brian jonestown massacre @ cat’s cradle

brian jonestown massacre @ cat's cradle

Brian Jonestown Massacre’s new record, Aufheben, is a swirling mess of synthesizers and experimental guitar noise, and their live show was no different, except just a hair more captivating — and the record is pretty trance inducing as it is — watching Anton Newcombe and company spin all those parts into something whole and spider-webbed and throbbing along your veins. The set was hypnotizing and shimmering, the sounds of fall cool creeping into summer heat, and I was absolutely blind-sided by how great BJM were live.

Mpls band Magic Castles opened, and were equally captivating. Loved loved loved their set.

Full set of photos is here.

brian jonestown massacre @ cat's cradle

brian jonestown massacre @ cat's cradle

two for the road

jon lindsay @ slim's

I’m putting together end of the year lists, like everyone else, but I couldn’t let these two slip through without writing about them. Both out today, 12/6.

The Black Keys — El Camino: my love for the Black Keys is pretty well described as primal; their 2010 album Brothers remains an album that I think is so fundamentally dirty that it probably shouldn’t be listened to in polite company. El Camino is more of what they do so, so well, which is make brilliant two person garage blues. It’s less dirty than Brothers but it’s a little more funky, a little more full of ’70s crunchy guitars than blues wail and moan. It’s absolutely as compelling, though, and it really is just as fantastically brilliant as everything else they’ve done. El Camino feels, like every album Carney and Auerbach have released, like the logical step in their careers — they made a few garage rock albums tinged with the blues, and with Brothers made a full-on sexy-as-hell blues record. El Camino is a ’70s funk album, full of shiny shouted choruses and hand claps and reverb on the vocals and fuzzed out guitar lines. If the Black Keys want to make me ’70s funk albums, I’m down with that. Really, really down, in fact. This album is phenomenal. As always.

The Catch Fire — Rumormill: the Catch Fire is one of Charlotte’s Jon Lindsay’s other projects — the man likes to stay busy, which I admire whole-heartedly — a songwriting collaboration with guitarist Mike Mitschele. More electric and sunny than Lindsay’s acoustic-ish solo writing, their debut LP kicks off with the title track, which is a joyful romp through harmonized choruses and synthesizer solos; and the strength of the record continues in Lindsay and Mitschele’s vocals, the plaintively uplifting choruses and the counterpoint during the verses of songs like “Younger Every Summer” and “Back in the Band”. It’s got blues swelling up under the pop, like the growling guitar line in “Start This Fire”; chiming synthesizers from the best New Wave songs in “Ambulance”; and those harmonies, above all, all over the record. It’s a springtime kind of album, the promise of something new, the promise of something changing. It’s a stunning debut of collaboration from two real talents who are both long-time veterans of the Charlotte scene (Mitschele played with Athaneaum), and it’s really worthy of attention, which I hope it gets in 2012 if not in 2011.

OKAY NOW NO MORE 2011 ALBUMS, I CAN’T COPE. And I am not going to listen to anything out in 2012 until 1/1/2012, even if it’s sitting in my iTunes. The end. (Go buy both of these albums.)

jon lindsay @ slim’s

jon lindsay @ slim's

jon lindsay @ slim's

Jon Lindsay writes the kind of indie guitar pop songs that stick in your head because of a catchy chorus or a well-picked guitar line, and it’s not until you listen to them later that you realize they’ve wormed their way into your head because they’re sly and subtle and impeccably clever; he is a staggeringly talented songwriter. He’s also a great musician, and he was as spell-binding on stage with just his guitar and a kick drum and a single keyboard player on Thursday night as I bet he is with a band. His first solo release, Escape From Plaza-Midwood, is wonderful, and the stuff I heard from his upcoming Summer Wildnerness Program is just as fantastic. The show was underpopulated because of the Hopscotch kickoff party at Tir Na Nog the same night, which was a damn shame. Don’t miss him the next time he (and his band) come through Raleigh or Chapel Hill or wherever.

wylie hunter & the cazadores @ slim's

wylie hunter & the cazadores @ slim's

It seems funny that I’ve been seeing Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores for a year, and this is only the third or fourth time that I’ve seen them do their own stuff. I saw them cover Springsteen — knock three Springsteen covers out of the park, in fact — back in January, and I still hear Springsteen when I see the band do their own stuff, but not in a bad way; in a fond and complimentary way. Like Jon, they’re finishing up a full length due to drop next year, and like Jon’s, based on the songwriting and how great the band is, it’s going to be amazing.

It was a good night.

the sea & cake @ local 506

the sea & cake @ local 506

Friday’s show at the 506 was a lovely evening full of jangly indie rock from the Sea & Cake and Butterflies, and absolutely staggering dreamy instrumental post-rock from Chicago’s Brokeback. Warm and comforting in the best way.

Full set here.

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okkervil river @ cat’s cradle

okkervil river @ cat's cradle

Okkervil River was one of my last musical discoveries in Chicago — Lani and Linney and I saw them open for the Decemberists at the Metro, on the Picaresque tour, before Black Sheep Boy had even come out. I saw them four times in four months in 2005, four startlingly different venues — a sold-out Metro, a half-empty Schubas, a street festival, a packed and raucous SubT — and then not again for more than two years. I went even longer this time, because the last time I saw them before last night was in the fall of 2008, when they were touring behind The Stand-Ins, and shep. and I drove to Wilmington to see them at the Soapbox, so sold-out that I was a little afraid the floor was going to collapse and dump us all into the laundromat below.

Continue reading “okkervil river @ cat’s cradle”