Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

The Moneymaker

Some of you may have noticed that anytime I’ve referenced Rilo Kiley’s new record Under The Blacklight in the last little while, it’s been in the context of “is not a very good record”. Always in passing, never with specifics. I’ve been a Rilo Kiley fan for some time now, so I suppose an explanation is in order.

When I say it’s not a good record, it’s not a casual remark but the most succinct way to state a considered opinion. While things start out promisingly with “Silver Lining”, a sleek country-soul gem that could have been a holdover from Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit Fur Coat solo outing, that turns out to be the high point and from there, there’s only one way to go. The record has been called an homage of sorts to their Los Angeles homebase and while that may be true, it’s unfortunate that they’ve chosen to celebrate the plasticness and vacuousness of the worst LA stereotypes. They veer from style to style, never offering more than a reasonably lifelike facsimile of whatever they’re sampling. From the seedy “Moneymaker” with the BeeGees rip of a chorus through the faux-Latin (by way of Madonna) stylings of “Dejalo” to the album’s lowest point with the lyrically abyssmal statutory rape hoe-down of “15”, this is the sound of a band capable of great things utterly disinterested in even reaching for passable.

Rilo Kiley has gotten where they are largely on the back of Lewis so it’s to her that much of the blame falls. While her vocals still sound technically terrific, they lack any of the emotional investment that would convince any but the most casual listener that she actually meant a word she was saying. Which might actually be for the best since a lot of the lyrics here are beyond vapid. Blacklight still succeeds as lightly hooky background music but for anyone who cares to actually listen beyond the surface will find disappointingly little of substance. If it were released as a collection of b-sides or outtakes – which I’d say it sounded like if I were feeling charitable – then it might escape this sort of scrutiny but as an album three years in the making, it’s impossible to call it anything but a huge disappointment.

Metacritic shows critical response to be pretty well divided and Harp talks to Lewis and Blake Sennett about the LA themes of their new record and their child star pasts (still on that, are we?).

Rilo Kiley are in town next Tuesday night, September 18, and while I’m not going to be in attendance – less because I’m unimpressed with the new record than the fact that I’ll be wiped from Austin City Limits – that’s no reason you can’t be. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got one pair of passes to their show at the Phoenix to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Rilo Kiley” in the subject line, your full name in the body and your opinion on Under The Blacklight in simple “yea” or “nay” form – though feel free to be loquacious if you so desire. I want to have this taken care of before I leave for Austin so this contest will close at 9PM, EDT, tonight.

Video: Rilo Kiley – “The Moneymaker” (YouTube)
Video: Rilo Kiley – “Silver Lining” (YouTube)
MySpace: Rilo Kiley

Filter asks New Pornographer AC Newman about his idea of a perfect Summer. The Pornos play the Phoenix on October 21 with Emma Pollock, with whom Aversion has an interview.

CBC Radio 3 talks to Ottawa’s Jim Bryson who, in addition to being a fine singer-songwriter in his own right, is now also the newest Weakerthan. He’ll join them on the road in support of Reunion Tour, out September 25, including their November 8 show at the Phoenix.

Drowned In Sound does a phoner with Kevin Drew about his new album Spirit If…, which is out next week but which you can stream in its entirety right now at MuchMusic. Drew plays Lee’s Palace on September 27.

Stream: Kevin Drew / Spirit If…

The biggest concert news of the last few days was the announcement of Neil Young’s Fall tour in support of Chrome Dreams II, out October 20. Billboard has the tracklisting of the album as well as the tour itinerary and naturally, the two dates that stand out the most are November 26 and 27 at Massey Hall in Toronto. If and when anyone hears about ticket on-sale info, please let me know. And Stylus has taken on the task of cataloging every Neil Young cover they can find. Apparently counting every grain of sand on the beach wasn’t challenging enough for them.

Also just announced though of less OMG-ness, and all happening at Lee’s Palace, Los Angeles’ Great Northern, last here during NxNE, return on October 17, Josh Rouse and Maria Taylor stop in on October 30 and on November 23 and 24, it’ll host a two-night stand from The Stills, newly signed to Arts & Crafts.

Looking way ahead, Feist has a show on February 18 at the Sony Centre (formerly known as the Hummingbird Centre, formerly known as the O’Keefe Centre) with Great Lake Swimmers as support. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a chat with the headliner, JAM with the openers.

And because the cosmos demands balance, a couple of show cancellations to report – The Noisettes have bailed on their September 19 show at Lee’s and Kaiser Chiefs are no longer playing the Carlu on September 26.

Some final V Fest wrap ups from AOL Music Canada and Torontoist, both featuring amazing photography… and also boasting some stunning pic, this New Pollution feature on Miracle Fortress.

The Boston Herald talks to Interpol.

Take-Away Shows offers up a couple of performances from Beirut, who will release The Flying Club Cup on October 2 and be in town at the Danforth Music Hall that evening. Check out a song from the new record below:

MP3: Beirut – “A Sunday Smile”

And there’s a video premiere from another Take-Away favourite, The National. This one’s the first second vid from Boxer and plays off the wedding band theme of the album’s cover art. They’re at the Phoenix on October 8.

Video: The National – “Apartment Story” (Spinner)

Paste reports on forthcoming releases from Ryan Adams, first a seven-track EP due out on October 23 and a five-disc retrospective box set in 2008. Adams is at Massey Hall on September 21.

Geek movie bits – Paste notes that the fourth Indiana Jones film has been given a name – Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull – and will be out on May 22 of next year. Also hitting theatres next May (May 2 to be precise) is Iron Man, for which there’s finally an official trailer.

Trailer: Iron Man

And out of left field, reports that Tobey Maguire is planning on bringing 80s animated series Robotech to the big screen, live action style and presumably with himself as Rick Hunter (though everyone knows that Max Sterling was the coolest, of course).

By : Frank Yang at 8:26 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. the2scoops says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Feist show Frank. Ticketmaster says there is a presale, but I can’t tell who it’s through. Any ideas?

  2. the2scoops says:

    Found the Feist Presale. It’s for Hummingbird Centre Circle of Friends members. But there seems to be an option for New Members that doesn’t require a membership number. Otherwise onsale Friday at 2pm EDT

  3. the2scoops says:

    Last one, just a final heads-up:

    I just now looked at the Hummingbird (Sony) Centre site. Apparently they add $75 COF membership for the New Members option, but I don’t see that anywhere on my order sheet.

  4. Butter Chicken says:

    Small pedantic correction: The National have a video for Mistaken for Strangers, their first single from Boxer.

    Also, some neat little short films by Vincent Moon re: Boxer:


  5. Frank says:

    thanks, I knew that too. total brain fart on my part.

  6. Chris says:

    Hey Frank, Neil Young tix go on sale on the 20th. They are probably sold out already though…

  7. Daniel says:

    Wow the Neil Young show is going to be amazing…going to try like hell to get tickets.
    I have tickets to the BSS presents kevin drew show at lee’s and i imagine that will be amazing as well since its been a long time since they were in that venue. about 2.5 years i believe.

  8. Thierry says:

    I have an arm and possibly a leg that I would be willing to part with for those Neil Young tickets. I’m even willing to promise a first-born, if it comes to that.

  9. mike says:

    What’s up with the White Stripes cancelling their US tour on account of Meg’s acute anxiety? Read it on myspace last night. Haven’t seen a lot written on it yet.