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Editors Live Show Review The Showbox

Louis XIV, Hot Hot Heat, and Editors

Nobody here likes Louis XIV, so I guess I’ll just skip over them. What I will tell you is that lead singer Jason Hill could not put down the liquor. Enough said.

Before I say anything else, I want it to be known that I totally love Hot Hot Heat. To me, Steve Bays voice is like a sonic Snickers bar. It wasn’t until the moment just before Hot Hot Heat took the stage that I realized I had never seen them outside of the festival environment. A definite crowd pleaser, the perniciously curly haired Steve Bays at one point explained “Holy Fuck! This stage is fuckin’ bouncy!”

Both he and the audience acknowledged this as the band launched into mind rattlingly loud favorites “Middle of Nowhere," “Goodnight Goodnight,” and “Bandages,” along with tracks of the new album Happiness LTD. Though Bays admitted his voice was shot, his “in-yo-face” energy and spirit was in no way lacking.

Birmingham (UK) quartet, Editors, hopped onstage shortly after 10p. Tom Smith’s seductive matter-of fact baritone, emphatic piano standing, and head clutching showcased the grups collective passion for their art and left the crowd surely wanting more. Through the epic “Smokers Outside the Hospital” to 2005 debut The Back Room standout soundtrack “Munich,” Editors managed to maintain their high energy throughout the set despite some very impressive spinning and hopping.

Editors photo by Chona Kasinger

It’s always a treat to get a British band in the neighborhood, and Editors were no exception. I made the 20 mile ride home with their songs still ringing plangent in my head. I couldn’t force myself to listen to anything for at least a day afterwards, that’s how clear I wanted to keep this show in my mind. I walked out of the venue with their music still playing and a happy heart.

Editors photo by Chona Kasinger Editors photo by Chona Kasinger Editors photo by Chona Kasinger

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Editors Imaginary Scoop Louis XIV The Roseland Theatre

Editors Love, Louis XIV Not Love

This past Wednesday, I caught Editors and Louis XIV at the Roseland here in Portland. Hot Hot Heat was supposed to play as well but the word was the lead singer was having throat issues.  Too bad, as it would have been a better show with them playing. 

I've seen Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV play together before. Even that first time I just couldn't find much love for Louis XIV. At the time, "Finding Out True Love is Blind" was hitting the airwaves, but seeing them live didn't add anything, especially when followed by a bouncy pop band live Hot Hot Heat. Louis XIV ends up looking like a Thursday night bar band that got really lucky. So when I heard that Louis XIV was going to be on the bill again for the Editors show, I was consoled that I'd still get to see two great bands in Hot Hot Heat and Editors.

HHH, I missed you tremendously. Louis XIV seemed even more the bar band when followed by the energy and artistry of Editors. The one good note on Louis XIV was that I like their new single "Air Traffic" but you can't have a successful concert on one song. 

Editors are a band I've wanted to see for some time. Each time they put out a single, I think they can't improve on their formula and yet they do. "All Sparks", "Munich", "Smokers Outside a Hospital" sounded as good as on the album with an added fervor by lead singer Tom Smith who on occasion thrashed around the stage with his guitar as if he was trying to wring as much sound and reverberation out as possible. I think it was "An End Has a Start" that finally sealed the love affair. I'm not longer an admirer, I'm a fan.

Here's a taste of Editors live in concert:

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Bloc Party Editors Hadouken! Imaginary Scoop Jack Penate Queens of the Stone Age The Klaxons The Rakes The White Stripes The Wombats Tokyo Police Club

Song of the UK, NME style

So, we've become fond here at TIG of recapping the goings-on on the NME UK pop charts, but really, how meaningful is it when most of us have no idea who the bands are in the first part? I mean, does it mean anything to you if you read that the number 5 song is by the Garbagemen or Wolfgang Puck & the Amadettes? Anyway, I've decided to undertake a project each week to run down the Top 10 songs on NME and try to listen to every song (and trust me, I've acquried all the songs legally, let me tell you) and try to post a link it on the web too!. So here goes:

  1. The White Stripes – Icky Thump: I think we've beaten the White Stripes to death here on TIG. Oh wait, am I supposed to write more about it? Damn.
  2. The Klaxons – It's Not Over Yet: You can see what I think of the Klaxons. This song is cute enough dance-rock, its catchy and has about as much substance as a rice cracker. Ah, Britpop, you never fail me.
  3. Queens of the Stone Age – Sick Sick Sick: Hasn't been a lot of talk about the QOTSA on TIG – maybe its our inherent bias against manly rock (tee hee). Pretty much what you get is Josh Homme doing what he does best, and for me its "to bore".
  4. Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches: A high point on the increasingly disappointing second Bloc Party album. I liked it when I first heard it, but I rarely find myself wanting to here it anymore – a bad sign. That being said, "Hunting for Witches" is pretty good, especially with all the US immigration rancor.
  5. Jack Penate – Torn from the Platform: Yay! The first non-international star! And guess what? It sucks. It's like UK John Mayer mixed with some heavily processed third-wave ska noise. Maybe a male Lily Allen. Blah! (And Jack sort of looks like a demonic cross between Rivers Cuomo and Ben Gibbard. Weird).
  6. The Wombats – Kill the Director: More jumpy Brit pop-rock with maybe a more like than Penate. It's catchy, but sort of feel like the UK version of US emo/pogo-pop punk (and what's with the Bridget Jones' references?)
  7. Editors – Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors: Echo and the Interpol. Yeah, it's that exciting (not the sarcasm).
  8. Hadouken! – Liquid Lives: Wow, the first few moments made me think I was watching an old EMF or Pop Will Eat Itself video – and I guess I'm not too far off. Klaxons 2.0. Not terrible… OK, no, it is pretty close to terrible.
  9. Rakes – The World Was a Mess But His Hair was Perfect: (Sorry, no video). I was quite fond of the last Rakes album, and pretty much you get exactly what you might expect from the band. Too bad it only entered at #9, the song is a lot better than a lot of the crap ahead of it.
  10. Tokyo Police Club – Your English was Good: Hey, this is kind of fun! It's sooo summer time fun! I mean, it is nothing earth-shattering, but its good, old-fashioned rough-around-the-edges modern rock, maybe like the Cribs. This one I can endorse (and they're Canadians!)

What do you think? Any gems here? Should I keep this up?

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Aqualung Band of Horses Bright Eyes Common Market Death Cab for Cutie Drive-By Truckers Editors Gang of Four Lyrics Born M.I.A. Patti Smith Record Review Self-released Skullbot Sleater-Kinney Tapes 'n Tapes Ted Leo & the Pharmacists The Decemberists The Wedding Present Thievery Corporation Trashcan Sinatras Zero 7

Live at KEXP: Volume 2

There are two things a great compilation album can accomplish: it can either round up the best songs from important bands, either established or emerging (or both), or it can be a statement in itself. That statement could represent a different place (maybe where the music comes from, or maybe the utopia it wants to create). For example, when San Francisco label Alternative Tentacles released Let ‘Em Eat Jellybeans in '81, I realized I wasn't the only punk rock kid convinced we could make our own art, and didn't need New York or LA to do it for us, and so that record was as genuine to me as anything by the Clash or the Last Poets. A well-chosen anthology can be one of the most important albums in your collection.

Live At KEXP: Volume Two is a great compilation. Its sweet green CD design houses 20 vivacious in-studio live performances of some of the greatest tunes available in the independent music world right now, from Sleater-Kinney's agit-prop "Jumpers" to The Decemberists' twisted and sad "We Both Go Down Together" to Lyrics Born's goosepimple-raising "Callin' Out" to Common Market's terrific local call-to-arms "Connect For." Every variation of underground pop is on display here, so many of them must-own, transcendent versions. MIA's sexy, electric recreation of her own "Galang" is worthy of purchase alone. When you combine a track listing of these kinds of artists and songs, a collection like Live At KEXP is utterly irresistible.

But there's always ambivalence towards anthologies, having to do with the album-as-art mythos created by the singer-songwriter cult of the 60s performers. How could a disc full of different voices, especially one that is made up of bands from all over the country, be unified in vision and feel? There is unity here, represented at the close of the set by the gentle visionary politics of Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye's "People Have the Power."

The generosity of spirit in Live At KEXP: Volume Two represents the mature, loving, intelligent tastes of its compilers. Sure, there isn't a whole lot of hard rock (a gnarly updated Gang of Four and a ferocious Skullbot represents here though), and the compilation doesn't contain a lot of edgier, out-of-control performances. That is probably because out-of-control is created out of distrust and conflict, and KEXP have made an elegant listener-supported radio and Internet radio empire out of the best of the eclectic and accessible. The artists aren't looking to trash the station's equipment — they're using it all for a higher calling.

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Editors Kitchenware Record Review

Back Room

Editors, from Birmingham, England, bring an aural assault of gut-wrenching emotive lyrics and sublime melodies on their debut, Back Room.

Editors are more than the band garnering innumerable comparisons to Interpol. This four-piece deftly maneuver around "the British sound" (gloomy yet jangly rhythms, deep and dark lyrics, danceable beats), hinting at the usual predecessors (Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, a bit of U2, and of course New York's finest-dressed aforementioned hipsters).

Editors' bandmates met at University in 2000. Over the course of several years their lineup and name mutated (formerly called "The Pride" and "Snowfield"); the final Editors roster features Tom Smith (vocals, guitar), Chris Urbanowicz (guitar), Russell Leetch (bass), and Ed Lay (drums). Together, the band has already made quite the impact in England and will officially release Back Room stateside in April, 2006. In the meantime they've achieved gold-record status in the UK, toured with Franz Ferdinand, and played coveted across-the-pond festivals like Glastonbury and Reading.

Editors barnstorm out of the gate, capturing a frenetic energy on the first three tracks. From there, they take it down-tempo for the contemplative "Fall." They never quite recover that first fervor as the album drifts off in its closing numbers. It's those early-on faster-paced, peaking numbers like "Lights," "Fingers in the Factories" and "Munich" that showcase Editors' emotional pull in which Smith croons his tenor over booming drums and sliding guitars. Each song is tightly wrapped into a fever pitch until the thing's about to burst. The resonant lyrics and a polished production that showcases their retro-tinged talents. You can just see the tight-jeans-and-biker-boots crowd shimmying and shaking their mop-tops.

The majority of the tracks on Back Room are tight, succinct, and unflappable. There are a few dips, but overall the album is incredibly strong for a debut. What remains to be seen is how Editors translate stateside. My bet's on instant enthusiasm. Editors will embark on a small club tour in the US in January, and then return at SXSW this April. Buy your tickets early.