Friday, December 22, 2006

White Rabbits

[Photo Credit: D. Yee]

Tuesday night, I heard White Rabbits mentioned no less than 900 times, and when I say 900, I mean more like five or six, but it was enough for me to fire up the internet machine and track down the band's MySpace page. They're the best type of band, one that draws on all of their influences, from the white boy soul of The Style Council to the rhythms of The Specials to the melody of Motown, this band has it all and is poised to be one of the biggest bands of 2007. They are in the midst of recording their debut album with Chris Zane [Ambulance Ltd., Les Savy Fav, Calla] in New York City. Look for it on Say Hey Records this spring.

MySpace: White Rabbits
Audio: "The Plot"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back From NYC

I knew for awhile that I would be in NYC for a couple of days this week, but I still neglected to have posts ready to go up. Not quite sure why though because it's not like there is any shortage of good music and even if that was the case, there are plenty of bands I could hate on [I'm looking at you, SUF-JAN], but that's not really my style. Anyway, we'll just chalk the lack of posts up to the end of the year doldrums and with some holiday family time coming up, it looks like Exitfare will be taking another "nap."

But back to NYC. As always I had a blast, and this excursion was centered on seeing Yusuf [AKA Cat Stevens] perform at Lincoln Center in what was probably his first show in the States in nearly 30 years. The show was amazing -- it was small and intimate [400 seats] and you could not have asked for a better setting, as the backdrop to the stage was a giant glass window that looked straight down 6th Avenue, and being four or five flights up, you could see for blocks, and how amazing the lights of the city look after dark. This sounds like a cliche, but it's a scene ripped straight from a postcard. This was enough to make a great show, but what really hit it home was Yusuf's set, one that seamlessly mixed old and new, as well as an informative interview conducted by KCRW's Nic Harcourt.

The rest of the night consisted of me hanging with Sean from Sure Juror, drinking 40s, doing a spot with Rachel from Underrated for the blog show on Breakthru Radio and consuming every last drop of alcohol put in front of me. It's hard to single out the best moment of the night [well, besides Yusuf], but if I had to choose, it would be when we were all at the bar talking, I was sipping a fresh glass of Yuengling and the Cold War Kids' "Hospital Beds" came on. We just kinda stopped and sang a few lines -- it really is a great song, one that's hard to resist in that setting.

And finally, I have permission to post music from the new Sure Juror album, SMUT. Thanks guys! If you liked the last one, you're going to love this. Look at them to be my Sound Team of 2007, you know, the band I post about 75 times a week. The band has a lot of big things planned for next year, but I am going to give all of that a post of its own. Until later, good night...

Also, I just noticed that many of the mp3s that I have hosted on EZarchive do not work, which is sort of ridiculous. I've tried several different ways to fix them and I can't figure it out, so I will be switching hosts tomorrow and reposting stuff from the past couple of weeks, so please bear with me.

Audio: Yusuf "Heaven"

EDIT: Signed up with new host, but all mp3s will be reposted tomorrow. I'M TIRED.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mr. Suitcase

I'm totally slammed at work, so I don't have time to post my Top Albums of the Year list. Look for it later this week when things calm down a bit (hopefully). In the meantime, I wanted to point you in the direction of Mr. Suitcase. I don't really know much about them, but their song "Ours Is A Time For Falling In Love" is a dancefloor anthem in the making. It's not the type of song that beats you over the head with harsh electronic beats and lame pump up the crowd bullshit, rather it's subdued, light, and utterly sexy. Make sure to hop over to their website for more downloads.

Buy: The Shame of Being Imperfect
Myspace: Mr. Suitcase
Audio: "Ours Is A Time For Falling In Love"

Monday, December 18, 2006

2006: Exitfare's Favorite Albums

The hardest thing about putting this year's list together was the fact that there was no clear cut #1 one album, and that is not an indictment on the qualtiy of the records at the top of my list, but a statement at how good the top five records are. I really could make a case for any of those albums to be at the top.

As for my typical show previews post, there isn't much going on this week. Stay tuned later this week, as I'll start looking at some of the good stuff coming up next year. BTW, a huge thank you to Vicki over at Onward Charles for getting that banner up for me!

The Sleepy Jackson Personality [Astralwerks]
24. White Rose Movement Kick [Independiente]
23. The Blood Arm Lie Lover Lie [City Rockers]
22. Belle + Sebastian The Life Pursuit [Matador]
21. Bromhead's Jacket Dits From The Commuter Belt [Marquis Cha Cha]
20. The Sunshine Underground Raise The Alarm [City Rockers]
19. MSTRKRFT The Looks [Last Gang]
18. La Rocca The Truth [Dangerbird]
17. Mystery Jets Making Dens [679]
16. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not [Domino]
15. Regina Spektor Begin To Hope [Sire]
14. Plan B Who Needs Action When You Got Words [679]
13. Linfinity A Manual For Free Living Vol. I: Sedition [Self-released]
12. Sonic Youth Rather Ripped [Interscope]
11. Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo To Anywhere [Vertigo/Interscope]

. Sound Team Movie Monster [Captiol]
Audio: "Your Eyes Are Liars"
9. The Streets The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living [Vice]
Audio: "Two Nations"
8. Roddy Woomble My Secret Is My Silence [Pure]
Audio: "As Still As I Watch Your Grave"
7. Lily Allen Alright, Still [EMI]
Video: "LDN"
6. Forward, Russia! Give Me A Wall [Dance To The Radio]
Audio: "Eighteen"
Audio: "Sixteen"
5. Birdmonster No Midnight [spinART]
Audio: "Cuz You Can"
4. Division Day Beartrap Island [Self-released]
Audio: "Tigers"
Audio: "Tap-Tap, Click-Click"
Video: "Hurricane"
3. Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards [Downtown]
Audio: "The Soloist In The Living Room"
2. The Kooks Inside In Inside Out [Astralwerks]
Video: "Naive"
1. Silversun Pickups Carnavas [Dangerbird]
Audio: "Well Thought Out Twinkles"
Video: "Well Thought Out Twinkles"

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Show Preview: The Vital Might @ Middle East Down [Sat. Dec. 16th]

It's always my intent to post about more Boston bands, as this is supposed to be a Boston-centric blog, but I get distracted by many things, mostly by bands from the UK. Tonight the Middle East is hosting The Vital Might's CD release show, which will also feature local favorites The Sterns and Fluttr Effect. Doors are at 8pm and the show is $12.

The Vital Might
Audio: "Fly In Form"
Audio: "Bird Of Black Fire"

Friday, December 15, 2006

2006: Things Exitfare Doesn't Get, part 2

I have to start this post by saying that I totally agree with Dany about Joanna Newsom. I cannot for the life of me begin to understand why so many people like her music. The songs are overly orchestrated, quirky for quirkiness' sake, tediously long in some cases, and her voice makes me want to hurt baby bunnies. That said, I completely disagree with him about Sufjan Stevens who, to me, is the anti-Joanna Newsom. Sufjan expertly balances song form with dynamic orchestration managing to create quirky songs that still work without feeling convoluted or pretentious.

Moving on... here are some things that I just don't get:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Tenacious D

After Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny came out to disappointly low numbers, Dany said "they should have released the movie three years ago when people actually cared about Tenacious D." Here's the thing, I don't remember anyone ever caring about Tenacious D. Sure, I once watched the "Wonderboy" video to see Dave Grohl dressed up as the devil and yes, I laughed a little. Key phrase being a little. But I don't know anyone who actually liked the song or owned any of their albums. Plus, their "we're fat, uncool comedians trying to rock" schtick was done to perfection by the Blues Brothers who I'd much rather watch any day of the week. Or The Darkness, who write better songs and manage to be funnier (with hot British accents nonetheless). Seriously, Jack Black needs to go back to acting and Kyle Gass needs to go back to sitting on his couch so that Tenacious D will finally die the death it deserves.

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Zune can zap tunes to your friends! You can hold it sideways! Wow, I'm totally going to sell my IPod and buy one today! Not. The guys over at Microsoft obviously don't get it--personal music players are not meant for socializing. The whole attraction of headphones is to ignore the people around you. Forget the fact that I can't actually hook the Zune up to my PowerBook G4. Forget their lame attempts to hire college students to use the product in major cities and sending bloggers to test it out in hopes of good press. Neither tactic makes the player worthwhile or cool. Leave it up to Microsoft to copy Apple and turn out an inferior product. Again.

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Indie Kids who like the new Gwen Stefani/Justin Timberlake

What's with all the indie kids getting down to Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake's new albums? I can't tell you how many blogs I've seen with one or both of the albums in their top twenty of the year... which is weird to me, because both of the records are fucking awful. Do slim leg jean, ballet flat wearing hipsters get hot from Gwen's yodelling? Does Mr. JT's repetitive, mindnumbing talking on "Sexy/Back" make their penises hard? The only good thing to come from Justin Timberlake this year is "My Love" and that's mostly due to T.I. Whereas the only good thing to come out of Gwen this year is her son Kingston. Oh yeah, I went there. Seriously, indie kids: go back to talking about The Knife and Grizzly Bear and whoever else you like these days... at least I can stomach that shit.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

PS. Gwen, you need to fire your photographer. Your promo pictures for this album are ridiculous, but not in a good way.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2006: Things Exitfare Doesn't Get

Joanna Newsom
When there is a tidal wave of hype surrounding an artist, it's easy to get sucked in, but seriously people, step the fuck back and clean out your ears. When I listen to Joanna Newsom, I have no fucking idea what is going on. I do have to give it to her, music wise, because the songs aren't half bad, but when she opens her mouth, it's all over. Her voice is piercing, annoying and completely out of place, and I highly doubt that most people really like her, I think people claim to like her simply as a badge of honor so they can tell all of their hipster friends that they "get" this "difficult" music. Well guys, I am calling your bluff, she couldn't sing her way out of a paper bag. Actually, I hope she doesn't try and stays in that paper bag.

The Clipse
[Photo Credit: Edgar Sanchez]
The Clipse have been around for awhile, and really, they have dropped some pretty great stuff that I still listen to from time to time, but starting about a year ago, I started to hear about how "dope" their new album was going to be and I started to buy into the hype because the right people were talking about it. I even ran into a kid at CMJ who was practically in tears because he couldn't get into their showcase, so you know there is something going on when a too-cool backpacker is about to start bawling. I finally got a copy of Hell Hath No Fury a couple of weeks [thanks for the copy Justin], finally getting to listen to it as I was driving around LA last Friday and I couldn't have been more disappointed. There is nothing redeeming about this disc, it's downright terrible. All of the songs sound the same, and the single is more or less a rip off of "Drop It Like It's Hot." After several songs, all I could think about was unloading it at CD Spins.

Sufjan Stevens
I will never get this guy, even after giving him a few chances. First of all, those wings are fucking retarded. Dude, are you serious? How the hell can anyone take you seriously with those fucking wings, and that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this guy's gimmicky shit. I do have to admit that the albums about the states is a good idea, but what happens when he is down to like Rhode Island or something? I guess he could do a 7" featuring them and New Hampshire, but unfortunately the albums about the states moves the conversation from the music to the gimmick. Pretentious indie kids need something to rally around, and Sufjan's thinly veiled Christian folk does the trick. He's nothing more than Scott Stapp for kids who still buy vinyl.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006: Exitfare's favorite songs, part 2

After a few disappointing years of lackluster albums across the board (cough 2000-2002), I feel like 2006 was just an incredible year for music. Tons of new artists popped onto the scene with genre bending musical styles and killer hooks (Cold War Kids, Paris Hilton), while many seasoned veterans returned with inspired albums full of equally wonderful songs (Belle and Sebastian, The Decemberists). I know that this list is far from complete. You'll soon see that I completely omitted songs from a bunch of bands that are on the top tier of my "Top Albums of the Year" list. But these singles are the ones that I'd repeat over and over again without getting bored in the least. In short, they're the best of the best.

The Far Cries
The Far Cries "Stepping" [Myspace] / [mp3]
When I first wrote about the Far Cries in early July, I crowned "Stepping" as my single of the year. Frankly, I half guessed that it would be dethroned by early fall by some easy little dance punk number, but nothing really ever came close. "Stepping" is great because it's both catchy and musically ambitious. Yes, it'll get stuck in your head and you'll sing along. But after a few listens what'll strike you is the relative minimalism of the verses, the dynamic vocal counterpoint on the coda, and the fact that the song feels like a machine gun while retaining its pop sensibilities. It's a great song by a band that is only getting better by the second, so definitely check it out if you didn't the first time.

Action Plan "Stendhal" [Myspace]
Assembly Now "Out On 24s" [Myspace]
Belle and Sebastian "Sukie In The Graveyard" [Myspace]
Cold War Kids "We Used To Vacation" [Myspace] / [Extras]
The Decemberists "The Crane Wife 3" [Myspace]
De Novo Dahl "Shout" [Myspace] / [mp3] / [Extras]
The Hard Tomorrows "Take Down" [Myspace] / [Extras]
Headlights "Put Us Back Together Right" [Myspace]
Kristoffer Ragnstam "Breakfast By The Mattress" [Myspace] / [mp3]
Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s "On A Freezing Chicago Street" [Myspace]
Nelly Furtado (Featuring Timberlake) "Promiscuous" [Myspace]
The Neon Plastix "On Fire" [Myspace]
Okkervil River "The President’s Dead" [Myspace] / [Extras]
Silversun Pickups "Well Thought Out Twinkles" [Myspace] / [mp3]
Snow Patrol "Hands Open" [Myspace]
Snowden "Anti Anti" [Myspace] / [mp3] / [Extras]
The Twilight Singers "Underneath the Waves" [Myspace]
Two Gallants "Long Summer Day" [Myspace] / [Extras]
We Are Scientists "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" [Myspace]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

2006: Exitfare's favorite songs

I think it's a good time to break out my parade of lists, and there is no better way to start than the songs which killed my ipod this year. This is by no means a definitive list of my favorite songs, just the ones that managed to stand out above and beyond. Also included are tracks that are early signs of greatness from bands, some of whom will no doubt blow up next year.

[Photo Credit: Hilary Hulteen]
Division Day "Tigers" [MySpace] / [mp3]
It's easy to single this track out as my favorite track of the year, as so many things make it stand out. The keyboards bounce, the guitars buzz and the lyrics are among the band's most quotable. Division Day finally broke through this year, but 2007 will be all theirs, with the official release of their debut album on Mercy Records and shows across the country that willl help elevate them from blogger favorites to everyone's favorite.

American Princes "Never Grow Old" [MySpace] / [mp3]
The Kooks "Sofa Song" [MySpace]
Cold War Kids "Hospital Beds" [
Bloc Party "The Prayer" [
Sky Larkin "Somersault Notes" [MySpace] / [mp3]
Idlewild "If It Takes You Home" [
MySpace] / [mp3]
Assembly Now "Out On 24s" [
MySpace] / [mp3]
The Fratellis "Chelsea Dagger" [
The Streets "Prangin' Out [f/Pete Doherty]" [
The Klaxons "Atlantis To Interzone" [
MySpace] / [mp3]
Rosa Alchemica "Close To My Heart" [MySpace] / [mp3]
Luxembourg "(I Need) A Little Bit More (Than You Can Give Me)" [
MySpace] / [mp3]

Monday, December 11, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 12.11.06]

12.11: Rahim/Bound Stems @ Middle East Up
12.12: The Ex/Aloha
@ Middle East Down
12.14: Static Of The Gods/The Televangelist & The Architect @ Great Scott
12.15: Mr. Lif/The Coup
@ The Paradise
12.16: Faces On Film/Ra Ra Riot/The Channels @ Great Scott
12.16: The Lemonheads/Hymns/Vietnam @ Avalon
12.16: Sean Lennon/Jim Noir @ The Paradise
12.17: Aimee Mann/Fred Aremisen/Grant Lee Phillips @ Berklee Performance Center

I feel like there should be more shows this week, but I guess not. Not sure if I'll be at any of these shows, but I may try to check out Ra Ra Riot on Saturday. I was just in LA for a few days, so I am a bit tired and behind on work -- saw Lily Allen, she was great, did some shopping at Amoeba and went to Spaceland on Saturday night. The more I visit LA, the more I like it! Look for some year end wrap ups starting this week, followed by some major changes next year. Promise!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Letters & Colours

Letters & Colours

I've been gushing a lot about Leeds over the last couple of months, but I felt like I should take a break this week to recognize another northern city that has produced some insanely popular bands over the years--Sheffield. You probably know Sheffield as an industrial shit-hole (as it's been described to me by friends), a city so ugly that George Orwell proclaimed it to be "the ugliest town in the Old World." You probably didn't know that the city is also the birthplace of such varied groups as Def Leppard, The Human League, The Thompson Twins, Pulp, The Long Blondes, Arctic Monkeys, and Milburn, which is pretty crazy if you really think about it.

One more band should be added to that list of great Sheffield bands, Letters & Colours. The band has been around in one form or another since 2004, however they've really only started to emerge from their shell more recently by playing regular shows and finally releasing their first single in April. This long development seems to have really served Letters & Colours well, because their songs are just incredible. They take ultra lush, melodic riffs and then set them on repeat creating this intensity that just builds and builds as the energy of the band ebbs and flows. This is then offset by unemotional monotone singing, which ultimately creates this dark, brooding sound that is quite interesting. If you like bands like Joy Division, Editors, Interpol, and even Favourite Sons, then you will undoubtedly love this band. Period.

PS. Check out their myspace and their official website for a bunch of free downloads.

Myspace: Letters & Colours
Audio: "Confrontation" (YSI link, sorry!)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Editors: Remix EP

Editors were an Exitfare favorite from the moment we heard the first notes of "Munich" well over a year ago, and when I finally nabbed a copy of the import, I was sold. The album was filled with the best post punk tunes this side of Interpol and best of all, the band was a bit more loose and a bit more fun. The band is back in action with a remix EP [only available on iTunes], featuring a number of great producers, including Phones, who did redid the featured "All Sparks." Mr. Epworth has a long resume, as he has reworked songs from Bloc Party, The Rakes, Tom Vek and many others, and this tune is a welcome addition to his portfolio.

Buy: Remix EP
MySpace: Editors
Audio: "All Sparks [Phones Remix]"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sky Larkin

Leeds is basically my favorite spot in the UK for music right now -- the city is boiling over with great bands! This year have seen the likes of Duels and Forward, Russia! release great debut albums, and it seems that Sky Larkin is on the verge of following in their footsteps next year. NME quite accurately described them as "Bikini Kill playing Grandaddy songs," making them one of Radar's favorite new bands. They're also one of my favorites, probably one of my top discoveries this year, as they remind me of Echobelly's darker older sister. "Somersault Notes" is easily one of the best songs of the year, a track that I can play on repeat and never tire of. The band's debut single, "One Of Two" is slated for release on Jan. 22nd through the superb Dance To The Radio.

MySpace: Sky Larkin
Audio: "Somersault Notes"
Audio: "Traits And Traitors"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The View

It takes a special kind of band to support The Vines on tour. The band has to be able to drive a crowd into a frenzy, but also have to deal with a headliner that might fall apart at at any second. Scotland's The View have just that type of pedigree, one that was able to help them pack gigs across the UK and draw the fevered attention of 1965 Records' James Endicott, who was brash enough to sign them earlier this year. The band's next single, "Same Jeans," drops on January 15th followed by their debut album the following week. Look for them in the US next year as well.

MySpace: The View
Audio: "Wasted Little DJs"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 12.04.06]

12.04: Anathallo/Page France/Denison Witmer @ Middle East Up
12.04: Appleseed Cast/Owen/Copeland @ Axis
12.04: The Von Bondies @ The Paradise
12.05: New Model Army/Casket Salesmen
@ Middle East Up
12.05: El Vez @ The Paradise
12.06: Exene Cervenka And The Original Sinners
@ Middle East Up
12.07: We Are Scientists/Oxford Collapse/The Grates
@ Middle East Down
12.07: Murder By Death/The Hush Sound @ Axis
12.07: Alejandro Escovedo @ MFA
12.08: The Glass Set @ Great Scott
12.09: Taxpayer/The Information/The Daily Pravda @ Great Scott
12.09: Peter Walker/Jack Rose
@ Middle East Up [6 pm]
12.09: Cassavettes/Christians & Lions/Mittens
@ Middle East Up [9 pm]
12.10: The Shapes @ Great Scott
12.10: Mad Man Films
@ Middle East Up
12.10: Archer Prewitt/Pernice Brothers/Elvis Perkins @ T.T. The Bears

The next two weeks will see:
-the CMJ wrap-up
-songs and albums of the year
-a much needed vacation for me

12.08: The Glass Set @ Great Scott
I don't remember exactly when I first saw The Glass Set, but I remember that it was earlier this year, in some shitty warehouse here in Allston. The show was packed with kids in face paint and trenchcoats and if I wasn't with friends who knew where they were going, I would have thought I was lost -- the last place I wanted to end up was a goth party. The band ended up going on really late that night, well after I had crossed my drinking threshold, but what I heard were songs that despite being rough, had a ton of potential, drawing on a host of post punk influences from Echo & The Bunnymen and Interpol to Siouxsie & The Banshees. The band takes over The Pill this Friday, playing selection from their new album, which is slated for release early next year.
MySpace: The Glass Set
Audio: "Death Mask"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Idlewild: New Song

Idlewild has long been one of my favorite bands, and while everyone was dissing their last album, after I warmed up to it, I was confident it was their best. Warnings/Promises toned down their anthemic rock for a Document-esque exploration of sonic dynamics, letting the world know that Woomble and company were in it for the long run.

Make Another Run, will be out in February in the UK with a US date and label pending. Stop by their official site now -- if you sign up for their mailing list by Monday, you can get a link to a free download of the single.

MySpace: Idlewild
Audio: "If It Takes You Home"