Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Bring the Fuzz to The Garden

Neil Young and Crazy Horse visited Madison Square Garden last night on their tour to promote their new album "Psychedelic Pill," and as you'd expect from hearing that disc, jamming and fuzzed-out guitar ruled the night. (See NPR Music's review of the album.)

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and stagehands standing at attention during the playing of the national anthem.

With an album featuring two discs and one song of 27 minutes and another more than 15, it's no surprise that Tuesday's show probably featured fewer songs than you'd find in previous Neil Young shows, and that was the case. Even some relatively short older songs had a verse repeated twice. (See set list below.)

The good news is that Young and his old mates can still rock with power and lots of distortion. Hearing Crazy Horse, it's easy to see how grunge rockers such as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam were inspired by the Canadian-born Young.

The bad news is that many of the songs would have been just as enjoyable if they hadn't been extended in length, and this would have allowed the band to fit at least a few more songs into the set. ("Fuckin' Up," in particular, went on much longer than we felt it should have.)

We would have preferred to hear more older songs, especially from Young's classic album "Harvest" (he played only one tune from it, a solo acoustic "The Needle and the Damage Done.") Other older tunes included "Powderfinger," "Cinnamon Girl," "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)," and the Buffalo Springfield rocker "Mr. Soul."

Songs from "Psychedelic Pill" that were played included "Born in Ontario," "Ramada Inn," and "Walk Like a Giant."

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Neil Young and Crazy Horse during Tuesday's show.

Neil Young doesn't seem like someone you'd necessarily expect to have a crazy sense of humor or eye for stagecraft, but the show featured some wacky touches. The stagehands were dressed either as construction workers (in orange vests and yellow hardhats) or as mad scientists, complete with white lab coats and Einstein-style unkempt hair. And they all stood at attention, side by side, as the national anthem was played (with an American flag projected on the back screen) before Young's set began. (We're not sure if he's doing this before every show, or just in ones played in sports arenas.)

The stage had a retro cartoon look; it was adorned by several large structures made to resemble giant Fender amps, and an oversized model of an old-style microphone stood at the front of the stage.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse play the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday, Dec. 3rd; tickets are still available here

Everest started off the show (I arrived too late to catch them), followed by a brief set by Patti Smith.

Patti Smith at MSG
 Patti Smith during her opening set.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Madison Square Garden, Nov. 27th, 2012
Set list: (via Brooklyn Vegan)
"Love and Only Love"
Born in Ontario"
Walk Like a Giant"
The Needle and the Damage Done"
Twisted Road 
"Without a Song"
Ramada Inn"
Cinnamon Girl"
Fuckin' Up"
Mr. Soul"
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"

Roll Another Number"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Now Streaming: New CDs from Graham Parker & The Rumour & More; Replays of Holiday CDs

There's a small list of streaming CDs for this between-the-holidays week, but there's one in particular that we'll be giving repeated listens: "Three Chords Good" by Graham Parker & The Rumour, the outfit that created the classic late-'70s rock album, "Squeezing Out Sparks."

Parker has played with a number of backing groups over the decades, but it's good to see him with back with his band The Rumour—for the first time in 31 years, according to his website. It's kind of fitting that he's got a new album with them the same year that Neil Young has recorded a new disc out with Crazy Horse.

Graham Parker & the Rumour
Streaming this week: Graham Parker's first album with The Rumour in 31 years.

Also streaming this week: "XX 20th Anniversary" by Rage Against the Machine, marking 20 years since the debut of their first album, and a live recording from the Deep Blues Fest featuring Buffalo Killers, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Radio Moscow, and more.

Considering the date on the calendar, it's not surprising that a few of them address the tidings of the season. NPR Music is streaming three previously released holiday collections: volumes six through 10 of Sufjan Stevens's "Silver & Gold;" the Christmas album by pop singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn, half of the successful duo Everything But the Girl; and "What Christmas Means" by KEM, a collection of holiday standards that was released earlier this year.

[Added Dec. 1st: Ke$ha and Wayne Coyne]

NPR First Listen:
"Silver & Gold" by Sufjan Stevens
"What Christmas Means" by KEM
"Tinsel and Lights" by Tracey Thorn's Listening Party:
"Three Chords Good" by Graham Parker & The Rumour
"XX 20th Anniversary" by Rage Against the Machine
"Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet" by Big Dipper
"The World Is Too Much For Me" by Challenger
"Runner" by The Winter Sounds
"Alive At The Deep Blues Fest" by various artists

"Warrior" by Ke$ha

"Wayne Coyne's Human Head Shaped Tumor" by various artists ("McSweeney's and KCRW present this radio drama in the style of Mercury Theatre's War of the Worlds, featuring the music from the Flaming Lips, Bill Callahan, Okkervil River, Eleanor Friedberger, Nico Muhly, and Oneida.")

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Foreign Land" by A Lion Named Roar

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Photos: The Breaktone at Scalo Bar in Albuquerque

Albuquerque indie rock band The Breaktone has been getting acclaim for a few years now in its hometown and beyond, and it showed why last night at the bar at Scalo restaurant in the city's Nob Hill neighborhood.

Performing a semi-acoustic show, the five-piece outfit played a mix of old and new original tunes and a selection of well-chosen covers, including Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." (Disclosure: one of the band members is my nephew.)
Three-fifths of The Breaktone: Peter Ver Brugge, Julian Corbin, Robert Hoffman.
 Led by singer/guitarist Julian Corbin, The Breaktone plays a brand of rock that, depending on the song, cab include elements of progressive rock, jazz, folk, and straight-ahead rock. Their debut LP, "Lines Divide,"was chosen "Best Pop CD" at the 2010 New Mexico Music Awards. Earlier this year they released a follow-up, the four-song "Summer Walls," and they're now at work on their second full-length album. (Listen to or buy "Summer Walls" at The Breaktone's BandCamp page, or listen to it or "Lines Divide" at their SoundCloud page.)

Find out more about The Breaktone at their ReverbNation page.

Geoff St. John, Julian Corbin, Robert Hoffman.

Peter ver Brugge, Robert Hoffman.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Now Streaming: New CDs from Bad Brains, Massive Attack, & More

There's a slim selection of albums streaming this week, but if you're a punk fan you'll definitely find some titles of interest. Spinner has the "Into the Future" by Bad Brains, a remastered release of The Smoking Popes' "Born to Quit," and "We Will Remain Sedate" by Midway in Wake. This week the site also features the 2010 remastered version of Massive Attack's "Blue Lines," and the new albums by papercranes, Kate Earl, and The Twilight Sad, among others.

And fans of the band Live will want to check out the new solo EP by frontman Ed Kowalczyk, "The Garden," streaming this week at AOL Music.

"Rubella" from the Smoking Popes' album "Born to Quit." A remastered version of the album was reissued last month.

As always, there are more albums streaming than those shown here: see the websites for full listings. We'll add albums streaming from other sites as we learning about them.

Happy listening...'s Listening Party:
"Into the Future" by Bad Brains
"Blue Lines (2012 Remaster)" by Massive Attack
"No One Can Ever Know - The Remixes" by The Twilight Sad
"Three" by papercranes
"Stronger" by Kate Earl
"Born to Quit (Reissue)" by The Smoking Popes
"We Will Remain Sedate" by Midway in Wake
"Beautiful Sharks" by Keith Canisius

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"The Garden EP" by Ed Kowalczyk
"Young Volcanoes" by Zac Clark

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Music Notes: Sandy Benefit with Springsteen, The Who, & Many Others; Yo La Tengo Tour; New R.E.M. Video; & More

Here's a smattering of recent music news concerning bands big and small:

* It's the mother of all Hurricane Sandy benefit shows: Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, and others will play the "12-12-12" concert at Madison Square Garden on, you guessed it, December 12th. Info on tickets, prices, etc. to come soon.

* Yo La Tengo announced a bunch of tour dates this week. If you got shut out of their eight nights of Hanukkah at Maxwell's, check these out to see when they're coming near you. (They'll play Town Hall in NYC on February 16th; no ticket info as of this writing.) The band's new album, "Fade," will come out on January 15th.

* Here's an odd thing that popped up this week: a new video by R.E.M. (who broke more than a year ago), starring Lindsay Lohan (above). It's for the song "Blue" from the band's last album, 2011's "Collapse Into Now." Oh, and it's directed by actor James Franco. We're hoping this is a sign that maybe the boys from Athens are thinking of reuniting for at least a few shows sometime soon.

* NPR did a fine story this week on the 50th anniversary of A&M Records, co-founded by trumpeter Herb Alpert. For decades it was the musician's label, putting out music by a wide range of artists without placing typical sales-oriented, corporate pressure on them.

Although A&M is no longer independent (and sadly has a more corporate approach to music), the label was the home to many great albums by everyone from Alpert's Tijuana Brass to Suzanne Vega, The Police, Peter Frampton, and Joe Jackson.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Now Streaming: New CDs from The Deftones, School of Seven Bells, Bush Tetras, & More

There are some tasty new albums streaming this week—as well as one that's nearly 15 years old but is seeing the light of day for the first time. The new ones includes the latest efforts by The Deftones, School of Seven Bells, El Perro Del Mar, and Ari Hest. And an old favorite of ours (see below).

You'll probably hear this Bush Tetras song, and a lot of their just-released "Happy," at their NYC gig on Nov. 29th.

The unreleased album is "Happy," the late-'90s collection from the influential New York post-punk band Bush Tetras. The album was apparently stuck in record-label hell as various companies were sold or merged. "Happy" is finally coming out of limbo as ROIR acquired the rights to is, and released it Nov. 13th. (Read an interview with Bush Tetras talking about the album, and a biography of the band.)

Bush Tetras will play at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge on Nov. 29th (with Suicide, which will perform its first album in its entirety).

Although we don't write about Celtic music a lot here, we've long been fans of it, and so it's good news to see a fresh album from Irish folk singer-songwriter Susan McKeown. She's been a favorite since we heard her first album, "Bones," all the way back in 1995. She's got a great, expressive voice that's magnificent for singing Irish tunes as well as American folk tunes, but she can also rock. And she's also collaborated with musicians from other genres, including the Klezmatics.

The Dublin native, who's now lived in New York for more than 20 years, is out with her latest solo album, "Belong," this week. We're definitely looking forward to spending a lot of time with that one.

NPR First Listen:
"Instrumental Tourist" by Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin
"The Odds" by The Evens's Listening Party:
"Koi No Yokan" by The Deftones
"Put Your Sad Down" EP by School of Seven Bells
"Pale Fire" by El Perro Del Mar
"Happy" by Bush Tetras
"Soft Eyes" by Bear Colony
"Transit of Venus" by Black Forest Fire
"Jan" by Jan

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"The Fire Plays" by Ari Hest
"Belong" by Susan McKeown
"Scrimshaw" by Nels Andrews

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today: Tinderbox Music Festival at Webster Hall

The annual Tinderbox Music Festival showcasing female musicians takes place today and tonight at Webster Hall. And as usual it's jam-packed with several dozen artists both established and up-and-coming, in genres from pop and folk to rap and electronica.

Tinderbox music fest info
The Tinderbox festival goes on today, and tonight, at Webster Hall.

Tinderbox begins... well, right about the time we're posting this, before 1 p.m... but not to worry, the live music will be going on all day and night, on three stages. See the Tinderbox lineup (which includes links to the artists) and check out the set times.

Among the artists performing at this year's Tinderbox:
  • Vagina Panther (2 p.m.)
  • Hard Nips (3 p.m.)
  • ZZZ's (4 p.m.)
  • 9mary (4:20 p.m.)
  • Bern and the Brights (8 p.m.)
  • Selebrities (9 p.m.)
  • Sirius Plan (9:20 p.m.)
  • MANCIE (9:40 p.m.)
  • Jean Grae (10 p.m.)
  • Michelle Citrin (10:10 p.m.)
  • Ducky (10:30 p.m.)
  • CocoRosie (11 p.m.)
  • Shuteye (11:20 p.m.)
Should be a great day and night of music.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Music Notes: Lucinda Williams Headlines WFUV Concert; Civil Wars Cancel Tour, Hear Prince Demos & New "Twilight" Soundtrack

A couple of musical items today, and a couple of sets of music for streaming.

* Lucinda Williams will headline this year's WFUV Holiday Cheer concert. The annual benefit for the Fordham University radio station will be held December 5th at the Beacon Theatre.

Other guests will be announced later, but this concert usually gets a good lineup of acts that the station's listeners will be familiar with. Tickets are priced at $40 to $120 and will go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. Or you can try the presale that started today (see the code to use at the WFUV announcement).

* What's going on with the Civil Wars? The Grammy-winning folk duo abruptly cancelled its world tour and then posted a cryptic note on its website and Facebook page, using terminology that made the development sound like a divorce:
"We sincerely apologize for the canceling of all of our tour dates. It is something we deeply regret. However, due to internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition we are unable to continue as a touring entity at this time. We thank each and every one of you for your amazing love & support. Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013.  —Joy Williams & John Paul White"
People are scratching their heads over what's going on. Maybe a disagreement over how much commercial success to reach for, or venues to play, or how much touring to undertake? One factor may be the fact that Williams is a new mother—and that her husband is the duo's manager.

* Want to hear some demos and rarities from Prince? Check out Duane Harriott's show yesterday on WFMU. See the playlist and stream the show using several different options.

* Speaking of streaming, you can listen to the entire soundtrack for the forthcoming "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2" at Pandora. The soundtrack—which features contributions from Feist, Green Day, Passion Pit, St. Vincent, Skrillex, and more—will be released Nov. 13th, three days before the movie. (via Consequence of Sound)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Benefit Shows to Aid Hurricane Sandy Victims

Will Sheff is one of many artists appearing at Thursday's Brooklyn benefit.

Aaaand we're back. Although Podcast Party HQ has power and heat, a lot of people in the tri-state area are still suffering. So instead of our usual early-week post detailing streaming albums for the week, we'd like to spotlight some upcoming shows and events to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy. (More will be added as we hear about them.)

[UPDATE, Nov. 6th: Oh My Rockness has put up a list of Hurricane Sandy benefit shows, which will no doubt be growing; you may want to bookmark it. Among the shows added: a Bad Brains tribute tonight, Tuesday, benefiting Amnesty International and the Red Cross featuring H.R. (of the Bad Brains), Jesse Malin, Vernon Reid, Steve Earle, and others at Bowery Electric.]

This Thursday the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn is hosting East Coast Relief, which features a diverse lineup of great performers: Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Jared Evan, Kevin Devine, Jennifer O'Conner, Jean Grae, Holly Miranda, Geoff Rickly (Thursday), Bird of Youth, Jaymay, Brian Bonz, Zumo Kollie, Sonya Kitchell, and DJ Rajni Jacques. Tickets are $40 here, with all proceeds said to be benefiting the Red Cross. [Update, Nov 7th: see set times here.]

Blues guitarist Gark Clark Jr. is playing Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday night (tomorrow), Spinner says, with admission being a minimum donation of $20. Attendees are also urged to bring items such as nonperishable food, bottled water, blanket, clothing, and other similar items.

Dean Ween of the recently broken-up The Weens is playing a benefit show at The Saint in Asbury Park on Nov. 11th, says Brooklyn Vegan. [Update, Nov. 7th: Brooklyn Vegan says the show has now been pushed back to Nov. 28th.] Ween says the gig is to benefit "my good friend Nick Honachefsky who lost his home and all of his worldly possessions in the storm."

The show, called "Dean Ween and Friends," will include Claude Coleman, Glenn McClelland, Chris Harford, Dickie Moist, and others, and Ween says, " The evening will feature new music and old music by Moistboyz, Chris Harford, Jimmy Wilson, members of Ween, etc." Check the website of The Saint later for details; the show doesn't yet appear on their calendar.

There will no doubt be more benefit concerts announced later; we'll post these as we hear about them.

Also: Jersey Shore native Nicole Atkins talks with the Village Voice about the devastation in her home territory. She's planning on re-recording "Neptune City," the title song from her debut album, and donating the proceeds to relief efforts. [UPDATE, Nov. 6th: You can download "Neptune City (for the shore)" here for a minimum donation of two dollars.]

Friday, November 02, 2012

Podcast Party Is On Hiatus

Editor's note: Due to the flooding, power outages, spotty cell service, and other problems caused by Hurricane Sandy, Podcast Party will be on hiatus until electricity is restored. If you're 're also in an area affected by Sandy, hope you're staying warm and dry.

Sailboat on sidewalk
Gone sailing.