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ha’fway 2012

4th Jul 12 (Wed) 3 comments

Happy 236th birthday, United States!

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So, here are my faves of the first half of 2012… and outside of the Top 5, it’s all kind of random order on how I feel today… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):

Artist Album (style)

  1. OSI Fire Make Thunder (glitch prog)
  2. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (jazzy pop)
  3. Peter Mulvey The Good Stuff (indie songwriter playing standards with a band)
  4. Damien Jurado Maraqopa (indie rock)
  5. Celldweller Wish Upon A Blackstar (electronica)
  6. Sigur Rós Valtari (ambient icelandic)
  7. Emily Wells Mama (chamber hip-pop)
  8. Floratone Floratone II (jazz)
  9. s/s/s (Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Serengeti) – Beak & Claw -EP- (interesting)
  10. Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson & Mikael Akerfeldt) – Storm Corrosion (ethereal proggy departure)
  11. John Zorn The Gnostic Preludes (jazzy experimental)
  12. John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron) with John Medeski – Templars (noise rock)
  13. Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (drone)
  14. The Chance Brothers Growing Concern (indie rock)
  15. Regina Spektor What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (pop)
  16. Ani DiFranco Which Side Are You On? (folk pop songwriter)
  17. Buckethead Electric Sea (gentler instrumental guitar)
  18. Bad Veins The Mess We’ve Made (indie rock)
  19. Cosa Brava (Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, etc) – The Letter (rootsy jazz adventure)
  20. David Krakauer plays Masada Book Two Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas) (klezmer jazz)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet) and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2012 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Mike Patton & Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II, Ben Folds Five’s reunion studio album, Ric Hordinski’s Arthurs Garden (physical CD, though the download came out a bit ago), the Dusted debut from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Erin McKeown’s kickstarter, and I’ve heard rumors of a new Nellie McKay disc for the Fall.

Favorite concerts of 2012 (so far):

  • Penn & Teller and Cirque’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, Jan 18th & 20th
  • Secret Chiefs 3 in Eugene & Portland, Feb 6th & 7th
  • Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! in Eugene & Portland, Mar 2nd & 4th
  • Puscifer in Portland, Mar 14th
  • Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene, Mar 18th
  • Radiohead in Seattle, April 9th
  • Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Portland, May 22nd
  • Beck in Bend, May 27th
    (click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: CelldwellerWish Upon A Blackstar

Regina Spektor’s new album, video & Tom Petty tour

30th Mar 12 (Fri) 2 comments

Piano pop-songstress Regina Spektor has a new album (out May 29, 2012), a new video (“All the Rowboats“), and an opening slot for Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersEverything’s coming up Milhouse!

What We Saw From the Cheap Seats
1. Small Town Moon
2. Oh Marcello
3. Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)
4. Firewood
5. Patron Saint
6. How
7. All The Rowboats
8. Ballad of a Politician
9. Open
10. The Party
11. Jessica

Regina Spektor and Tom Petty Tour Dates
April 2012
18/19 – Broomfield, Colo. @ 1 Bank Center
21 – Little Rock, Ark. @ Verizon Arena
24 – Albuquerque, N.M. @ Tingley Coliseum
26 – Wichita, Kan. @ Intrust Bank Arena
29 – Alpharetta, Ga. @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park

May 2012
1 – Estero, Fla. @ Germain Arena
3 – Orlando, Fla. @ Amway Center
5 – Austin, Texas @ Frank Erwin Center

The Atlanta (Alpharetta) date is convenient for a work trip of mine… yay!

~Dan – np: Ani DiFrancoWhich Side Are You On?

REVIEW: Regina Spektor @ Roseland Theater (Portland, OR – 11/1/09)

2nd Nov 09 (Mon) 5 comments

I got into Regina Spektor right around the time that Begin to Hope came out (thanks to my apple peeps Luc & Nic!).  I really haven’t had a chance to see her until now, as she played near me in Ohio right around the time I was moving to Oregon.  Her newest album, Far, is really good.  I’ve been “studying” it a lot this past week, and really dig just about every song.

The Roseland Theater show was sold out at least a week in advance.  Things didn’t work out to bring my wife, friends, back-ups of friends, couchsurfing hosts, or CS friends to the show… sigh.  Oh well, I sold my extra ticket out front.  Bah, no cameras again for this show.  I attempted to contact RS’s management, but got no response after a 3 week attempt.  Oh well… this is my major dissappointment with the Roseland: metal detectors, a fervid security staff, and the near impossibility to get my camera in without pre-approval… argh.

Anyway… on to the show…

The opener Jupiter One was really good.  I had only heard of them a few hours prior.  They are from New York and seemed to have that “NYC rock vibe.”  I’ve seen several bands (usually openers) who have “that vibe.”  Jupiter One were more impressive than most.  They are a four piece and were smushed to the left of Regina’s piano (which was oddly moved over after their set – which would have given J1 more room).  They had a nice groove, and played multiple instruments (violin, flute, etc) in addition to the traditional rock gear.  They only played for about a half of an hour, and didn’t really announce many of their song names.  I was looking out for one of them (“Platform Moon”), but I don’t know if they played it…

Regina went on a little after 9pm to immediate screams and applause.  She had a violinist and cellist (whose names I didn’t get) with her, and Matt Chamberlain was on the drum kit.  I’ve seen Matt many times with Tori Amos, and his self-titled solo album from 2005 on (Secret Chiefs 3 & Mr. Bungle) Trey Spruance’s label Web of Mimicry is the bomb – it’s quite a non-traditional “drummer solo album” (check it out).

The first half of Regina’s set was pretty bouncy and fun.  I think once it got to her solo acapella and definitely the guitar stuff, well, it wasn’t her strong suit if you ask me.  She played a lot from Far, but also mixed in some material from her older albums – especially at the encore…

Setlist: about an hour and 40 minutes

  • The Calculation *a fave of the night*
  • Eet
  • Folding Chair *a fave of the night* (nice use of strings)
  • Ode to Divorce
  • Riot Gear *a fave of the night*
  • Machine
  • Laughing With *a fave of the night*
  • One More Time With Feeling
  • Two Birds
  • Blue Lips
  • On the Radio
  • Dance Anthem of the 80s
  • Silly Eye-Color Generalizations (acappella)
  • Bobbin’ for Apples (Regina on guitar)
  • That Time (Regina on guitar)
  • Apres Moi *a fave of the night*
  • Poor Little Rich Boy (Regina playing piano and a drum)
  • Human of the Year
  • Man of a Thousand Faces
  • Encore: Samson *a fave of the night*
  • Us *a fave of the night*
  • Fidelity *a fave of the night*
  • Hotel Song
  • Love, You’re a Whore

I had a lot of fun, but I’m bummed some people who wanted to see it couldn’t for various reasons.  It was a sold out show; so if that’s any indictation, if she keeps touring, I’m sure she’ll be back through Portland.  She seemed to have a good stage presence and was more full of mirth than, say, Fiona Apple, yet more grounded than, say, Tori Amos.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: John ZornFemina

Remaining U.S. Tour Dates

  • Mon 11/02/09 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum
  • Tue 11/03/09 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre
  • Fri 11/06/09 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
  • Sat 11/07/09 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
  • Tue 11/10/09 – Houston, TX – Verizon Wireless Theater
  • Wed 11/11/09 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q / Waller Creek Amph.
  • Thu 11/12/09 – Grand Prairie, TX – Nokia Theatre At Grand Prairie
  • Sat 11/14/09 – Kirksville, MO – Truman State University
  • Mon 11/16/09 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
  • Tue 11/17/09 – Asheville, NC – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
  • Thu 11/19/09 – Louisville, KY – Louisville Palace Theatre

ha’fway 2009

4th Jul 09 (Sat) 10 comments

Happy 233rd birthday, United States!

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(Sub)consciously prompted by these music blogs, here are my favs of the first half of 2009… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end:

Artist Album (label)

  1. Dredg – The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion (Ohlone)
  2. Masada Quintet + Joe Lovano Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 12 ~ Stolas (Tzadik)
  3. OSI Blood (Inside Out Records)
  4. Wussy Wussy (Shake It Records)
  5. Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy Spirit Moves (Green Leaf Music)
  6. Wynton Marsalis He and She (EMI / Blue Note)
  7. John Zorn Alhambra: Love Songs (Tzadik)
  8. Regina Spektor Far (Sire / Warner)
  9. Isis Wavering Radiant (Ipecac)
  10. Zu Carboniferous (Ipecac)
  11. Dream Theater Black Clouds & Silver Linings, really only the instrumental disc (Roadrunner)
  12. Jamie Saft Black Shabbis (Tzadik)
  13. Madeleine Peyroux Bare Bones (Rounder)
  14. Secret Chiefs 3 Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini (Web of Mimicry)
  15. Ember Swift Lentic :: 子玉 (Few’ll Ignite Sound)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year… the new Green Day, U2, Placebo, Eminem, Dave Matthews Band, Fever Ray, Crank 2 soundtrack (by Mike Patton).  I’m waiting for them to be cheaper used, but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2009 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… John Zorn’s O’o, Medeski Martin & Wood Radiolarians 3, Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane (possibly by November), Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), a new Sufjan Stevens (just speculating, since it’s been a while), Ani DiFranco always has something coming out, Jon Madof’s CircuitBreaker debut (maybe) & another Rashanim, The Tango Saloon’s Transylvania (stateside release?), new Tristeza, Over the Rhine Live from Nowhere IV, George Hrab ‘s 6th album Trebuchet, Derek Webb‘s Stockholm Syndrome, SFJazz 2009 with Dave Douglas & Joe Lovano and others, A Perfect Circle internet only single releases (as mentioned back here), and a new Tool record (they’ve worked on it some, but I doubt it’ll hit until 2010)… and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.

~Dan  – np: Cut ChemistThe Audience’s Listening

again… Happy 233rd birthday, United States!


This July 4th, celebrate Sarah Palin resigning as Alaskan governor!

Regina Spektor / Placebo / Elliott Smith / Sean Lennon+

17th Mar 09 (Tue) Leave a comment

A trio of news plus one batch of retro coolness…

Regina Spektor‘s got a new one coming out called Far (out in June on Sire Records).  Read more over at Pitchfork (hey, I’m lazy and it’s busy season).

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(European date schemes are so… backwards)

Placebo‘s got a new one coming out in June as well… June 8th, that is.  It’s called Battle for the Sun Read more over at Placeboworld.

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Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, and Yoko Ono have some tracks on the premiere release from Chimera Music (their record label).  It’s got tracks from upcoming work by all of them… check it out at fina music downloads.

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Pitchfork has a 28+ minute 1998 documentary of Elliott Smith called Strange Parallels.  I have this on DVD-R from a tape trader a while ago, but it’s available to watch for free up on Pitchfork.  It’s quirky and fun – – a good look into Elliott right on the cusp of “super-stardom” (around/just after the Oscar nominee time).

~Dan – np: The Blood BrothersLove Rhymes with Hideous Car Wreck

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