The Teenage Prayers excel at the art of writing barnburners. A hair shy of overblown (or sometimes just real gone), stompin', hollerin', sweaty numbers such as "I Like It" and "Good Voodoo" were made for cramped juke joint stages such as the one they'll take at The Star Bar this Wednesday.
Produced by Steve Wynn, Everyone Thinks You're the Best
, the New York act's second full-length, is most memorable when in the throes of full-on bar band ecstasy, but ably simmers down to explore a variety of different styles and tempos. "I'm in Love Again" sounds at times like a Steely Dan outtake; "Heiroglyph" plays with dub even as it's a rousing shout-along; "Dreams of the South" has a steady, epic strength. The songs all hang together, members of the same wild, beautiful gang.
Unified by a whopping dose of ragged soul, this is a band whose sound jumps out of your headphones and starts a riot. Live, they ought to be dangerous.The Teenage Prayers play The Star Bar tonight with Hymns and Spottiswoode & His Enemies. Catch them on tour as follows:
Thursday, March 20 - Charlotte, NC - The Milestone
Friday, March 21 - Raleigh, NC - Slim's Downtown
Saturday, March 22 - Baltimore, MD - Lo-Fi Social Club
Lewis Black's Root of All Evil
Comedy Central, Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. EST
Crankypants and The Daily Show
's "Back in Black" correspondent Lewis Black now has an even bigger forum in which to vilify anything and everything that pisses him off. Structured like a mock trial, Root of All Evil
lets Black's fellow comedians present arguments in each installment about which of two modern institutions is worse. Episode one pits Oprah Winfrey against the Catholic Church. Paul F. Tomkins makes the case for Oprah's cult-leader qualities and overblown narcissism ("Oprah wants you to love and respect all women who are Oprah"), while Greg Giraldo skewers the Catholic Church for plaguing its members with fear, guilt and "boy-fucking."
This show will appeal to anyone who relates to Black's misanthropic, about-to-blow demeanor and his cohorts' crude wisecracks. Its setup feels a little loose so far, but give it time. If this week's offenders (Donald Trump and Viagra) are any indication, getting to the root of all evil ought to take years.
- Amanda LangstonOfficial Show SiteLewis Black's Official Site
Hot ChipMade in the Dark
After the success of "Over and Over," Hot Chip are suddenly ubiquitous. They've become the go-to guys for remixes of everyone from Amy Winehouse to The Rolling Stones, and were even asked to pen a song for Kylie Minogue's latest (they declined). So, Made in the Dark
comes with some pretty high expectations. Fortunately, they have delivered an album that proves they are worthy of all the acclaim.
Hot Chip have completely abandoned the shambolic sounds of their first album, while further developing the glistening pop moments of 2006's The Warning
. The first four tracks alone are an onslaught of danceable, brightly energetic tunes. The band moves through the insistent "Out at the Pictures," the pounding dance breaks of "Shake a Fist," the pure synthesizer pop of "Ready for the Floor," and the bouncing, skittering beats of "Bendable Poseable."
The energy level drops briefly for the dreamy balladry of "We're Looking for a Lot of Love," but the band never lets the listener rest for long. The slow moments that riddle the second half of the album are immediately followed by tracks like the world beat-meets-New Order funk of "One Pure Thought" or the rhythmic "Touch Too Much."
By structuring their album this way, it is easy for the quieter moments to be eclipsed by the big beats. But that does not mean the ballads and soulful touches are mere filler. If anything, it is a testament to how much impact is made by the other tracks. Hot Chip simply threaten to overshadow themselves with their own mastery of dance grooves.
- Stuart MyerburgHot ChipAstralwerksHot Chip tour dates:
- Saturday, March 8 - Hamburg, DE - Uebel & Gefahrlich
- Sunday, March 9 - Berlin, DE - Postbahnhof
- Monday, March 10 - Munich, DE - Elserhalle
- Tuesday, March 11 - Cologne, DE - Gloria
- Thursday, March 13 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
- Friday, March 14 - Brussels, Belgium - Botanique / Orangerie
- Saturday, March 15 - Lille, FR - Grand Mix
- Monday, March 17 - Paris, FR - Trabendo
- Tuesday, March 18 - Rennes, FR - Ubu
- Thursday, April 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom
- Friday, April 11 - Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
- Saturday, April 12 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
- Monday, April 14 - Boston, MA - Paradise
- Tuesday, April 15 - Montreal, QC - Metropolis
- Wednesday, April 16 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix
- Thursday, April 17 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
- Friday, April 18 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
- Monday, April 21 - Vancouver, B.C. - Commodore Ballroom
- Tuesday, April 22 - Seattle, WA - Showbox
- Wednesday, April 23 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
- Thursday, April 24 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend
Behold! It's that time again, when one band out of a million are crowned the reigning kings of right now. The Vampire Weekend buzz has been building over the last 6 months or so, and seems ready to explode. Driving this frenzy is a worthwhile, if not mind-blowing, debut album, one whose beatific melodies are a teasing preview of springtime.
It's impossible to read about this group of Columbia grads without seeing their work compared to Paul Simon's Graceland
. One has to wonder if the plethora of writers throwing around the G-word to encapsulate Vampire Weekend's sound have bothered to play this 1986 album since its Grammy-winning heyday, or if they were even alive then. Yes, both incorporate sparkling African rhythms (in Simon's case, via authentic African musicians), into their effusive, brainy New York pop. The Vampire Weekend boys even admit being influenced by a parent's copy of the record, but the similarities are superficial. If the two works share anything, it has more to do with their mix of bubbly sonic optimism and a knack for highbrow storytelling than a strong geographic connection.
Murmurs of colonialism have followed the band, along with derision towards their Ivy League background (face it, "Walcott" could totally be the name of a Whit Stillman character). In truth, Vampire Weekend draw as much from art-pop and garden-variety indie rock sources as they do from traditional African sounds. Upper-crust strings (indigenous to the Upper West Side) dress "M79" and the aforementioned "Walcott" in mannered attitude; the offhand vocals on "Oxford Comma" trill with careless ennui. For every wobbly-kneed, awkward dance groove, there's the prickly guitar melody of "Bryn," which has a crisp, rousing Celtic feel.
For all their exposure, this isn't yet a band with a personality-driven identity (I, and I suspect many listeners, can't yet name an individual band member offhand). What stands out is their fresh, youthful feeling - the free-spirited bounce of "A-Punk," the lovely back-and-forth of "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," and the excitement of confounding those who would rather music and culture stay in specifically designated boxes, never to mix inappropriately. If they become the biggest band in the world or we never hear from them again, this is a strong, infectious collection of songs that deviates from the everyday. And, damn it, that's nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Amanda LangstonIf they recover from performing on Saturday Night Live tonight, Vampire Weekend will perform (along with The Walkmen) at the Earl this Sunday, March 9.Vampire WeekendXLVampire Weekend tour dates:
- Monday, March 10 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree (w/The Walkmen)
- Tuesday, March 11 - New Orleans, LA - Pocket Park at the LBC quad, Tulane University
- Wednesday, March 19 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah (SOLD OUT)
- Thursday, March 20 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre (SOLD OUT)
- Saturday, March 22 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent (SOLD OUT)
- Sunday, March 23 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Shop (SOLD OUT)
- Tuesday, March 25 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge (SOLD OUT)
- Wednesday, March 26 - Seattle, WA - Nuemos (SOLD OUT)
- Thursday, March 27 - Vancouver, B.C. - Richards on Richards (SOLD OUT)
- Saturday, March 29 - Missoula, MT - The Badlander
- Sunday, March 30 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
- Monday, March 31 - Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue
- Tuesday, April 1 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
- Thursday, April 3 - Minneapolis, MN - The Triple Rock Social Club
- Friday, April 4 - Madison, WI - The High Noon
- Saturday, April 5 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
- Sunday, April 6 - Chicago, IL - Metro (SOLD OUT)
- Friday, April 11 - Providence, RI - Brown University Campus Green
- Friday, April 25 - Indio, CA - Coachella - 1 p.m.more...
DJ and musician Caroline Herve, better known by the moniker Miss Kittin, inexplicably dubs herself "Ms. Kittin" on the cover of her newest release, BatBox
. Perhaps the minor name change echoes the subtle shift in her music from her previous, more experimental solo album. BatBox has a slicker, more polished sound, thanks to producer Pascal Gabriel, whose recent production credits include pop divas Dido, Kylie Minogue and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Despite the glossier production, Miss Kittin does not stray far from her usual formula. She has always been fascinated with the trappings of fame and celebrity ("Madame Hollywood," "Frank Sinatra") and continues to explore that theme on "Sunset Strip" and "Playmate of the Century." Her trademark blend of deadpan delivery paired with Eurodisco electro beats is also evident throughout most of the album. She almost revels in it on "Machine Joy," where she proclaims, "Joy is in the rhythm of the machine."
But there are hints of new directions amid the usual sounds. A subtle goth undertone permeates the album, most notably in the album title and the cartoon bats gracing its cover. The theme continues on "Kittin is High," with its reference to "vampire and witches" and her promise to "bite you in the neck" on "Solidasarockstar." Even the guitar sounds on "Grace" are reminiscent of Joy Division and Bauhaus.
A gentleness also emerges on "Play Me a Tape," where Miss Kittin urges a lover to play her a tape "to show me you love me." Backed by sweet synthesizer sounds that would not be out of place on an early Depeche Mode recording, she demonstrates a charming, sensitive side. Stripped of her detached irony, she reveals the human behind the machines.
- Stuart MyerburgMiss KittinNobody's BizznessCatch Miss Kittin on tour:
- Saturday, March 8 - Tokyo, JP DJ/live BatBox release showcase @ Womb
- Saturday, March 15 - Singapore, SG DJ/live BatBox release showcase @ Zouk Club
- Thursday, March 27 - Paris, FR Special New Wave DJ set w/ The Hacker @ Le Paris - Paris
- Friday, March 28 - Montpelier, FR DJ/live BatBox release showcase @ La Villa Rouge
- Wednesday, April 23 - Berlin, DE DJ/live @ Watergate
- Saturday, May 3 - Offenbach, DE Robert Johnson
- Saturday, May 10 - Venice, IT Il Muretto
- Wednesday, May 21 - Paris, FR Mkth DJ set @ 15 years of Rex Club anniversary @ Rex Club
- Friday, May 30 - Sevilla, ES Territorios Festival @ Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art
Adam FranklinBolts of Melody
For me, Swervedriver's Mezcal Head
was one of the definitive albums of the early '90s, fusing elements of grunge and shoegaze into a unique and powerful sound. Unfortunately, like most bands of that era, Swervedriver fell victim to label woes, with the follow-up, the wonderfully eclectic Ejector Seat Reservation
, never receiving an American release, and their underrated swan song, 99th Dream
, finally securing release through an indie label. After that, Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin went even deeper underground, recording under the name Toshack Highway, and releasing surprisingly mellow electronica and lazy guitar ballads on a variety of small labels.
Which brings us to his solo debut, Bolts of Melody
. The opening track, "Seize the Day," could easily be a stripped-down demo from Swervedriver's early days. The album continues by interspersing other gentle rave-ups with the mellow balladry Franklin had quietly been perfecting as Toshack Highway. Song titles such as "Ramonesland" and "Syd's Eyes" indicate that Franklin's not only drawing from his personal rock 'n' roll history, but rather from the entire mammoth genre itself.
And that's where the album really succeeds - despite Franklin's familiar voice and a few flashes of oversaturated guitar effects, most of these songs could have been beamed right out of the late '60s or '70s. A slightly lo-fi, hazy production helps preserve that timeless feel across the whole album. Franklin has managed to step out from under the shadow of Swervedriver's mythic early period, by creating songs and sounds that have their own sense of history. I suspect discussions of his future work might be able to sidestep the "S" word completely.
- Parks WestbrookAdam FranklinHi-Speed SoulAdam Franklin plays in support of Bolts of Melody at the EARL on Friday, October 5. His subsequent tour dates are as follows...
Lexi is a two year old shepherd / Chow mix. She is a good-natured dog who plays well with humans and other dogs. As a complement to her beautiful black and brown coat, she has an unusual white streak running up her backside. Since coming to live at the shelter, Lexi has seen many other dogs come and go, and she's ready for her chance at a loving home. Please come by and see what you're missing!
Ramones - "Listen to My Heart"
Yo la Tengo - "Madeline"
Black Moth Super Rainbow & The Octopus Project - "Lollipopsichord"Lexi is available for adoption at Dekalb County Animal Services, located on 845 Camp Road in Decatur, GA. Our last featured dog, Red (pictured with Lexi above), is also still available. For more information, call 404-294-2996.