Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Live Music in Hoboken: Lemonheads Tonight; Ian Hunter & the Baseball Project Sunday; Thermals & Alejandro Ecovedo Next Week; More

Ian Hunter and band playing "Cleveland Rocks" in London, 2004.

There's been a lot of good live music in Hoboken recently, and there's more to come. Here's a look at what's coming up, including some shows in the next few months (which I'm listing because they're in the small confines of Maxwell's, and may sell out well in advance of the show date). Note: there are many other shows at Maxwell's besides the ones I've listed here, which are shows that may be particularly popular because they are rare small-club gigs for some of the artists.

Tonight, April 28 - The Lemonheads/The Canon Logic - Maxwell's, 8:30 p.m., $20

Sun., May 1 - Hoboken Arts & Music Festival: Ian Hunter & the Rant Band (former leader of Mott the Hoople) - 4:30 p.m.; The Baseball Project (featuring Peter Buck & Scott McCaughey of R.E.M., Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate, and Linda Pitmon of The Pretty Babies) - 3 p.m.; The Pretty Babies (Blondie cover band) - 2 p.m.; Bern & the Brights - 1 p.m.

Sun., May 1 - The Thermals/special guests - Maxwell's, 9 p.m., $15

Fri., May 6 - Alejandro Escovedo and The Sensitive Boys/Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social - Maxwell's, 9 p.m., $22 adv./$24 day of show

Fri., June 3 - She Wants Revenge - Maxwell's, 7:30 p.m., $22

Fri., June 10 - NRBQ - Maxwell's, 7:30 p.m., $15 adv./$20

Fri., June 17 - James McMurtry - Maxwell's, 7:30 p.m., $15

Fri., July 1 and Sat., July 2 - The Feelies - Maxwell's, $24.99

Sun., July 24 and Mon., July 25 - Fountains Of Wayne - Maxwell's, $24.99

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Free Album Streaming: Fleet Foxes, Beastie Boys, Poly Styrene, Brandi Carlile Live, More

The new Fleet Foxes album is up for live streaming until its May 3rd release.

There aren't a ton of free streaming albums this week that I'm interested in, but the ones that are available are much-anticipated follow-ups that many people (including me) are really looking forward to. Here's what's out there now:

* "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two" by the Beastie Boys — the trio's first full-length album since 2007. They premiered the album on Livestream with a video of a boom box playing the album on the floor of Madison Square Garden.
* "Live at Benaroya Hall with The Seattle Symphony" by Brandi Carlile — the singer-songwriter releases her first live album, backed by an orchestra, on May 3rd. You can find a live performance Carlile did at Paste here.

NPR First Listen:
* "Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes (streaming until May 3) — does the second album from the acclaimed folk-rock band live up to its debut? Yes, says the NPR Music review.
* "Burst Apart" by The Antlers — the Brooklyn trio's follow up to its career-making "Hospice" comes out on May 10.'s Listening Party:
* "Generation Indigo" by Poly Styrene — a new album from the lead singer of punk legends X-Ray Spex (who, I was sad to hear, just died of breast cancer)
* "Hard Bargain" by Emmylou Harris — always good to see a new album from the signer-songwriter who's been at it since the days when she worked with Gram Parsons.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lady Gaga Brings the Monster Ball to Newark

Lady Gaga descending from scaffolding at the beginning of her Prudential Center show.

Native New Yorker Lady Gaga crossed the river Friday night to bring her Monster Ball tour to the Prudential Center, and brought all the glitz, spectacle, and energy for which is has become famous. There was no popping out of an egg this time (as at the Grammys), but the show included plenty of other Gaga staples: a nonstop set of hits, a variety of creative set designs, ridiculously fit dancers, and numerous costume changes, including outfits with ultra-padded shoulders, exotic capes, and bikini bottoms (Gaga seems allergic to wearing pants).

The crowd featured a lot of girls and young women who knew the words to every song, but also some middle-aged folks (not all of whom were chaperones for their teen or tween daughters, though there were plenty of those).

Transclucent dress... fortunately I didn't see any fans wearing this.

Although I like many of Gaga's catchy pop tunes well enough, I was most interested in seeing the whole spectacle of one of her shows, and the Prudential show didn't disappoint. The sets and dancing were interesting and well done (if not always completely original), and the energy of the show really didn't flag at all during the one hour and 45-minute concert (just about the only subdued part of the show was when Gaga sang a slowed-down version of "Born This Way," with only her piano playing as accompaniment).

The old fireworks-shooting-from-boobs-and-crotch trick... don't try this at home.

And yes, the Monster Ball did feature a large, tentacled monster (below), as well as Gaga's outfit that shoots fireworks from the boobs (above).

Any tour that calls itself "The Monster Ball" has to have a monster...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Free Album Streaming: Airborne Toxic Event, Dengue Fever, Emmylou Harris, the Watson Twins, & More

Now streaming: "Cannibal Courtship," the latest album of Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock from Dengue Fever.

Here's the latest in my semi-regular listing of (a sampling of) the new or upcoming albums that are available for free preview. And a reissue of an old Superchunk album. For some reason, NPR Music hasn't listed the end dates for streaming, but since most of the CDs are coming out April 26, they may be only be available for preview until then.

I'm particularly interested in hearing the latest album from Dengue Fever, the band that combines Cambodian music with a 1960s feel. And the "Night Covers" EP from the Watson Twins, in which the Kentucky-native, L.A.-based identical twins offer renditions of songs by artists ranging from PJ Harvey to Bill Withers, Sade, and the Black Keys.

Which ones are you most interested in hearing?

KCRW Album Preview: 
"All At Once" by The Airborne Toxic Event
"whokill" by tUnE-yArDs (streaming until April 24)

NPR First Listen:
"Hard Bargain" by Emmylou Harris
"Thao And Mirah" by Thao And Mirah
"I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" by Steve Earle
"Dancer Equired" by Times New Viking's Listening Party:
"Forever Today" by I'm From Barcelona
"Night Covers" by The Watson Twins
"Here's Where the Strings Come In" by Superchunk
"Belle Brigade" by Belle Brigade
"Cannibal Courtship" by Dengue Fever
"American Legacies" by The Del McCoury Band & The Preservation Hall Band

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coachella Ends, But the Videos Live On

The Coachella Festival in California ended in the wee hours of Monday morning Eastern time, and I admit I was up quite late watching some of the closing sets. I caught PJ Harvey's entire set and part of Kanye West's, and even saw a song or two by Duran Duran (a group that seemed a very odd choice for Coachella).

Sadly, the festival is over for another year, but whether you caught any of the live webcasts or not you can watch the four dozen or so videos that are on the Coachella YouTube site (above, Broken Social Scene ending its set with "Meet Me in the Basement"). Among the other videos you can watch are more from BSS as well as tunes by Mumford and Sons, Two-Door Cinema Club, Chromeo (below), Health, and Jack's Mannequin (and yes, even Duran Duran if you like).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's Record Store Day 2011! - Events, Special Releases, More - Sat., April 16th

Today the third Saturday in April, and that means one thing to music geeks: Record Store Day, the time for you to head out to your local independent music store (if you're lucky enough to still have one). As usual, there will be plenty of special vinyl releases as well as live events at many of the 700 or so indie music stores in the U.S. and hundreds of others worldwide.

At the Record Store Day website you can get the location of your local store(s), see what special RSD releases are available, and more. Some of the releases are available only on Record Store Day, others will be at additional stores in the future, and some will be sold only in certain stores or regions. (Note: The Beastie Boys had a single out to benefit the Red Cross Japan Relief Fund, but that now sold out before Noon.)

Besides the usual vinyl-gasm, Record Store Day will include live performances, giveaways, and more. (Find the full list of Record Store Day releases here.) And the RSD website has a number of contests in which you can win a variety of goodies. And as I mentioned last month the Foo Fighters will be driving around to different indie music stores in the white limousine used in their video, "White Limo."

If you're in the NYC area, check out Brooklyn Vegan's guide to Record Store Day events. Here are notes on a few releases and specials for your RSD enjoyment, as well as some random notes:
* Regina Spektor will perform at NYC's Other Music (but you had to be one of the first 100 people to buy her vinyl single there to get access, Brooklyn Vegan says). If you didn't make it, there will be a screening of Spektor's "Live in London" film at Lincoln Center tonight, along with "Sound It Out," a documentary about a record store in the northern English town of Teesside
* Lez Zeppelin, the all-female Led Zep cover band, appears at J&R Music World at 3 p.m. for an in-store performance and signing. J&R will also have a number of special releases including Nirvana's "Hormoaning" 12" EP, Pearl Jam's "Immortality" 7", and R.E.M.'s "First Three Singles From Collapse Into View"
* Utne Reader looks at some of the interesting collections, compilations, and collaborations among today's RSD releases, and offers free streams of the tracks from Sub Pop's collection, "Terminal Sales Vol. 4: Please to Enjoy"
* Bern and the Brights will perform an acoustic set at 4 p.m. at Tunes in Hoboken
* Joan Jett will have a clear-vinyl version of "I Love Rock N' Roll," to celebrate the album's 30th anniversary. See where to find it here
* Billboard looks at Record Store Day and how it has grown in its three years (2011 is the fourth year), and mentions some of the notable musicians who'll be out performing today

And, you can listen to Radiohead's exclusive Record Store Day 2011 songs here.

You can find the latest Record Store Day updates on Twitter at @recordstoreday.

It's looking like rainy weather here in the NYC area, but that won't deter me from visiting my local indie music store for Record Store Day 2011. Get out there and support your local independent music retailer (while it's still there)!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foo Fighters Takeover on Fuse TV Today; Listen to "Wasting Light" Free Online

Fuse TV having a Foo Fighters takeover all day today, with an all-Foo schedule that features the new singles "While Limo" and "Rope" from their brand-new album "Wasting Light," which came out on Tuesday (the channel says it will premiere 11 new Foo Fighters videos, one at the top of every hour). You can see the band in an interview with Mark Hoppus (11 p.m. Eastern), watch their debut concert at Madison Square Garden, see a history of the band, and watch plenty of Foo Fighters videos. Find out more and see the schedule at (In the NYC area, you can find Fuse at these channels: Time Warner 132, Cablevision 56, Comcast 148.) Speaking of "Wasting Light," you can listen to the whole album free online at It may only be up for a few more days, so head over there now if you want to make sure you catch it. As I mentioned last month, the Foo Fighters will be celebrating Record Store Day (tomorrow) by driving around to different indie music stores in the white limousine used in their video, "White Limo." (I'll post more info on Record Store Day later today or tomorrow; in the meantime you can go to their website at the link and find out your local independent music store, along with what special events or vinyl releases they'll be carrying.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tonight at Maxwell's: Rebecca Gates of The Spinanes

Above: Video for "Lines and Lines" from The Spinanes' second album, "Strand."

Maxwell's in Hoboken has had some great shows in recent weeks and is continuing the string in the spring and summer (more on that in future posts). Tonight it's Rebecca Gates and the Consortium, supported by Tall Firs and Blue Cranes.

Gates is best known as half of the much-loved 1990s duo The Spinanes (along with Scott Plouf, who went on to become the drummer for Built to Spill). She hasn't been playing live much lately (she does art in addition to music), but she's been working on a new album, release date to be determined (Gates has a spare online presence, so it hasn't been easy to find out exactly what she's been up to).

Tonight's Rebecca Gates and the Consortium show starts at 8:30, and tickets are still available as of 2 p.m. I'm planning to head over to Maxwell's to see them. This is a great chance to see her live, though I'm sure she'll be playing out more when her new record comes out.

Rebecca Gates and the Consortium will also play at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn on Thursday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Music Notes: Go-Go's & The Cars Playing NYC, Google's Music Cloud, Prince's 21 Nights in L.A., Bob Mould Memoir

Video for "Blue Tip," a song from "Move Like This," the forthcoming album from The Cars.

There's music news from the cutting edge of technology and the punk and new-wave days of the 1980s this week:

* The Go-Go's have rescheduled their reunion tour, which was cancelled last year when guitarist Jane Wiedlin suffered a knee injury while hiking. The Go-Go's and their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour hits New York's Irving Plaza on June 3rd; tickets are available here. Their planned tour last year was billed as a farewell tour, but this one isn't—I'm hoping that means that the band isn't planning on this run of shows to be its last. The tour coincides with the 30th anniversary of their blockbuster debut album, "Beauty and the Beat."

* The Cars on tour: I mentioned a couple of months ago that The Cars were coming out with a new album, "Move Like This," in May, and now they've got some tour dates planned. They're playing New York's Roseland Ballroom on May 25th, and you can look for tickets here.

* Google's cloud music player being tested: launched its cloud media player last week, and apparently Google's entry into the market is undergoing testing by the company's employees. Although Amazon's service seems to have run afoul of the music companies by not getting licensing rights, CNet wrote a few weeks ago that Google is in negotiations with the companies for rights to stream music from the cloud.

* Prince will play a 21-night residency in Los Angeles, starting this Thursday, April 14th at the Forum in Inglewood (where the Lakers used to play). The next shows will be April 21st and 22nd; the rest have yet to be announced. Tickets for the shows went on sale this morning. It's unclear where the rest of the Prince concerts will be; info on dates and locations are being made public on short notice. But here's a nice, fan-friendly twist to Prince's "21 Nite Stand": supposedly close to 85% of the tickets will go for $25, including fees.

* Bob Mould autobiography coming: I didn't know that the Minneapolis rock icon was working on a memoir, but someone mentioned it on Twitter today and there it was on "See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody"comes out on June 15th and is available for pre-order. From the description (which I'm guessing comes from the publisher):
For the first time, Mould tells his dramatic story, opening up to describe life inside that furnace and beyond. Revealing the struggles with his own homosexuality, the complexities of his intimate relationships, as well as his own drug and alcohol addiction, Mould takes us on a whirlwind ride through achieving sobriety, his acclaimed solo career, creating the hit band Sugar, a surprising detour into the world of pro wrestling, and most of all, finally finding his place in the world.
That's definitely a book I'll want to read.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Amazon Launches its Cloud Media Player, Beating Apple and Google last week launched its cloud media player and storage locker, beating Apple and Google to the punch. Once you upload music to your Cloud Drive or "locker" (or buy it from Amazon), you can play it on your computer or other device. The Amazon Cloud Player works on all Web browsers, the company says, and can also be used on Android mobile phones or tablets by downloading an application.

The Web version of the cloud player gives you get 5GB of storage space free, and if you buy one MP3 album from the company, you immediately get upgraded to 20GB (which you'd otherwise have to pay for).

Note: Amazon calls the 20GB upgrade with an album purchase a one-year "trial;" in other words, if you load up your "locker" with more than 5GB of media, a year from now you'll have to pay to keep all that stuff there, or pay for an upgrade. Unless of course Amazon decides to make 20GB the normal limit for free storage. Or maybe they'll extend your "trial" if you keep buying MP3 albums from them; it's not clear.

Apple has been said to be working on a cloud music service based on its existing MobileMe platform, which now charges $99 for 20GB of storage, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. As the article points out, Amazon could have a good competitive advantage by being first: once users start uploading their music or movies to a cloud-based system, they'll probably tend to stick with that one.

I signed up for the Amazon Cloud Player the day it went live, though I can't really say I've given it a test run. I haven't tried uploading any music from my computer, though I have bought some singles and one MP3 album from Amazon since then, which I have downloaded to my computer as before; they are automatically stored in my "cloud" as well. It's pretty easy to use and intuitive, as you'd expect from Amazon.

One potential dark cloud (sorry!) for Amazon's new service: it may run afoul of record companies since it hasn't secured additional licenses for the streaming, says an article in Wired. "If the record labels don’t come to a licensing agreement with Amazon soon, they will either be forced to take legal action or implicitly allow other music companies to ditch cloud licenses too," the website says.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Paul Simon, The Raveonettes, Vivian Girls, & More

Paul Simon's "So Beautiful or So What" (out April 12th) is one of the new albums now available for free streaming.

There's a lot I want to check out in this week's slate of albums for free online streaming. The legendary Paul Simon is back with his first album in five years, to start things off. In addition, there are new discs by the Vivian Girls, the Brooklyn-based Danish duo The Raveonettes, and UNKLE, a collective whose new EP features Liela Moss of the Duke Spirit and Nick Cave.

As always, what's listed here is usually only a sampling of what's available; see each station or service's website for the full listings.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Build a Rocket Boys!" by Elbow (streaming until May 3) — The fifth album from the Manchester, England band
"Euphoric / Heartbreak" by Glasvegas (streaming until May 3) — The Scottish band recorded this new album near KCRW's headquarters; the station wonders if the sunny climate was responsible for the album's more optimistic, less melancholy sound

NPR First Listen:
"So Beautiful or So What" by Paul Simon (streaming until April 12) — "Rhymin' Simon" is back with his first new album in five years
"Share the Joy" by the Vivian Girls (streaming until April 12) — The Brooklyn rock trio's third album
"Tomboy" by Panda Bear (streaming until April 12) — The much-anticipated solo album by the frontman of Animal Collective's Listening Party:
"Blood Pressures" by The Kills
"Only the Lonely" by UNKLE
"Raven in the Grave" by The Raveonettes
"Love Notes / Letter" by The Submarines
"And I Feel Fine...The Best of the I. R. S. Years 1982-1987" by R. E. M. (reissue)
"2011" by The Smithereens