Coursing Through The Wires #26
1. Unfortunately, the afterlife got a whole lot funkier today, as Isaac Hayes has passed on. Go have a slow jam (or crate-digging sample fest) of your own as a fitting memorial. My well-worn copy of Hot Buttered Soul is cranked up as I write -- keep your ears peeled for the most sinister Bomb Squad sample of all time during Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalimystic.
2. If you happen to live in the middle of the northeastern Atlantic seaboard, I have shows to recommend this week.
- Tuesday (12-Aug), my old pals at WPRB are holding a free concert, in connection with the Free Yr Radio campaign, down in Philadelphia. Secret Machines headline, DJ Dave P (of Making Time / RVNG fame) provides the general entertainment. Hurry on over to see if tix are still available -- they are free but registration is required.
- Wednesday (13-Aug) and Thursday (14-Aug) mark the first US appearances by Sky Larkin, both in New York City. I've mentioned this Leeds threesome before (March 2007, October 2006) and am excited to see what they've got in store now. The new studio recording of Molten (available as a free MP3 from the band's site) is quite promising and a bit different from the version I posted in March 2007. All indications point to a full length release on the horizon which could be something special. Wednesday at Pianos (8pm stage time -- really!), Thursday at Union Hall at a more civilized hour.
3. Belated Show Reviews (after the jump) -- NYC Popfest Finale, The Feelies.
NYC Popfest: It had been about a year since I last made it out for live music. And I was only one-for-four (in terms of attendance vs. intentions), but I made the one count by attending the closing event of the 2008 NYC Popfest. Huge thanks and congrats to Kardhym and Courtney for pulling off a great show (and by all accounts, a fantastic weekend).
I had a notecard and copious scribbles in my back pocket Sunday night. When I came home from work the next day, my wife was complaining about a pen and some paper that disintegrated in the washer. So what follows is a far less complete account of "my first (and probably last) trip to Union Pool."
Once upon a time, in a Teenbeat catalog stuffed into an obscure 7", the phrase "more f$%*ing than Felt" appeared. I never did pick up the Clarence cassettes to verify Mark Robinson's claim, but I have now found my own satisfaction for that phrase.
Cats on fire -- The Smell of an Artist (NSFW!)
Cats on fire (yes, they eschew the capitals) are from Finland but manage pretty well in English. Charming in their slight awkwardness, willing to laugh at a review of their Friday night gig, and truly evoking the spirit of early-Creation-era Felt with fabulous jangly guitars and massive organ breaks. The album simply doesn't do justice to the energy and joy of the live set -- but another witness brought back video evidence.
The Cannanes, [still searching for song title], live in Gainesville, FL, 10 May 2008
The video above is not from the NYC Popfest, but we had a similarly amazing performance. The Cannanes were the headliners for the evening, the folks who travelled the farthest to appear, a band I'd never seen despite ranking A Love Affair With Nature easily among my top 25 albums of all time. I was already blissed out before being the last person to make it up to the front when Fran invited the audience on stage to add percussion to one heck of a rave-up. Courtney couldn't leave the mersh table so I gave her my maraca (the band didn't want to ship them to Mexico). And then they closed with Vivienne and brought me close to tears. My friend Mike captures some of the experience in his review of the St. Louis gig. I would add more, but I lack a coherent and compelling description -- to say that it was "propulsive jangly pop" from "masters of the genre" is a Zagat-style gross understatement and terribly damning faint praise.
The Feelies: And then on the first of July, I got to see the forefathers of nervous jangly pop music, the Feelies, playing on their home court for the first time in well over a decade. During the set, I remarked to some friends that Maxwell's was hosting a NYC/Hoboken hipster AARP meeting ... and then I wrote the following on the way home (editorial additions in brackets):
Wow. When you end the first set with Raised Eyebrows and Crazy Rhythms, that's a sign of confidence. Opening the second set with covers of [Patti Smith's] Dancing Barefoot and [Wire's] Outdoor Miner (before ending with Fa Çe La) justifies it. Hitting Beatles and Neil Young and Velvet Underground covers in the first encore seals it. What Goes On (as last song of the night) means you are now toying with us. The only songs they missed of my favorites were Loveless Love and The Obedient Atom [an unreleased oldie that a friend shared with me a couple years back]. And I was surprised at how many of the later songs I knew despite not paying any attention to them when they came out. The hell with the AARP - this was a band ready to conquer again.