Bits: A.A. Bondy, Freddie Gibbs, You Weren’t There, The Afghan Whigs, I Need That Record!

  • A.A. Bondy trotted out a couple of new songs, “Another Country” and “Slow and Lo”, at the Newport Folk Festival. You can listen to (and download) his Saturday set at NPR Music.
  • This week, Yours Truly is featuring 5 Days of Fred with daily features on Freddie Gibbs.
  • This week, Pitchfork’s One Week Only feature is You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984.
  • Summerskiss has confirmed that the Afghan Whigs’ final album, 1965, will be re-issued on 180 gram vinyl with seven bonus tracks and an 8-page booklet on August 24. It’s a European-only release.
  • I Need That Record!, Brendan Toller’s heart-wrenching documentary about the state of independent record stores in America, is now widely available on DVD, including through Amazon and Netflix. This was one of NTSIB’s favorite scores from Record Store Day this year, and we encourage you to check it out.
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    Bits: Crook & Flail mix, Justin Townes Earle, A.A. Bondy, Big Boi and Rick Ross, the Black Keys, Nicholas Megalis and the Envy Project, Outside Lands

    Bits: Les Savy Fav, Walkmen, Lissie, RZA, A.A. Bondy

    • Les Savy Fav will release a new album, Root For Ruin on September 14.
    • Also dropping September 14 will be the Walkmen’s Fat Possum debut, Lisbon. The band will hit the road next month.
    • Lissie, who has been a cover song powerhouse this year, will release her first full album, Catching a Tiger, on August 17, and you can pre-order it from Fat Possum now.
    • Via RZA’s Twitter: Post a picture of yourself with the Swarm cover/logo to RZA’s Facebook for a chance to win an autographed copy of Pollen: The Swarm, Part 3. Winner will be chosen June 26.
    • NTSIB favorite and part of the inspiration for turning this blog into a reality, A.A. Bondy will be hitting the road again in October, sharing dates with his new label-mates the Walkmen.

    Speaking of Lissie’s great covers, here she is doing Cleveland-native Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”.


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    Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: A.A. Bondy, Brendon Urie/Pete Wentz

    Now here’s DJ Jen to take you into the all-request hour…

    Total Request (Not Quite Live)

    For April, from Ohio: A.A. Bondy


    I took this one last winter, during soundcheck at the Bowery Ballroom. (Also on the bill: Willy Mason, The Duke & The King.) It is probably the best picture I took all night, of anyone. It is certainly the best lit picture of Bondy that I have, because he seems to like to sing in the dark, or at least in extremely low light, and I don’t use a flash.

    I had (slightly) better luck when I saw him again earlier this year at Union Hall, in Brooklyn. He still confined himself to four red stage lights, but I was closer to him, which made it easier to work with the low light. The shot below, a variation on the “tuning my guitar” pose, is my favorite from the evening. It is, again, a moment of stillness amid a flurry of activity. And there’s the totally incongruous picture of the colonial lady above his head, as if he’s in someone’s very … Continue reading

    Guilty Pleasures: Verbena

    The scene: You’re home alone doing some menial chore. It’s boring and takes a long time, but it has to be done. To make the experience a little less of a trial, you put on some music, something up-tempo. Something light. Maybe even something a little mindless. Before you know it, as your cleaning out the cat box or washing the dishes, you’re doing a little boogie and singing along at the top of your lungs.

    The sound of snickering behind you stops you dead, and you know your partner/roommate/child will now never let you live down the fact that you were just jamming along to Counting Crows/Lady Gaga/the original cast recording of Cats. You’ve been caught indulging in a guilty pleasure. It seems everyone has at least one, even those who say they don’t (yes, okay, I do actively blush when I listen to Billy Squier). But why feel guilty? We can’t help the fact that certain sounds just move us. So let’s cleanse our guilt through confession.

    My first confession is a complex one. Regular readers know by now that I … Continue reading

    Notable shows in the greater Cleveland area & some SXSW showcases

    Shows worth checking out this week in and around Cleveland:

    The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

    • Sat, Feb 20| 8:00 PM (7:30 PM door)
      Bluegrass Barn Dance
      Pete McDonald & The Wax Wings String Band / JP & The Chatfield Boys / Hiram Rapids Stumblers / Heelsplitter / Misery Jackals / Timber Wolves / One Dollar Hat
      $5.00 adv / $7.00 dos
      Ballroom | All Ages
    • Tue, Feb 23| 9 PM (8:30 PM door)
      Ha Ha Tonka
      Cowboy Angels / Robbie Jay Band
      Tavern | All Ages
    • Fri, Feb 26| 9 PM (8:30 PM door)
      The Fervor
      Good Morning Valentine
      Tavern | All Ages

    Grog Shop

    • Mon, Feb 22| 9:00 PM
      Sun God
      The Unclean

    The Kent Stage

    • Tues, Feb 23| 8:00 PM
      Ani DiFranco
      Erin McKeown
      $36.00 Individual
      $65.00 Patron

    Oberlin College

    • Weds, Feb 24| ?
      Ani DiFranco
      Erin McKeown
      Finney Chapel @ 90 North Professor St
      Call 800-371-0178 for details

    For those who might be venturing to Austin in March, here are a few links to SXSW showcases to check … Continue reading

    Rebirth of the Cool: John the Revelator

    This is the first installment of what may become a regular feature focusing on covers or different takes on a single song.

    One of the much bandied about cliches of modern music is that the devil gets all the good music. But anyone who has delved into the different forms of sacred music knows that that is a very arguable statement. (There is some damn fine gospel music out there, and the gospel influence can be heard in some of today’s more exciting bands, like The Builders and the Butchers.)

    I would posit the theory that the best music is performed by those whose ultimate fate (if one is given to beliefs of the spiritual) remains in question. Take the blues classic “John the Revelator” as an example. The first noted recording of the song was recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1930. While he played in the blues style and has been covered by artists such as Led Zeppelin, the White Stripes and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, all of Johnson’s lyrical content centered on the sacred, and he was known to preach to anyone who might listen.


    Blind Willie Johnson – John the Revelator Continue reading

    News Bits & Bobs: Southern Festivals, Waits Reads, New Lidell & Scott-Heron

    • Gulf Shores, Alabama, will host the Hangout Music Festival May 14-16, 2010. The fest will feature A.A. Bondy… and some other people. A lot of really good acts, actually, like the Blind Boys of Alabama, John Legend, Matisyahu, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and Michael Franti & Spearhead, among others.
    • The Felice Brothers will be down in Bondy territory when they play the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Mississippi, on April 24, 2010. The free festival will be headlined by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and will also feature performances by Jimbo Mathus and Those Darlins, among others.
    • Tom Waits reads Charles Bukwoski. ‘Nough said.
    • Mercurial soul singer Jamie Lidell’s new album Compass comes out in May. This time around, he’s getting a hand from Beck, Feist, Pat Sansone of Wilco and a few members of Grizzly Bear. You can hear the title track at Stereogum and Pitchfork.
    • I don’t know how long ago this was posted, so it may no longer count as news to anyone else, but the Bowerbirds played a few songs for Pitchfork’s Cemetery Gates series.
    • Gil Scott-Heron’s first album … Continue reading

    Willy Mason & A.A. Bondy at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI, 2.2.10

    Under a snow cloud that seemed to concentrate solely over Ann Arbor (and seemed to want my car as a sacrifice), in a hole in the wall bar-cum-club, a rabble of music lovers who seemed to span every age range from 18 to 40 and possibly beyond gathered around a small stage to hear what Willy Mason and A.A. Bondy had to offer.

    Thinking of Willy Mason, the word that comes to mind is solid. His songwriting is solid, his guitar-playing is solid and his voice is solid. But the previous two times I had seen him play, he seemed to lack an indefinable something. Oomph, chutzpah or some other slightly onomatopoeiaic word. This time, he seems to have found the road to that indefinable something. While Mason is still more than a little quiet in between songs, the songs themselves popped with a vibrancy that had been missing before. “Pickup Truck”, “If It’s the End”, “Where the Humans Eat” and “Hard Hand to Hold” all sparkled and received deserved appreciation from the audience.

    There was a sweet moment as Mason waited for some friends to come help him out on stage. He said, “We need some filler.” To which … Continue reading