If 1967 was the Summer of Love, then surely 2010 is the Summer of the Apocalypse. Unstoppable oil gushers, endless wars and the inability of a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass an extension of unemployment benefits. And we’re talking about a huge Democratic majority here. Bush pushed his tax cuts for the wealthy through with the slimmest of majorities. Was that guy a leader, or what?

Of course, the Summer of Love was defined mainly by the music people were purchasing, as well as their long, dirty hair and their sex without commitment ethos. Will this summer enjoy a similar remembrance based on its soundtrack?

Well, our friends, The Hold Steady are certainly trying. Gone are the whimsical days with keyboardist extraordinaire Franz Nicolay, and in his place stands a guitar army. Sign me up, G.I. Sadly, this concert was marred by the editorial staff being possessed by the spirits and the spirit of Leland Palmer. Our Muslim friend, Christian, managed to secure a VIP section for us and we all did our best to play “rock star.” Drinks were spilled – literally on the people beneath us (weren’t they all – aha). For some reason, my jeans kept falling down every time I did my bouncing 80’s dance moves. It was just like Scouts …last week.

Of course, Christian had the last keen. He was at least sober enough to track down the band and go bar hopping. My picture with Craig Finn remains untaken. FINN!!!!

As for their latest record, Heaven is Whenever, it took a few listens before I warmed to it. They really miss Nicolay, who, inexplicably, is touring with Against Me!. I know they don’t want to repeat themselves but I think Holly and Gideon need to make a return appearance.

(Interlude 1: Still holding out from seeing both “Funny People” and “Grown Ups.” I think there are only about 10 people who still think of Adam Sandler as being funny. Of course, there is only 1 person who thinks Rob Schneider is funny. That person? Adam Sandler.)

Still on the concert scene, we used the time machine to catch Midlake for a late 60s/ early 70s show featuring an acoustic guitar army and plenty of flute solos. Their latest offering, The Courage of Others, does not follow in the accessible footsteps of its predecessor, Van Occupanther, however, it is a damn good record just the same. Heavy on the British Folk scene sound and barleycorn imagery, Tim Smith seems to be channeling fellow Texans Shearwater (who also have a new release that I haven’t gotten around to buying yet.)

Oh, about the pictures from the show. See, Dennis Natale, who was mentioned in a previous post for not lending me St. Vincent in time for me to include in the Best of 2009 took about 300 pictures of Midlake. On the plus side, he lent me St. Vincent. Still waiting for a picture.

Hey, if you’re going on a CD buying binge (wink), new releases by some of our favorites including New Pornographers, Teenage Fan Club, Stars, Pernice Brothers, and Frightened Rabbit are available. We’ll probably also snag Sleigh Bells and Beach House eventually.

Of course, the CD of the Year so far has to be High Violet by the National. Her Mims has bought 4 copies and a driedel. Fantastic. The songs are brain vampires. Each one a potential Grammily winner if the Grammilies weren’t run by assholes. And the winner is…Steve Miller for his comeback record of new blues classics written by Rob Thomas and produced by Rick Rubin. By the way, that’s me and Matt Berringer taken at a 2005 show. We’ll be seeing the lads on September 25th. Hope I get a better snappy.

(Interlude 2: started a new band that combines neo- dance, punk sensibilities, twee and klezmer called Hymen Hrothgar. Check it.)

Finally, I ran into Miles Kurowsky having lunch at Whole Foods the day after I blew off his show. Miles claimed it was his greatest show ever. Guess I’ll never know. He should be touring through the rest of the year, so please make the effort that I didn’t and see him. Oh, and buy his great new CD, The Desert of Shallow Effects. Here’s his latest video. Enjoy!