Upcoming Show: Mountains at The Picador in Iowa City 2/1/10

Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg of Mountains
Last year on April 24th, Mountains made their first Iowa appearance at The Picador headlining a lineup of experimental electronic musicians. They performed a piece that would become Etching, which was released by Thrill Jockey on limited edition vinyl only and is currently out-of-print.

Koen told me via e-mail they will be playing a new composition for this tour that they debuted during their recent tour of Europe. This new composition does not include their laptops  as they implemented in past shows, which will be interesting. More knob twiddling in their extensive effects pedal arrays, I imagine!

Mountains is returning to the Midwest at the end of January as part of a tour that will kick off in Buffalo, NY and wrap up with a run of East Coast dates ending on February 11th in Boston. They’ll be hitting Chicago at the Empty Bottle on January 28th,  Omaha on the 29th at the Bemis Center, Northfield, MN at the Cave which is on the Carleton College Campus on the 30th, The Project Lodge in Madison, WI on the 31st, then Iowa City at the Picador on Monday, February 1st. The Empty Bottle show will have David Daniell and Doug McCombs whose Thrill Jockey release Sycamore (still available on LP!) is one of my favorites from TJ last year! I wish they were continuing on tour with them so I could catch them in Iowa City! (update: David said that they are planning a trip out here in early March! Stay tuned!)

Supporting Mountains on this run is Swedish trio Tape. Tape is an ambient band that features guitars in kind of an Eno-esque fashion. They’ve been producing their music since 2000 and has been steadily growing their fanbase. They have a penchant for vinyl and their last brilliant release Luminarium and their upcoming release with Bill Wells Fugue are both available in limited vinyl pressings on Immune Recordings. I’m hoping they bring some with them on tour! Be sure to check out some of Tape’s music on their MySpace Page. I’ve been listening to their songs for the past couple of days and really like the dreamy atmospherics.

Click Here for Mountains’ Website

Click Here for Mountains’ MySpace Page

Click Here for Tape’s Website.

Tour Dates (from Thrill Jockey)

Wed    Jan 27    Buffalo, NY     – Soundlab    w/ Tape
Thu    Jan 28    Chicago, IL    – Empty Bottle    w/ Tape
Fri    Jan 29    Omaha, NE    – Bemis Center for the Contemporary Arts    w/ Tape
Sat    Jan 30    Northfield, MN    – The Cave @ Carleton College    w/ Tape
Sun    Jan 31    Madison, WI    – The Project Lodge    w/ Tape
Mon    Feb 1    Iowa City, IA    – The Picador    w/ Tape
Wed    Feb 3    Louisville, KY    – Skull Alley    w/ Tape
Thu    Feb 4    Lexington, KY    – Al’s Bar    w/ Tape
Fri    Feb 5    Knoxville, TN    – The Pilot Light    w/ Tape
Sat    Feb 6    Chapel Hill, NC    – Nightlight    w/ Tape
Mon    Feb 8    Washington, DC    – Bossa    w/ Tape
Tue    Feb 9    Philadelphia, PA    – The Chapel @ First Unitarian    w/ Tape
Wed    Feb 10    New York, NY    – Le Poisson Rouge (Unsound Festival)    w/ Tape, Radian, Tim Hecker
Thu    Feb 11    Boston, MA    – TBA

Upcoming Show: Anna Laube at The Picador in Iowa City 5-27-09

Anna Laube (crop)
Anna Laube will be back in Iowa City next Wednesday night, May 27th at The Picador playing a late second show. On this trip she will be bringing along her frequent musical sidekick Brendan O’Connell from Chicago soul machine The Right Now. If all works out, she will be bringing bass and drums as well!

I had a chance to hear Anna’a set at The Java House back in January, when she was also recorded for the Java Blend show on IPR. The show I saw had Jon Eric sitting in with Anna on banjo which was neat. She played a couple of short sets for the night coffee crowd filled mostly with song from her two albums: her 2006 album Outta My Head and her new album Pool All The Love * Pool Al The Knowledge with its infectious and personal favorite track “Hippie Boyfriend.” She threw in a cover of an obscurish Bob Dylan track “Wallflowers” and the Rolling Stones classic she played the night before with Dave Zollo at the Mill “Dead Flowers.” It was great to see her in such a warm and intimate setting. I’d love to see her in a band configuration, though.

Because it is the second show that night, her show sharing the bill with Patrick Bloom and Ghosts of Radio doesn’t start until 10:45PM, doors will be at 10PM. Cover is a budget-friendly $5 and is a 21-and-over show.

Click Here for Anna’s website with samples of songs

Click Here for Anna’s MySpace page

Click Here to download “Hippie Boyfriend” from Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge

Upcoming Show: The BellRays @ The Picador in Iowa City 5/4/09

photo credit: Emmy Etie

photo credit: Emmy Etie

Being the music junkie that I am, I always love to find out about amazing music I didn’t know about! Such is the case with The BellRays— a hard-rocking and soulful group that has at its core Bob Vennum and Lisa Kekaula who– as a couple have been performing for over 20 years! I found out about the BellRays and their upcoming show at the Picador from Tom “Morst” Scharff who is among other things the archivist for Cracker and its associated bands.

The BellRays are related to Cracker through guitarist Johnny Hickman. One of Hickman’s early bands was The Dangers and Bob Vennum was a member of that band. The BellRays provide a high-energy almost garage-band rock with the vocals of Lisa. At times it kind of reminds me of how Lenny Kravitz approaches his music.

Bob & Lisa are currently in a tour in Europe in support of their first album of “AM Radio-Inspired” music titled Rosethorns. When they get back they will be kicking off a US tour running in April and May. As part of these shows the BellRays will be hitting Iowa City at the Picador on 5/4/09 and at the High Noon Saloon on 5/6/09.

Click Here to visit the Picador website

Click Here for the BellRays Website

Click Here for the BellRays MySpace page

Click Here to listen to mp3’s from BellRays’ albums

Click Here to listen to “One Big Party” from The BellRay’s 2008 album Hard Sweet and Sticky

Upcoming Show: Lyrics Born @ The Picador in Iowa City – 4/15/09!

Lyrics Born

Well, it looks like I don’t have to drive to Minneapolis on April 17th, as Lyrics Born will be stopping by Iowa City on his way from Madison to Minneapolis!

Lyrics Born along with Joyo Velarde and DJ D-Sharp will be playing the Picador in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 15th. A Wednesday night show will be a little rough for work the next day, and there isn’t much for seating at the Picador so it will be a standing night. Doors are at 9PM according to the Picador site and Ticketweb, and they are a very reasonable $15. Other acts to be announced.

Click Here to visit Lyrics Born’s Website

Click Here to visit the Picador website

Click Here to order tickets from TicketWeb

Don’t forget to download LB’s new song “Funky Hit Records” from his forthcoming album As U Were.

Upcoming Show: Backyard Tire Fire @ The Picador 9/10/08

Backyard Tire Fire is a band I’d heard of, but never searched out. So, it was cool that the band’s manager reached out to me via MySpace last week to be a friend. I gave a listen to some of the songs on their page and checked out the streaming songs from their upcoming album on their website, too.

The guys from Backyard Tire Fire are from Bloomington, Illinois which is next to Normal, where I spent part of my childhood and one of my brothers was born there in the early Seventies while my dad worked at General Electric. Not that this makes them my neighbor, but they might be the only band I’ve ever heard of from there.

I bought and downloaded from mp3.rhapsody.com Tire Fire’s 2007 release Vagabonds and Hooligans in an acceptible 256K rip. The band delivers a confident mix of Americana-leaning rock with Indie sensibilities. Across the album we are offered glimpses of the bands influences– “Green Eyed Soul” comes off like an early Wilco track, “Tom Petty” draws a bit from Tom Petty. The Black Crowes could stand to write a soulful ballad like “The Wrong Hand.” But, to break Backyard Tire Fire down to comparisons misses the fact that it is a strong album from a band that is growing with every release.

In a time when bands that tour as much as Backyard Tire Fire does tend to wait a while between releases, it’s a bit surprising to see that they are releasing the followup to Vagabonds and Hooligans at the end of this month (August 26th) titled The Places We Lived. The three songs streaming from their website and MySpace page shows the promise of another great release. According to the press info on their website, the band holds true to an analog asthetic preferring to record with tape over ProTools. The logical The There will be a vinyl version of this album as well!

The band is getting ready for a run of late-summer Midwestern dates in support of the release that will run through the end of September. Here are the dates as of today from their MySpace page.

Aug 13 2008 9:00P
Lucky Aces – Ed Anderson acoustic Le Roy, Illinois
Aug 16 2008 9:00P
J Bucks – Ed Anderson acoustic Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 20 2008 9:00P
Official TPWL Chicago Listening Party – Alive One! Chicago, Illinois
Aug 21 2008 9:00P
Highdive Champaign
Aug 22 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Dirty Hands Band Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 23 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Company of Thieves & Peter Adriel Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 28 2008 7:00P
Kiss the Sky – BTF acoustic instore Geneva, Illinois
Aug 31 2008 10:15P
Strip Mines Music Festival – Shawnee Cave – Strip Mines Music Festival Murphysboro, Illinois
Sep 5 2008 8:00P
Metro w/ Ha Ha Tonka Chicago, Illinois
Sep 10 2008 7:30P
The Picador w/ Ha Ha Tonka Iowa City, Iowa
Sep 11 2008 7:00P
The Rave w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sep 12 2008 8:00P
The Annex w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Madison, Wisconsin
Sep 13 2008 9:00P
7th Street Entry w/ Ha Ha Tonka Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 17 2008 7:00P
Blue Note Summerfest w/ Avett Bros & Ha Ha Tonka Columbia, Missouri
Sep 18 2008 8:00P
Record Bar w/ Ha Ha Tonka Kansas City, Missouri
Sep 19 2008 9:00P
Josie’s w/ Ha Ha Tonka Emporia, Kansas
Sep 20 2008 7:00P
Lucas School House w/ Ha Ha Tonka St. Louis, Missouri
Sep 24 2008 8:00P
Grog Shop w/ Ha Ha Tonka Cleveland, Ohio
Sep 25 2008 8:00P
The Basement w/ Ha Ha Tonka Columbus, Ohio
Sep 26 2008 8:00P
Spin w/ Ha Ha Tonka Indianapolis, Indiana
Sep 27 2008 7:00P
Southgate House w/ Ha Ha Tonka Newport, Kentucky

The band will be in Iowa City at the Picador on September 10th. The show is at 7:30PM so maybe it will get over early enough for me to do a mid-week show. Opening is Ha Ha Tonka who did a Daytrotter session in July. Tickets are $7 and if you order them in advance you get a signed poster of the album art you can pick up at the show.

There are a lot of places to stream or download content for Backyard Tire Fire.

They did a session for the kind folks at Daytrotter in March with some new material.

Click Here to download a FREE EP called Sick of Debt (a zip file of mp3’s)

Click Here to download live shows of the band from archive.org

Click Here to stream Vagabonds and Hooligans at Indie911

Click Here to download an in-studio recording with My Old Kentucky Blog from last year.

Click Here to visit their MySpace page which has six tracks from The Places We Lived.