Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five

It was a year ago tonight that I first discovered Austin’s Shearwater, opening for The Mountain Goats at Lee’s Palace and while they didn’t steal the show from the Goats, they definitely held their own as far as impressing the hell out of me went. From there, I would discover leader Jonathan Meiburg’s other band, one Okkervil River, which would come as close as any other band in the last few years to changing my life.

But this is Shearwater’s post (especially since I sort of half-assed them last year) so back to Palo Santo. While splitting the songwriting duties between Meiburg and Will Sheff on previous Shearwater records allowed for more great songs on a single record, it did take away from the cohesiveness of the albums somewhat, what with Sheff’s songwriting style being more earthy while Meiburg’s compositions were more of the sky. But with Meiburg taking over all songwriting duties with the new record, Palo Santo proves to be all the stronger for having a singular voice. And what a voice – Meiburg’s tenor soars like an angel but also proves willing and able to rage when necessary.

The two sample tracks that Misra has made available are indeed standouts on the record, and yet at the same time they don’t do the record justice. Or more accurately, being presented as individual tracks don’t do the songs justice – within the context of the other songs, as the fortissimo to the other songs’ pianissimo, they’re so much more powerful. Palo Santo demands to be heard as an album, start to finish. Truly, the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. The last full length Winged Life and last year’s Thieves EP were strong but had more promise than delivery – finally, Palo Santo pays off in full. Is it too early to start shortlisting albums of the year?

Pitchfork gives Palo Santo some love and Said The Gramophone is also not modest about doleing out praise – they’ve also got another track available to hear. There’s also some more downloadables on their MySpace and at their label.

MP3: Shearwater – “Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five”
MP3: Shearwater – “White Waves”
MP3: Shearwater – “Turn The Transmitters On” (demo for “Red Sea, Black Sea”)

There’s some touring news but nothing up here yet. Bradley’s Almanac mentions that they’ll be in Boston in September with Magnolia Electric Co so if not for July, we could well be looking at a Toronto date around then. Fingers crossed. They’re actually the only band I saw twice at SxSW but come to think of it, I’ve still never seen them play a full headlining set of their own.

And stepping back a moment to talk Mountain Goats, Largehearted Boy is so kind as to direct us to Standard Bitter Love Songs, a wonderful archive of live Goats shows. Last year’s May show from Toronto isn’t there, but the October one – which I missed – is. There’s some overlap with the, er, archives, but there’s no such thing as too much Mountain Goats. Unless you don’t like them, in which case a little is probably too much.

And not quite done with the Shearwater segues, Okkervil River continue to traipse around Europe and their bus driver Michal is playing official tour documentarian via Flickr.

The AV Club interviews Mark Kozelek, also known as “The Koz” but not to be confused with “The Cos”, who is at Lee’s Palace July 12. Koz, that is. Not Cos.

More shows – Cat Power will be at the Danforth Music Hall on July 3 – hmm, timing. Dare I step off a plane at 3 in the afternoon and be at a show by 9? Maybe. Maybe. Elsewhere, The Rakes are at Lee’s Palace on July 4 and July 15 sees a new festival in town – Dog Day Afternoon will feature headliners Metric with The Fiery Furnaces, Holy Fuck, The Secret Machines and Electric 6. This goes down at Historic Fort York and tickets are $40, on sale Saturday. Chart has more info on the fest, which will also be hitting Ottawa and Montreal.

And hey, it’s my birthday. If it’s true that life begins at 30 – and I will admit, 30 was pretty damn good to me – what happens at 31? I hope it’s not gout.

Update: Wilco says – Row F (8th), stage right. Hrmm. Not as good as last time, obvs.

np – Gemma Hayes / The Roads Don’t Love You

By : Frank Yang at 8:35 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Chris says:

    Happy Birthday Frank! 31 is the new 27…or something!

  2. Paul says:

    Happy Birthday Frank! I didn’t have the greatest 31, so here’s hoping you do something better and more fun with it.

  3. sam says:

    Happy Birthday, Frank!! :)
    31 just gets better. trust me.
    you have a great one. and enjoy your day.

    btw, thanks for the Shearwater tip. gonna check ’em out.

  4. John says:

    Must have no been many preshow seats. I’ve got to now rely on ticketbastard.

  5. Chris says:

    Yup, looks like the pre-sale was a ploy to get people on the internets.

    Looks like the London show was also a no go too.

    What a farce.

  6. Frank says:

    I’m certain there was no "Friends Of Massey Hall" nonsense last time, so the presale allottment probably got split between Wilco and Massey Hall. IT’S A BUILDING. BUILDINGS DON’T HAVE FRIENDS.

  7. John says:

    Yeah… The last Wilco show I got seats two rows behind Frank…. now I might have to wait outside Massey Hall and mug him for his!

  8. Frank says:

    bring it on. I may be old, but I’m scrappy!

  9. Thierry says:

    Yeah, that was a shitty presale. And you know it isn’t a presale anymore when people are selling tickets on craigslist the day before the "presale"…

  10. Frank says:

    Massey Hall’s friends are scalpers. It should find some new friends. It needs a MySpace.

  11. Trish says:

    Happy birthday, Frank. I can just barely remember 31, but I’m pretty sure it was good.

    I got row D, but in the balcony. At least they’re centre aisle seats. Oh wait, only one is an aisle seat. Still, not bad.

  12. Sasha Furlani says:

    Happy b-day Frank. I’m hitting 31 in two weeks too…it’ll be great.

    I got 4th row balcony this time….last time, 3rd row center floors. I won’t complain though…actually I will…bastards.

    If the London show GA? I may tryt o hit that one too…

    Enjoy your day…

  13. Valerie says:

    Happy Birthday!

  14. Jordan says:

    Best wishes today, Frank. I’ll be in town next week, maybe get to buy you a drink at the Mogwai show.

  15. bradley says:

    Happy b-day wishes to ya, Frank. Hope it’s another one of the good ones.

  16. Kevin says:

    Happy birthday, Frank. Thanks for all the fine work here.

  17. kathryn says:

    Wow, it’s been a year since that Shearwater post? Much has happened, hasn’t it?

    ShearH2O have also popped up a NYC date in July. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that they head up to Canada.

    And thanks for the Okkervil River Flickr tipoff!

  18. Karl says:

    Happy Birthday; mine was Monday. The ailments probably won’t start up for at least another five years.

  19. TJ says:

    Happy birthday. I’m staring down 31 at the end of this summer.

    And no, it’s never too early to start building The List.

  20. Greg says:

    Happy birthday Frank. Looks like we both chose to write about Shearwater on the same day :)

  21. Eric says:

    Happy B-Day Frank!

  22. mike says:

    Happy 31st! Enjoy Sigur Ros this Saturday!

  23. Andy says:

    Happy birthday Frank – I do believe the phrase is about life beginning at 40 (or 42 to be more precise)

  24. Beth says:

    Happy birthday Frank! See you at Sigur Ros Saturday.. if you can find me amongst 2,000 some odd people, you get a belated birthday HUG.

  25. LOL says:

    Am I the only dude that frequents this blog under 20?

  26. Five says:

    Hey Frank,

    I’m a day late, but Happy Birthday all the same! Hope it was awesome.

  27. Frank says:

    thanks, everyone. My birthday was low key and excellent – perfect for an old dude.

  28. Matthew Berlyant says:

    Happy birthday Frank, though it’s belated (sorry I was out of the office yesterday so I didn’t get a chance to check out the site). We’re 5 days apart. My birthday is on Tuesday the 16th and I’ll also be 31.

    Anyway keep up the great work (and the Big Takeover plugs).

  29. jeff in Keno says:

    turned 32 last sunday (5-7), and gout really fucking sucks. it’s like a bullet in your big toe, hurts like hell if you get a flare-up. check out allopurinol for treatment. this could just be a cautionary tale, but gout really, really FUCKING hurts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    anywho, happy birthday.
    gout sucks, and Jon Brion is awesome.