• Guided by Voices farewell tour

    Guided by VoicesThe PageantSt. Louis, MO Picture a typical concert venue transformed into something straight out of the 1920s. Men in suits look at you and say, "Welcome to 'Speakeasy'. Have a good time tonight." Women dressed as flappers nod and wink.You wonder for a second if you're in a jazz-age timewarp instead of the Guided by Voices farewell tour, but sheer curiosity keeps you engaged. In the corner, a band called the Urban Jazz Naturals plays a swinging mix of trumpet and guitar riffs that has the audience equal parts perplexed and dance-happy. Velvet couches are in abundance, and people lounge on them, sipping a variety of beverages. An elderly woman named Dixie deals blackjack to several players.Three women dance seductively to classy music piped in from overhead.

  • The Libertines - Live at NYC's Webster Hall

    The LibertinesWebster HallNew York City There are certain artists--Cat Power and Ryan Adams come to mind--who have parlayed volatility and unpredictable behavior into part of their live performance appeal. For fans, the thrill of a potential public meltdown is well worth the price of a ticket. There are others (Michael Jackson, Courtney Love) whose personal lives provide so much tabloid fodder that their press threatens to upstage their on-stage antics. The UK-based sloppy gutter-glam Libertines have made a career out of drunkenly walking the line between the two. The cover art of the Libertines' eponymous new album is a portrait of a sweaty Carl Barât pushed in a sort of half-embrace with his co-frontman, Peter Doherty - Carl looking pleadingly into the camera, Pete gazing down at his left arm, and THE LIBERTINES emblazoned across both.

  • Unhappy Campers

    Indie rock veterans Camper Van Beethoven were dealt an unfriendly blow by our neighbors to the north this past week. After triumphantly rocking a sold-out CMJ show at New York's Bowery Ballroom last Saturday night, Camper Van Beethoven's comeback tour hit an unexpected bump in Montreal the following Wednesday, when all of their gear and merch was stolen from a van in the parking lot of the Hotel Lord Berri. According to Camper's website, the theft was clearly premeditated and professionally executed. "They cut through the sheet meal of the trailer to get around the lock, but not before rifling the keys in the attendant kiosk to see if they couldn't steal the whole van," wrote the band in an online statement. Rupert Bottenberg, the music editor for Montreal's alt weekly The Mirror, was disappointed but not shocked by the theft.

  • Decemberists, Donnas, Kicks Kickoff CMJ Music Marathon

    By: Peter Gaston From quads far and wide they came, bouncing about town in wide-eyed bliss, plastic badges dangling loosely from their necks, San Loco taco sauce spillage on their sleeves.

  • Sondre Lerche, The Concretes, and The Golden Republic on Night Two of CMJ Fest

    By: Jessica Grose Thursday night's CMJ/Spin/Astralwerks showcase at the Bowery Ballroom was dominated by a dulcet, retro, Scandinavian invasion in the form of Sondre Lerche and the Concretes. Midwestern indie popsters the Golden Republic, the ominous-sounding Inouk, and the sparkly electroclash of VHS or Beta rounded out the evening. With the exception of the bouncy VHS or Beta, it was a decidedly mellow night. Check out the photo gallery here. Norwegian heartthrob Sondre Lerche channeled Nick Drake's melodic acoustic charm, but without the underlying depressive qualities. "Two Way Monologue" came off like the live soundtrack to a '60s romantic comedy.

  • Franz Ferdinand's "Tell Her Tonight"--in German. Achtung!

    You'll want to sing along to Franz's new song, "Tell Her Tonight," with its anthemic chorus and driving bassline. The only problem is, the entire song is in German. Unless you have a degree in Kraftwerk, you probably won't be able to understand a word drummer Paul Thomson sings. You will, though, be able to rock out to this fast-paced, catchy single, even if you can't karaoke to it.

  • Signer: The New Face of Smiling

    By: Julia Simon I was skeptical as I started listening to the latest album by New Zealand's Signer (n� Bevan Smith): The first track on the album, "Low Light Sleep," almost feels like filler. But after repeated listens, it became apparent that the track establishes Signer's signature pairing of synthetic sounds with airy, natural vocals. About halfway through the track, Signer's tenor--suggestive of a monotone Thom Yorke--begins to crescendo, but never to the point that it audibly overtakes the fuzzed-out electric guitar. The synthetic, textured instrumentation is a startling contrast to Signer's smooth voice. He turns vocals into backup instruments and instruments into sonic beauty. The same movement is repeated. The same, barely audible lyrics are sung again. It's almost impossible to characterize what you just heard, but you like it.

  • SPIN EXCLUSIVE: A Q & A WITH JOHNNY RAMONE

    Ramone: [Laughs] I’m not quite like that, but I dowant to protect my legacy. And I’ve come to accept that I didaccomplish something I never had before. I used to think, “Ijust did my best. I was in a rock’n’roll group, and Ijust played.” But as time’s gone on, I’ve seenwhat an influence we were on people. I’m very fortunate tohave been in a band that seemed to have mattered. Ramone: [Laughs] I'm not quite like that, but I do want to protect my legacy. And I've come to accept that I did accomplish something I never had before. I used to think, "I just did my best. I was in a rock'n'roll group, and I just played." But as time's gone on, I've seen what an influence we were on people.

  • Honk if You Love Phish - Coventry, Vermont

    PhishCoventry FestivalCoventry, Vermont Phish fans from all fifty states and a smattering of foreign countries proved their dedication to the band at the Phish's last show in rural Coventry, Vermont. Despite torrential rain and terrible traffic snarls, fans made one last pilgrimage to witness the final curtain call of Phish's 21-year career.Despite a ticket cap at 70,000 for three days, Coventry became the Green Mountain States' largest city, if only for the weekend, complete with its own farmer's market, a twenty-four-hour radio station, and amusement park attractions. Months of preparation notwithstanding, Great Northeast Productions faced a curveball Thursday evening when excessive rain rendered several camping areas unusable.

  • "Chicks with Attitude Tour" featuring Liz Phair

    Liz PhairWebster HallNew York City Dear Liz, I'm not sure if I can do this anymore. I've spent the last year defending you from all the naysayers who said you were a washed out, fucked-out sell out. Sure, your self-titled album is as smoothly produced as your sleek dye job. Yes, you've publicly humped your share of this nation's guitars. But I rationalized it all by saying you were still punk rock; your feigned mainstream pandering was just your latest way of saying fuck you to all those indie-rock wimpster purists who publicly malign you but privately jerk off to your recent Stuff magazine spread. When I heard you were coming to New York for a show on September 1st, I was so excited. Finally, I thought, my chance to embrace those secret feelings of sexual camaraderie with you. You always talked about sex in that way I could relate to: white suburban overeducated post-feminist horny.

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