Tag Archives: R.E.M.

The New Pornographers and Okkervil River — Write Your Own Review

The New Pornographers (with Neko Case) and Okkervil River performed Thursday, April 17, at the Georgia Theater. Gigs on this tour have been reviewed by music bloggers before (Chromewaves, ChartAttack, The Wheel’s Still In Spin). Now it’s your turn.


Instead of reviewing the show, I am asking my fellow concert-goers to post their own reviews and reactions in the comments section of this post. So bring it on, folks! Enthuse, critique, swoon, and/or squabble at will!

For those of you who don’t know, the beautiful cauldron of musical ferment that is Athens, Georgia, spawned R.E.M., The B-52s, Pylon, Widespread Panic, Neutral Milk Hotel, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, Danger Mouse, etc.

Watch a ten-minute taste of the 1987 documentary Athens, GA: Inside/Out about the camaraderie of the artists active in this mid-80s in this college town. And if you really want to geek on the Athens music scene, take a musical history tour.


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Record Store Day

Record Store Day is Saturday!!!


Find your local brick-and-mortar purveyor of shiny silver (and sometimes hefty black) discs-o-music in this list to determine if there is any performing, DJing, or autographing going on near you.

Examples include a Metallica meet-and-greet at Berkeley’s Rasputin Music, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees performing with many other acts at Milwaulkee’s Atomic Records, The Donnas DJing at Hollywood’s famed Amoeba Records, The New Pornographers performing among others at St. Louis’ Vintage Vinyl, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performing among others at CD Central in Lexington, KY.

EVERYONE within range of an independent record store can enjoy goodie bags and give-aways.

And besides the discs you’ve been procrastinating buying, you can purchase a Record-Store-Day exclusive 7″ (two songs) from Vampire Weekend and a 10″ (three songs) from Stephen Malkmus. Oh, and in case you’re not excited yet, 7″es from Built to Spill, R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, and The Black Keys. Good grief! Find track listings here and here, respectively.

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Kurt Cobain: About A Son

I’ve been geeking out on the soundtrack for Kurt Cobain: About a Son. I can’t speak to the way the songs articulate with the film, because I haven’t seen it, but I have gotten a lot of enjoyment from listening to and thinking about the artists that influenced KC.

Buy the About a Son CD or DVD for reasonable prices. The trailer for the documentary pulls from 25 hours of interview tape done for Michael Azerrad‘s biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. (His other book, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, follows Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Beat Happening, The Replacements, Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Fugazi, and Mudhoney.)

Azerrad wrote the liner notes to the soundtrack, which contains no Nirvana songs but instead other artists’: “stuff he studied and worshiped and adored … So if watching About a Son is like seeing the world through Kurt’s eyes, then listening to this music is like hearing it through his ears.” I think fans will appreciate the amount of respect this choice shows for them and their ability to do the mental labor of analyzing influences and processing the clips of KC speaking that are sprinkled among the songs.

In particular, I like the inclusion of the Creedence Clearwater Revival cut Up Around the Bend because KC’s first band was a CCR cover band. CCR was logical, in retrospect, according to Azzerad, because it’s “basic, chunky guitar music, easy to play and yet boundlessly resonant, full of simple, catchy melodies and a singer with a voice that sounded like a tuned scream.” Nicely put. And when the CCR is juxtaposed against Put Some Sugar On It by Half Japanese (download), the Nirvana sound emerges around the margins.

Two songs that Nirvana covered are included: the original David Bowie version of The Man Who Sold the World (download) and Son of a Gun by The Vaselines. If you’re interested, Matt Yglesias talks about Nirvana covers of Vaselines songs here.

Of course Mudhoney (download Touch Me I’m Sick) and Lead Belly (The Bourgeois Blues) are on there. But I was unpleasantly surprised to note the absence of The Pixies and The Breeders, who influenced KC mightily. The Pixies’ lyrical ambiguity (for a discussion of that, see the 33 1/3 book for Doolittle) is what lets Nirvana go national; it made the angst malleable to any set of personal circumstances, to anyone who thought that the world and/or themselves were SNAFU central.

My only other complaint is the incongruous cut by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service; his unmistakable voice concludes the CD with the song Indian Summer, and it sort of leaves me lost. I would have liked to see something more assertive or definitive as a closer. He helped compile the songs on the CD, so this track sort of feels like when a first-time film director gives him or herself a cameo.

But, regardless, the thing is worth buying. And in case you aren’t convinced yet, check the list of artists on the soundtrack I didn’t even talk about: R.E.M., The Melvins, Bad Brains, Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Arlo Guthrie, and Iggy Pop. Whew!

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R.E.M, Modest Mouse, and The National

I’m holding my breath for tickets to someday go on sale for the gigantic R.E.M, Modest Mouse, and The National summer tour promoting the April 1 rollout of R.E.M.‘s new disc Accelerate. Thanks to the wizards at Stereogum, we can listen to the track Supernatural Superserious, which has a big ole guitar hook and a radio-song friendliness.

R.E.M. has sort of faded out of the music scene’s consciousness, but if they would just ADD MORE SHOWS with this amazing line-up, they might be able to prove to all of us that InSound is right in its discussion of the 2007 live album/documentary release: “R.E.M. Live proves that the group packs a stronger punch live than they do in the studio.”

Thanks to Muzzle of Bees and BrooklynVegan for the tip on these 2008 tour dates.
May 23 – Vancouver, BC – Deer Lake Park
May 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
May 31 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
June 03 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 06 – Chicago, IL – United Center
June 08 – Toronto, ON – Molson Amphitheatre
June 10 – Raleigh, NC – Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
June 11 – Washington, DC – Merriweather Post Pavilion
June 13 – Boston, MA – Tweeter Center
June 14 – Long Island, NY – Jones Beach Theater
June 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center
June 19 – New York, NY – TBA
June 21 – Atlanta, GA – Lakewood Amphitheatre

The combination of these three bands trumps all my misgivings about going to another amphitheater/arena venue. This is one of those moments when the music will easily transcend seats of any crappiness.

I love Modest Mouse. Listen to them on MySpace or to four live songs here. I hope they play a mix that represents their entire back catalog. The ever-helpful Hype Machine directs us to the location of songs such as Jesus Christ Was An Only Child, Float On, Parting of the Sensory, Bukowski, 3rd Planet, Dramamine, Worms vs. Birds, I Came As A Rat, and Summer. Each of these songs comes from a different MM disc (buy them!), and here’s a bonus b-side King Rat (right-hand column). As Isaac says in Summer, “Dance d-d-dance d-dance and go crazy!” Or, if brooding is more your speed, there’s plenty of that, too.

The National rocks my music world. Buy their discs. If you’ve already done the buying, grab three tracks from their Daytrotter session, but since that doesn’t address anything from the acclaimed Alligator, also check these THIRTEEN tracks (especially Secret Meeting, if you’re just easing into it) live from National French radio “Black Sessions.”

I saw this great rock show (download courtesy of NPR) at the 9:30 Club last summer during the Boxer tour. MPR’s The Current’s session with The National offers three more live songs. Whew! That’s a lotta goodies!

There’s also gonna be a documentary about The National: A Skin, A Night. It’s done by Vincent Moon, the brilliant bastard who orchestrates the Take Away Shows.

***The Take Away Show with The National doing their song Start a War is one of my very favorite things on the net; it seems it will be part of the film. Simple and perfect, and if you don’t listen to or watch anything else I recommend, at least humor me on this one.

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