Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPharaoh - iPod / iPhone Game Review (Justnine Co. Ltd)

iPharaoh - EP2: iPhone Game ReviewiPharaoh is one of the better puzzle games that I’ve seen for the iPhone. Rather than having the player take on the Lara Croft/Indiana Jones adventurer role, you get to play the mummy and kill the adventurers who are trying to steal the Pharaoh’s treasure.

The game consists of six stages, each with ten different maps. To keep the game interesting, sliding and rotating walls are added in the upper levels along with two new types of treasure hunters - the ninja and the giant. You are given some new tools to fight back with in the form of sliding cube stones (which you can use to slow down or kill the hunters) and booby traps. One of the challenges is that you have to guide your mummy (by flicking your finger in the direction that you want it to go) before it reaches a cross-roads; otherwise the mummy will chose a random direction in which to proceed. The cube stones are easier to control (you can change direction anytime with a flick of your finger) but they inflict less damage on the enemies.

The levels are timed and so you need to defend the Pharaoh’s treasure and kill all the intruders in less than two minutes. With the game requiring such a minimal time commitment, I found myself getting quickly caught up and replaying levels multiple times to try different strategies.

iPharaoh EP 0 – Freedom of the Pharaoh is available as a free download from the iTunes AppStore and iPharaoh EP 2- Desperate Pharaoh is available for $2.99.

Justnine Co. Ltd.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frank Zappa - The Freak-Out List DVD Review

Frank Zappa - The Freak-Out List DVD ReviewIn 1966, Frank Zappa listed 179 names as influencers in the inside cover of the Zappa & the Mothers debut release Freak Out. The Freak-Out List takes an in-depth and fascinating look at a cross-section of names from this list. Zappa's influences from three musical genres are explored in detail - classical, doo-wop and jazz.

The disc starts with an in-depth look at classical composers Edgar Verese, Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg and how their composition style (twelve tone technique, cut & paste writing, etc.) directly influenced Zappa's music. There are some great clips of Zappa from the Freak Out era (unfortunately, there are no complete songs) along with a later-day clip of Zappa directing a performance of Verese's "Ionisation". One of the narrators mentions that Zappa recorded an unreleased album of Verese pieces entitled The Rage & The Fury.

The doo wop segment highlights how the vocal harmonies (with groups like Hank Ballard & the Midnighters and Richard Berry & the Pharaohs) and blues guitar riffs (Johnny Guitar Watson) of this era influenced Zappa's late-60's albums. A lot of focus is given to Johnny Watson and his friendship with Frank. Watson played on One Size Fits All (1975), Them or Us (1984), Thing-Fish (1984) and Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention (1985) and Zappa stated that Watson's "'Three Hours Past Midnight' inspired [him] to become a guitarist".

The final segment focuses on Zappa's pioneering fusion of rock and jazz sounds. This segment focuses on musicians like Miles Davis (and how Hot Rats predated the the sound of Bitches Brew). There are some great interviews with George Duke and he talks about joining the Mothers as the band's influences started moving away from doo wop and toward the jazz sounds that were on Waka Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo.

This is an engaging DVD as the story of Zappa's influences is told by music historians, Zappa biographers Ben Watson and Greg Russo and Mothers Of Invention members Ian Underwood, Don Preston and George Duke.

Frank Zappa

Asia - Omega CD Review (Frontiers Records)

DOWNLOAD: Asia – “Finger on the Trigger” (hosted on AOL Radio Blog)

Asia - Omega CD Review (Frontier Records)It was probably a mistake to listen to King Crimson Live in Guildford 1972 (King Crimson Collectors’ Club) prior to listening to the newest album from Asia. After listening to John Wetton, Robert Fripp, Jamie Muir, David Cross and Bill Bruford seamlessly flow from “Book of Saturday” into a 20+ minute free-form improv jam (“All That Glitters Is Not Nail Polish”), I was somewhat disappointed with the straightforward AOR sound of Asia’s second post-reunion studio album Omega.

John Wetton is quoted on the band’s MySpace page as having said “The title 'Omega', as any fan of the band will tell you, is 'very Asia' (as is the album, by the way). It no more means 'final' than 'Alpha' means 'the first' (which it wasn't). It's a great sounding/looking word, and a bookend to 'Alpha'. In many ways, musically and conceptually, the two albums share commonality.” I couldn’t have said this better in that Alpha (1983) is probably the best point of comparison. Omega isn’t a bad disc but it shows no signs of the individual members prog-rock pasts and it is also missing the pop hooks that made the band’s debut album so memorable.

The twelve tracks on Omega (the track “Emily” is included as a bonus on the first pressing) are all mid-tempo rockers and power ballads that are driven by John Wetton’s voice, Steve Howe’s fluid guitar work and Geoff Downes’ keyboards. Carl Palmer’s contribution seems minimal and Wetton’s bass just isn’t in the mix. "Finger on the Trigger" (which is a hold-over from Wetton/Downes’ ICON project) kicks off the disc and is one of the few tracks on this disc that has the ‘classic Asia’ sound.

There are a couple of other strong tracks on the disc like “Holy War” and “Ever Yours” (which seems like an update to “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”). What is notable is that as the band’s sound has matured, the band’s vocals harmonies and melodies have become almost Beatle-ish (check out “I’m Still The Same”). While the urgency/intensity and arena rock sound of the early releases is gone, this is a mature release that doesn’t detract from the band’s legacy and it should strike a chord with long-time Asia fans.

Asia is playing some shows in the NYC area in August:
Aug 6th - Theatre at Westbury, Westbury NY
Aug 7th - Showboat. Atlantic City NJ
Aug 8th - Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield CT
Aug 10th - Bergen PAC, Englewood, NJ

Here is what the current set list looks like:

Asia - Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Yokohama, Japan
May 15 2010

02-I Believe
03-Only Time Will Tell
04-Holy War
05-Never Again
06-Through My Veins
07-Don't Cry (John & Geoff)
08-Steve Howe Solo
09-Sketches In The Sun
10-The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
11-Open Your Eyes
12-Finger On The Trigger
13-Time Again
14-An Extraordinary Life
15-End Of The World
16-The Heats Goes On
17-Carl Palmer Solo
18-Sole Survivor
19-encore break
21-Heat Of The Moment


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Melissa Etheridge - Fearless Love CD Review

Melissa Etheridge - Fearless Love CDMelissa Etheridge made a welcome return to her rock roots with her 11th disc Fearless Love.

Producer/guitarist John Shanks has given Melissa Etheridge a BIG sound with a disc full of anthemic melodies, crashing drums and soaring guitar riffs. To make Fearless Love, Etheridge invited old friend John Shanks to produce and play guitar. “I like to tell people I discovered John Shanks,” she teases. “He toured as my guitar player on my very first tour and he worked with me from 1993 to 1999.”

Lyrically, this is Melissa's breakup album as she split with long-time partner Tammy Lynn Michaels shortly before this disc was released. In a recent interview, Melissa described the meaning of the album title as being "about being fearless. It's about choosing love over fear. It's a way, a philosophy of living life that suits me well."

Lyrical themes predominately focus on different aspects of relationships - love, loss and redemption:
- "Fearless Love" - "I want a fearless love, I won't settle for anything less / If you can’t hold me now, you’ll never hold me again”
- "Company" - "And all I want is company / Someone to understand this misery / Send a reflection of myself to me"

Melissa keeps the tempos moving from fist-pumping arena rock (with heavy shades of Bruce Springsteen) to Tom Petty-flavored roots rock. There is even a blues-rock (Great White/LA Guns style) guitar-driven hard rock song - "Nervous". Things get a bit more mixed up toward the end of the disc on tracks like "We Are The Ones", which has a middle-eastern feel, syncopated percussion and backing vocals by Natasha Bedingfeld & Joss Stone. The last three songs on the disc unfortunately are a stylistic break and are slow (somewhat unmemorable) introspective ballads.

Melissa is currently out on tour and she is playing a couple NYC-area shows in July:

July 14, 2010 - The United Palace Theatre, NYC
July 16, 2010 - State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ

Melissa Etheridge

Suzanne Vega - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 5-19-10

Suzanne Vega played to a sold out crowd at the last of her three May residency shows at City Winery. This series of shows was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her self-titled debut.

My first Suzanne Vega show was 25 years ago when she opened for Roger McGuin in Baltimore and she never fails to disappoint live. For this show, Suzanne played what most fans would consider a 'greatest hits' set, touching on all part of her back catalogue.

Here is the set list from the show:

01) Marlene on the Wall
02) Small Blue Thing
03) The Truth About Cats & Dogs
04) Frank and Ava
05) New York Is a Woman
06) Pornographer's Dream
07) Calypso (solo)
08) Tombstone
09) Left of Center (Bass and Vocals)
10) Blood Makes Noise
11) Solitaire
12) The Man Who Played God
13) The Queen and the Soldier
14) Neighborhood Girl
15) Some Journey
16) Luka
17) Tom's Diner

1) In Liverpool
2) Rosemary

Suzanne Vega has recently formed her own label Amanuensis Records (distributed by Razor & Tie) and is rerecording her back catalog. Close-Up, Vol. 1, Love Songs comes out on June 15th and four more releases are scheduled over the next two years. Long Songs contains acoustic versions of the following tracks:

01. Small Blue Thing
02. Caramel
03. (If You Were) In My Movie
04. Gypsy
05. Marlene On The Wall
06. (I’ll Never Be Your) Maggie May
07. Harbor Songs
08. Headshots
09. Song In Red and Grey
10. Stockings
11. Some Journey
12. Bound

Suzanne Vega

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Really Got Me - The Story of The Kinks DVD Review (MVD)

You Really Got Me - The Story of The Kinks DVD ReviewYou Really Got Me – The Story of The Kinks uses live and studio videos to chronologically take the viewer through the musical history of The Kinks. This isn’t a documentary per se but rather a good introduction to the band’s songbook and their high-energy live show which is targeted to the casual (rather than the die-hard) fan. The live footage isn’t credited but appears to be a mixture of Beat Club and late ‘70s/early ‘80s performances, with the later coming from One for the Road.

There is a loose narration that serves to guide the viewer through The Kinks’ various highlights in a particular year or era and this narration also serves as an introduction to each of the music videos which anchor this film. The narration doesn’t delve too deeply into any topic so die-hard fans looking for previously hidden back-stories will likely be disappointed. The videos are a nice guide through The Kinks’ musical evolution and they are shown mostly or totally complete. The only (minor) complaint is that there are cases where live videos from the “new-wave” 80’s Kinks are used to highlight songs that came to popularity in the 60’s.

Videos include “’til the End of the Day”, “I’m A Lover Not a Fighter”, “Milk Cow Blues”, “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”, “Well Respected Man”, “You Really Got Me”, two takes on “You Really Got Me”, “Celluloid Heroes”, “Superman”, “Catch Me Now I’m Falling”, “Victoria”, “Hard Way”, “Low Budget”, “Attitude” and “Pressure”. The disc also includes studio videos for “Predictable”, “Come Dancing”, “State of Confusion”, and “Do It Again”. All of this is interspersed with interview clips from Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory.

The Kinks - "Milk Cow Blues"

The Kinks - "Low Budget"

Every few years rumors surface that The Kinks will reunite. This is an interesting story to watch unfold as a few years ago Dave had said that a Kinks reunion “would be like a poor remake of 'Night of the Livin Dead' ” but recently seems to have softened his 'when hell freezes over' stance. In a recent post on, Dave said “If Ray replies to my Emails and addresses the outstanding business and creative issues we have, then anything is possible… He rarely consults me on these issues.

Obviously, time will tell...

The Kinks (Unofficial Site)

Lloyd Cole - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 5/19/10

Lloyd Cole's new project Small Ensemble made their NYC debut opening for Suzanne Vega during the last night of her May residency at City Winery. Small Ensemble is an acoustic three-piece (self-described as 'baby bluegrass' on Cole's website) which consists of Cole on vocals and guitar, Matt Cullen (guitar/banjo) and Mark Schwaber (guitar/mandolin).

The band played a forty-five minute set which consisted of a mix of stripped-down reinterpretations of songs from Cole's back catalogue (both with the Commotions and solo) along with a couple new songs. I'm more familiar with the three Commotions albums than Cole's solo work so I wasn't able to keep an accurate set list but Small Ensemble has a new limited edition CD whose track list looks very close to the show's set list.

Lloyd Cole and Small Ensemble Release Limited Edition White Label CDThis new 'white label' CD is a limited edition run of 400 copies that is available (autographed, no less) through Cole's web shop. This disc was recorded live in the studio the day after the band's debut 2010 performance.

"Is this an album or not? I’m not sure, it was recorded so that we would have something by the small ensemble to sell at our January 2010 concerts; a souvenir, but it turned out better than we expected, and folk who weren’t at the shows expressed interest in getting their hands on it. So, here it is. Still, I’m not sure what to call it, so for now I’ve invented a new category at the shop – White Labels – this is the first one. It’s not a demo or outtake CD, nor is it my new album. I do like it though, and I hope we can make more of these." -- Lloyd Cole

Cole's next studio disc is due out in Sept. '10 and is described as being "loud, heavy and light...there are elements of rock, country, blue grass and pop. Lots of of acoustic string instruments, plenty of electric guitars, pedal steel, accordion, violin, and some pretty banging drums. And harmony vocals!"

Lloyd Cole

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The The Release First New Music in Three Years - the soundtrack to Gerard Johnson film "Tony"

The The release soundtrack to Gerard John's debut film 'Tony'After a quiet couple of years from Matt Johnson (aka The The), the band released Cineola Volume 1: Tony - A Soundtrack By The The, which is the first new disc since 2000's NakedSelf.

Tony is the debut film from director Gerard Johnson (Matt's younger brother). In a recent interview with Sound on Sight, here is how Gerard described the film: "[W]ell to start I will say that Taxi Driver has been the film that has had the most influence on me ever. Henry was great as well but Tony is my way of saying we have serial killers in England too, come and have a look. I think the comparisons to Henry are lazy (Although I’m flattered). Both are realistic portraits of serial killers, that’s where it ends really. As films they both say very different things to me. Trouble is most people nowadays want serial killers to be super human costumed villains. Unfortunately they don’t exist in real life. I would say for Tony there was a documentary called Summer on The Estate also Ron Peck’s Nighthawks captured a certain atmosphere, Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Killing and also Alan Clarke whom I love."

Starting this past January, Matt launched a Radio Cineola, which is a monthly podcast (available through The The's storefront) which features rare archival material and works in progress. The May podcast featured Willis with a sneak preview of her hauntingly beautiful version of "This Is The Night" from The End Of The Day project, another verse from poet John Tottenham's The Inertia Variations, plus some previously unheard music from the Lazarus vault. The June podcast should be released later this week.

The podcasts are available as a free 10-minute lo-fi stream or a high-quality MP3 download for £3.00.

The The

Cracker Plays Two Nights with Rev. Horton Heat at Highline Ballroom

DOWNLOAD: Cracker - Live at Crossroads, KC 5-13-10
(Note: This is hosted on Archive.Org and is an authorized off RIAA weenies)

Cracker Plays Co-headlining Show at Highline Ballroom with Reverend Horton HeatCracker came back into the mainstream last year when the first single, "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me", from their Sunshine in the Land of Milk and Honey CD hit the Billboard charts. This new disc has been called "musically gutsy and lyrically sharp" and "as engaging and enjoyable as anything they have released since Kerosene Hat in 1993."

Cracker features co-founders David Lowery (vocals/ guitar) and Johnny Hickman (lead guitar / vocals), along with bassist Sal Maida (Roxy Music / Sparks) and drummer Frank Funaro (The Dictators / Joey Ramone / Del Lords).

Cracker and the reconvened Camper Van Beethoven played a series of double-bills earlier this year and the band is now back on the road for a national co-headlining tour with Reverend Horton Heat. The tour stops at the Highline Ballroom on May 27th and 28th and tickets for the all-ages show are $30. Doors open at 6PM and the show starts at 8PM.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound - Pre-Show Interview, Southpaw, Brooklyn 5-7-10

DOWNLOAD: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound - "Get It Together"

Chicago raw-power soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound made their third trip to Brooklyn earlier this month for a headlining show at Southpaw. I had the chance to sit down and talk with the band prior to their set.

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound released their debut CD Beat of Our Own Drum (Vampisoul/Rabbit Factory) last year and have followed it with a new 7" single, "Get It Together" backed with a funky reworking of Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart".

"Get It Together" is razor-sharp in the groove department -- lots of funky riffing guitar, hard-hitting bass, and badass horns -- all a perfect setting for JC's raw soul vocals! "I Am Trying" is great too -- a cut that starts out with a bit of a trippy start, then moves into some hard-stepping funk right away -- a killer, kickass groove that's mighty nice!

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Jun 11, 2010 -- KDHX Twangfest @ Blueberry Hill, St Louis, MO
Jul 03, 2010 -- Taste of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Jul 16, 2010 -- Dawson City Music Festival, Dawson City, Yukon , CA
Jul 17, 2010 -- Dawson City Music Festival Dawson City, Yukon , CA
Jul 27, 2010 -- Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
Aug 27, 2010 -- Ravinia, Highland Park, IL

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

Jim Kerr (Simple Minds) Releases Debut CD from New Project LostBoy! AKA

DOWNLOAD: Free Two-Track Digital Single with Registration (includes one non-LP track)

Jim Kerr Unveils New Solo Project 'LostBoy! AKA Jim Kerr'Simple Minds' Jim Kerr just released the first disc from his new project Lostboy! AKA and both Lostboy and Simple Minds are touring later this summer.

According to the Lostboy website, the live band will feature "Jez Coad on guitar, Andy Gillespie on Keyboards, Ged Grimes on bass and Gordon Wilson on drums. Jez is leader of the band and this makes sense as he also produced and wrote much of the music with me. He does not tour often and therefore this is a rare opportunity to see him live. Simple Minds fans will know Jez's name since he produced their last two albums as well as writing the music for some of those recordings. Andy Gillespie is also a band leader and pretty much organizes Minds live sets. To have Andy and Jez working with me on this is such a boost, as is having Ged Grimes and Gordon Wilson. Ged is a phenomenal talent and both he and Gordon are providing a granite backbone to a sound that is bound to flourish."

The band made their live debut this past Friday in Aberdeen and here is a live video from the show.

Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr - "She Fell In Love With Silence"

Registering on the Lostboy site (link above) gets you a free digital copy of "Refugee", the lead-off single from the new disc, and a non-LP cover of the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On".

Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr
Simple Minds

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Galaxy of Tar Plays Santos Party House on May 20th

DOWNLOAD: Galaxy of Tar - "Volatile Glass"

Galaxy of Tar Plays Santos Party House on May 20thLatin-psychedelia quartet Galaxy of Tar is playing record release show Santos Party House tomorrow night in support of their new disc Pneuma.

Galaxy of Tar features the soaring vocals of Naima Mora (winner of "America's Next Top Model") and the Latin-esque poly-rhythms and churning riffage of drummer / sonic-architect, Elias Diaz. The band "borrows equally from Diaz's Dominican roots and the industrial pulse of Brooklyn's transit create an exquisite, liminal space between Santana's "Abraxas" and Tool's "Lateralus." Rounded out by the torn, metallic shards of Nemanja Rebic's guitars and the deep pockets of Samuel Fernandez's bass lines, Volatile Glass stands as a testament that, yes, there is great music coming out of New York City."

Cover for tomorrow night's show is $10 and the band is playing at 9:30PM.

Galaxy of Tar

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Karina Denike (Dance Hall Crashers) Brings New Band to NYC for Three Shows Next Week

Karina Denike Brings New Solo Project to NYC for Three SHows in Late MayFormer Dance Hall Crashers vocalist Karina Denike is bringing her new solo project to the East Coast for three shows next week.

Karina's new project is a departure from her ska/punk roots; the songs are "snippets of cabaret torch songs, doo wop drama, Eastern European lullabies, crackly records, sailor songs, and girl group harmony." She is currently playing live, performing her songs on chord organ and vibraphone, with special guests James Frazier on Fender VI, Aaron Novik on bass clarinet, Michael McIntosh on piano/keyboards, Lily Taylor on vocals, and Eric Garland on drums.

Karina Denike's NYC Mini-Tour

Tuesday May 25th -The Cake Shop
152 Ludlow St., New York, NY
with Michelle Amador 9:30
Jeffery Kish 10:15
Karina Denike ( full band) 11pm
$7, 21 and over

Wednsday May 26th - Union Hall
702 Union St., Brooklyn, NY
w/ Sarah Jaffe 8pm
Jeffrey Kish 9pm
Karina Denike ( full band) 10pm
$8 in advance, $10 at the door, 21 and over

Friday May 28th - Galapagos Artspace
16 Main St , Brooklyn, New York
Short Acoustic Set in collaboration with Tami Stronach Dance and Jacob Lawson
Also performing is National Theater of United States
$15, all ages, 10pm show

Karina Denike

The Canon Logic: "The System" & "Avenue of Criminals", Live @ Piano's, NYC 5-11-10

The Canon Logic played a free show at Piano's last Tuesday as part of the weekly Cross Pollination showcase. Here are the last two songs from the set - "The System" and "Avenue of Criminals".

The Canon Logic released their debut full-length, FM Arcade, this past March and are now starting to play headline shows at bigger venues. The band's next show is at Bowery Ballroom on June 19th. The Canon Logic are playing with The Upwelling and tickets are $13.00.

The Canon Logic

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio Loses Battle With Cancer This Morning

Ronnie James Dio Loses Battle With CancerAfter a long weekend, I wasn't planning on posting anything tonight but Dio's music has been an important part of my life for the last 30 years. Evidently Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer this morning.

My heart goes out to Wendy Dio tonight; I don't think there are many people in the industry who weren't touched by Dio and/or his music. Rainbow was my first concert and gave me the reason to pick up a guitar (as I couldn't sing).

Ronnie James Dio Loses Battle to Stamach CancerI've had the opportunity to talk with Ronnie a number of times over the years and, the last time, I was so impressed that he took the time to talk with my teenager who was only vaguely aware of who Rainbow, Black Sabbath or Dio is. Here is a picture of Ronnie "goofing" as he watched me trying to take some photos after being moved through the autograph line at Vintage Vinyl.

RIP my friend - You were one of a kind!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Morning After Girls Play Mercury Lounge on May 27th

Australia-to-New York transplants The Morning After Girls will be playing their first full-band show of 2010 at Mercury Lounge on May 27th.

The band posted the following message to their MySpace profile:

Hello dear friends.
As you may have heard, the morning after girls will be playing their first full-band show of the year, at The Mercury Lounge, on Thursday, 27th May. This show has special significance for Sacha and Martin, because their journies over the past 6 months have endured many Visa constraints and Immigration troubles, so playing again in our favourite city makes this a a very special occasion. After such journies, it is somewhat of a reuinion with our beloved band, and also with you, our beloved friends and sharers of the greatest music today. In addition, don't miss your chance to receive special give-aways of limited rare releases!

We will be joined by our friends, Soren Well and DJ-Cockfosters, making this a night that you simply do not want to miss. The night begins at 9 pm so be sure to come early and share a drink with us, as we've missed you. After all, you are the greatest lovers of music we could hope for.

The band released their latest EP "The General Public" last year and they continue to evolve their Jesus and Mary Chain meets The Dandy Warhols sound. This disc was produced Alan Moulder (producer/engineer for Jesus & Mary Chain, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, etc.) and has all of the ambiance of these early Creation Records bands.

Tickets for the show at Mercury Lounge at $10 and The Morning After Girls are playing with Brooklyn's Soren Well.

The Morning After Girls

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Pet Dragon Plays Cameo Gallery on May 14th

DOWNLOAD: My Pet Dragon - "Lover in Hiding"

My Pet Dragon Plays Cameo Gallery on May 14thBrooklyn's My Pet Dragon is playing Cameo Gallery (in the back of Lovin' Cup Cafe, 93 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg) on Friday night. The band released a new maxi-single, "Lover in Hiding", last month (which is available on iTunes) as a teaser for the band's second full-length, Mountains and Cites, which slated for a Fall release on Gimme That Sound Productions.

My Pet Dragon plays well-crafted alt-rock and vocalist/songwriter Todd Michaelsen has a tenor voice that falls somewhere between Thom Yorke and Muse's Matthew Bellamy. My Pet Dragon's first disc First Born caught the ear of DJ and producer Karsh Kale, who had Todd write and sing three songs on his 2006 album Broken English and appear on Breathing Under Water, his 2007 collaboration with Anoushka Shankar.

This new disc was produced by Stephen George (aka Stevo - drummer from Ministry). Blown away by First Born and a demo of Todd’s new compositions, George offered to produce and release the next My Pet Dragon record on his newly formed label, Gimme That Sound Productions. Recorded in a barn in the Catskills, the new songs were inspired by classic and contemporary artists but invoke a unique ethereal sound driven by Todd’s frenetic guitar strum and melodic tenor voice.

Tickets for Friday's show at Cameo Gallery are $8.00 and My Pet Dragon play at 11PM.

My Pet Dragon

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thee Majesty Play Disconcert at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on May 23rd

Genesis P-Orridge & Thee Majesty Play Issue Project Room on May 23rdAfter Throbbing Gristle's 2009 tour ended, Genesis P-Orridge reactivated his long-running side project Thee Majesty. The band originally formed in 1998 around the core group of Genesis, Lady Jaye, Bryin Dall (4th Sign of the Apocalypse) and has expanded at times to include a rotating cast of musicians. The band's music is similar to some of the more experimental work by Psychic TV and the live shows include a number of spoken word pieces by Genesis.

Genesis & Thee Majesty are playing an outdoor afternoon show at Issue Project Room (@ The Old American Can Factory, 232 3rd Street, Brooklyn) on May 23rd. According to the Issue Project Room site, the band now includes Morrison Edley (Psychic TV, Toilet Boys) on drums. Tickets are $9.00 and the show starts at 5PM.

Genesis P-Orridge

Nick Cave - Henry's Dream [Remastered] CD Review (Mute)

Nick Cave - Henry's Dream [Remastered] CD ReviewNick Cave's seventh studio album, Henry's Dream (1992), is the last of the current set of reissues. This sound of this album heads back toward the dark intensity of Tender Prey without giving up the acoustic sounds of The Good Son.

“Henry’s Dream,” explains Nick Cave, “was one of the first records that I came to with an absolute sound in my head as to how this record should be. What I wanted to make with Henry’s Dream was a very violent acoustic record, basically using storytelling and acoustic instruments to create a really fucked up and violent sound, but which was in no way heavy. This, sadly, didn’t happen” This comment aside, Henry's Dream was one of Cave's strongest release to date and roughly half of the songs on this disc ("Jack The Ripper", "I Had A Dream Joe", "Papa Won't Leave You Henry" and "Brother My Cup is Empty") are staples in the band's live set.

At the time, this was probably one the more polished Bad Seeds releases but this plays more into the band's evolving sound along with newcomer producer David Briggs (Neil Young) rather than the changes in line-up. Between The Good Son and Henry's Dream, Kid Congo had left the fold and the Bad Seeds added Conway Savage on piano and ex-Triffid Martyn Casey on bass.

Like the other reissues in this series, this release is a digi-pack with a bonus DVD. The tracks on the DVD are:

Henry's Dream album in 5:1

Extra tracks:
Blue Bird
Jack The Ripper (Acoustic version)
I Had a Dream Joe (Live)
The Good Son (Live)
The Mercy Seat (Live)
The Carny (Live)
The Ship Song (Live)

Videos: – also available for download to MP3/Ipod

Music videos:
I Had a Dream, Joe
Straight to You
Jack the Ripper (Acoustic Version)

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You": (Part 7: Henry's Dream)
Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

Nick Cave

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Nick Cave - The Good Son [Remastered] CD Review (Mute)

Nick Cave - The Good Son [Remastered] CD ReviewNick Cave's sixth album, The Good Son (1990), completed his transition into the mainstream. Cave forgoes the dark intensity of Tender Prey on this disc and the (almost) Southern gospel songs on this disc are powered by Cave's vocals accompanied by keyboards and strings. As Cave had discovered a new-found sobriety and had also found love with Brazilian stylist Viviane Carneiro, most of the songs on The Good Son are mid-tempo, piano-driven explorations of love and sorrow.

To set the stage for these recordings, Nick remained in São Paulo after the Tender Prey tour while the rest of the band returned to Berlin.

“I started to write a lot and I didn’t really go back; I just stayed in Brazil. A lot of stuff started to come quite quickly: ‘The Weeping Song’, ‘The Ship Song’, ‘Foi Na Cruz’ - these extremely sweet love songs appeared.” As it turned out, the songs from that period prefigure and hint at something that would henceforward become a Cave obsession: to write a kind of “classic” love song, a craft he would devote many years to fine honing.

It was during this period also that Nick really began to come to grips with the piano as a compositional tool. Although he’d had two years of piano lessons in his pre-teens and knew how to make a chord, for all practical purposes, Cave could not perform at the keyboard as fluidly as his songs demanded. “In the early days,” he admits, “there was no way I could sit down and play and sing a song that sounded convincing. That’s not to say I couldn’t hear how it could it be in my head, but it would very much have to be interpreted by the band. Something like ‘The Carny’ for example: all the parts were written on the piano. I just couldn’t necessarily play the stuff.”

When originally released, the release of this disc was preceded by "The Ship Song / The Train Song" 7" which set the stage for the piano/strings balladry of the full disc. Keeping in that same vein, the disc opens with "Foi Na Cruz" which, according to Wikipedia, is based partly upon the traditional Brazilian Protestant hymn of the same title. Bookending the disc is the ballad "Lucy" which features Roland Wolf's last recorded work with the band.

There are a couple of up-tempo songs on the disc - "The Witness Song" has the hand-clapping groove of a Southern revival and "The Hammer Song" has some of the Tender Prey's dark intensity.

Like the Tender Prey, this release is a digi-pack with a bonus DVD. The tracks on the DVD are:

The Good Son album in 5:1

Extra tracks:
The Train Song
Cocks 'n' Asses
(Note: all three tracks are on Cave's B-Sides & Rarities)

Videos: – also available for download to MP3/Ipod

Music videos:
The Weeping Song
The Ship Song

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You": (Part 6: The Good Son)
Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

Nick Cave

School of Seven Bells Plays Two Nights in June at Mercury Lounge / New Album in July

DOWNLOAD: School of Seven Bells - "Babelonia" (from Disconnect From Desire)

School of Seven Bells Releases New Disc, 'Disconnect from Desire',  on July 13Shoe-gazer, ambient rock band School of Seven Bells have announced the July 13th release of their sophomore album Disconnect from Desire, on Vagrant/Ghostly International and Full Time Hobby in Europe. The album, produced by band member Benjamin Curtis and mixed by Jack Joseph Puig, was recorded in the band’s home studio and mixed in Los Angeles at Ocean Way Recording.

Disconnect from Desire is a tremendous leap forward for the band musically, evident in all elements of their intricate and multi-layered sound. Further, the unique experience of playing live allowed them to step out of their sometimes-insular creative process, and to discover and explore a newfound connectivity with listeners. This connection to the external world is reflected throughout the new album and indicative of the trio’s development. “From the start, we knew we wanted to make a record that connected on more of a direct and personal level than we ever had before,” says Curtis, “It's a complete account of our lives this past year, and it's crazy how taking an honest look at yourself can tell you the most about the world around you."

In support of this upcoming release, the three-piece band will play two shows at Mercury Lounge on June 9th and 10th. Tickets for each night are $12 in advance and $14 DOS. School of Seven Bells are playing with Maus Haus on June 9th and ArpLine and Warm Ghost on June 10th.

School of Seven Bells, composed of Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) and identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, (formerly of On!Air!Library!) released their debut album Alpinisms in 2008. Paste Magazine called it “a psychedelic excursion anchored by beautiful, winding melodies and entrancing synth backdrops as bright and buoyant as a wall of clouds.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Jun. 09 2010 -- Mercury Lounge, New York
Jun. 10, 2010 -- Mercury Lounge, New York
Jul. 13, 2010 -- Molotow, Hamburg, Germany
Jul. 18, 2010 -- Thekla, Bristol, England
Jul. 19, 2010 -- Ruby Lounge, Manchester, England
Jul. 20, 2010 -- Scala, London, England

School of Seven Bells

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Nick Cave - Tender Prey [Remastered] CD Review (Mute)

Nick Cave - Tender Prey [Remastered] CD ReviewNick Cave's fifth album, Tender Prey (1988), was his great leap forward. This was the first disc where Cave made a complete break from his raw, experimental Birthday Party roots and this disc establishes him as a (surprisingly) accessible epic storyteller / songwriter. The band's sound benefits from the additions of Kid Congo Powers (guitar), who was juggling a second trip through the Gun Club at the time, and keyboard/organist Roland Wolf.

Tender Prey kicks off with the seven+ minute death-row story, "Mercy Seat", which has become one of Cave's signature tunes. The are a couple other Cave staples on this disc which include the darkly pulsing "Up Jumped the Devil" and garage-rock murder ballad "Deanna".

Although Nick had lyrics ready to go for “The Mercy Seat”, the song had not yet fully taken shape. Nick attests that he sat down in the studio piano and devised a descending chord structure and “…that I was able to sing the words to those chords. Then Mick threw in the E minor – B flat vamp.” However, rather than starting with the piano, recording of the basic tracks for “The Mercy Seat” actually began with a loop which Mick says “came out of the same idea that Nick had been trying to do for ages: he wanted to have a song that was really relentlessly at you and in your face.” Nick affirms he was aiming for an aggressive rapid-fire machine-like effect similar to the churning rhythm of “Harlem” by Suicide, “… but we didn’t know how to do that, so we did it with drumsticks on the open tuning of the bass”.

Like the previous Nick Cave reissues that Mute released earlier this year, Tender Prey comes in a digi-pack with a bonus DVD. The DVD contains the album remastered in 5.1 surround sound plus the following bonus tracks & videos:

Bonus Tracks
The Mercy Seat (Video version)
Girl at the Bottom of my Glass
The Mercy Seat (Acoustic version)
City of Refuge (Acoustic version)
Deanna (Acoustic version)

Videos: – also available for download to MP3/Ipod

Music videos:
The Mercy Seat

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You": (Part 5: Tender Prey)
Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

The remastering job is stellar and stays true to the original vinyl recording. The bonus tracks are sort of hit-and-miss for me as four of the five tracks are on Cave' 2005 release B-Sides & Rarities and I'm not much for music videos. "Do You Love Me Like I Love You" is a bit more intriguing but it is the sort of "Behind the Music" footage that you will watch once and will be unlikely pick up again anytime soon.

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You" is a series of 14 new short films by British artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard to accompany each album. Each 40-minute film features a compelling collage of the famous, infamous and unknown talking directly to camera about what the songs mean to them. The result is a determinedly human portrait of the unique body of work, told through those who have lived and loved the music.

Nick Cave

Ryan Stimpson (The Fear and Trembling) Releases First Solo Project as a Free Download

Ryan Stimpson (The Fear and Trembling) Releases First Solo Project as a Free Download
Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ryan Stimpson (of The Fear and Trembling [TFAT]) has released his first solo disc, Quick 'n Easy, as a free download under the band name Pockets of Humanity. Quick 'n Easy is a significant departure from the orchestral rock of TFAT as this is an electronica album that is comparable to early works by O.M.D. or (a slower-paced) Adam and the Ants.

<a href="">Rollin' By by Pockets of Humanity</a>

The Fear and Trembling have kicked off a fund-raising campaign to raise funds to go into the studio this fall and record their follow-up to their 2009 debut release Octopus with Kurt Ballou (Kickstart pledge link is on the right nav bar). Check out the Kickstart pledge page as the band is offering some pretty cool chatchies.

The Fear and Trembling
Octopus Review

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Zigmat: Live Photos from May 1st Show at Joe's Pub

Zigmat played a stripped-down late night set last Saturday at Joe's Pub. The somewhat bittersweet performance was dedicated to Zigmat drummer Daniel Duggins who recently suffered a massive stroke. Daniel has been playing with Zigmat for the past two years and all proceeds from the show went to the Duggins family.

[Note: It isn't too late to donate to Daniel's recovery - PayPal contributions can be sent to]

Zigmat's debut full-length, Sound of Machines, came out last year and Blogcritics describes the disc as "fus[ing] electronic beats and disparate styles to blur the lines between genres, creating a sound totally unique to Zigmat. I can only imagine that the band would be amazing in concert." The show at Joe's Pub was amazing and the band is now off to Spain next month to play the Sonar Festival.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
June 19, 2010 -- Sonar, Barcelona, ES
June 25, 2010 -- Café la Palma, Madrid, ES


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Walter Schreifels Plays CD Release Show at The Studio at Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

Walter & Arthur - Gorilla Biscuits, CBGBWalter Schreifels is playing a CD release show tomorrow night at The Studio at Webster Hall. An Open Letter to the Scene comes out today on Academy Fight Song and this is Walter's first solo disc. This new disc is described as stripped-down, mostly acoustic arrangements which includes a cover of Agnostic Front's "Society Suckers" and a reworking of CIV's "Don't Gotta Prove It" (which was written by Walter).

“I think it’s about time for me to step out there on my own for a while now because lord knows I haven’t been much good at keeping bands together,” Schreifels responds with a laugh when asked why for the first time in his musical career he decided to release these songs as Walter Schreifels. “It took me a while to feel confident performing solo and under my own name,” he continues. “It’s also been an adjustment not being in a band and having that kind of feedback and camaraderie to fall back on. To stay creative I needed to change the format and put the weight of it on my shoulders, which meant finding new ways of achieving the sound in my head.”

Tickets for tomorrow night's show are $10 and Walter is playing with Atlantic/Pacific and Jump Into the Gospel (free 4-track download).

Walter Schreifels

Order of Ennead - Interview with Guitarist John Li (Earache Records)

Florida black metal band Order of Ennead released their sophomore disc, An Examination of Being, today on Earache Records. This new nine-track disc has been getting great reviews and one of the noted highlights is guitarist John Li's melodic shredding.

Last month, I had the chance to catch with John when he and Kevin (Quirion) were visiting Earache Records. We talked about the new disc, John's former guitar teacher (Ralph Santolla), John's side project Mandragora, tour plans and more.

Order of Ennead are playing a few one-off dates this summer and are planning a full US tour late in the year.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

June 12, 2010 -- TBA, Gainesville, Florida
June 13, 2010 -- The Brass Mug,Tampa, Florida
August 28, 2010 -- Hostile City Fest @ Polaris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Order of Ennead

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Adam Green's "Teen Tech" Art Show Closes Tomorrow Night with a Party and Acoustic Performance

Adam Green's Art Show 'Teen Tech' Closes Tomorrow Night, May 2nd with Live Acoustic PerformanceAdam Green’s debut New York art exhibition, Teen Tech, has been granted an extended stay at the Morrison Hotel Gallery Bowery (313 Bowery / former location of CBGB Gallery). Originally scheduled to be open only April 23rd and 24th, the gallery has chosen to keep the exhibition up for an additional week. Teen Tech will now close on Sunday May 2nd with a party at the gallery from 4 to 6pm, which includes an acoustic set from Adam that starts around 5:30PM.

The exhibition will consist of original works by Green: 12 sculptures of plaster, papier-mâché, or papier-mâché and mixed materials; 18 large-scale (30” x 40”) acrylic or watercolor paintings; 19 drawings; and 20 collages (created together with model Cory Kennedy). The art will be for sale and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the charitable organization Artists for Peace and Justice, which directs 100% of all funds raised towards rebuilding and maintaining long-term sustainability in Haiti.

In addition to opening Teen Tech, Green also wrapped up his recent headlining tour with a two-night hometown stand at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY, last weekend. Of the Saturday night show, blog The Music Slut wrote, “Adam Green’s eighty minute set was charming, hilarious and deliciously entertaining” and declared, “His baritone vocals and charming comedic quips between songs worked together perfectly to form a superstar performer of sorts, a quintessential New York musician who loves to have a good time and interact with the crowd of appreciative New York fans.

Adam Green

Zigmat Plays a Benefit Show Tonight at Joe's Pub (electro-rock)

DOWNLOAD: Zigmat - Light of the Moon

Zigmat Plays a Benefit Show Tonight (May 1st) at Joe's PubBrooklyn electro-rock band Zigmat are playing a benefit show tonight at Joe's Pub. This is the band's final US show before they head to Spain for the Sonar Festival.

As originally planned, the band was going to be premiering three new songs tonight. Unfortunately, the band's drummer had a massive stroke earlier this week so vocalist Monica Rodriguez and bassist Stephen Yonkin will be performing acoustically and all proceeds from the show will be donated to the drummer's family.

Tonight's show starts at midnight at tickets are $12.