1. As I'd resolved in my New Year's resolutions, I saw the extraordinary Petra Haden in concert last night at the Knitting Factory, with SNL comedian Fred Armisen opening with some standup. Guess what? They're dating! After Fred did some hilarious "drummer impressions" (he did a precise Phil Collins, complete with exaggerated bobbing head and exaggerated I'm-an-intense-drummer face), he recalled hearing Petra Haden's a cappella version of "The Who Sells Out" on the radio while driving in LA and was paralyzed with joy and knew right away "she was the girl for me." Petra and The Sellouts (8 gals) were breathtaking on stage, separating instrumental sounds into precise vocal parts and forming an orchestrated choral pop. Their version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" -- a true marvel -- was much tighter and more precise than the YouTube version now in circulation. Did I mention how everything was 'precise'? Anyway, go see her.
Our Love Was - Petra Haden
2. Our own Frankie Lee had the splendid idea of positioning an LP cover over his face just so for his profile page. Turns out some clever fellows have taken this concept to elaborate extremes and snapped dozens of well-placed "Sleeve Face" photos. They're marvelously done. Highly recommended.
3. Listen to the acoustic version of "Wild Mountain Nation" by Blitzen Trapper in their MySpace page, titled "Nation Live." It's special, especially if you're already hooked by the electric version, wherein they out-Grateful Dead the Grateful Dead. Mr. Poncho & Lefty are hereby giving our seal of approval to the West Coast hippie folk-rock of Fleet Foxes and Mont Smokey. When we saw this video of the Fleet Foxes' preternaturally spot-on version of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," we began to feel these hippies were perhaps created in a petri dish by Craig Venter.
See also: Pitchfork's review of the Fleet Foxes' new EP.