Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You're Going To ...

... Read a ton more about a show at Cafe Nine Aug. 24 featuring one of my all-time favorite bands, The Lovely Sparrows. I'm going to write and write more over the next three weeks about how this is the one show you can't miss. I'm going to force you to come. But, for now, a video, a slightly poor-looking-but-great-sounding one:

Too Funny

Sorry I haven't been updating lately, but I've been getting ready for, basically, three weeks out of the office, so I'm a busy boy. A real busy boy.

Here's something funny, though:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warbling On Wednesday

So, I don't know how many of you read the comments on this here ol' blog, but my buddy Caldor posted something earlier today about something the Boston Phoenix has been doing.

It seems like the alt. newsweekly's been compiling a story called "50 Bands, 50 States," a piece that chooses the best band, best solo artist and best new band from each state.

Now Caldor and I are from Massachusetts, and god only knows where most of you are from, although I have a sneaky suspicion that the majority of you reside in the Nutmeg State.

Well, whatever, let's discuss the choices for Connecticut. According to the Phoenix, the choice for best band came down to The Carpenters or Hatebreed, both of which, like any good thing in this state, are from right here in New Haven. Those are both very good choices and, like the Phoenix, I would have gone with The Carpenters. But no mention of Miracle Legion in an alt. newsweekly? Heck, what about Mates of State?

I know what you're thinking: Mates of State shouldn't count because they formed elsewhere and have only lived here for a few years. Well, that makes sense, but then how can the Phoenix choose Liz Phair (that's her above) as the state's best solo artist? I know the great singer/songwriter was born here in New Haven, but, come on, she moved to Illinois, where everyone thinks she's from, when she was a little tike. I mean, don't get me wrong, I wish she was around to still bump into. That'd make me happy.

Of course, if I'm going to criticize that pick, I should have one of my own, right? Well, I do. You may not like all his music, but is there a solo artist more connected to Connecticut than Michael Bolton? I mean, the dude's here often and his charity still does a lot of good work here. He should be the pick. He paid his dues playing at Toad's and other local venues.

As for best new band, well, hey, I like MGMT. You know, it's a good band. I like the record a lot. But, come on, they moved away a long time ago.

When you look at the Massachusetts entry, you see a real local band named Ketman chosen. Why not choose a real local Connecticut band? Why not call me up and ask me for a choice? That may sound a bit egotistical, but if I were wondering who the best new band in, say, Wisconsin was, well, I'd call the person who covers music there.

MGMT would not have been my choice. What about Titles? Aeroplane, 1929? Mountain Movers? M.T. Bearington? Any one of those bands could be considered the best new act in this state, and, quite honestly, every one of them has made music better than the tunes on MGMT's very good debut.

Anyway, I guess that's all I got for this topic right now. What do you guys think? Come on, post something here or drop me an e-mail. This could be some fun. I know a couple folks at the Phoenix, and I'll send them our results. But at least this all gave me an excuse to post a photo of Liz Phair.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interview

I'm about to interview O.A.R. I really want to ask them about that crazy game of poker, about who won and about how when played live, the song goes on for 1,453 minutes. Does anyone know why this happens or why it's appropriate? I need to know.

By the way, yesterday I was chatting with Counting Crows and Play Editor Jeff Petrin kept trying to steal the phone. He was crying like a little baby, reaching for the receiver, sobbing, "I want to talk. I want to talk." It was kind of sad.

Both bands perform at the Dodge in the coming weeks.

Because ...

... I can't stop listening to this record:


Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Missives

Happy Monday, folks. It's nice outside, a little too warm for me, but still nice. That means I'll probably be playing softball tonight, which makes me happy. My team badly needs a win after dropping like four in a row. Pathetic.

Anyway, I got lots of e-mails this weekend about where my Weekend Preview video is hiding. Well, it's not hiding. We didn't do one last week. The online department was busy getting this very good package together, which is sad because I actually had some funny ideas. I mean, I would have discussed ABBA. Yep.

So "The Dark Knight" broke all kinds of box-office records. I caught the film Friday afternoon at the wonderful Criterion Cinemas. Oscar talk may be a little much, and the movie definitely drags at the end because it is so, so long, but this is a very, very good movie. I really enjoyed it. Like everyone else, I would totally recommend it, but don't go in thinking it's perfect or anything.

Richard Roeper is leaving "At The Movies with Ebert and Roeper" next month. This is kind of sad. I've always thought that when Gene Siskel died, the show went a bit downhill because Roger Ebert and Roeper tended to not be as critical as Siskel, but over the years, I've come to enjoy Roeper. So he's leaving for a new show, and who knows when Ebert's health issues will get better and let him rejoin some show. It's a sad day, sort of, for movie fans.

This is one of my nightmares come true. Seriously. I really can't stand people who aren't funny and can't act. Honestly, why him? I would have taken the job.

Another old character is returning to "90210." Does anyone really know what to expect from this? And will it actually take in decent ratings? I really have no idea.

I caught a couple shows this weekend. Doctors & Dealers put on a very good show at The Space Friday, and even got a bunch of the kids in the audience dancing along. That was something. And Film School, who I thought would be good, put on one of my favorite performances of the year so far at BAR last night. I mean, man, it was seriously amazing. Walls of sound with nuance. You don't get that often. A killer drummer. I could go on and on.

Kevin Smith is making an X-rated movie. Well, that's true if this were 1975, not 2008, when we use the term "NC-17."

A whole lot of Starbucks will close. Yep, 600 of them, to be exact, including five in the good ol' Nutmeg State. Here's a list.

I'm going to end this post by stating the obvious: Will Sheff is the greatest songwriter around, right now. I know folks are going to disagree with me, but the Okkervil River frontman honestly has no competition right now. I can't think of any band that has made five killer records in a row to start a career, all better than the next. There are no disappointments. When "The Stand-Ins" (out Sept. 9) arrived Thursday, I got incredibly giddy, then I got nervous that it wouldn't be as good as the amazing "The Stage Names." But this is, again, Okkervil's best work. I'm not going to review it here, but I can't stop listening to it. I'm listening right now. What a good last month or so for music. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Funny Headlines

A couple observations from the AP wire:

"Author Danielle Steele writes to 'give people hope'"
Um, does she write to give people hope that they can become a decent looking, middle-aged woman who finds a Greek prince to have sensual romantic trysts on beaches with? I mean, if that's the case, then this headline is right on.

"Attorney: Lohan on track with sentence compliance"
So Lindsay Lohan is doing a good job not drinking and driving anymore? Wow, she deserves some kind of medal. What a role model this young lady is turning out to be here in 2008. If she can just avoid showing paparazzi her uncovered crotch, well, she'll be America's favorite daughter by the end of the year.

"Barenaked Ladies singer arrested on drug charges"
Wait, are you trying to tell me that a rock singer might like to indulge in a little cocaine with two women? I don't believe you. Steven Page makes fun and wholesome music; he would never like drugs and young ladies. No damn way.

"Boy Band promoter ordered to repay victims $300M"
Is that how much they're valuing Lance Bass' career at these days?

"Katie Holmes goes back to TV roots on 'Eli Stone'"
You know, this is why so many mistrust the media. Everyone knows Katie Holmes was abducted by aliens. And, come on, there's no such television show as "Eli Stone."

"'Star Wars' video game bridges gap between films"
You know what else it bridges the gap between? The gap between when some 30-year-old male comes home from his job at some computer company and parks himself in his parents' basement, and when he goes to bed.

"Andy Dick jailed in SoCal on drug, sex allegations"
Andy Dick? Drugs? Sex allegations with a young lady? I don't believe this at all. I mean, shouldn't Andy have been in jail a decade or ago? And, oh yeah, why he still considered a celebrity? What's Richard Moll doing these days?

Playing Sunday At BAR Is ...

Film School.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

So what a last few days it's been. I've been to tons of shows, found out information, still haven't seen a movie in a while, covered things, eaten food, slept, played softball, smiled and have done a lot of other things ....

Let's talk about that. Tiffany Michelle, my good buddy Shiloh's sister, came in 17th at the World Series of Poker this week; she was, by far, the last woman standing and will surely get tons of TV time come October, when the event will air on ESPN. It's too bad she didn't hold out a bit longer and make the final table, but it's not that bad. I mean, she did come in 17th of out of more than 6,800 players and receive a prize of more than $300,000 for her efforts. Here's a video of her talking about her bad luck yesterday, which is a day she entered with the third-best chip count out of the 27 remaining at the time.



What else? Well, I saw four concerts this weekend and, honestly, all were terrific. On Thursday, Aeroplane 1929, the Mountain Movers and Jay Russell played at Cafe Nine. It was one of the best local shows I've seen in months. Really good. I've gone on and on about the Movers and Jay a lot here and in print, so I want to take a moment and remind you that Aeroplane is going to be huge. Seriously, these guys are really good, and have the ability to get really popular, if they get lucky.

On Friday it was on to the People's Center in New Haven, where I saw great performances by Bottle Up & Go and, especially, O'Death, which was even better than I hoped. Elf Power came to The Space Saturday and, as usual, the band did not disappoint. I always love seeing the Elf Power, and here's hoping the guys come around again soon.

Lastly, Wye Oak came to BAR Sunday. This might have been my favorite show of the four. The Baltimore band was much better than I expected. And, I think this was the first time I've seen a show at the Crown Street venue with a crowd-forced encore. It was something.

So we lost at softball last night, which makes us a pathetic 4-6. We started out the season so well, but things have snowballed downhill. Either we can't hit, or we can't field, or ... We hope to get things back on track next week.

Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis has announced the details for her upcoming, hugely anticipated solo record. It's going to be called "Acid Tongue," and it's coming out on one of the big boys — Warner Bros. That's her on the left.

Sadly, Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman have broken up. You know what that means? It means she's available for me. So I guess this is good news? She is much older than me, though.

According to this story, John Mellancamp is trying to make the transition from rocker to songwriter. Well, when is he going to make the transition from truck jingle writer to artist?

I'm going to end this entry by linking to this piece by Rick Moody, which is a profound, profound statement that I wholeheartedly agree with.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday Warbles

As many of you know, a couple months ago, I really fell in love with a record, "Confessions of a Drunken Mind" by Doctors & Dealers, which is essentially a solo project from Sweden's Sparrow Lindgren. I still really dig the album and have no doubt it'll end up on my best-of-2008 list in December.

Well, about a month or so ago, Sparrow e-mailed me and told me she was going to do a short U.S. tour and wondered if I could help get her a New Haven gig.

Since she needed a piano on site, options were limited. But she'll be at The Space July 18. I'm excited for this show, and you should be too. Hopefully, I'll talk to her sometime before then and have a piece in the Register on the 18th. We'll see.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hold It Here

I've had an illegal copy for a month or so that a nice reader sent me, but I finally received the official review copy of The Hold Steady's new "Stay Positive," which comes out July 15. I've had a lot of conversations about the record already. But let's talk about it for a second.

First of all, as any reader knows, I called "Boys And Girls In America" the best record of 2006 back when I wrote my annual 20-best-albums piece a couple years ago. I loved "Separation Sunday," but "Boys And Girls" is, honestly, one of my favorite discs of all time. "Stay Positive" really had no chance of reaching that status.

After a bunch of spins though, I've come around on the record. Oh sure, I'm still not sold on all the horns and the annoying synths on, say, "One for the Cutters," but I really like the disc. It's nothing earth-shattering; it's a Hold Steady record; that's for sure. Yet, it finds the band growing a bit and, of course, Craig Finn knows how to write lyrics. Eric Danton (of the Courant) and I talked about it recently, and he likes it a lot too. I think we both agree: Good disc, not as good as the last one.

That's it. I don't want to spoil my review, which runs in the July 18th Weekend section. Look out for that. Here's a video of the band performing the new tune "Lord, I'm Discouraged." The clip is from the band's show at McCarren Pool in Brooklyn on June 29.



In other news, Robert Leeney, the Register's former editor, died Sunday. Obviously, Mr. Leeney was not the editor when I first started here, but he was around a decent amount for the first three years I worked at the paper, and Mr. Leeney was always the nicest and most helpful guy, really. We had multiple conversations about the city's arts and music and history. As someone from another state, I learned a lot about New Haven's past by reading Mr. Leeney's weekly columnns, and I'm sure many are in the same boat as me.

You want to see the new Peach Pit? I don't know how this new "90210" is going to be, but I have to admit, I'll at least watch the first episode. It's like they're digging up my childhood or something.

Alicia Keys will be coming to Foxwoods in September. Tickets go on sale Friday. All the info will be in Weekend Friday.

OK, I think I'm going to get to work now. Frank Critelli headlines Beatnik 2000 over at Cafe Nine tonight. That should be good. But, alas, I'll be playing softball, looking to help get Jack's Bar and Grill back over the .500 mark. Wish us luck.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

July 4 Video

Thanks to my friend Jay Kubeck for stopping by and joining the fun.

Thursday's Here

Well, as I type this my holiday weekend is beginning. I guess that goes for almost all of us since tomorrow is an, um, holiday. But in my world, Friday's always a day off, so I'm looking at not working tomorrow or Saturday, working Sunday, then doing a half-day Monday. That's a lot of time off for me ... and I'm excited.

One thing that everyone should keep in mind is that my friend Dan's band, The Black Noise Scam, is playing at Cafe Nine tomorrow as part of the venue's Punk Rock BBQ. And the best part? Well, that'd be the $1 Schaeffer cans from 9-11 p.m. Punk and beer ... whoopee.

Not much else going on over here in Register/Weekend/Pat world. If we don't chat, have a great holiday weekend. I'm going to go to the movies a lot, since I haven't done that in a very long time ... like three weeks. Later.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday Warbles

I don't have much to say today, amazingly. I'm slowly digging myself out of the Arts & Ideas hole I've been in.

Although, let me start by asking if this is really news? Is this what we're coming to as a society, that we give a poop about this? I sure hope not.

And, also, good for good ol' Rikki Rockett. Sorry we ever doubted you, man.

Lastly, before we move on, for all of you wondering what television shows people watch during the summer, here you go.

I've been listening to two CDs a ton in the last day, so I thought I'd talk about that. Yesterday morning I was struggling to find something to listen to while I worked, and I went with Dawn Landes' (that's her pictured) newest disc "Firecracker," which came out sometime in March.

It's really a great record, one of my favorites of the year. Here's a video:


Now, more importantly, Shawn Jones of The Lovely Sparrows sent me the band's debut LP, and it arrived yesterday afternoon. "Bury the Cynics" is a record I've been waiting to hear for, no joke, more than a year. When the group released its last EP, "Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint," I got a review copy and immediately took to it. In fact, I named it the 11th best album of 2006, and would have definitely put it higher on my list if it wasn't only five songs long. And "Cynics" does not disappoint. I can't get it out of my CD player over the last 20 or so hours. I think I've listened to it nine times through already, and it hurt my heart to give to Jeff Petrin to listen to a few minutes ago.

Here's a video (sorry for the quality):