Before They Were Famous…They Weren’t (But the Music Still Rocked)

The 90s certainly did prove to be an interesting time in music.  Please allow me to paint a vivid picture for your enjoyment: 1998.  New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY (Upstate).  Sitting in the grandstand, awaiting a blockbuster performance from the highly regarded Britney Spears and 98 Degrees (Yes, I even stayed the whole time…I DON’T want to talk about it), and with the whole family in tact, I was about as stoked to see this show as, well, someone watching paint dry on a Friday night.  My dad politely asks the guy in front of us, who’s sitting with his wife and daughter, why he’s reaching for his earplugs.  With the simple response “You’ll see,” my heart drops.  The lights go dim.   The next thing I know, my ear canals are filled with the most hair raising, ear drum bursting shriek you could ever imagine, magnified about 30,000 times.  Ah yes, now I see why he brought those ear plugs, even though I will never hear in the same way ever again.  Let that be a lesson people: the 90s were crazy.

Early grunge/punk preceded boybands, teeny-boppers, and pop princesses, which then gave way to the pop-punk era best described by one band: Blink 182.  But as we all know, everybody has to start somewhere-and where better than a nice, friendly, before-they-were-famous collection, all in one place! (in the true spirit of an infomercial!)

Since Blink is the current topic, let’s start there-how about their 1993 demo Buddha?  Pretty good stuff, from before they even added the “182” to their name!  Then there’s Papa Roach’s 1994 EP titled Potatoes For Christmas, and Green Day’s Kerplunk!, a reissue of their 1992 release that has since gone platinum that includes an early version of “Welcome to Paradise.”  Not to outdo the others, and not to be modest, but lest we forget current idols Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie??  That’s right folks, and we’re talking the good stuff-Chris Martin and co.’s three song EP Brothers&Sisters, that laid the groundwork for Parachutes, and Death Cab’s pre-Atlantic stuff via Barsuk Records.

Now, sit down, and catch your breath.  Are you ready?  Early stuff from classic acts Bob Marley, Elton John, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jimmy Page, the New York Dolls, Ray Charles, Ted Nugent, The Donnas, The Ramones, and Steely Dan-before-they-were-Steely-Dan–Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.  What a mouthful!  You can’t even listen to any of it without hearing their pre-fame influences, and the artists in their truly raw forms.

I guess 1998 wasn’t so bad after all, having listened to this stuff.  But just out of curiousity, I wonder how much hearing aids cost these days…

Allow Us To Point Westward Toward Lowry

On the weekend of August 7-8-9, the inaugural All Points West Music & Arts Festival will take place at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey . Among the headliners are Radiohead, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and our cherished duo Mates of States. They’re all great acts, but allow us to direct your attention to the band at the very bottom right of the flyer above.

A 5-piece from Brooklyn, Lowry plays Americana infused folk-rock tunes with harmonica, cello, banjo, and piano — and they’re great. Their sophomore album Love Is Dead isn’t expected until later this Fall, so don’t miss the chance to check out some of the new songs live. Lowry kicks off the festival on Friday the 7th.

Buy The Walkmen’s new album AND fight cancer

The Walkmen have become something of a musical institution in New York City, and the achievement of such popularity should come as no surprise. Their sound has been compared to U2, the Velvet Underground, and The Cure – bold but worthy comparisons. And the new album You & Me, officially being released August 19th, will only strengthen the fan foothold they have thus far established. The album is crunchy, raw, but not overdone. But wait, there’s more…

Starting TODAY, fans, soon-to-be fans, cheap music lovers, and people who support cancer research can purchase You & Me on Amie Street for only $5. For every album purchased, The Walkmen will donate $5 to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a dear friend of the band who is battling the disease.

So go do your good deed for the day AND listen to great music. And while you’re at it, consider attending one of the upcoming shows The Walkmen have scheduled:

8/18 and 8/19 – The Bowery Ballroom – NYC

8/21 and 8/22 – Troubadour – Los Angeles

MP3: The Walkmen – In The New Year

Pas/Cal is Omnipresent (And A Band Of Reformed Thieves)

Apparently we’re not the only ones completely enthralled with Pas/Cal’s I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura . So, check it out for yourself – listen to the full album stream on Spinner and then read the review excerpts below and see if you agree.

Pitchfork says, “Taking seven years to make an album may be decadent, but it’s a decadence intrinsic to PAS/CAL’s music, executed with an attention to detail uncommon in the often-slapdash world of indie pop.”

Metromix says, “Standout “Dearest Bernard Living” recalls Of Montreal (pre-Ziggy Stardust complex) and is completely disjointed, messy, unfocused and awesome.”

Pop Matters says, “PAS/CAL makes the kind of music you don’t hear too much these days. It’s intelligent. It’s full of ideas. It has richly painted, complex characters who you’re more likely to describe as “protagonists” than to automatically assume are projections of the band’s songwriter, Casimer Pascal. And best of all, it’s dressed up in the sort of unexpected pop costume that causes you to catch your breath at the infectious spirit of it all.”

Casimer Pascal says in an Artist Direct interview:

Q: What’s the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?

A: I purchased my first multi-track recorder by being a look-out for a kid that stole car radios. I still have one of the radios in a drawer somewhere that I had planned on installing in my own car, if I was ever able to steal enough car radios to afford one. It never happened, obviously.

Finally, I hope you’re a devoted Daily Rind reader and already read our interview with Pascal, but if not, here’s a teaser:

Q: How did you feel about your song being in a Saturn commercial? Did you get free cars? Can we have one?

A: I wasn’t happy with it until I received the check. Then it took on a certain unrecognized beauty. Bikes are the new car, I’ll help you finance one.

MP3: Pas/Cal – Glorious Ballad Of The Ignored

They May Be Dodos, But They Ain’t No ‘Fools’

Dodo duo Meric Long and Logan Kroeber sure do know how to rock out a crowd, and they proved their abilities to a packed Pitchfork Festival just over a week ago in Chi Town! They’ve been endlessly touring, hitting up all the hot spots, including Cake Shop and the Siren Festival , with Pitchfork being their latest conquest.

Luckily for all of those who were unable to make it, Pitchfork TV is playing host to some fantastic video footage of their performance of “Fools.” Long’s dual-mic setup keeps him busy during the authentically emotional flowing tune, while Kroeber turns his modest setup into a completely different kind of instrument. Their energy can be seen in the crowd, who were definitely soaking in the atmosphere of the show and feeding it back to the Dodos, creating a machine of entertainment unattainable for most.

As for now, The Dodos are taking a short but well deserved break before hitting the European road again in early August. They arrive back in the States to their home shores of San Francisco in late September, and will be warmly welcomed back in NYC days later–accompanied by another Rind fave, Au ! We can’t wait!

MP3: The Dodos – Ashley
MP3: The Dodos – Fools