Saturday, 29 June 2013

Handsome Furs - 22 September 2006, Vancouver Comedy Festival

I've arrived at Handsome Furs via Divine Fits. Having listened to a bit of Handsome Furs it certainly helps to see Divine Fits as a fusion of Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner's previous work. Sound Kapital is a pretty good record, but the absolute knockout is Plague Park (I'll point out that, even though I've linked these to Amazon, I got Sound Kapital from Real Groovy on a visit to New Zealand (who ship to Australia I think) and Plague Park from Dixons Recycled (who are worth a visit regardless because they have some cheap stuff (when I was there they had Okkervil River's Overboard and Down for $4!!!) The Amazon prices are cheaper than anything I'm aware of, but some folks, like Dixons Recycled, don't list their stock online). I've been listening to it pretty much constantly since getting it. For that reason I've been trying to track down some live Handsome Furs to see how these songs sound live. Unfortunately, it's proved pretty tough. The only thing I've got so far is this - four tracks from before they'd even released an album (and the reason they're playing a comedy festival is a complete mystery to me). On the positive side, this is a soundboard recording (like some soundboards, it doesn't really capture the audience, so is a bit lifeless, but still...). If I find something better I'll post it, but until then, this is the best/only Handsome Furs I could find.

Hearts of Iron
Snakes on the Ladder
Cannot Get Started
Dumb Animals!NQMSgB7L!Dj_-oU3Ze40RcFiIbb6Ciw

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Flight of the Conchords - 5 July 2007, World Cafe

There aren't many live sets from these guys floating round (I'm fairly pleased with the recording I got of their show at the Plenary last year, so check that out if you're interested). This is just a short radio set with interviews (which areamusing in their own right). If you're not familiar with these guys, they're genuinely funny, and I'd recommend checking out their TV series (particularly season one).!hN0gQIID!EkwyNCObN6h_nsCkfLiDuw

Friday, 21 June 2013

Best Coast - 31 January 2011, Washington DC

I'm picking these guys for a return visit for the Harvest Festival. I recorded their Falls Festival sideshow at the start of the year. It was an alright show, but everything starts to sound the same after a while. They'd probably be more entertaining playing a festival set, so Harvest could be good.

This is from a show broadcast on NPR a couple of years ago, prior to the release of their second album. Similarly to their set here, this starts to sound the same after a while, but it has lots of their good songs from their first album.

Bratty B
Summer Mood
Crazy for You
The End
Make You Mine
Sunny Adventure
Far Away
Fist City
Wish He Was You
I Want To
When I'm With You
When the Sun Don't Shine
That's the Way Boys Are
Our Deal
When You Wake Up
Sun Was High (So Was I)
Something in the Way!kEsTAQgL!EcLPgiIHeTRlfSYhdFEy_A

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Jeff Mangum - Auckland, 4 February 2001

It's nearly time for the lineup for my personal favourite Australian festival (probably worth noting that I've only been to three Australian festivals). So far the only act that will definitely be playing is the reformed Neutral Milk Hotel. Given they weren't around for long and weren't that popular while they were around there aren't that many good recordings of them. This is actually Jeff Mangum playing solo in Auckland (until his recent solo tour this was his last full performance). He plays a nice mix of songs, including a couple of covers and some rarer NMH material. Mangum played the set at the request of Chrix Knox, who makes an appearance on their barely listenable cover of Mother. Soundwise, this sounds like a soundboard recording, although I can't be certain. Regardless, the quality is great.

I'll be trying to find a good quality NMH set to put up (maybe something from the shows they're playing before coming to Australia), but in the meantime this is a good start, and probably something lots of people will be keen to listen to regardless of the NMH reformation.!dIkwGCaS!KEwkUTzGN5IXdEMDRK7k1A

Friday, 14 June 2013

Okkervil River - Golden Opportunities 1, 2 & 3

So, as promised, here is the next in the continuing series of free albums posts (my plan is to have one of these on a Friday roughly in the middle of each month; it's also a nice counterbalance to the Amazon links). These were actually described as EPs, but at nine tracks, Golden Opportunities 1 is as long as two full length Okkervil River albums. Regardless, there are a total of 14 tracks here, so easily an albums worth.

Golden Opportunities 1 was released on the band's website in 2007. It features eight live covers and a live version of Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas off of their debut album Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See (no Amazon link because at $14.58 I'd have a hunt around). The first four tracks are stellar, after that it falls away a bit, but none of these are duds, and fans of Joni Mitchell or John Cale's solo work will probably be more excited about them than I am.

Golden Opportunities 2 is the most recent thing put out by the band (unless you mistakenly include Will Sheff's solo Love Streams project), coming out in 2011. It's only five tracks long, but the quality is consistently high. Unlike the first EP this is all covers recorded in a one day studio session, rather than live.

[Update: Golden Opportunities 3 has just been released. Link added below]

Golden Opportunities 1:

April Anne (John Phillips)
Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear (Randy Newman)
I Want to Know (The Fugs)
Do What You Gotta Do (Jimmy Webb)
I Came Here to Say I'm Going Away (Serge Gainsbourg)
The Blonde in the Bleachers (Joni Mitchell)
Antarctica Starts Here (John Cale)
Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Chritmas
Solo (Sandy Denny)

Golden Opportunities 2:

It is So Nice to Get Stoned (Ted Lucas)
U.F.O. (Jim Sullivan)
One Soul Less on Your Fiery List (The Triffids)
Plan D (Bill Fay)
Dry Bones (Traditional)

Golden Opportunities 3:

Dance Hall Days (Wang Chung)
Give Me the Night (George Benson)
Money Changes Everything (Cyndi Lauper)
Seven Year Ache (Roseanne Cash)
The End of Innocence (Don Henley)

Golden Opportunities 1 -
Golden Opportunities 2 - (MP3 and lossless versions)
Golden Opportunities 3 -

Monday, 10 June 2013

Matthew E. White - 3 June 2013, Northcote Social Club

The middle of the year tends to be a pretty quiet time of the year for shows. I hadn't planned on going to this one except that I ended up with a free ticket. Even so, I was sorely tempted to skip this show - it was a rainy Monday night, it takes me a fair while to get to Northcote, and I didn't even know that much about this guy. I was also a little put off by an interview I'd read with him that mentioned he initially came to fame through his free jazz work. In the end a large part of the reason I went was that I haven't been to many shows lately; if it'd been a few months later I probably wouldn't have bothered.

The show started pretty well - attendees were greeted at the door with a free booklet with some nice artwork, a message from Matthew E White, his record company, and lyrics to all his songs (including unreleased material). It was a nice touch, particularly from a small artist who probably doesn't have a lot of cash to splash round. Of course, a nice booklet doesn't make a great show; what made this a great show was the fact this guy can sing the hell out of a bunch of songs that sound naggingly like lots of really really great music, but not so much that you can say he's simply copying someone. It didn't hurt that he comes across as a genuinely nice guy, and made a connection with the audience with his real excitement about having finally made it to a city with a suburb named Richmond (he's from Richmond, Virginia). Plus there's the great back story behind it all - the record Big Inner was only produced as a showcase for the record label/studio he'd set up with some friends, but the record become a phenomen and was picked up for broader release (garnering numerous five star reviews and record of the year plaudits). The Guardian's review of the Sydney show closed with "Those of us who were there will chalk it up as one of those birth-of-a-legend moments, and those who weren't … well, they'll be pretending they were before too long", that's a pretty good summation of Melbourne's experience too.

Will You Love Me
One of These Days
Steady Pace
Are You Ready for the Country
Big Love
Human Style
Sail Away
If You Need Me
Gone Away

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Japandroids - KEXP, 22 September 2009

Another band touring Australia in the near future. Sometimes their sound can be a bit thin, but this short radio set sounds great. The song Racer X is a cover, that originally featured on the series of singles released after Post Nothing (the series continued after Celebration Rock with a single featuring Nick Cave's Jack the Ripper - I'm really hoping they play it on this tour). The singles are pretty hard to get, but they're collected as a bonus disc to the Australian release of Celebration Rock. Anyway, here's something to whet your appetite for the tour (if you haven't already got a ticket, get one right now!).

Heart Sweat
Racer X
Young Hearts Spark Fire!kJlkkATT!M62Od1ODCo8lk0iacEJ1TA

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The National - 20 June 2007, Washington DC

The National, are playing Splendour and said they'll be back in November and in 2014 to headline an (unnamed) festival. Given that, Australians are going to be hearing a lot of these guys, so its a good idea of find out what you're in for.

This show is from way back in 2007 when they were touring Boxer. It's a really nice show focussing on material from their last two albums (I really like their debut, but they don't seem to play anything off it anymore). Obviously their more recent shows will feature less of this material but this is a good start until I put up some more recent stuff. My only worry is that, outside of the studio, Matt Berninger seems to struggle to nail the more agressive songs (listen to Squalor Victoria or Mr November to get an idea of what I mean). I read somewhere that he's just stopped smoking and it's had a beneficial effect on his voice, so maybe this has improved.

Start a War
Mistaken for Strangers
Slow Show
Secret Meeting
Baby, We'll Be Fine
Lit Up
Racing Like a Pro
Squalor Victoria
Apartment Story
Daughters of the Soho Riot
Fake Empire
Mr November

Green Gloves
About Today