Fluxblog vs. Stereogum

Last night's Fluxblog vs. Stereogum was a fun time, despite the advertised $4 Boris beer special being for just an 8.5 oz bottle. (I think APT house rules dictate all 12 oz drinks must cost at least $6.) Among the musical highlights were Annie's "Chewing Gum" (which took about 1.5 listens to lodge itself in my brain) and a cool mash-up of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" with Usher's "Yeah" - which happens to be available for download today at Fluxblog. Check it out.

The iPod party at APT is a great concept, and they've at least tripled the number of songs available since the last time I went. (Though Stereogum and Fluxblog each brought their own music last night.) I actually signed up for a 7 minute slot on the "decks" last time, which I used on "Ya Playin' Yaself" by Jeru the Damaja, the DFA mix of "Orange Alert" by Metro Area, "Friends of P" by the Rentals, and "Move Your Body" by Junior Senior. The Metro Area -> Rentals transition was great. It is scary that I remember this?

Feel Connected

I finally got to see Portugal's X-Wife live this weekend, at Rothko on Friday and Sin-e last night. I've already said quite a bit about this band and their excellent debut Feeding the Machine, and it's hard for me to be completely objective here since I helped set up the shows. But I was really impressed with their live show - they're edgier than on record, with a punkiness that comes across much more on stage. Guitarist and singer Joao Vieira is the clear frontman, but you can focus on any of the three in the band because each is essential to the sound and doing new things live. Rui Maia is great behind the drum machines and synths, banging out the beats live and constantly moving around behind his vintage keyboards (including one that cost $7 used). And bassist Fernando Sousa - wearing sunglasses, naturally - stole the show both nights with his vocoder parts during set closer "Taking Control."

"Taking Control" was a highlight both nights - especially with a closing jam at Rothko - but I was also a big fan of "Eno" (my fave on the album) and "Second Best." Pretty much all the songs were good though, catchy and tight, and they played a couple new songs as well, both sounding different but still great. X-Wife has a sound that manages to be unique yet instantly familiar, and I think/hope they have a bright future ahead of them as a result. The crowds were small this weekend, but early response is promising - the first batch of their album is already almost sold out at Other Music.

They've got one last show in the U.S. at Pianos at 8 PM on Wednesday, then they head back to Portugal. Highly recommended if you have the time. And if you don't, their excellent on-air session on WFMU is archived here and you can download "Eno" here.

ROTHKO SETLIST: The Sound of You / New Old City / Fall / Hot Shot (new) / Eno / Second Best / Clinic / Action Plan / Taking Control

(Same set at Sin-e minus "Action Plan.")