Tag Archives: Tim DeLaughter

Toadies

There’s no feeling in the world better than when you first find out your favorite band is coming to town.

Except the feeling when you learn that one of your favorite bands is back together, releasing a new album, and touring. Can you see me jumping up and down?!?!

The new Toadies album, No Deliverance, comes out August 19. Stream the title track at their MySpace.

An article/interview at Spin ends by quoting lead singer Todd Lewis on “what the Toadies, especially after all these years, can offer fans and the music industry that no other rock band can:

‘Balls. A ton of balls.'”

And they’ve got lots of tour dates in which to teabag us with their incredible charisma and raucous stage presence.

The Toadies broke up seven years ago while I was living in Dallas, just a couple of years after Tripping Daisy called it quits. It was a one-two punch to my rock-show loving soul. Two of my favorite frontmen, first Tim DeLaughter (a long post of mine) and then (real first name Vaden) Todd Lewis, gone away. Each quickly moved on to another great project, The Polyphonic Spree and The Burden Brothers, respectively. But I always missed l’original.

Before I rhapsodize about The Toadies, I do want to briefly plug The Burden Brothers’ discs Buried in Your Black Heart (buy it) and Mercy (buy it and listen to some of it). I can’t do much better than this Village Voice description: “BB are a kick ass hard rock combo who riff off Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age’s neo metal blues and Weezer /Pixies power chord sing-alongs.” It’s more in your face than you’re expecting, and who doesn’t want that? When I saw them, they hadn’t released a proper album yet, just a homemade EP, and for a 15-minute song they thrash-jammed while Todd was repeating (screeching) the phrase Dirty Sanchez, which whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

The Burden Brothers were/are something of a local supergroup, with Todd joined by Taz Bentley, the former drummer for Reverend Horton Heat. BB is shuffling other personnel right now but haven’t “broken up.” [It is hard to do … ]

Now, on to The Toadies!

In 1994 the album Rubberneck broke. Yeah, it’s the one with Possum Kingdom, which you know you crank on your radio every time it plays on “’90s at noon.” You also know you’re unsure what it’s about … you’re hoping you’re not getting too excited about date rape while you sing along from the drivers’ seat.

Here are some more YouTubed music videos for songs from Rubberneck: Tyler, Backslider, and Mister Love.

It wasn’t until 2001 when the band struggled through record company problems to get Hell Below/Stars Above released. The title track is perfect in so many ways, pushing the band into a dynamic range they had not previously revealed.

Both albums are amazing. So, so solid. I can’t wait for the new one in August!

In the meantime, grab these rare tracks from a die-hard fan:

Toadies’ I Hope You Die

Toadies’ Possum Kingdom (Live)

Toadies’ cover of Talking Heads’ Not in Love

And also download the mp3 of this cover of (you guessed it!) The Pixies’ Where is My Mind.

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Elliott Smith

Inspired by the downloadable unreleased track Place Pigalle, posted by i guess i’m floating, let’s have ourselves an Elliott Smith post.

At turns, ES’s music is simple or intricate, lush or desolate, prancing or frantic. Or, as is generally the case with either/or (pun intended) options, both. I love his whole body of work (buy), but I like the whirling and raucous album Figure 8 better than the very compelling album Either/Or, which is considered his best by most music geeks. The above download, however, fits in better as an Either/Or song (or any other album, just not Figure 8).

Short two-part aside about his album titles. 1) Either/Or is from Kierkegaard (1843); a sample K quote that speaks to ES’s mental state: “My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known–no wonder, then, that I return the love.” 2) ES says, of the Figure 8 title, though I think the metaphor extends to his songwriting in general, “I just like the idea of a figure eight, of figure skaters trying to make this self-contained, perfect thing that takes a lot of effort but essentially goes nowhere.”

Excellent use of ES’s music in soundtracks includes the following choice songs (each album is worth owning):

Good Will Hunting ~ Miss Misery (this image of him feeding meters serves as my default)

Thumbsucker ~ Trouble (this Cat Stevens song (made famous in Harold and Maude) is much covered, to good effect here and by Eddie Vedder) (read the bio on this soundtrack; ES died, and Tim Delaughter and The Polyphonic Spree filled in)

The Royal Tenenbaums ~ Needle in the Hay (this song evokes the suicide attempt scene so vividly for me, it’s nearly too much to bear)

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The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree‘s new video Crawl is worth a watch. It’s an intimate look at the band and frontman Tim DeLaughter, who has more charisma in his little finger than [insert lame comparison into this cliché here].

Watching Tim from his Tripping Daisy days (I cannot stress enough that the albums I Am an Elastic Firecracker and Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb are your listening homework if you don’t know them already but are even remotely into the Spree or The Flaming Lips) through The Beginning Stages of… and into worldwide success with the Spree, you can’t help but sense that he consistently does the dangerous work of exposing his soul to the world. That must be necessary to make music so expansive and touching. He always projects genuine elation, but the elation seemingly must be ripped out of (his) pain and (our) apathy to be sustained. I think this makes him one of the hardest working men in music.

At Tripping Daisy and Spree shows, Tim always seems to be standing on the monitors, surrounded by something. Sometimes it’s props like bubbles or plastic bits from a fake snow machine. But sometimes it’s light doing interesting things in concert with the sound, such as a flickering fluorescent bulb or a sunbeam breaking through the dreary clouds during a raucous version of It’s the Sun (both shows in Denton, Texas, at two very different venues).

I find the Spree’s recordings difficult to listen to since I know how bitchin’ they are live. In fact, it’s safe to say I like the Spree best at their margins, out of the studio doin’ their own funky thing. At the end of one show, they allowed the harpist time to perform a full song solo, and it was truly fulfilling in a basic sort of way, like eating bread. The improv moments during shows are some of the most fun bits, like when Tim broke spontaneously into a Tripping Daisy chorus while the rest of the band waited patiently. And their covers are fierce. Grab Nirvana’s Lithium, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB, and Wig in a Box here at Deaf Indie Elephants. You can buy covers of Lithium, Tripping Daisy’s Sonic Bloom, and The Psychedelic Furs’ Love My Way on the EP Wait. And I always love a little Ride Captain Ride.

Side note about the rockin‘ movie (and soundtrack) Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Spree’s cover of Wig in a Box appears on a benefit album of the same name, along with other covers (by Bob Mould, The Breeders, Frank Black, Sleater-Kinney, Spoon, Ben Folds, and voice by Stephen Colbert long before I knew who he was) of Hedwig songs such as Rufus Wainwright’s pleasant rendition of The Origin of Love.

Tim does an interview with You Ain’t No Picasso, where he talks about his life philosophy and also a subject dear to my heart, albums: “I love making albums. We are in a world of singles and more people are interested in picking little jewels off the record. But for me as an artist, to have my creative worth and feel worthy, it’s got to be more of a concept. It’s got to work all together as one unit in one listen.” And for me as a listener, I can’t grow love for artists or their bodies of work via singles or mp3s on shuffle. Only albums will do.

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St. Vincent and Basia Bulat

St. Vincent and Basia Bulat play only one gig together. It’s in Cambridge, Mass., on the first of March. These female vocalists/guitarists are as endearing as their music is ingratiating, and it should be a killer show.

St. Vincent is Annie Clark. I first saw her try to steal the stage from Tim DeLaughter as she played lead guitar for The Polyphonic Spree. I went home from that show mesmerized by her sprite-like, amped-up stage presence. She’s also worked with Sufjan Stevens. But now Annie stands, self-composed and ethereally intense, in front of the mic by herself. She’s adorable acoustic, sure, particularly in bed. But when she plugs in her guitar, a fire sparks to life in your chest. See some videos here on her website, but the best is the 15 minute film at Other Music weaving a simple interview with a haunting in-store performance [thanks to Gorilla vs Bear for the tip]. When they zoom in on her, it feels like black and white photography. The cover of Sonny and Cher’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) is NOT to be missed, and it cannot be found on her excellent album, so watch the film.

Sixeyes has had me jazzed for Canadian Basia Bulat‘s U.S. release (coming February 5) for ages. I’ve been collecting the mp3s and viddy-ing the YouTubes, in awe of Snakes and Ladders‘ sweeping, swirling janglyness. Plus, she’s featured in a Volkswagen ad, proving once again that those Germans can nail my particular demographic just as precisely as Kenneth Cole Reaction. Get the album February 5th direct from her label for even cheaper (CD or digital at 15% off) by entering the code basia when you check out. Thanks, Oh My Darling.

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