Bits: Hell and Half of Georgia, the Low Anthem, Conrad Plymouth, the Twilight Singers, Mark Sandman

  • Shows! Hell and Half of Georgia will be playing a free show in Long Beach, California tomorrow, 12.29.10. On the other side of the country on the same day, the Avett Brothers, the Low Anthem and Bombadil will be playing a benefit show in Carrboro, North Carolina – tickets go on sale at 10:00 AM EST today, 12.28.10. (The Avett/Anthem/Bombadil benefit show sold out within the first hour.) Conrad Plymouth will play a New Year’s Eve show with Ian Olvera and the Sleepwalkers and Laarks at Linneman’s in Milkwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • The Twilight Singers have made another track, “On the Corner”, from the upcoming album Dynamite Steps available for free download.
  • And the news I’m personally most excited about right now is the impending release of Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story. The singer/bass player/avant-instrumentalist for Morphine was and is a huge influence on me, and I’m very much looking forward to this documentary, which will be hitting the festival circuit in 2011. Check out the trailer below, and find more video clips at the Gatling Pictures website.

Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (Trailer) from Gatling Pictures on Vimeo.

Bits: Roky Erickson & the Black Angels, Robert Pollard, the Black Keys, the Low Anthem

  • Roky Erickson and the Black Angels: Night of the Vampire is now on Pitchfork’s One Week Only.
  • Paste shares the details on Robert Pollard’s latest batch of releases. Solo album on 1.18, Lifeguards on 2.15 and Mars Classroom on 3.29.
  • The Black Keys returned to the KCRW studios yesterday. You can watch or listen here.
  • If you haven’t yet grabbed the free download of “Ghost Woman Blues” from the forthcoming Low Anthem album, Smart Flesh, you can hear it while watching their beautiful video.

Bits: A Place to Bury Strangers, Hell and Half of Georgia, Clean Hands, The Low Anthem, Drive-By Truckers

  • A Place to Bury Strangers had their van stolen in Rome. Here’s some info from their Facebook: “Looks like we had over 15K in merch money and belongings stolen from the van. Add in the cancelled shows, the excess van rental charges and we have been pummeled financially. We’ve set up a paypal donation link if any of you feel like helping us replace the belongings of our crew. We hesitate to do this but feel horrible about what happened to everyone’s things:” If you can, donate here.
  • In better news, our friends in Hell and Half of Georgia will be playing a gig on December 11 in Lake Forest, California.
  • Nick Berg of Conrad Plymouth has released an EP with his band Clean Hands. We’re digging it. D/L it here.
  • You can download “Ghost Woman Blues” from the forthcoming Low Anthem album on their site and check up on their 2011 tour dates.
  • And if you don’t have enough downloads today, Drive-By Truckers have made an mp3 of their awesome song “Used to be a Cop” available on their site.

Bits: Sub Pop’s Andy Kotowicz, Einstürzende Neubauten, Tom Waits and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Low Anthem, Raekwon

  • On October 24 of this year, Sub Pop executive Andy Kotowicz was killed in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and young daughter. On December 4, the Showbox will host a benefit concert for the Andy Kotowicz Family Foundation, featuring A-Frames/AFCGT, Fruit Bats, Mudhoney, Michael Yonkers, Pissed Jeans, Shabazz Palaces, Vetiver, and Wolf Eyes.
  • At 2:00 PM EST (if my calculations are correct) today, November 16, Arte will have a live webcast of Einstürzende Neubauten’s 30th anniversary show in Paris.
  • Beginning Friday, November 19, Preservation Hall will have for sale a special 78 of Tom Waits and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s recording of “Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing”, signed and numbered by Ben Jaffe. (Online sales begin November 20.)
  • The Low Anthem have announced that their new album Smart Flesh will be released on February 22.
  • November 13 would have been the inimitable Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 42nd birthday. In memory, Raekwon has released the video “Ason Jones”.


Bits: The Twilight Singers, Pulp, Ghostface Killah, J Mascis, Patterson Hood, Twain

  • The Twilight Singers will be releasing their new album, Dynamite Steps, on February 15. Guests on the album include some of the usual suspects – Ani DeFranco, Petra Haden, Joseph Arthur and, of course, Mark Lanegan – as well as Nick McCabe of the Verve.
  • The original Pulp line-up is reuniting for the first time since 1996. They have a couple of European fests booked for next year with additional plans likely.
  • Rap Radar has the first single, “Together Baby”, off Ghostface Killah’s forthcoming album Apollo Kids up for you.
  • J Mascis will be releasing an acoustic album called Several Shades of Why on March 15.
  • Special treat: Cuckoobird has posted a special Patterson Hood solo show that took place at the end of last month. Patterson Hood is several kinds of awesome.
  • The Low Anthem are on the road with Emmylou Harris. During a break, Mat Davidson played a surprise Twain show in Brooklyn. Watch Mat and all his hair below.

Twain “I’ll Be Fooled Again” from Possum Den Productions on Vimeo.

Bit: Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Low Anthem

If you live in the American South, you’re going to be pretty fortunate come December because the Low Anthem and Carolina Chocolate Drops will be touring together there.

Dec 4, Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA

Dec 7, Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN

Dec 8, Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN

Dec 9, The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

Dec 10, Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC

Dec 11, Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC

That thing you smell right now is the scent of my envy.

Bits: Black Keys pre-sale tix, new Low Anthem in the works, Radio Free Song Club, MGV first performance, Lissie’s AD interview

  • Pre-sale tickets for the Black Keys summer tour went on sale this morning. Early birds will get the new album, Brothers, when it is released and instant downloads of “Tighten Up” and “Next Girl”.
  • The Low Anthem are working on a new album, which will include the lovely “Apothecary”.
  • Gather a bunch of seasoned songwriters, give them a monthly song deadline, make a podcast about it. That’s the premise of Radio Free Song Club, whose members include Victoria Williams, Peter Holsapple and Freedy Johnston, among others.
  • Duke Street Blog have begun posting their videos from SXSW, including the first performance by mini supergroup MG&V; – John McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.
  • Lisse gets the Aquarium Drunkard treatment.
  • Here are the Low Anthem performing “Apothecary” in Grand Central Station for La Blogotheque’s Take Away Concert series:

    The Low Anthem – Apothecary – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

    The Low Anthem & The Avett Brothers at the House of Blues in Cleveland, OH, 2.27.10

    The Low Anthem Setlist
    (in no particular order and incomplete)

    Cage the Songbird
    Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around
    To the Ghosts Who Write History Books
    This God Damn House
    The Horizon is a Beltway
    Don’t Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round
    Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women

    I’ll admit upfront that I have probably been spoiled by seeing some of the best acts around perform in hole-in-the-wall bars – from the Afghan Whigs at the Cactus Club in San Jose, California, to A.A. Bondy at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan – and this probably colors my view of the larger venues, but… I hate the House of Blues. It is partially the odd and claustrophobic layout of the venue and partially the disposition of the clientele. (It doesn’t help that I top out at 5’3″ and since I didn’t get to the sold-out show early enough to be close to the stage, I felt disconnected as I stood behind a wall of people a full head taller than me, affording me only a few glances of certain areas of the stage.)

    You have to love the Low Anthem for putting their all into trying to overcome the obstacles. They played with great energy and sweetness and did manage to get the attention of the drunken, gabby audience a couple of times, but there were times when they were almost drown out by the loud talking of the audience amongst itself (one of whom started complaining as soon as the band started into their fourth song and didn’t stop until the band finished their set because “Oh my god, are they playing another song?”).

    Still, I was able to hear enough to confirm that Jocie Adams and Ben Knox Miller can both belt out a killer vocal and Jeff Prystowsky has to be the smilingest musician I’ve ever witnessed. The Low Anthem have a good range from deeply pretty to aggressively foot-stomping, which they accomplish through more instrument changes than I’ve ever seen a band make. It’s a shame I couldn’t hear the clarinets they brought out for a couple of songs.

    The Avett Brothers setlist
    (in no particular order and less woefully incomplete)

    Distraction #74
    Laundry Room
    January Wedding
    Murder in the City
    Tear Down the House
    The Perfect Space
    If It’s the Beaches
    Where Have All the Average People Gone (Roger Miller cover)
    I Would Be Sad
    And It Spread
    Please Pardon Yourself
    Go To Sleep
    Famous Flower of Manhattan
    Slight Figure of Speech
    At the Beach
    Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise (? – I may just be hallucinating that they played this)

    Part of the fun of attending a live show is seeing what’s happening onstage: who’s playing what, who’s whispering to whom, who just took his shirt off, etc. The fact that I could only see half of the Avett Brothers at any given time certainly affected my enjoyment of the show. But, too, the band seemed to have a little less of their famous energy and zeal than I have witnessed in live show videos and were pulling out many of their more sedate songs. Not to say that their performance was poor by any means – the Avetts are consummate professionals in the best sense of the term and they seem to truly love their audience – and the crowd of young devotees in front of me certainly loved it (I enjoyed watching one of them sing along with his eyes closed, looking like every, single word meant something to him), but I just did not feel moved for much of the show.

    There were exceptions. “Laundry Room”, for instance, transcended all the issues of the night to be a perfect performance. Scott Avett’s solo delivery of “Murder in the City” was touching. They played my personal favorite, “Colorshow”, which is rousing no matter what. And they put in a great rendition of “Go to Sleep”, with the crowd helping out on the “la la la”s, which closed the pre-encore part of the show.

    A sweet note: When the band left the stage, that same group of young devotees in front of me again took up the “la la la”s of “Go to Sleep”, and this spread throughout the venue as the call that brought the band back for their encore.

    It was a good show – and we appreciate that the Avetts came through Cleveland when so many roots-based/Americana acts skip Cleveland, and sometimes Ohio, completely – it just wasn’t the banjo-shredding, scream-a-thon I was expecting.

    More of my very poor photos from the show can be found at the NTSIB Flickr account.