS I Love You - Facelove (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: PS I Love You - 2012 (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Warpaint - Undertow (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Never Swallow Fruit Dub (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Never Follow Suit (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Heaven's On Fire (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Luyas - All New Tiny Head (MP3)
The Radio Dept
After a long weekend of overeating and couchdwelling and Kanye overload, I hope you are all nice and rested up for what is a pretty great week of shows. Here's a bunch of stuff I recommend.
Sweden's The Radio Dept are playing two NYC shows ahead of their first-ever real tour of the U.S. and Canada this week. All dates are listed below, but the NYC shows happen at Knitting Factory Tuesday night (11/30) and Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday (12/01). Both are sold out. This will be the band's first visit to our area since the 2009 NYC Popfest.
It's been a busy year for the somewhat unprolific Scandinavian trio. In addition to their fantastic third album, Clinging to a Scheme, which came out back in April, The Radio Dept. just released a new EP, Never Follow Suit, which takes the dub-heavy album title cut (also on the album) and makes it even dubbier (download both versions above), plus adds three new blissed out tracks.
The band are also finally gathering up all their non-LP singles, b-sides and EPs for a double-disc compilation, Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 which comes out early next year. A lot of their great early EPs are out of print (like 2003's Pulling Our Weight) and it'll be nice to have them all in one place. Double vinyl too for those with turntables. With music spanning from their first single through tracks off Clinging to a Scheme, it makes for a nice overview of the band...but still holds together really well. Little has changed in The Radio Dept.'s sound over the last eight years, but they are one of the best examples of "don't fix what ain't broke."
Abd if you're going to one of the two Radio Dept. shows, be sure to get there early to catch Montreal's Braids, who I just saw play in their hometown.
PS I Love You @ Pop Montreal (more)
While on the Subject of Bands I Saw Play in Canada Recently, one of biggest hits of this year's M for Montreal festival were PS I Love You:
Most everyone seemed in agreement that PS I Love You were the best band of the night. The duo from Kingston, Ontario are an indie Mutt and Jeff, kind of like the Pixies with a new wave back-end. Yelper-guitarist Paul Salnier actually pulls triple duty live, playing bass parts too via a Moog bass pedal setup which is pretty cool. Drummer Ben Nelson plays heavy on the high hat a la New Order's Stephen Morris which gives their songs danceability. Their record, Meet Me at the Muster Station, is good but, live, PS I Love You are a force.Maybe you saw PS I Love You at one of their many CMJ shows. They're back, playing The Rock Shop on Friday (12/03) and Pianos on Saturday (12/04) and both shows are with Florida's Holiday Shores. You should definitely catch them this time around. Two tracks from their debut album are at the top of this post. They're also giving away single "Starfield" over at their label's website through 12/02, so go get it (you gotta give them your info in return). All PS I Love You tour dates are at the bottom of this post.
Also visiting us this weekend are Los Angeles foursome Warpaint, who play The Studio @ Webster Hall on Wednesday (12/01) and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday (12/02). Their debut for Rough Trade, The Fool, has gotten mostly good reviews. It's a record that has really grown on me in the last month, hitting that sweet spot between dustbowl new age goth and early-'80s post punk. Not that those are mutually exclusive terms. Spindly guitars, groovy basslines, complex percussion, dreamlike vocals... it's somewhere betweeen Haena-era Banshees and Bat For Lashes with just a smidge of Stevie Nicks. Which is a good thing if you ask me. If Warpaint aren't on the next Twilight soundtrack somebody's not doing their job.
The band are good live too, with an especially nimble rhythm section. And if you didn't like the album the first time you heard it, I urge you go give it another chance to sink in. Check out "Undertow" above, and there are a couple live performance videos further down this post along with all upcoming Warpaint tour dates.
Badly Drawn Boy
Like a lot of people, I loved the first Badly Drawn Boy album The Hour of The Bewilderbeast, which rightly won the 2000 Mercury Music Prize (at least given its competition). Damon Gough then went to Los Angeles and lost his way almost immediately after. Good songs here and there, yes, but none of his subsequent albums have been anywhere near as solid or as sonically interesting as Bewilderbeast. Yet I always give the new album a chance.
I'm happy to report that the vibe of BDB's new album -- the mouthful of a title It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes -- returns some of his debut's homespun charm. It's his first since parting ways with EMI and starting his own label and you can sense the freedom this has brought across its 10 tracks. (Parts 2 and 3 are due at some point in the future.) There may not be anything as immediately catchy as "Everybody's Stalking", but you can tell this is music Gough wanted to make, not music he thought someone else wanted to hear. It's a nice album. Give up your email address and you can download a few new songs at BDB's website.
Badly Drawn Boy plays Le Poisson Rouge this Friday (12/03) and Saturday (12/04). Badly Drawn Boy shows have always been a bit of a crapshoot. Shows are notoriously long, ramshackle affairs with extended noodling, rambling stage banter and other digressions. Gough is the only Mercury Prize winner I have ever seen to actually take audience requests, including other people's songs he has never played. (Think twice before you yell "Freebird!" at a BDB show, you may end up regretting it). But there are always moments of brilliance in there too that make you glad you went, which is I guess Gough in a nutshell.
That's the main stuff this week. A few more shows of note, day-by-day, of things not covered above follows:
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1
Garagey soul band Fergus & Geronimo, who recently relocated here from Texas, headline a great night of music at Glasslands, that also features another bunch of recent transplants, former Arizonans The Young Friends. Also on the bill: Little Gold and We Are Country Mice.
Denver duo Tennis play Mercury Lounge, their first shows since a wave of hype packed Glasslands and Cake Shop back in August. Nice folks, but take away all that reverb that coats their recordings (as they do live) and the songs aren't quite as magical. The night's line-up is pretty good overall, with Family Portrait, Miracles of Modern Science and La Big Vic. Tennis also open for The Walkmen (and a slimmed-down School of Seven Bells) at Terminal 5 the next night.
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: The Big Pink - Velvet (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Big Pink - Dominoes (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell! - Cold Hands (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: JEFF the Brotherhood - Bone Jam (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: JEFF the Brotherhood - Heavy Damage (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sisters - Accolades (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sisters - Street Cars (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Coin Under Tongue - Junksmith (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dinowalrus - Electric Car, Gas Guitar (MP3)
Slow week my ass! The next four or five days are positively packed with shows, at least from a TWII standpoint. No time for small talk, let's get into it.
Tonight/Thursday's the big birthday celebration for Skippy who books The Bell House and Union Hall. I wish I could throw a party for myself and get bands like
Field Music (one of two American Performances in 2009) and Wye Oak to play it, not to mention a rare appearance by the mostly defunct '90s electropop band The Pulsars. Also, a band (or someone) called "Rumours" is on after Field Music play. Skippy has been tight-lipped about what this is, but my money is on some sort of all-star Fleetwood Mac cover band. (And if that's the case I'd bet you $20 it involves Carl Newman.) You're invited, too, to this "Improbable Birthday Concert" as tickets ($12, cheap!) are still available.
I've had the new Field Music album, Field Music (Measure), on repeat for the last couple days and it's another knockout from the Brewis brothers, 20 tracks that further refine their distinctive mix of baroque pop, nervy new wave, prog, krautrock and whatever else they're into at the time. It's a Field Music album, no doubt about it, but it's less buttoned up, more rhythm heavy ("Let's Write a Book" shows that one of them's been listening to Can) and willing to give anything a try. If you've never seen Field Music live before, you should definitely come out, the Brewises are shit-hot musicians as well (David is an especially impressive drummer). There used to be a lot of switching instruments when they were a trio, but now as a four-piece I wonder if that'll still happen.
We'll see tonight
Long-running Upstate New York power pop band The Figgs are are in town for two shows (or three if you count Saturday night in Staten Island): tonight/Thursday (12/3) at Bruar Falls with the Nouvellas and Friday (12/4) at Cake Shop. Both shows are with Detroit's The Sights who open for The Queers at Maxwell's on Saturday (The Queers play Southpaw tonight).
The Figgs are a band who I've always liked but never closely followed. Luckily, my friend Steve, who writes a genuine photocopied fanzine The Reynolds Report (now also available in convenient blog form) is arguably the foremost Figgs authority (and you'd be a fool to argue with him on this subject), so I asked him to write a little guest paragraph for this week's TWII:
The Figgs have been creating great power pop for two decades now, with no signs of stopping any time soon. Steeped in the tradition of The Replacements, Cheap Trick and Elvis Costello, their annual Christmas shows are always a great time to catch them as the coming of winter seems to kick the trio's playing up just a notch. Look for them to break out songs from their upcoming album (due out in April), a choice Christmas cover or two, a wide selection from their nine albums and their brand new 45 "Casino Hayes." I'm pretty sure it's the best song about a gambling-addicted drummer (um, their own) ever.The Figgs rock, so go see them! All dates below.
There's a competition for the power pop dollar this weekend. If you're not going to the Figgs on Friday (12/4), it's probably because you're going to see Sloan at the Bell House. That's where I'll be. My love of these Canadians is no secret, and even when they've made a less-than-totally-awesome album they're always worth seeing in concert, one of my favorite live bands of the '00s. (I'm pretty sure I've seen them at least once a year since 2001.) They've got a new five-song digital-only EP, Hit & Run, which is pretty darn good. Chris Murphy contributes two tracks, including the excellent "Take it Upon Yourself," and the rest of the band each gets one. Tickets ($17.50) are still available. They play with fellow Torontonians, the lovely and talented trio Magneta Lane, and locals Deleted Scenes.
And wait there's more on Friday! Speaking of Canadian, maybe you happened across one of the 37 reports I recently filed from this year's M for Montreal festival. One of that city's more exciting underground bands, Red Mass, make their American debut at Live With Animals Gallery in Williamsburg (same address as Monster Island). Their brand-new EP on Montreal label Semprini is a nice chunk of psych-garage and they definitely put on a good show. The big question is how big a Mass will they be? I've seen them twice -- once there was 10 of them, the second time only four. Safe bet would be somewhere in between. (Canadians love a good excuse to come party in NYC.) If I wasn't already spoken for, I'd definitely being going to see them. Golden Triangle are also on the bill. Singer Choyce told me their might be a house party gig on Saturday too, so look out for that.
The Big Pink
Oh crap, there's still more. The Big Pink, who are making a stink in the UK, are on their first major tour of the U.S., stopping at Bowery Ballroom tonight (12/3) and Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow (12/4). Haven't seen them live, but their album A Brief History Of Love is a nice slice of electro-shoegaze that reminds a lot of 30-somethings of early-'90s band Chapterhouse. The anthemic, fist-pumper "Dominos" might not stand the test of time but as an of-the-moment signifier, it's one of 2009's more memorable indie singles. You can download it at the top of this post. I hope they use lots and lots of dry ice and strobes. Crystal Antlers and Von Haze open both shows.
Pants Yell! @ The Bell House on 11/14 (more by Tim Griffin)
If you missed them when they played the Slumberland 20 party at the Bell House a few weeks back, you can download the audio from that show, and you can catch Boston's Pants Yell! at Bruar Falls on Saturday night which might be the last time they ever play the NYC area as they've vowed to break up next year. They'd be going out on a good note if that holds true, as their new album on Slumberland, Received Pronunciation, is another charming slice of deceptively gentle guitar pop. Pants Yell! rock more live than you might expect, they're drummer in particular is kind of a beast on the kit. They also know their indie rock history, from the Pastels and Felt to the Aislers Set, Unrest and beyond. The cover art, complete with a faux Japanese Obi strip, was done by Unrest/Teenbeat/Air Miami/Flin Flon/Cotton Candy maestro Mark Robinson.
JEFF the Brotherhood @ Glenn Danzig's House in Nashville (more by Paul Birman)
BV faves JEFF the Brotherhood, who've had a pretty good 2009, are back in town for the zillionth time this year (seems like they're here as much as Nashville) but that's okay, you don't really tire of their awesome power. Have you heard their album, Heavy Days? It's great. I know I tend to like the cardigan pop, but riffs and grooves this intense can not be denied. And they are just the best live. The vinyl of Heavy Days just got a second pressing with a new back cover, and there's also a new single, "Heavy Damage," which you can pick up at the merch table. The play Saturday (12/5) at Bowery Ballroom opening for Ted Leo (sold out), and then again on Monday (12/7) at Mercury Lounge for what they say is their last show of '09.
The Monday show is solid as a rawk. (Did I just write that? I'm doing this super late at night.) Also on the bill are Death by Audio's Sisters (noise pop backed by a foreboding amp monolith) and Coin Under Tongue (old school riff-heavy hard rock), plus Dinowalrus (kitchen sink psych not unlike early Flaming Lips). Sure it's a Monday, you're tired, but this bill is like aura caffeine. Show's eight bucks and tickets are still available. It's a bit weird to have JEFF in town and not playing Death By Audio, but if they can tear up Pianos on a Thursday afternoon (as they did at the BV day party during CMJ), they can destroy Mercury on a Monday night.
Dinowalrus, fronted by Titus Andronicus guitarist Pete Feigenbaum, are also at Union Pool tonight (12/3) with Dan Friel and others.. The MP3 on top of this post is from their debut album "%" which comes out on Kanine in January.
And finally, Brooklyn indiepop mainstays The Besties are calling it quits. I know, it's sad. Here it is in their words, straight from MySpace:
The Besties are officially done. As happens with many awesome relationships, stuff happens and things get hard, and so you end it and remain friends and all that junk. It's like that. We guess? Well, Kelly moved to Asheville, and Frank renewed his vows with the city of Boston. And other stuff. So there's that.Those two shows are Friday (12/4) at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ and then their last-ever performance will be Sunday (12/6) at Bruar Falls, which is made extra special because Bunnygrunt are coming in from St. Louis just to play this farewell show.
Here's the good news! We are playing two last shows around NYC in December, and we plan on going out with a serious bang. So sell some CDs (keep the Lemonheads ones), bodily fluids or organs for plane ticket money, start hitchhiking, do whatever you need to do - let's party!
Like the Besties, I must now say goodbye. But just for this week. Flyers and applicable tour dates follow...