February 28, 2011

New Blindside album May 6


wshww from Blindside Sweden on Vimeo.

Blindside announced their new album today via Twitter and Facebook. With Shivering Hearts We Wait is due May 6 ("underground release"; "worldwide release" is on May 7). This is a long time coming, their most recent LP is from 2005 and their most recent EP 2007.

February 22, 2011

Listen to the full Eisley "The Valley" album now

If you pre-ordered the album from Equal Vision, you should have received an email yesterday with a download link (I did, and have been listening to it in iTunes and on my iPod non-stop since).

If you have yet to purchase it, the album is streaming for free on Spin.com. I tried to embed the player here, but haven't quite figured that out yet. Anyway, just follow the link and listen to all 11 songs.

Also, Eisley played in Nashville last night and the show could be watched as it occured on LiveStream. The show is now archived and you can watch it anytime. I was at the Exit/In the last time Eisley played there a few years ago when everyone was kicked out because they were violating fire code.

Lastly, the album is terrific. When I discovered (Moss) Eisley in 2002, I said they had a chance to be as good as Sixpence None the Richer (stylistically similar) if they continued to release LPs frequently and matured. Well this, their 3rd LP, is definitely their best and shows tons of growth. Ironically Eisley is currently sounding like I wish Sixpence did in 2011. Beautiful female harmonies from the three sisters, catchy melodies and great guitar licks. Excellent review here.

Pre-order the vinyl here if you haven't already:

February 8, 2011

Jimmy Eat World at 40 Watt

As mentioned previously, I attended the Jimmy Eat World and David Bazan show at 40 Watt in Athens last night. First of all, the drive was fairly miserable as it rained most of the time and the 285-85 junction in Atlanta is insane. Thankfully I had plenty of time to get there and my two mix CDs to listen to (detailed on yesterday's blog entry).

I got there a little late due to a great dinner. As we walked in there were "NO PHOTOGRAPHY" signs posted everywhere, which I found to be a little strange. I had my FlipCam in my pocket and my digital SLR camera under my jacket. More on that later, but as you can see I did take photos (on Flickr) and get two videos (on YouTube).


IMG_8630, originally uploaded by drenchedecent.


We missed about half of David Bazan's set. As I walked in he was finishing an unrecognized song. Then he headed right in to "Criticism As Inspiration", which got me excited. Then he played "Foregone Conclusions", a rockin' version of "Big Trucks" and finished with "Bands With Managers." The friend I attended the show with commented, "That is some slow rock." I laughed and agreed. I think "Bands with Managers" was even slower than the tempo on Achilles Heel. Very few musicians can play slow well, because there is much less room for error. 


I didn't think about this much beforehand, but Bazan and Jimmy Eat World are a strange pairing. Bazan's music is very simple and laid-back, while Jimmy Eat World's is so high-energy and loud. I assume Zach Lind, Jimmy Eat World's drummer, asked Bazan to come on the tour as he is a big fan. Despite the contrast, I think there is an overlap in the fanbase, and the crowd made up of 100% Jimmy Eat World fans was very attentive and supportive on Bazan's music.



Jimmy Eat World was relentless. As soon as they stepped foot on the stage they plowed through their set effortlessly. They are extraordinarily tight and full of energy. I didn't write down the set-list at the time, but I think I remember all of it. This will be slightly out of order:
Bleed American
My Best Theory
Coffee and Cigarettes
Get It Faster
Work
For Me This is Heaven (video from show, not by me)
Big Casino
Action Needs an Audience
Futures
Hear You Me
Pain
Dizzy
23
Evidence
Blister
Goodbye Sky Harbor

Encore:
Invented
The Middle
Sweetness


IMG_8614, originally uploaded by drenchedecent.


Overall I was very impressed. I had moderate expectations, but the band sounded great. They rocked harder than I would have imagined. I had only seen them once previously, at a live 99X in-studio taping in 2001. I won tickets, and they only allowed 50 people in. Because it was such a controlled environment the band was pretty reserved, and they only played 5 songs. Thanks to Google, I just found all the details of that show including a free download.

Courtney Marie Andrews is a huge addition to the band's live show. Her background (and sometimes lead) vocals add terrific harmonies and her keyboard playing is also nice. The songs from Invented really can't be played without her, as well as "Hear You Me". But then her vocals on other songs like "For Me This Is Heaven" and "Sweetness" also took those songs to another level.

The biggest surprise from the show were the effects on Jim's vocals. Honestly I was shocked by them. His voice has always sounded pretty clear on all the albums, but last night they were run through all kinds of effects. At times I found it a little distracting, and made him sound much more nasal than he really is. My friend thought it was cool and added a lot to the live show. He didn't use them on all the songs, and at times they provided an intense echo. Speaking of effects, they were awesome on "Goodbye Sky Harbor." The original version of this song is of course 16 minutes, the length of an analog tape. I have heard live versions that were only 5 minutes or so, cutting off the elaborate ending. Well, it didn't last 16 minutes last night, but it did last 8 or 9. Jim put down his acoustic guitar after four minutes or so, then spent 2 or 3 minutes layering vocal effects. It was very, very similar to the original sound on Clarity. I at first thought he was using a pedal on stage, but my friend seemed to think the guy in the sound booth was recording the vocal parts to overdub. Either way, it was impressive.


IMG_8622, originally uploaded by drenchedecent.

Lastly, going back to the 40 Watt's photo policy. A decade ago it was fairly common to go to concerts where cameras were not allowed. But it has been years since I have attended a concert where the venue cared. It is impossible to stop in the smart-phone age. While bringing my cameras in, I considered not using them. It became apparent quickly though that half the crowd intended to capture the show in one form another, which is not surprising considering the average phone can take video and photos. I didn't bring my cameras out often, but I did get a few good shots. Most are blurry because of (1) a lack of light (2) my distance from the stage and (3) rushing myself out of fear I might get kicked out of the venue. I got one full-song video and another partial. On the second one I had a bouncer tap me on the shoulder and ask me to put the FlipCam away. I considered following him and asking him why he didn't stop they other countless people filming all the songs on their iPhones, but he was bigger than me. :)

My final thoughts regarding the show have to do with the how the different albums sounded live. Jimmy Eat World has six LPs, and they played multiple songs from five of them. I was most impressed with the Futures songs, they sounded pretty incredible. And I thought the Chase This Light songs were by far the weakest. That said, after the show here is how I would rank each of the albums overall, and in parenthesis how many songs were played from each last night:
1. Clarity (3. Easily my favorite Jimmy Eat World album and that will never change)
2. Futures (4. Sometimes this ranks at #3, but after last night, it got bumped up)
3. Bleed American (5. I assume this is most people's favorite)
4. Invented (5. This album has only been out a few months, it potentially could move as high as #2 long-term)
5. Static Prevails (0. Anyone know the last time they have played a song from this album in concert?)
6. Chase This Light (2. Only really love two songs on this album, and they didn't play either)

February 7, 2011

Jimmy Eat World & David Bazan best-of CDs

Tonight I am going to see Jimmy Eat World and David Bazan at the 40 Watt in Athens. I am more than excited; one because I have been a fan of both of these artists since the late 90's, and two because at this stage in my life I rarely am able to attend shows. In college I saw one or two concerts a month, now I am down to one or two a year. I have only seen Jimmy Eat World once, at an in-studio recording for 99X in Atlanta in 2002. I saw Pedro the Lion about 10 times between 1998 and 2002, but not since. And I have not been to the 40 Watt since I saw the Anniversary there in 2001.

Where the 40 Watt was when I lived in Athens in 1987/88

In preparation for the show I have made best-of CDs for both artists. I always enjoy doing this, and these were more challenging than others because of the expanse of the artists' catalogs. Both have 5 or more LPs, 3 or more EPs, numerous 7"s and a ridiculous amount of unreleased tracks. For both I started new playlists in iTunes and then whittled them down until I have 1.2 hours of music. (I have 135 Jimmy Eat World Songs and 120 David Bazan songs in my iTunes library.) I tried to represent all eras of each artist, and so some great songs got left out. For example, I like all of the songs on Pedro the Lion's Control better than the best song on Achilles Heel. I also worked to make cohesive albums representative of the artists' varying styles.

Jimmy Eat World 1996-2010
1. Disintegration from Stay on my Side Tonight EP
2. Sweetness from Bleed American
3. Call It In the Air from Static Prevails
4. Coffee and Cigarettes from Invented
5. Here it Goes from Chase This Light
6. The Most Beautiful Things from Jebediah Split EP
7. The World You Love from Futures
8. If You Don't, Don't from Bleed American
9. Believe In What You Want from Clarity
10. Jen bonus track from Futures
11. Lucky Denver Mint from Clarity
12. Gotta Be Somebody's Blues from Chase This Light
13. Be Sensible bonus track from Chase This Light
14. Movielike from Invented
15. Hear You Me from Bleed American
16. For Me This is Heaven from Clarity
17. 23 from Futures


I can't find any source of free MP3s for Jimmy Eat World. This is the downside of being on a major label. I thought about providing uploads of Jen and Be Sensible, as I am not sure they are available to be purchased anywhere. 

David Bazan (and Pedro the Lion) 1997-2009
1. Criticism as Inspiration from The Only Reason I Feel Secure EP
2. Magazine from Control
3. Bless This Mess from Curse Your Branches
4. Nothing from the Whole EP
5. Bad Things to Such Good People from Winners Never Quit
6. American Flags from American Flags 7"
7. Start Without Me from Achilles Heel
8. A Mind of Her Own from Winners Never Quit
9. Penetration from Control
10. Hard to Be from Curse Your Branches
11. Of Up and Coming Monarchs from It's Hard to Find a Friend
12. June 18, 1976 from the Progress 7"
13. I Do from Achilles Heel
14. When We Fell from Curse Your Branches
15. Of Minor Prophets and Their Prostitute Wives from It's Hard to Find a Friend
16. Second Best from Control
17. Almost There from the Whole EP
18. Secret of the Easy Yoke from It's Hard to Find a Friend


More free Pedro the Lion and David Bazan free MP3s here and here.


What is your favorite song from each of these artists? Did I leave it out?