Monday, January 23, 2012

Ceiling Fan In My Spoon: A Lemonheads Concert Review

The first concert I ever attended was The Lemonheads at Summerfest back in 1994. Even though they didn't go on until 10PM, I recall arriving at the stage around 3PM with my friend Silas to stake out a good location, and then suffering through whatever crap bands played before them. I also recall spending all $20 I brought on a Come On Feel The Lemonheads concert t-shirt and having to beg for spare change from strangers in order to catch the bus back to the Park 'n Ride after the show. Ah, youth.

So when it was announced back in November that The Lemonheads would be coming to Turner Hall to play their classic album It's a Shame About Ray, I secured tickets immediately. I had already seen them perform the album at SXSW in 2008 (fwd to about 1:00), but given that IaSAR is one of my Top 10 Albums Of All-Time, I will never turn down a chance to see it performed.

Evan Dando opened the set with some solo acoustic guitar numbers, including Being Around - a personal fav of mine. He was wearing the same striped shirt everyone always pictures in him and appears to be aging as much as Richard Alpert. After six or so songs, the rest of band came out and launched into Rockin' Stroll, with Evan now on electric guitar. Near the end of the song his amp blew, so he followed Rockin' Stroll with an impromptu acoustic number while it was being repaired. After a second attempt to play his electric (to no avail), he told the crowd that this would be a "different kind of show" and proceeded to play Confetti and It's a Shame About Ray on his acoustic, which was actually really nice.

His electric guitar returned for Rudderless, which set off a round of cheers from the audience. They tore through the rest of the album, and I pointed and shouted when appropriate (and sometimes when not appropriate). He switched back to his acoustic for Frank Mills, which was my second-favorite Turner Hall sing-along ever (first place belonging to TMBG's Dead sing-along at my wedding). There was no Mrs. Robinson, much to the chagrin of the majority of the crowd, but we were treated to some other great songs from Come On Feel The Lemonheads (Great Big No, Big Gay Heart, I'll Do It Anyway), which, in my mind, is just as great of an album as Ray.

All-in-all, it was a solid show from an iconic band. And here's some fan footage from the show:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Erik's January 2012 Mix - God Only Likes Those Who Stay High Enough on Him

I'm not exactly sure where this mix came from. I think it came on the heels of streaming Craig Finn's new country-tinged solo album Clear Heart Full Eyes, going back through Pitchfork's Best of 2000s albums list and hearing Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker, and rekindling my love of Milwaukee band The Championship's Midnight Golden. All of these elements came together, and I found myself assembling a country-ish playlist. I like it. 

God Only Likes Those Who Stay High Enough on Him

01. Bob Dylan - Sarah Jane
This is a track of of the much-maligned Dylan album. Not especially country, but it takes on new meaning when you realize that you're essentially listening to "I Want You Back" by Jackson 5.

02. Fleetwood Mac - That's Enough for Me
As always, my Tusk phase continues. This is another one of Lindsay Buckingham's coke-fueled anger songs.

03. Ryan Adams - My Winding Wheel
As stated, I recently heard Heartbreaker and fell for it. This and Old 97's Too Far to Care are great gems in indie-pop-alt-whatever-fuck-labels country. And this song in particular is fantastic.

04. The Clientele - Saturday
Also going through Pitchfork's 2000s list I heard The Clientele's Suburban Light and was totally taken by it. This was actually the first song I put on this list.

05. The Hold Steady - 212 Margarita
This track is a B-side or something. I saw this video a few years ago and it re-convinced me that Craig Finn is a genius. There are a lot of great lines in this one.

06. The Championship - Christian Man / I'd Rather Be Truckin' 
The Championship was a Milwaukee band that I think is now defunct. All I know is that Midnight Golden is one of my favorite winter albums (check it out on iTunes. Buy it). Yes, he sounds like Springsteen or Johnny Cash. But it's not a bad thing. And the second half of this track is some great drivin' music.

07. Neko Case - Stinging Velvet
I'm super-predictable when I think of "country" music, because my mind immediately goes to about 4 bands. Neko Case, Drive-By Truckers, Old 97's, and Lucinda Williams. I love how all of these artists take standard country and southern rock conventions and make them a unique and heartfelt listening experience. Neko Case is so brilliant and emotive with her voice. She can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. And she's funny as hell. This track is off of Blacklisted.

08. Old 97's - Big Brown Eyes
Too Far to Care is one of the best albums of the 90s, in my humble opinion, and the opinion of this blog. I remember seeing The Old 97s in The Break-Up and liking "Melt Show" a lot. I then looked into a greatest hits album, and I loved a few choice tracks. Years later, I ended up listening to TFtC and realizing that every song I had previously liked was on it. And, I liked every other song on it. "Big Brown Eyes" is great in the way it builds, has fantastic lyrics, and a phenomenal hook.

09. Elliott Smith - I Don't Think I'm Ever Gonna Figure it Out
I'm pretty sure this track is a demo from the Basement on a Hill sessions. Elliott Smith had a rich appreciation for country music, and you can hear a lot of that influence in his music. This is a folk, song as is customary for him, but it really has country undertones.

10. Lucinda Williams - Mama You Sweet
Lucinda Williams is a throwback to the old traditions of Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline of writing from a really sentimental and oftentimes wounded place. "Mama You Sweet" is a beautiful track. I get a little edgy and breathless as that last verse trails on and on and on, but as soon as it comes full circle it's one of my favorite musical moments.

11. Drive-By Truckers - Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife
This song is devastating. If you don't know the subject matter, read into it. A heartbreaking story and a gut-wrenching way to tell it.

12. Bright Eyes - Devil Town
I watch Friday Night Lights.

Until Next Time,

Monday, January 16, 2012

TK's January 2012 Mix - Keep Your Feet Warm

I recently posted a new mix on 8tracks...some notes:

Keep Your Feet Warm

01. The Walkmen - Don't Forget Me
This is a cover of a Harry Nilsson song, which Neko Case also covered. There is some intense debate amongst the LHF staff as to which is superior. This one gets my vote, if only because they covered the entire Pussy Cats album, which is hilarious and incredible.

02. Liam The Younger - Beneath The Weeping Willow Tree
Liam recorded two albums a few years ago that will soon be available on vinyl (order them!). This song reminds me of really falling for Iron and Wine's The Creek Drank The Cradle back in 2002, mainly because of the slide guitar at the end. Can't believe that album is 10 years old.

03. Bobby Charles - Small Town Talk
I've been in an early 70's mood lately here at LHF HQ. Smooth and calm, keeps me focused. I have found tightsweater's mixes on 8tracks (especially from The Crate series) to be a great resource in my quest to unearth a lot of gems that had previously eluded me (Bobby Fay, Shuggie Otis, etc).

04. Guided By Voices - Tell Me
As most of you will hopefully figure out, this is a very early version of what eventually became Tractor Rape Chain (most definitely in my Top 10 songs of all time) off the album Bee Thousand. I wish this REM-inspired era of GBV lasted longer; you don't get to hear Bob sing lines like "tell me how you feel about me" enough these days.

05. The Double - Soul Cougar
I listened to this CD the other day. I bought it on my first trip to NYC in 2004 (at Other Music, of course), and listened to it while walking around the city on my discman, which is kind of crazy to think about. It makes me glad that I have kept my CD collection in tact (and organized chronologically, based on release date), even though I pretty much stopped buying CDs in 2009.

06. Django Django - Default
This is a GM find. Part of a super secret collab mix constructed on 12.31.11. Don't tell anyone.

07. Mikal Cronin - Apathy
LHF likes to believe we don't overlook any great albums, but we whiffed on Mikal Cronin's s/t release last year. Thankfully Seizure Chicken didn't make the same mistake, naming his album #5 on their year-end list, and it's been on steady rotation for the past 2 weeks. Had I heard it in time, this one probably would've cracked my Top 10.

08. Hospital Ships - Dani, Love Of Mine (live)
Some day I'll probably shut up about this band, but they just released some live recordings from France that you should check out here. Included in the set is this alternative version of Reprise, a slowed-down and tender take that also appears on the vinyl. Also, all of the proceeds from the purchase of these live recordings go towards helping a sick cat get surgery. For real.

January on.