Archive for June, 2009

Rave’s Raves: June, 2009 including SXSW and Coachella recaps

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

RAVE’S FAVES(artists currently on the air)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Matt and Kim, Ida Maria, Depeche Mode, M. Ward, Rancid, White Lies, Late of the Pier,,Franz Ferdinand, Doves, The Dead Weather, Morrissey, MGMT, Peaches.

Lots of controversy about  YYY’s new direction, and I’m one who favors it.  New artists such as Matt and Kim, White Lies and Late of the Pier have a number of strong tracks.  In the case of Doves, I favor a number of theirs over the single.  This is probably my favorite Morrissey album. The kid in me is happy to see that “Kids” has finally become a hit for MGMT, more than a year following their album’s release. Peaches’ “Talk to Me” single is one of my favorite tracks right now. Sooner or later, this woman will have a hit.

RAVE’S FAVES #35.1 at end of June(artists receiving airplay since May 1)

Jet, Noisettes, Art Brut, Phoenix, Placebo, Metric, White Rabbits, Horrors, St. Vincent, King Khan and the Shrines, Spinnerette

Jet’s awesome new “She’s A Genius” single is gathering airplay and is my favorite current.  It’s nice to see that radio is willing to consider a band that many felt had seen its best days, and that radio is willing to play a hot garage-oriented song.  Noisettes have taken on more of a 60’s pop direction and just topped the UK charts.  Phoenix, Art Brut, and Metric stacked their CD’s with lots of good songs.  The Spinerette single is growing on me but as I say in the live review below, I like their grittier stuff better.  The Horrors’ “Who Can Say” track is a grower as well.


Doves played a set at LA’s Wiltern, that did a fine job of entertaining their fans.  They’re aren’t the most dynamic live, and I wonder whether there were many converts in the house.  They’ve got some stellar tracks on their current album, and I understand they’re considered to be the early favorites for the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize this September.  King Khan and the Shrines were recommended by several friends and I enjoyed their live show at The Echo.  The number of mid-tempo songs surprised(and slightly disappointed) me, and my understanding is that past shows have been more energetic.  Jay Reatard also played at The Echo.  Energy was no problem for this dude that NME has christened “the new king of garage rock”.  The short set was packed with tunes played so fast that they all sounded like the same song.  White Rabbits are a buzz band that filled The Troubadour in support of their highly-touted sophomore effort.  These guys are very musical and effective live.  Most of the better responses were to edgier songs from their debut album.  Art Brut held a 4-night LA residency at Spaceland and The Echo.  I’ve long loved them, and this gig might have been the best I’ve seen.  Singer Eddie Argos was in fine form at The Echo, tossing condoms into the crowd prior to “Good Weekend”, urging everyone to remove their clothes, and generally providing more irony in one evening than we normally hear in a month.  Spinnerette had a highly-buzzed about, sold-out CD release party at The Troubadour.  People like the disc and the new single.  Brody Dalle has a natural presence about her, and this band is less punk than her old band The Distillers.  The grittier, harder tunes worked best, although much of the set was more mid-tempo.  Everything was played the same way, rather than bringing it down for the less intense stuff.


When attending a festival like Coachella, I like to focus on new bands.  Top discoveries for me were as follows: The UK’s Los Campesinos dominated with their energetic, quirky brand of rock.  Kentucky’s blusey Cage the Elephant supported their substantial airplay with an intense live set, a major front man in Matt Shultz, and a number of good songs.  London’s White Lies impressed me at South By Southwest and played well again at Coachella.  Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls put on a solo set that was probably my most fun experience of the weekend.  She concluded by body surfing all the way to the back of the tent, grabbing a ukulele, and leading everyone in a cover of the song “Creep.”  Speaking of fun, Friendly Fires burned up their crowd on a very hot Sunday with yet another great gig.  They also scored at The Troubadour a few days prior to the festival  Based on Coachella triumphs in past years, all of these artists will probably see career spikes from these shows.  As expected, The Ting Tings and Beirut did real well.  It was good seeing TV on the Radio for the first time.  Most of the bigger bands bring their A-game to an event like this, so there are few surprises.  I’ll mention Franz Ferdinand, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, and of course Mc Cartney’s historic show as faves.  Leonard Cohen matched the major hype surrounding his appearance.  Fleet Foxes could have been magical but got off on the wrong foot by admonishing the crowd to “keep the banter down” before the first song was played.  Their sound was muddy, and that band needs to be clear.  At a time when many festivals are seeing declining attendance, Coachella drew the second largest crowd in its history.  There were two moments that for me were magic.  One was Leonard Cohen performing his song “Hallelujah” toward the end of his set.  The other was Amanda’s “Creep” rendition.


I can’t even begin to cover all of the bands I saw in Austin, so here are some highlights.

I scheduled a couple of interviews for near-future website postings as well as future broadcasts, and these chats were with artists who turned-in two of my conference faves.  Matt and Kim(Brooklyn) jumped off of the Cut Copy tour during a free night between Chicago and Toronto because they wanted to keep their string of SXSW’s alive.  It turned out to be a wise move as their set generated one of the most exuberant SXSW crowd responses that I’ve seen.  They are so energetic and fun.  Like their fine album, the live show is nothing short of a full-on party.  They’re also upbeat people who love what they do.  The interview will be posted within the next couple of weeks.

England’s Late of the Pier are another party band that are very intense, play multiple genres within any given song, and admit that they can be abrasive to some.  I’m a fan of their album and live show.  Singer Sam Eastgate wound up in a physical altercation with security guards toward the end of the set.  NME had the story on their website by the next day.  I had a great chat afterwards with synth player Sam Potter.  It will also be posted soon.  It wasn’t surprising that singer Sam needed some time to recover after being wrestled to the ground, which meant that he skipped the interview.  Meanwhile, the band played the incident perfectly the following night at the end of a DirectTV taping, where their prank involved four caped, masked, “thugs” carrying the four “resisting” band members off the stage.

(thanks to Matt Pruitt for pic)

International scene thrived as usual.  Some of the new international buzz artists aced their shows, including the UK’s Glasvegas and White Lies. I missed Norway’s Ida Maria but she’s excellent live.  People are loving New Zealand’s Ladyhawke, and her highly-polished shows were a plus.  New Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands are full of energy, and that country has also spawned Bang Bang Eche and Midnight Youth, who both show potential.  Other promising international acts include England’s Little Boots and Pete and the Pirates along with Australia’s Temper Trap.  I saw a new UK guy from Essex, named Esser.  This guy looks like a 50’s stud with huge star potential to go with musical variety that covers lots of ground similar to someone like Beck.  The garage Urges from Dublin were fun and powerful.  Denmark’s Asteroids Galaxy Tour are also quite compelling.

My favorite US discovery was Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head.  These Seattle kids are pretty well known in dance-rock circles but it was my first NPSH experience.  They’re great fun, with good songs and fresh instrumentation.  They’re about to tour with Lily Allen.  Lots or people are buzzing about Boston’s Passion Pit, and their live show will more than satisfy their fans.  Manchester Orchestra(Atlanta) delivered intensely, showing that their buzz is warranted.  Ra Ra Riot(Syracuse) can be counted on for a solid show, and Ezra Furman(Boston) came through once again, playing a new song that I thought was especially good.

Let me know if you were at SXSW, and who you liked the best.  Coachella is less than a month away.  That recap will follow very soon thereafter, as part of Rave’s Raves 35.  Until then…


(May and June)
You should be able to find these online:

The Killers with an orchestra, Phoenix, and St. Vincent on Letterman.
Dead Weather and Wilco on Conan.
No Doubt and Phoenix on Kimmel.
Asher Roth on Fallon.
Friendly Fires, The Kills, and Glasvegas on Carson.



The 70’s were a decade where it seemed like American society was on its way to becoming more enlightened as a whole.  It didn’t last, but what’s interesting is that we may be headed back in that direction with Obama as President.  As it was back then, rock music is becoming more and more instrumentalized.  I like the trend, but let’s hope this upcoming decade is more memorable for great music than the 70’s turned out to be…Thanks to everyone at WSUM as I hosted another fun 8-hour Rave-A-Thon on May 19.  Station indie rock DJ’s Randy B. and DJ Renton co-hosted for an hour apiece, and Music Director Mat Frey sat-in as well.  It was good chatting on air with Station Manager Jenny Underwood, and thanks as always to General Manager Dave Black…That’s a wrap for now.  I’ll be back within a couple of months with the next edition.  Let me hear from ya!


The RAIN internet radio conference in Vegas was informative and a success.  Online radio listenership is increasing greatly and is in a position to explode.  Other than computers themselves, it seems the iPod is the most efficient device at this point for internet radio…I always look forward to the Musexpo conference, which attracts a worldwide crowd of industry players and artists to Los Angeles.  Sat Bisla does a great job with this conference.  Ida Maria played a year ago and look where she is now.  I’m very pleased to relay that “Go Deep With Bruce Rave” has been announced as a national show being targeted to commercial radio stations. Look for a debut later this year.  I’d love to hear what you think of my redesigned website!  I’ll be back in the near future with more updates.  Until then…