Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What Toasters Do in Florida

Now with mp3 links!

>> Featured Artist: The New Pornographers

Having taken a trek down to Florida to take in a few spring training games, Mister Toaster was also lucky enough to catch The New Pornographers only non-festival show this spring. Having been duped by Pitchfork into thinking Neko Case would be joining The New Ps for the show, a considerable level of despair filled Orlando's Club Firestone when the stage was set up without a spot for the moonlighting singer-songwriter.

Never fear: Kathryn Calder (who hails from Immaculate Machine and happens to be a cousin of frontman Carl Newman) was quick to close the expectation gap with her best Neko impression - not just in the backing vox, but also taking lead on songs such as "Mass Romantic."

Even Bejar and Case-less, the band still put on one of the best performances in the Toaster's recent memory, making the case that the Carl Newman is not just the brains behind an all-star band, but perhaps one of the biggest stars himself.

>> Album Lookout: Armchair Apocrypha

Andrew Bird - Due Out: March 20, 2007 Fat Possum

Andrew Bird, in all his whimsy, takes a bit of getting used to. His lyrics, such as those in 2005's "Fake Palindromes" ("and I'm goinna tie your wrists with leather and drill a tiny hole into your head"), are unnerving, and at times nauseating.

On Bird's first Fat Possum release, due out next week, he takes up where he left off on Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs with songs with refrains like "Thank got it's fatal" and, regarding an airplane ride, "To save our lives, you got to envision the fiery crash." The latter is a lyric from "Fiery Crash," which is complete in the Andrew Bird style, which is characterized not just by eccentric lyrics, but also with interesting instrumentation, textured backing vocals and his signature whistle.

At the very least, it'll be nice having another album to hum along to while pretending not to hear the lyrics.

>> Reverting to: 1954

With all those old-timers down there in the F-L, that fifites music is EVERYWHERE. Everywhere.

This gets us thinking about all those damn white bands who turned the R&B classics into smash pop hits. It pains us to find that our childhood favorite movie, Clue, has forced into the Toaster hall-of-fame one of these song-napped tunes, the Crew Cuts cover of "Sh-boom." The skatty classic was originally a considerable hit for The Chords, who (according to Wiki) are often cited as being one of the first R&B groups to crossover with a pop hit. We're posting their version.

While we miss the "a-lang a ding-dong, a-lang a-lang a-lang" and the "yadda dada dada..." the Crew Cuts added, the middle 8 ("Every time I look at you / something is on my mind") is best represented in its unneutured version.

Thank god for rock'n'roll history class. Here's to you, wherever you are, Professor Gunderson.

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