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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
  Todd Fancey - new mp3, NEMO performance
my love affair with The New Pornographers is, though never consistent, at least never-ending. i mean this truly. i think it's lovely pop with such a pleasant canadian punch to it (there is such a thing, just trust me) and i'm never sorry when i put them on and spin it a few times, whether that's Twin Cinema, Electric Version... anything.

so when i hear one of its members - in this case, Todd Fancey - is doing anything solo, i jump on board. i have faith in his contribution to the band as a whole, and so i am totally willing to give it all a try.

but attention my special beautiful Boston readers! NEMO is offering Todd Fancey at Bill's Bar on September 29th, showcasing his new material which has been quoted as being "soft rock that rocks." here is more:
Though his influences are on his sleeve, Fancey sounds like nothing else. It's sunny, bouncy, but with a certain sadness to the lyrics. It's classic rock for the indie rock set...that invokes the names Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, Emitt Rhodes, and The Association. But it's never effete, and it's never twee. It's a grown up sound that reels you in with its infectious melodies and delicious arrangments.

sounds good to me; and i think you'll like it too.

::::Todd Fancey - Rock n' Roll Rhythm

have a listen, and mark those calendars (we did ours!)
  The Format's Nate Ruess - Interview
The Format's Nate Ruess was good enough to take time out of a very busy schedule and chat with us about his amazing band. We had so many questions and so little time; maybe next chance we can find out more about his extracurricular activities and non-band-related interests.

To make reading easier (and more interesting) I've edited out all the conversational bits for you. I think you'll get the idea.

Please welcome Nate to Noise For Toaster.

Noise for Toaster: Just getting the basic stuff out of the way. Where were you born?
Nate: I was born in Iowa City, Iowa.
NfT: When did you move to Arizona, then?
Nate: When i was four.
NfT: How about the first tape that you bought?
Nate: Um, I think it was Arrested Development.
NfT: And as for siblings, are you the oldest, the youngest, only..
Nate: I’m the youngest, I have a sister who’s a year older than me.
NfT: And favorite accompaniment for a peanut butter sandwich?
Nate: Mmm.. I think, bananas.
NfT: Bananas? I used to eat those all the time, when I was little.
Nate: They’re awesome. I could use one right now.

Now general band questions...

NfT: So, pretty much the favorite thing for article writers and reviewers to write about with you guys is the whole major label drop – and I’m not going to make you tell that story for the umpteenth time.
Nate: Thank you, thank you so much.
NfT: But as for the creative process in the studio, how is it to be working independently?
Nate: It’s unreal, I mean there’s no pressure to do what anyone wants you to do or expects you to do. And that was a good thing, because we wanted Dog Problems to be... well, I hate to say it, but Dog Problems was for us, and you know, if people want to jump on board and like it then that’s just an added bonus. It was a record we wanted to make for ourselves and just get out of our system. There were times where we went a little overboard, or didn’t get to go overboard enough, but it was all by our own choice.

NfT: So, where you guys come from – Phoenix?
Nate: Yeah, yeah, I’d say we’re from Phoenix, for sure.
NfT: Do you think it’s had an effect on the type of songs you’ve written?
Nate: I think to an extent, yeah. People keep talking about how it’s a summertime record, I think it’s just hot all the time so maybe that’s why they feel that way.
NfT: Did that have any impact on how you got signed to Elektra?
Nate: Oh, yeah, I don’t know, the radio station in Arizona played our songs a lot and I think that eventually lead to a major label finding us and signing us. It was a big station and they just loved the song, and it was a trip when it happened, because we just didn’t know anything, and we weren’t actually planning on doing anything.

NfT: This is such a crap question, but sometimes it needs to be asked. On today’s terms of success – like getting a track on The O.C. Soundtrack or some shit, or, well you guys were featured on Laguna Beach, I think I read – so, all of that stuff aside, how would you define a band being successful?
Nate: To me, success is what people decide is success. For me this has been such a huge success, just doing Dog Problems and doing it successfully, and doing it how we’ve always wanted to do. That’s all I was looking for. Everything else is just sort of extra icing. For other bands it might be about selling a million records or something like that. I’m just so content with what we’re at now, all of this is just extra stuff. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I get excited when I find out how many records we’re selling or what shows sold out. It’s nice to know that what we’re doing, people are taking notice, but I think I would be at the same level of happiness just knowing that I made the record that I wanted to make.

NfT: We were personally impressed with the way you guys handled the album’s leak over the internet –
Nate: Oh, my.
NfT: - did you guys panic, or what?
Nate: I panicked for a second, then I realized that stuff like that constantly happens, and with this band bad stuff constantly happens and it’s best to just to – well, this was probably the second time – when we got dropped from the label it looked like potentially a bad thing but now we’re really sort of excited about it and we embraced it and sort of took that the same way with the album leaking, we kind of just embraced it, looking back now I’m so glad it happened.
NfT: and so you guys ended up selling it digitally.
Nate: Yeah, it ended up being great - and you know, then we didn’t shock the shit out of people with what the new record sounded like.

NfT: So the Queen harmonization thing – I’m sorry, everyone compares you to queen, I hope that’s cool – was that new for you on this record? Or was it the full orchestration?
Nate: We’re totally used to doing the big harmony thing, I don’t play an instrument so that’s all I can do. If I’m going to litter myself all over the songs then I’ve got to do it with oo’s and ahh’s. The orchestration was sort of a new thing for us, it was something we’ve always wanted to do, and we just demanded that that be the case for this record. Probably most records from here on out are going to have a pretty good deal of orchestration, it accompanies Sam and I so well.

NfT: Now for the touring bit, how does the orchestra work out on stage?
Nate: Oh well we’ve got this amazing band Anathallo out on the tour and they have horns and we have back up vocalists and horn players from that band. I feel like there’s nothing else you can really add to the songs, and in the live setting nothing’s really missing. After this tour I’m not sure, maybe we’ll just continuously bring out a band with a horn section, or we might add another member, I don’t know.

NfT: So any embarrassing tour detail stories?
Nate: Um, just pretty much me out there on the stage every night, I feel pretty embarrassing.
NfT: Why? [Laughs]
Nate: I’m out there and I’m like “show’s going great, show’s going great, why don’t I just say the stupidest thing – there I go, I just said it.” That’s how it works every night. I’m just trying to see if I can stick to, “Thank you, this is our next song.”

NfT: And with venues, the more intimate the better? Or do you like bigger venues?
Nate: I think it all depends on the crowd – it’s totally the crowd.

NfT: Okay, so we usually like to do a little lightning round, a "this or that" session. We'll wrap it up with that today.
Editor's note: To avoid redundancy, Nate's choice is in bold.
- Dolphin or Eagle
- Train or Plane
- The Beatles or the Stones
- Vanilla or Chocolate
- ! or ?
- Horns or Strings
- Hard taco or Soft taco
- New York or Los Angeles (his choice was "by far")
- City or Countryside
- Club or Arena
most importantly...
- Pirate or Ninja

Thanks so much, Nate. And I forgive you that you chose Ninja over Pirate.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
  Colour Revolt, mp3

Colour Revolt - Mattresses Underwater
track review

emails skate by me unopened, unchecked, "marked as read" and i move on. it's just the way it goes; it has to be, or i'd be swimming in writing, constant writing, and i can't do that and live at the same time. no one can truly balance the application of paint to a canvas with fingers on a laptop keyboard; i don't work in a cubicle, on a computer, nor do i own a sidekick or a blackberry. with these factors i am at an automatic detriment to the quantity of posts i am able to make.

but this morning i clicked, for no reason, on the myspace link of a band with a silly name - bad rock, i supposed, or emo in disguise (i'm still waiting for this latter suspicion to be true). but that wasn't what i was met with at all. gentle piano (albeit lo-fi) tinkers and waves calmly, leading the way, enter vocals then drums. a pretty falsetto able to turn from melancholically light to downright frustrated, an angry uprise. just under two mintues, add strings? you're kidding! a raw version of the sonorous Americana in Band of Horses with vocals like that of Tapes 'n Tapes leaning against a tinny and outright guitar. good indie rock, soaring folky pop.

i loved the track, enough to be jumpy in my english and cry out on a Saturday (reminder: in the middle of New Hampshire) to say to you - hear this track. i think you'll be sold on buying their upcoming debut self-titled EP (on Esperanza Plantation).

::::love them with me: Colour Revolt - Mattresses Underwater

order the EP from the 'Camp, and check their myspace for very useful info (linked above) like tour dates and contact info.
Friday, August 25, 2006
  Keane, no show, sweet.
so. i've no place to say anything about Keane's Tom Chaplin and his alchohol and drug habits except that i'm actually impressed he had the decency to check himself into rehab. if you don't know what i'm talking about, get up to speed here. but why does this interest you? well, because i intended on going to the show, if you remember (here). instead, the show has been rescheduled, per an announcement on their official site's news:

24.08.06 |
New dates for Boston and New York shows

Following the postponement of several North American shows earlier this week, we can now confirm the new dates for two of the shows.

- Boston, Bank of America Pavilion - was Sept 16th, moved to Sept 24th
- NYC Hammerstein - was Sept 14th, moved to Sept 27th

Original tickets remain valid. Further rescheduled dates will be announced soon.

i am so alright with that. Annuals, Art Brut, and TnT? you bet.
  Sigur Rós - Sæglópur EP

as i type, i'm situated in a nice little room at a lovely hotel on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, for a wedding of a by-marriage family member. however, regardless of my whereabouts or family connections or the effing lake that's literally right outside my door - i'm feeling a little out of touch. it has been the feeling of late. now here i am, in the middle of beautiful nowhere, confused and serene.

it's very rare that i find myself in these opportune moments. it is this special time of in-between that i know i stand primed for the strange and unfamiliar, for the quietly and irrevocably life-changing; it is this time that i best hear the promise and the earnesty of none other than Sigur Rós.

the Sæglópur EP was something about which i long went unaware, but was pleasantly surprised to find it tucked into my mail with a few promos. unfortunately, like most of the music that comes in the mail, it was tucked aside for an already long list of stufftowriteabout. today a track came up on my aimlessly shuffled ipod - driving through mountains, along hills, uncharted and personally alien territory - and it was the eery chiming voices and plodding beat of Glósóli, a spine-tingling wonder about which i have yet to hear an accurate portrayal and refuse to attempt one myself. i was reminded, intrigued; i switched gears and settled down to the Sæglópur EP. now, like with no other band, i am moved, i am transported, i am - i am someone new.

title track Sæglópur comes back with a vengeance, its own voice out from underneath the weight of genius on Takk. i played the whole thing through, refusing to interrupt the intensity and stark emotion, because how can you? they never warrant a pause, precisely why they require a particular mood and mindset. after such an incredible build, new track Refur tinkers in on pure piano, rides on easy listening, and then drops you unexpectedly to flow into the fluttering strings of O Fridur. over stops and starts of rhythmic build is a song of honesty, the lyrics of muscles and veins pumping, the promise of the beating organ's ephemeral nature. you realize it just in time for Kafari to drag you away from the face, back down to child's playthings, Mickey Mouse importance transcending bigger and scarier issues. you are cradled... taken away, taken back, loved and left to be alone. and it's okay.

::::let them bring you back: Sigur Rós - Kafari

with the four-song EP is a priceless three-video DVD on which is the video for Glósóli, which is quite literally sobering if not entirely moving. you can see that free of commitment here.

buy this priceless piece here or on itunes. i promise, it's one of the best purchases all year.

(someone should give me a little credit for all the special character html. just sayin'.)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
  Annuals tour with TnT & Art Brut

remember my post on Annuals, when i was very insistently and assertively (okay, pretty much bitchingly) trying to convince you that i was positive you'd love every note of every track? if you don't, read here, i beg you.

well the lovely people of Annuals are heading out on the road (as i briefly mentioned) with Tapes 'n Tapes and Art Brut. now you have absolutely no excuse not to go see them; two amazing bands with outstanding live performances, and an opening act to fall for. can you go wrong?

9/12 - Philadelphia at the Khyber
9/14 - NYC at Sin-e
9/15 - Brooklyn at North Six w/ The Kills
9/16 - Boston at Middle East
9/18 - Cleveland at Grog Shop w/ Man Man
9/19 - Chicago at Subterranean
10/19 - NYC at Irving Plaza w/ Art Brut
10/20 - Philadelphia at Starlight Ballroom w/ Art Brut
10/22 - Birmingham at Bottletree w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/24 - Tallahassee at Club Downunder w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/25 - Gainesville at Common Grounds w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/26 - Orlando at the Social w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/27 - St. Augustine at Café 11 w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/28 - Athens at Tasty World w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/29 - Atlanta at the Loft w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/30 - Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506 w/ Tapes 'N Tapes
10/31 - DC at Black Cat w/ Tapes 'N Tapes

unfortunately, we can't go to the Boston show, but i'm not supposed to be too broken up over it because we'll be seeing Keane and Razorlight that night. so. if you're in the area - any of those areas, actually - i insist you go.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
  check us outttttttt.
if you're seeing this post, you should be noticing something else about your current location. [if you're not, then there's something wrong with your computer. or you're blind. or something.] anyway, after hours and days and weeks [not really, but it was substantial], we've got this new layout into effect. we're pretty happy with it, and toaster likes that his face is plastered all over the page.

we hope you like it too, and we'd also like your thoughts on it. that includes things like:

"hey wow that's awesome."
"i can't see anything."

or even:

"what is that gigantic orange beastly thing at the top of the page?"

so scroll around, enjoy the artistry [hah], and go listen to Wilco's Lollapalooza set.
  Live from Lollapalooza: Wilco
Lollapalooza was almost three weeks ago now, as you may remember. we were there, you know, along with 160,000 other lunatics braving what was at times a modern convection oven. you've read coverage by all the big guys, and by us, but today we have a special treat.

Wilco played on day 3 and let me tell you, they drew quite a crowd. they played some new material and plenty of old and pretty much blew a lot of people away. now it's your turn.

::::for your hump-day enjoyment:
- A Shot In The Arm
- Impossible Germany
- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
- What Light
- The Late Greats
- Handshake Drugs
- Via Chicago
- Let's Fight
- War On War
- Jesus, Etc.
- Heavy Metal Drummer
- Walken
- I'm The Man Who Loves You
- Hummingbird

they're all FLAC, per request of the recorder, so be patient with the downloads. and go check out our flickr set again, while you're waiting.
  new music: The Bank Holidays

The Bank Holidays
"Who ever said that dancing and architecture were unrelated? Pop music is workman's stuff, a trade no different from carpentry or construction, except the teamsters are slightly more svelte and well dressed. A song is as pragmatic as a house, and just as beautiful. The Bank Holidays know this."

so states the little blip of background available while perusing the myspace of Australian indie poppers The Bank Holidays. suddenly a stroll through pop wonderland is a tour through a studio, strewn-about pieces of foam core and protractors and cutting boards, models with wire trees and cardboard steps. now we listen more seriously to the completely selling start of their seemingly only available track Tread Easy; are those ba-ba-bas roofing or groundwork? do they lay the foundation for the strumming guitar's plywood and insulation? where do the lyrics fit in - are they just the furnishings? oh, bollocks. we've never had to think about songs in terms of building material. they are now the products of deliberate assembly, craftsmanship, wood workers, and painful concentration.

is this true? are songs something to be constructed, wooden planks and saws and pro tools used to erect something intangibly self-standing? if so, is this what we want to believe? or do we prefer to imagine mysterious magic in the night, words and chords coming together by the winds of inspiration, a Lennon-McCartney team whispering in both ears.

either way, i stress that the lady and gentlemen of The Bank Holidays did it right. their single is delightful, infectiously happy-catchy, chock full of oo's and ahh's and melodic harmonies calling upon 60's pop giants. you well know the kind: The Beatles, The Beach Boys... i am uninclined to list any more. it is the real thing, and man - it is good. six-repeats-worthy of good.

::::look for more from these architects of sound:
The Bank Holidays - Tread Easy

i have nothing for you, no tour information or anything, except to say that you should friend them on their 'space (linked above) and to watch for more from the aussie tour buddies of Belle & Sebastian... now that's a gig.

thanks Matt, for the tip.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
  Bound Stems tour
pretty much exactly a month ago i posted on Bound Stems, a really great Chicago band with unique flair and millions of influences, most prominently the Spencer Krug vocals and the Wolf Parade feel. they're really, really good.

well they've just figured out their tour schedule, and i plan on checking them out - so you should, too.

8.27.06 @ Garfield Artworks | Pittsburgh, PA
8.28.06 @ Kenyon College/Horn Gallery | Gambier, OH
8.29.06 @ Mohawk Place | Buffalo, NY
8.30.06 @ Mercury Lounge | New York, NY
8.31.06 @ T. T. the Bear's | Cambridge, MA
9.02.06 @ Relative Theory Records | Norfolk, VA
9.03.06 @ The Khyber | Philadelphia, PA
9.04.06 @ The Red and the Black | Washington, DC
9.05.06 @ The Milestone | Charlotte, NC w/ Summerbirds in the Cellar
9.06.06 @ The Basement - Grimey's Records | Nashville, TN
9.08.06 @ Double Door | Chicago, IL *AROUND THE COYOTE*
9.22.06 @ Schubas | Chicago, IL - RECORD RELEASE SHOW
-Early All Ages w/ Metal Hearts, Late 21+ w/ Asobi Seksu
9.25.06 @ O'Leavers | Omaha, NE
9.27.06 @ The Oriental Theatre | Denver, CO
9.29.06 @ Kilby Court | Salt Lake City, UT w/ The Velvet Teen, WoodBriar
9.30.06 @ The Paradox | Seattle, WA
10.05.06 @ Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, CA w/ Morning Spy, Ex-Boyfriends
10.20.06 @ The Nite Owl | Dayton, OH*
10.21.06 @ Mercury Lounge | New York, NY*
10.22.06 @ Middle East (upstairs) | Cambridge, MA*
10.23.06 @ Grog Shop | Cleveland, OH*
*w/ Maritime

::::hear the tracks we used to have up:
Bound Stems - Andover
Bound Stems - Western Biographic

lovely people.
  news from quiet indie-dear Owen
i just got a lovely bit of news about one of my favorite musicians in indie rock. share in my joy:

Mike and Tim Kinsella - you know them as the masterminds behind such band projects as Joan of Arc, Cap'n Jazz, and my personal favorite, American Football - are parting ways for a generous amount of time to pour their all (as they always do) into Owen, Mike's solo moniker, and Tim's band Make Believe. though i like Tim's side projects, it's Owen whom i'm focused on (sorry man).

Owen has always had a beautifully quiet sound, whether he's crooning on my favorite Owen song ever, Places to Go (mp3), or whether he's picking it up slightly on She's A Thief (mp3 - ah, the strings!) or The Ghost Of What Should've Been (mp3). i just gave you a good picking there, courtesy of his Polyvinyl page, and the mp3s span three of his releases, EPs or LPs.

well. this November, he's releasing his latest LP At Home With. here is a quote from his page which illustrates the effort better than i could:

From an artist [sic] whom has, in the past, recorded entire albums in his childhood bedroom berating lost love and personal missteps, it's a new chapter. One of finally feeling 'At Home With' one's self, and inevitably breaking down each element of song and discovering what is simple, good and beautifully cathartic. In a word, Kinsella took his shoes off and got comfortable. Bitingly comfortable.

::::a demonstrative and perfectly wonderful track from the upcoming album: Owen - Bad News

ah, my excitement. if the entire album is as good as the track suggests, i'll be one happy chick.

mark your calendars for the 7th of November when his fourth full-length album drops into stores near you.
Monday, August 21, 2006
  StG and their lovely contest is up.
the really, really, really beautiful people over at Said the Gramophone have ended their Silent Shout contest, and the results are actually pretty incredible. Go here to read the whole thing.

Basically, you could have sent a picture of a ghost, or written a 55-word story about a ghost. my favorite photograph is one of the runners-up (this one) and my favorite story is also a runner-up (although the winner is just as mind-blowing, really). it's right here:

"Another Thing I Really Can't Explain to My Mother" (by roseds):
The ghost slept under the bed. I preferred the suffocation of mattress and quilt. Once, I asked her why she slept beneath me. She dug her pistachio toes straight into the floorboards before answering. I don’t remember what she said—ugly letters smashed tight, all vowels. The next day I broke the bedframe, maybe on purpose."

yeah. i love words and stuff, so i had to share.
  we never talk about this part.
lately i have been living life. it's a different pace than anything else, isn't it? behind a computer everything is at the speed of a billion conversations, millions of people flashing pictures and noises and words - and we are all merely pixels on a screen, nothing more than indiscriminate fillers of a cosmic void. now take a step back, i recommend it. remember that the music was not consuming you whole. remember that you are you, flesh and blood, sitting in one physical plane, surrounded by other things that are just as three-dimensional and probably just as stationary. is someone in your vicinity to breathe your same air? reconsider your relationship to that individual on practical terms. get the perspective of your dog, or if you're me, your goldfish. ...he or she is just a human. everything happens one second at a time, whether you're ready for it or not - whether your seconds are the speed of a billion conversations or not. the clock ticks no slower or faster for you. this is actually living - this is sand in the toes, coffee in the mug, wind through the window, and - well. you know. whatever. it's life.

this speed of life is different when you have this music blog. suddenly the hunger isn't burning as brightly or as deeply in the chest as it had been. suddenly there's more than opening packages of promos, checking email, catching the right notes at the right time to say: "ah, now this deserves a post." deserves a what? deserves your time. it doesn't warrant those same inconsequential pixels on the screen that smack of transient importance and very momentary satisfaction. i do not mean, of course, popular staying power; that has often meant nothing to me in the face of good music. possibly one of my favorite bands of all time are Trashcan Sinatras, out of Scotland, who had a few singles in the early nineties alternative scene, but is otherwise unknown and continues to make incredible music. what does that mean, though? nothing. regardless of noble intent, there are posts i make without looking back, artists i touch upon that do not get their fair time. there are certain artists whose names breathe current pitchfork or blogger success (Viva Voce, Ratatat, Junior Boys, Midlake) - but i have yet to post on them. why? because no one can do it all. because i realize that if i'd had this blog in 2004, i probably would have had to post on Neutral Milk Hotel and The Arcade Fire regularly, even though - yes! i'll admit it! - i've never liked them.

we work so hard to convey our opinions as honestly as we possibly can. but without a certain audience, without that hunger burning - time still ticks the same way: we are still just pawns in the game. the music will always be bigger than the bloggers. and if some day, by some catastrophe, we reverse that order... i know we will have failed.
  Daytrotter & Cold War Kids
i like daytrotter for a number of reasons - they're devoted, they get awesome artists to do things for them, they make little banners that make my life easier and more enjoyable... then i see that they've got Cold War Kids in their little grubby recording-session hands - and god damn it, i love daytrotter.

Download Cold War Kids tunes at

"This is a story about a band that cannot be considered a mock-up or precursor, but the whole she-bang, a font of penetrating pathos suitable for framing. Cold War Kids is a collection of four men who write and play songs as if they’re burning from the inside out, involving themselves so utterly and completely in the stories of their faux characters that to see them in-person, you find yourself checking your own clothes for holes caused by the descending embers of whatever powerful stuff is in the air."

goosebumps. check it out by clicking the banner; if for some ungodly reason you're not acquainted with the band, i recommend you download the songs immediately (breathe in) and then, whatever you do, do not miss them live (breathe out).
Saturday, August 19, 2006
  NEMO Boston Music Festival
okay kids, the list is up for the NEMO Boston Music Festival. it's a little like the Midwest Music Summit, where a bajillion venues (30+) are offering up six gajillion bands (300 ish) over about four hours (3 days). blink, and you miss it. and a lot of people will.

unfortunately, since i'll be back at school, i won't be able to take full advantage of the awesomeness that is NEMO. but i can tell you that i'll be at what shows that i can, and some of the really fantastic acts include:

Alternate Routes
Annie Stella
Be Your Own Pet
Girl Talk
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
La Rocca
The Long Winters (!!!!)
Yo La Tengo

..and talk about completely not inclusive. the list is extremely long and is seen alphabetically here, and seen more inclusively at the event's myspace.

so. all of our loyaly Boston readers, i highly recommend climbing aboard this great opportunity to find local and obscure acts that you're sure to love, no matter your preferred genre. it's clear that a lot of work is put into it, and we're lucky to have a city that offers up this kind of thing. i know we're not Chicago, but damn it, we rock it pretty well our own way.

do any of my fellow boston bloggers know when The Long Winters are playing? jennings? jay?
Friday, August 18, 2006
  fresh as it gets: Annuals


alright, seriously? i barely even know who these guys are, i've never heard them, and i have no idea where their mp3s came from on my desktop - i mean this - but oh man.

stop everything you're doing. forget headphones, forget work, forget the stove, don't feed your dog.

listen to these songs right now.

::::another golden find from Ace Fu,
i present you with these mp3s:
Annuals - Brother
Annuals - Dry Clothes (*2)
Annuals - Bleary Eyed(all highly recommended, but this is guaranteed. hands down.)
*1 and 2 meant to be heard together.

i'm telling you right now that if this band doesn't explode to the top as they should, i will physically drag them to the zenith myself. i will spam all of your inboxes with their tracks until you send me mailbombs - but damn it, you will love them. it's very doubtful that i will have to work as hard as i promise, but i'm prepared. would you like a true selling point? they're touring with Art Brut and Tapes 'n Tapes. you will see me at that show, and not just to see Art Brut. it will be for Annuals. the kids are also very fairly comparing them to Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, and Broken Social Scene. i think the emphasis is on AC, there, but hey! listen, and get your own opinion.

quick, run as fast as you can to their official site, Ace Fu label page, their myspace, and a little ditty from PF that agrees with me. go CRAZY.
  As Tall As Lions: new mp3
i have to admit something. i am not what you would call an As Tall As Lions "fan" - i know all too well the intensity with which their true fans adore them. to me, their first album was a cringe-worthy thing, vocals tapping too easily into that emo whine, music too structured and... well.. whiny. i have also had several chances to see them live now - and managed (though not by choice) to miss them all. i'm telling you, i'm not fated to like this band.

so then i get this email... and there's this as tall as lions mp3... and i want to just archive the thing and go the other way. but for some reason, i don't. i go through the right-clicking process, the waiting, the double-clicking (breaking a sweat for these guys, seriously) and - and the track plays, and -

well, dash it all. i like this. i like this a lot.

vocals seem to be the most significant improvement here. admittedly i'm reminded slightly of the Thom Yorke wail, but moreso do i hear just a simple maturing and new-found control. there is a very distinct likeness (or perhaps a clear goal towards one) to Chris Martin-ish piano. it isn't as highlighted as it would be in a Coldplay song, but it's certainly there more than, say, any guitar solos. in this way it's similar to something from Lafcadio, but here it's subdued - again, controlled. this brings the entire musical experience up another level; where once i was bored and much too suspicious of their emo outlook, now i thoroughly (though maybe still suspiciously) enjoy what i hear.

so dear readers! let me please share with you what may change my mind about a band for which i once cared less:
::::mp3: As Tall As Lions - Ghost Of York

eventually i'll follow up this mp3 review with a full album review, but for now i'll send you to their myspace for a listen to other tracks.
you can also stream their entire new album right here. ( i know, i know, streaming... ugh...)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
  Square Root of Margaret

Square Root Of Margaret

thanks to a swift and insisting post by Matt from Ear Farm, i was hooked into the songs and sounds of Square Root Of Margaret enough to post on them myself.

so here we are with this delicious blend of pop and indie rock and absolute goodness. SROM comes to you with their winning image of weirdness and unassumingness, and with them it's easy to drop names like The Shins and Of Montreal, and i think they're perfectly reasonable comparisons. what can i say, it's good! who cares! fits in neatly with your tastes (because i know you got 'em) and pops like your afternoon indie snack. the perfect pickmeup.

::::this track will win you over, guaranteed:
Square Root of Margaret - Chemical Love Song

[link to their myspace above to listen to other songs;
also, check out the good people at Milk Milk Lemonade for the mp3 "I Don't Know Why." say hello to them for me.]

unfortunately their album Outer Space(s) is only available at their shows, so check them out if you're one of our Canadian readers..
-Friday, Aug. 18 Chatham, ON. The Elephant's Nest PoKadot acoustic wsg Eric Welton
-Saturday, Aug. 19 Chatham, ON. The Elephant's Nest TBA
-Friday, Aug. 25 Hamilton, ON. The Casbah with The Ride Theory
-Saturday, Aug. 26 Windsor, ON. The PHOG Lounge with Lindy
-Thursday, Sep. 14 Toronto, ON. The Horseshoe wsg TBA
-Friday, Sep. 15 Kitchener, ON. The Circus Room wsg TBA
-Saturday, Sep. 16 Brockville, ON. The Keystorm TBA
  Men, Women & Children

Men Women & Children - self-titled LP

"When you think about it...there was a time where this all seemed like a joke. Now, it's become everything. Really, I have no friends. This is all we do."

coming from the mouth of Men Women & Children's guitarist Todd Weinstock comes the statement that, for me, epitomizes the auditory and conceptual attitude behind the New York City band. everything is about the extreme - we will have the biggest and the best, the light shows to cut the power, the production of anyone's lifetime. dance to this music or don't fucking listen to it at all.

and there's good reason that the music is a taut, uncoiling rope. the songs are written under stress, bursting from fitful arguments and brotherly contention. the band members admit their fighting and insistent perfectionism has been a driving force behind the energy and success of their album and crowd-pleasing gigs. leadman TJ Penzone's vocals are infectious, slightly anxious and always demanding. falsetto comes together with dance riffs, borrowed disco beats and heavy synths - we're talking more of that post-punk influence and dark, catchy electro twist.

"Writing these songs there was a lot of stress. But I feel like that became the basis of the whole band. To make something that was fun - something that when you walk into it, you can forget about your whole life for a while."

trust me: they've succeeded.

::::take a bite out of the high energy:
Men, Women, & Children - Dance In My Blood
bonus, yeah! M, W, & C - Lightning Strikes Twice in New York
catchy as hell, i'm telling you.

- - -buy the self-titled release, once on Reprise Records and now on Warner Bros.
- - -visit the ever-popular myspace and watch videos, buy shirts, do fan things.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
  Van She: EP

Van She - EP

from Australia's Modular Records comes a band that reminds me so nicely of the wave of late eighties, early nineties alternative from the UK, Sweden, and - well - Australia. they have a lovely mix of influences up through the decades, picking and choosing the best pop favorites (and i don't mean the Spears or Backstreet definition). so you're looking at the best of the Cars and The Fixx - but it goes deeper than that. i hear post punk influences, that early 70's Krautrock, and especially goth rock; there's even a little synth-pop grunge (it's possible: listen to the beginning of Mission and even Sex City).

i'm such a sucker for this stuff.

::::have a listen: Van She - Kelly (mp3)
and a friggin cool video, to boot.

also, i beg you to check their myspace where you can listen to the other two songs on the album that i really like. i think they better showcase the band's style and the influences that i listed.
  Snow Patrol @ the Pavilion, 8.15

for all the noise i have made about their latest effort Eyes Open, and for all the moaning and groaning i did about having to trek to the seaport district, and for all the self-psyching-out i managed in thinking the show would suck -

um, okay. they were really damn good.

as we stood for the arriving performers, we rapidly climbed an emotional ladder from skeptical (bottom rung, caked with dirt from our shoes) to intrigued (somewhere towards the middle, four rungs up) to god damn excited (rung with the gold plate on it, company name, clean for its height). i believe that three-fourths of the reason why was their absolute elation at being there. chatty Gary Lightbody gradually gave away that this was their biggest US gig, and coupled with their having to cancel the previous days' shows in Portland and Seattle (read) - we were the lucky ones to receive the wave of relief at being back onstage. i must say too that we were quite a crowd; i never thought i'd see such diehard fans as those in the front rows with an Irish flag (photo) and an Earth balloon being passed around. i had flashbacks from Lollapalooza.

enough of that! though his demeanor was infectiously positive and the crowd's enthusiasm was overwhelming, the music itself was shockingly handsome. i do mean it; it was polished, perfected, adored, and thankfully delivered - a charming irishman of audible display. Gary worked the crowd as unassumingly and sweetly as any half-wallflower, half-mirror jammer could possibly be, and we loved every minute of it.

they opened with Spitting Games, one of my very favorite tracks from Final Straw. this had them off to an immediately great start. but the fact that they waited about three or four songs to launch into their latest work had me rebuilding my belief in their capability as a band. their set flowed so well, and all of the fluff pop songs we thought we hated from the newest album were integrated into their older material in such a way that i turned to alex and said, "I think we have to give that album another try." and if there's anything a showman tries to do successfully, it's convince you of his work; those irishmen totally won me over (with a name like Shannon, i suppose no one has to wonder why).

yeah yeah yeah, just get to the photos already:
[full flickr set]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
  new music: The New Tragedies

The New Tragedies - VanityVanity

it would be quite unfair of me to make any sort of comparison between the The New Tragedies and other music artists who happened to be a married couple. what this act deserves is a simplistic, stripped-down account of their lovely sound - because that's exactly what they've accomplished.

over Nick Drake-ish guitar and occasional piano, strings, steel, or drums, Aaron and Bev Weidner create quiet and subdued melodies for the best fans of Americana folk-rock and harmonious pop. by far one of their best attributes is the chemistry between their voices. Aaron's insistent melancholy and Bev's honesty blend simple melodies to create uprisings of sometimes dark emotion and always extremely pleasant sound. with the slightly naked instrumentation and very low production, it's the vocal relationship that insists upon listen after listen.

::::thank New Scratch Records:
The New Tragedies - Lipstick Kiss
[highly recommended]
The New Tragedies - Monday Morning Makeup [also recommended]

buy VanityVanity by clicking this link.
Monday, August 14, 2006
  Outkast - Idlewild

Outkast - Idlewild

Outkast keeps hitting it huge. there is not one person who can claim they've never been told to shake it like a Polaroid picture, or maybe even that roses really smell like poo poo. and now the duo is back at it, with their new movie Idlewild out august 25th and studio album by the same name hitting august 22nd. they're actually streaming the full album on their myspace, in the same way that Muse did, but we're going to give you a preview for being such loyal readers.

as you may remember, i posted about a month and a half ago, giving you a listen to the first three songs to come off of Idlewild. having now had a listen to the entire thing, i'd like to say that i'm not at all disappointed with the end result. in fact, i might be a little impressed.

they cover every imaginable genre on this, their sixth official full-length, and they do it with style (and more than a handful of special guests, from Macy Gray to Snoop Dogg). the sheer amount of talent present on this album is incredible; the transition from some sort of bluegrass guitar and ragtime piano into a hip hop masterpiece, the eclectic mix of galactic synths with soul and funk slap-and-pop basslines, the gorgeous choir of backup voices, smooth rhymes, melodies and lyrics that are simple and catchy yet fascinatingly complex all at once... it draws from everything that they've done up to this point - hell, it draws on practically everything that's been done in music up to this point. brilliantly conceptualized, seamlessly produced, i only have one complaint -

i want more.

::::it's a treat for your ears:
Outkast - Chronomentrophobia [highly recommended]
Outkast - Call The Law
Outkast - Makes No Sense At All

::::bonus mp3, because it's just that awesome:
Outkast - PJ & Rooster

[the RIAA says no; go enjoy it on their myspace]

heyo, preorder it from Amazon, and check out the official movie site.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
  Chin Up Chin Up - new LP

Chin Up Chin Up - This Harness Can't Ride Anything

Suicide Squeezers Chin Up Chin Up have their next full-length LP primed and ready to go, and it's really something.

i can only imagine being in a band whose bio is mentioned more often than their work, and so i'd like not to recall the very sad story everyone already knows [if you actually don't, get up to speed here]. my real concentration is the growth in their melodic pop sound, and the further reaching of their true potential. it's extremely catchy and sonorously emotional (nope, no, not emo). unfortunately, you have to wait until it drops on October 10th, and salivate all the while - once you hear these tracks, of course.

::::my pleasure:
Chin Up Chin Up - This Harness Can't Ride Anything

- - - this track is highly, highly recommended; vocals are at their best, and the music grabs you instantly.
Chin Up Chin Up - Water Planes In Snow
- - - music as catchy as that of label mates Minus The Bear, but with the rock versatility that semi-prog can sometimes lack. vocals are also more loose, more repetitive, a little darker. like the quiet moments in Broken Social Scene. (sort of.)

bonus mp3: Chin Up Chin Up - I Need A Friend With A Boat

-here's the full tracklist:
This Harness Can't Ride Anything
Water Planes In Snow
We've Got To Keep Running
Islands Sink
I Need A Friend With A Boat
Blankets Like Beavers
Landlocked Lifeguards
Stolen Mountains
Trophies For Hire

Chin Up Chin Up's myspace
Saturday, August 12, 2006
  let me direct you elsewhere.
it feels like it's been a really long time since i've caught up with the world outside of my own blog (not so, it's been like a week and a half, tops) so i'm going to kind of ramble on about what i've liked this week and what's going on this very minute that i'd like to stick my nose in. yeah, whatever, just pretend i'm largehearted boy for a sec:

  • hot off the Pitchfork press is an interview with Thom Yorke, which in my opinion went extremely well. if it's even possible, my respect for him grows all the time.

  • looks like we go to all the festivals that aren't blogger-popular whatsoever. go check out marathonpacks' take on day one of Midwest Music Summit because admittedly, he's kind of one of the only bloggers whose posts i read all the way through. you know how you do it... you read the first paragraph or so, move on to the next post.. cough.

  • so shoot me, i didn't know about this video by OK Go until Coolfer posted about it today (concerning grassroots marketing). i know OK Go pretty well - i own both of their albums, though i like the first self-titled album better than the latest. and they've always been... well, you know, they've always been OK. but this video is fucking brilliant. it's a choreographed series using the four members of OK Go and treadmills. brilliant. do watch, if you're like me and you missed it.

  • who didn't guess this? Lily Allen signed to Capitol. it's only a matter of time, now, kids..

  • fuck yeah, Brazilian Girls have their new album coming sooooon. stay tuned for my review. in the meantime, get a new mp3 from Muzzle Of Bees.

  • since we here at NfT are really into Silversun Pickups, you should definitely go read about them (in their current explosion) at Brooklyn Vegan. lucky bastard saw them three times or something, and has up some pretty kickass photos. while you're at it, go see Matt at Skatterbrain for a great mp3. i'm freeloading with other bloggers' mp3s today, sorry about that.

  • speaking of Matt, he's on fire the last week or so with the exact genre of music with which i'm totally obsessed. he had a really great find with his post on Holy Shit, whom I'll probably be posting about as well. go look at two dudes kissing.

  • lastly (talk about a seriously non-inclusive list) jennings (rbally) posted on the YYYs/TV on the Radio show. looks like outdoor events aren't exactly Karen O's specialty - but you know what? i'm not surprised at all. as i commented on his post, there are a lot of bands that are just not suited for either large audiences (festival/outside) or large venues (Boston's Orpheum or, gulp, Agannis). YYYs is one of them.

    i'll have a bajillion things to post after this weekend. until then, bear with me. and listen to The Bicycles. so damn good.
  • Friday, August 11, 2006
      YYYs and TV on the Radio - free show in Boston

    last night, while we were checking out the Axis scene for The Format, a bajillion more people were checking out the free concert of TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Boston City Hall Plaza. sigh.

    The Phoenix:
    "The sun had started to set, the heat of the day has lost its grip on the city, and thousands – 10, 12, 15 thousand — were filing peacefully into City Hall Plaza long before the headlining Yeah Yeah Yeahs were due to take the stage. All the makings of a perfect rock and roll evening were in place as Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio filled downtown with an eclectic mix of organic post-punk guitars and almost trance-y rhythms devoid of the electronic embellishments that are such of big part of the alterna-indie band’s studio sound....Dressed like some kind of X Woman superhero in red and gold leather short shorts with a matching top and moon boots, [Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O] quite literally took over the stage as Chase and Zinner lost no time kicking into the swinging, bass-less anthem 'Gold Lion.'"

    here's the full article.

    rbally was there (check back for his comments, i'd think). i wish we could have been there. but our alternative rocked pretty hard too.

    TV on the Radio is coming to the Paradise this October..
      The Format @ Axis, 8.10

    last night i learned how much of a spoiled concert-goer i am. with terribly, inconveniently early show times (first set started at 5:15!), missing much-looked-forward-to acts Rainer Maria and Anathallo, plus a mix up with no photo passes - we were a little lost as to how the average, unobsessive individual goes about their live show experience. it was a healthy opportunity to get outside my own little self-absorbed little bubble and take a look around.

    well. what i found at last night's Format show was that their "average, unobsessive" fans actually don't exist. everyone in that sold out audience adored them. they knew every word, oldest to latest albums, and stared enrapturedly up at leadman Nate as he sang. it made the show that much better, actually; the band brought an incredible wave of emotion and pop energy over the crowd, kids frequently illuminated by stage lights to reveal them in their unstirring engagement. everyone hung onto every word, every note. all of the energy created on stage was thusly thrown back - involving both artist and fan in some chemically bonding promise of glorious pop music. oh Format, play on. keep it alive. never cease. never pause. never -

    it was enough to make any unobsessive fan catch the Format bug, let the infectious relationship between stage and floor take over their cold hearts and motionless bodies and start shamelessly belting every note.

    not that that was me, or anything.

    go see the full flickr set
    buy Dog Problems
    Thursday, August 10, 2006
      Under The Influence Of Giants - self-titled LP

    Under The Influence of Giants

    there are so many bands i discover daily that, after a while, it's hard to find anything truly worth writing about them other than my honest recommendation. it's also hard to keep within the attention-span-allotment of most readers - i really only get a certain amount of space before you say, "alright Shan, give us the god damn mp3 already."

    but this band is an exception. first of all, check out their name; not only does it ring in your head, but it does the work for me by literally and blatantly defining their music style. yes, every band takes inspiration from the great Americana/British Invasion music gods - but this band is all about it.

    a first listen to any single track on the album draws shockingly instant and direct comparisons to none other than the Bee-Gees - and yes, i mean their disco era. take their hyperactively catchy single Mama's Room, for instance. immediately you hear the beat and the sonic energy of I Feel Like Dancin'. when we first heard it, we almost thought it was tongue-in-cheek, it's so out of left field.

    before any of this drives you away (as even the word is wont to do), disco isn't the only influence. there's a very heavy dose of Prince and Michael Jackson (pre-creepy), as well as Earth, Wind & Fire (horns) and some R&B, some funk - yeah. some of everything. i wouldn't be recommending you a cheesy mash-up pop band.

    essentially - it's insanely, infectiously catchy. it's the best kind of guilty pleasure because it's so well done and they're very instrumentally confident in their rip-offs.. and don't worry, it's not disco, it's not soul, it's not funk... it's just under the influence.

    ::::i know, i know, take the mp3 already:
    Under The Influence Of Giants - Mama's Room
    Under The Influence Of Giants - Heaven Is Full

    i'm a little late on posting this - i'd picked up the two tracks above about a hundred years ago and was just recently handed their free EP, consequently forcing me to remember they existed. their album dropped August 8th on Island, and as a result of honing their craft on their Myspace they're starting to get quite the wave of attention from the kids and even MTV. cool.
    buy the self-titled album now
    Wednesday, August 09, 2006
      Lollapalooza: Day 3
    our final day of Lollapalooza was by far our most ambitious. we stood in one place for six hours to be up front for some of our favorite bands in the universe (you heard me). and a surprise band... well! just read on.

    Office (!!!!!)
    as we walked outside of the festival to get to the gate, we could hear a woman announcing that Boy Kill Boy wasn't able to make the scheduled performance and instead, "put your hands together and be extra loud for Chicago's own OFFICE!" we basically almost peed ourselves. we really like this band, and were told great things about their performance at SxSW, so we detoured from our schedule and checked them out.

    click here for the whole flickr dealie

    What Made Milwaukee Famous
    these Austin rockers really impressed with their performance, even if their adoring fans stood in spots of rain to see them. they didn't quite have the crowd they deserved. i've really enjoyed their debut LP, and i wish them luck on Barsuk.

    click here for the full flickr set

    Nickel Creek
    by far one of the best performances at Lollapalooza, and completely to my surprise. i only know a bit of their stuff, but i've always heard good things about their live shows, so my expectations were already pretty high - and they still completely blew me away. the very best part was their cover of Britney's "Toxic," which is already a great song. fiddles and mandolins rock, huh?

    flickr set yay wow

    The Shins
    regardless of the quality of their performance, my undying love for this band (for about three years now, a little more) forced me to see them. thusly we stood for Nickel Creek, then another hour to wait for these guys, then a few more hours... thank you for very nice strangers with Vitamin waters to spare or we would have dropped like the other dehydrated suckers.

    full flickr set

    Jeff Tweedy came out very down to earth in his green duds (yes, duds) with the rest of the crew. he dedicated two songs to his blushing wife (shown on the jumbotron) for their eleventh anniversary. they also played four new songs - all of which sound freaking great. so. awesome.

    click for full flickrness

    the Chili Peppers and other stuff.
    other stuff! yeah! we stayed around for RHCP essentially because there were rumors floating around of a big surprise - that being that The Smashing Pumpkins were returning by Lollapalooza performance. alright, whatever. but we did get discounted frozen fruit skewers and free lavender lemonade (i wish the outstanding alliteration there had been intentional).

    other stuff:

    just trust us - it was insane. all done.
      Lollapalooza: Day 2
    we woke up the next morning exhausted and cramped, but so ready for more. we made more of this day than Friday, but we certainly didn't do all that we could. you know where to go to read more (but i'll make a list of links later). even through the heat, we managed to see some of the best.

    Be Your Own Pet
    Jamina's frontwoman antics make this band. sure, the music is awesome; it's noisy poppy punky rock stuff, and it's hard not to like - especially after you see them live. it's sort of a scene as well as a musical genre - or maybe it's the lack thereof that does it for you. anyway, the extra special guitar ripping and bass dripping and drum smashing that draws you in - and man, does Jamina spit you out. patooie.

    click click for the flickr set set. yep yep.

    i've never seen her live before, and though we only caught the first fifteen minutes of her set, we found her incredible. surprise. her voice is clear as a bell and she manages to involve the audience in the singing and make everyone fall in love. quite the crowd, as well..

    the lovely flickr set

    Oh No! Oh My!
    we left feist expressly to see this tennessee band. i love these guys. i mean, i just do. their lyrics crack me up and their live performance proved their musical capability almost more than i expected (and i already had high expectations). they were funny guys, too, and very social with the audience that crowded AMD. and i expected that too.

    click for full flickr set

    Gnarls Barkley
    this set was hands-down amazing. i was actually very surprised at how much i enjoyed it - even if a girl did barf on my foot. Gnarls exuded such oozy confidence that we were all coated with his "everyone loves everyone" vibe and left dripping with ours and everyone else's sweat. it wasn't the orgy Cee-lo was trying to prompt, however; when at one point he invited the ladies to, if they started to feel the song get up under their skin, "take out some titties" - no one obliged him. i wonder if that just shows the nature of the indie crowds, or if it was too early in the day for people to be drunk enough. who knows.

    and here is this flickr set. photos not too bad for the distance.

    we were unable to check out the acts that created the most buzz - The Flaming Lips, Manu Chao, etc. don't ask why. but we were quite happy at the end of the day.

    NOTE: as much as toaster loves free music, he'd like to encourage you to buy the cds of the artists you enjoy. he'd also like to remind you that any music hosted by or linked to from this page is property of its respective owners, so if that's you and you'd like it to not be here, just let us know.

    READ ME: if files are not working properly upon opening or saving [ex: unknown file type], make sure that there is a .mp3 at the end of the filename, and all will be well.

    also: all files posted will only remain available for two to three weeks. if you find something in an old post that you'd really like to hear, tell us.

    be our god damn myspace friend. damn it.