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Archive for November, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kingblind Ticket Giveaway:: Ratatat in Seattle, WA on 12/2 at the Showbox

2006 has been a good year for *Evan Mast* and *Mike Stroud*, the partners in crime that make up *Ratatat*. This past autumn the band toured in support of their second full-length, *”Classics”* and played to sold-out audiences in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia, ending with a very high profile performance at the Guggenheim Museum on November 6th CLICK TO VIEW PICS and a one-off DJ set opening for Goldfrapp. They are now hitting the road AGAIN with The Faint, and will be bringing their unique brand of electro-rock your way..

That right folks.. See both Ratatat and The Faint in Seattle, WA on 12/2/06 at the Showbox. Here is how you can win..

Send an email with RATATAT in the Subject Line and your name & address in the body of the message to kingblind(at) And we will randomly pick a winner TODAY!! So enter now.. Good luck people of Seattle!!


Mercury Rev Unveils Rarities, Scores French Film

Mercury Rev is winding down a busy 2006 with two new releases. First up is “The Essential Mercury Rev — The Weird Years 1991-2006,” a 32-track, two-disc set blending cuts from the band’s first six studio albums with hard-to-find oddities. The set arrived in October internationally via V2 and is available in North America only from the band’s Web site.

“The first disc has some of our favorites. It’s a good sampler, like a box of candy. We took all the maple creams out, the ones people pinch,” drummer Jeff Mercel tells “The second disc is a collection of B-sides, rarities and few unreleased tracks — things that never saw the light of day, or were released in a very scarce manner. There’s a James Brown cover [“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”] that was done for a tribute, which is a very unusual sounding track.”

The band has also just unveiled its soundtrack for the French film “Bye Bye Blackbird,” which can be purchased under the moniker “Hello Blackbird” from Mercury Rev was approached by director Robinson Savary to contribute to the movie in 2001, but it took several years before the project got off the ground.

“He proposed an idea for a film about a circus in the early 1900s that was traveling through Europe,” Mercel says. “Circuses were on the decline, as new forms like cinema were on the rise. A strange romance evolves as well.”

“There is a little bit of vocals, but by and large, 95% of it is instrumental,” he continues. “It doesn’t always have the standard song form. Mostly, we tried to create an alternate reality for the film. The imagery is so obviously tied to the circus, but we thought the music should maybe be a bit more inside the mind of the characters.”

Mercel reports Mercury Rev is in the early stages of writing for the follow-up to 2005’s “The Secret Migration,” which will be produced by longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann.

“Right now, it’s still those little sparks,” he says. “You get a little idea of what’s to come, but we haven’t really pushed anything much further than that. We’re collecting a lot of small ideas. But we’ll definitely be working with Dave. In some capacity, we’re always involved with him. The relationship has changed now that we have our own functional studio, so some of the roles sort of cross. But it’s still a very collaborative effort.”

Mercury Rev will close out its 2006 performance slate with shows tomorrow (Nov. 30) in New York and Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.
(Jonathan Cohen, N.Y. via Billboard)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tom Waits “Lie to Me” Live on Lettermen 11/27/06 (Video)

Kingblind news that you can use

Here’s what the Yanks missed with the Clash

Syd Barrett’s possessions to be auctioned

“High Fidelity” meets high chairs

John Waters to celebrate Christmas, Valentine’s Day in his signature weird ways

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kingblind Downloads

Be Your Own Pet – Live In Dundee

Noel Gallagher – 1989 Demos

Kings Of Leon – Live In San Francisco

Oasis – Live at Palacio De Los Deportes, México (March 31, 2006) (Bootleg)

Bloc Party – Les Black Sessions (2005)

Kingblind news that you can use

Krist Novoselic Joins Flipper

Bob Mould Teams Up With Fugazi Drummer

V Fest Heads Down Under With Pixies, Gnarls Barkley

The Shins announce West Coast Dates

Tom Waits:: Orphans- Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (Album Review)

What’s Orphans?’ asks Tom Waits, rhetorically, of his new three-disc, 54-song epic, in the accompanying 95-page booklet of lyrics and photographs. Answer: ‘I don’t know. Orphans is a dead-end kid driving a coffin with big tires across the Ohio River wearing welding goggles and a wife beater with a lit firecracker in his ear’ – which probably sums it up as well as anyone else’s attempt at classification might.

It is also an outstanding musical creation – 30 tracks are previously unrecorded – that nods to almost every known genre of American music, and some that have yet to be named, though to say so is pretty much a platitude at this stage in Waits’s history. The late flourishing that began with the million-selling, Grammy-winning Mule Variations in 1999 has continued with rapturous acclaim for subsequent albums, including the most recent, 2004’s Real Gone, where, with typical disregard for taste or fashion, he experimented with the supremely naff art of human beatboxing. Only a musician with Waits’s vision and cachet could take a form that was previously the preserve of white teenagers aspiring to be ghetto and transform it into something feral and disturbing.

There is more beatboxing to be had here, notably on his cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘King Kong’, but Orphans has been helpfully arranged by genre, so that fans wanting to avoid too much of the avant-garde, the experimental, the monologues or shaggy dog stories can put to one side the third disc, ‘Bastards’, on which all such uncategorisable elements have been gathered and concentrate on the first two.

‘Brawlers’ is vintage roadhouse Waits: hard-edged, piano-and-guitar-driven rock and blues punctuated by wailing harmonicas, growling out stories of American misfits, cons and barflies with names like Blackjack Ruby and Scarface Ron, before giving way to swaying, whisky-rich laments of hobo life such as ‘Lost at the Bottom of the World’. And then suddenly, in the midst of this classic Waitsiana, comes the most powerful and startling song of the entire collection, ‘The Road to Peace’. The lyrics might have been lifted straight from newspaper reports (it begins, ‘Young Abdel Madi Shabneh was only 18 years old’ and goes on to namecheck Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas, Ariel Sharon, Henry Kissinger and George Bush); the simple, repetitive drum and guitar backing recalls the rhythms of traditional Jewish tunes, and the result is one of those rare songs that roots you to the spot, makes your scalp prickle and produces an unearthly shiver in a warm room, which may well be the mark of great art. Waits once described the efficacy of political songs as ‘like throwing peanuts at a gorilla’, but this one is like hurling a rock into its face.

The second disc, ‘Bawlers’, is a casserole of country ballads, waltzes, spirituals and bar-room classics to rip your heart right out, including ‘Goodnight, Irene’ and a dirty, gritty version of ‘The Long Way Home’, reclaimed from Norah Jones’s pleasant, sugary cover (which made it sound as if she were apologising for her train being slightly delayed). But the real fun is on the third disc, ‘Bastards’, which mixes up poems by Bukowski and Kerouac, a nature documentary detailing the homicidal tendencies of insects (analogy implied), a monologue, ‘The Pontiac’, in which an all-American father reminisces to his son about all the cars he ever owned, and finishes up with a truly bad joke that can’t help but make you groan and smile just because of the relish with which he tells it.

Orphans is once again co-produced with Kathleen Brennan, his wife and collaborator. Two of his children, Casey and Sullivan, also contribute, respectively, drums and guitar, but the only instrument that matters here is, as ever, that extraordinary voice.
(Stephanie Merritt)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Kingblind Downloads

Beirut: 2006-10-20, San Francisco

My Morning Jacket: 2006-11-22, Louisville

Tom Waits: 1978-1987, television appearances *Registration Required

Architecture In Helsinki:: We Died, They Remixed

Bloc Party:: Weekend In The City Pass : ritmono

Welcome To Kanye’s Soul Mix Show (Kayne West Remix) news that you can use

Stooges sounding like themselves

Coachella Expands To Three Days, Country Fest To Follow

Clamor for iPhone increases

Music biz ponders aging hipsters

Zune is a failure

Jay Z:: Kingdom Come (Album Review)

And the award for most unnecessary album of the year goes to the self-anointed “Michael Jordan of recordin’,” whose comeback has been pretty much guaranteed from the moment he announced his doubtful “retirement” with the Black Album in 03. Post-What More Can I Say?, Jay proves that, yes, he really has nothing more to say except to state the fact that he’s back (“What you want me to do? I’m sorry! I’m back”). If you care, the ornate single Show Me What You Got is the best song on the album – otherwise, the high-effort production by Just Blaze, Dr. Dre, DJ Khalil and fish-miles-from-water Chris Martin is as vapid as the rhymes. I can’t believe Nas’s album got delayed for this bullshit. Retire for real now, please. (Jason Richards)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Kingblind Delay..
We have experienced a death in our family.. Posting is going to be delayed for one week. Thanks for your understanding.

Kingblind Downloads

White Stripes, Queen, Sufjan Stevens and MORE!

Wolfmother:: Live in Sydney

Meat Puppets:: No Joke Demos

James Brown:: Motherlode

The Beatles:: Love (Album Review)

In about 2002, the bootleg mash-up was big news. A hopelessly named phenomenon that involved producers illegally mixing two unlikely old records together to make a third, the mash-up made celebrities of some strange figures – Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton and secretive producer Richard X among them – but the Beatles may have been the sub-genre’s true stars. They were involved both in its artistic zenith – the Grey Album, on which Danger Mouse pitted Jay-Z’s rapping against music from the White Album – and the moment when mash-ups meandered into pointlessness: Go Home Productions’ Paperback Believer, which used two fantastic records, Paperback Writer and the Monkees’ Daydream Believer, to make a noticeably less brilliant third.

Their bootleg explosion did not escape Paul McCartney’s attention: mash-up producer Freelance Hellraiser DJed on his last world tour. Three years on, with the phenomenon entirely out of puff, the Beatles have finally released their own 80-minute mash-up, remixed by George Martin’s son Giles for the Cirque de Soleil show currently wowing Las Vegas tourists.

Any notion of four mop-topped figures trying to clamber aboard a bandwagon that left town some time ago is blown away by the opportunity Love presents to hear their music in vastly-improved sound quality: even if you don’t have the requisite equipment for surround sound. At risk of straying into the grim territory of What Hi-Fi? magazine, the original Beatles’ albums were released on CD in 1988, with digital technology in its infancy. They sound tinny and desperately malnourished by today’s standards. They should have been remastered, but they haven’t; largely, you suspect, so Apple can flog one canny repackage after another, safe in the knowledge that sooner or later, the people who buy them will fork out again for the definite article.

Aside from a lovely new string arrangement on While My Guitar Gently Weeps, the only thing the Martins have added are sound effects. Some of these are fair enough – the vocals from Because float hazily amid bucolic chirping – but others are worryingly prosaic. When Henry the Horse dances a waltz in Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite!, his arrival is heralded by neighing: useful clarification for those listeners under the misapprehension that when John Lennon sang about Henry the Horse, he was referring to a squirrel. Worse, the guitar figure from Julia is overlaid with an ambulance’s siren. As anyone who has read the late Ian McDonald’s Revolution in the Head knows, Julia may be the most emotionally complex Beatles track of all, an outpouring of Oedipal longing wrapped up in a tender expression of new love. If you stick an ambulance siren on it, you suggest it’s just a song about John Lennon’s mum getting run over, which isn’t the same thing at all.

In theory, Love’s other big idea – overlaying sections of different Beatles songs to create new pieces of music – is more controversial, but the results are largely fantastic. Overlaying Mr. Kite’s closing bars with the churning coda of I Want You (She’s So Heavy) cleverly highlights the similarity between the swirling, cut-up calliope of the former and Paul McCartney’s remarkable shivering bassline on the latter. The drums from Tomorrow Never Knows are matched to Within You Without You: suddenly, Sgt Pepper’s most ethereal moment sounds claustrophobic, oppressive and nasty. This seems weirdly fitting, given that the song’s lyric features a 24-year-old millionaire smugly congratulating himself for being so much more civilised and enlightened than everyone else.

It’s debatable whether I Wanna Hold Your Hand – recorded specifically to sound fantastic blaring from a Dansette or a transistor radio’s solitary, tinny speaker – gains much from being remixed into 5.1 surround sound, but elsewhere, the benefits of the sonic upgrade ring out. The quiver of desperation in Lennon’s voice on Help! is almost unbearable. The thwack of strings against guitar neck adds an undercurrent of anger and frustration to Yesterday. But no one profits quite like Ringo Starr. Strawberry Fields Forever’s thunderous finale now sounds like something produced by the Chemical Brothers, but it’s the bits you’ve never noticed that really give you pause. Who – other than Ringo, obviously – previously paid any attention to the fills on Here Comes the Sun or the scampering hi-hat patterns that decorate Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds?

You could, of course, have discovered this without anyone mashing up anything. The question of whether anybody would listen to Love more than once if the original Beatles albums were available in equivalent sound quality is a nice one. But it doesn’t seem to matter much when you can almost feel the spit flying from John Lennon’s mouth during Revolution, or when A Day in the Life’s orchestral swell comes surging from the speakers. After all, it’s hard to ask questions when your breath has been taken away.
(alexis pedris)

Monday, November 20, 2006

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead:: So Divided (Album Review)

These Austin-based noise-rock scoundrels have never met a fake-classical fillip they couldn’t find room for in a song. On last year’s Worlds Apart, they busted out a stately waltz called “To Russia My Homeland.” As promised by its hilariously over-the-top title, “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory,” a cut from this the Trail of Dead’s fifth full-length, reaches a new peak: there’s no noise in it, or even any real rock — it’s a pretty piano ballad that sounds like the Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By,” at least until the string section swells to life, at which point the tune starts to resemble a lighter-waving anthem from the new Meat Loaf CD. The rest of So Divided depends less on the band’s gear-smashing antics than on their sense of tunecraft, which isn’t as highly developed. They do strike the right combination in the title track, a nearly perfect approximation of Daydream Nation–era Sonic Youth. (MIKAEL WOOD)

Kingblind news that you can use

Motorhead sponsor UK youth soccer team

Taiwanese manufacturer contracted to provide Apple iPhones

Billy Bragg considers music’s digital future

Documentary critiques music biz

Bands made out of legos