Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life After Grandaddy

After 15 years and five albums Grandaddy packed it in back in January of 2006. So it's great news to have them back with new music, well sort of. Earlier this week Jason Lytle released his first post Grandaddy album Yours Truly, The Commuter on Anti. I'll try to curb my outright excitement for this release but the truth is, I like this album a lot. Recorded at his home studio in Montana Jason played and recorded every instrument on his own. Although the album doesn't break new ground, Lytle has turned in another excellent set of songs. A welcome return.

[MP3] Jason Lytle- Yours Truly, The Commuter

[Video] Jason Lytle- I Am Lost(And The Moment Cannot Last)

As for former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild he's preparing to release his second album under his All Smiles moniker. Oh For The Getting and Not Letting Go will be released on June 30th. The new album was recorded shortly after Jim relocated to Chicago and as with All Smiles debut Ten Readings of A Warning he enlisted assistance from some notable friends such as Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse), Solon Bixler (Great Northern), and the album was recorded by Brian Deck (Red Red Meat/Ugly Casanova).

Jim has posted two new songs from Oh For The Getting and Not Letting Go on the All Smiles Website.
[MP3/Stream] All Smiles- The Ones I Want To Live
[MP3/Stream] All Smiles- Our Final Roles As Birds

Alright, the vacation sign is hung on The AGP office door and we're hitting the open road. New content will commence around the 1st of June.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Show Alert
Animal Collective with Grouper
The House of Blues
Baltimore via New York purveyors of fearless experimentalism, Animal Collective are in town tonight. The band are currently on a massive tour that will keep them on the road through next fall in support of 2009's album of the year front runner Merriweather Post Pavilion. There self described free form, horror, gospel, hip hop, soul, pop madness will be in full bloom tonight when the band take to the stage in front of a sold-out crowd at The House of Blues.

Grouper a.k.a. Liz Harris will open the show with her beautiful skewed pop songs drenched in distortion. Be sure to arrive early people.
Doors are at 7:00

Animal Collective Live at the 9:30 Club 5/11/09
Presented by NPR's All Songs Considered.

Here's Animal Collective destroying it on Letterman:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Decemberists are wrapping up rehearsals in Portland this week as they prepare to head out on the road in support of The Hazards of Love. Before they hit the stage in your town this summer they've booked a couple of TV and Radio performances at the end of this week. Thursday the band will perform on The Tonight Show and then bright and early Friday morning The Decemberists will perform a short set on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. For those of us not in the L.A. area the performance will be streaming for your listening pleasure on at 2:15 PM EST.

The Decemberists
will play The Bank of America Pavilion on June 9th.

In news a little closer to home, Thursday we find two of Baltimore's finest in town. Animal Collective will be at the House of Blues and Wye Oak will be at TT The Bears. The former will be getting a pre show write up tomorrow so lets focus on the duo of Joan Wasner & Andy Stack that make up the magnificent Wye Oak. The band knocked me out last year with there re-released debut If Children on Merge and I'm expecting a similar result when there new album In Knots is released on July 21st. Wye Oak are currently touring the with Ohio's Pomegranates who are supporting there excellent new release Everybody, Come Outside!

[MP3] Wye Oak- Take it In

North Carolina's Bowerbirds have announced that they will release there sophomore album Upper Air via Dead Oceans on July 7th. The band is planning a lengthy tour that will have them playing shows in Boston and Providence in July.

[MP3] Bowerbirds- Northern Lights from the forthcoming Upper Air.

Bowerbirds Tour Dates
07/06/09 Washington, DC - Black Cat w/ Megafaun
07/07/09 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's w/ Megafaun
07/08/09 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom w/ Megafaun
07/10/09 Providence, RI - Club Hell w/ Megafaun
07/11/09 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall w/ Megafaun
07/12/09 Cambridge, MA - TT The Bear's Place w/ Megafaun
07/13/09 Montreal QC, Canada - La Sala Rossa w/ Megafaun
07/14/09 Toronto ON, Canada - Sneaky Dees w/ Megafaun
07/15/09 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern w/ Megafaun
07/16/09 Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room at The Crofoot w/ Megafaun
07/17/09 Indianapolis, IN - Vollrath Tavern w/ Megafaun
07/20/09 Iowa City, IA - The Mill w/ Megafaun
07/21/09 Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry w/ Megafaun
07/22/09 Omaha, NE - Slowdown w/ Megafaun
07/26/09 Denver, CO - Hi Dive w/ Megafaun
07/27/09 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court w/ Megafaun
07/29/09 Vancouver BC, Canada - The Biltmore Cabaret w/ Megafaun
07/30/09 Seattle, WA - Triple Door w/ Megafaun
07/31/09 Anacortes, WA - Department of Safety w/ Megafaun
08/01/09 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios w/ Megafaun
08/03/09 San Francisco, CA - Cafe du Nord w/ Megafaun
08/04/09 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo w/ Megafaun
08/05/09 San Diego, CA - Casbah w/ Megafaun
08/06/09 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room w/ Megafaun
08/10/09 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress w/ Megafaun
08/12/09 Denton, TX - Hailey's w/ Megafaun
08/13/09 Austin, TX - The Mohawk w/ Megafaun
08/14/09 Houston, TX - Walter's On Washington w/ Megafaun
08/15/09 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks w/ Megafaun
08/16/09 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree w/ Megafaun
08/17/09 Atlanta, GA - The Earl w/ Megafaun

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Thermals Interview:
10 Questions with Hutch Harris

Does everyone love The Thermals yet? Well they should! The band formed in 2002 in Portland, OR and released their debut More Parts Per Million on Sub-Pop in 2003--A four-track gem recorded in Hutch Harris' kitchen. Since then the band has released three more records and gone through a few incarnations with various drummers while continuing to fine tune and improve their brand of post-punk-pop. This case is best displayed on their excellent new release Now We Can See, where the songs are delivered through the perspective of the dead.

The Thermals will play the Middle East tomorrow night in support of Now We Can See which comes via there new label Kill Rock Stars with support from Shaky Hands and Point Juncture, WA.

I'm pretty damn excited to finally get to see The Thermals this week and equally excited that front man Hutch Harris agreed to field some questions from us via e-mail. He was gracious enough to fill us in on all things Thermals. Thanks Hutch!

[MP3] The Thermals- Now We Can See

The Ash Gray Proclamation: A lot of changes have occurred over the last year with The Thermals--you signed to a new label, hooked up with a new producer, and added a new member to the band. How did Westin Glass come to be your new drummer?

Hutch: Westin was living in Seattle. He emailed us when he heard we were looking for a new drummer, then came down and played with us a few times before we asked him to join the band. We auditioned a lot of drummers. Westin had the best style and the best personality.

AGP: How did the decision to move from Sub Pop to Kill Rock Stars come about?

: We wanted a different contract than the type Sub-Pop was offering us. Kill Rock Stars offered the deal we wanted. Plus they just moved to Portland, which is so awesome. It's great to have them in town and to finally have a really good record label in Portland.

AGP: After the success of The Body, The Blood, and The Machine and it's political and religious themes, did you feel a need to take The Thermals into a less conceptual direction for the new record?

Not less conceptual, just less political and less religious. There is very much a concept happening in this record... this record is all about life, from the point of view of the dead.

AGP: The new album is fantastic. What was it like working with John Congleton who handles production duties on Now We Can See ?

Hutch: Thank you! It was great working with John. He got in touch with us. He was a big fan of The Body,The Blood, and The Machine and was very enthusiastic about doing this record. John is the same age as Kathy and I so the three of us pretty much have all the same reference points. He also encouraged us to sign with KRS.

AGP: How do you feel Now You Can See compares with your previous work?

: We think these are some of the best songs we've ever written. We wouldn't release it unless we felt that way.

AGP: There seems to be a more positive tone with this record. Did the end of the Bush Administration and the Inauguration of President Obama have any influence on that?

: Closing the chapter on Bush's two terms definitely played a big part in it, but all of the music and most of the lyrics were written before Obama even had the nomination, so I can't say that affected it. The title works well, obviously, and we're happy to ride Obama's coattails and cash in on his success just like everyone else.

AGP: I read somewhere that you were planning a solo album in the future--do you have any details you can share on that project?

: Yeah it's gonna be called Portland Girls and I hope to record it this year on an 8 track 1/2" reel to reel. Some of the song titles are "J-J-J-Jen" and "When Mallory's Around".

AGP: Do you think that lost Thermals album will ever see the light of day?

: Yes, for sure. It's called We Sleep In A Holy Bed. You'll be downloading it illegally in a few years.

AGP: You've been touring the country by mini-van in support of the new record-- what have you guys been listening to on those long drives?

We're in a Sprinter now, thankfully. The mini-van was just for a quick trip we took to Bethlehem, PA to play with The Roots. We listen to a ton of stuff. Today already we've listened to The Hot Snakes, The Beatles, and The Rentals.

AGP: I woke up this morning and saw that I had 80 twitter messages or tweets and I think 60 were from The Thermals, are you guys twitter junkies?

Uh, yeah, we're fucking addicted to this bullshit. You probably have another 60 from us since you read this interview. We are going to encourage people to visit our twitter page to see what's up with us, 'cuz following us must be fucking ridiculous.
Grab tickets for The Middle East show here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Show Alert(s)
Mogwai with The Twilight Sad
The Wilbur Theatre
The long awaited return of Mogwai to our fine city is upon us. The Glaswegians are in town tonight to play the Wilbur Theatre in support of last years The Hawk is Howling. Get there early so you don't miss the opening set from fellow Scots The Twilight Sad. Over the years I've missed a handful of opportunities to catch this band Live, so to say I'm looking forward to the sonic assault that awaits me is a bit of an understatement, and yes I'm bringing ear plugs. Tickets are still available here.

As if that wasn't enough, after the Mogwai show you should go direectly to TT The Bears Place for one of Boston's finest The Hush Now as they take part in fellow Boston Music Blogger Bradley's Almanac presented show featuring 4 great bands for $10. Check out Brad's site for the details.