Grizzly Bear To Go On Grizzly Tour, Timothy Treadwell To Oversee Security

Nobody runs away anymore. Kids are simple, but there's something particularly adult about children these days. I was walking with a friend to a hobby shop, and on the way, we saw three kids playing Cops & Robbers. A nice scene. Fingers as guns, it's a wonder we use them for anything else. Very nostalgic, very Americana. Then they turned their guns on us. This was high noon, shootout, Old West! What could we do? Give up, give out, give in?

I shot back. Nobody says ‘bang’ anymore; it has to be deeper, more "sh" sounds. More real. If it's not deeper, it's sharper, but you can't say ‘pop.’ That's the old-time version of today's Grand Theft Auto pistol. It's a fine line, so I went with a deep ‘dzuzsh,’ which seemed to carry across the traffic rather well. Real action-movie-like. I hit one of the boys, and it was looking promising for me, but then I realized my friend wasn't shooting. He was just walking alongside. We were under fire and he was taking it in stride! This wasn't the hero, focused and determined, storming in with explosions on either side; this was total disengagement.

He thought he was impervious. He thought if he didn't shoot back, he'd be safe. I was going down -- first my leg to slow me, then my shoulder just in case adrenaline hit and I crawled away. They were relentless as they went in for the kill. I was given my due and hit in the chest, rolling into the bushes, but my friend went right on down the street.

He kept going, until they really hit him. They called him ‘boring.’ Imagine that? Boring at 21? How do you recover? There was no other way to say it. The old-time version would've worked just as well, deep "sh" sounds and pop sounds alike. This was timeless. The whole time, I felt like Grizzly Bear (for the animal, see Grizzly bear) was hovering. Not that their music is boring, no way, but it felt present more for its tone, its atmosphere that feels, to me anyway, timeless. There's an ease, a playful seriousness, a blanket of comfort that kids seem like they should have, but don't.

Kids have a great way of blurting out the truth, they see an injustice -- in this case, a young person not playing -- and they call it like they see it. My friend, shocked, horrified, made a feeble attempt at fighting back, but it was too late. He was boring. There was no other way around it. So what did he do? He ran. He ran away. Twenty-one and running away. Kids don't run away anymore. Boring or not, there was something inherently childish about that. I thought maybe he was more childlike than the three boys. And there was Grizzly Bear. It seemed fitting, this adult childhood. And that's encouraging, isn't it? At least for those of us who aren't kids? For them, for those boys that were shooting at us, for those pre-adults, who knows. Maybe they can listen to Grizzly Bear.

They're touring, with Feist. No literal handguns needed. Bang, bang:

^with Feist

One Man Builds Entire Tour; Ian MacKaye’s The Evens Hit The (Self-Paved) Road

Believe it or not, demigod Ian MacKaye (the man behind Minor Threat and Fugazi, for those of you whose soul was repossessed by the Man long ago) plays in a highly underrated band. Maybe it's some sort of requirement when you exist as one of the last untouchable elders of independent music to have a project that is largely ignored by anyone without a Dischord tattoo, but it is still a damn shame. A duo for the ages, Amy Farina is Chris O'Donnell to MacKaye's George Clooney (but way more DIY), and the two of them make beautifully lo-fi indie-rock songs that skewer the things Mr. MacKaye's been sticking it to for decades.

Now, laughing in the face of modern touring, The Evens are doing it their own way. For two weeks only (because honestly, who hasn't toured a whole summer nowadays), the pair will Do It Themselves all around the Northeast and Canada. Since the release of their sophomore album, Get Evens, last year the band have been busy fashioning instruments out of human hair and cat litter, and finally the songs can be played without buying in. The band will walk date-to-date wearing nothing but recycled plastic, and upon arriving in each city, paving the roads with vegan cheese as they go, they will erect a venue from beachwood and organic dental floss. Renowned for a maximum $5 ticket price, this time MacKaye will actually pay the fans to watch the show, but only in his own currency consisting of vacant hermit crab shells.

A sight to be seen:

Cobain Bio Film Soundtrack To Feature R.E.M., Ben Gibbard, Iggy Pop; Cobain Rolls Over In Grave For The 200th Time

Why is it that we insist on going on and on and on about dead famous people? Isn't it bad enough that individuals like Cobain felt like they lived miserable existences and that they didn't want to live anymore? While news of a new autobiographical Kurt Cobain film called About A Son isn't quite as disheartening as, say, the treasure-seeking Nirvana "best of" or Journals, the privacy-raping, posthumous collection of diary entries, it still leaves much to be desired.

In any case, the soundtrack for said film is mostly a compilation of previously released material from such Cobain favorites as Bad Brains, Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and Leadbelly, but will also feature some new music from Steve Fisk and Ben Gibbard (who Cobain was heard talking about from within his grave. Apparently, Transatlanticism is his favorite Death Cab record). The soundtrack to the film, aptly named after the movie itself, About A Son, is set to be released by Barsuk on another day of death that we all keep talking about: September 11.

Wait a minute; did Cobain knock down the towers?

In more tasteful commentary, Gibbard's contribution to the film is a cover of another Cobain (and Gliddon) favorite: Calvin Johnson's Beat Happening. The song choices are also very tasteful, so much so that you almost wonder if a Tiny Mix Tape Robot compiled it. What's on it, you ask? Well, I thought you'd never ask!

Ten Years Later, Foo Fighters Change Their Minds, Decide They DO Want to Be Your Monkey Wrench After All

Remember 1997? I sure do. It was the year when we realized that the ’90s were on the outs, and good ol’ Alternative Rock music, the at-once greatest and most wishy-washy gift the ’90s ever gave us, was in a confusing state of flux.

It finally set in that, despite the claims of my older brother’s pot-smoking musician friends, Kurt Cobain probably wasn’t murdered after all; Fred Durst hadn’t yet reared his chump-ass, redcapped head to usher in the egregious rap-metal era that ruled the last two years of the millenium; and EZ Alternative acts like Tonic, The Wallflowers, and The Verve Pipe seemed to be ushering in a brand of... well, downright watered-down, light-beer wussiness.

I don’t know about you, but I wore a constant frown on my face for the first half of that year. A lot of the girls that I knew were pretty heavily into Jewel, which baffled my prepubescent brain, and my little 13-year-old, hairless ass couldn’t have been more pissed-off at a musical nation that seemed to be thriving on such blatant atrocities as Lilith Fair (you remember Lilith Fair, don’t you?), Meredith Brooks’ Alanis-copping girl-power anthem, and, oh yeah, don’t forget fucking Matchbox 20!

Where was the DUDE rock, man??? What the fuck happened? I was too young to be seeking out music that the radio didn’t provide for me, and I was at an absolute loss. I needed something to latch onto, something to thrash around to in my bedroom. But it seemed like the musical world had turned its back on seething pre-teen males for good.

All hope was lost.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere . . .


The cathartic screaming... the kick-ass riffage... the balls-to-the-wall drumming... the mindless yet vaguely angry subject matter. Dave Grohl had brought it ALL to the fucking party! Kurt WHO?????

That first single off the monumental The Colour and the Shape absolutely blew my young mind. I camped out in front of my stereo for hours with a cassette tape poised and ready to record the song off the radio. I made my dad (yeah, this is lame) RUSH to Best Buy after work that May when the album finally dropped to pick up a copy for me on the very first day it came out.

And the hit parade ensued: “Hey, Johnny Park!” had old girl from Veruca Salt on vocals, so I loved it. “My Hero” was “totally about Kurt, man,” so I loved it. “Everlong” was the first song I’d ever heard that made 16ths on the hi-hats actually sound badass, so I loved it. “February Stars” was emo before emo ever even hit the suburban malls, so I loved it. The album as a whole one-upped Grohl’s self-titled debut considerably, and I was hooked.

Now in 2007, Dave Grohl may have become a tired and painful-to-watch imitation of himself, but hey... I’m not about to let the fact that he’s gotten old and fallen off the wagon taint some of his best and most idealistic work. And apparently, I’m not the only one.

While most of us wait with comfortably and decidedly un-baited breath for the newest Dad-rock schtick-fest from the current line-up of Grohl, Hawkins, and company, that landmark album of albums The Colour and the Shape is getting its just desserts for being the pre-teen boy-rock album of the year that we all know it was by receiving a deluxe makeover and 10-year anniversary reissue via Legacy/RCA.

The album will feature the same ol’ 14 tracks of testosterone-packed jams that you knew and loved, plus a handful of potentially tough-to-track-down cover songs and B-sides, including Killing Joke's "Requiem," Gary Numan's "Down in the Park," (off of The X-Files Soundtrack, which I fucking OWNED, natch!), and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," as well as B-sides "Drive Me Wild," "Dear Lover," and "The Colour and the Shape." The only difference is that now you can listen to “Monkey Wrench” and be pissed at your boss or your wife instead of your 7th grade teacher or your mom! Isn’t life sweet?

Representative of a young band in its prime, The Colour and the Shape featured the work of not only a maturing Grohl, but also the former Nirvana/Germs Guitarist Pat Smear and the unholy Sunny Day Real Estate rhythm section of bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith. (Sure, good ol’ Davie might have... uh, “tweaked” most of Goldsmith’s drum tracks, thereby booting him back to Jeremy Enigk-ruled Godville. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?)

Anyway, the deluxe, 10th anniversary (yes, take a second to consider how old that makes you) The Colour and the Shape will be hitting “Pop/Rock/Alternative” shelves at giant, impersonal record stores everywhere July 10, just in time to soundtrack all of our midsummer barbeques and ’90s-themed beach trips. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to give my dear old dad a call to see if he can pick it up for me after work...

Fall In/Fall Out:

Get ready for a whole new round of “Dude, I know for a FACT; all of these songs are TOTALLY about KURT!”

I can’t wait.

Dead Meadow Tour UK; If They Had a Nickel For Every Time the Word “Psychedelic” Appeared in Print, They Could Tour Mars

I had this whole big thing ready about how Dead Meadow transcend any casual “dudes sound like they’re on drugs, man”-type dismissal. I mean, they carry traits of the “Blue Cheer smoking up then hitting on Neil Young’s girlfriend in space” sound, but I’ve always seen them as above it somehow. Their Matador Records biography, however, claims the boys “set out to fuse their love of early '70s hard rock and '60s psychedelia with their love of writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft,” and you know what? I’ve given it some thought: If Dead Meadow want their music to evoke Jimmy Page slowly riding Shub-Niggurath into Helm’s Deep, awesome. Sure beats a band that evokes a 16-year-old in pointy shoes checking his MySpace.

It’s working out for them, with a reissue of their second studio album Howls From the Hills available now, a fifth studio album entitled Old Growth forthcoming on Matador, and an upcoming tour of the UK (homeland of both Page and Tolkien), where they will hopefully continue to wage war on bands who bring to mind the image of a guy telling another guy he’s going to save up for a Vespa.

The Black Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Tourdates:

Ad-Supported Music Service Set to Launch By End Of Summer; Is Actually Named “Spiralfrog”

For the reader on the go, an easily digestible list of cool things about Spiralfrog:

- It permits you to download useful 128 kbps MP3s by artists such as Eminem and Elton John.

- Thanks to our trusty friend DRM, the files expire in 30 days.

- It is named Spiralfrog.

- It is supported entirely by forcing you to watch ads from a “who’s who” of advertisers.

- Chairman and founder Joe Mohen was considerate enough to have his five-year-old daughter name his company.

- It is debuting in America by the end of the summer.

- The beta only works in Internet Explorer, and IE7’s default security settings prevent users from logging in.

- If Mohen earnestly believes that people who subscribe to his service (which is named Spiralfrog) will watch 90 seconds of ads to download one song that will expire in one month, his optimism is endearing and beautiful.

- It operates in a legal grey area where the MP3s are considered promotional copies, which may be a ploy to skirt royalty payments.

- Upon learning of Spiralfrog’s impending existence, Steve Jobs started to laugh for a moment, but the noise was muffled when he began to smoke two cigars at once, both lit with separate hundred-dollar bills. He then put his feet up on his desk and took the rest of the day off.