After my post about Phoenix playing Saturday Night Live, a colleague contacted me and advised me that indie rock and sports don't mix. I kind of shrugged it off at the time, because I think the concept of "indie rock" as a genre is kind of bogus, and if really exists, would French dance-rockers Phoenix--a band whose recent Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix I'm absolutely digging--even be considered indie?
Whatever the case, if you define "indie rock" as a rock act that releases music itself or on an independent label, you probably can't get any more indie that the Baseball Project, a band whose members paved the way for so-called "indie rock" before the so-called genre even existed. While individually its members are experienced enough to be called seasoned veterans and possibly even take the field at an old-timers game, together the Baseball Project is a relatively new act. The band--consisting of Steve Wynn (the Dream Syndicate), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5, and R.E.M.), Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3, Zuzu Petals)--released Volume One: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails last summer, but due to various other commitments, like an R.E.M. tour, it wasn't able to mount a proper tour until now. The quartet is scheduled to hit the road beginning August 26 at the Center for the Performing Arts in Portland, Oregon. It will mark the first time that the foursome has performed live together, besides its appearance last summer on the Late Show With David Letterman and at Wynn and Pitmon's wedding. Check out the band's Late Show performance of "Past Time" below.
By late August, when the Baseball Project hits the road, the pennant races will likely be heating up, so it'll be the perfect time to hear tunes like "Ted F--king Williams," which plays on the late Boston Red Sox's legend's cockiness, "Broken Man," which looks at Mark McGuire's from hero-to-zero fall after the steroid scandal, or "Fernando," not a cover of the ABBA classic, but an ode to former Dodger pitching great and current Spanish language Dodger broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela, sung appropriately in Spanish. (Check out the tune below). But what I like the most about the Baseball Project is that it's not some superstar cash grab, rather it's four musicians--who have all had varying degrees of success with other bands--getting together for the sheer love of the game, something that seems to be increasingly rare in indie rock and sports circles these days.
What's more, the Baseball Project isn't going on the road alone. Well, actually its members are. Aside from performing as the aforementioned combo, the four musicians will round out the bill as the newly minted Steve Wynn IV and the ever-changing Minus 5 performing songs from the latter's recently released Killington and Wynn's Crossing The Dragon Bridge. "Indie rock" and baseball, four veteran musicians, three bands, what more could you ask for except maybe a cold beer?