Exception song

One thing was clear from the moment I got my ticket to Sleater-Kinney's show at the Mercury Lounge last night: I was going to be right up front. Save for their '03 gig at Southpaw, my S-K live experiences had all been in bigger venues - Irving Plaza or larger. Part of what makes them such a fantastic live band is the amount of energy and enthusiasm they bring to the stage (with Carrie Brownstein leading the charge). The prospect of seeing them in a small space had me pretty psyched. It's a shame my camera died after just one picture (above), but what can you do.

S-K's new record The Woods is out in May and, as expected, dominated the 75 minute set. They played exclusively new material at MSG on New Year's Eve, so this was my second time hearing the songs. I think I'm going to like The Woods a lot. (For once, I'm avoiding a leak.) The new songs revamp Sleater's sound, taking it in so many new directions while still sounding like no one else. The songs are looser and noisier, with more complicated songwriting and way more room for improvisation. On one song, Janet Weiss didn't even play drums - just harmonica (!).

That song was the exception though - Janet OWNS the new material. She's always been a great drummer, but the openness of the new sound lets her shine. Last night was one mega-fill after another. Carrie and Corin also took advantage of the new space. Not only are there are full-on solos now, but Carrie had one last night that used more effects than probably all of Dig Me Out combined. "Rollercoaster" was my favorite of the new songs, especially with its false ending. "Entertain" ended the set and was another good one - they've been playing it live for a couple years now and it never disappoints.

They played five old songs last night - "O2," "Get Up," "Step Aside," and a two-song encore of "Sympathy" and "You're No Rock N' Roll Fun" - and though all were great, I thought they sounded tighter on the new stuff. There's a real divide in S-K's sound between the old and the new, and it'll be interesting to see how they mix it up on stage. Old or new, it's all excellent live and I'm sure their next visit will be as well.

Because it's been too hectic a day to write more than a few sentences at once.

has an MP3 of LCD Soundsystem doing a very fun cover of Harry Nilsson's "Jump Into The Fire." It's the B-side to "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" 7". Thanks to Jason for finding it.

The Seattle Weekly does a jukebox jury with Michael Mayer, getting his reactions to T.Rex, The Pet Shop Boys, Mouse on Mars, LCD, and more. It's a great read. And for the fellow obsessives out there, you'll find Geeta's background on the interview (complete with pictures of the Kompakt store) just as interesting.

More Cowbell tells us that the Shins will be hitting the road in late April - perhaps to test out some new material? No NYC dates yet, but that six day gap between Providence and Philly tells me we might be getting a show in late April. The question is where. They played the Bowery Ballroom last time, but that was before Garden State. Their Philly date is at the sizable Electric Factory. I'll take what I can get, but please don't let it be W-----r H--l.

Pitchfork has details on Gang of Four's upcoming tour. The band is actually working on a double-disc set to be released around the time of the tour. Disc 1 will be rerecorded versions of old songs, Disc 2 will be remixed versions of old songs - with the tentative list of remixers including Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and the Futureheads. I'm more concerned about the on sale date for their two NYC shows - no news yet.

Sal Principato of Liquid Liquid is spinning at the always excellent Pop Your Funk party at APT tomorrow night. It's free!

Field Day 2005 has been called off. Shocker. [via Daily Refill]

Gothamist recently ran this interview with Lou Barlow, interesting even if you don't know or like his music. I liked Sebadoh and loved Folk Implosion, so I'm curious about his new one Emoh - but what an awful name!

The Japanese post-rockers Mono will be at the Mercury Lounge on April 14 with Asobi Seksu. Asobi will also be at Rothko tomorrow night for a Tsunami benefit, and they're touring the Midwest and West Coast from March 9 to April 9 - check here for the dates.