Thursday, May 28, 2009

So Anxious

Next week kicks off Central Park's SummerStage. TV on the Radio gets things started Friday June 5th, but the acts I am super duper pumped for are Les Nubians (I have never gotten the chance to see the French-Cameroonian duo live before, as an unfortunate last minute email cancellation from Ticketmaster came right before a Boston gig my sophomore year), Q-Tip, Jazmine Sullivan aaaaaaannnnnnd (drum roll please): GINUWINE, JOE AND CHICO MOTHERFUCKING DEBARGE. On one stage! "So Anxious" and "Pony" live? "Stutter" and "No Guarantee"? 1999 to my face.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

David Byrne Has Something To Say

David Byrne, who's been blogging on his website since before 'blog' was even a word, posted some thoughts on Dark Was The Night: Live, and it's obviously more interesting than what I had to say. He sounds quite energized by the current state of indie rock. Sounds like he had fun:
Maybe it’s the headiness of being surrounded by so many creative folks, but it seems that popular music — some of it anyway — might be going through one of its periodic peaks. It also seems that rock music, or some sizable branch of it, has evolved from being a throwaway piece of merchandise for teens to a respectable art form. The transformation, made in fits and starts over many decades, seems more or less complete.
Click on over there for the rest.

05.05.09: New York -- Cinco de Mayo [david byrne journal]

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse, Together At Last


Gah! Maybe you remember a few years back, when Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse announced they'd be recording an album as Dangerhorse. This was after Danger did some production on Sparklehorse's fantastic Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain. Well, we never heard from Dangerhorse, but now comes word that this summer will see the release of Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse present Dark Night of the Soul, with a guest list that veers into is-this-really-happening territory. It's so far flung it reminds me of the appearances we saw on Gorillaz' Demon Days (another Danger Mouse production, come to think of it). The most interesting name on the list is David Lynch, but head over to for the full rundown (Suzanne Vega? Black Francis? I'm so down--even Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, the vocalist I most confuse with Sparklehorse, is along for the ride).

Sparklehorse's work is always interesting, but sometimes lacks focus; this project is so enticing because focus is exactly what Danger brings to the table. Cee-Lo, MF Doom, Black Keys, yes even Gorillaz all were in the game of releasing meandering, far too long records until they hooked up with Danger Mouse, so here's hoping that this album finally delivers the disk I've always wanted from Sparklehorse. It's streaming right now on Chrysalis Music's blog, so head on over and check it out.

Dark Night of the Soul stream [chrysalis blog]
Stream Dark Night of the Soul [stereogum]

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Don't Wanna Burst Y'all Bubbles: Sharon Jones Shows Us How It's Done

Last night was Dark Was The Night: Live, a performance that I reluctantly plunked down $50 to sit in the cheap seats, if only because the triple threat of a Feist-David Byrne-Dap-Kings concert had to be worth it. It was a night of mini-sets and collaborations between a handful of the artists on the Red Hot compilation, a double-disc loaded with original material produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National.

The show was better than I thought it would be--none of the acts disappointed, and some bands I was neutral on (Bon Iver, the National, My Brightest Diamond) turned in performances so strong that I've been digging much deeper into their discographies (this Boxer record is really very good, eh?). And getting to watch David Byrne duet with Feist was worth price of admission alone.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings gave the most electrified performance of the night to close the festivities. Then came the encore: the indie clusterfuck elite (and I say that with adoration and respect, honest) took the stage to lead a singalong of Pete Seeger's "This Land is Your Land," a fine choice on the folk legend's 90th birthday. Then, halfway through, Sharon Jones returned to the stage to show these kids how it's done with the Dap-Kings' cover "This Land" (which you can find on their LP Naturally) Watch the video before it gets taken down.

The whole show stopping number became an embodiment of my love/hate relationship with indie rock today: there are interesting things happening and tons of great acts working, but even at the top of its game, it can't ever really be as much fun as Sharon Jones and the Dap- Kings. Luckily, there's no need to pick one or the other, something that Dark Was The Night highlights in its eclecticism and deft curation. Please pick up a copy--it's for a good cause and it's really much better than this sort of thing usually turns out.

This Land is Your Land @ Dark Was The Night [youtube]
Dark Was The Night [official site]
Red Hot Organization [official site]
Buy Dark Was The Night [eMusic]
Buy Dark Was The Night [amazon]