Drew & The Medicinal Pen looking for a new drummer

If you're a drummer, you may be interested in the opportunity to join an extremely cool band. If you're not (like I am not), let this video be the time you finally take my advice and listen to Drew & The Medicinal Pen for a little while. When you're done with the video, head to myspace.com/drewandthemedicinalpen and listen to "Hole in my Sail" and "Spotlight" and everything else and then tell everyone you know.


Idlewild will let you buy a record that hasn't even been made yet.

Idlewild will be spending early 2009 in the studio to record an album slated for conventional release over the summer, but fans are being given the opportunity to buy the record (and some nice bonus material) now, months before the first note has been committed to hard drive. Bonuses include 15 downloads from also-yet-to-be-recorded live shows in December, access to the music (download and CD) within weeks of completion, and one's name in the CD booklet, perhaps. I don't really understand how that last part's going to work. Anyway, in their own words:
By going to idlewildmusic.com you will get details on how to pre-order and what you will receive.

These include a limited edition CD album (with free download version) in exclusive packaging & including at least one bonus track. This will be shipped within weeks of completion & before any standard release.

You can get your name to appear in the CD booklet with the album and on a roll-call on the web site.

Access to download 15 free tracks from live recordings at the King Tuts "album by album" shows In December '08 & access to a members only section of the web site with album progress updates, exclusive photo and video content from the recording and preproduction process with diaries/blogs by individual band members and lots more.

Signing up will also automatically enter you into draws for special prizes.
The pre-order will set you back £16.50, or approximately $500 (I kid). So yeah. I bought this because I'm a superfan, and because it's nice to see that bands continue to buck standard record release trends, and bands that do so deserve support. And also because I want my name on their website.

Interested parties should pull out their credit cards and head directly to idlewildmusic.com.

One additional note: The album by album shows mentioned above will be happening in Glasgow, which is a bit of a commute for me so I won't be going, though I have long dreamed of witnessing a full performance of The Remote Part.


Iron & Wine - Terminal 5, 11/17/08

Pic from Morrissey
It was my first time in Terminal 5 (a testament to the precipitous dropping-off of my show attendance of late), so let's get the venue griping out of the way first. There aren't enough places to stand and actually see the stage. The entire 3rd floor is basically a waste, the 2nd floor has very little decent viewing that isn't VIP seating, which basically reduces Terminal 5 to a venue no better than any other stand-on-the-floor-and-try-to-peer-between-heads venue in the city, only the fire marshall lets them sell a lot more tickets. I don't have any complaints about the sound system though. Iron & Wine sounded amazing.

But I was sold before the first note was even picked. Sam Beam had me at "Woo, beards!" which he exclaimed in response to the enthusiastic welcome he received from the sold-out, heavily bearded crowd, a light jab, it seemed to me, at the too-ready-to-shout-ILOVEYOU-or-NAMEOFSONG-or-HOMETOWN-or-ANYTHING-in-even-a-moment-of-silence throngs out to see him sing that night. Try to follow that last sentence. Just try. But really, it was like that. That shit drives me nuts.

And then he started playing, first joined on stage by only a female accompanying voice. "He Lays In The Reins." I had steeled myself against the possibility that he wouldn't play a single song from my favorite of his records (okay, not exclusively his), and he opened with it. The highlight of these affairs for the majority of the audience, it seems, are these stripped down numbers. Sam can play the hell out of a guitar, and he's surrounded himself with a group of similarly able musicians, but he can't escape the shadow of his own whispery voice, which is all anyone wants to hear. The crowd grew noticeably restless during the longer full-band breakdowns.

I, for one, like seeing artists retool songs live on stage, but experience dictates that most fans disagree. I would think that most fans of the act would pretty much know what they're getting into at this point, but those who would rather an artist sound just like the record in concert were, fortunately for me and unfortunately for them, out of luck for most of Iron & Wine's set last night.

Edit: I forgot to mention this before posting, but I genuinely enjoyed Blitzen Trapper too. I was a hater when I saw them at The Mercury Lounge months ago, so that was a very pleasant surprise.


New Third Eye Blind is on the way

Funny how all this time I thought his name was Stephan Jenkins. But "Stephen Perkins" is close enough I guess. I don't know how you screw up the name of a guy that says things like "I don't know you, but I love you all for you are all made of lions!" in his MySpace blog.

Anyway, after having been gone for what's felt like forever, 3eb is inching back towards the spotlight. The three songs they have posted on MySpace all sound to me exactly like what I thought new Third Eye Blind should sound like, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I really like them.

My favorite, I think, is the live version of "Why Can't You Be," in which Stephan Jenkins manages to weave straight-up filthy lines like "Sometimes a blowjob's not enough" into a tapestry of failing relationship heartache, and have it work. Nobody does that like he does.

Third Eye Blind will release the Red Star EP on 11/18, and the full length Ursa Major is tentatively slated for February 2009.


Springsteen to premier new song on Sunday Night Football

I'm still not sure how I feel about The Boss playing the Superbowl, but it's becoming clear that the NFL had to sweeten the deal a bit before he signed on. Way to make 'em work for it, Bruce.
Are you ready for some football? Well, even if you're not, you'll probably want to tune in to the Cowboys/Redskins Sunday Night Football game on November 16. As NBC's Al Michaels announced last night: "Next week we'll have the world premiere of Springsteen's new song 'Workin' on a Dream' set to NFL highlights at halftime at next week's game." Springsteen performed an acoustic version of the new song last week in Cleveland; this will be the world's first chance to hear the studio recording.
The video above is that performance in Cleveland, which the MySpace Bulletin fails to mention was at a rally for Barack Obama.


Billy and Jimmy are bad role models

Matt Pinfield had Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin for what was apparently Billy's first radio interview in 3 years, on the morning before the first Smashing Pumpkins show in New York City in about 8 years. It was, for the most part, a candid, informative interview, and I enjoyed listening to it. Especially the part where Billy spoke at length about ways to connect more deeply with fans, like experimenting with new ways to release music and perform live, and where he interrupted Pinfield (who was about to play a song) to talk about the importance of unity amongst bands, and the common purpose of creating a body of music representative of this generation. It was a very weird, awesomely rock-star moment that I plan to listen to again when the interview goes online here later today.

But then came the question about the election, and it was revealed that Billy is "not a voter," which is his "controversial position," and that while Jimmy is a voter, he didn't vote this election because he was busy moving and just didn't have the time. The two then went on to talk about how wonderful it is that now anyone really can do anything and blah blah blah HOW CAN YOU BE "NOT A VOTER"? Seriously Billy, that's horse hockey.

Again, the interview will be here later today, if you're interested in hearing it yourself.


I want your flu baby, not just your cough.

Photo by Michael Halsband

More than a year ago I went to something that I could have sworn I wrote about on here before, but apparently failed to. My girlfriend was living up by Columbia, and they have this little room in the basement of St. Paul's Chapel on campus there (they call it PostCrypt) that they use for performances on Friday and Saturday nights. She had seen an ad for a special night with some special guests, so we went.

So three singer/songwriter types sat up on little stools and took turns telling stories and playing songs to a standing room only crowd of less than 100. The reason the guests went unnamed, I guess, was that one of them was Suzanne Vega, but the one that left the most lasting effect on me was someone I hadn't heard of before that night: one Richard Julian. He'd played a song about the fictional screw-up son of Jesus that would pop into my head randomly for months after that night, and I've been making efforts to see him when he plays in New York ever since.

I was about to write about what I like so much about him, when I found this quote, which I think sums it all up more nicely and concisely than I could. WFUV's Claudia Marshall:
Julian's guitar playing is athletic but subtle, and his secret weapon is his voice — not a croon so much as a plaintive wail that serves his songs well. He's my favorite New York singer-songwriter, period.
There's a 45 minute interview and 4 songs performed in-studio from WFUV where that quote came from. Highly recommended.

Anyway, Richard Julian is going to be playing at The Living Room in NYC every Monday in the month of November, hitting the stage around 10 pm. I'll be there at least once. You should too.