For Those Who Have The Means

If it seems like every band that has ever been featured in the pages of NME will be playing at Mercury Lounge in March, you are not too far off. The cluster of UK shows makes sense given that New York is the usual stopover for bands travelling to and from SXSW. Yet I can't help feeling this group of shows is a classic case of quantity over quality. Where are the really exciting new British bands, such as The Kooks and Duels and Morning Runner and My Latest Novel (who you can read all about at Untouched By Work or Duty) and Harrisons and Dirty Little Faces? The tour schedule for Duels has them at SXSW March 14-19, but no mention of where or when they will be playing, and nothing about a show in New York or anywhere else in the U.S. Oh, how they tease.

2/02 The Cloud Room at Southpaw
2/03 Low & His Name Is Alive at Southpaw
2/06 Low & His Name Is Alive at Bowery Ballroom
2/07 Nada Surf at Mercury Lounge
2/09 Sigur Ros at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden
2/10 The Mooney Suzuki at Southpaw
2/14 Cat Power at Town Hall
2/24-25 Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Bowery Ballroom
2/25 Stars & Magnet at Webster Hall
3/01 Test Icicles at Northsix
3/01 Rob Dickinson (of Catherine Wheel) at Mercury Lounge
3/02-03 Belle and Sebastian & The New Pornographers @ Nokia Theatre
3/02 Test Icicles at Mercury Lounge
3/02 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at The Hook
3/06 Serena Maneesh at Bowery Ballroom
3/07 The Subways at Bowery Ballroom
3/08 The Wedding Present at Bowery Ballroom
3/09 Eagle*Seagull at Pianos
3/10 BATTLE at Mercury Lounge
3/11 Eagle*Seagull at The Hook
3/11 The Datsuns at Mercury Lounge
3/13 BATTLE at Rothko
3/13 Guillemots at Mercury Lounge
3/15 Isobel Campbell at Southpaw
3/17-18 Stereolab at Town Hall
3/21 The Zutons at Mercury Lounge
3/23 ¡Forward, Russia! & Amusement Parks on Fire at Mercury Lounge
3/24 The Books & Jose Gonzalez at Bowery Ballroom
3/24-25 Mystery Jets at Mercury Lounge
3/25 The Arctic Monkeys at Webster Hall
3/26 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at Knitting Factory
3/27 White Rose Movement at Mercury Lounge
3/27 Th' Faith Healers at Northsix
3/30 I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness at Mercury Lounge
3/31 I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness at Northsix
4/04-05 Art Brut at Bowery Ballroom
4/14-15 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Bowery Ballroom
7/2 Seu Jorge at Central Park Summerstage

Finally, a note to Pete: I know you're currently at the mercy of the gaoler's key, but a U.S. Babyshambles show is really really overdue. Let's talk when you get a chance. There's an abandoned warehouse on the Gowanus Canal that would be the perfect venue. It could be the Spike Island of this generation. Think about it. Seriously.


Eagle*Seagull -- Your New Favourite Band

eagle seagull
Although I am not the first, second or even third to write about Lincoln, Nebraska's Eagle*Seagull, the reality is that they are still criminally underexposed, especially outside the midwest. The band has already recorded two great singles, Your Beauty Is a Knife I Turn on My Throat and Photograph, both of which appear on the band's self-titled debut album, which came out in October on Nashville-based Paper Garden Records, and both of which can be heard on the band's MySpace page and website.

The band cites the following influences: The Cure, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, T-Rex, The Sea and Cake, Belle and Sebastian, Pavement, Broken Social Scene, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, The Stone Roses, Air, The Pixies, The Smiths, Tom Waits, Wilco, Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire and Blonde Redhead. Many of those I do not hear at all, but I think The Cure crossed with Arcade Fire gives you some idea of what to expect.

I am especially excited to see these guys play live at one of their four upcoming shows in New York:

March 9 - at Pianos

March 10 - at The Real McCoy (Staten Island)

March 11 - at The Hook (Brooklyn)

March 12 - at Roxas Blvd. (Staten Island)

Pianos and The Hook make sense, but I've never heard of The Real McCoy, and from what I've read about Roxas Blvd., it is some kind of hard rock club. Anyway, despite the odd choice of venues, don't be surprised if these guys are huge by the time they get to New York.


Such Great Heights


(photo courtesy of KelleyA's Flickr page).
Despite my inability to get into the new Death Cab for Cutie album, my respect for Ben Gibbard has been steadily growing of late. It began with the discovery of his live acoustic covers of Avril Lavigne's Complicated and Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, both of which are brilliant. Then came the very pleasant surprise that he had decided to play a solo show at Bowery Ballroom while in town with the band to perform on Saturday Night Live. Obviously he could have easily sold out Webster Hall or Town Hall or some other equally huge and grotesque venue. But by choosing to put the quality of the show above his own financial benefit, Ben showed the kind of good judgment that is becoming tragically scarce among today's indie elite.
You may wish to ignore the following rant, which is only tangentally connected with this post:

Has anyone else noticed the ridiculous venue choices artists are making of late: Colin Meloy at Town Hall (I love the guy, but that is bullshit), Sigur Ros at Madison Square Garden (WTF?). What's next -- the Arctic Monkeys hiring Don King as their promoter and playing the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City with a pay-per-view price of $50, all just to prove they are big enough to pull it off? At some point these guys need to look themselves in the mirror and say enough is enough. Especially in New York. Belle & Sebastian are scheduled for two nights at the Nokia Theater here, but two nights at the immensely more intimate 9:30 Club in D.C. Why?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...

Just as impressive as Ben's choice of venue was the show itself, which for me involved two rarities. One, I thought many of the live versions were better than their studio counterparts. Two, I did not want the show to end. Indeed, I could have stood there in that hot, crowded room for another hour and been very happy.

Here's what Ben played:

Brand New Colony
Title & Registration
You Remind Me of Home
(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan
Why You'd Want to Live Here
It'll Be a Breeze (Long Winters cover)
Recycled Air
Crooked Teeth
Title Track
I Hate to See You Cry (Alan Hull cover)
Farmer Chords
Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow (Monkees cover)
The Sound of Settling
Such Great Heights
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
A Lack of Color
Hold On (Spiritualized Cover)


Preston Now Co-Favourite To Win Celebrity Big Brother

Preston in action
Pretty boy Preston's stock is quickly rising. First, Jodie and Chantelle tried to tempt him to join them for a menage a trois. Now, Preston has become the bookies' co-favourite with Michael Barrymore to win the whole show. Click here for the full odds.


Preston Uncovers The Celebrity Big Brother Secret

Preston on Celebrity Big Brother
That clever Ordinary Boy Preston has already sniffed out the Big Secret on Celebrity Big Brother, namely that Chantelle, who is pretending to be a singer in a fictional girl group called Kandy Floss, is actually a nobody planted by Big Brother as a joke. Chantelle swore on her mother's life that Kandy Floss was a real group, and Preston said he believed her, but it is clear he knows otherwise and has simply decided not to mention it again until he can catch her in a lie. I will be suprised if everyone in the house does not know the truth by this time tomorrow.
3 weeks of live unedited coverage 24 hours a day for 8 GBP = greatest bargain in the history of mankind.

Preston Name Drops Jonathan Coe In The Celebrity Big Brother House

It's day two in the Celebrity Big Brother house, and Preston from the Ordinary Boys is already charming the ladies.
Preston day one
This morning Preston had a scintillating conversation with Page 3 girl Jodie Marsh regarding their respective literary ambitions (both have novels in the works).
Jodie Marsh day one
Upon hearing a description of Jodie's fledgling masterpiece (essentially a fictional account of her life, with particular emphasis on her hatred of tabloid journalists), Preston said it reminded him of something by Jonathan Coe. I don't see the connection, but nevertheless it was fun to hear Preston drop Coe's name.
Maggot day one
All this talk of book-learning was too much for Maggot from Goldie Lookin' Chain, who declared: "I don't even read books, let alone write them."


The Rumours Are True: Preston From The Ordinary Boys Is On Celebrity Big Brother

Preston and the Ordinary Boys
The rumours have been swirling for the last few days, but with the debut tonight of the new series of Celebrity Big Brother UK, it has now been confirmed that Preston from the Ordinary Boys is one of the contestants who is living in the house and competing for the grand prize. According to the band's website, their frontman was invited to be on the show after one of their producers heard him say in an interview that he would be up for going in the house. In a note to fans, Preston says he is "well nervous and excited," and that:
"I need the army to get behind me...this is a rally cry! I want the door to door campaigning, flyering, fucking fun runs! It's not for fame, the money goes to charity, I'm going in because the lines between alternative and mainstream are so blurred, this is the final taboo...plus they phoned me up and asked me and if I said no I would be a bitter old man!

"I hope you are all as excited as I am. Fucking mental! I love you all, Preston x"

The full cast is still being revealed as I write, but so far we have learned that Pete Burns, the former singer of Dead or Alive, is also a contestant.

Pete Burns


A Year In The Life Of Pete Doherty

What a year it was...

Jan. 15 - Pete meets Kate Moss at her 31st birthday party and the two begin dating.

Feb. 3 - Pete is arrested for assaulting documentary filmmaker Max Carlish in an Islington hotel and is briefly jailed.

Apr. 9 - The Crown declines to pursue charges against Pete for the Carlish incident.

Apr. 18 - Pete briefly reunites with former bandmate Carl Barat at the Boogaloo Bar in London. It is the first time the two have spoken in ten months. They apparently have not spoken since.

May 17 - Channel 4 airs the Max Carlish documentary "Stalking Pete Doherty". Carlish's remaining shred of dignity is forever lost.

June 7 - Pete lashes out at his former band in an interview , claiming: “Apart from the Sex Pistols, The Libertines were probably the most manufactured band ever. It was just a case of let’s get the best looking people and be as much like The Strokes as possible. That was the idea at the time.”

June 22 - Pete fails to show up for a Vogue fashion shoot with Barat, Mick Jones, Shane McGowan and others.

June 25 - Babyshambles cover The Clash's White Riot at Glastonbury in honour of Mick Jones's 50th birthday.

June 25 - Pete and Kate take part in a mock wedding, valid for one day only , at the Glastonbury's Chapel Of Love And Loathing In Lost Vagueness.

July 2 - Pete joins Elton John at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park to perform T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution". Pete blames his universally denounced performance on suggestive comments made by Bob Geldof's daughter, Peaches, just before he took the stage.

July - Pete and Kate are named the most sought-after couple on Britain's party circuit by the Tattler magazine.

July - Babyshambles fail to turn up for their support slot on Oasis's UK stadium tour, leading the band to replace them on the tour.

Aug. 1 - Following the cancellation of a number of high-profile shows, and rumours that the band had split, Babyshambles play a surprise gig at the Underground Club in Stoke that is acclaimed as a return to greatness.

Aug. 2 - News reports claim Kate has bought Pete a £15,000 anti-heroin implant.

Aug. 3 - Pete is questioned by police in connection with the alleged assault of a junior reporter from The Mirror at a bar in London.

Aug. 13 - Pete is stopped at Oslo Gardermoen Airport, where customs officers found him to be in possession of a small amount of heroin. Pete, who had arrived in Oslo to perform at the Øyafestivalen festival with Babyshambles, remains in custody for three hours until festival organisers pay approximately £700 for him to be released. When the band appear onstage later, Pete vomits after just 20 minutes and the show is cut short.

Aug. 15 - Babyshambles release the single, "Fuck Forever", which reaches #4 in the UK singles chart.

Aug. 28 - Pete headbutts Razorlight singer and former Libertines bass player Johnny Borrell backstage at Leeds Festival 2005.

Aug. 28 - BBC Three telecasts the one-hour documentary Who the F**k Is Pete Doherty?

Sept. 15 - The Daily Mirror publishes photos of Kate snorting cocaine at a Babyshambles recording session.

Sept. 29 - Kate checks herself into rehab at The Meadows clinic in Arizona.

Oct. 2 - Pete is arrested for possession of Class A drugs and held overnight.

Oct. 27 - Kate checks out of rehab.

Nov. 14 - Babyshambles release their debut album, Down in Albion.

Nov. 19 - In an effort to win back Kate, Pete agrees to enter The Meadows rehab clinic.

Nov. 28 - Pete checks out of The Meadows after just nine days. Kate is furious and declares their relationship over.

Nov. 30 - Pete is arrested on alleged possession of class A drugs after police stop his car in Ealing due to the erratic manner of his driving. He is taken to Ealing Broadway police station and later bailed to return in January 2006 pending further inquiries.

Dec. 8 - Pete is arrested again on suspicion of driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Dec. 16 - Owen O’Dwyer, who claims he sold Pete heroin and shared a needle with him, pleads for Pete to take an HIV test after he tests positive.

Dec. 18 - Pete is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in East London. Pete and three passengers flee the scene, and a search of Pete's car reveals substances believed to be heroin and crack cocaine. Having been arrested for possession of Class A drugs three times in three weeks, Pete faces up to seven years in prison.