Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dave Hause - Resolutions

I heard "Clash City Rockers" on the radio earlier this week and its startling face-smack triggered a flood of emotions - remembering sweaty, desperate punk rock shows, recalling the steely-eyed yet approachable humanity of Joe Strummer, but most of all reveling in how the Clash's awe-inspiring debut never backed down, never gave an inch and was unapologetically earnest while dolloping out bolts of righteous rage.

Dave Hause reminds me of that feeling - you get the sense there's no backup plan, rock and roll is the only thing there is to do. Talk to him for five minutes and you've got a friend for life. The songs on his solo debut Resolutions are about coming to grips with the moment when idealized notions (conquering the world with punk rock) meet maturing truths (how to marry art, family and adult obligations) in a fantastic mess of frayed nerve endings and still-to-be finished stories. Hause loses some of the scorched earth franticism of The Loved Ones, but guess what, the guy has a GREAT troubadour voice, full of emotion, evangelism and empathy. I was sold on this record when I first heard this line from the title track - "I want to play some Al Green records and spend more time with Tim".

Opener "Time Will Tell" sets the stage for looking back ("All my records feel like yearbook pictures, there's fondness but I can't remember where I've been") while the plot to move forward is formulated. Along the way there's a sobering wreck that drives home that life on the road is always tempting fate ("Pray for Tucson"), an organ driven shoulder to lean on in the anthemic "C'mon Kid" and ultimately a celebration/roll call of friends too good to be forgotten or cast aside ("Meet Me at The Lanes"), where ultimately we all wind up where we should ("So come on sing along, you got no better place to go"). Hause's naked uncertainty has yielded one certainty - this album will remembered when year-end best of lists are compiled.

Dave Hause appears this Saturday for two shows (sorry... both are SOLD OUT) at The Side Chapel at The First Unitarian Church on Chestnut St. (near 21st).

Dave Hause - "Pray for Tucson" (from Resolutions)

Dave Hause - "C'mon Kid" (from The Revival Tour Collection 2009)

Dave Hause - "Another Town" (Steve Earle cover)

The Loved Ones - "Louisiana" (from Build and Burn)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Record Store Day 2011 - You Can't Put Your Arms Around an MP3

I would say 98% of the United States is blissfully unaware of Record Store Day. But to the other 2%, Record Store Day is a national holiday - time to step away from the computer (oh the irony as I sit at my desktop PC typing this), take out the earbuds, power down the ipod and head out to your local record store... provided you are still fortunate enough to have a local record store.

There will be plenty of collector cool but hardly music essential Record Store Day releases - but if you're letting your geek flag fly (guilty!), I am sure there are a couple of releases you just HAVE to have. Above are some of the more Teenage Kicks friendly releases - I'll be spending most of the day at Main Street Music in Manayunk, where, for the price of zero dollars, you'll get three local bands (Brown Recluse, Cabin Dogs and Creepoid), free beverages, free food and plenty of sale priced vinyl and cds. So please visit Main Street Music or your favorite haunt and sift through cds, flip through some vinyl and maybe even engage in some actual face to face music discourse. Just breathe in that record store smell.

Main Street Music - 4444 Main St.

Philadelphia, PA


1:30 - Cabin Dogs

3:00 - Creepoid

4:00 - Brown Recluse

Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Give Larabee 216 Seconds!

It's amazing what you can do with 216 seconds. You can boil an egg, eat a hot dog, skim yesterday's Phils' highlights, take out the trash, even drinkthreebeersfast... but most gloriously you can get lost in a pop song. In this give-it-to-me now, attention deficit, jump cut, itunes instant gratification age we wallow in (if only for a moment), many mourn the death of the album, the grand artistic statement. Not me. Give me great songs. Give 'em to me fast and hard.

My friend Dave espouses the Five Second Theory - you will know in the first five seconds of a song whether it has a chance to make a lasting impression. I'm on board with that theory. Yeah, you'll miss a few great ones, but think of all the turds you'll be spared.

Matt Maguire, driving force behind Philadelphia's Larabee, leads off his brand new EP, Expose A Little Wire, with 216 seconds of pop bliss, the jittery, harmonica driven jangle fest "Little Liar". Easily passing the Five Second Test (trademark pending) with an adrenaline-laced guitar volley spiked with a skittish harmonica jolt, "Little Liar" is a classic, attention grabbing track 1.

Maguire is aided and abetted by former Buzz Zeemer/Flight of Mavis drummer Ken Buono, who helped pull this project together prior to his recent Nashville relocation. Their shared love of power pop and alt country filters through Expose A Little Wire, which also features the mid-tempo plea of "Cold Dark Night", the maudlin country waltz of "9:58 PM" and the Jayhawks-meets-Buckinghams closer "Forever's Ending".

Expose A Little Wire is available on itunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and cd baby, but Philadelphia locals should rush out to Main Street Music in Manayunk this Saturday and snag a copy and support Record Store Day. Do it.

Larabee - "Little Liar"

Other great ways to spend 216 seconds:

The Spinners - "One of a Kind (Love Affair)"

The Lovin Spoonful - "Darling Be Home Soon"

The Fratellis - "Whistle For The Choir"

Rilo Kiley - "Silver Lining"

Mark Cutler - "Cousin Mary's New Car"

Willie Nile - "Police on My Back"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Goodbye Picasso, Hello Manayunk

For anyone looking to the get their alt-country on Thursday night, head down to the Grape to catch the New York (via Florida, London and Nashville) based flannel-flying Goodbye Picasso. Their melancholy debut, The Book of Aylene, is song cycle about a group of guys trying to become a band, peppered with the shrapnel that comes with long drives, long nights and even longer days. No songs sums this feeling of looking back/looking ahead rootlessness than the sublime "Notes And Measures", an achingly gorgeous meditation on change.

There are echoes of the fragility of Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker, but enough stylistic shifts (the horns on "Silhouettes" and "We Make Great Enemies (Reprise)", the bluesy vamp "Don't Want Nothin") to keep the listener engaged.

Goodbye Picasso plays The Grape Room in Manayunk Thursday, April 7. The band's website says show time is 11:55. I'd call 215-930-0321 to confirm.

Goodbye Picasso - "Notes and Measures" .

Goodbye Picasso - "The Devil, The Bottle and Me"