Asobi Seksu

Here Comes The Summer

It’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so I haven’t been doing anything except watching a ton of hockey for the last month or so. I have tons to catch up on here, and I know it.

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and Betty White is hosting SNL tonight, along with an insane amount of returning female, former cast members. Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Ana Gasteyer are all going to be joining the lovely Betty and it is going to be epic. Oh yeah, and some guy named Jay Z is going to be the musical guest. With all that star-power, this could be his big break!

So catching up on shows I have seen this year, in January I saw Asobi Seksu do an acoustic set with openers Friendship and the Fawn at the Media Club. It was a nice, mellow show – intimate, to say the least. There was no flailing drum solo from Yuki this time around.

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard with opener John Roderick from The Long Winters gave occasion for me to take my first trip to Portland. They had a star-studded backup band, including Ben’s bassist buddy, Nick Harmer. “You Remind Me of Home” was a nice surprise in the set list that made me smile since I was there with my olde timey buddies from back home. Portland, despite the usual PNW showers, was pretty nice. We hit Voodoo Doughnut and partook of their fine fares at Burnside on our last morning before hitting the road back North. We had to take the opportunity to swing by Cannon Beach to hit Haystack Rock. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Goonies, so it was only fitting. It was really beautiful down there and I would love to go back sometime and just chill out for a little while.

Thanks to some last-minute plans, I got to catch the Stars and Hey Rosetta show. It was part of the craziness that came with the Olympics and it was a really great night. Hey Rosetta actually stole the show. I’ve never seen an opening band have such demand for an encore! They didn’t oblige, sadly, but they really blew everyone away. I’ve seen Stars before and, for some reason, this time it felt like something was lacking. Don’t get me wrong, they sounded great, but it felt like it was missing heart. It felt a bit empty. A good show and an awesome night, nonetheless.

Got to see Cymbals Eat Guitars in March at the Biltmore with killer openers Bear In Heaven and Freelance Whales. This was a wicked show. Both openers were solid and I have never seen anyone even come close to sweating as much as Jim Adkins before Joseph Ferocious. That kid is a youngin’, but he has done his homework on late 90’s emo stage-presence.

After two cancelled shows, Passion Pit finally played at the Commodore on April 11th. It was quite a night, as other bands with shows that night included Spoon and Beach House. I would have been really pissed if PP cancelled again, because I would have totally gone to the Spoon show, but they showed up this time so all was well. Bear Hands and Mayer Hawthorne & the County opened for this one. Let me just say, Mayer Hawthorne, you are real, and you are SPECTACULAR. They were so much fun and he embodies what the old  Detroit sound and feel are in my head. A super good time, all around.

PP was awesome, as expected. They had the heavily-hipster crowd jumping and singing along from the second they hit the stage. H&M and Urban Outfitters attire could not be avoided, no matter where you looked, but my friends and I couldn’t stop watching the meathead in the tight white Ed Hardy gear trying to grind on his girlfriend and “dance” in front of the bar. It was like a bad version of a Girls Gone Wild commercial. You couldn’t look away and you couldn’t stop laughing either. Lots of holding his drink in the air and thrusting of the general crotch area – you know what I’m talking about.

The one thing I did not like was that Michael Angelakos made mention of having to postpone their last show here, but said it was due to sickness. He could easily have gotten his wires crossed, but they did NOT cancel due to sickness – it was because they decided to play Jimmy Kimmel instead. Kind of a burn, but then to not only claim it was due to sickness, but ALSO to not even mention that the December show was actually a rescheduling of their October show on top of that was pretty lame. I know they’re huge right now and touring can turn into a blur of cities and days, but it definitely put me a bit off. Still a great show, overall.

More to come between games…

Hockey Hair

Some Days Are Better Than Others is a movie coming out which features Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney and James Mercer from the Shins. The thing is, it looks pretty darn good. Check out the trailer here.

Mew is straight-up awesome. And they, too, can act.

Fool’s Gold released a video for “Suprise Hotel” a while back, but have a newer version that is way more fun.

The Röyksopp video for “This Must Be It” is… well, you can pick your own adjective. But it features Karin Dreijer Andersson and despite the loincloths, is a pretty badass track.

If you haven’t picked up In And Out of Control by The Raveonettes yet, quit being a silly-billy and get on that.

Here’s a video from Asobi Seksu for “Transparence” from the Hush album released early this year.

Two Hearts

Death Cab for Cutie played on Leno on Hallowe’en. I love. In case you missed it, here you go. Looks like Ben got rid of his chops as well as a noticeable amount of weight!

I went to see Asobi Seksu on the 28th at the Media Club. Let me first say, I really love going to shows there. The place is small and intimate and I have seen several ridiculously good shows there over the past few years, most recently Joan of Arc. But back to Asobi. They were supposed to play here a while back but the show got cancelled. Yuki apologized during their set and said it was due to customs and border-crossing issues, which is pretty commonplace. The first thing I noticed when they took the stage was how tiny Yuki was – and she was wearing heels! The whole band really rocked it and put on a super-tight set concluding with Yuki doing a bit of drum-work. It was like watching a tiny, Asian, female version of Animal. Impressive to say the least. While standing very near the stage, we managed to end up right behind the most annoying girls at the show. One of them, who I will refer to as “The Bra-less Wonder” (TBW), was doing some sort of blend of ballet and raving. We’ll just say there was a lot of flourish. TBW’s buddy was one of those no-rhythm white girls that likes to jump and flail. They were quite the duo and it’s a credit to the crowd that these two didn’t get punched. Anyhow, back to the show. The only bit of disappointment I had with the set was that they didn’t play “Sooner”. It was the song that got me paying attention to these guys and it remains my favourite Asobi song. I’m excited for their new album, which will be released on Polyvinyl, of whom I am a big fan. Good things to come, I’m sure. Catch them if you can.

Danny Boyle has a new movie coming out called Slumdog Millionaire and the trailer gave me non-spooky chills, it looks so good. (The use of Sigur Rós probably pushed me right over the top – Sylvester Stalone-style.) Boyle doesn’t have a very extensive filmography, but everything I’ve seen by him I have really liked including the not-so-successful A Life Less Ordinary. I am really looking forward to seeing this film.