DOWNLOAD: Eula - "A Hold" (from "Fill Your Heart" EP)
New Haven, CT art-punk band Eula is playing a few shows around Brooklyn over the next few weeks and the band is starting out with a show at Bar Matchless tomorrow night. Eula takes the stage around 9:45PM tomorrow night and they are sharing the bill with Taigaa (8PM set time), Renminbi (8:50PM set time) and Pow Wow (10:30PM set time).
Bar Matchless is located at 557 Manhattan Avenue (@ Driggs) in Greenpoint.
Eula released a great 6-song EP entitled "Language of Threat" earlier this year. Here is the video "Fight Riff" which is one of the stand-out cuts on the disc.
If you miss tomorrow night's show, here are the band's other local dates:
Sunday, August 2 ~ Glasslands
Saturday, August 15 ~ Bruar Falls
Tuesday, August 18 ~ Trash Bar
Wednesday, September 16 ~ Trash Bar
eula's MySpace Profile
Thursday, July 30, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Eula - "A Hold" (from "Fill Your Heart" EP)
Electric Touch is playing the final night of a three-show NYC residency tonight at Piano's. This is an early show and the Electric Touch goes on at 7PM.
The band puts on a great live show and has been playing a lot of major festival (including All Points West this Saturday) so I would expect Piano's to be packed; Get there early!
Electric Touch's Website
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Electric Touch Play the Second of Three NYC Shows Tonight at Crash Mansion / Play All Points West on Saturday
Austin, TX post-punk band Electric Touch is in town for a three-night run of shows prior to their appearance at All Points West on Saturday (3:05PM set time). The band played Piano's last night and is back at Piano's on Thursday for a free show. This is an early show and the band is going on at 7PM.
Tonight's show is at Crash Mansion; Electric Touch has a 10PM set time and they are playing with BB Gun, Freedomhead, The Embracers, Electric Chariot and The Slant. Tickets are $12 @ the door.
Electric Touch's MySpace Profile
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
White Rabbits are Playing All Points West on Saturday Afternoon / Listen to Recent Live Studios Sessions
In advance of White Rabbits performance this Saturday at All Points West (1:10PM set time), I wanted to post some recent live sessions by the band.
The streaming audio (above) is from 89.3 FM Minneapolis Public Radio and it includes live versions of "The Saleman," "Percussion Gun," "Rudie Fails," and "The Lady Vanishes".
The videos below are from the band's recent KEXP session.
White Rabbits - "The Salesman"
White Rabbits - "Percussion Gun"
White Rabbits - "Foxhunting"
White Rabbits' Website
DOWNLOAD: Red Collar - "Used Guitars" (MP3)
There is a lot to be said for a band that comes on and hits it as hard as Red Collar did at their show at Piano's. I was expecting the show to be somewhat low-key given the early set time (8PM) but, while the band varied the pace, they didn't slow down in intensity during their 40 minute set. Red Collar drew a good-sized crowd and their set left the enthusiastic crowd hoping for more.
A number of reviewers have compared the band to Fugazi but I couldn't hear the basis for this when listening to the band's debut disc Pilgrim (To my ears, Pilgrim sounds like a cross between the Hold Steady and New Model Army). After seeing the band play live, I can now see where the Fugazi comparison came from. Jason Kutchma and Mike Jackson interlock their guitars with both a style and intensity similar to Fugazi's Guy and Ian.
For more info on the band, there was a detailed piece written up in Durham's IndyWeek.com a few months back.
Red Collar's upcoming tour dates
Red Collar's Website
Red Collar's MySpace Profile
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Folsom, California alt-rock shoegazers Brown Shoe seem to be spending most of this year on the road. The band is back in town for shows at Public Assembly (on Monday night) and Fontana's (on Tuesday night). Monday night's show is with Trashed on Fiction and Black Swan Green; tickets are $10. Tuesday night's show is with Athens (from Chicago) and admission is $7.
Brown Shoe just released a video for "The War" which is from their third release Jackalope.
Brown Shoe's MySpace Profile
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Cobalt and the Hired Guns: Live Video from Acoustic Rooftop Performance / Electric Show Tonight @ Union Hall
Chicago power-pop band Cobalt & the Hired Guns played an acoustic rooftop set earlier today in Crown Height, Brooklyn in advance of their show later tonight at Union Hall.
Cobalt & the Hired Guns have a new single out, Double Single ("You Left Your Sweater" b/w "Of Summer"), that has been earning some strong reviews. The band's most recent full length, Jump The Fence, is available from iTunes and has a five-star rating.
At tonight's show at Union Hall, Cobalt & the Hired Guns are playing with Sissy Wish (from Norway), House of Waters and Ceiling Stars. Cover is $8 and doors are at 8PM.
Cobalt & the Hired Guns' MySpace Profile
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Minutemen's 'Double Nickels on the Dime' Saturday Night at Bowery Poetry Club
DOWNLOAD: Minutemen - "Anxious Mo-Fo" (Live @ The Blue Note, Columbia, MO 5-12-84)
DOWNLOAD: The Minutemen - "Political Song for Michael Jackson To Sing" (Live @ I-Beam, San Francisco, CA 9-23-85)
Double Nickels on the Dime came out during my college radio days and was a playlist staple so I'm starting to feel really old now that there is a 25th anniversary celebration of the disc's release this Saturday.
Bowery Poetry Club and Three Rooms Press are hosting a tribute to The Minutemen this Saturday with live performances, spoken word, rare videos and more. This is an early show with doors opening at 7:30PM; Admission is $10.
Double Nickels on the Dime was originally released in July of 1984 and allmusic describes the double-album as "the finest album of the Minutemen's career, and one of the very best American rock albums of the 1980s." The disc combines punk, funk, jazz, spoken word and country; lyrically, it deals with themes that include racism, war, class structure and outsider status.
Performers at this show include Mike Watt (bassist for The Minutemen), Michael T. Fournier (author of the 33 1/3 book "Double Nickels on the Dime"), indie rock band Tweede Kamer, Minutemen cover band Pillowman, Corndogs, punk bassist 'The Bass Player from Hand Job', electro-poetic mistress Jackie Sheeler, jazz piano cabaret duo Peter Carlaftes & Kayo, and punk poet Kat Georges (author of Punk Rock Journal).
Bowery Poetry Club
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've been to a handful of shows at The Living Room this past year but I hadn't seen one that was standing-room only until Carina Round's show last month. Carina has played some high-profile shows in the area these past couple years and has obviously earned a strong following.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Carina before she went on-stage to talk with her about the current tour, her new digital EP "Things You Should Know", her re-location from England to Los Angeles, working with Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard and more.
"Things You Should Know" is available through Carina Round's website in all sorts of nifty packages which range from a straight digital download to physical copies of "Things You Should Know" that come with bonus material that ranges from handwritten song lyrics to a handmade, hand-decorated limited edition bonus EP. The top package includes a live private concert with Carina. Given the size of the crowd for her show at The Living Room, offers like this won't around for too long.
Carina is currently touring in England and the final night of her current tour is Thursday night (July 23rd) at Monto Water Rats Theatre in London. Tickets are £9.00.
Carina Round's MySpace profile
DOWNLOAD: Cobalt & The Hired Guns - "Of Summer" (MP3)
Chicago pop-punk band Cobalt & the Hired Guns were at Arlene's Grocery a few weeks ago and are now coming back through the area for a show at Union Hall this Saturday night.
The band has two full length CDs out and released a new single earlier this year, Double Single ("You Left Your Sweater" b/w "Of Summer"), that has been earning some strong reviews.
--"['Of Summer'] builds slowly and kicks into something real nice... Angelic vocals" -Richard Milne, WXRT 93.1
Here is a live video from the band's show in Asbury Park a few weeks back.
At the show at Union Hall, Cobalt & the Hired Guns are playing with Sissy Wish (from Norway), House of Waters and Ceiling Stars. Cover is $8 and doors are at 8PM.
Cobalt & the Hired Guns' MySpace Profile
I played The Beatles: Rock Band earlier today and the game completely surpassed all of my expectations. I can easily see this title winning numerous gaming awards.
A number of the game's features are currently under embargo but here is what I can tell you....
There are 45 songs available on the game disc and now 25 of these songs have been announced:
“I Saw Her Standing There”
“I Want To Hold Your Hand”
“I Feel Fine”
“Back In The USSR”
“I Am The Walrus”
“Here Comes The Sun”
“Twist And Shout” (New)
“Do You Want To Know A Secret” (New)
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (New)
“I Wanna Be Your Man” (New)
“Eight Days A Week” (New)
“Paperback Writer” (New)
“And Your Bird Can Sing” (New)
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (New)
“With a Little Help from My Friends” (New)
“Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows* (New)
“Yellow Submarine” (New)
“Dig A Pony” (New)
“I’ve Got A Feeling” (New)
One of the cool new features in The Beatles: Rock Band is that you now have the ability to sing in three-part harmony. While The Beatles' vocals were recorded on a single stereo track, Rock Band provides you with "guide vocals" using keyboard tones. If you are singing harmonies, the guide vocals are "greyed out" where there is only a lead vocal. There is a robust training mode where you can practice any and all parts of the vocal lines of a song. The nice thing is that in story mode, the harmony vocals can only add to your score (they aren't destructive).
Check out the screen shots below!
I'll be able to release more details about the game as it gets closer to the launch date. In the interim, check out The Beatles: Rock Band web site.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Argyle Johansen is the debut release from Brooklyn musician John F. Wentz's alter-ego/solo project. This project includes Sam Merrick (percussion), David Kross (bass) and Taylor Galassi (cello) and the end results are comparable to artists like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. Similar to Johnson's music, you can quickly hear influences like Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles and Jeff Buckley on Argyle Johansen's self-titled debut,
The ten-song electro/acoustic disc is consistently mellow with a laid-back 70's West Coast vibe. The songs are narrative stories that paint a lyrical picture of a particular place or point in time and the disc's mellow vibe hides lyrics that can be sometimes dark and off-kilter. Argyle Johansen is already getting some national attention as the song "Sunny Day In Hell" was included in Showtime's Californication.
Argyle Johansen plays live with a full band and here are the band's upcoming shows:
July 26, 2009, 6:00PM, Spike Hill, Brooklyn, New York
August 4, 2009, 10:00PM, Local 269 (formerly Vasmay Lounge), New York
August 25, 2009, 8:00PM, Cross-Pollination @ Pianos [Upstairs]
Cross-Pollination has been going on for a few years now but I've only recently become aware of it:
The set-up of the Cross-Pollination event is as follows: Two of the best singer-songwriters in NYC each play a 40 minute solo set. This is followed by a three song collaborative set during which both artists share the stage. We've seen it all, mutual covers, songs written together especially for the occasion, EP's of the event, playing on each others songs, etc. Fans and artists alike have responded with nothing but praise as they marvel at these unique listening experiences in which artists step out of their comfort zone, and into new and exciting territory. Argyle Johansen - "Pressure"
For more information, check out an interview with John F. Wentz on Breakthru Radio's blog and Argyle Johansen's MySpace profile.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Those Darlins - "The Whole Damn Thing" (from HearYa Live Session)
Those Darlins seem to be on everyone's "buzz band" list these days so I was definitely curious to check out the band's live show. Given the size of the crowd and how tightly packed the room was, it looks like a lot of other people had a similar interest. I arrived just before Heavy Trash went on and there were still tickets at the door but I'm assuming that the show sold out later that night.
While I've enjoyed Those Darlins' debut disc, this is one band that you have to see live to truly appreciate. Those Darlins' set was loose and shambolic but totally charming. The band played the brunt of their new CD (I don't remember hearing "Glass to You") along with some covers by Link Wray ("Hang On") and The Sonics ("The Witch").
Nikki Darlin seemed to be the wild one as she did a bit of crowd surfing, brought an enthusiastic fan on stage to dance and ended up sitting on Kelley (who continued playing her guitar).
Those Darlins are on the road for most of the summer and current tour dates are posted on Those Darlins' MySpace profile.
STREAM: Rod Stewart - "Too Much Noise" (Early Version of 'Stone Cold Sober')
Rod Stewart's sixth solo disc, Atlantic Crossing, was originally released in 1975. This was his first post-Faces release and his first release not to include any of The Faces.
While Atlantic Crossing is similar in concept to A Night on the Town, as it is divided into a 'slow side' and 'fast side', the songs on Atlantic Crossing are a bit slower, more soulful and producer Tom Dowd adds a high-gloss sheen to the disc.
Like A Night on the Town (reviewed previously), Rhino Entertainment has given this disc deluxe treatment and released it as a double-disc by adding a second disc with an unreleased alternate version of the full Atlantic Crossing album along with three studio outtakes and a non-LP single.
Taking a look at the bonus tracks, Disc One ends with "Skye Boat Song", which was released as a single in the UK on Stewart's then-manger's Riva label. This is a traditional Scottish song that Stewart performs with The Atlantic Crossing Drum & Pipe Band.
Disc 2 starts with three fully produced outtakes that were recorded in Los Angeles with The MG's (Booker T's backing band). These songs are an interesting mix of covers which include The Bee Gee's "To Love Somebody" and the Elvis popularized hit "Return To Sender". From here, the disc goes into the alternate Atlantic Crossing. The alternate version is less produced and there are minimal backing tracks which allows the songs to clearly feature Stewart's raspy, bluesy voice. The songs sound more relaxed and these alternate versions are more than just demos but rather alternate interpretations of the songs. The disc closes with an alternate version of "Skye Boat Song" and there is a hidden track at the end of the disc with the original radio promo for Atlantic Crossing.
This is a good year for Rod Stewart fans as these two reissues will be followed by the release of The Rod Stewart Sessions in mid-September. This forthcoming release is a 63-track box set that features rare and unreleased material, including a collaboration with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.
Rod Stewart's Website
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
STREAM: Heavy Trash - Live on MTV (Video)
Preconceived notions are often a bad thing - I've seen Pussy Galore and JSBX numerous times so I was expecting something similar sounding from Spencer's new project Heavy Trash. Heavy Trash sounds nothing like Jon Spencer's previous work - the band comes across like a cross between a young rockabilly Elvis mixed with the evangelical fervor of Ian Sevonious' The Make*Up.
While Heavy Trash was opening for Those Darlins, they played over a dozen songs which I would assume was a full set. I missed the first band (Shilpa Ray) but the club was completely packed by the time Heavy Trash took the stage. The band played a wild (sweaty) show which set the bar high for Those Darlins.
Here are a couple of pictures that I took at the show.
Thanks to the joys of flip-phones and camera phones, someone has posted a video from the show to YouTube.
Heavy Trash: "Crazy Pritty Baby", Live at Mercury Lounge, NYC 7-9-09
Yep Roc Records
Heavy Trash's Website
DOWNLOAD: Wolf & Cub - Seven Sevens (MP3)
Australian psychedelic rockers Wolf & Cub have been busy since the release of their 2006 debut full-length Vessels. The band has toured Australia with bands like TV On The Radio, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Wolfmother and Primal Scream. Wolf & Cub also made it over to the US in the Spring of '07 for a few NYC shows. I remember shows at Cake Shop and Union Pool but there may have been others area shows as well.
Wolf & Cub's new disc, Science and Sorcery, came out a few months ago overseas and the disc is now scheduled for a digital release on August 4th (through Dot Dash) here in the US. The new disc was produced by Chris "Bumblebeez" Colonna who gives the band more of a Primal Scream-style dance floor groove all while keeping their psychedelic roots intact. Australia's Yen magazine described the new disc as "Psychedelic rock you can dance to… two thumbs up”.
Check out this live version of "Hearts" (from Science and Sorcery):
Wolf & Cub's MySpace Profile
Monday, July 13, 2009
Rod Stewart's seventh solo CD, A Night on the Town, was originally released in 1976 and this was Stewart's first platinum release. The disc has aged well and Rhino Records has now given it deluxe treatment by adding a second disc with an unreleased alternate version of the full A Night on the Town album along with four studio outtakes. These thirteen unreleased tracks are a 'must have' for long-time Rod Stewart fans and well worth a "trade up" from an LP or single disc versions of A Night on the Town. For the uninitiated, this disc is a return to the blues/bar-stomping sound of The Faces and 70's era Rolling Stones. While there are a few slow songs, "Trade Winds" is really the only syrupy ballad (and the only dud on the disc). If you are a fan of 70's British blues/rock, you aren't going to go wrong with this disc.
There are already a lot of reviews out of A Night on the Town, so I'm just going to focus this review on the bonus tracks. Disc 1 contains one bonus track, "Rosie", which was originally issued as the b-side to the single "The Killing of Georgie". This cut is a great New Orleans blues style bar room stomper. The song has a great build-up which features horns, strings and piano.
Disc 2 starts with the studio outtake "Share" which is a bit too soft for my taste but it doesn't fall to "Trade Winds" status as the song features intricate guitar work and raw vocals from Stewart. The alternate version of A Night on the Town follows and this is a great companion piece to the studio LP. These are "early versions" which are less produced, rawer versions of the songs. The early versions of the fast songs capture the rawness of a live-in-the-studio performance and the slow songs are more intricate than the fully produced versions would imply. While all of the songs are finished versions, this disc includes some studio banter which adds to the overall work-in-progress ambiance. In addition to including an early version of "Rosie", this second disc also includes an early version of Stewart's cover of The Beatles' "Get Back" (the final version was used in the film All This And World War II).
A Rod Stewart box set is supposed to be released sometime later this year and deluxe editions of Foot Loose And Fancy Free and Blondes Have More Fun will follow early next year.
Rod Stewart's Website
How cool is it when psychedelia legend Julian Cope says that he is blown away by your band --
"I’m also right blown away by the catchy and compelling all-purpose psychedelia of THE LEGEND OF BLACK SIX by power trio The Phantom Family Halo. I say ‘all purpose’ because this stuff is useful and should be available by the vat on prescription, because it’s good for the mental health. I say power trio, but this lot are greedy motherfuckers with a hefty set of auxiliary members. The sound is totally reminiscent of that 1970 period when no fucker could control the number of overdubs, and these guys pass through every stage from The Youngbloods and Kalackakra to a kind of Amon Duul PARADIESWARTS DUUL-informed take on David Voorhaus’ White Noise project via early (very early) Chrome on their way to the proto metal of ‘Electric God In Your Galaxy’. This record is vinyl only, I believe, but double check by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org."
- Julian Cope/Teardrop Explodes
Louisville experimental/psychedelia band Phantom Family Halo are playing Union Pool on Saturday, July 18th with Dysrythmia (Record Release Show) and La Otracina. The show starts at 9PM and cover is listed as TBD.
Phantom Family Halo - "Monoliths"
Phantom Family Halo's MySpace Profile
STREAM: George Harrison - "Got My Mind Set On You"
STREAM: George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord"
Last month, Capitol/EMI released the definitive George Harrison’s "best of" CD. This differs from Harrison's previous compilations (which either over-emphasized Beatles songs or Dark Horse solo material) as as it completely spans George's solo career. What is particularly tasteful is that the versions of the Harrison pended Beatles songs included on this compilation are live versions from the Concert for Bangladesh.
In addition to the expected hits like "Got My Mind Set On You" and "My Sweet Lord", there are a couple of rarities that were originally included on movie soundtracks. "I Don't Want To Do It" is from the Porky's Revenge soundtrack and "Cheer Down" was co-written with Tom Petty for the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack. If you buy the digital version of this disc from iTunes, you will get a bonus track -- a demo version of "Isn't It A Pity".
Here is the track list:
1. Got My Mind Set On You (From Cloud 9)
2. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) (From Living in the Material World)
3. The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (from All Things Must Pass)
4. My Sweet Lord (From All Things Must Pass)
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps [Live] (From Concert For Bangladesh)
6. All Things Must Pass (From All Things Must Pass)
7. Any Road (From Brainwashed)
8. This Is Love (from Cloud 9)
9. All Those Years Ago (From Somewhere in England)
10. Marwa Blues (From Brainwashed)
11. What Is Life (From All Things Must Pass)
12. Rising Sun (From Brainwashed)
13. When We Was Fab (From Cloud 9)
14. Something [Live] (From Concert For Bangladesh)
15. Blow Away (From George Harrison)
16. Cheer Down (From Lethal Weapon 2 Soundtrack)
17. Here Comes The Sun [Live] (From Concert For Bangladesh)
18. I Don’t Want To Do It (From Porky's Revenge Soundtrack)
19. Isn’t It A Pity (From All Things Must Pass)
This is a sold collection of songs from the twice-inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even though I've always thought of best of collections as a reason not to buy the original studio discs, I'm intrigued enough to want to go out and find copies of All Things Must Pass and Concert for Bangladesh.
George Harrison's Website
BUY: Ex Norwegian: "Dance Trance Pants" (c'mon, everyone has 13 cents)
Ex Norwegian (who hail from Miami Beach) just put out their debut CD Standby this past May (on Dying Van Gogh Records) and they are currently in the midst of an East Coast tour.
I've listened to a few cuts from Standby and the band's influences seem to be T. Rex, George Harrison, The Byrds, power-pop and god knows what else. Pajiba seems to have had a similar take on this CD as they said "Somehow, all of these disparate influences come together to create 33 minutes of bliss...Ex Norwegian has accomplished something rare—especially rare among debut albums—with Standby: they’ve put out a record whose whole is much greater than the sum of its parts."
Check out the mid-70's T. Rex vibe on the video for "Dance Trance Pants".
Ex Norwegian plays the Trash Bar tomorrow night and, like most Trash Bar shows, there is open bar (PBR + Well) from 8 - 9PM and cover is $6.
Here is the schedule for tomorrow night's show:
12:00 - THE HELLBLINKI SEXTET
11:00 - EX NORWEGIAN
10:00 - MY PET DRAGON
9:00 - MATERIALIZER
8:00 - JDS
Ex Norwegian's MySpace Profile
Sunday, July 12, 2009
My gaming background is probably relevant to this review so let me start there. Over the last few years, I’ve been predominately playing shooter and puzzle games so I can’t compare Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships to any of its RPG contemporaries.
The game starts with an interesting premise as you have an open-ended story line (rather than getting forced down a single-threaded story line like RPG games I’ve played in the past). You can choose between one of three characters, merchant, corsair, or adventurer, and each of these characters has a different storyline. Once you select your character, you can customize his abilities (using the new PIRATES role playing system – more on this later) and choose to fly under a country’s flag or simply roam the seas as a pirate.
Two of the three story lines start with you awakening on a ship in state of amnesia. The third character starts as a physician who provides support to the rebels. Here is where the open-ended story line comes into play -- every choice that you make affects the story’s outcome. These choices range from interacting with the colonial powers (which include governors, bankers and townspeople) and the missions that you complete (or fail to complete) and your interactions with your own officers and crew.
The choices you make in configuring your character’s abilities also influence the short and long-term outcomes in the game. The PIRATES role-playing system allow you to set your character’s Power, Impression, Reaction, Authority, Talent, Endurance and Success. While you gain in abilities with each quest and task that you successfully complete, it is advisable that you start the game with configuration that will support you in initial battles. In my first play-through, I died fairly quickly battling four of the undead in a jungle cave. While I liked playing as a corsair, you can chose to focus on trading and play as a merchant, which avoids a lot of the hand-to-hand and sea battles.
Age of Pirates 2 is an extremely detailed game and the number of quests (40+) should keep a gamer busy for weeks and months. The game comes with a map of the Caribbean and this new ‘game board’ is supposed to be 3 times the size of the previous Pirates’ “Caribbean Tales” title. Once you get through these quests, the game comes with a quest generator so this isn’t a game that you are going to play once and put down.
Taking a look at the ‘mechanics’ of the game, both graphics and sound are solid. The graphics aren’t pushing any boundaries (the game reminds me of the Ultima games that I played a few years back) but I have no complaints and sound fits well into the background of the game. My only complaint was the game controls, as you need to move and fight using a combination of the mouse and keyboard. I don’t know if this is standard in other RPG games but the game movements took me a while to get used to. I found myself getting overwhelmed in battle quickly until I got used to these dual-handed movements.
Overall, Age of Pirates 2 is good stuff and will likely appeal to fans of Civilization and Risk.
Subhumans - From The Cradle to the Grave CD Review / Citizen Fish is Playing Tonight at the Knitting Factory
With the economy in the toilet, it seems no surprise that a number of the working class political-punk bands from the 80’s have been resurfacing. Reagan Youth just played “Punk Island” and Citizen Fish (featuring 2 members of Subhumans + Jasper + Silas) are playing tonight at the Knitting Factory.
From The Cradle to the Grave (Subhumans’ second release) originally came out in 1983 and shows the band’s songwriting maturing. The band’s message hasn’t changed substantially across the first two discs but the music on The Cradle to the Grave is diverse and stretches far beyond the two-minute punk anthems which were on The Day The Country Died. The music on this disc range from the ska-influenced “Us Fish Must Swim Together” (which starts with a flamingo guitar intro), the claustrophobic Dead Kennedys sounding “Wake Up Screaming” and the sprawling 17-minute birth-to-death prog-rock opus “From the Cradle to the Grave”. A point of comparison for this last track would be The Damned’s 1980 song “Curtain Call”.
Singer/lyricist Dick writes in-depth lyrics where the core themes rage against complacency and a society that boxes youth in at a young age. This isn’t preachy rhetoric but rather fairly telling observations on life in the cold war military-industrial complex era of the early 80’s.
Southern has done a brilliant job with their reissues of the first four Subhumans’ disc. (The final two discs are due out this Tuesday). The sound has been remastered from the original analogue tapes and the original lyric book and poster is included in each of the digi-packs.
Subhumans/Citizen Fish have been in town for a few shows this weekend . Citizen Fish finishes up the weekend with a show tonight at the Knitting Factory. Sharing the bill with Citizen Fish are A-Heads (DOWNLOAD: Changing Places Demo) and Ray Gradys (from Philly). Tickets are $12.
Citizen Fish/Subhumans Website
Saturday, July 11, 2009
DOWNLOAD: The Duke & The King: "The Morning I Get To Hell" (MP3)
The debut disc from The Duke and The King (aka Simone Felice and Robert 'Chicken' Burke) comes out on August 4th on Ramseur Records.
I'm expecting big things from this disc. The band got a fabulous review for their show in May at Union Hall and the London Telegraph recently called Simone Felice "the greatest singer-songwriter you've never heard of".
Here is a live video from the show at Union Hall:
The Duke & The King start their tour in upstate New York on August 1st and here are the current tour dates:
Aug 01, 2009, 8:00PM, THE COLONY CAFE Woodstock, NY
Aug 01, 2009, 8:00PM, VIN SCELSA’S IDIOT’S DELIGHT - WFUV, Bronx, NY
Aug 02, 2009, 8:00PM, CLUB PASSIM, Cambridge, MA
Aug 03, 2009, 8:00PM, THE CHAPEL @ FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH, Philadelphia, PA
Aug 04, 2009, 8:00PM, MERCURY LOUNGE, New York City
Aug 06, 2009, 8:00PM, LOCAL 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Aug 07, 2009, 8:00PM, EDDIE’S ATTIC, Atlanta, GA
Aug 08, 2009, 8:00PM, BOTTLETREE, Birmingham, AL
Aug 10, 2009, 8:00PM, THE BASEMENT, Nashville, TN
Aug 11, 2009, 8:00PM, SOUTHGATE HOUSE (PARLOUR), Newport, KY
Aug 13, 2009, 8:00PM, LOCALS ONLY ART & MUSIC PUB, Indianapolis, IN
Aug 14, 2009, 8:00PM, SCHUBAS, Chicago, IL
Aug 15, 2009, 8:00PM, CLUB CAFE, Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 16, 2009, 8:00PM, IOTA CLUB & CAFE, Arlington, VA
For the Mercury Lounge Show, The Duke & The King are playing with Maya Solovely, The Morning Pages and Tyburn Saints. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 day-of-show.
The Duke & The King's MySpace Profile
There is a distinctive 'british' feel to this disc with its precise production, melodic rolling bass lines and atmospheric guitar licks. With the vocal urgency of singer Jason Kutchma and the big hooky choruses, Red Collar's debut CD Pilgrim comes across like New Model Army meets the Hold Steady.
While Red Collar have have big sing-along choruses like Hold Steady, Jason Kutchma's lyrics are a bit more vague than the lyrical story telling of Craig Finn but yet seem to explore many of the same themes. There is a reoccurring theme across Pilgrim about being lost and struggling to find one's way. On a few of the cuts, Red Collar extend this inward-looking introspection to working class anthems about the death of the American dream. Given the current economic malaise, tracks like "Rust Belt Heart" are particularly poignant. Here are some of the lyrics from Pilgrim which are representative of the band's outlook.
- "There's such pain in dreaming, in the failure of attempt but the sting of disappointment is less than the pain of regret...I'm so sick of the cool, so sick of the cost and I'm tired of my hereos always being lost." -- "Radio On"
- "Oh f*ck! Not this shit again! I had a map and a plan but I'm lost, I'm lost. Follow mother's advice or daddy's course. They thought they knew love before the divorce." -- "Tools"
- "Ghosts of glories reign here, clothes are shadows of former selves...They're sending us home one week before we get our pension. 'Clean out your locker, gentlemen, we wish you the best' and then they watched the men walk down the suicide steps." -- "Rust Belt Heart"
Tools, live at the Cats Cradle and the Duke Coffeehouse
With the driving intensity that is captured on this studio recording, these 'ragged but right' anthems should make for a great live show. The band has obviously taken a page from the Dischord playbook as they have the following quote up on their website: "When we play live the goal is always to be able to break down the barriers between the band and the audience. When we can get past the ‘we’re up here playing and you’re all down there watching’ and get to a place where we’re all participating in the same thing, where there is no us and them, that’s when we feel like we’ve succeeded as band, and, in the end, isn’t that what rock and roll is about? ”
Red Collar are playing Monday night (7/13) at The Charleston in Brooklyn and Tuesday night (7/14) at Piano's.
Red Collar's Website
Red Collar's MySpace Profile
Friday, July 10, 2009
Japanese psychedelic rockers The Vamps start their US tour tomorrow night at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza.
The main men from The Vamps, HYDE (L’Arc~en~Ciel) and K.A.Z (Oblivion Dust), have a solid reputation on the J-Rock circuit with their individual projects. Their joint collaboration, The Vamps, played their first nationwide tour of Japan in 2008 to sold out crowds.
The band's newest (self-titled) disc came out last month and is available from iTunes.
The band looks like a wild live act and here is a live video that was filmed this past May at Club Citta' in Kawasaki, Japan.
Day-of-show tickets for tomorrow night's show are $35.
The Vamps' MySpace Profile
The Vamps' Website
Rapper Shwayze is hosting a scavenger hunt in five cities tomorrow afternoon (NY, LA, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago). At 4PM EST, a Shwayze prize pack will be hidden in each city and clues will be given out via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and email. There isn't a lot of detail on the prizes other than signed gear and a MegaMix, created by Cisco, of four never-released songs.
The five winners of the Shwayze prize packs will also be eligible to create and enter an original YouTube video using the MegaMix to win a VIP pass to a Shwayze show in their area.
Swedish diva Sally Shapiro has a new digital single coming out next week courtesy of Paper Bag Digital. The new single, "Love in July", features the album version plus five remixes (remixes by CFCF, Parker Lewis and others).
Here is the track list:
1. Love In July (Album Version)
2. Love In July (Parker Lewis Remix)
3. Love In July (Le PrixRemix)
4. Love In July (CFCF Remix)
5. Love In July (Bostro Pesopeo Remix)
6. Love In July (Instrumental)
Sally Shapiro - Love In July (Double-Click to start)
Sally Shapiro's MySpace Profile
Bacardi threw a pretty wild party when their B-LIVE tour stopped at M2 Ultra Lounge. (I can't keep up with these clubs that keep changing names. I'm still going to call this place the Crobar.) There was a good sized crowd before the DJs got started and both the drinks and energy were flowing.
Everyone was given a bag of tokens that could be exchanged for merchandise (no drinks, unfortunately). There were tote bags, hoodies, posters and silk screened t-shirts (check out the last photo) which were pretty cool party favors.
The BACARDI B-LIVE tour is over for this year but, with this many people coming out to the NYC tour stop, it is inevitable that there will be a B-LIVE '10 tour.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Trainwreck Riders - "Safety of a Back" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Trainwreck Riders - "Chug Along" (MP3)
Trainwreck Riders finally got around to releasing a follow-up to 2006's Lonely Road Revival. The new disc, The Perch, came out in May on Alive Records.
The last time that I remember the band being in town, they put on a wild show at the Cake Shop. Here is one of my favorite quotes describing the band: "Trainwreck Riders play twisted Americana, with a hint of madness and lots of goodtime energy, that ensures the songs rock along with vigour and purpose." --Simon Lewis / Terrascope Rumbles
Trainwreck Riders are playing July 17th at The Jungle (286 Meserole St in Bushwick) and July 18th at Goodbye Blue Monday.
Trainwreck Riders' MySpace Profile
UFO released their 20th studio album, The Visitor, last month and BlogCritics.org calls the disc "gritty, classy, classic rock and it just doesn’t miss a trick."
I had the chance to talk with drummer Andy Parker about his rejoining UFO, the new CD, the upcoming US tour and more. Here is a link to the feed and here is a direct link to the iTunes podcast.
UFO are playing two shows in the area: October 9th @ Starland Ballroom in Sayreville (tickets are $20.00) and October 10th @ BB King's in Times Square (tickets are $27.50).
Here is the complete list of dates for UFO's American tour:
2nd October - Jaxx - Springfield - VA
3rd October - Tangiers - Akron - OH
4th October - Shank Hall - Milwaukee - WI
7th October - The Rex - Pittsburgh - PA
8th October - The Chance - Poughkeepsie - NY
9th October - The Starland Ballroom - Sayerville - NJ
10th October - BB Kings - New York - NY
15th October - Ameristar Casino - St. Charles - MO
16th October - House Of Blues - Chicago - IL
17th October - Medina Ballroom - Hamel - MN
21st October - The Catalyst - Santa Cruz - CA
22nd October - The Brixton - Redondo Beach - CA
23rd October - The Coach House - San Juan Capistrano - CA
24th October - Boulder Station Casino - Las Vegas - NV
25th October - Majestic Ventura Theater - Ventura - CA
27th October - Key Club - West Hollywood - CA
28th October - The Fat Cat - Modesto - CA
29th October - Aladdin Theatre - Portland - OR
30th October - Neumos - Seattle - WA
1st November - The Independent - San Francisco - CA
Sunday, July 05, 2009
The 'King of America' is back! Elvis Costello returns with his first country album since 1986's King of America.
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane is a predominately acoustic affair that comes across as a cross between the Nashville country sounds of Almost Blue crossed with the introspective tales of love and heartache that first showed up on King of America.
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane was recorded over a three day period in Nashville with T-Bone Burnett, fiddler Stuart Duncan (who recently played with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on the "Raising Sand" tour, ), dobroist Jerry Douglas, mandolinist Mike Compton and double bassist Dennis Crouch. Grammy award winner Jim Lauderdale adds backup and harmony vocals to all of the tracks and he is joined by Emmylou Harris on backing vocals for "The Crooked Line".
The material seems to come from a mixed bag of sources. Four of the disc's thirteen tracks (“How Deep is the Red,” “She Was No Good,” “She Handed Me a Mirror” and “Red Cotton”) are from Costello's work-in-progress opera based on the life of Hans Christen Andersen which was commissioned back in 2005 by the Danish Royal Opera. Two of the tracks ("Complicated Shadows" and "Hidden Shame") originally appeared on All This Useless Beauty and "Hidden Shame" was covered by Johnny Cash on his 1989 release Boom Chickaa Boom. Following on his collaboration with Loretta Lynn on "Pardon Me, Madam, My Name is Eve", Costello and Lynn have co-written "I Felt The Chill" on this new release. The disc closes with "Changing Parters", a tune made popular by Bing Crosby in the 50's.
"So it was that the ideal song to close this album seemed to be, 'Changing Partners', a simple number that I learned from an old Bing Crosby recording. It is likely to be the last dance at all our upcoming appearances." -- Elvis Costello
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane isn't a redefinition of Elvis Costello's music but more of a return to form. He seems much more focused and engaged than on recent works and this disc entered the charts at #13 on the Billboard 200 (Elvis' highest chart position since 1980’s Get Happy).
Upcoming tour dates are:
8 August 2009, Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo, Japan
9 August 2009, Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka, Japan
15 August 2009, Salt Lake City, Utah, Dear Valley Music Festival (Costello & Steve Nieve with the Utah Symphony)
17 August 2009, Saratoga, California, Mountain Winery
18 August 2009, Los Angeles, California, Greek Theatre
19 August 2009, Livermore, California, Wente Vineyards
21 August 2009, Santa Rosa, California, Wells Fargo Center
22 August 2009, Jacksonville, Oregon, Britt Pavilion
23 August 2009, Seattle, Washington, Chateau St. Michelle
24 August 2009, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Malkin Bowl
26 August 2009, Highland Park, Illinois, Ravinia Festival
27 August 2009, Kettering, Ohio, Fraze Pavillion
28 August 2009, Toronto, Ontario, Massey Hall
29 August 2009, Chatauqua, New York, Chautauqua Institute
1st September 2009, Austin, Texas, Long Center
2nd September 2009, Dallas, Texas, Nokia Theatre
3rd September 2009, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cains Ballroom
Elvis Costello's Website
DOWNLOAD: Those Darlins - Red Light Love (MP3)
Nashville's Those Darlins are in town this week for a CD Release Party this Thursday and Friday. The band's debut CD, which was recorded here in town with producer Jeff Curtin (Vampire Weekend), comes out on CD and vinyl on Tuesday.
Thursday's show (July 9th) is at Mercury Lounge and Those Darlins are supported by Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer's new project). Tickets are $10 and Those Darlins go on at 10:30PM (which probably means 11:30PM as I've never seen a show at the Merc run on time).
Friday's show (July 10th) is at Southpaw and Those Darlins are supported by The So So Glos and We Are Country Mice. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 9PM.
Those Darlins' self-titled new disc is currently available on iTunes and you can pre-order the LP (which comes with a CD) and CD from the band's online store.
Those Darlins' MySpace Profile
Friday, July 03, 2009
Playlogic Entertainment has just released a prequel to its 2007 release "Infernal". This new game is available for the Xbox 360 platform and, like its predecessor, is a third-party shooting game.
In this game, you guide anti-hero Ryan Lennox, a "fallen angel" who has been recruited by the powers of Hell to fight “Etherlight”, Heaven’s secret agency, who is ready to unfold a plot against humanity of epic proportions.
"Take Ryan through a fascinating plot of paranormal intrigue and deception across a variety of US and European locations, including ancient monastery catacombs and secret mountain hideouts, before facing the ultimate showdown. Armed with a rich loadout of standard and exotic weapons, help Ryan use his hellish new powers to teleport, levitate and fire molten blasts of otherworldly energy, all on his quest to reveal the secret behind Etherlight’s plans, unleashing hell one bullet at a time."
"Infernal: Hell's Vengeance" is available through Amazon.com for $50.54.
DOWNLOAD: Gore - "Search Love" (MP3) (track hosted on SouthernLord.com)
Southern Lord has done a fabulous job resurrecting the first two CDs from Dutch dirge/instrumental rock band Gore. Southern Lord has packaged the band’s first two discs, Hart Gore (1986) and Mean Man’s Dream (1987) as a 2-CD set and each disc includes bonus tracks that amount to an “alternate” version, composed of live and demo tracks, of each of the studio LPs.
For anyone not familiar with Gore, the band plays aggressive, pounding instrumental rock that fits well alongside bands like Big Black, the Swans and My War-era Black Flag. At the time of their original incarnation, Gore had limited name recognition in the US but the band toured in Europe with the Rollins Band, Young Gods, Swans and Bad Brains.
While both discs are instrumentals, they were issued with lyric sheets to provide a vemonous “horror show” element to the band’s menacing sound. Lyrics are included in the CD booklet along with detailed liner notes from bassist Rob Frey (aka Marij Hel). Clear production by Rollins Band producer Theo van Eenburgen (aka Theo van Rock) gives the band a big sound, balancing Danny Arnold’s pounding drums with Pieter de Sury’s searing guitar lines.
Hart Gore is the more brutal of the two albums and the songs clock in around the two-minute mark. With Mean Man’s Dream, the songs are both more mature and slightly longer in length. On this later album, the band embraces more complex musical structures and hits a repetitive industrial groove similar to what Godflesh used in later years. This evolution is sort of the same path that Black Flag went down between their My War and The Process of Weeding Out LPs. You can definitely hear Gore’s influence on bands like Godflesh and The Melvins and perhaps on later period Big Black (Gore worked with Steve Albini on their final studio album)
It is great to see this material back in print as original versions of these discs are selling for $70 - $100 on Amazon. This Southern Lord reissue is available as both a double CD (containing all ‘four’ albums) or as two 2-LP sets.
Southern Lord recording artist Weedeater have been confirmed to support Down on their upcoming North American tour. Weedeater are out with Down for all of August and September and the tour stops at Nokia Theatre on September 11th. Also on the bill for the Nokia Theatre show are The Melvins and Evil Army.
Tickets are $35 and there is an option for a $125 VIP ticket that includes a sound check with Down, Meet and Greet (includes photo with band and one signed personal item), laminate/lanyard, Down T-shirt of choice from the merch booth, $5 gift card to the Down-Nola.com store.
Weedeater posted on their MySpace blog that they were working on some new tunes and they will likely be playing some of this new material while out on tour. The band's last release, God Luck and Good Speed, was released in 2007 and Southern Lord just released a ltd. edition vinyl version of this release. The vinyl version is pressed on 180 gram gold vinyl and limited to 1,500 copies. All but one of the songs on the disc were produced by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio studios in Chicago and the remaining track, "Alone", was recorded by Mike Dean (Corrosion of Conformity). Southern Lord describes the disc as a "masterpiece of whiskey and weed-soaked doom".
Weedeater's MySpace Profile
Thursday, July 02, 2009
After 20+ years with Candlemass, bassist/songwriter Leif Edling has finally released his first solo disc Songs of Torment – Songs of Joy (Candlelight Records). On this disc, Edling is working with a new band which includes a number of long-time collaborators from past projects. The band is comprised of keyboardist Carl Westholm (Abstrakt Algebra), drummer Lars Skold (Jupiter Society) and guitarists Bjorn Eriksson and Chris Laney (Candlemass producer/engineer).
While there are some similarities to Candlemass, this album is ssslllooowww, lumbering and sludgy doom that makes prominent use funeral-sounding keys. This is an atmospheric disc – seven of the disc’s eight tracks are over 5 minutes in length which gives Edling plenty of time to build his horror movie style ambiance. Rich textures of sounds crash and fall over Edling’s ‘spoken word’ vocals and the majority of songs end up sounding more like Nick Cave or Alice Cooper than Candlemass.
There are two instrumentals on the disc which help break up the sound; the brief (under a minute) bass solo “Butterfly” and “Nautilus”. “Nautilus” is over 9 minutes in length and is based on the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This is one of the tracks that breaks from the ‘organ doom’ sound of the rest of the disc as Carl Westholm adds all sorts of keyboard effects to this track to simulate submarine and underwater noises. Another stand-out track is “On the Edge of Time” which embraces Hawkwind-style space rock. Edling calls this last track “a poetic reflection over some old but fantastic Hawkwind album cover art.”
Songs of Torment – Songs of Joy probably isn’t for the casual fan but fans of old-school doom metal are going to love this.
Leif Edling's MySpace Profile
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Mercyful Fate (who are currently 'hibernating') got back together last year to re-record "Evil" and "Curse of the Pharaohs" for Guitar Hero: Metallica because the original masters were lost. The songs will be available to purchase digitally from iTunes on July 14th and a special edition vinyl picture disc single will be available on September 1st.
King Diamond comments: “It was a lot of fun to get a chance to re-record "Evil" and "Curse of the Pharaohs" from our 1983 "Melissa" album. It was cool to go into the studio and try to figure out all the various harmony vocals and see if I could still do them. The other guys had a lot of fun with this project too, and the whole thing turned out much better than we could have hoped for. Everyone nailed their performances and Hank's solos were even slightly improved. Everything is right where it should be and with a much better sound! The “feel” was there and all of the guys - Hank, Denner, Timi and Bjarne are all naturals. The versions that will be up on iTunes were mastered by Andy LaRocque and even with a 2009 sound, there's no doubt that these songs were recorded by Mercyful Fate!”
King Dianond's MySpace Profile
The Boy Will Drown are a four-piece mathcore/death metal band based in Norwich/Colchester, UK who make music in a style similar to Dillinger Escape Plan (DEP), Psyopus and Car Bomb. The band made their recording debut in 2007 with an independent EP, which got them signed to Earache.
Fetish, which came out last month, is the band’s Earache debut. Even though there are ten tracks on the disc, it is hard to call Fetish a full-length as the band blasts through all ten tracks in under thirty minutes.
This is pretty brutal stuff as the vocals are roared and growled over DEP-styled guitar histrionics, a locked bass groove and breakneck drumming. While a lot of the music on this disc is similar in nature, there are melodies buried within each of the songs and, coupling this with a number of tempo changes and stops/starts, the disc stays interesting after repeated listening. There are even some twangy/country guitar-outros on two of the songs ("Josef Fritzl" and "Elisabeth Fritzl") that sounds like they are being broadcast from a battered AM radio.
The tracks streaming on The Boy Will Drown’s MySpace profile are a good starting point for the band’s music. “Deep Throat” is the opening track on the CD and it hits like a locomotive. “Joesf Fritzel” comes across like multiple songs crammed into one and really shows what the band is capable musically. “Suis La Luna” is the last track on the disc and it breaks down mid-song into some low-key melodic guitar work.
The Boy Will Drown are currently touring around the UK and here are the upcoming tour dates.
01 Aug 2008 - Peterborough, UK - The Park
02 Aug 2008 - Leeds, UK - Rios
03 Aug 2008, Liverpool, UK - Barfly/Carling Academy
04 Aug 2008, Birmingham, UK - Barfly
05 Aug 2008, Barnsley, UK - Archers
06 Aug 2008, Lowestoft, UK - Seabreeze
07 Aug 2008, Nottingham, UK - Junktion7
08 Aug 2008, Grimsby, UK - Matrix Club
09 Aug 2008, Bury St. Edmunds, UK - Pot Black
10 Aug 2008, London, UK - Camden Barfly
12 Aug 2008, Stoke On Trent, UK - The Glebe
13 Aug 2008, Bath, UK - The Porter Butt
15 Aug 2008, Poole, UK - Summer Slam, Mr C's