Dubuque avant-psych-blues duo Map Of The Woods are doing a live webcast Wednesday night. I have no idea what they’ve got cooked up — probably playing some songs, who knows what else. Definitely worth checking out.

At the end of what I think is the third verse of “Rock and Roll” on Led Zeppelin IV there’s this weird noise that’s definitely part of Robert Plant’s vocal track. It’s after the line “Open your arms open your arms open your arms, baby let my love come running in”. I’m pretty sure Plant was just exclaiming something like “yeah!” but for some reason it comes out all garbled on the album, sort of like “glelp!” I listened to this record a bunch of times as a kid, and always been curious about this. Check it out at about 2:41:

I wonder if it just turned out that way somehow from going back and overdubbing at that spot, or what. Anyone have any ideas?

It came out yesterday. Did I forget to mention it yesterday? Well I didn’t forget to order my copy. I haven’t even listened to any of the tracks they’ve had out online yet, but they are great live, so I’m excited to hear it.

I met John Pemble at Impromptu Studio the other day. I didn’t know who he was, but I knew he was fascinating. Here he is with Amadeo Rossi making the second lineup announcement for this year’s 80/35 Music Festival:

And since I missed out on posting it, and perhaps you missed out on it too, here’s the first one:

Experimental noise artist Crank Sturgeon (see if you can get this video to work) will be performing as part of Experimental Issue #11 at Clawfoot House in Lincoln, NE, a venue run by singer-songwriter Ember Schrag and soundscaper/Public Eyesore Records boss Bryan Day, this Sunday. Actually, the Clawfoot folks do a lot of pretty cool stuff, check out all those links.

A group of artistically-interested folks I know from the Cedar Falls music scene of back in the day that call themselves The Ambient Funk Playwright Society are doing an arts event called The Shan’t Bee on July 16-18.

Teen Dream cover

Invoking the time-honored rule-of-the-road that whoever’s driving runs the radio, I played this CD on a longish car trip weekend before this last, on which my 15-month-old son, my wife, and her mother were present, in between Kowloon Walled City’s Gambling On The Richter Scale and Richard Buckner’s Dents and Shells. Neither of the women in the car were particularly fond of the San Fransisco sludge quartet, but more interestingly, both preferred Dents and Shells to Teen Dream, which they characterized as “dreary” in comparison. An odd assessment given Mr. Buckner’s depressive reputation. But perhaps not so very off-base. Teen Dream is a bit of a rainy day album, likenable to vintage Mazzy Star, so it was perhaps too sunny a day, too pretty a drive through the country, to suit its mood. If the boy had an opinion, he didn’t voice it, but if he had, it would probably have sounded something like “eeeeeee durgle-durgle.”

I didn’t pay much attention to Beach House when the buzz was going around about their previous album. I follow a few of the bigger “indie” music web sites but I have a reflexive tendency to file anything they seem to be giving too much attention to under “trendy” and avoid it. It was a promotional stream on Spinner, engaged in out of curiosity, that convinced me I wanted to own a copy of Teen Dream. It’s a gorgeous album, and the band gets a lot of expression out of seemingly minimal elements — a burbling rhythmbox and a simple reverb-drenched guitar line, is at times about all they need behind Victoria Legrand’s voice to get the point across. The impression it leaves is more about the overall feel than about specific choruses, at least for the first few listens, but a few things stick out. One of my favorites: the keyboard line that drives “Lover Of Mine.”

It's True cover

It’s True main-man Adam Hawkins has a problem of misplacing his guitar after gigs. Good thing he always manages to find it, or he might not have been able to finish their self-titled debut, due out Tuesday. Not sure if you can still pre-order, they had some kind of deal a couple months ago connected to their SXSW send-off show…

Got hold of a promo download of the new Black Keys album Brothers and have been giving it a listen just now.

I think we’re way past the point now of talking about the Black Keys emerging from the shadow of The White Stripes — two bands, both guitar-drums duos working in a garage-blues milieu, and having similar-yet-opposite names, but one getting their mainstream (whatever that is these days) acknowledgment a bit ahead of the other. The Black Keys distinguished themselves in a big way with their most recent album Attack & Release as they moved stylistically a few degrees from raucous garage-blues towards more of a slow-burn soul sound that I think is especially well-suited to Dan Auerbach’s voice, sort of the Paul Rodgers to Jack White’s Robert Plant. Fans of Attack & Release will be happy to know that that stylistic progression didn’t end with the concept of writing songs for Ike Turner; Brothers continues forward with that songwriting vein, even as it moves a little bit backwards in production and arrangements toward the rawness of earlier Black Keys albums. The combination works well, and thought it’s hard to say after one listen, this could the the best Black Keys album yet.

Anyway not to beat the White Stripes thing to death, especially since I think I like the Black Keys better lately — but the reason I even bring it up is that Auerbach does start this album out with something new for him that has the potential to bring that reference back into play: the “Blue Orchid”-ish falsetto in which he sings the album’s opener, “Everlasting Light.” While probably unnecessary, it’s still an interesting new thing to hear from this band, and shows that they continue to experiment with their sound. He brings it back in a few well-chosen moments later in the album, but not many, and more generally explores the higher end of his vocal range on a few of the numbers here. I love Auerbach’s voice, and I love that this many albums and years in he’s still doing new things with it.

I’m not going to tell you where I found the whole album, set to be released May 18, because of the weird legal shit going on in the music game these days, but The Black Keys’ website should have a couple songs up for download and you can find out how to pre-order the “deluxe edition,” yet another of those music-business gimmicks that’s big these days, from there was well. And before you ask, no, I wasn’t at their show in Iowa City a couple weeks ago. Really just didn’t have that kind of cash to throw around at the time. As Cake said, how do you afford your rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?

Heh, I love this band. This video is great fun. In the black-and-white shot of the two scientists freaking out, check out the blackboard behind them. I love when a heavy band doesn’t take themselves overseriously.

Also check out this live video of “Spirit Molecule”:

Both found via Sludge Swamp.