Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Everything All The Time

When/how did Band Of Horses become so damned popular? That’s not a complaint, they’re a fine band and deserve success, but I thought when they originally booked into Lee’s Palace for Tuesday night that they were perhaps overestimating their draw – usually a new band (excepting Carissa’s Weird) coming through town for the first time will do so at the cozier confines of the Horseshoe, but Band Of Horses not only got put in the much larger Lee’s, but sold the damn thing out. And I don’t think these were OC-ADD converts who wanted to hear the hit single and leave, but the whole crowd seemed to be genuine fans and excited for the show.

Contrary to local listings (but consistent with the touring bill) there were two openers along for the ride, The Can’t See and Mt Egypt. The former were a three-piece from Seattle with some nice guitar/keyboard interplay but otherwise kind of generic indie-rock and the singer really couldn’t, well, sing very well. Mt Egypt were more interesting, with a lightly indiosyncratic electri-folk sound reminiscent of Destroyer though less out-there and maybe with a little more cannibas in the diet than bourbon. Each opener had a somewhat truncated set since they had to shoehorn two bands into the time initially allotted for just one, but Band Of Horses got on stage just 15 minutes later than scheduled so all was good.

Band Of Horses took the stage looking quite energized by the audience and seemed genuinely delighted by the enthusiastic response they got before and after every song. Touring as a four-piece (there were five Horses in Austin in March), singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell was unequivocally the centre of attention and not just because his cohorts hid in the shadows for the whole show. His voice soars yet somehow stays rooted firmly on the earth, fingers outstretched to the sky and bolstered by the pedal steel, chiming guitars and gentle keyboards. The set consisted mainly of Everything All The Time, naturally, with a couple of new songs and a Hall & Oates cover thrown in for good measure. The live renditions of the Everything material came off much more dynamically than the recorded versions, which I think are a touch restrained and even samey-sounding across the length of the album – especially now that I’ve heard them performed. But by the same token, having experienced the songs live, I now appreciate the album even more. Yeah, I saw them at SxSW but they sounded much more effective in a packed, sweaty club (and was it ever sweaty) than at a lazy afternoon outdoor BBQ. A superb debut performance and deserving of every person in attendance.

You may ask why all the photos are of Ben. Well a) he’s the cutest and b) he’s the only one who got any light on him at all. What can you do. The Cleveland Free Times discusses the origins of Band Of Horses with Ben Bridwell, New York Press talks about his tattoos and this Monday at 9PM, 94.9 The Rock will have an interview with Ben recorded backstage at Lee’s on Tuesday night. And Even though the media page on their website claims these are tracks from Everything All The Time, they’re actually demo versions that are quite different from the final album versions and are definitely worth having/hearing. SubPop courteously provides downloads of the final verions.

MP3: Band Of Horses – “The Funeral”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “The Great Salt Lake”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “Funeral” (demo)
MP3: Band Of Horses – “Our Swords” (demo)
MP3: Band Of Horses – “I Lost My Dingle On The Red Line” (demo)
MP3: Band Of Horses – “For Wicked Gil” (demo)
MP3: My Egypt – “Battening Down The Hatches”
MP3: My Egypt – “NYC”
MP3: The Can’t See – “Bar Fight”
MP3: The Can’t See – “Suffer And Die”
Video: Band Of Horses – “The Funeral” (MOV)
MySpace: Band Of Horses
MySpace: My Egypt
MySpace: The Can’t See

NOW and The Toronto Star talk to tween sister act Smoosh while The Boston Globe warns against dismissing them as a novelty act. Decide for yourself when they open up for Eels at the Mod Club on Saturday night. Note – it’s an early show with Smoosh taking the stage at 7PM. Early bedtimes, dontchaknow.

Tiny Mix Tapes reports that Magnolia Electric Co mainman Jason Molina has three albums worth of material almost complete and will be looking to release them under his own name ASAP. The first of these, Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go, will be out August 22. But wait – also reports that a new Magnolia Electric Co record of old sessions and whatnot, Fading Trails, will also be coming out on September 12, coincidentally the same day that he is scheduled to be at Lee’s Palace with (hopefully) Shearwater – still looking for official confirmation of this bill. Tickets for the show are $13.50 and went on sale today.

Pitchfork says that Wilco fans who were disappointed their DVD collections didn’t get grow with the shelved Kicking Television live document can look forward to a live DVD of a Jeff Tweedy solo show later this year. And speaking of Jeff solo acoustic, RBally has been posting one of Jeff’s charity living room shows this past week and encourages you to donate to charity if you enjoy listening to the show. And if you don’t enjoy it, well, I guess you’re off the hook. Wilco are at Massey Hall on July 7.

Shows – Sound Team and Cold War Kids are at the Horseshoe July 31, ticket $10. Sound Team intrigues me but that’s the same night at The Hold Steady. What to do, what to do. Elsewhere/when, The Human Television are at Sneaky Dee’s July 24 (have you heard them? I like), Deadboy & The Elephantmen are at the ‘Shoe July 19, Hard-Fi at the Opera House August 8 and Xiu Xiu are at the El Mocambo October 20. Full tour dates at the ‘Fork.

Everyone should read Mocking Music’s writeup about the ongoing battle over Net Neutrality and those of you who have Congressmen or Senators or whatever should do something about it.

np – Camera Obscura / Let’s Get Out Of The Country

By : Frank Yang at 8:53 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. ned says:

    the "for wicked gil" and "i lost my dingle on the red line" are actually the nlfn recordings from last year… still one of my favorite sessions! tried to bring ’em by again this year but they’re just too busy with press to stop on their way through chapel hill…

  2. ned says:

    doh, missed the stuff about mec in my rush to be a "know it all"… "fading trails" isn’t old sessions- with the exception of the shohola demos all of the tracks were recorded in the past year… i think tiny mix tapes could have things a bit confused as well and are likely referring to the next magnolia electric co. album "nashville moon" and the "black ram" album recorded with david lowery, rather than additional solo molina records…

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ve only heard "Funeral" but do all Band of Horses songs sound like My Morning Jacket songs? I sort of feel like a six-year-old when I say this, but "Dudes, get yer own sound."

  4. Frank says:

    on the surface, then yeah – MMJ are a logical reference point. I used the comparison the last time I wrote up BoH and I didn’t want to be lazy about it. But the more you listen, the more you realize they have their own thing going on. To write them off as knock-offs is unfair and incorrect, though if you’re not inclined to dig deeper that’s fine too.

    Ned – thanks for the clarification and I have no idea how you Molina addicts keep up with him. He makes Bob Pollard look like… like… someone less prolific…

  5. Jen says:

    I think I was standing behind you at the show – great photos and great blog!

  6. Sarah says:

    Not uninclined, just haven’t had the chance to listen to more BoH. Was looking for more information, which I now have. I’ll get educated. Thanks.

  7. matthew says:

    I wish I could’ve stuck around Toronto for another day or two to see this show. But on the upside, I guess, I was able to get a friend in, and he did interview them for me (and that’ll be up on my site either today or tomorrow)…

  8. Quinn says:

    I thought BoH were a little underwhelming at Sasquatch, but I feel like I should give them another shot live now.

  9. Kevin says:

    Nice job, as always, Frank. Where is the other Horses founder, Mat Brooke? Has he left the band?

    Get to see these guys (again) in Phoenix at end of month. Can’t wait.

  10. nadish says:

    This is some piece of paper that was on the flat-guitar thing at the end. It looks ‘chemically enhanced’.

  11. jennings says:

    Thanks for the shout . . . .

  12. Craig says:

    I actually thought that the Band of Horses show was somewhat disappointing, for these reasons:

    a) tuning of instruments in between every song killed their momentum.
    b) the barely re-tooled version of "Wicked Gil" played during the encore; a song they had already played earlier in the set.
    c) the band’s unwillingness (or inability) to expand on its songs and do anything but play fairly rote versions of the album material. Tunes such as "A Funeral" and "The Great Salt Lake" could have been monstrous, stretched-out rockers. Instead, while relatively good, they were little more than louder/faster versions of what everyone had already heard on the record.

  13. Frank says:


    a) I didn’t notice – I’d rather let them tune than have them play out of tune.

    b) on the set list they have Bass and Gil as two different songs

    and they have Bass on their website as a different song though yes, I’ve got it linked as "Wicked Gil" demo. Oh well. It was a short set as is, could be they just don’t have that much material.

    c)As far as I know, they have no reputation as a jamming band so why hold it against them that they don’t jam stuff out? They’re definitely not My Morning Jacket in that respect. Is this something that’s a strike against other bands that stick to the album arrangements for songs or something you particularly found lacking in Band Of Horses?

  14. Craig says:

    Perhaps I was overly critical regarding the tuning issue. I certainly can understand the fact that they didn’t roadies to do it for them, etc. But the fact remains that the guy had a half-dozen guitars, each of which could have been tuned before the show and should not be expected to go out of tune after playing only one or two songs. The pauses between songs just seemed to allow people to start up their conversations again, and each time it took me out of the show for a bit.

    With regard to (c), I didn’t really expect them to be a MMJ-style "jam band." Rather, I just wish BoH would’ve expanded on the musical ideas in its song arrangements a little more for the live setting. Yes, this might’ve meant a guitar solo or two, but I would’ve been satisfied with, for example, just taking a little more time building up the coda in "Funeral," or unexpectedly changing dynamics for a chorus of "First Song." It’s not to say that the band didn’t play what they played well enough… I think it’s more of a comment on my opinion of their album as a whole: I thought the songs (on the album, and subsequently, in the live setting) have some good moments that, with a little more massaging, could have been great.

    It was certainly a decent enough show, and the band seems hungry. I think maybe they just don’t have the experience yet to put on a really thrilling performance

  15. Colin says:

    Frank – great site. I though you might be interested in this:

    Its a thesis on MBV Loveless

  16. Alizee says:

    Hi Craig,

    why don’t you start a band?

    and why do you need to copy and paste from your own blog in the comments here? not enough people reading yours?

  17. nick says:

    in case you didn’t know, there is a nice collection of demos from the "magnolia electric co." album that are very good and probably an indication of what we can expect from mr. molina’s solo album.

    <a href="…"></a&gt;

  18. nick says:

    shit. sorry for the f*cked up html link.

  19. Craig says:


    Thanks for your suggestion of starting a band. Luckily I have been a musician for the past decade or so and have released two independent albums. So I guess I can check that off my list of things to do.

    You’ll also note that the comments herein are not copied from my own blog. The first comment has similar content, but it was not simply "copied and pasted." And I did attempt to expand on my explanation in the second comment.

    I apologize if I came off as some kind of Band of Horses hater. I quite enjoy "Everything All the Time" and, for $10, there was certainly many worse things to do with my time than to see the band live. I just feel that the band’s inexperience was evident, and that was somewhat disappointing.

  20. Alizee says:

    "I just feel that the band’s inexperience was evident, and that was somewhat disappointing."

    See, that’s one of the things that I found to be really charming…

  21. Frank says:

    you guys know that Ben Bridwell and Matt Brooke formed Carissa’s Wierd over a decade ago, right? They’re hardly amateurs or rookies at this.

  22. Alizee says:

    Well, it’s reviews like the one above that make me sick

  23. Alizee says:

    "you guys know that Ben Bridwell and Matt Brooke formed Carissa’s Wierd over a decade ago, right? They’re hardly amateurs or rookies at this"

    Yes, not rookies at all. And Carissa’s Wierd were great.

    That’s just to say that I found the pauses between songs more endearing than annoying. Ben was amazingly charming, I honestly feel that his stage presence compensated for the heat, tuning and what not…