Friday shorts

Stylus's Turntable blog discusses potential summer anthems for 2006, with Camera Obscura, Yo La Tengo, the Concretes, and Jolie Holland among their candidates. Their winner? A song by LA's the Bedroom Walls. (Don't know 'em.) Hard to say what mine will end up being, but I'm going with "Jams Run Free" for now. Yeah, Sonic Youth isn't a summer anthem kind of band, but Rather Ripped is just that kind of an album. Paul and I got impatient of waiting for its 6/13 release date and just added it to our favorites for the year (on the right). I always expect the best from SY and they've delivered yet again.

Cass McCombs has an October 2005 live show available for download on his site. This is sure to be part of my weekend listening.

Chris Ott takes an interesting look at R.E.M. and what happens with bands that "don't let it go." An excerpt:

What kills all the bands that don't break up and don't let it go - and their fans too - is that they never close the loop. They never put childish ways behind, or at least they never lock the closet, playing with the same toys, the same songs we mowed lawns and made out and made up to. We all do this, we keep listening to the same songs, but when the bands are still playing them - older, fatter, slower - there's no vacuum for nostalgia to fill. You can never return to the place where you started and know it for the first time if you never leave, so the act of listening to R.E.M. when they're still around is tainted by what they are still trying to represent. You can't remember R.E.M. circa '83 or '87 or '92 because of R.E.M. 2006. You can't remember the band fondly, because they still exist: you can only remember the time period, and wonder, "What's with the eye makeup these days, Mike?"

As Ott points out, imagine how huge a 2006 R.E.M. reunion would be if they'd gone on hiatus after Automatic for the People (and before they started touring regularly again). They kept me interested through the front half of Reveal, though, so I'd need to be guaranteed a reunion show with lots of Reckoning and Document if I were to make that trade-off today.

PAS/CAL will be playing the Mercury Lounge on June 22 with Asobi Seksu, and we hear Betty Marie Barnes (formerly of Saturday Looks Good To Me) will likely be joining them for their set. SLGTM's Fred Thomas is a top-notch songwriter but Barnes's vocals were an equally huge part of Every Night being one of my most-listened-to records last year, and her absence made SLGTM's SXSW set an unfortunate disappointment. Her voice has so much personality that I'm sure she'll be fun on stage, and perfect for PAS/CAL.

PAS/CAL's studio blog hasn't been updated in a while, so we can only hope that their upcoming full-length Citizen's Army Uniform is closer to completion. I'd call it the Chinese Democracy of indie rock but we do have a tracklisting and demos ("O Honey, We're Ridiculous" (MP3) and "The Glorious Ballad of the Ignored" (MP3)). Check out the always excellent "What Happened to the Sands" (MP3) for something finished. New material should be a big part of their set on the 22nd.

In case you're wondering what the deal is with Escort, who play P.S. 1 with Rub-n-Tug in August, their site fills us in on some details. And yes, Escort is definitely a "they" - nine people strong, in fact, with their first single "Starlight" out this month. The 12" is streaming on their site and worth checking out for fans of Metro Area/Environ and disco goodness in general. Play Darshan Jesrani's Parks Department Dub twice because it's a keeper. Thanks to Banana Nutrament for the link.

Need live music tonight? Head to Brooklyn. Parts and Labor are playing 98 Ingraham St. It will rock. They're on second and Oneida, Home, and Awesome Color are also on the bill. Todd P. has details. Can't make it? Get P+L's new album Stay Afraid instead, and be sure to turn it up. Try the triumphant "A Great Divide" (MP3) if you need convincing.