cd exchange club

Friday, September 28, 2007

Disc Junkies Volume 44

Ok, before we kick this off I want to explain the cover art. Check out the this clip before reading any further.
1. Willow- GILBERT: I try to open every disc with an instrumental song to kick things off. This song was a great find to fill that spot. Gilbert is an individual from England who was unsigned when I first stumbled across 'Willow'. He has since released a song on the Shifty Disco label. According to his bio he studied classical music and composition at Oxford University and Goldsmith's College, before writing soundtracks for film, television and theatre for some years. I love this track, the layering, the piano, the strings, might be my favorite song on the disc.
2. Johnny Appleseed- JOE STRUMMER AND THE MESCALEROS: As the lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer carved out his place in music history. However, what gets overlooked many times is the great things that he has done with his various projects post-Clash. This song played over the opening credits of the HBO show 'John From Cincinnati'. The song was the PERFECT soundtrack for this incredible opening credits that featured grainy old surfing clips spliced together. Check it out here.
3. Man Overboard- KRISTOFFER RAGNTAM: This song caught my ear because of it's unique sound. It is not specific to any one genre, but it is pop in its truest form. Super catchy and a little offbeat, it's exactly what I think of when I think of Swedish pop musicians...which is often.
4. Trains to Brazil- GUILEMOTS: This is a guilty pleasure in a way. It's another pop song that doesn't really have any totally unique characteristics. However, when I started getting this disc together I was on a semi-mission to include as many songs with horns as possible. I love brass in a song, and this song has an excellent horn riff. It's catchy English pop music...and that's that.
5. The Underdog- SPOON: Again, horns can make the song. This is an incredibly catchy song that I actually first heard on the radi0 (when was the last time that happened). Spoon are indie vets from Austin that are full of great hooks and riffs. I love the way that this song builds at the end and ends with a bang.
6. Wild Mountain Nation- BLITZEN TRAPPER: Despite seeing BT on Zeke's disc, I could not help but include this track on mine. Zeke managed to 'steal' two of my recent favorites The National and M. Ward for his disc, but I couldn't let this song NOT get out there. Supposedly their recent album Wild Mountain Nation is a VAST improvement on their past effort (surprising a lot of people). This is a like a funky, country Flaming Lips...or something.
7. Real Long Distance- JOSH RITTER: I got Pearson's excellent disc in the day today as well marking the first ever unplanned dual disc (I was REALLY late...sorry!). As Mr. Trotter put it, there was a 'mystic Josh Ritter connection'. The AMAZING thing is that between the two of us we had 5 Josh Ritter songs, all from his recent disc 'The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter' and we didn't overlap at all (...mystic indeed!). That speaks volumes to the depth of this album. It's a true breakout album from a very talented singer songwriter. Josh Ritter's previous efforts have been stripped down folky acoustic records while this one is a grand opus of sorts featuring a full orchestra, etc. It's Josh Ritter doing his best Yankee Hotel Foxtrot impression.
8. Weed Party- BAND OF HORSES: This is from BOH's debut (and only) album that came out last year. Their big hit was "Funeral', but the disc is loaded with great songs. 'Weed Party' is a My Morning Jacket-esque rocker that epitomizes the summertime to me. Great for driving...Look for their new album in the next month (MMJ has one as well so there will be no shortage of good ole fashioned hard rock out there this fall).
9. Ragoo- KINGS OF LEON: I know that KOL seem to show up more than almost any other band in DJ history, but I could not withhold this track because it's upbeat and fun to listen to. I really like their new disc and would have put more songs from it on here if they weren't already so well represented in the past.
10. Our Life Is A Movie Or Maybe- OKKERVIL RIVER: Another Austin based band that I am loving. For those that are familiar with the notoriously critical music review site 'Pitchfork', you know it's tough to get a solid rating. OR's most recent disc got a stellar review which caught my eye. I had heard them before, but never took too much interest in their slow ballads. This disc is high energy as are their shows (see my review below). The musical arrangements are great, but what strikes me the most is the vocals (very expressive and unique) and the fantastic lyrics.
11. All The Old Showstoppers- THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: From the new album 'Challenger', this is a standout track. Although I was slightly disappointed with the new disc, I really liked this track.
12. Heretic- ANDREW BIRD: This is the second disc in a row that I have included an Andrew Bird song. He is a local Chicago guy, so I may be biased. But, there is no denying his talent. He broke into the music industry as a violin player who gained noteriety with The Squirrel Nut Zippers in the mid 90's. Since then, he's been refining his sound and his identity. This song has great percussion and great choral fills from his Arcade Fire like chorus.
13. Two Days Short Tomorrow- TWO GALLANTS: You've gotta love the two man band. There was Local H back in the 90's and The Black Keys today (and many many others). They remind me of The Black Keys that are more rough around the edges. The songs are pretty stripped down and fueled by aggressive start stop playing and vocals. I like the under production on this song and liked the way that they kept me guessing the first time I heard it.
14. To The Dogs Or Whoever- JOSH RITTER: I've already talked about JR and his disc. This song is the most lyrically impressive song that I have heard in a LONG time. This is remenicant of Bob Dylan with some fantastic piano work.
15. July 4th, 2005- JASON ANDERSON: Jason Anderson is a very simple singer-songwriter that seemed pretty insignificant to me. His first couple of albums were very heavy and slow (not that that's bad). However, I got hooked on this song from his EP Tonight because of the high energy, foot stomping, call and answer, sing along chorus. The whole album sounds like he just got 10 of his friends in a room and started busting through his favorite Bruce Springsteen sing alongs...when consumed in moderation, I love it.
16. Hollywood Bass Player- JOSH ROUSE: For the last 10 years, this Nashville singer-songwriter has been compiling what I consider to be one of the most consistent catelouges of music out there. He has a gift for writing and arranging quality memorable songs. Aside from his semi-hit 'Direction' (which found its way onto the Vanilla Sky soundtrack), he's just great at writing good songs...lots of them. I like this story/song about a wandering bass player that moves from New York, to France, to Hollywood to be part of the rock n' roll scene.
17. Bullets- EDITORS: These guys are like a more dynamic Interpol. I really like their sound and I really like this song. There it is.
18. Insomnia- ELECTRIC PRESIDENT: I know nothing about this band. It took me a while to warm up to this song, but the more you listen to it, the better it gets. I love the electronic undertones and unique arrangement. It's something different.
19. Last Song- DNTEL: I should have probably made this the actual last song...whoops. Anyway, this is one half of the 'band' Postal Service (the other being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie). If you can't tell, DNTEL is largely responsible for the Postal Service's signature sound. Since I try to slow things down at the end of every disc, I used this song to bring the momentum down without totally killing it....hopefully.
20. Eyes- ROUGUE WAVE: I always end with a slow track. I really like Rogue Wave and I had never heard this song before. It's a few years old and I really took a liking to it because it's so simple and it still drives it home for me.
I can't believe that I actually wrote all of this. Hopefully my efforts here will inspire lots of future posts to get this blog alive and kicking. I see a lot of momentum lately! If you actually read it-THANKS!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peak Concert Season In Chicago

It's no secret that Chicago attracts most of the touring acts out on the road today. However, they seem to come in very short bursts bookended by months of Creed, Maroon 5, and Silverchair. But, when it's's REALLY good. Here's what I've seen over the last couple weeks and a preview of what's coming up. Try to catch some of these when they make their way to your town.

Wilco at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion: Wilco has been a personal favorite for some time, and I've seen them many times. Still, the show at the JPP was significant because it was the first rock and roll band to play this incredible outdoor venue in the heart of downtown. Jeff Tweedy was in rare form (i.e. he was in a good mood) and the sound was excellent for an outdoor show. They reached back in the archives and dusted off material from A.M. and Being There.

Okkervil River at the Logan Square Auditorium: Okkervil River is an Austin based band that is touring in support of their most recent album 'Stage Names'. Great album, great live band, check them out! I also loved the venue. It is literally an old high school gym that the Empty Bottle started booking shows in. Picture 'Back To The Future II' when Marty McFly is tearing through his version of 'Johnny Be Goode'...classic. Also worth mentioning was the opener Damien Juardo an excellent singer/songwriter from the Pacific NW.
The National at the Vic: See below...they were great!
Iron and Wine at the Metro: After having seen the National the night before this show, I left feeling like I was missing something. Sam Beam (who is the only official member of the band...kind of like how LCD, or Badly Drawn Boy are one person), brought out 5 other long haired hippie types to bang out his usually quite acoustic folk songs. The problem was they they stretched out for way too long and usually leveled off into a trace-like jam with no real sustance. I am glad that I saw the show, but I walked away thinking that I&W is definitely the kind of band that I prefer to listen to on demand in my headphones when the mood strikes me.

Here's what is on tap over the next few weeks:

Josh Ritter at the Park West

Broken Social Scene at The Metro
The Hold Steady at The Metro
Blitzen Trapper at Schubas
That will pretty much do it for me for the rest of the year as far as concerts go. I will try to report back after the second leg of shows.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The National

Hope some of the Denver folks made it to this show - it was nothing short of fantastic.

Eric Bachmann must have had an interesting impact on these guys because when the lights went down the soundboard played an old Crooked Fingers song in its entiriety before the band took the stage, and before the encore Matt Berninger dedicated a song to him.

Don't miss them when they swing through your neck of the woods - if you have any interest in their music at all, seeing them live will almost certainly bump them up on your playlist. Probably my favorite concert of the summer.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No more searching for the next big show.

If you haven't downloaded the iconcertcal plugin into your itunes, it takes maybe two minutes. Here's a link to help you out . . .
It's free, and it searches your itunes library and tells you what shows are coming up and what albums are being released. Again, it only posts shows for the music that you have on your computer . . . . so if you're still listening to "look what the cat dragged in" then you'll be notified when Poison is in the house!
It's very cool.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Some noteable dates (in my book)

thursday Oct. 4 Deerhoof. Experimental beat rock. I love these guys, you probably won't. See photo above.
sunday Oct. 14 Interpol. Enough said. Never seen them live but hear it's a quality show.
saturday Oct. 27 Devotchka. My new favorite band. Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack standouts. Denver band. Very Cool.
It's some Halloween Gala at the Fillmore so it could be a weird night.
monday Nov. 5 The New Pornagraphers.
tuesday Nov. 6 State Radio. See you there Lumpkin.
monday Nov. 12 The Hold Steady. Comes highly recommended from my people in the Windy City.

Austin City Limits

So Pearson is a Doc and doesn't have time to 'blog,' but here's the short review on ACL . . . . .

"The White Stripes ended up cancelling both shows in
Austin due to "extreme anxiety" on the part of Meg. So ended up not getting
our Jack White fix after all. Had a good time though nonetheless. This may
suprise you, but the best act that we saw at the festival was probably
Damien Rice. Also saw a Bob Schneider aftershow on Friday that was kickass."

Matthew Dean Pearson

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem

If you haven't seen the Arcade Fire live, make the effort. They played with 10 (two violins, a french horn and a baritone, and pleasing pile of guitars, drums, and accordians.) The best way to describe it is a "Creative Unified Front." Zero 'solos', everyone is playing with more energy than Anthony Kiedis at an early Chili's show, and I've rarely seen so much instrument trading in a live show. Not so much a show . . . . . just some really talented musicians having a really good time on stage. If you have an appetite for a huge sound then the Arcade Fire ought to leave you full for weeks.

I must admit that LCD Soundsystem was one of the bigger reasons for attending the show . . . and James Murphy delivered. Despite a healthy set of man boobs, that guy is brilliant. Anyone who can take electronic/dance tracks and re-build the sound live gets the thumbs up in my book. Not a huge stage presence (what can you expect from an opener who only gets a portion of the stage to work with) but his vocal range was almost worthy of a Joseph Arthur comparison, and the set arrived at a percussive crescendo that should make Stomp jealous. Murphy can shed some wood when it comes to the drums, and he made some great choices for his live giggers. Two winners and worthy of a full ticket price for either.