November 02, 2008

Review: Belle and Sebastian's "The BBC Sessions"

I've never really gotten into Belle and Sebastian. I know it's a staple of indie rock fans, one of those basic ingredients to a healthy love of the underground. But...they just haven't done it for me. Whether it was just because I hadn't found that song which totally captured me and drew me into the world of Belle and Sebastian, or just because they didn't connect, I didn't much like them. The Delgados on the other hand...but that's for a different post.

The BBC Sessions totally changed all that though. The organic and accessible nature of these songs really drew me in. Tracks like "The State I Am In" and "Judy and the Dream of Horses" are melodically magical and charming. The simple instrumentals and dynamic vocals play well off each other, making for tracks that are addictive but subtle. That, and it doesn't get old. Play the record again, and again, and'll be ready for another go.

And really, the best part of this album is that it can draw in new fans (like me) and offers some new stuff for the tried and true Belle and Sebastian masses. Beyond just the new tracks, the new takes on old favorites are worth looking into The BBC Sessions. It fits both into Belle and Sebastian's time and 2008, into new fans' collections and old. Very, very recommended.

September 30, 2008

Dirty on Purpose on Tour

Dirty on Purpose, one of the best undiscovered acts out there right now, is again on tour. Dates are at the bottom of the post.

Their blending of My Bloody Valentine shoegaze and Smashing Pumpkins alternative is frankly better than either at times. Where similar act Silversun Pickups rely on brilliant guitars and heavily-layered melodies, Dirty on Purpose more often than not remain subtle, charming and forlorn. Their LP Hallelujah Sirens is heart-wrenching in some moments and exhilarating at others. Check out the video for "Light Pollution" below.

Tour Dates:

September 29 @ Turf Club (St. Paul, Minnesota)*
September 30 @ High Noon Saloon (Madison, Wisconsin)*
October 1 @ Empty Bottle (Chicago, Illinois)*
October 2 @ Pike Room (Pontiac, Michigan)*
October 3 @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario)*
October 5 @ La Sala Rossa (Pop Montreal Festival w/ Liam Finn & The Veils; Montreal)
October 9 @ Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)#
October 10 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, New York)#
October 11 @ Middle East (Boston, Massachusetts)#
October 12 @ Living Room (Providence, Rhode Island)#

*w/The Wedding Present
#w/The New Year

Dirty on Purpose - "Light Pollution"

September 25, 2008

Belle and Sebastian: "The BBC Sessions" Out in November

The BBC Sessions, a collection of recordings by Belle and Sebastian from 1996 through 2001, will be released on November 18th through Matador records. The 2-disc album will feature tracks from live radio recordings for Mark Radcliffe, Steve Lamacg, and John Peel.

Four songs for Peel, recorded in 2001, have never been released on CD or vinyl--though they've been constantly bootlegged and are infamous for being the last studio recordings with Isobel Campbell. "The Magic of a Kind Word," "Nothing in the Silence," Shoot the Sexual Athlete," and "(My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique" will all be officially released for the first time on The BBC Sessions.

Additionally, the compilation contains a live 2001 Belfast Christmas show which features covers such as The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," The Velvets' "I'm Waiting for the Man," and Thin Lizzy's "Boys Are Back in Town." Other highlights of the album include alternate versions of "The Wrong Girl" and "Lazy Line Painter Jane."

All in all, "the album tracks the group's development" from 1996 to 2001, and frankly showcases the sheer talent contained within Belle and Sebastian. I'll try to have a review up soon. In the mean time, I will say this: Don't write this off as another manufactured collection of songs the band is trying to sell to you again--this is worth your money. This is big.

September 24, 2008

Asobi Seksu on Tour, New LP in 2009

Asobi Seksu, the lovable shoegaze-touting Japanese infused New York outfit, has announced both new tour dates and that a new LP is coming in early 2009. The group has been abroad more often-than-not for the past two years, so it's nice to have them back on home turf for some U.S. shows. Tour dates below:

10/17 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY @ Bard College - Smog
10/18 Boston, MA @ T.T. the Bear’s
10/19 Montreal, QC @ tba
10/20 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe
10/21 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
10/22 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/24 Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
10/25 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
10/27 Seattle, WA @ Nectar
10/28 Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
10/29 Portland, OR @ Holocene
10/30 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
10/31 Los Angeles, CA @ tba

The new album, the group's third to date, has been produced by Chris Zane (The Walkmen, Les Savy Fav) who also assisted in the making of the glorious Citrus. To hold us over until 2009, Asobi Seksu will be releasing the first single "Me & Mary" on November 18th here in the U.S. through Polyvinyl. In Europe, the single will be available a day earlier. Reportedly, the song "rolls forth on a bed of drums and glistening guitars, and features a soaring vocal performance from Yuki Chikudate." Sounds decent to me. Check out the video for "Thursday" from their last album Citrus below.