So much to pass along today on Earth Day and, almost as if on purpose, all of the following items a) were recorded, b) were filmed, c) happened recently, or d) are happening soon on, you guessed it, Earth (because it's nice to have a topic that ties everything together).
First things first, beginning with the immediate, as in happening tonight in Portland-- a pair of CD release shows from local acts. Backspace sees Ross Beach and friends celebrating his new Vol. 1: The Process Is Now the Work, released under the moniker Ross Island Bridge. To be clear, it's not an album from the bridge itself (that might include Gary Numan's "Cars," as well as anything from the Traffic catalog), but rather has the former Elephant 6 collaborator Beach joined by eleven Portland musical friends, many of whom you no doubt happen to know in their own rights. Boy Eats Drum Machine's Jon Ragel, Blue Skies for Black Hearts' Pat Kearns, and Autopilot Is for Lovers' Adrienne Hatkin are but a few of the names included on the mostly peppy, electronic record. Beach will be joined tonight by his band The Hellpets, as well as Hatkin, Kearns, Levi Ethan Cecil, and Kaitlyn ni Donovan, to name a few.
Elsewhere, Holocene has the release show for A Cautionary Tale's new Ballyhoo, the Portland band's second effort and follow-up to 2006's Let New Days Dawn. Self-described as "jazz-flamenco-rock," which works as well as any label we suppose, A Cautionary Tale's genre-bending pop is difficult to pin down. Staggered rhythms and increasingly bare arrangements, not to mention the baritone of singer Rich Boles, bring to mind names like Morphine, Smog, and the American Music Club. Here and there, Boles comes across like Eddie Vedder fronting a more musically interesting band, but don't let that dissuade you (if, indeed, it would). Tonight's show also features Seattle's Sleepy Eyes of Death as well as Grey Anne, she of last year's very enjoyable facts n' figurines.
MP3: A Cautionary Tale, from Ballyhoo-
"The Duke of St. John's"
Might we suggest a Two Beers Veirs appetizer prior to taking in one of those shows? Laura Veirs and friends Chris Funk, Annalisa Tornfelt, and Jon Neufeld have just two Wednesdays left in their April Wednesday night residency at the LaurelThirst. Oh, and since you're here and reading this, we'll assume you already know about the Bloc Party/Menomena show at the Roseland tonight, but just in case....
Looking ahead a bit, it was announced this week that Make It Pop!, the upcoming benefit show for PDX Pop Now!, has added a couple of more names you may know to its formidable line-up. James Mercer, he of the newly-free-agented Shins (I'm hoping they sign with The Blazers!), as well as Blitzen Trapper's Marty Marquis, join Brandon Summers of The Helio Sequence, Ryan Solee of The Builders & the Butchers and Loch Lomond (Ritchie Young: afraid to go it alone or just bucking the trend?) for the April 30th performance at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel. A good cause with great music and free food included-- what's not to like? The 2009 PDX Pop Now! Festival is happening July 24th through the 26th.
What else we got in the bag? Two words: naked videos, and lest you think I only typed that to angle for the Google hits, read on. First, the video for Bob Dylan's "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" is newly viewable here. The song, of course, is the first single from Together Through Life, out April 28th. To be honest, it isn't so much a video as it is a collection of photos from Bruce Davidson's "Brooklyn Gang" series, and the only clotheslessness involved is some shirtless toughs at an early-60's Coney Island. But we can do better. Matt & Kim's new video for "Lessons Learned" features the dancetastic duo disrobing in the middle of Times Square in order to declare....we're not sure what, really, unless it's some statement about when, exactly NSFW becomes NSFW. Oh, by the way, this might be NSFW, depending on where you work. We're not sure...
Speaking of, umm, hips, here's Cursive's "From the Hips" from the recent release, Mama, I'm Swollen, the rather stunning resurgence from Tim Kasher's Omaha-based act (if only because it seemed maybe their best work was behind them).
As long as we're bringing the video, check this stylish new one from The Love Language for their song "Sparxxx." The North Carolina band's recent self-titled debut (out on Portland's own Bladen County Records) is full of pop nuggets like this one, and the scenes included here more or less sum up their live show, which is superb. Look for The Love Language soon as part of one of our upcoming in-studio sessions.
OK, so you're sated, but also human and a little selfish, which means that this all fine and good, but you want something that you can take with you and have for your very own, and you want it for free. You probably want it to be hot off the presses, too-- you're a princess, but we understand. All new and for the taking, then...
Finally, a b-side that didn't quite make it onto Montreal-based act The Dears' latest, Missiles, out late last year. Dears' frontman Murray Lightburn explains it thusly:
"For whatever reason the clock ran out and we just couldn't fit
this onto Missiles. It has this ridiculous long section at the
end that features 4(!) simultaneous guitar solos, one of them on
a wah-wah pedal. The solos were played by George Donoso III,
Robert E. Benvie, Patrick Krief and Murray Lightburn, recorded
in the same session, one after the other. The track was inspired
by many things, but notably, the prospect of a black man running
The Dears: "Halfmast"
The Dears play the Doug Fir with Eulogies on May 25th.
As you were....