Monday, October 29, 2007

Arcade Fire - Canadian Soul?

You all know I love me some Arcade Fire.

Some of you know I frequently disagree with New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, especially when he discusses race and music. Anyone who takes aim at my beloved Stephin Merritt or Win Butler best be prepared to face my ire. Pretty much every time the magazine arrives in my mailbox, I prepare to think hard about music and whether Sasha successfully defended his point that week.

Imagine my delight when dear Win wrote back in this week's issue.

Win responds to Frere-Jones's accusation that the Arcade Fire have no soul:
Being as I am in the Arcade Fire, I prickle a little bit at your statement that “[i]f there is a trace of soul, blues, reggae, or funk in Arcade Fire, it must be philosophical; it certainly isn’t audible.” In a somewhat … I dunno, is it childish to respond to critics this way? Anyway. I’ve attached an MP3 with parts of our songs that I think steal quite blatantly from black people’s music from all over the globe.
And I could not resist this piece of Halloween candy from Mr. Butler...
Keep in mind, I’m not saying we’re the funkiest, most soulful bunch of dudes and ladies (though we do, at least, always clap on 2 and 4).
God bless the Arcade Fire for doing what they do best. I love and miss so much of the same music and African-American influence that Frere-Jones misses in today's indie rock. Let's keep Arcade Fire and get some fresh indie bands that can bring the syncopated rhythms we crave. The new prog rockers and Kate Bush accolytes can stay home.

This girl likes her music funky some days
white and Canadian the next
Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire Sasquatch 5-26-07

Reports from the field?

This week is killing me... no clearance for out of town shows.

Anyone catch Menomena at the Fox last night? I swear I love those dudes, especially Danny, and I miss them every time. Once again I'm forced to make do with the excellent prose stylings of their tour blog and email list instead of a real live concert.

In a similar vein, I'm riding the couch tonight, so if you see Gogol Bordello or Grand Archives tonight, please send me details, pictures, gossip-y tidbits, anything. What a great week of shows.

Item Update! Pitchfork brings more Menomena good news, including a Danny solo project!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Top 5 bands I wanna see in a fancy concert hall

After watching Jose Gonzalez make delicate and artful classical-type noises on his guitar in the midst of a standing whooping crowd of indie rock fans, I realized a couple things. First, I'm old. Second, I was there with a classical music aficionado who kept asking "why aren't there seats? why are people talking during the performance? his fingerwork is amazing but why is the bass turned up so high?" and I had to admit her questions were valid.

It caused me to reflect on which acts might benefit from performing in a more traditional venue, say the University of Wyoming's Fine Arts Concert Hall. Beautiful acoustics conveniently located on I-80, don't let the 7220 foot altitude dissuade you!

Cass's Top 5 Dream Acts for Laramie's Fine Arts Concert Hall
5. Joanna Newsom
4. Jose Gonzalez
3. Bjork
2. Andrew Bird
1. Sufjan Stevens

Who else?

Jose Gonzalez @ the Bluebird 10/12/07

We saw everyone's favorite nimble-fingered and hirsute guitarist a couple weeks ago at the Bluebird. After mis-timing a birthday gift, getting lost in Denver like a couple of country rubes, and nearly losing our order at the bar across the street in the assembled Rockies mania, we found ourselves watching Jose Gonzalez at the Bluebird.

The crowd was agitated when we arrived, as Jose seemed to be even later than we were. Good news for us. A persnickety fellow, Jose, with a dead serious focus and emphasis on tuning. I loved it when he instructed the audience to only clap along if they were near the front and if they clapped for the entire song. And everyone obeyed! The set was short but beautiful, his sound was precise and his technique stunning. I preferred the songs from the new album but enjoyed them all. In the past I've felt his songs all sound a bit alike but in person discovered I was mistaken on that.

The big question: why is Jose playing in rock clubs with no seats instead of concert halls with calibrated acoustics? More on this in a coming post!

Sorry my photos are crap, did I mention we were late?

Jose Gonzalez, Denver 10/12/07
Jose Gonzalez, Denver 10/12/07

Where I've been, i.e. double ARGH

My least favorite blog meme has to be "excuses for being a slackass about posting". Let's just say I prefer my Spinal Tap with armadillos in their trousers rather than a needle in my spine.

And might I add that a spinal headache is a bit of a shit sandwich (can I print that?)So tell me what I missed in the music world!

Promises to keep posting and love to all (especially the kind folks at Cheyenne Radiology),
Cass aka David St. Hubbins

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh what a night...

Live music in Denver tonight, wow.

How to choose?

At the Hi-Dive: Matthew Dear's Big Hands and Mobius Band
At the Bluebird: Jose Gonzalez
At the Gothic: Lucero
At Larimer Lounge: Dr. Dog

I'm thinking the Mile High City is a pretty good place to be tonight.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Live Preview: Jose Gonzalez

Gosh, I'm looking forward to seeing sexy Swedish guitar virtuoso Jose Gonzalez at the Bluebird Friday. I may be old but am secretly hoping that it will be a seated show.

So beautiful, here covering The Knife's Heartbeats

Just one more U.S. date on this stretch of the tour, then off to Europe and back in November:
12 oct USA Denver ... Bluebird Theatre ... 16+
13 oct USA Minneapolis .. Fine Line Music Cafe ... 18+
17 oct UK Cambridge Cambridge Junction
18 oct UK Bristol .. Anson Rooms
19 oct UK Warwick .. Arts Centre
20 oct UK Brighton .. Concorde 2
21 oct UK Nottingham .. Rockcity
22 oct UK Leeds .. Leeds City Varieties
23 oct UK London . Union Chappel
24 oct UK London . Union Chappel
25 oct UK Manchester Royal Nothern College of Music
26 oct IE Dublin ........ Irish Museum of Modern Art
27 oct IE Belfast . Mandela Hall
28 oct IE Glasgow . ABC

24 nov CAN Vancouver . Richards On Richards
27 nov USA Hollywood .... The Music Box at the Fonda
29 nov USA Austin ... The Parish

01 dec USA Louisville .. 930 Listening Room
02 dec USA Nashville ..... Mercy Lounge
03 dec USA Bloomington ..... Buskirk-Chumley Theatre
04 dec USA Cleveland .... Grog Shop
06 dec CAN Ottowa ... Zaphod Beeblebrox
07 dec CAN Toronto .... Mod Club
08 dec CAN Montreal .... Le National
09 dec USA New York City .... Webster Hall

Indie Music Available at Your Library

Sometimes work and play meet in the best ways. For me, that means telling you how to get music from the library.

Most public libraries add CDs to their collections regularly. Many libraries also cooperate to lend you CDs from libraries throughout the region.

What does this mean for you? Awesome music delivered to your local library at no charge.

Coloradans and UW folks, use Prospector! Access to 23 regional library catalogs. I get tons of music here... I use it to sample new music and listen to old recordings from my favorite artists. Almost everything is here, but new stuff may take a week or two before it is processed and in the catalog.

Wyoming folks, use WYLDCat. Not as much music as Colorado, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Just walking through the Albany County Library I picked up a Pavement retrospective and Devendra Barnhardt. Sweet!

Seattle people, you know that Seattle Public Library and KCLS will hook you up with new music all the time. The John Richards influence is huge in this part of the country. King County libraries buy tons of movies, too.

Need help finding stuff? A couple tips:
  • band name = author
  • individual singer = author, last name first
  • common names yielding too many results? try adding "musical group" to your search

Good luck and enjoy the fruits of your tax dollars!