I’m taking a break from the compelling Grammy awards show to post this video of Wilco performing Jesus, Etc. in London.
The clip is from a November show, which is one of two audio downloads the band is offering on its Web site to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti.
By the way, Wilco was beat out for at least one award tonight. Levon Helm won best Americana album over Wilco (The Album).
Drive-By Truckers released the smoking new track, This Fucking Job, ahead of its album The Big To-Do, which is scheduled for a March 16 release. Enjoy it on the way to work tomorrow.
There’s no video for it. So here’s a clip from a Halloween show at Metro a few years ago.
One of the best news stories I came across last week: New Hampshire is using the cult t-shirt Three Wolf Moon to promote economic development. It’s true. The Mountain, the company that makes the shirts (an Amazon top seller last year) is based in New Hampshire. So naturally, the state wants to make it the official t-shirt to show New Hampshire’s awesomeness.
I don’t own a Three Wolf Moon shirt (yet) but you can read the rave reviews.
Black Tambourine, a short-lived indie side project from the early ’90s, is being resurrected with a new compilation that includes unreleased and newly recorded songs.
The band’s sound holds up pretty well today. Throw Aggi Off the Bridge sounds quite a bit like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The life of the band was brief: 1989 to 1991. Formed by members of Velocity Girl and Whorl, Black Tambourine never made a proper album. The comp is being put out by Slumberland, which is (what do you know?) also the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s label.
A Robbie Fulks show can feature a lot of country twang, some pop (think Let’s Kill Saturday Night) and a healthy dose of Michael Jackson. I’ve witnessed Robbie put a fake rat down his pants during a rendition of Ben. Needless to say, a Robbie Fulks show is always entertaining.
Starting Monday, he begins a month-long residency at the Hideout, playing every week. On his Web site, he says he’ll give you a hint of what to expect prior to each show. This Monday: “We’ll be focusing on country flat-pick songs. Bring your eighth-note-o-meters,” he says on his site.
There are a number of highlights on Wilco’s live performance at Coney Island last summer, one of two live shows the band is letting fans download in return for Haiti aid donations.
The other download is a show in London in November. The Brooklyn show includes sets with Yo La Tengo (jamming on Spiders), Feist and Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear.
Go here to get the downloads and details about donations. The band is asking that you donate at least $15 to one of two relief organizations.
Also worth noting: Beach House’s excellent new release, Teen Dream.
Anyone who heard Shearwater’s 2008 album Rook will be looking forward to the release next month of Golden Archipelago. The band’s label, Matador, just released the song Black Eyes, which is the second free track from the forthcoming album. Looks like the band is scheduled to play Lincoln Hall in April.
Toro Y Moi, aka Chaz Bundick of Columbia, South Carolina, has an interesting sound, blending electronic, indie and a little R&B. He just released this video for his song Blessa.
Dannie Flesher, co-founder of Chicago industrial record label Wax Trax!, died last week of pneumonia at age 58. While the label has been gone for awhile (it filed for bankruptcy in 1992), its influence continues today. Wax Trax! artists include Ministry, Front 242, Revolting Cocks and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.
After starting out in Denver, Flesher and partner Jim Nash opened the Wax Trax record store in Lincoln Park in 1978. The label was started in the early ’80s. Nash died in 1995 and Flesher moved to Arkansas 10 years later, which is where he lived until his death.
Update: Here’s the video from My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult that I initially meant to post.
Panda Bear played a pair of new songs in Belgium recently. The follow-up to Person Pitch will be a September release on Paw Tracks (the label Animal Collective founded).
The long-awaited album by Spoon, Transference, is out Tuesday. Other releases include Surfer Blood’s debut Astro Coast and the Eels End Times.
Spoon has been performing some of the news songs live. Here’s one, Written In Reverse, in the video below.
Compared to Why? the song almost sounds straightforward. Wolf’s brother, Yoni, fronts that band while Josiah plays drums and a number of other instruments.
Two legends of the Chicago music scene — Eleventh Dream Day and Waco Brothers — play Hideout tonight to raise money for Haiti. That’s a hell of a show and a good cause.
That’s cool. Pavement’s sound is so original it still sounds fresh. I’m looking forward to the reunion.
Jay Reatard’s death is being investigated by Memphis police as a possible homicide, according to news reports. Not a lot of other details yet.
It appears one of Jay’s last recorded songs was a Nirvana cover, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge, recorded for a tribute album. His Web site is offering the song as a free download.
Jay was one of the most fun artists to hear and watch over the last few years, like experiencing the Ramones or the Stooges. He created short, sharp shocks of punk rock. Blood Visions, his 2007 breakout album, is my favorite. But I loved about everything he put out.
Watching him live was fantastic. He’d play this ridiculous V-shaped metal guitar but played it with conviction.
Living in Chicago, the choices for live shows in January can be pretty bleak. Which is why it’s exciting that Schubas and its new sibling Lincoln Hall are staging a five-day fest, Tomorrow Never Knows, starting Wednesday.
Among the headliners: Surfer Blood, Neon Indian, Atlas Sound, Voxtrot, Bowerbirds and Clues. There are strong supporting acts, too, including Bear in Heaven (opening for Surfer Blood at Schubas Thursday) and the Dead Trees (opening for the Cribs Wednesday at Lincoln Hall).
At least a couple of the shows are sold out. Look here for the full schedule.
Los Campesinos! releases Romance is Boring Jan. 26, while Midlake’s The Courage of Others is expected Feb. 2.
Here’s the latest from Animal Collective: A trippy video for Brother Sport off Merriweather Post Pavilli0n.
There’s been a lot of buzz around Surfer Blood in recent months. Finally, the West Palm Beach, Florida, band is close to releasing its first album (a week from Tuesday).
In some ways, Astro Coast sounds like a mishmash of indie bands: some Shins, a bit of Animal Collective and even some Vampire Weekend. That may sound awful but it mostly works for me.
Surfer Blood hits Chicago next week, playing Schuba’s Thursday, Jan. 14, as part of Tomorrow Never Knows.
Over the next three months there are going to be some album releases by bands other than Vampire Weekend.
Now that we’ve put 2009 (and the last decade) to bed, I’ll spend some time looking ahead to new releases. Some of them actually rock, like the Soft Pack’s self-titled debut next month.