Monthly Archives: July 2007

Pistols & Hearts


Pistols & Hearts

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As Tall As Lions

“But don’t get too attached to the living, even every single memory is fleeting.”

At two records in and with a number of national tours under their belt, I can hardly sit here and rhapsodize about how As Tall As Lions is some big secret that needs unleashing. I wouldn’t hesitate to put forth, however, that a good number of you are still in the dark when it comes to Long Island’s newest indie-rock success story. Passionate, slow crawling melodies escalate into near epic choruses made possible by frontman Dan Nigro’s tremendous vocal capacity. Doesn’t sound like something to be ignored, does it? The two cuts below come from the band’s eponymous sophomore album from East West/Triple Crown Records. Their debut album, which is as equally commendable, is entitled Lafcadio and is also available in stores.

As Tall As Lions – Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)
As Tall As Lions – Song For Luna

more info…
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Jimmy Eat World hits Minneapolis

“I won’t always love these selfish things…”

Jimmy Eat World hits Minneapolis tonight (6/23). I’ve been waiting the last 5 years to see them play. It would make sense to wait until tomorrow to recap the show, but I’ll just tell you in advance what I thought: I was captivated. Chances are that you’re one of two people. Either 1) you love them, or 2) you heard “The Middle” on the radio years ago and wrote Jimmy off as a rudimentary pop-punk band. Let me lift the veil from your eyes (and ears), number 2. I spent my formative teenage years enveloped in the songs of Jimmy Eat World and am rife with admiration and esteem for anything with the group’s name on it. I would even venture to call them one of my favorites, and I don’t use the term lightly. The band’s recent penchant for more grace and experimentation is much appreciated as well. Although a new disc is in the works and should be released in the upcoming fall, I suggest you get acquainted with their latest release, Futures, from which I have included two tracks. The last track is an acoustic b-side from years ago.

Jimmy Eat World – Polaris
Jimmy Eat World – 23 (highly rec’d)
Jimmy Eat World – No Sensitivity (acoustic)

more info…
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The Snake, The Cross, The Crown

“Humming to himself as he is thinking of his latest debts…”

Chances are that you’ve never heard of the ingeniously (?) titled The Snake, The Cross, The Crown. Why? The band resides on seminal hardcore/emo label Equal Vision Records. However, in the past couple of years, Equal Vision has made a concerted effort to diversify their roster. With the addition of bands like Dear and the Headlights (if you’ve been around awhile, you already know my feelings regarding Dear), Goodbye Tomorrow, and The Snake, The Cross, The Crown, Equal Vision is no longer so scene specific. A newly focused SCC now dabbles in Americana and indie folk on their sophomore album Cotton Teeth. While not a breakout album, it’s undoubtedly a surprise its own right and a welcome addition to the collection of any folk rock aficionado. The title track is beautiful and comes highly rec’d by me.

The Snake, The Cross, The Crown – The Great American Smokeout
The Snake, The Cross, The Crown – Cotton Teeth

more info…
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Wolftron

“I’m quickly finding out that no one here will find what they are looking for.”

Don’t let the name fool you. Wolftron is not a another addition to the overly enervate army of synth yielding post-punk hipsters. The music, in fact, is the diametrical opposite. Though only the pet project of Daphne Loves Derby frontman Kenny Choi, I’d have to say plainly that it may outshine his band’s previous efforts. Not only are the songs sure to resonate with a more sophisticated crowd, but Choi’s songwriting talents are also better tapped in his solo endeavors. The whole demo set, which amounts to a near album length eight tracks, can be freely downloaded at Wolftron’s Purevolume site.

Wolftron – Uglybird
Wolftron – The Moodie Forester

more info…
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Death + Taxes

Last night I was able to catch the Death & Taxes Tour (sponsored by Death + Taxes Magazine) here in Minneapolis. Headlining was Jesse Malin, whom I’ve known and loved for years, with support provided by LA band Acute and a newly reformed and re-invented Wisconsin band, the Wildbirds.

The first set was provided by Acute, who have recently released their disc Arms Around A Stranger. Get your hands on a copy, I enjoy the album quite a bit. Although Minnesotans are intrinsically pleasant and agreeable people by nature, the reasonably sized crowd seemed to genuinely enjoy the the unassuming mien and non-complacent songs the band had to offer. I’d venture to say that we appreciated the band even more as a result of the spectacle that took place on stage following them, but I’d be discounting the crowd’s immediate fondness for them.

I’ve seen the Wildbirds perform before, albeit under far different circumstances, and was expecting some semblance of enjoyment as it related to those past experiences. In the past year or so, the Wildbirds have undergone not only a name change, but a complete stylistic change as well. Although I love and enjoy the band’s most recent EP, their performance left a bit to be desired. Namely, the antics of vocalist Nick Stuart had most of the crowd reeling with distaste. It’s no secret that a mildly inebriated frontman is a bit charming and generally makes for a more engaging performance, but being completely tanked is not only tasteless, but absolutely senseless as well. I’ll say it again, I do thoroughly enjoy this band, and would likely venture out to see them play again. I just hope the outcome is a bit different. The band is gearing up to release their debut full length (as the Wildbirds) next month.

The Wildbirds – Way Down Low

It was clear who the crowd came to see, and after a set of an hour and a half, most of us were more than contented. Jesse banged out mostly electric based pop tunes tunes from his new disc, Glitter In The Gutter, but was happy to please the obvious sub-crowd of “life-and-death” fans with tracks like Brooklyn, Swingin’ Man, Wendy, and Riding On A Subway. Not only did he charm the crowd with his sometimes inarticulate rantings on politics, Cracker Barrel, Myspace and the current state of the music business (he’s the old-fashioned, indie record store type, if you couldn’t conclude), but he scored extra points with his Minneapolis related covers. At one point, the whole crowd, along with Jesse, sat on the venue’s floor while he covered “Bastards of Young”. Though the cover appears on Glitter in the Gutter, I think he was expecting a gleeful sing-along, but, unfortunately, the Replacements reference seemed to have been lost on the majority of the crowd. He later covered the Hold Steady’s “You Can Make Him Like You” acoustically. Near the end of the night, both support acts were invited on stage to channel Wayne Coyne in their rendition of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” Jesse, you’re invited back. And sooner rather than later.

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Meese

“Has this become a part of it? Maybe we should have slowed down.”

I’m simply not a pompous person. Ask anyone who knows me. However, when it comes to music, I’ve certainly got some pretentiousness and bold opinions lurking around. When I found out that Denver band Meese was handpicked by this year’s high schooler/frat boy favorite arena band, the Fray, I wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect of me enjoying them. I was kind of wrong, though, because I kind of like them. Indie hipsters be wary – Meese is in every aspect a Top 40 radio friendly band. Nonetheless, anyone with a penchant for melody and a willingness to embrace honeyed choruses and pop guitar arrangements will understand where I’m coming from. The band, led by brothers Nathan and Patrick Meese have been generating significant label interest. It’s really not too hard to understand why…

Meese – The Start of It

more info…
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