Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac

Holding Steady at Six Years

A lunar module model - this one made by NASA

If I remember correctly, my sixth birthday was “lunar module” themed. In our unfinished basement, we laid down masking tape on the cement floor to create tracks for the rover races. On the walls were cutouts of the lunar lander, and everyone left the party with some freeze-dried ice cream.

Now, as a chunky six-year-old, I thought this party was the coolest thing ever. Little did I know that some people bring in rock bands for their sixth birthday parties.

That’s right – it’s the big oh-six for 107.1 The Peak, WXPK, coming your way in the first week of April. And to celebrate, they’re bringing in the bold Brooklyn band The Hold Steady.

The Hold Steady - From left to right: Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka, Bobby Drake, Franz Nicolay (who recently quit the band), and Craig Finn

Headed up by Craig Finn, a guy that looks like he could be the the embodiment of nerd-rock, the band actually has a hard-hitting, gritty sound. Here’s their video for “Chips Ahoy” – have you ever seen a rock star more convincingly wear George Costanza glasses?

They’re also renowned for its ability to tell a story, thanks in large part to Finn’s intricate, weaving lyrics. You may recognize their lexical prowess from “Sequestered in Memphis” which has received a lot of air time on the Peak. The band ties many of their songs to characters from history and literature – like Sal Paradise from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, or the american writer Nelson Algren. Their nods to pop culture references are even better. For instance, in “Knuckles” of off The Hold Steady’s first studio album in 2004, Finn sings, “I’ve been trying to get people to call me Sunny D/I’ve got the good stuff kids go for”. Here’s the bad in a more traditional rock band role than the last video:

The Hold Steady has been holding steady for almost seven years now – with four LP’s out, and another one on its way this May.

Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, the lead guitarist, have been playing together for a long time. In 1994, they formed half of the band Lifter Puller. Listening back, you can hear a lot of similar styles and stories in the Lifter Puller songs, and you can connect the lines from the nineties to the aughts to see the evolution of The Hold Steady.

Here are two songs from the Lifter Puller days:

“Secret Santa Cruz”

“4dix”

The new Hold Steady album, Heaven is Whenever, is out May 4th, and with the Peak Birthday Concert on April 2nd, you’re bound to get a sneak preview. So head on over to 1071thepeak.com to grab your tickets to the show. As an added bonus, The Oranges Band, formed by the former bassist of Spoon, Roman Kuebler, will be opening the show.

And it’s all happening just down the road (or up the Hudson line) in Ardsley. Hope you can make it!

~Josh

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Concerts This Week in NY’s Back Yard:

::: Catch the Allman Brothers five times this week at the United Palace tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

::: Portugal. The Man is going to be putting on a great show this Friday at the HighLine Ballroom in the city

::: and Rhett Miller will be playing at City Winery on Saturday the 20th.

Happy Hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: HOLDSTEADY

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Attack of the Supergroups!

While actress Milla Jovovich may be trying to draw in your attention with talk of extraterrestrial owls and an imminent fear of the fourth kind, there’s a phenomenon that has been slowly gaining momentum in the music world….

Bands and musicians have been switching members and pairing up like Xenon Octa-Flouride (XeF8) would, if it ever is going to be invented (thanks Wikipedia!). In layman’s terms, we’ve been getting a lot of new supergroups, side projects, and collaborations – some that could have been foreseen, and others that seem to have appeared out of nowhere.

The Almanac Singers... singing

The Almanac Singers seen here with Bess Hawes, Arthur Stern and Sis Cunningham

Now, the idea of a supergroup is not a recent innovation by any stretch of the imagination – the supergroup goes all the way back to the Almanac Singers – a combination of Millard Lampell, Lee Hayes, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie that got its start in 1940. From the 60’s until today, we have been given plenty more supergroups, such as in 1969 which brought us both The Plastic Ono Band (which included the likes of Eric Clapton, both George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Alan White – just to name a few) as well as Blind Faith (which also featured Mr. Clapton, but had Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Ric Grech to boot). 1988 brought us the Traveling Wilburys, which was the tour de force of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. And although they Wilburys only stuck together for about a year after Orbison’s death, that cosmic aligning is something that has not met it’s match… yet.

monsters-of-folk

The Monsters of Folk

Among the recent crop of supergroups is a group I mentioned last week – The Monsters of Folk, which consists of folk songsters Connor Oberst and  Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, M. Ward of She & Him, and Jim James from My Morning Jacket. They’ve been associated under the Monsters name since 2004, but have all been so busy with their respective main attractions that they weren’t able to release their self-titled first album until this year. You’ve definitely heard their track “Say Please” on the Peak – and both M. Ward and Connor Oberst gave free concerts in NYC this summer!

Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar

Moving down the line from most folky to least, next up is the recent pairing of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard with Jay Farrar, member of Uncle Tupelo and frontman for Son Volt, the two bands that he played with throughout the 90’s before he launched his solo career in 2001. Gibbard and Farrar first got together in 2007 to record the soundtrack for One Fast Move and I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur. Both the movie and the album came out on October 20th, the day before the 40th anniversary of the prolific author’s death. You can see the music video for “San Fransisco”, the last track on the album, here. And you can expect to see more from them in the future.

Taking a detour into the realm of electronica, at the end of September, Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, slipped this little surprise into his blog:

hi
in the past couple of weeks i’ve been getting a band together for fun to play the eraser stuff live and the new songs etc.. to see if it could work!
here’s a photo.. its me, joey waronker, mauro refosco, flea and nigel godrich.
at the beginning of october the 4th and 5th we are going to do a couple of shows at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
we don’t really have a name and the set will not be very long cuz ..well …we haven’t got that much material yet!
Thom Yorke and Flea at the Oprheum show on Oct. 5

Thom Yorke and Flea

Of course, those shows were sold out in 20 minutes. Flea, as you know, is the Red Hot Chili Peppers Bassist – and he seemed to be ecstatic to be on stage with Yorke, playing cuts from Yorke’s solo album The Eraser (2006). There hasn’t been a follow-up to the October concerts, but that’s something you should keep an eye out for as well.

Jack White and Alison Mosshart sharing the mike at Glastonbury this year

Next up come two really driving groups. First is The Dead Weather, whose song “Hang You Up From the Heavens” I featured in my first week of blog-writing. The Dead Weather was formed by Jack White who’s been extremely active – leaping from the White Stripes, to the Raconteurs, to the recent release of “It Might Get Loud” – a documentary featuring White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page. The band also features Alison Mosshart of the Kills on lead vocals, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence, who played with White in the Raconteurs. And to sweeten the deal, they just announced a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on November 17th! Tickets for that are going on Sale this friday, so get ’em quick.

them-crooked-vultures

The "Them Crooked Vultures" teaser photo from earlier this fall

And finally, we come to Them Crooked Vultures, or TCV as they call themselves. TCV is big news. On drums is Dave Grohl, from Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. On vocals and guitar is Josh Homme, from the Queens of the Stone Age. The kicker is that John Paul Jones comes soaring in on bass. They’ve got a really great sound, full and rocking, but what remains to be seen is whether TCV will be able to stay afloat once their star power has worn off. Their self-titled first record is due out on Sony in a week, which should be an insta-grab for all hard rock fans. But for now, check out the full album on the band’s website!

So, I apologize about all the name dropping – it’s not something I routinely do. If you think a supergroup has been left out, please let me know. Or if you feel the need to justify the Tinted Windows‘ existence, by all means, please try. But if you do, I’ll kindly remind you that their lead singer is from Hanson, and we’ll go our separate ways. Wikipedia to the rescue once again!

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Peak Keyword: MMBOP

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