[photo from the balcony by eurekaiv]
Apparently unencumbered by any Coachella-enforced touring restrictions, Pavement played their first U.S. show in 10+ years last night. In Pomona. As much as a pain of a drive that Pomona is, it was actually a pretty awesome fringe L.A. crowd, maybe with the exception of the superfan next to me continually screaming “we missed you” like Spiral Stairs was her younger brother home from college and requesting “Debris Slide” as if knowledge of the relatively obscure b-side was her ticket backstage. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t.
Pete & The Pirates, Tommy Sanders’ other outlet when he isn’t Tap Tap, just released a couple of live Take Away Show-style performances from Austria for They Shoot Music Don’t They. They do 2 songs, “Blood Gets Thin,” a haunting b-side from a 2009 single, and “Mr. Understanding,” from their full-length, Little Death. I was excited to see these because I really had very little hint at what the band looked like from liner notes and their lack of U.S. touring, but through the magic of youtube related videos, I’m now looking and realizing that they have a whole bunch of videos online for me to go through. I’m on it.
Last week MGMT played a great set on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic in preparation for their show at The Hollywood Bowl the following evening. Much as with their performance at the Bowl, opening for Spoon and Beck, the songs translate very well live. I have to think this is because the majority of the instrumentation is
pre-recorded synthesized, but there is a whole lot of guitar-solo-ness going on here too. And even if the glam rock wanna-be solo on “Weekend Wars” had my fingers on the digital radio dial, it is worth sticking it out to hear “Electric Feel” and “The Handshake.” This is pretty much the selection of songs I remember from the Bowl, with the exception of the goof ball Laid Back cover in place of the crowd favorite, “Kids.” But then, nobody every accused them of being too prolific for their own good.
Rounding out a string of radio session posts, and fresh from watching The Go-Getter, here’s She & Him‘s Steve Lillywhite session for NPR. With due credit to the Lillywhite/NPR, sounds a lot better than the sessions they did for KEXP and KCRW. They perform 3 songs, which are interspersed with a short interview, where they talk about hooking up (musically) after their duet that played over the end credits in The Go-Getter.
Last month M83 performed live with Southern California “edgey” and “eclectic” music stalwart Nic Harcourt on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. The performance, surprisingly well-mixed for a live radio recording, reinforces Anthony Gonzalez’s return to his shoegazer roots. The five tracks selected, four off the new album, Saturdays = Youth, released April 15th on Mute Records and one off the 2005 release Before Dawn Heals Us, blend almost seamlessly. Recording credits for the recent release go to Ken Thomas (known for his work with Sigur Rós, The Sugarcubes, Boys in a Band, Cocteau Twins and Suede), Ewan Pearson (who has also produced for Tracey Thorn, The Rapture and Ladytron) and Morgan Kibby (of The Romanovs, and Morgan and the Hidden Hands).
Because I use this site more to recommend upstart bands and forgotten favorites, I’ve spoken more in private than on here about my affinity for Okkervil River. I was excited when Pitchfork reported that, just as Black Sheep Boy merited an Appendix of excellent tracks that were brushed aside in crafting the album, The Stage Names leftovers will take the form of The Stand Ins. The first hint at the new album came in their recent session for WOXY, which was kicked off with “Lost Coastlines.”
The last time Wilderness came through L.A., they headlined a show that was under-attended and inexcusably short. I don’t remember exactly how few songs they played, but it was a 30 minute or so set, and my disappointment with their lack of stamina overshadowed what was otherwise a pretty engaging show. They played almost entirely songs off of their recent release at the time, Vessel States, but based on what appeared to be a disdain for the L.A. audience (combined with their relative silence since), I got the impression that it would be the first and last time I’d have a chance to see them.
Among the many bands that WOXY was good enough to record in Austin during SxSW 2008 was Frightened Rabbit. Being that I’m counting the days until their 2nd album sees release (April 15), I was more than excited to hear a bunch of the new tracks from Midnight Organ Fight (in a convenient acoustic format). Below are the songs only; make sure to go to WOXY for the entire set along with an interview; in which Scott takes full ownership over the songs and threatens to kick his brother Grant out of the band. Ah, the mental warfare that goes on between brothers… “Old Old Fashioned” is especially awesome. I remember hearing that from their visit to L.A., and I love the pace to the song: more upbeat and rocking than the typical Frightened Rabbit ballad.
I lied. As I should have realized, Les Savy Fav never get old, and much like the Tim’s claims in “We’ll Make A Lover Of You,” you get what you put in at their shows. I’m super thankful that having Andrew Reulard as a 5th member has brought “Scout’s Honor” back into their setlist for the first time in 7 years. Thanks, Santa. I like it so much better when we sweat together.
As promised, here is Les Savy Fav playing live on BBC Radio 1. Usually I edit out the interview parts of these shows, but with L.S.F., the interview can sometimes be the best part. They talk about the climate of their new album/regrouping, as well as the timing of that Jetplane Landing song.