Kurt Vile announces EP, Boss Cover

Coming off the stellar Smoke Ring for My Halo — my favorite album this year — Kurt Vile will release an EP, So Outta Reach, November 8. It features five new songs, and a Bruce Springsteen cover. The long-haired, laconic dude that wrote “Freak Train” is taking a stab at “Downbound Train.” Doesn’t seem like a bad fit.

Here’s the tracklist:

01 The Creature
02 It’s Alright
03 Life’s a Beach
04 Laughing Stock
05 Downbound Train (Bruce Springsteen cover)
06 (so outta reach)

Listen to lead track, “The Creature:”

Song Rec’s: The Rapture’s “Sail Away” and “Children”

The Rapture’s latest, In the Grace of Your Love, misses more than it hits, but the better tracks off this album are some of the best material the group’s ever recorded. Here are two of my favorites:

Review: Hold Steady at Turner Hall Ballroom

I meant to put this up earlier, but alas, I left for a bachelor party immediately after work on Thursday. 

I very much enjoyed myself Wednesday night at Turner Hall Ballroom. This was my third time seeing the Hold Steady, and the first time indoors.  I reviewed the show for the Shepherd Express:

“Finn is still the same amicable frontman, strutting and shrugging around the stage, pointing at seemingly everyone in the crowd. Even though he’s been doing the same shtick at every gig, his conviction did not come off as fictitious.” Read the rest here.

A Nice Surprise: The Fast Romantics

My girlfriend and I traveled to Toronto on a whim last weekend. It was a little overwhelming figuring out what to do/what we could fit into 48 hours. The only thing I planned was seeing a Replacement’s tribute night at the city’s most famous club, The Horseshoe Tavern. Perhaps new-city-anxiety threw off my memory, though, because I thought the tribute was on Saturday when in fact it was on Friday. What a bummer.

I looked up the club’s calendar and Saturday was listed as “alt-rock” night, which, you know, sent shivers down my spine. A night of Candlebox covers wasn’t something I wanted to experience.

Since we really didn’t know what else to do, we checked out the place anyway.

We payed the relatively cheap $10 cover and bought a couple $6 Labatt Blue’s. What we stumbled upon wasn’t a nostalgia-driven 90’s show, but a nice Albertan indie-pop outfit. The Fast Romantics was no Candlebox, that was for sure. They were a nice mix between Spoon and Stars.

Listening to them yesterday, they didn’t sound as endearing, more bland and derivative than anything. It sure was disappointing, but I’ll always appreciate them for giving me an enjoyable night, when all I expected was the worst thing imaginable: post-grunge nostalgia.

Review: The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)

I reviewed the great War on Drugs record for the also great East Coast-based culture blog, Frontier Psychiatrist. It’s my first submission and there should be more to come.

“Ditching the Americana-label for a gazier, psychedelic drone, Slave Ambient suggests that not every mile is filled with breathtakingly beautiful scenery. The result is long stretches where signs counting down the miles to Joplin, Mo. are much-anticipated milestones. And when there’s nothing to see, all you can do is enjoy the ride.” Read the rest here.

The War on Drugs play Club Garibaldi on Saturday. You shouldn’t miss out on this. I will, but that’s because of a bachelor party, one that includes a bourbon distillery tour through Kentucky. So, we’ll probably have similar experiences.

Look who’s back

Well, it’s been more than a year since I’ve updated this site, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy. Among the many stories I’ve written this past year, the notable ones include a profile on Girl Talk, a cover story on Milwaukee’s bicycling scene, and a recent recap of my solo ride in the Riverwest 24.

In order to improve my pop culture writing, I’ve decided to get back in the routine of updating this site daily with reviews, essays and recommendations. I’ll also provide links to my work with other pubs. Well, here we go, and what better way to start than with a song that I’ve been digging lately. It’s “Baby Missiles” off The War on Drugs’ Slave Ambient. That comes out tomorrow.

The War on Drugs “Baby Missiles” from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Song of the Day: Marnie Stern’s “For Ash”

For those who don’t listen to FM 102.1’s Indie Soundcheck Sunday nights at 11 p.m., you missed out on two fronts. First, the guys — host Ryan Miller and Shepherd Express music editor Evan Rytlewski — announced LCD Soundsystem would play the Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., on Saturday, Oct. 22 with Hot Chip. Then they followed up the announcement with an excellent “pick of the week” from Evan, Marnie Stern’s “For Ash.”

Stern’s ex-boyfriend’s suicide influenced this song, but it plays more like a celebration of life than a downtrodden eulogy. The track features bombastic drums, swells of guitars and accessible (?) yelping. Her third, self-titled album drops Oct. 5.

Listen to “For Ash” below: