The Ladybug Transistor – Like a Summer Rain
Make sure to swing by early and catch the Bowerbirds, a pretty duo from North Carolina.
Thu 5/24 8:00 PM The Rosebuds, The Ladybug Transistor, Bowerbirds Bowery Ballroom 18+ $13a/$15d
Stars of Track and Field ‚”You Came Here for Sunset Last Year,” self-released, 2005: Bands who reinvent themselves tend to have a pretty high failure rate after the fact. It’s hard to think about post-Ozzy Black Sabbath or the Sammy Hagar incarnation of Van Halen without shuddering. However, any initial skepticism about Stars of Track and Field’s transformation from rock four-piece to digital pop is three-piece will be long gone by the time the listener gets a few songs into their magnificent new EP, ‚”You Came Here for Sunset Last Year.” Reminiscent of the Postal Service at their finest, the record seethes with longing and sadness, with melancholy electronic beats backing Kevin Calaba’s soaring vocals.
The EP starts off with the track ‚”With You,” an ode to a lost love with beautiful, descriptive lyrics. The refrain ‚”wish you were here” reminds the listener of the Pink Floyd track of the same name, and the singer’s sadness is overwhelming; the sense of loss he conveys is palpable. The next track, ‚”Say Hello,” sounds closer to the band’s previous material, with driving distorted guitars. It’s also the most ‚”commercial” track on the album; it wouldn’t be hard to imagine it in heavy rotation on a commercial station or playing during the next crucial make out scene on a CW hit. ‚”Arithmatik” starts off with a shuffling beat and soft, subdued vocals: after the first verse, the chorus explodes with terrific guitars and pleading lyrics. Listening to the song creates a mental picture of a rejected lover revisiting an old summer haunt, wondering why his partner chose to leave such a treasured place. ‚”Let Ken Green” has a similar sound, while the last track, ‚”Foreign Snow,” closes the record with a sweeping finale.
The entire album is enhanced by the slick engineering of Dandy Warhol’s producer Tony Lash and Stephan Malkmus knob-twister Jeff Saltzman . It’s a refreshing and welcome departure from their old sound, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you see their video on VH1 in the near future.
Wed 5/23 8:00 PM Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts, Stars of Track and Field
Bowery Ballroom 18+ $18a/$20d
Seems to us, a product like this could actually HELP Apple sales, but as usual the company is absurdly cagey about their branding. From News of the World:
COMPUTER giants Apple are really worked up–over an Ann Summers sex toy that hooks up to your iPod. Women all over Britain are saying yes, yes, yes to the ¬£30 iGasm that plugs into a music player and delivers good vibrations that pulse to the beat.
But shocked iPod bosses are iRate–demanding stores take down all posters for the gadget or risk a fight in the iCourt.
The neon-pink ads feature a curvaceous girl with wires coming OUT of her MP3 player and INTO her knickers. And it’s definitely turned on.
The sales guff teases: “Go at it hard and fast with a pounding drum ‘n’ bass track or chill with ambient classic.”
But Apple lawyers claim the poster is a blatant rip-off of their own famous silhouette images used to flog iPods.
Their haughty legal letter to the shop chain adds: “We hope this request to remove it immediately will prevent us having to consider further action.”
Despite that, Ann Summers boss Jacqueline Gold is saying no, no, no and joked: “Perhaps I can send them an iGasm to put a smile back on their faces!”
Her new record has been kicking our ass. Go out and get a copy if you haven’t already. Here’s her latest adorable video, “1 2 3 4”:
There’s only a month left until the release of Easy Tiger, Ryan Adams’s ninth (official) record, but leakage has been minimal and details are sparse. Thankfully, its cover offers a few clues. The art is deceptively simple at first — just the title, in a Tron-esque sans serif, and a confused-looking alt-country singer staring down at the expensively carpeted floor of his West Village apartment (this is the world’s only known photograph of Adams not recording an album). It’s only when you notice the light-up LCD display of his calculator watch that the subtle genius reveals itself: Ryan Adams is so high that he can’t remember what he’s supposed to be doing at 4:20. In other words, great news for anyone hoping for more Grateful Dead worship with lots of noodly guitar solos.
We’ve haven’t heard it yet, but Rolling Stone says it’s Adams’ best record since Heartbreaker:
While prolific to the point of compulsion nothing he’s done has rivaled his classic solo debut, 2000’s uniformly gorgeous Heartbreaker…until now. The punk troubadour’s new album Easy Tiger – which is playing in our mail room, in our editors’ cars, and may soon be piped in via loudspeaker to the restrooms around here – has us thinking Adams may finally transcend his perpetual next big thing status.
Gawker brought this story about the bubonic plague to our attention. According to Reuters, “a Denver Zoo monkey has died of bubonic plague, apparently after eating a squirrel stricken with the disease.” Coincidentally, scientists just released a report indicating that having herpes can protect against the bubonic plague and other bacterial contagions. Yahoo. Forget safe sex, we’re gonna go get us some herpes.
illustration: Tim Jessell
The San Franciso Chronicle is reporting that the Bush may be planning a new “surge” that would nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq by Christmas. Nevermind the fact that he is defying the will of Congress, the American people, the Iraq Study Group, and the advice of many of the generals on the ground. From SF Chronicle:
The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.
The little-noticed second surge, designed to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq, is being executed by sending more combat brigades and extending tours of duty for troops already there.
The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.
Separately, when additional support troops are included in this second troop increase, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — a record-high number — by the end of the year.
The numbers were arrived at by an analysis of deployment orders by Hearst Newspapers.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, a former U.S. commander of NATO troops in Bosnia, referring to the Bush administration. “I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this.”
In case you missed this performance last week on Conan, it was amazing. M. Ward and friends performing “Chinese Translation.”