Her instrument set-up was bizarre for a solo act. She had an odd contraption with many knobs on top of a set of multiple keyboards, a myriad of pedals and wires, and a guitar. The way she played her songs was fascinating, she began with a guitar riff or a keyboard chord/melody and recorded it. Then she looped that sound and continued with her song. Her music can be haunting, but her live presence was the complete opposite. In fact, she had a sense of humor! Song intros, funny stories, and even a French serenade peppered the performance with a light feeling. I still have yet to decide if I liked her personality. On one hand, she is poking fun at herself. On the other hand, is making music a joke to her? At times it was hard to tell where her performance was coming from--then again, this also could be attributable to the fact that I don't speak Spanish. Attitude aside, the quality of her voice was not disappointing. Molina has a very pure voice and it resonated with perfect tone throughout the Old Town School of Folk Music.
Editor's note: Couldn't agree more with Megan about the strange juxtaposition between Molina's live and recorded presence. Listening to her records, I always thought she sounded a bit dark and mysterious. On stage, she was a total flake! A bit confused by the whole experience, I looked up Molina's bio the next day on AllMusic and it explained everything:
"[Molina] is best known in South America as a comedic television actress."
Here I was expecting to see Argentina's answer to Beth Orton, and it turns out she is more like Argentina's answer to Lisa Kudrow...if she were to take her "Phoebe" routine and attempt serious music. Granted that is short changing Molina quite a bit, but remember Phoebe's "Smelly Cat" song? Well, Molina sang "El Perro" (the dog) where she literally barked and whined like a dog for well over the last minute of the song. Needless to say, I'll never be able to listen to Molina in the same way again.
Our fourth annual city issue jumps into the heart of Chicago, a place that has most of the XLR8R staff wanting to relocate offices. We got a chance to uncover what goes on on in local music, fashion and design, both old and new, all the while falling more deeply in love with The Windy City. Thrill Jockey founder Bettina Richards sets the tone of the issue with her personal intro to Chicago, then we follow up with over 40 features including Steve Albini, DJ Funk, Struggle Inc, Galapagos 4, Hefty, Chocolate Industries, Ron Trent, Pit er Pat, Drag City, Groove Distribution, a photo essay by Matthew Taplinger, Lumpen, Consumer Research & Development, an invaluable city guide and much more.
In all seriousness, though, this should be a great show...except that there are like 6 other great shows going on that night (not to mention all of those Halloween parties your friends are throwing), so it's going to be a tough call on what to check out. Chances are you already know about Diplo, so here's the scoop on DJ Marlboro via the Sonotheque website:
Fernando LuÃs Mattos da Matta, aka DJ Marlboro, is currently one of Brazil's most exciting DJs, whose setsspecializee in Baile funk, the cutting edge Hip-Hop hybrid that comes straight from Rio de Janeiro's favelas. This "Ambassador of Funk" as he is known, was nicknamed Marlboro because he comes from MÃ©ier, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, far from anywhere, "further than the land of Marlboro."
Hmmm...it is hard to resist a Booty Bash, might be a good option if your friend's costume party turns out to be lame. Whatever you decide for Friday, all I've got to say is pace yourself... Halloween isn't even officially until Monday!
Marjorie Fair are hitting the open road this fall playing dates with Doves, Tegan & Sara, The Redwalls, Northern State, and Youth Group. Check them out at this intimate Apple in-store event as they preview their live show and songs from their latest album, Self Help Serenade.They will also perform later that night at Park West with Will Hoge. E-mail promotions[at]theonion.com with "Marjorie Fair" in the subject line for your chance to win a pair of tickets and and iPod Shuffle!
OK, first off...how many times has Majorie Fair been in town as an opener already this year?? Without even trying, I've somehow managed to see them twice already...and I swear I've seen their name on at least two or three other random bills since. Now they're opening for Will Hoge this weekend and will be opening for the likes of The Doves, Redwalls, Northern State, etc. the rest of the fall. Damn, these guys get around! Despite inadvertently seeing them twice, I still really don't have a good read on the band. They do meloncholic pop ala Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, Red House Painters, etc. (a genre that I dig), but I'm not completely sold on their version of it (a bit too derivative, perhaps?). However, they don't completely suck either...which is probably why they keep bouncing around between so many opening slots and not headlining their own gigs.
Second, "win a chance to win...an iPod Shuffle"??? Didn't they discontinue those things??? (good-bye Shuffle, hellooo Nano!) This seems like a really shitty giveaway... an outdated piece of technology left over from the Apple Store's basement and a pair of tickets to see a second-rate band?? Don't e-mail your contest entries all at once, I'm sure The Onion's e-mail server is already struggling to keep up with the demand for this!
The Apple Store is located at 679 N. Michigan, the Marjorie Fair in-store is Saturday at 2pm
There are already like a million Beatles and Beatles-related tributes out there already, does anybody in their right mind really think that someone like The Donnas are going to be able to bring something new to the table? "Oh my god, I've never got 'Drive My Car' ride before, but after hearing Donna A. sing it, I totally understand the genius of this song!!"
If the sheer redundancy of this project wasn't bad enough, the performances here are absolutely worthless. The paint-by-numbers covers are boring and the reinterpretations are unbelievably annoying. In fact, I think The Fiery Furnaces may have actually replaced William Shatner for the title of "Worst Beatle Cover Ever" with their butchering of "Norwegian Wood." I've always kind of thought there should be a law against covering The Beatles, and now I think this law should apply doubly to indie rockers. Do yourself a favor, avoid this record at all costs and pick up a cheap used copy of the real thing.
Releases out today that ARE worth your time:
Annie - DJ-KiCKS (K7)
Calvin Johnson - Before the Dream Faded (K)
Quintron & Miss Pussycat - Swamp Tech (Tigerbeat6)
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures (Sub Pop)
Tom Vek - We Have Sound (Startime Int'l)
I wasn't able to find much else about DJ Mel and he seems to be a relative unknown outside of Texas...but damn, this Lone Star can spin! After a solid 20 minutes of cutting some of the best new hip-hop jams, he started dropping in some sick 80s samples. He mashed-up Men Without Hats with 50 cent, Ying Yang Twins with Janet Jackson and even dug deep in the crates to scratch up some Nu Shooz. Yes, that's right, I said Nu Shooz...the one-hit wonder band who struck synth-pop/dance gold with "I Can't Wait." DJ Mel even managed to make Hall & Oates sound cool. I was at the bar ordering a drink when he played "I Can't Go For That," and everyone around me went crazy.
I'm sure Biz was great as well, but what Mel put together was an ideal set for me. Mostly new, mostly hip-hop but with a dash of 80's blended in to keep things unpredictable and interesting. It's a formula that I've always advocated, but Mel nailed it down as good as anyone I've heard.
Fundraiser for Quintron (New Orleans Artist Fund)
featuring Paper Rad, Doo Man Group, Gay Nerds, Paper Rad Videos, Bobby Conn & Magas
9pm at Iron Studios
3636 S Iron St 2nd floor
If you haven't heard the story yet, quirky New Orleans indie electronic pop artists Quintron and Miss Pussycat lost everything when Katrina ripped through their home/recording studio/music venue in the Ninth Ward. For more on the story and the latest updates, go to: www.quintronandmisspussycat.com. They'll also be in town themselves next week on the 31st at The Empty Bottle, which (in my opinion) should be the hottest ticket for Halloween night.
I like Metric. Their new release, Live It Out, is good. Their performance Tuesday night at the Empty Bottle was enjoyable.
In about three weeks I think I’ll be over all three.
Emily Haines and company have a sound and a style that they manage well. They’re a wonderful mix of synth pop and punk and are catchy and danceable and rockin-outable and often make me want to, and feel like I could, go out and kick some ass. But their sound just doesn’t stay fresh for long. At first listen Live It Out was exciting and when certain songs came on I’d stop what I was doing, give them my full attention and say to myself, Damn, this is good shit.
It took less than a week for me to get slightly bored, especially when I realized that this was nothing the Brits weren’t doing in the nineties and the New Wavers in the eighties and every Pseudo Punk since Punk could be pseudo. Not that taking from those who came before is condemnable. But I think that Metric is trying too hard, or perhaps not trying hard enough. They sound like they’re playing it safe and the result is blah; I want them to either shed all pretense and start banging their guitars against the walls, or to go the other way and start wearing matching shiny suits and sunglasses.
They’re halfway to that kitsch that would make them amusingly endearing. The Empty Bottle stage was decked in tube lights that ran along the floor and amps and even Joules Scott-Key’s drum kit. The house lights dimmed and a recording like a strange answering machine message from a B-horror film ran a few minutes before Metric hit the stage. Haines in her little black dress, messy blonde hair and with dark circles around her eyes looked like Uma Thurman after a lost weekend. Guitarist Jimmy Shaw and bassist Josh Winstead wore dress shirts and skinny ties. Only Scott-Key in his slacker jeans and shaggy hair didn’t look like he had just come back from a halfhearted nu-New Wave cocktail party.
The first half of their set consisted mostly of tunes from the new album, which Haines later commented she thought flowed well with the older stuff, despite critics’ apparent shock that they had jumped into rock with Live It Out. But rocker Emily Haines unfortunately is not. There were certain moments, like during “Glass Ceiling” and “Patriarch on a Vespa” when she abandoned her synths, grabbed the mike for dear life and let her jarring voice yowl, that I could see the punk rocker trying to break out of the post-punk. But for the most part she had the stage presence of a sexy automaton channeling Deborah Harry, throwing in pretentious head banging and running in place with high kicks that revealed her twiggy legs, and perhaps a little more.
I hate to turn this review into just an assessment of Haines’s performance but she is undoubtedly the biggest draw to the group, and her onstage insanity overshadows what the fellows in the band are doing, which isn’t much. Winstead even had time to stick his hands in his pockets when there was nothing else for him to do. During the show there were exactly four drunk guys in front of me and one behind, and all of them were dancing awkwardly, knowing that Emily was singing only to them. If anything I’ll give it to Metric for being able to make grown straight men dance like little gay boys. During the closer, Dead Disco, Haines leaned over the stage, got in the face of some guy in the front row, stuck the head of the microphone into her mouth and screamed. The guy looked up at her as if concentrating seriously on her refined performance. Give me a break. We all know what was going on in that dude’s jeans.
It was a fun performance. The energy was high and the sound was tight. Metric played for an hour, having to pack up early without an encore in order to be done in time for the later show, which was fine by me because this was the loudest concert I’d been to in a while and my ears were dead. Still, when the lights went up and we made our way out, part of me was looking back, hoping to see the band stumbling back on stage wearing boas, smoking pipes and chucking beer bottles at each other. No, what I really wanted was for the guys to come out bare-chested, wearing black lipstick and pleather pants while Haines dressed like Michael Jackson and told us all to go fuck ourselves. My god the possibilities are endless.
The entire festival lasts until November 13 and there are waaaay to many events to list here. Pick up a copy of the latest issue of Lumpen (#97) or go to www.selectmediafestival.org for the complete run-down.
Come on, I'm not even going for it...
OK Biz, you got me...all you have to do is RSVP by clicking here. Must be 21+ as always and they recommend arriving early as the RSVP does NOT guarantee your admission to the event. In other words, they overbook the shit out of these things and if the house is full when you arrive, you're going to have to wait outside until someone else leaves.
Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (Warp)
Damn! It's already been 3 years since Geogaddi was released? I still crank up that record on a fairly regular basis like I just bought it a few months ago. ("1969" sill kicks my ass!) When you make albums as good as these guys, 3 years in-between records goes by quick.
John Cale - Black Acetate (Astralwerks)
New solo record from legendary producer and Velvet Underground alumnus. The Beeb sez: Like a cross-section of his whole career layered with the funkiest contemporary electronica, Black Acetate is, in turns, startling, edgy, doomy and filled with rock 'n' roll thrills that really do hark back to his best work on Island records (Sold Motel, Turn The Lights On)...
What's most amazing is the fact that both his voice and his muse seem to be in tip top form. As he says on ''Brotherman'': 'I've got reams of this shit.'
Depeche Mode - Playing the Angel (Mute)
Thanks to the help of producer Mark Bell (of LFO and Bjork fame), I thought Mode's 2001 Exciter release amazingly kept the band sounding fresh and musically relevant some 20 years into their career. Unfortunately Bell isn't back this time around and my initial thoughts are that this may be a step back for Depeche Mode... sort of like how The Cure unsuccessfully tried to recapture their Disintegration glory days with Bloodflowers. Even the cover art is derivative of vintage 80's Mode. That being said, I do really like the lead single, "Precious."
Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain (Load)
Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers (Drag City)
Tonight's live quartet will consist of:
Tomeka Reid- cello
Nicole Mitchell - alto flute
David Boykin- bass clarinet
Josh Abrams- bass
The performance is slated to start around 9pm, with the set lasting about an hour. DJ sets from Abrams and Biz 3's Ben Fasman will follow. Can't make it tonight?? No problem, Abrams will be taking over live duties at Danny's for the next few Mondays.
Danny's is located at 1951 W. Dickens, just off Damen Ave.
I frickin’ love Wolf Parade. When I’m deaf at thirty, fifty-three percent of the blame will lay with these past few months and my obsession with these nascent northern lads. They aren’t the neatest, most talented group, and most of their praise is presently founded in buzz, in everyone’s rush to discover the next Arcade Fire before anyone else; still, there’s something intriguing in their sound, and while they certainly have a long way to go, it’s already obvious that this is a band that will be delectable for years to come, providing they find a way to keep together their style that sounds moments from breaking apart.
The band in question came out around midnight to face a ravenous, sold-out crowd. Guitarist and vocalist Dan Boeckner declared that they were going to try to “play pretty” for us. Oh the irony. Wolf Parade’s music is anything but pretty. It’s uncomfortable and messy at best. They began with “It’s A Curse,” the dark rocker that has Boeckner singing like he simultaneously wants to be a bubble gum pop star and a metal thrasher. “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghost,” a personal favorite featuring the neurotic warble of Spencer Krug, came up next. They played at a manic pace that had me screaming out my new mantra (“But God doesn’t always have the best goddamned plans, does he?”) like I was a dejected high school kid on speed.
“We Built Another World” had Boeckner and Krug passing vocals back and forth like jaded lovers, and I realized that in this relationship lies a great deal of what makes these guys so damn hot. There’s something disconnected about their sound: whereas other bands with two principle, competing songwriters take either the early Lennon/McCartney approach (complete cohesion) or late Lennon/McCartney approach (total separation), these two come together magnetically like they desperately want to kill each other. This disjointed quality creates tension, a passive-aggressiveness that translates into something alluring as hell. Throughout the show Boeckner and Krug didn’t talk to each other, didn’t look at each other. They stayed on opposite ends of the stage and most of the time it seemed that they were playing two different songs, with Boeckner banging around stage like the punk rock god he’s probably imagined himself becoming since he was ten, and Krug seated behind his keys playing more subdued and intently. During the closer, “Dinner Bells,” Krug was in his own little peaceful world, singing his ballad, eyes closed so he did not see the rest of the band going haywire, pounding guitar, banging the hell out of drums and tambourine and even wind chimes like they were pissed off that Krug was making them play such a sissy song.
They played for about an hour, running through most of Apologies to the Queen Mary, adding for the encore “Disco Sheets” from their self-titled e.p. They also included four tracks unreleased by Sub Pop, which were relieving in their revelation that the band has material waiting in the wings that is as energetic as anything they‘ve already put out.
Wolf Parade is already relatively huge. Their album has only been out for three weeks, but it was familiar to most of the people in Schubas Friday night. “I’ll Believe in Anything” and “You Are a Runner and I am My Father’s Son” set off the crowd as if they were tunes it had been waiting years to hear played live. Some enthusiastic fans already know all of the words (Is it wrong to admit that I am one of them?). As big and buzzy as they are right now, they are only going to grow in popularity. I don’t want them to. Not only for my normally selfish reasons, but because I don’t think it will be possible for them to function in their present state on a larger scale. This is a live band. On stage they lack all the musical awkwardness that is apparent on their recorded material. Their energy is so raw and fragile that I don’t see it holding up at an auditorium-level. I’m sure they’ll be able to stay together as a band-- indie kids are going to flock en masse to these guys-- but I don’t think they’ll be able to maintain that enticing vigor I witnessed this past weekend at the back of a bar on Southport.
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