Can you believe it’s time for me to write another one of these things? Can any of you even think at all anymore after having your brain completely smashed by our Michael Yonkers Band reissue? For all you slackers that haven’t checked out the record yet, wear a helmet …’cuz it’s gonna blow your mind…
So, this is my first summer in Seattle and I must say; it’s kinda nice. I’m a Chicago boy so I’m used to 100 degree heat and no air-conditioning. I used to have three fans in my room set up in a triangle around my bed to create a vortex of sorts that somewhat resembled air-conditioning. It hardly worked. I’d still wake up every five minutes soaked in sweat, with tons of cat hair stuck to the sweat. I must’ve looked like Sub Pop’s own “Talkin’” Gabe Carter! (for anyone who doesn’t know Talkin’ Gabe: my man’s one hairy dude.)
I was able to make it back to the Midwest for a quick vacation a few weeks ago. Good times all around. I was lucky enough to see my favorite ‘new’ band on earth, Comets On Fire, completely destroy not once, but TWO TIMES! If anyone out there thinks they know heavy, buy their latest record on Ba Da Bing! and the reissue of their first record on Alternative Tentacles…then we’ll talk about heavy.
Another highlight of my vacation was when my little sister and her “hair dresser” friends decided to take me straight-up CLUBBIN! Anyone who’s reading the news updates on the Sub Pop website probably isn’t too familiar with what exactly goes on at these places, so let me try and break it down for ya. It’s sorta like watching 200 Elimidates combined. The best thing to do is get a good spot on the sidelines of the dance floor (or ideally a balcony spot) then just sit back and watch dudes bust their dirty moves on every single girl ‘til they finally “land one.” It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen! As far as I could tell, the dress code consists of: some scuba diver lookin’ shirt, baggy “fancy” jeans or baggy black pants, unnecessary sunglasses (like ones with yellow-tinted lenses), shiny black shoes and TONS of hair gel. Let me tell you, places like these keep Dep in business. Knowing nothing of what I was getting into, I didn’t even think to alter my self-imposed Gram Parsons dress code to attempt to “blend in” with the club dudes….which, come to think of it, would be pretty hilarious. So, needless to say, I was a sore thumb, but that didn’t stop me from freakin’ with all my sister’s friends to that one club jam that talks about “heaven” a lot. Clubbin’ rules.
Holy shit. Last week we heard the new Shins record. You people don’t even know what you’re getting into…mark my words: HIT FACTORY! (It drops October 21st.) In other Shins-related news, the good people at Philadelphia’s own Trocadero Theatre have been kind enough to give us a few tickets to the 10th anniversary party they’re hosting for Magnet magazine, featuring: The Shins, My Morning Jacket, GBV and a ‘special guest’ (I hope it’s Mountain). Keep your eyes on the website, we’re working on a contest to give these bad boys away. Warning: the contest may contain “humor.”
Alright, story time’s over…here’s your happenings for August. You are beyond pumped.
Constantines Shine a Light
Finally! Our Canadian brothers are ready to destroy America with their first full-length for good ‘ol Sub Pop!
Last month we gave you all a taste of this magic with the explosive “Nighttime/Anytime” ep and in August we’re here to smack you upside the head with all twelve ultra-jams that make up the Shine a Light LP.
Allow me to give you a little background information about the Constantines. The band was founded in Guelph, Ontario in 1999. Since then the ‘Cons have relocated to lovely Toronto. In 2001 they released their self-titled debut that Canada flipped out for. The record was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy thing) for Best Alternative Album of the year and ranked very highly on just about every Canadian writers djs record store dude’s yearly top ten lists.
For further information about the new record, allow me to cut & paste from the band’s bio:
Shine a Light is the Constantines’ second full-length and first for Sub Pop (Three Gut continues as the band’s home north of the border). And the new record is ambitious, combining a steady diet of ‘90s DC rock (like a Joe Strummer-fronted Fugazi, it’s been suggested), with dub-inflected bass, blue-eyed soul and a fundamental punk, anytime/anywhere aesthetic (perhaps best described by drummer Doug MacGregor as, “Like an unwelcome mix of a Memphis Clash and breakneck dub”). The opening lines from the title track hint at the difficulty in nailing down the elusive “it” that is at play on this record, “Don’t talk to me about simple things/There’s no such thing/All a man can build is his vision/And I love my man for trying.”
Between these two albums, the band released an EP (The Modern Sinner Nervous Man) on Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records and added a keyboard player in Will Kidman. Also, they played shows: SxSW, NxNE, MichiganFest, Halifax Pop Explosion, New Music West, the Montreal Pop Explosion, to name a few. And really, that’s the way to experience the Constantines; as they teach audiences how to fully experience the present, that right now – this minute – is all that matters. There may be no alarm clock tomorrow morning because there may be no tomorrow. But, to be clear, there’s no didacticism here. The Constantines are going there with you, celebrating that, if we get it right, we’re none of us going gently into the night. They’re a band with growl and heft, hearts on their sleeves, playing music as if all of our lives hung in the balance. Because, after all, they do.
So, let’s make these Sub Pop newcomers feel welcome and catch yourself some Constantines FEVER!
Alright, that’s all for August releases. We’ve got a big ‘ol Fall planned out for ya, September will see a new Rosie Thomas full-length, Iron and Wine ep, and yes, the first single from the new Shins record! And October takes it home with a Kinski/Acid Mothers Temple split, our infamous Sub Pop Video Network 1 hitting DVD, the All Night Radio (Farmer Dave from Beachwood Sparks) 12”, and yes, The Shins’ new record.
Get into it-