Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lou Reed - Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse CD Review (Matador Records)

Lou Reed - Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse CD ReviewLester Bangs' review of the original 1973 release of Berlin was "What ["Berlin"] really reminds me of, though, is the bastard progeny of a drunken flaccid tumble between Tennessee Williams and Hubert (Last Exit from Brooklyn) Selby, Jr. It brings all of Lou’s perennial themes - emasculation, sadistic misogyny, drug erosion, twisted emotionalism of numb detachment from ‘normal’ emotions - to pinnacle. It is also very funny – there’s at least one laugh in every song - but as in ‘Transformer,’ you have to doubt if the humor’s intentional."

Time has been kind to Lou's uber-dark rock opera about Jim and Caroline and their collective decent into adultery, addiction, abuse and suicide. It is interesting to hear Lou and his band play Berlin through from start to finish as I don't believe that he played any more than half the songs from this disc during his 1973 "Berlin" tour (and these were interspersed between Transformer and Velvet Underground songs). Listening to the story unfold from start to finish gives the material the consistency that it needs.

What is missing though in this live performance is the creepy, claustrophobic ambiance and the over-the-top (Pink Floydish) production of the original studio recording. The studio recording of Berlin was mesmerizing because you came away from it with the unclean feeling that you just wallowed in someone else's filth.

This live recording has an openness and warmth that somewhat de-emphasizes the darkness and power of the songs. Guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on the original Berlin recording, returns to the fold for this live recording and his electric solos bring more of a rock vibe to the performance. Some of the other special guests include Sharon Jones, who sings with Lou on "Oh Jim" and Antony sings with Lou on "Caroline Says, pt. II". Neither of these performances make-or-break either of these songs and the delivery is, again, a bit more upbeat than the subject matter of the songs would suggest. I did though enjoy hearing the songs that include the Brooklyn Youth Chorus as they add a nice flourish.

After the band finishes all of the material from Berlin, there is a three song encore at the end of the disc that closes out the show - "Candy Says" (where Lou duets with Antony), "Rock Minuet" and "Sweet Jane".

While this disc doesn't replace the need to have Berlin, it is a worthy companion piece (and it is better than a lot of Lou's recent studio recordings).

Lou Reed's Website

Cheetah Chrome and Walter Lure Play "Escape from New York" Party at Don Hill's on Thursday, Feb. 5th

Cheetah Chrome and Walter Lure Play a Tribute to the Original New York Scene at Don Hill'sThomaxe from NY Waste is celebrating his 30th birthday this Thursday night at Don Hill's with a tribute to the original New York scene.

On the bill are Cheetah Chrome, Walter Lure, Daniel Rey/The Martinets, The Bullys, Electric Frankenstein, Skinny Bones & the Gonedaddys plus "surprise guests".

Tickets are $10 and doors are at 6:00PM.

Flipper - Gone Fishin' CD Review (Water Records)

Flipper - Gone Fishin' CD Review (Water Records)Flipper's second studio album, Gone Fishin' (originally released in 1984), takes the original band in a more 'commercially accessible' direction. There is a lot more structure to these songs as compared to Generic Flipper, and the (somewhat surprisingly) clean and clear production and unified flow of this disc highlight Will and Bruce's lyrical and musical abilities. Mny of the songs are still anchored by a throbbing bass line, but the bass is no longer the focal point of the songs. Complementing the expected bass, guitar, drums, Flipper uses a xylaphone, synare, clavinet, congas, piano and alto sax on different tracks on the disc.

The disc starts off with the punkish, "The Light, The Sound" (and there is a live version of this song on Flipper's Myspace Profile - link below). Moving further into the disc, on songs like "First The Heart" and the headphone-trippy "Talk's Cheap", Will has a tendancy to sound somewhat like mid-80's Richard Hell. There is still the sludge/dirge sound of the previous release on tracks like "Survivors of the Plague" and the still topically relevant "Sacrifice". "You Nought Me" is a chaotic wreck (which never completely breaks down) and the last song on the disc, "One By One", starts with a long buzzing guitar riff that sounds like something lifted from Rocket From the Tombs/early Pere Ubu.

The overall production adds an intriguing dimension to the songs - "Sacrifice" starts with the marching sounds of soldiers before Steve kicks in with a military beat, Will has a 'conversation' with himself that bounces between speakers on 'Talk's Cheap' and the chaotic 'You Nought Me' has a tinkling piano in the background.

King Buzzo from The Melvins wrote the liner notes for this disc and and he sums Flipper's accomplishments as "...the most important thing is the music. If you get Flipper, no explanation is necessary".

This record has been out of print for too long...

Water Records has faithfully reproduced the original LP art so you can cut out and assemble Flipper's tour van and stand-ups of all of the band members.

Flipper's MySpace Profile
Water Records

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Night, States are Playing Spike Hill Tomorrow Night, Jan. 30th

DOWNLOAD: Good Night, States: Long Coats, No Energy/Change of Seasons (Live) (MP3)

Good Night, States are Playing Spike Hill on Fri., Jan. 30thSpin Magazine cited Good Night, States as one of their buzz bands last year and said: “Like Ryan Adams singing for the Boy Least Likely To, Good Night, States marry singer-songwriter vocal stylings and confessional lyrics to near-twee tunes anchored by electronic blips, xylophone and the occasional drum machine.

Pittsburgh's Good Night, States are playing a free show tomorrow night at Spike Hill in Williamsburg. Also on the bill are A Brief Smile and Pocketknife.

Good Night, States are taking the stage at 10PM.

Good Night, States - Killer of the One

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Flipper - Generic Flipper CD Review (Water Records)

Flipper - Generic Flipper CD ReviewGeneric Flipper has been cited as inspiriation by numerous bands across genres ranging from dirge, grunge, drone and hardcore. In 2007, Blender magazine ranked Generic Flipper as #86 on their list of the 100 greatest "indie rock" albums of all time.

Flipper's nihilistic vision and sarcastic wit comes together on Generic Flipper to form a realistic, yet hopeful, portrayal of the human condition. Alan Vega (from Suicide) once said "Suicide was always about life. But we couldn' t call it Life. So we called it Suicide because we wanted to recognize life." and this quote is very applicable to Flipper's first full length as well.

The disc starts with a studio version of "Ever" that is significantly different from the shambling live version that was previously released on an early 7" (which is found on Sex Bomb Baby). The studio version is a pretty upbeat take, complete with hand claps, on a pretty dark song. Bleak lyrics like "Ever think you are smart. And then find out you aren't? Ever play the fool. And find out that you're worse?" set the mood for the majority of songs on this disc.

In the same groove as "Ever" are songs like "Life Is Cheap", "Shed No Tears" (for the fall of the authority figure) and "Nothing" (which is the closest Flipper comes to sounding like their West Coast hardcore contemporaries). Even with all of these dark images, there are still a few moments of light with songs like "Life" (which is the only thing worth living for) and the disc ends with an eight minute version of "Sex Bomb Baby".

Here is a live version of "Sex Bomb" from NorthSix in Brooklyn which captures the song as it was usually played live - just shy of a complete mess, but never completely breaking down. As you will see, Bruce handed off the mic (and isn't to be seen in the video) and the audience sings along.

All four of Flipper's original releases are now out on Water Records. Generic Flipper should hold a prime place in any aging or aspiring punk's music collection.

Flipper's MySpace Profile

Meredith Monk Plays The Whitney on Sunday, Feb. 1st

The Whitney Museum of American Art presents Meredith Monk Music @ the Whitney, a one-day-only performance marathon featuring highlights from 43 years of work by the eminent composer, singer, and multi-disciplinary artist.

Meredith Monk Music @ The Whitney on Sunday, Feb. 1stFrom Wikipedia --

Meredith Monk is primarily known for her vocal innovations, including a wide range of extended techniques, which she first developed in her solo performances prior to forming her own ensemble...

In 1978 Monk formed Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble (modelled after similar ensembles of musical colleagues such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass) to explore new and wider vocal textures and forms which often were contrasted with minimal instrumental textures. Pieces from this time include Dolmen Music (1979), which also was recorded for her first album released at Manfred Eicher's record label ECM in 1981.

In the early 1990s, Monk composed an opera called Atlas, which premiered in Houston Texas in 1991. She has also written pieces for instrumental ensembles and symphony orchestras. Her first symphonic works were Possible Sky (2003) and Stringsongs (2004), which was commissioned by the Kronos Quartet. In 2005, events all over the world were help in celebration of the 40th anniversary of her career, including a concert in Carnegie Hall featuring Björk, Terry Riley, DJ Spooky (who sampled Monk on his album Drums of Death), John Zorn, and the new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound and Bang on a Can All-Stars, along with the Pacific Mozart Ensemble.
Meredith Monk's long relationship with the Whitney began in 1970 when she gave the first full concert of her music as part of the Museum's legendary Composers' Showcase series. Now, in a historic return to the Whitney, Monk and her Vocal Ensemble perform early material like A Raw Recital (1970) and more recent work like her haunting and witty Songs of Ascension (2008).

The concert will also include Stringsongs (2004), Monk’s first string quartet; music from ATLAS, a 1991 opera; and a series of instrumental pieces including Gotham Lullaby (1974), Tablet (1976), Lonely Spirit (1991), and Double Fiesta (1986). In addition, author Rick Moody will read his story Boys accompanied by four voices performing a piece originally composed for NPR’s The Next Big Thing.

Other performers in the marathon include composer/percussionist John Hollenbeck, singer Theo Bleckmann, violinist Todd Reynolds, next generation vocal ensemble The M6, students from the NYC Special Music School Middle School Chorus, and the powerhouse experimental percussion ensemble So Percussion.

Admission to the performance is included with Museum Admission. Doors will open at 1:30.

No reservations, no reserved seating, no special ticketing.

Meredith Monk's Website
The Whitney

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Wombats Proudly Present...A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation CD Review

The Wombats - A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation CD ReviewThe Wombats first full length CD, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, was released by Roadrunner last summer. This disc contains a number of tracks from the band's Japanese-only debut, Girls, Boys And Marsupials, along with a handful of new tunes.

I caught The Wombats at The Annex in 2007 when they were touring on their self-titled debut EP and thought the show was one of the best of the year. The band's music has the pop-punk energy of the early Buzzcocks, filtered through gallons of self-depreciating wit and three-part harmonies. A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation was originally released in the UK in 2007 and the band had most of these songs in their set when they toured the States in '07.

The Wombats - The Annex, NYC 2007Both the band's live set and the CD open with the a cappella do-wop of "Tales of Girls, Boys & Marsupials". From here, the band goes into twelve cuts of frantic, post-punk dance floor chant-alongs. The band's lyrics aren't deep but it is sheer fun to pogo along with Murph's wry tales of romance gone wrong.

The band captures the energy of their live shows on this disc so, rather than simply list the strongest cuts from this disc, I thought I would post live videos for each of the stand-out songs.

The Wombats - Kill the Director (Live)

The Wombats - Let's Dance to Joy Division (Live)

The Wombats - Moving to New York (Live)

The Wombats - Backfire at the Disco (Live)

Unlike some of The Wombats' contemporaries, this band has more than one great single and everything that you ever wanted to hear from the band is collected on this disc. Now that this release is almost two years old, I'm waiting anxiously for the follow-up.

Last month, Roadrunner issued a special digital-only edition of A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation (available on iTunes) which contains four bonus tracks:
- Metro Song,
- Derail and Crash,
- Bleeding Love and
- Is This Christmas?

The Wombats' MySpace Profile

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Walkmen Are Playing the Conan O'Brien Show Tomorrow Night

The Walkmen Perform on the Conan O'Brien Show on January 26thThe Walkmen are out of the road touring behind their most recent disc, You and Me, and the band is playing the Conan O'Brien Show tomorrow night. I'm guessing that the band will play either "On the Water" or "In the New Year".

The publicity machine has been cranking for this current release and there are a lot of pro-shot videos of the band posted on the 'net.

The Walkmen - "In the New Year" (Live in Juan's Basement)

The Walkmen - "On the Water" (Live in NYC, 2007)

In addition to the flood of live videos, The Walkmen also have a live version of "In the New Year" coming out on the Free Yr Radio 2008 Benefit Compilation. This compilation is to generate money for independent radio and it will be exclusively available at Insound for .99 cent, starting on Tuesday.

The Walkmen's MySpace Profile

Middle Class Rut Announce Ltd. Edition 7" (Bright Antenna)

DOWNLOAD: Middle Class Rut - Busy Bein' Born (MP3)

Middle Class Rut Announce Ltd; Edition Single on Bright AntennaSacramento's Middle Class Rut has been generating a good bit of buzz in the UK after a series of shows in London at the end of last year. For those who haven't heard the band, UK’s XFM DJ Eddy Temple-Morris described them "as a cross between Janes Addiction and Deftones."

MC Rut is releasing a limited edition, hand numbered 7" on the UK Kids/Bright Antenna label on February 10th. Tracks are “Busy Bein’ Born” and “All Walk of Life”.

Frontman Zach Lopez said "Completely ignoring the current state of music has resulted in us creating the songs that we have. This is not something we intentionally set out to do, but have found that there's less and less to learn from new records, and an endless amount to learn from old undiscovered records. Our songs are an honest reflection of where our lives are at the moment. Combining that with our passion to be on stage is what make up MC RUT."

MC Rut is currently touring the UK and here are their upcoming tour dates:
Jan. 26, 2009, Soul Tree - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Cambridge
Jan. 27, 2009, Audio - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Brighton
Jan. 28, 2009, Barfly - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Cardiff, Wales
Jan. 30, 2009, Cavern - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Exeter
Jan. 31, 2009, Academy 2 - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Birmingham
Feb. 01, 2009, King Tuts - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Glasgow, Scotland
Feb. 02, 2009, The Cockpit - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Leeds
Feb. 03, 2009, Academy 2 - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Newcastle
Feb. 04, 2009, Academy 3 - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Manchester
Feb. 05, 2009, Islington Academy - with INNERPARTYSYSTEM, London

Middle Class Rut's MySpace Profile

Flipper - Sex Bomb Baby CD Review (Water Records)

Flipper - Sex Bomb Baby CD ReviewAfter being out of print for years, Water Records recently reissued Flipper's first four CDs. Taking a look at these discs in chronological order, Sex Bomb Baby contains the band's earliest recorded material.

Sex Bomb Baby documents the band's singles and contributions to compilations over the period 1979-82. There are a handful of song that were rerecorded for Generic Flipper but the songs are in radically different versions between the two discs. With so many bands using Flipper's sound and style as a jumping off point, Sex Bomb Baby is just as essential as Generic Flipper.

Tracks are:
1) Sex Bomb: From the "Sex Bomb" 7" (10/81)
2) Love Canal: From the "Love Canal" 7" (2/81)
3) Ha Ha Ha: From the "Love Canal" 7" (2/81)
4) Sacrifice: From the "Maximum Rocknroll Presents: Not So Quiet on the Western Front" complilation LP (8/82)
5) Falling: From the "Live at Target" compilation LP (2/24/80)
6) Ever: From the Eastern Front compilation LP (1982)
7) Get Away: From the "Get Away" 7" (12/82)
8) Earthworm: From the "SF Underground" compilation EP (11/79)
9) The Game's Got a Price: From a flexidisc in "Take It" magazine (1982)
10) The Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly: From the "Get Away" 7" (12/82)
11) Brainwash: From the "Sex Bomb" 7" (10/81)
12) Lowrider: From the "Live at Target" compilation LP (2/24/80)
13) End of the Game: From the "Live at Target" compilation LP (2/24/80)

Even though members of Flipper came out of the punk scene, it is fascinating to hear the band start off with the droning dirge of "Earthworm" on their earliest recording. In an interview with Steve DePace last year, he said "[Flipper] went against the grain. Once everything went hardcore thrash, we were grungy and slow." While there are still some punkish elements in the early recordings, you can hear the band starting to slow down (like an impending train wreck).

Try to forget the numerous times "Sex Bomb" has been covered over the last 25+ years and you can imagine the impact this single made in 1981 where the only lyrics over the entire five minute song is "She's a sex bomb, my baby yeah". When you add the 6+minute dirge "Brainwash" to the flip (where Bruce Lose repeats the lyrics are "Forget it, you wouldn't understand anyway" over a punkish riff that repeats itself over and over), Flipper was standing out from the crowd.

As Sex Bomb Baby is a compilation, it doesn't come across as a coherent body of work but this disc contains all of the classic Flipper music, wit and sarcasm. There is the audience baiting and fighting, which seemed part of all the early Flipper shows that I saw, captured in the live performance of "Ever"; there is psychotic reading of "The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly" and live version of the anti-Reagan anthem "Sacrifice" smolders.

This is a great disc for fans and a guidepost for bands just starting out.

Flipper's MySpace Profile

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sinner - Crash and Burn CD Review (Candlelight Records)

Sinner - Crash & Burn CD Review (Candlelight Records)Mat Sinner & crew are back with Sinner's sixteenth studio release, Crash and Burn, which was released in the US by Candlelight Records a few week back.

For anyone not familiar with Sinner, the band plays melodic, guitar-driven 70's hard-rock. The closest points of comparison would be pre-disco 70's Kiss and Thin Lizzy. Bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner has a throaty rasp similar to Gene Simmons and the dual-lead guitars of Henny Wolter and Christof Leim give the band's music a pre-NWOBHM sound. The Thin Lizzy comparisons are strengthened by the band covering Lizzy's "Baby Please Don't Go" on their 2007 studio album Mask of Sanity and contributing a cover of "The Sun Goes Down" to a Phil Lynott tribute album. The song "Connection" (which is streaming on the band's MySpace profile) perfectly captures the spirit and sound of Thin Lizzy and could easily be mistaken for a Thin Lizzy cover or outtake.

Take a look at the video for the song "Revolution" and this will give you a good sense for the grittier, hard-rock side of the band.

Some of the strongest cuts from this disc are "Crash and Burn", "Heart of Darkness" and "Connection". All three of these cuts are streaming on Mat Sinner's MySpace profile.

Sinner is likely to be temporarily inactive as bassist/vocalist Mat and guitarist Henny are also in Primal Fear and the band is in the process of mixing and mastering their forthcoming disc 16.6.

All-in-all, Crash & Burn is a strong hard-rock album that should catch the ear of fans of 70's/early 80's rock. It would be nice to see the band do a US tour sometime in the near future.

Sinner's MySpace Profile

Bonded By Blood Plays Liquid Lounge in Bayonne on March 28th (Earache Records)

Bonded By Blood Plays Liquid Lounge (Bayonne, NJ) on March 28thLos Angeles thrash metalers Bonded by Blood are touring the East Coast in March as part of the "Masters of Disaster" tour.

On the strength of their self-released EP "Extinguish the Weak", Bonded by Blood signed with Earache Records and released their first full length CD, Feed The Beast, last summer. As posted on, one of the reviewers of this disc said that "Feed the Beast is an exercise in great old school thrash. From start to finish these young Californians harness the awesome energy of thrash metal into a solid 42 minutes of fun."

Bonded by Blood is playing with black-thrash act Witchaven and death metalers Exmortus.

Tickets for the show are $10.00.

Bonded By Blood's MySpace Profile

Friday, January 23, 2009

Senses Fail Announce "Saints & Sinners" Tour Dates w/ Hollywood Undead, Haste the Day, brokeNCYDE (Vagrant Records)

Senses Fail Announce 'Saints & Sinners' Tour DatesI knew Sense Fail was attracting bigger audiences with each release but I hadn't realized that their popularity was to the point where they have already gotten 36 million plays on their MySpace jukebox. As a reference point, Metallica has 41 million plays but they have been in the mainstream and playing coliseums for now over twenty years.

Senses Fail have announced a 42-date Feb - April tour. Many of these dates are part of the Saints & Sinners Tour which includes Haste The Day, Hollywood Undead and BroekNCYDE on the bill. The local tour stops are:

Mar 7 – Farmingdale, NY @ Crazy Donkey,
Mar 8 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater and
Mar 10 – New York, NY @ The Fillmore at Irving Plaza.

Sense Fail are touring behind Life Is Not A Waiting Room (Vagrant Records), which was released this past October and the disc debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 200.

As the news media continues to bombard us with tales of a US recession and a global depression, Senses Fail vocalist Buddy Nielsen's offers the perspective that “[t]he economy sucks, the music industry sucks, business men are committing suicide, but I’m get much better at jiu-jitsu. I have been going off and on for a year and in the last 2 weeks I have progressed leaps and bounds compared to the other students in my class. I have diligently been working on my open guard and keeping my foe away from me with hip movements and foot control and in turn my closed guard has become much improved. I am finally feeling comfortable with delivering a string of attacks from that position. For all my new found strengths I still have many weaknesses such as, but not limited to, getting cross collared, inability to finish triangles, letting people take my back and many others. I would just like to say thank you to my school and I would really appreciate if everyone would come out and see Senses Fail on this tour.

After the current series of tour dates, Senses Fail will be playing all dates on Warped Tour 2009 and will be touring Europe later this year.

Senses Fail's MySpace Profile

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cat Power - Dark End of the Street EP Review (Matador)

Cat Power - Dark End of the Street EP Review (Matador Records)2008 was an interesting year for Cat Power as Chan Marshall bookended the year with albums of cover tunes. Jukebox was released in January of 2008 and it featured 10 covers songs, which were predominately made up of classic folk and country tunes. Some of the artists covered on Jukebox include Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Joni Mitchell.

Dark End of the Street was recorded during the sessions for Jukebox but, this time, Chan covers some classic Muscle Shoals style soul. The six-song EP is bookended by a pair of tunes originally made popular by Aretha Franklin ("Dark End of the Street" and "It Ain't Fair") and the disc also includes an Otis Redding cover ("I've Been Loving You Too Long"). All of the songs are recorded with the Dirty Delta Blues band who give these songs a swirling soul sound. Chan's vocal delivery is very similar to that on Jukebox - while her vocals don't rise and fall with the build in the music, Chan's world-weary bluesy singing present a unique reinterpretation of many of these songs.

One of the more interesting reinterpretations is CCR's "Fortunate Son". While this version doesn't have John Fogerty's driving guitar lines, Chan's passionate vocals drive the song through what could be mistaken for a Velvet Underground backing track.

Here is a live performance of "It Ain't Fair":

On Matador Records blog, Gerald Cosloy posted: "Chan has not retired from writing or recording her own material. We’re pretty confident her next full length album wllll either be all originals or about 90% in that direction…"

Cat Power is playing two nights at the Apollo Theater next month. The shows are February 6th and 7th and tickets are $36.00.

Cat Power

Australia Plays Broadway: Pre-Show Photos from Carnegie Hall, Jan 20th

Australia Plays Broadway at Carnegie Hall last Tuesday was an impressive event. Prior to the show, I don't think that I fully appreciated the breadth and range of artists that were performing.

While all of the performers were stellar, some of the more impressive performances were:
- Twins cellists Pei-Jee & Pei-Sian Ng, performing together for the first time, played "In the Depths of the Temple"
- Robyn Nevin reading "Lincoln Portrait", which concluded with a tribute to President Obama
- David Campbell and Jimmy Barnes duetting on "You've Lost The Lovin' Feeling"
- Simon Burke, Amanade Harrison, David Campbell and Olivia Newton-John performing a series of Peter Allen tunes, which included a finale with the entire company.

As this was the second successful year of Australia Plays Broadway, I'm sure that next year will be something to look forward to.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Australia Plays Broadway" on Jan. 20th @ Carnegie Hall (Olivia Newton-John, Jimmy Barnes, Amanda Harrison + More)

'Australia Plays Broadway' on Jan. 20th @ Carnegie HallAustralia Week 2009 and G'Day USA present a special one night only concert at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, January 20th. This show features the biggest names in Australian music accompanied by the 70-member Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

This show is part of the 6th Annual G'Day USA Festival and there are events happening in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

The host of the show on Tuesday is actor/stage performer Simon Burke and the musical performers include Olivia Newton-John, Amanda Harrison (from the Melbourne cast of Wicked), Lior, singer/songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, rocker Jimmy Barnes, vocalist Ursula Yovich, crooner David Campbell, twin cellists Pei-Jee and Pei-Sian Ng, Simon Tedeschi and many more.

Tickets range from $35 - $120 and are available online through Carnegie Hall's Box Office. The show starts at 8PM.

G'Day USA/Australia Week 2009

French Kicks Announce Two Area Shows in February (Vagrant)

French Kicks Announce Two Area Shows in FebruaryFrench Kicks are back home and have announced shows in Hoboken and Brooklyn next month. The band is playing Maxwell's on Feb. 13th (Tickets are $10 in advance) and The Bell House in Brooklyn on Feb. 21st (Also on the bill are Pomegranates and tickets are $12).

French Kicks were busy in 2008 as they released their fourth full-length, Swimming, which took the band in a new direction. This was followed by "Covers - EP", where the band covered Lindsey Buckingham, The Ramones and others. Three of the four songs on Covers were recorded live in the studio and this gives the songs a loose and relaxed feel.

For anyone who hasn't listened to Swimmers, there are a couple live performances from French Kicks that are available as free (and legal) downloads. The band recorded a session for WOXY that features three tracks from Swimmers and a Daytrotter Session the features four tracks from the disc.

French Kicks' Website

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Amplify is Playing The Charleston on January 24th (Indie Metal)

Melodic hard-rockers Amplify announce their first run of shows for 2009.

Jan. 24, 2009, 9:00PM, The Charleston, Brooklyn, New York
Feb. 14, 2009, 9:00PM, the_underscore, New York
Mar. 21, 2009, 8:30PM, Red Star, Brooklyn

Amplify Announces First Shows for 2009 Amplify released their debut CD, "Beneath the Beauty Lies...Heaven To Burn", in 2007. The band doesn't play that many live dates due to its members' numerous side projects so catch 'em now on their first run of new shows.

Amplify puts on a solid (sweaty) high-energy rock show and you can check out a number of live video of the band on the web.

Amplify: "House", Live on, Jan 2008

Amplify: Rehearsal Studio, Jan. 2008

Amplify's Website

Tombs (Relapse Records) are Playing the Charleston on Jan. 28th

Tombs (Relapse Records) are Playing Shows at The Charleston and Union PoolAmbient/psychedelic metalers, Tombs are playing a couple shows in the area over the next couple weeks. The first is a show at The Charleston on January 28th. On the bill with Tombs are Kylesa, Black Anvil and Tournament. Tickets are $10.

The next area show is at Union Pool on February 4th. Tombs is playing with Dysrythmia and 1200 Trees. Admission is $10.

Tombs recently signed to Relapse Records and their label debut, Winter Hours, is coming out on February 17th. There are a couple tracks, "Gossamer" and "Beneath the Toxic Jungle", currently streaming on the Tombs' MySpace profile.

Here is a live video of Tombs performing "Golden Eyes" (from Winter Hours) that was filmed at the Relapse Records showcase at CMJ:

Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader CD Review (Candlelight Records)

Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader CD ReviewAfter exiting Manowar over twenty years ago, Ross the Boss' first solo CD, New Metal Leader, is a return to the epic power-metal sounds of his past work.

Ross' solo band came about when he played "A Night of Early Manowar" at the Keep It True IV Festival in Germany backed by Manowar cover band Men Of War. Ross ended up taking Men Of War under his wing as the Ross the Boss band.

Ross the Boss - Keep It True Festival

In an interview with Stalker, Ross said "I realized they were special the first time we rehearsed. They´re schooled musicians with deep respect for me and the music. Before playing the Keep It True Festival for the second time, we stepped into Tarek´s studio and laid down tracks for "I Got The Right" and "We Will Kill." The next step was to see if Patrick could write lyrics for the songs. When the songs were finished, I knew I had a band and I never wanted to play another Manowar song again. I never wanted to be an "oldies guy" who paid tribute to himself. Playing Manowar songs with a tribute band was cheesy, but fun. We got great offers and made a lot of new contacts and friends; however, we knew we weren´t going to do it for long."

New Metal Leader isn't quite Manowar's Kings of Metal but it is pretty darn close. The disc's 11 tracks are pretty much all melodic anthems that are sure to get fists pumping in the air. Vocalist Patrick Fuchs doesn't have the road-worn sound of Manowar vocalist Eric Adams but, if you look at Ross' quote above, he wasn't trying to form a Manowar cover band. Patrick has a great voice for this genre of music.

"Blood of Knives" is the first full track on the disc (after the epic metal guitar-driven opener) and is pretty indicative of what the rest of the disc sounds like.

Find more videos like this on Ross The Boss Network

The band stays in this power metal groove for most of the disc but there are a few diversions into the metal ballad territory ("God of Dying") that I associate with The Scorpions and "May the Gods Be With You" is the sort of radio-friendly rock song that Kiss was writing in the early 90's.

Both fans of power metal and early Manowar should enjoy this disc.

Ross the Boss' MySpace Profile
Ross the Boss' Website

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sworn Enemy is Playing All-Ages Metal Matinee at Southpaw on February 8th

DOWNLOAD: The Judas Syndrome - Death of the Soul (MP3)

Sworn Enemy Is Playing a Metal Matinee at Southpaw on February 8thSomehow I never thought Southpaw would become the "torch-bearer" for the all-ages metal shows...but this is pretty cool. After all the b*tching that I've done about metal bands skipping over NYC on their tours, it is great to see Southpaw stepping up. (Props to Mikey and Matt)

Sworn Enemy has been playing around the scene for the last seven years, they have played on major festivals like OzzFest and have recorded discs for Stillborn Records, Elektra Records and Century Media. The band is heading off on a major tour of Europe and are playing one local show - this one at Southpaw.

On the bill with Sworn Enemy is Vehement Serenade, if in the chamber, and The Judas Syndrome.

Tickets are $10 and doors are at 3PM.

Sworn Enemy's MySpace Profile

Wino - Punctuated Equilibrium CD Review (Southern Lord)

Wino - Punctuated Equilibrium CD Review (Southern Lord)After spending the past 25 years playing music, it seems hard to believe that Scott "Wino" Weinrich is just now releasing his first solo CD.

The new disc, Punctuated Equilibrium, will be released next Tuesday on the Southern Lord label. Like most Southern Lord releases, there will be a limited edition vinyl pressing. The vinyl pressing comes with a bonus 10" that contains four exclusive tracks:

- Chest Fever
- Der Gift (The Poison)
- On The (Sacrificial) Lam
- The Comet And The Moon

Wino has been busy since disbanding The Hidden Hand in 2007. He recorded both a solo CD and joined a new project, Shrinebuilder, with members of The Melvins, Neurosis, and Om. On Punctured Equilibrium, Wino is joined by Jon Black (of Rezin) and Jean-Paul Gaster (of Clutch). The disc was produced by J. Robbins (x-Jawbox, Government Issue) and comes with original artwork from David D'Andrea. There are also extensive liner notes from Wino that describe the origin of each track.

Here is how Wino sums up the disc: "This is the culmination of a very old dream, one that has come true in many different ways. One of the main things I have learned is how I understand "success". To me, it's not all riches and glory so much as the impact on others lives. My main philosophy that guides me is that I was given a gift, a Musical gift which I use to bring happiness to others. It is also important not to overlook your own needs, but putting yourself in the other person's shoes is to me most important! Punctuated Equilibrium is how my personality has been described, as told in the lyrics."

Wino keeps the sound varied on on Punctured Equilibrium as the tracks range from a mix of stoner psychedelia (check out "Punctuated Equilibrium" or "Wild Blue Yonder", which has some Hendrix style riffs) to Clutch-style blues-based grooves ("Smilin Road", which is streaming on Wino's MySpace page and "Release Me"). There are also a couple tracks with a solid middle-eastern feel along with the (obligatory) Sabbath style downtuned "doom" tracks.

For any fans of Wino's past work, along with fans of the doom/stoner rock genre, Punctuated Equilibrium is a great addition to your music library.

Wino is currently in Los Angeles recording with Shrinebuilder and that disc will come out sometime this year on Neurot Recordings.

Wino's MySpace Profile

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Short Sharp Shock (SSS) - The Dividing Line CD Review (Earache)

Short Sharp Shock (SSS) - The Dividing Line CD ReviewLiverpool skate thrashers Short Sharp Shock are back with their second disc, The Dividing Line.

The Dividing Line mixes classic skate thrash with West Coast punk and, on the new disc, the band blasts through 20 new tunes. This disc is more diverse and heavier than its predecessor and the band seems even more p*ssed off. Musically, the band throws in a few instrumentals, which range from the cinematic opener "The Dividing Line" to the shredding guitar riffs of "The Waiting Game". Song themes ranges from skating ("Ride the Best, F*ck the Rest" pays homage to Independent Trucks and "SK8+Destroy", which features guest appearances from skaters Geoff Rowley and Howard Cooke) to being generally p*ssed off with the world around them ("Street Leech" and "Unrest in the Northwest").

SSS perfectly capture the energy of the 80's thrash bands and they also have a similar sense of black humor (i.e. S.O.D.). Crossfire recently posted an interview with lead singer Foxy and here is one of the questions:
If you had to do one of the following things which one would you choose and why?

a) Caught in a mosh with Anthrax.

b) Caught in a bong with Municipal Waste.

c) Surfing Nicaragua with Sacred Reich.

We don't do drugs, surfing is for fags so caught in a mosh it is! Why? - You can scoop your brains out with a rusty spoon, beat your chest like kong or bark at the moon and no-one cares what you look like.

The Dividing Line is available in a number of different formats and pressings. The US version of the new CD comes with free bonus DVD containing behind the scenes footage of the recording and aggro-touring action. There is a UK vinyl edition available through Earache's European Store which contains the LP-exclusive track "A Means to An End". There is also a "limited to 100 copies" splatter vinyl version of the disc which is also available from Earache's store.

Here is an extract from the bonus DVD:

SSS is playing some sporadic shows in the UK and their next show is March 1 @ Korova in Liverpool.

Short Sharp Shock's MySpace Profile

Oceano - "Depths" Listening Party at Lit Lounge on Jan. 19th (Earache)

Earache Records Hosting Oceano Listening Party at Lit Lounge on Jan. 19thEarache Records is hosting a world premier listening party for Oceano's debut disc, Depths, next Monday night at Lit Lounge. The listening party starts at 9PM and admission is free. There will be drinks and giveaways all night.

Earache describes Oceano as "Chicago's angriest deathcore crew". The new CD will be released this Spring and there are a couple tracks from Depths streaming on the band's MySpace profile. The first pressing of the disc will come with a limited edition bonus DVD.

Oceano is out of the road but it looks like the closest the band is coming to NYC is a show at The Meatlocker in Montclair, NJ on February 15th.

Earache Records

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nerissa Campbell: Interview About New Disc and CD Release Shows (Jazz)

Nerissa Campbell is Having a CD Release Show at 55 Bar on Jan. 15thA few days ago, I had posted about Nerissa Campbell's CD release show at 55 Bar (W. Village) tomorrow night. Nerissa is a jazz artist who leans toward the Billie Holliday or Peggy Lee style of jazz and her new CD is entitled Musings of a Telescopic Tree.

Nerissa and I had a chance to catch up tonight and talk about the new CD, the show tomorrow night and her upcoming CD release shows in Australia. Here is a direct link to the interview and here is a link to the View RSS XML.

Nerissa Campbell's MySpace Profile

Bugs In The Dark Play Public Assembly Tomorrow Night, Jan. 15th

Bugs In The Dark Play Public Assemby on Jan. 15thBugs in the Dark recently placed #5 in The Deli Magazine's Best of 2008 Reader's Poll and the band puts on a phenomenal live show. The band is playing a show tomorrow night at Public Assembly in Williamsburg with Djinn Toys, My Other Friend and Neon God.

Here is what The Deli Magazine had to say about the band: "Bugs in the Dark is a 2 girl / 1 guy dual-vocal art rock trio out of Brooklyn, NYC, inspired by bands like Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Sleater Kinney and Blonde Redhead. The placed 5th in our Best of 2008 Readers' Poll, missing the nomination boat for just a handful of votes. They gathered praise from sources as varied as Impose, L Magazine, Indie Sounds NY and (of course) The Deli. Check out their out of control live show at Public Assembly on 01.15."

Tickets for tomorrow's show are $8.00 and Bugs in the Dark goes on at 10:30PM.

Bugs in the Dark's MySpace Profile

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heather & the Barbarians Are Playing a Residency at Pete's Candy Store

DOWNLOAD: Heather & the Barbarians - Red Letters (MP3)

Heather & the Barbarians are Playing a Thursday Night Residency at Pete's Candy StoreBrooklyn's Heather & the Barbarians (Americana/Country) are playing a residency at Pete's Candy Store this month. Upcoming shows are January 15, 22, 29. The shows start at 9PM and admission is free.

"The Barbarians are a Brooklyn based American rock band that blends jazz, country-blues, folk, soul, and rock and roll. They formed at the New England Conservatory in 2003 and recorded their debut LP, Tell Me Tonight, in 2006. Lead vocalist Heather Masse is also a member of the Canadian folk group The Wailin' Jennys, where she has performed across North America, the UK and as a frequent guest on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion. The Barbarians feature Josh Sinton and Adam Schneit on saxophones, Peter Bitenc on Bass and Joel Arnow on drums. Members of Heather & the Barbarians have performed with artists such as King Wilkie, Casey Dienel, Carrie Rodriguez, Crescent and Frost, Adrienne Young, Julian Velard, Michael Buble, holus Bolus, and Cat Show Snapshots.The January residency will include guest guitarists Hans Holzen and Daniel Marcus."
Heather & the Barbarians MySpace profile

David Rogue Played Spike Hill on January 8, 2009

I listened to the music streaming on David Rogue's MySpace profile a few weeks ago and posted a show preview. After seeing David perform live at Spike Hill, I don't think his studio material does him justice.

I had "pigeonholed" David as alt-country but his music is closer to that of Chris Isaak. When playing live, David and his band have more of that Sun Studios rockabilly/country sound.

From David Rogue - Spike Hill, Brooklyn 1/8/09

I saw Chris Isaak early in his career opening for Suzanne Vega and David's set reminded me of this performance (g*d, I'm getting old - this show was over 20 years ago). It is kind of funny is that David's band includes long-time Suzanne Vega guitarist Mark Schulman (who tossed some very tasty solos into David's set).

Here is a picture of David and Mark:
From David Rogue - Spike Hill, Brooklyn 1/8/09

David's upcoming shows are:
Jan 23, 2009 8:00PM, The Annex, New York
Feb 26, 2009 7:00PM, Rockwood Music Hall, New York

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Scouts: Columbia, MO Indie Rockers Are Beginning Work on New CD, "Kids & Ghosts"

DOWNLOAD: Scouts - 8AM, Cafe Berlin (MP3)

Scouts is a fairly new indie-rock band from Columbia, MO whose music blends the influences of shoe-gazer bands like My Bloody Valentine with the indie-rock sounds of bands like Miracle Legion and Let's Active.

Scouts released their debut EP "I'm Sick, I'm Well" last Summer which earned a strong review from PopMatters. The band spent a good portion of 2008 touring around the Mid-West with acts like Taking Back Sunday and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and are now going back into the studio to record their follow-up disc, which is entitled "Kids & Ghosts".

There are a number of tracks from "I'm Sick, I'm Well" streaming on Scout's MySpace Page along with a couple of demos.

Here are Scouts' upcoming tour dates:
Jan 13, 2009: Mojo’s w/ One For The Team, Columbia, MO
Jan 24, 2009: EP Theater w/MotherElectric, Chicago, IL
Jan 28, 2009: Mojo’s w/ Someone Stills Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Columbia, MO
Feb 04, 2009 : The Record Bar w/ We Are Voices & Lifeinjersey, Kansas City, MO
Feb 17, 2009 : The 400 w/ We Are Voices & Now And Forever, Warrensburg, MO

Rock Band Continues to Add More Artists to the Music Store (Roy Orbison, Dead Kennedys, At The Gates, etc.)

Rock Band Adds over 500 Tracks to the Rock Band Music StoreWhile Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, I walked through a number of electronics and entertainment stores (BestBuy, Circuit City, etc.). It seems pretty obvious that Rock Band is the current winner of the "battle" of the music video games.

Every store that I went into had Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on sale for 50%+ off of its regular price. On the other hand, I'm receiving what seems like weekly emails from Rock Band as they add new artists to the Rock Band store. These artists range from Roy Orbison to Dead Kennedys, Motorhead, Testament, At The Gates, Mission of Burma and many other eclectic, non-mainstream artists. There is something to be said for having this much flexibility in customizing your music game...and I'm particularly enjoying being able to play Burma's "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" and At the Gates' "Blinded By Fear" back-to-back.

The Rock Band store is now has more than 500 tracks and has had over 30 million paid downloads to-date. Here is the link to the list of all of the songs available for Rock Band.

Harmonix Music Systems' big release for next year is going to be a new standalone game based on the Rock Band premise that features the music of The Beatles. The unnamed game will feature "a visual and musical history of the Beatles, and will include the United Kingdom-released versions of songs from their albums Please Please Me through Abbey Road." While this game will not be part of the Rock Band series, all Rock Band accessories are supposed to work with this title.

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. (Creators of Rock Band)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nerissa Campbell is Playing 55 Bar (W. Village) on Thursday, Jan. 15th

DOWNLOAD: Nerissa Campbell - Glasgow (MP3)

Nerissa Campbell is Playing 55 Bar on Thursday, January 15thJazz artist (and Australian transplant) Nerissa Campbell is releasing her second disc, Musings of a Telescopic Tree, next week at a show at 55 Bar in the W. Village.

Musings of a Telescopic Tree has a feel like an old Billie Holliday or Peggy Lee album but all of the material on this disc is new and fresh. The disc's ten tracks are somewhat melancholy, with tales of love, loss and depression but this is balanced by an underlying openness to the record. The overall sound of the disc has a warmth that allows Nerissa voice to fill the open spaces. The band plays very tight jazz and R&B fills, providing strong support to both the vocals and each other, and they too have enough space across the disc to improvise, solo and shine.

Thursday night's show starts at 7PM and admission is free.

55 Bar
Nerissa Campbell's MySpace Profile

Antimatter - iPhone/iPod Touch Game Review (Pangea Software)

Antimatter - iPhone/iPod Touch Game ReviewAntimatter is the latest game from Pangea Software, the creators of Enigmo. It is extremely simple to get started with this game but it is (thus far) difficult to master, which keeps the game play fairly addictive.

The game's premise is that "you control a stream of antimatter particles and use it to affect the Cosmic Strings while collecting powerups and bonus points." How this works is that you control direction of the antimatter particle with your finger and you have to bounce the particle into each of the blue Cosmic Strings, which then turns the Strings red. Once all the Strings are turned red, you clear the level. Antimatter's graphics are stunning.

The game has a number of challenging aspects. The first is that you have a limited amount of energy and you have to clear each level before your energy runs out. You can collect more energy by hitting the Strings or "power-ups" that appear on the screen. As time progresses, the Strings break into smaller pieces (which makes then infinitely harder to hit) and you can accidently turn a String back to blue by hitting it a second time. The first few levels are fairly simple to clear but it gets complex quickly as more strings are added at each level.

Antimatter is only $1.99 from the iTunes App Store.

Soul Trapper - Episode 1: Ollie Ollie Oxen Free (iPhone/iPod Touch Game)

Soul Trapper - iPod Touch/iPhone Game ReviewSoul Trapper is an interesting new App Store game from Realtime Audio Adventures. What makes this application stand out from the pack is that it is more of a "chose your own adventure" audio book than a pure game.

Soul Trapper's story line is pure pulp noir as it follows the exploits of Kane Pryce, a 27 year old drifter who hunts down and dispatches ghosts to the after-life with the aid of his Soul Trapper. The story line has all the main plot vehicles of a 40's/50's detective novel; a one-man army "hero", a beautiful love interest and seemingly impossible obstacles to overcome. While the story starts slow, it builds fairly quickly and I was hooked in from about Chapter 3 onward.

The gaming portion of the application is somewhat limited. While you can direct Kane to do certain actions (using arrows on the touch screen), the story doesn't move on until you pick the correct option. As such, there aren't alternate story lines and you really can't "die" (as you could in the early computer adventure games). As Soul Trapper is truly an "audio adventure", there really isn't much in the line of visuals, outside of a different image for each of the 23 chapters. The audio though is quite rich and it ranges from vocals narratives from the different characters (almost like a radio drama) to providing clues for many of the game vignettes.

As a book, I really enjoyed this application and it took me about four hours to finish the story. Looking strictly at the game functionality, this is probably not an application for hard-core gamers. The game play is pretty limited and it seems unlikely that you would come back to the application for the games once you have completed the story line.

As a fan of the pulp noir style of writing, I'm looking forward to hearing Episode 2.

Soul Trapper (Apple App Store)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dead Leaf Echo Play Free Show @ Bell House Tomorrow Night (with Free Beer)

Dead Leaf Echo Play Free Show at The Bell House on Jan. 8thDead Leaf Echo put out a strong EP, Pale Fire, last year and just finished recording new material with John Fryer (Cocteau Twins,Lush,Pale Saints) of 4AD fame. The forthcoming album is entitled "Truth" and it will be released in the early part of this year.

Dead Leaf Echo are playing a free show tomorrow night at The Bell House with The Depreciation Guild and there will be free Brooklyn Lager from 8PM - 9PM.

Here is the video for "Tears", which is from the Pale Fire EP.

Deaf Leaf Echo's MySpace Profile

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Vancougar - Canadian Tuxedo CD Review (Mint Records)

STREAM Vancougar - "Obvious"
STREAM Vancougar - "Distance"

Vancougar - Canadian Tuxedo CD ReviewI never got around to doing a "Best of 2008" list but Vancougar's Canadian Tuxedo would have made my list.

In my mind, Canadian Tuxedo ranks up there with Blondie's first disc. Vancougar's style of music combines 60's style girl group harmonies, AM Radio pop, and garage-rock. This is the sort of record that Blondie should have made in place of the deplorable The Curse of Blondie disc a few years back.

Producer Dave Carswell (The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, etc.) gives this disc the perfect balance between singer/guitarist Eden Fineday's soaring vocals and the driving beat of the band. Drummer C.C. Rose gives the band a punk back-beat which is then complemented by Becca Stewart's fuzzed-out bass lines and the wonderful garage keys of Megan Johnson. Eight of the disc's ten songs are bouncy power-pop tunes and the last two are "Brill Building" torch songs. Lyrically, the themes are about love, broken romance, and the challenges of adulthood.

"Philadelphia" is one of my favorite songs on the disc and you can check out a live video of the song below.

Canadian Tuxedo is great stuff -- it is the sort of CD that you can play over and over again as there isn't a bad song on the disc.

Vancougar's MySpace Profile

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Brown Shoe - Jackalope CD Review

Brown Shoe - Jackalope CD ReviewBrown Shoe's third release, Jackalope, is tough to pigeon-hole into one particular style or genre. The band's music is moody and atmospheric which easily leads to comparisons to post-rock bands like Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai but there are also elements in Brown Shoe's musics of British post-punk and American "jam" bands. The band's overall sound is an interesting amalgamation.

If you check out the video for "Aquarium" (which is one of the standout tracks on Jackalope), you will get a sense for the band's musical style.

Aquarium -- Music Video from Brown Shoe.

Lyrically, singer Ryan Baggaley paints some strong emotional pictures as he sings of love, loss and heartbreak which has led to further comparison to bands like Red House Painters.

On Jackalope, the band sounds at their best on the up-tempo anthemic songs. These songs have a tight, pulsing bass line, big swirling guitars and very crisp, driving drums. In addition to "Aquarium", other standout tracks on the disc are "Take This Paper And Burn It" and "Hey". Brown Shoe has a strong reputation for their live shows and I would bet that these songs are big crowd favorites.

Brown Shoe's MySpace Profile

Doug Keith (Up The Empire) - CD Release Show @ Piano's on Jan. 9th

DOWNLOAD: Doug Keith - The Companion of An Angel (MP3)

Up The Empire's Doug Keith is unveiling his first recordings under his own name at a show at Piano's on Friday. Doug's new disc, Here's To Outliving Me comes out on January 13th on The Cougar Label.

The track posted above, "The Companion of An Angel", is pretty representative of the sound of Doug's new disk. Musically, this release would likely fall into the category of alt-country. Doug delivers his lyrics and creates imagery like the classic country/folk storytellers and there is a lot of delicate interplay between Doug's vocals, his guitar work and the work of his band mates. All of this is complemented by rich backing vocal harmonies on a number of the songs. There are three additional advance tracks from this release that you can download for free from Doug's page on The Cougar Label's site.

Sharing the bill with Doug at the show at Piano's are Voxhaul Broadcast, The Union Line and Cat Jaw. It looks like a good mix of bands and tickets are $10.

Doug Keith's MySpace Profile

Rob Nicholas - Interview with BrooklynRocks (Chicago Jazz/Pop Fusion)

DOWNLOAD: Rob Nicholas & A Moment's Notice - Sittin' Away (MP3)

Rob NIcholas: Interview with BrooklynRocksRight before the holidays, I caught up with Chicago-based musician Rob Nicholas. Rob is a classically trained musician who has been playing around the Chicago area for the last ten years. Rob is about to release his first solo disc sometime in the next few weeks and his music is a fusion of world music, pop and jazz. Points of comparison are artists like Jason Mraz and James Blunt.

Rob and I had the chance to talk about his forthcoming solo EP, the breakup of his previous band (Rob Nicholas and A Moment's Notice), jazz purists, the state of the world and more. Here is a direct link to the MP3 of the interview and here is a link to the feed View RSS XML.

Rob's next show is February 7th at House of Blues in Chicago and he will be playing with Kirsten Price. Advance tickets are $10.

Rob Nicholas' MySpace Profile

Beau Jennings Covers Dwight Yoakam's "Streets of Bakersfield" (free download)

Beau Jennings Covers Dwight Yoakam Song for the 80's Cover Song Project, Rewind Part 2BuffetLibre DJ's have their 80's cover-song project, "Rewind Part 2", going full force and there are some pretty cool songs from a wide range of bands available as free downloads.

Beau Jennings (solo artist and Cheyenne frontman) has contributed a cover of Dwight Yoakam's "Streets of Bakersfield". Beau says "I love "Streets Of Bakersfield", its one of those songs where the listener knows something that the narrator doesn't. But then again you don't realize that till you've listened to the song a few times, so its fun a lot of levels. Plus it sounds good coming out of a roadhouse jukebox."

Cheyenne's MySpace Profile

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pavement - Brighten The Corners (Nicene Credence Edition) CD Review (Matador)

PAvement - Brighten The Corners (Nicene Credence Edition) CD ReviewMatador's reissue of Pavement's fourth CD, Brighten The Corners, allows you to really get a different perspective on the original CD.

The original twelve track CD seemed pretty focused and mellow after its sprawling predecessor, Wowee Zowee. The deluxe edition of Brighten the Corners adds thirty-two bonus tracks that includes outtakes, b-sides, live material and radio sessions. There are reinterpretations of material from Brighten the Corners and early versions of songs that would ultimately make it onto Terror Twilight and the Major Leagues EP. These bonus tracks give this disc the open and loose sound of its predecessors and add a bit of extra life and context to the original twelve tracks.

Brighten The Corners has aged well and the original singles from this release, “Stereo” and “Shady Lane”, still sound fresh. Giving a fresh listen to this CD, Spiral Stairs' songs, "Date w/ IKEA" and "Passat Dream", should have also been hits and both seemed to miss their time. "Date w/IKEA" has that California pysch-pop feel that Matthew Sweet has been mining over his last few releases and "Passat Dream" sounds like something that could have come from The Strokes or one of the other current day indie-rock bands.

I can't think of any word to describe the thirty-two bonus tracks other than "eclectic". The bonus tracks include two extra versions of "Type Slowly" - a countrified up-tempo version renamed "Slowly Type" and a live version from the Tibet Freedom Festival. There are two versions of an early version of "The Hexx" (then named "And Then") - an extended studio version and a live Peel Session. There are covers of The Fall's "The Classical" and Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" (both songs were later re-recorded for the band's final EP - Major Leagues) along with a cover of the Clean. Pavement fans will likely wonder why "Harness Your Hopes" (which is included as both a b-side and a Peel Session recording) got regulated to b-side status as the music and Stephen Malkmus' lyrical wordplay seems to hold up well against the disc's original twelve tracks. Fittingly, this set ends on a shambolic note with two takes on the Space Ghost Theme, both of which were recorded in Boston's WFNX Studios on February 12, 1997.

Going back to 1997, here is the Spike Jonze directed video for "Shady Lane":