Animal Collective tour dates

The first big release of 2009 – at least the first big release I was looking forward to hearing – was, Merriweather Post Pavilion, the latest from Baltimore experimental noise popsters Animal Collective. It’ll be in stores on Jan.20. In the meantime, the band plans to do some extensive touring to promote it.

March and April will reportedly be spent overseas.

20 New York, NY – Grand Ballroom
21 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
22 Chicago, IL – Metro
23 Los Angeles, CA – Henry Fonda Theatre
24 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
11 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
12 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
13 New York, NY – Terminal 5
14 Boston, MA – House of Blues
15 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
16 Toronto, Ontario – Sound Academy
18 Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
19 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
20 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
24 Vancouver, British Columbia – Commodore Ballroom
25 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
26 Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
27 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Memorial Library
29 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern
30 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
31 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater

1 Albuquerque, MN – Sunshine Theater
2 Boulder, CO – Boulder Theatre
4 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
5 Austin, TX – Stubbs
6 Oxford, MS – The Library
8 St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
9 Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
10 Orlando, FL – Club Firestone

Plucked from the dollar bin: Sponge – Rotting Pinata

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I find it impossible to stay away from a $1 CD bin and thankfully have discovered that there are a few prime locations to come away with huge scores if you’re willing to put the time in to digging through piles and piles of junk. This feature will focus on CDs that I’ve plucked out of dollar bins.

Sponge – Rotting Pinata (Sony Records)
Original release date: August 2, 1994
Purchased at: Half Price Books, Columbus, Ohio location

My friend Andy was a college rep for Sony in the mid-90s, which meant every time a Sony-affiliated artist came to his region (Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland) he was encouraged to go out and support the artist, put up posters in clubs, make sure all the local media had copies of the artist’s most recent CD, sometimes take the artists out to dinner, etc. He called me one afternoon and asked if I’d tag along on a trip to Cincinnati to see this new band called Sponge that he would be working with once their debut CD came out. I think he said they were an “alternative grunge” band or something like that and with nothing better to do that evening, I went.
Continue reading “Plucked from the dollar bin: Sponge – Rotting Pinata”

Introducing Zella Day, the next, next, next American Idol

I got sucked into this show on MTV a week or two ago called Camp’d Out: I’m Going to Rock Camp. It’s one of those MTV true life documentaries and this particular one was about a camp that teens go to to learn to be rock stars. The documentary centered around a select handful of “campers” and it was Zella Day who stood out heads and shoulders above the rest of her fellow wanna be rockers. The 13-year-old acts like, surprise, a 13-year-old – really energetic and outgoing and she writes her own songs.

“Simple Song” (Zella Day original)

Zella, according to her MySpace page, has a record coming out sometime this month. I don’t know if that disqualifies her from a future American Idol appearance, but if she hasn’t already become a big rock star by the time she turns 16 (the minimum age of contestants), I have little doubt that the judges would become absolutely smitten with her and give her a golden ticket probably before she even sang her first note.

“Anyone Else But You” (Moldy Peaches cover from the film Juno)

moldy peaches cover

Swervedriver reissues

When I was a college newspaper reporter, I remember how we received probably half a dozen copies of Swervedriver’s Raise on cassette from either the label or the publicist. I have no idea if they were scheduled to play a show in town but all of the Arts reporters for the paper ended up with a copy of the cassette. Mine sat unopened … Swervedriver wasn’t a grunge or hair metal band so why would I have any interest in listening to Raise?

Years later, I fell in love with Jawbreaker’s Dear You CD and though I had never listened to any band that was tagged with the “shoegazer” label, I thought that this CD certainly would fall into what I thought the “shoegazer” sound was. Shortly thereafter I picked up a used copy of Swervedriver’s Mezcal Head which, to this day, remains one of my favorite CDs ever. Now THAT CD definitely is a shoegazer classic – walls of guitars and reverb, catchy hooks, and dreamy British vocals.

It’s not terribly difficult to find a used copy of Mezcal Head these days but you have to do some looking. However, you might want to wait to pluck it from a used bin as Hi-Speed Soul (in conjunction with Second Motion) is going to be re-releasing both Raise and Mezcal Head, remastered with bonus tracks and expanded booklets.

If you pre-order the CDs ($15.99 each), you get some goodies tossed in and you’ll get the CD in the mail before or at the same time you can buy the CDs at stores (Jan.20).

In other Swervedriver related news, lead singer Adam Franklin will be releasing his second solo album, Spent Bullets, on March 31. Second Motion will start taking pre-orders on Feb.15 and I believe that if you do the pre-order, they’ll send you the digital files and a PDF booklet before the street date (don’t quote me on that).

Crummy quality (poor lighting + bad sound), but here’s a live video I shot of “Seize the Day” when Franklin played in Columbus in October 2007.

I want my MTV … to show music videos

Remember when bands made really good videos and MTV would play them and you’d go buy a cassette or CD not necessarily because of the song but because the video was stunning? Doesn’t happen any more and it’s not going to happen for Fever Ray (the solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife), unfortunately, even though this video for “If I Had a Heart” is a true masterpiece (and the song is equally impressive). Two weeks into 2009 and it might be the most amazing video of the year … that is, unless, of course Fever Ray follows it up with something even more amazing.

The self-titled debut by Fever Ray is currently available digitally on and you can probably find it other places. The physical copy will be available in March.