Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Dead Kid Kicks

Have you ever watched a video clip wherein the audio track is slightly out of sync with the visuals? Even if it’s so slight as to be almost imperceptible, your brain picks up on the discrepancy and for me, at least, it’s utterly maddening. I bring this up for the sake of context, as this is how I was feeling Monday night. No idea why. Reality was operating on slightly different frequency than I was but I headed down to the Drake anyway.

I was mainly interested in catching the Canadian debut of Brooklyn’s Muggabears, though with a full slate of acts on hand for the Elvis Mondays showcase, law of averages dictated would have something worth seeing. Happily for me the Muggabears were on first though a later slot might have allowed more people to catch them – I thought I was early and I had barely sat down before they took the stage.

The elevator pitch for The Muggabears is that they’re a trio that sounds more than a little like Sonic Youth, but in a less aggressive package with more pocket-sized songs. And that’s a fair descriptor but after seeing them live, it’s impossible to not acknowledge the sizable debt the band owes to Pavement. If you turned your head one way, singer/guitarist Travis Johnson’s vocals were channeling Thurston Moore. Turn it the other, it was pure Malkmus up there. The comparisons also held with regards to the songs, though not as sprawling or intense as the former or playful and hooky as the latter. Heading further in one direction or the other might serve the band well, though coming up with a perfect hybrid of the two might be a worthier goal. Maybe then they’d be able to get some roadies to deal with all the alternate guitar tunings and eliminate some of those awkward, extended between-song silences. But whichever way they go, for the time being, they’re still a little green but onto something pretty cool.

Under other circumstances I’d have stuck around to see at least a few more bands but as I mentioned, I was just feeling off and the prospect of an early night was too tempting to pass up. Two weeks into the new year and I’ve seen exactly two bands live. Damn, I’m getting old. Chart had a talk with the Muggabears about some untruths on their MySpace profile and The Village Voice ran an interview last month. Update: WOXY has now got a studio session with the band available to download.

Photos: The Muggabears @ The Drake Underground – January 14, 2008
MP3: The Muggabears – “The Goth Tarts”
MP3: The Muggabears – “Dead Kid Kicks”
MP3: The Muggabears – “I’m Coming True”
MP3: The Muggabears – “Married To The Moon”
MySpace: The Muggabears

Speaking of Stephen Malkmus – the man, not the influence – he’s releasing his third solo record (or second band record with The Jicks, whatever you prefer) Real Emotional Trash on March 18. It looks like this and sounds a little like this.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Baltimore”

The Independent profiles Steve Earle.

Bradley’s Almanac has got audio from the first of two shows last year reuniting Throwing Muses Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly each did a solo set and then a set together. Specialness abounds.

Matt Berininger talks to The Age about the role of internal band friction in The National’s creative process.

My Morning Jacket will return with their new studio album, as yet untitled, on June 10. Details on that and a special Radio City Music Hall gig shortly thereafter at Billboard.

Drowned In Sound talks to John Darnielle about the new Mountain Goats record Heretic Pride, out February 19.

Luna fans take note – Dean Wareham’s memoirs Black Postcards are complete and will be out in hardcover form March 13. He and Britta will be in town at the Mod Club February 9. Thanks to Gary for the info.

And now’s as good a time as any to mention that this Sunday night at 8PM (8:30PM in Newfoundland and Labrador), I’ll be part of a phalanx of bloggers taking part in the CBC quiz show programme Test The Nation. I actually have never seen the show, so I don’t know how it works but as I understand it, the Bloggers are going up against teams of chefs, flight crews, taxi drivers, backpackers and celebrity look-alikes in some sort of battle of wits on live television and will hopefully afford me the opportunity to yell “No whammies!” live on national television like a nitwit. I really don’t know. All I do know is that they’ve promised us catering (taxpayer-funded cold cuts!) and if nothing else, I can rest easy knowing that the worst possible photo ever taken of me will exist on the internet long after I’m dead. My hair usually doesn’t look like that. It’s usually terrible, yes, but not THAT terrible.

By : Frank Yang at 8:23 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. neil says:

    I think you look hot in that picture Frank. Real serious like.

  2. kat says:

    has your episode not been recorded yet? when it airs on sunday, is it live?

    when i was on the show last march, they didn’t air the episode until september…is why i’m asking :)

    hope you have fun!!

  3. Frank says:

    pretty sure it’s live – otherwise, advertising the date on the website seems pointless.

  4. Guin says:

    Test the Nation: Trivia airing this Sunday is indeed live. IQ was live, but Watch Your Language wasn’t.

  5. Jen says:

    Good luck on Sunday! :-)

  6. Karl says: