No, this isn't high-igh-igh-igh-igh.
So the Poison Control Center, 71 shows and 80-some days into their "Neverending Tour," made a triumphant return to central Iowa last night with a gig at the Des Moines Social Club. I've already said so much about how great I think they are that I didn't really know what I could add about last night's show, but Aaron Z. said he'd be looking forward to my Des Noise post, so here I am. Aaron was catching PCC and fellow locals-made-good Christopher the Conquered for the first time, and he said he had a blast. As you can (hopefully) see from the blurry iPhone photo above, he wasn't the only one. Social Club rented this big ol' PA setup, and they hired security guards and everything-- I guess they thought PCC fans are more dangerous than we actually are?-- so at first I wasn't really sure how everything would pan out. But Patrick, David, Devin, and Joe have really gotten tighter in their time on the road, and longtime drummer Donald-- he "writes the hits," as Patrick said at one point, and that includes first Sad Sour Future video selection "Being Gone"-- was no slouch on guitar and vocals, either. PCC were on friendly territory here, so they could play new songs and also some older stuff with their usual boundless energy and know there'd be plenty of people to shout along. "Friends in the Band" is the latest to get the DIY video treatment, and that made it an even sweeter moment live; "Magic Circle Symphony" got the usual fists-pumping crowd participation going. The highlight without a doubt had to be when they launched into "When the World Sleeps", the flip side of recent-ish non-album single "Give It a Try", as a finale, and the crowd-- having been to PCC shows before, apparently-- bumrushed the stage (security, thankfully, stayed out of the way) and proceeded to lift each member of the band on their collective shoulders, including the drums but not drummer David (apparently me and Ladd should've gone up there, too). I gotta admit I was a little nervous for Joe, though, who was crowd-surfing with a broken collarbone. Christopher the Conquered put on their usual really fun live set, though I suspect Chris saves his really big spectacles and surprises for special occasions so there was no monk-ish robe like at GDP or hidden microphone by the sound guy like at 80/35-- the band member with the suspenders and amazing dance moves, though, whose name I'm really embarrassed I don't know, did offer one little surprise: He used to be recognizable by his long hair, beard, and glasses but last night was all buzz-cut and clean-shaven (you ARE still the same guy, right? Nobody else can dance like that!). Oh and CTC did a new one, too, a slower song about "The Greatest Pop Record Ever Made" (did I get that right?), which suggests we can hope for another album from these guys before too long, maybe. Got there while the Atudes were playing, and they sounded good from what I heard, and Patrick had high praise for earlier openers Why Make Clocks (their "Revolver" is one of the best songs he's ever heard out of Iowa, he said! and it's a good un, a waltzing, organ-streaked slow burner) and the Seed of Something, too (speaking of the Seed of Something, another reason this show was special was because it was all-ages, which PCC shows at Vaudeville Mews generally aren't, so the Seed of Something guys and their friends were there dancing, too, and generally being livelier than we boring twenty- and thirtysomethings tend to be, which was great). Oh yeah and Patrick turned 30 today-- golden birthday. Hope it was a happy one, sir, and we'll see ya in Kansas City next month with Pavement.



High tide, high tide.
For a couple of bars during the early show last night at Vaudeville Mews by Colorado blog and The New York Times Style Mag darlings Tennis, singer Alaina Moore stepped away from her keyboards and did a kind of ecstatic, high-stepping dance. It happened faster than you could pull your iPhone out of your pocket, slide to unlock it, and wait for the artificial aperture on the camera feature to open (hypothetically). It was a pretty great little understated encapsulation of a pretty great little understated set. Tennis play sweetly aching fuzz-pop songs with Moore's lilting, powerful vocals and lyrics about travel by sea; husband Patrick Riley picks out prickly, trebly guitar bits way up on the neck, and they have a live drummer, though I haven't been able to find dude's full name anywhere (sorry, dude). It's a little like Baltimore dream-pop seducers Beach House-- hey, Tennis even have a great 7" A-side called "Baltimore", which closed their set-- but also a little like other things that are a bit more upbeat and extroverted, including Headlights' "Cherry Tulips", maybe, or Best Coast without the anti-"California Gurls" 'tude.

As far as I can tell, Tennis don't really tour much, and their set last night was part of a brief stint that will take them to New York in a week, so it was gratifying to see that they've got it together a lot more than you might expect from a band at this stage (though there were still the occasional kinks of feedback to work out). They seem to have a realistic view of internet hype-- "Even though everyone wants us to take it really seriously, at the end of the day this started as a hobby for us," Riley told The A.V. Club-- and that carried over to a set that was modest and sort of innocently earnest in a way that really appealed to me. "Did that sound OK?" asked Riley after an early song, when Moore stepped away from the mic; at the end, when the (surprisingly big, both for a Tuesday night and for such a relatively new band-- I wonder if Joe Lawler's Juice coverage helped?) crowd kept asking for more, Moore apologized, saying they'd only been a band for a few months and don't have any more songs. Fair! I've been listening a lot lately to DirecTV's "College Rock" music channel, which has this weird selection of songs-- both super-current, like that new Washed Out thing with Caroline Polachek, or a few years old and not exactly what I'd expect, like the Dandy Warhols' "Smoke It"-- and Tennis' hugely catchy "Marathon" airs at least daily, somehow. Sounded great live; they couldn't do the female backing harmonies with this lineup, obviously, but it didn't matter. Before another song, Moore asked us to slow dance, like in high school; Mrs. Des Noise did, with our friend Shane, who I like too much to beat up (as if I would/could anyway). I bought a tape.

Hallelujah, by and by.
Maid Marian and the Seed of Something opened. Maid Marian plays echoey, loop-driven songs alone with her Yamaha keyboard and snatches of tambourine or harmonica; it was a mesmerizing, fragile set and ended, like last time, with "I'll Fly Away", sung eyes closed, just right. So there's another tape I still gotta get. The Seed of Something are friends through Mews booker Ladd and they keep improving their rough-hewn garage rock sound, despite what I discovered was a change in drummers. "Too many cops are on the streets"-- Freddie Gibbs would empathize.



Somewhere up there is a band called Phoenix.
If you've ever heard a song by Phoenix in a TV commercial or on your iPod boombox, you don't need to shell out the money to see them live. It's basically the same thing. Except without the entertainment value of watching Cadillacs cruise around winding highways (professional drivers on a closed course-- do not attempt!) or being able to skim your RSS reader while you listen without looking like a jackass. 

That's based on the French pop group's show here last night. Phoenix's rise to TV soundtrack and commercial-break ubiquity has been another tale of triumph for internet indie-music geeks, and getting a band with their level of cachet to Des Moines was a pretty huge deal, one more sign of a small Midwestern city's ongoing revitalization. The 1990s alternative rockers you might hear alongside these guys on Ames-based 105.1 FM (The New Rock Revolution) definitely weren't coming to town in their own day, you know? When organizers switched the venue from 7 Flags Event Center in Clive to the smaller People's Court downtown, I was ready for another sad, Devo-esque lack of ticket sales. Turns out I shouldn't have worried: The band was the only real disappointment.



Happy summertime.

Long-overdue quarterly report for stuff that came out (or, in the case of tracks, hit the internet) from April 1 to June 30. I'm never on top of these kinds of posts like Tom Breihan, and I'm not even gonna pretend to be ready to write blurbs about all of these, but we do what we can, right? I promise my third-quarter report will be more prompt. Potentially.

Robyn: Body Talk Pt. 1 (review) (interview)
Sleigh Bells: Treats
ceo: White Magic (interview)
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening 
The Poison Control Center: Sad Sour Future
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today
The-Dream: Love King (review)
Caribou: Swim
Allo Darlin': Allo Darlin' (review)
The Drums: The Drums

(Apologies to Tracey Thorn, Tame Impala, the Radio Dept., Delorean, Crystal Castles, Drake, Flying Lotus, Chemical Brothers, Janelle Monae, Julian Lynch, Wild Nothing, James Blake, Josh Ritter, Beach Fossils, Big KRIT, Emeralds, Race Horses, Wiz Khalifa, Foals, etc. etc.)

Robyn: "Dancing on My Own"
Robyn: "Cry When You Get Older"
Katy Perry [ft. Snoop Dogg]: "California Gurls"
Josh Ritter: "The Curse"   
Ciara: "I Run It"  
Big Boi: "Shutterbug"
Best Coast: "Boyfriend"  
LCD Soundsystem: "I Can Change" 
Salem: "King Night"
Gauntlet Hair: "I Was Thinking..."

(A haphazard, incomplete, probably embarrassing-in-six-months assemblage of other 2Q tracks for your consideration: Aeroplane: "We Can't Fly", Allo Darlin: "Kiss Your Lips", James Blake: "CMYK", ceo: "Come With Me", the Chemical Brothers: "Escape Velocity", Crystal Castles: "Baptism", Crystal Castles: "Celestica", The-Dream: "Florida University", The-Dream: "Love King", The-Dream [ft. T.I.]: "Make Up Bag",  Flying Lotus: "MmmHmm", Japandroids: "Younger Us", Kendal Johansson: "Blue Moon", JTJ [ft. Sophia & Sanchila]: "It's You", Alicia Keys [ft. Drake]: "Unthinkable (Remix)",  LCD Soundsystem: "Dance Yrself Clean", LCD Soundsystem: "Drunk Girls", M.I.A.: "Born Free", MNDR: "I Go Away", Kate Nash: "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt", Sleigh Bells: "Tell Em", Sweater Girls: "Do the Sweater")

Love Is All, with Tyvek. April 8, Vaudeville Mews.
- The Poison Control Center, with Christopher the Conquered, Mynabirds, Wolves in the Attic, Derek Lambert. April 30, Vaudeville Mews.
- Coyote Slingshot, with Wheels on Fire. June 9, Vaudeville Mews.
- Damien Jurado. June 6, Vaudeville Mews.
- Julian Casablancas. April 23, People's.
- The Twilight Sad, with Mono. May 18, Vaudeville Mews.
- Woodsman, with the Autumn Project, Statocyst. June 30, Vaudeville Mews.
- The Beets. June 10, Vaudeville Mews/April 23, Beechwood Lounge.
- Harlem, with the Jitz. May 5, Vaudeville Mews.  (Ben and Travis will not agree on this placement.)
- Canby, with Golden Veins, Skypiper. May 1, Vaudeville Mews.
- The Love of Everything. June 24, Vaudeville Mews.
Pearly Gate Music, with Love Songs for Lonely Monsters, Land of Blood and Sunshine, Seed of Something. June 9, Vaudeville Mews.

I woulda posted the 9/19/71 Stonybrook version but it's not on YouTube.