While Sunset Rubdown may be referred to as Spencer Krug’s (Wolf Parade) side-project, their third album, Random Spirit Lover, sounds less like a side-project and more like a swan song. Through the album’s lengthy fifty-eight and a half minutes, Krug is able to manipulate the poetic chaos in a seemingly effortless way, giving equal time to both the frenetic and more sedated sides of his songwriting.
Ryan Adams has been a busy guy. The dreamy-eyed North Caroliner has put out five albums in the last three years, garnering him more than the average amount of press for his excesses…especially since his excesses involve heroin and cocaine. Now you might think that five albums is a lot for that span of time, but speedballs ain’t called speedballs for nothing, and the same obstructions to productivity that the Average Joe on the street might face don’t mean jack to Mr. Adams.
Is is really that complicated Art Brut? You write a rock song. You write lyrics to go over it. In the lyrics you talk about nostalgia, and growing up, and awkward moments of a relationship – that sort of thing. You do about 10 of these bad boys, take it to a producer who makes it sound really pretty. You call the album It’s A Bit Complicated. You go on tour. You call trucks lorries.
Six LPs into their career, Austin’s Spoon has become pretty ubiquitous for an indie rock band. Their singles, including “I Turn My Camera On” and “The Way We Get By” turn up all over the place, including an enlightening video of a dancing robot on YouTube. Spoon has also provided the soundtrack for a movie (Stranger than Fiction) and has done commercials for Jaguar. While the awful truth may be that the majority of fans at a Spoon show would list the O.C. as their point of entrance, Spoon’s songwriting has been consistently good for a decade: look no further than Girls Can Tell (2001) or Kill the Moonlight (2002) for proof.
The Underdog [mp3]
The artwork on David Bazan’s EP Fewer Moving Parts depicts Bazan-as-lumberjack, walking through the woods. He approaches a tree, and in the span of six pages he chops it down. Upon closer inspection, there is a little heart visible on a close-up of the tree, with the initials DB and TW inside of it. It doesn’t take a detective’s training to deduce what is going on here, and I quickly surmise that the DB is Bazan himself, and that the TW is TW Walsh, friend and former conspirator in Pedro the Lion. Without Googling a word I realize that Bazan has created a breakup album, and that the breakup is between him and his old band (which was pretty much just him anyways), and that his new sound is going to be totally unprecedented. Though I feel pretty confident about my assertion and even begin writing this review, I decide to give the album a listen, which is a pretty advanced protocol as far as usounds is concerned. The results of my investigation will horrify you.
Cold Beer and Cigarettes [mp3]
Seattle, WA – A Long, Long Time Ago @ Neumo’s (June 1st)
Unfortunately we were really late for All Smiles due to shows starting early and on time these days in Seattle. Also, I felt trapped at the dive bar across the street listing to some mangled-looking, old-man-river guy talk to me about the history of plumbing. He started the timeline over 2800 years ago when King Minos of Crete created the first flushing water closet complete with a wooden seat and everything. I was like, fuck, how are we gonna cover 2800 years of plumbing in ten minutes? But not wanting to be rude and perhaps needing a “safety” piece of ass sometime in the future, we powered though it.
Photo by Michael Alan Goldberg
Planes Mistaken for Stars, Cursive, Against Me!, Mastodon. There is no artful way to describe it. These bands all played together, and I was there.
It’s a different kinda show that happens at the Fenix in Seattle, WA. Located in the heart of the, I don’t know, let’s call it the mostly-abandoned south industrial district, the Fenix used to be a dance club in the center of the 2 am stabbing district. It’s basically a large auditorium-esque space for people with blacklight stamps on their wrists to drink heavily. There is also a large space for people to do their slam dancing and what-have-you dancing in front of the stage, but I placed myself towards the back of the beer-drinking crowd, eager to investigate the people associated with a show like this.