Sequestered on the Subway
I am on a subway train in New York City listening over and over to the new Hold Steady song, “Sequestered in Memphis”, which is, apparently, the first single off of the band’s upcoming July release, Stay Positive. My iPod is welded open and I’m jamming those little earbuds as far into my ears as I can because this music can’t be loud enough.
It is early. Seven in the morning early. Lay low in the light early.
I am fairly certain I’m the only one in my car listening to this song, but most everyone is listening to something. Earbuds abound. With my morning train as proxy, music is universally embraced by the commuting public – which, considering that most of the public commutes, makes even more astonishing the fact that the global recorded music industry is now smaller than the US dry cleaning and laundry services sector. That’s pretty incredible, since most people do their own laundry. Considering where the music industry once was, it’s akin to a group of people kicking the hockey puck into their own goal, like, thirty times in a row. Hockey is on my mind this morning, because I’m a huge Penguins fan, and last night’s stellar performance aside, it’s going to be hard to beat the Red Wings. At least the Pens pummeled the Flyers.
I love this band, The Hold Steady. Lots of us love this band. Not as many as love, say, Usher, which yesterday was charting at #1 on iTunes. Or, if yesterday’s New York Times article is indicative of broader trends among women in America, as many as love the new movie version of Sex and the City. But, The Hold Steady is way cooler.
We Hold Steady fans have been pulling for this band since before the band even existed.
[Ed: Much, much more after the jump.]
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
In March Pitchfork featured a young singer songwriter by the name of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson in their Forkast section. The featured track was “Buriedfed” – a rambling, folky, captivating mess drawing comparisons to Conor Oberst and The Arcade Fire – that quickly caught the ears of internet tastemakers near and far.
Since that day the Brooklyn upstart has been climbing his way up the internet buzz band ladder, scoring mentions on The Fader, Stereogum, and RCRDLBL.com, all in anticipation of his forthcoming, self titled debut album due June 10th on Say Hey Records. And while he’s presumably come up out of nowhere, the formidably named singer has won some equally formidable connections. Grizzly Bear members Chris Taylor, Chris Bear, and Daniel Rosen lend their hands at production, drumming, and overdubs respectively, and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio also pops up on a few tracks (in fact, MBAR’s already at work on a follow up album with Kyp Malone to see the light of day in 2009).
So practice saying Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson three times fast because soon enough this will be the name on all your friends’ lips as he breezes through a town near you accompanied by labelmates (and your favorite new band of 2007) White Rabbits.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson MP3 and tour dates after the jump.
Fates Of Mates: Re-Arrange, Re-Arrange
Back when they first started winning over the record store set, Mates of State did this 100% puppy dog thing where they’d lock eyes in the middle of a song and just love the hell out of eachother until it was over. Of course, their chipper drum-n-keys sunshine show made sense paired with those I-Thee-Wed Peepers. And whether they grossed out the cynics or won over the lovebugs didn’t seem important to Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Didn’t even factor. Because, well, They Totally <3’d Eachother, y’know?!
But, to my surprise, when the Mates played their early-bird “secret show” this Wednesday at Mercury Lounge, they didn’t really do the eye thing. It was a sure-fire sign. After all, lots has changed since the puppy dog days: they’re proud parents of two now, with a network TV debut under their belts, and a new “mature” record to peddle. But, as Wednesday’s performance proved, while the recently-released Re-arrange Us isn’t as bubbly and hook-obsessed as its predecessors, the knack for smart-pop songcraft hasn’t left the couple.
So a couple of nights ago a couple of colleagues and I attended the Zach Galifinakis-hosted New York x New York magazine “Indie Rock Trivia Night ” and Les Savy Fav show at The Highline Ballroom. The sting of the rather princely $30.00 entry fee was assuaged by a 46-issue subscription to New York magazine, the prospect of seeing Les Savy Fav live for the first time and, certainly not least, some very generous contributions from some of the good people at Dailyrind, who thought that we could potentially bring home the gold. I’m sorry we let you down, guys.
I’m not one to brag but I think I have a reasonably decent grasp on “indie” trivia. I was born in 1977; I came of age right around the time punk “broke;” I subscribed to all the magazines; bought all the records everybody was supposed to buy; I went to hundreds of shows; I read all the books; I have carried on lengthy, (and occasionally extremely pretentious), conversations about the New Zealand “scene,” Japanese No Wave, African Funk, Quebecois Noise, rare ‘80s hip-hop, and any number of other music geek obsessions. (‘Cause hardcore wasn’t doing it for me no more.) I realize that I am hardly unique in this regard. There are of course millions of people just like me, and I knew full well that quite a few of them were going to be showing up to a shindig where you could win 500 bones for knowing something as obvious as who took the picture on the cover of Slint’s Spiderland .