Apparently, I’m not the only person whose mind wanders to concert etiquette while I’m at a show. A friend of mine dug up this early Questionable Content cartoon strip. Click on the image for the full list.
eMusic is soliciting questions for Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer), whose album Trouble in Dreams came out this month and who is currently on tour. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org before this Tuesday, April 1st, and keep an eye out for the interview, scheduled to be on the eMusic homepage during the week of April 21st. Bejar’s lyrics are notoriously obscure – now’s your chance for some enlightenment. What I really want to ask about the New Pornographers’ concert in Boston last fall: “Dude, was that really an orange in your hand when you wandered onstage to sing?”
Freezepop is the band that dragged synthpop out of the 80s and into the 21st century. Their third full-length release, Futurefuturefutureperfect, is as perfect a piece of danceable electronic songwriting as you’ve ever heard. But they are really at their best live; I saw them a few weeks ago, in front of a full house at the Middle East, and it was the most fun I’ve had at a concert in ages. The show featured duelling keytars, a shark-encased microphone, and generally playful behaviour from the band, especially the aptly-pseudonymed Liz Enthusiasm. They did a brilliant live version of “Melon Ball Bounce,” a jingle that Raymond Scott wrote for Sprite (which they recorded as a bonus track on Fashion Impression Function). One of the highlights was the Duke of Pannekoeken‘s virtuosic theremin performance on ‘Frontload.’ Sadly, the Duke (Kasson Crooker) has severely curtailed his touring with the band; his day job is keeping him pretty busy.
As if Rachael Ray liking Holy Fuck wasn’t bad enough, Entertainment Weekly decided to take a kick at the indie-rock can with their special supplement on The Indie Rock 25. The format – exactly one release from each year since 1984 – is pretty much tailor-made to invite disputatious responses. It’s worth checking out, if only to contrast the picture of REM in 1986 (the picture in the dead-tree version is dorkier still) to their rock’s-elder-statesmen cover photo on April’s Spin.
Got a disputatious response of your own? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.
EDIT [May 10, 2008]: Looking for some listening suggestions? Check out these posts:
Already into indie music? Use the comments to tell us what you’re listening to!
Dan Kennedy is clearly a man who knows how to make the best of a bad situation. He realizes a lifelong dream of working in the music business, only to discover that he’s just gotten himself a deckchair on the Titanic. The year is 2002, the company is Warner, and the record industry is imploding. Warner itself is about to be bought by ‘the billionaire grandson of a man who made the family a fortune in booze and chemical dealings,’ resulting in hundreds of layoffs, including Kennedy’s. Fortunately for us, he turned his experiences into a acidly funny memoir, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad. This book certainly made me laugh, and it also made want to loudly cheer the ongoing demise of the traditional record industry. However, my favourite part of the book was a lengthy, loving account of an Iggy Pop concert, possibly because Kennedy was writing about something he loved, not about something he had to be self-protectively cynical about:
…Iggy is everywhere at once. He flies like a computer-animated god-beast deity in an unhinged and hijacked Lucas film. You suddenly realize every punk band you thought was blowing your mind back when you were sixteen was simply a cute little messenger delivering a wadded note to you from this man, wherever he might have been that night.
You can see a promo video for the book here, and Michael Azerrad wrote a review for the New York Times, here. You can also download audio of Kennedy telling a story from the book at a Moth gig in Seattle.
[Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA; March 22, 2008]
Montreal-based Miracle Fortress played a sold-out show at the Middle East Upstairs, opening for fellow Canadian scenesters The Most Serene Republic. Based on their single ‘Hold Your Secrets to Your Heart,’ I expected them to be quite a bit more ethereal than they were, especially given their fairly dreamy start – frontman Graham Van Pelt began with a solo piece. Instead, driven by Jordan Robson-Cramer’s propulsive drumming, they turned out to rock quite a bit. Their set was mostly drawn from their first full-length release, Five Roses (which, if you grew up in Canada, doesn’t evoke music so much as it does baking), as well as some new material.
[embedded YouTube video; if you can't see it, click here]
[Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA; March 21, 2008]
I wrote about Holy Fuck the last time I saw them – they are utterly phenomenal live. You can look at the clips on YouTube, but they don’t really capture the experience (that’s why that’s a video above, not a live clip). Unfortunately, they are wrapping up their North American tour – but if you happen to live in the UK or Ireland, you should definitely try to catch one of their shows.