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Review: PJ Harvey : White Chalk

PJ Harvey
White Chalk
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Label: Island Records

There are times we don’t mind listening to PJ Harvey stuff –meaning she’s a pretty great songwriter and her material is compelling is presented in the correct setting.

We recently attended the opening of an art exhibit featuring black and white photos of homeless people’s feet presented on stark white walls (yes, one of “those” kind of art exhibits).

Other than background at that exhibit, we haven’t spent a lot of 1:1 time with White Chalk. It’s not going to happen, PJ. You’re great and all, it’s just not our deal.

. . . → Read More: Review: PJ Harvey : White Chalk

Reviews: The Blackout : Captiva

The Blackout
We Are the Dynamite
Release Date: October 2, 2007

Falling Up
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Label: BEC Recordings

As far as the Warped Tour crowd goes, we tend to favor the harder, faster, more spirited groups. And we’ll admit, the six metallic troubadours from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales known as The Blackout do their best to balance the screamo with melody.

It’s still too formulaic for us to endorse, but in case Welsh emo-metal in need of a throat lozenge is your bag, here’s an mp3 off their new album, We Are the Dynamite.

The Blackout : “Prepare For a Wound” . . . → Read More: Reviews: The Blackout : Captiva

Concert Review: The Aliens : Augie March : Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN

The Aliens
Augie March
September 26, 2007
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN

If you missed The Aliens last night, you best find yourself another galaxy to orbit. We dare say it was in our top three shows of 2007 to-date.

Scotland’s supernatural phantasm, The Aliens, are former Beta Band co-founder Gordon Anderson (lead vocals, guitar), John Maclean (keyboards, backing vocals) and Robin Jones (drums, backing vocals) plus a few others helping on bass and guitar.

If you aren’t familiar with early Beta Band, or his Lone Pigeon/Fence Collective projects, it’s a common fact Gordon Anderson is a certifiable musical genius — to . . . → Read More: Concert Review: The Aliens : Augie March : Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN

New Music Tuesday: The GoStation : Sea Wolf : Eskimo Joe : State Radio : Georgie James

Hey, check out these new releases today:

New York five-piece The GoStation release their debut full-length this week, Passion Before Function. At first listen, it’s kind of a mediocre REM. What do you think?

The GoStation : “All Together Now” (mp3)

Singer/songwriter Alex Brown’s debut, Leaves in the River, under the Sea Wolf moniker is haunting, transcendent and folky.

Sea Wolf : “You’re A Wolf” (mp3)

Multi-platinum and multi-ARIA (Australian Grammy) award-winning rock band Eskimo Joe are anxious to find out what us Americans think of their material — especially after nailing their performance at the mega Live Earth concert . . . → Read More: New Music Tuesday: The GoStation : Sea Wolf : Eskimo Joe : State Radio : Georgie James

Review: Athlete : Beyond the Neighborhood (Sept. 25)

Beyond the Neighborhood
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Label: Astralwerks

U.K. alternative rock quartet Athlete are releasing the follow-up to their UK #1 double platinum album, Tourist. It’s their third studio album this week, and the Deptford boys are calling it Beyond the Neighborhood. Please note, we Yankees don’t spell Neighbourhood with a “U.”

Produced themselves, the disc is all about the sonic wall of sweeping reverb and overemotional lyrics matched with intricate drum hooks and pop choruses.

Athlete : “In Between 2 States” (mp3)

The group’s currently touring in the U.K., but with recent success with American TV soundtrack placement, look . . . → Read More: Review: Athlete : Beyond the Neighborhood (Sept. 25)

Review: Office : A Night at the Ritz

A Night at the Ritz
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Label: New Line Records

Do you like boy on girl action? We’re talking harmonies, people. Yes? Then you’re in luck.

Office, Chicago’s dance punk five piece, have readied their major label debut, A Night at the Ritz, and packaged it with a 19-date tour with Earlimart for the month of October (no, no Minneapolis dates).

The album is dancy, hookeriffic and full of high school attitude best enjoyed by grown-ups.

Office : “The . . . → Read More: Review: Office : A Night at the Ritz

Review: Two Gallants : s/t

Two Gallants
Two Gallants
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Label: Saddle Creek

We’ve given a lot of love to Two Gallants, the indie folk rock duo from San Fran. But we’ve never understood why a band releases a self-titled album as their fourth release. Strange.

Anyway, if you liked What the Toll Tells and their summer EP, The Scenery of Farewell, you’re going to dig this disc. It’s a folky pancake dipped in indie rock syrup.

Two Gallants : “Despite What You’ve Been Told” (mp3)

Two Gallants : “The Hand That Held Me Down” (mp3)

Two Gallants hit St. Paul’s Turf . . . → Read More: Review: Two Gallants : s/t

Pirate PR! Mixtape, yarr!!

 Wednesday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Coincidentally, one of the PR agencies we work with, PIRATE! PR, recently put together a digital mixtape to celebrate the end of summer featuring many of the staff’s (Brooke/Meredith pictured above) favorite tracks.

No songs about booty, Blackbeard or swashbuckling, but there are some quality tracks here worth checking out. And it’s legal — no “pirated” tunes here, me hearties.
PIRATE! PR Mixtape (.zip)

. . . → Read More: Pirate PR! Mixtape, yarr!!

DVD Review: Mike Oldfield & Tony Palmer: Space Movie

Mike Oldfield & Tony Palmer
Space Movie
Studio: MVD Visual

With our readership, odds are you were pretty young or nonexistent when Tony Palmer’s Space Movie was released. Created in 1979 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the moon landing, this was the very first time NASA and The United States National Archive released footage the lunar landscape, life on the spacecraft, Mars, Venus and beyond.

But any science teacher or sci-fi nerd will tell you, watching images of interstellar travel without a cool space-age soundtrack is like enjoying a movie without popcorn. Luckily minimalist composer Mike Oldfield was on hand to . . . → Read More: DVD Review: Mike Oldfield & Tony Palmer: Space Movie

Review: Jesca Hoop : Kismet

Jesca Hoop
Release Date: September 18, 2007
Label: 3Entertainment/Red Ink/Columbia

Once upon a time a wayward Mormon girl found her way into Tom Waits home. “I’ll watch your kids and you give me money,” she said.

“Okay,” said Tom Waits. “But you have to stay five years, and then I will grant you one wish.”

“Okay Tom, but it better be a good one.”

[Five years later]

“Hey Tom,” said Jesca, “My wish is for you to check out this weird 6 minute song I wrote with only vocals and guitar. Think anyone would ever play this on the radio?”

“Well, I . . . → Read More: Review: Jesca Hoop : Kismet