Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tyler Ramsey (Band of Horses) Releases "The Valley Wind" in Advance of His Third Solo CD

The Valley Wind by tylerramsey

Tyler Ramsey (Band of Horses) Releases 'The Valley Wind' in Advance of His Third Solo CD After steadily writing while both on and off the road over the course of last year, Tyler Ramsey headed to Nashville, TN, to record his third album The Valley Wind at Alex The Great studio in early January. Friend and bandmate Bill Reynolds (who’s worked with The Avett Brothers and Lissie) produced and aided on bass, while friend Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) sat in on drums and guitar, also singing background vocals. Over a rare snowy set of six days in the southern city, Ramsey crafted nine, finely spun songs, keeping the focus on performance as they were played, and letting fresh ideas reveal themselves as they would. The sessions were intense; the three musicians separated and insulated from most normal daily goings-on during the recording period. The result: a crystalline yet warm album, filled with Ramsey’s rich, plaintive vocals and expressive, intricate guitar playing.

This new disc is due out September 27th and pre-order links are up on Fat Possum's website and iTunes.

Ramsey is perhaps most immediately recognizable as the tall, lean guitarist in Band Of Horses, having played with them since 2007, starting before the release of their breakthrough album, Cease To Begin. A well-established and praised guitar player and singer in the burgeoning music scene of Asheville, NC where he calls home, he first learned to play music on piano before moving to the guitar. Ramsey grew up listening to and studying country-blues guitar players like Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi John Hurt, and American finger pickers like John Fahey and Leo Kottke, absorbing their sound and making it all his own.

Ramsey released his self-titled debut in 2004 and followed it in 2008 with A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea (Echo Mountain Records), which was praised by NPR (World Café – “Heartwarming, delicate, and comforting”), Stereogum (‘Artist To Watch’), WNYC’s Soundcheck, and Popmatters, among others. That album – a collection of haunting and atmospheric songs that exude a markedly fluid, easy grace – was re-released by Brown Records/Fat Possum in January 2011.

Tyler Ramsey

The Residents - "Ten Little Piggies" CD Review (Ralph Records)

The Residents - 'Ten Little Piggies' CD Review (Ralph Records)After reviewing The Residents’ Randy’s Ghost Stories DVD and Lonely Teenager CD, I wanted to go back to where the music from the band’s Talking Light project first surfaced. In 2009, The Residents released a “futurist compilation” entitled Ten Little Piggies which consisted of fourteen tracks from ten projects that may or may not be released in the future. “The Unseen Sister” and “Talking Light” (both from the Talking Light tour) first surfaced on this compilation.

With The Residents’ music shifting in focus in recent years to more narrative-based stories, this disc is a nice change of pace. Aside for The Bunny Boy and Talking Light tracks, Ten Little Piggies is predominately comprised of complex and innovative instrumentals that almost sound like something from a David Byrne & Bryan Eno collaboration. These instrumentals range from atmospheric, cinematic soundscapes to complex, polyrhythmic percussion-driven tracks to minimalist avant-garde. As this disc served as the jumping off point for many of The Residents’ recent and upcoming projects, this is essential listening for anyone wanting to hear where the band is heading next.

Here is the breakdown of the ten projects:

Duck Stab Re-Imagined - The album, Duck Stab, was recorded in 1979 at the height of the "New Wave" era. It epitomized everything that was good about New Wave: catchy, raw and above all fiercely independent. But that was 30 years ago and the Residents thought this would be a good time to rethink this quirky recording. The rethinking was conceived as a live performance connected to a gallery exhibition of New Wave art.

The Voice of Midnight: Instrumental - Perhaps no project The Residents have ever recorded produced as much material as The Voice of Midnight. This 2007 opus not only produced the album, but also a shorter work, The Sandman Waits, contributed to a collection of songs called Smell My Picture, and the parallel universe album, The UGHS! The Voice of Midnight was theatrical in style so in order to showcase the music, often overshadowed by the album's narrative, this instrumental version will be released through The Residents download store at www.residents.com.

Strange Culture (OST) - The Residents wrote a minimalist score for Lynn Hershman Leeson's 2007 film, Strange Culture, (combined two short sentences here) based on the surreal nightmare of internationally-acclaimed artist and professor Steve Kurtz.

Arkansas - Since it was based on the unpredictable story line found in The Bunny Boy internet series, the Bunny performance also evolved over time, with new music being added to the show as it toured. Ultimately, some of the music written for the project was never used, so now these extraneous pieces of The Bunny Boy will be released as Arkansas.

Tweedles: Instrumental - Following in the footsteps of the successful release of River of Crime: Instrumental and Animal Lover:Instrumental, Tweedles: Instrumental will be more than just non-vocal versions of the songs. Instead, the album will be a three piece suite that was originally written to represent air, earth, and water. Originally, the project's working title was "Tabasco" and over time, it evolved into "Casanova's Clown" until finally becoming Tweedles.

The UGHS! - When The Residents begin work on their 2007 opus to insanity, The Voice of Midnight, the group felt the need to shake things up, consequently they created an alter ego through which they could act out new roles. Proudly, The Residents christened this conceptual alter ego as THE UGHS! The group then fashioned "written music" from the raw, impulsive ideas created by The UGHS!, building the musical structure of The Voice of Midnight on these pieces. Two years later these original UGHS! recordings were rediscovered; freed from its previous role supporting The Voice of Midnight's narrative, the music suddenly sounded as fresh as when it was first recorded. The time had come to resurrect THE UGHS.

Talking Light - The Residents have wanted to experiment with looser forms of music and lyrics. Talking Light is designed for performance and is based on a mix of improvisation and scoring. The concept for this project is interpretive story telling with an interactive electronic score.

Hades - Dark, abstract, scary. Hades was originally composed to accompany an art opening, but when the exhibit was postponed the recording was misplaced and not incorporated into the eventual opening. For years this music has been ignored, waiting to be heard and appreciated by anyone whose taste runs toward the unpredictable and the macabre. Not for everyone.

Haeckel's Tale (OST) - The Residents were commissioned to write a score for this Showtime film, but for unspecified reasons the music was not used.

The Bunny Boy Live - When The Residents toured their epic adventures of The Bunny Boy in 2008, the show was shot as a special for French television. Media from this documentary is expected to surface in 2010.

Continuing to use this compilation as a jumping off point, The Residents will be releasing a special-edition 2CD version of their new forthcoming album Coochie Brake (due in 2012) which includes a second CD of music that did not make it onto the album. Coochie Brake is a swamp in Louisiana and the music on the album is described as warm and damp. Officially, Coochie Brake will be the second release under The Ughs concept.

The Residents

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Residents - "Lonely Teenager" CD Review (MVD Audio)

The Residents - 'Lonely Teenage' CD Review (MVD Audio)The Residents have been so prolific these days that it is hard to refer to any disc as “their latest”…so, the band’s latest “factory pressed / commercially available” CD, Lonely Teenager, is the latest in the series of discs that have been released around the current Talking Light project. A limited edition version of Lonely Teenager was sold on the Talking Light tour and the disc was commercially released in June on MVD Audio.

This disc breaks from the industry norm of a release followed by a tour as it was released after The Residents’ Talking Light tour wrapped up. The press release for this disc described the impetus for this as: “during a time when little interest is being paid to CDs, the idea of developing a touring show without the restriction of promoting an album made perfect sense. This time the group could just play whatever they wanted instead of a predetermined show. It would be fun - and it was.

But after forty or so performances, The Residents started wondering: what would the album that "might have been" sound like? ...and they begin to imagine the fictitious album they would be supporting - had they actually recorded one. As usual with Randy, Chuck & Bob, imagination quickly leads to action, and, in a short time this action produced the curious Lonely Teenager.

Featuring pieces that were performed in the show as well as others that were considered but ultimately rejected, Lonely Teenager is "the studio album that might have been." Benefiting hugely from the Talking Light tour, the CD also includes additional tunes featuring new arrangements of Lizard Lady (from Duck Stab Re-Imagined sessions) and The Bunny Boy's Boxes of Armageddon.

Track List:
1 - Six More Miles (8:38)
> Original version on Stars & Hank Forever (1986)

2 - My Window (4:18)
> Original version on Animal Lover (2005)

3 - The Unseen Sister (7:56)
> From the Talking Light tour

4 - The Lizard Lady (3:05)
> Original version on Duck Stab (1978)

5 - The Sleepwalker (3:33)
> Original version on the Demons Dance Alone ltd. Edition Bonus CD (2002)

6 - The Old Woman (6:45)
> Original version on Gingerbread Man (1994)

7 - Boxes of Armageddon (3:35)
> Original version on The Bunny Boy (2008)

8 - Talking Light (9:51)
> From the Talking Light tour

The tour edition of Lonely Teenager contained a ninth track which is a unique rehearsal version of "The Unseen Sister" from October of 2009.

Lonely Teenager runs just under fifty minutes and the tracks are atmospheric and disconcertingly dark. While this disc contains the same two Talking Light tracks as Ten Little Piggies, these are longer version and the narration is down-played. The one notable exception to this predominately instrumental album is “The Old Woman” which takes on a more deranged overtone with new narration from Randy.

Residents' spokesperson Hardy Fox gave an interview with LA Weekly earlier this year where he was asked about the vision behind Lonely Teenager.

LA Weekly: The new album, Lonely Teenager, which grew out of ideas germinated on the Talking Light tour, reveals the music growing more subtly complex — and beautiful, and scary, too. "The mirror has two sides" is a sample lyric. What do you suppose the Residents mean by this?

Hardy Fox: As people age, they stop recognizing themselves when they look in the mirror. There's a two-sided mirror in the show, one side reflecting Randy and the other reflecting the audience. The audience has to face the mirrors just like the performers do — just like your death, each person has to deal with that at a very individual level.

The Residents

Samantha Ronson Plays Bowery Electric on September 9th

Samantha Ronson Plays Bowery Electric on September 9thThis show is sure to draw an eclectic crowd...

Uber-DJ Samantha Ronson (who is the one-time girlfriend of Lindsay Lohan, step-daughter of Foreigner's Mick Jones, sister of producer Mark Ronson, etc.) has started to play some live dates with her new band Samantha Ronson and the Undertakers. According to Huffington Post, the band played their first "real show" in July at the Blue Note Jazz Club and the "audience responded well to Ronson's songs and banter, and though the singer seemed a bit nervous at times, the show seemed to go off without a hitch... those who see her live will be shocked at the transition from chronic photographer-flipper-off-er to gentle love song crooner."

Ronson's album, Chasing The Reds, was co-written with Jimmy Messer (from Kelly Clarkson's band) and, while that says a lot for the musical direction of the album, Ronson also co-wrote the song "Save Me" from the new Foreigner album.

Tickets are $13 and Ronson is sharing the bill with indie-punkers The Happy Problem and Brooklyn What.

Samantha Ronson

Sunday, August 28, 2011

D Generation Announce New Disc in 2012 / Show at Irving Plaza on Sept. 17th

D Generation Announce New Disc in 2012 / Show at Irving Plaza on Sept. 17thI guess you can go home again -- twelve years after D Generation's last CD Through the Darkness and their "final" show at Coney Island High, D Generation are playing a eight city tour and have announced a new disc for 2012.

The band will be playing material from their three full-length albums D Generation (EMI, 1994), No Lunch (Columbia 1996) and Through The Darkness (Sony 1999) and plan to write new material post shows for a release in 2012. Breaking up in 1999, the members last got together as D Generation in 2008 to play three songs at the John Varvatos Store Opening (on the site of the legendary CBGB’s).

Composed of Jesse Malin, Danny Sage, Howie Pyro, Michael Wildwood and Richard Bacchus, D Generation formed in the early 90’s and during the age of grunge and mainstream alt rock, were as Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed “the stuff that popped-up 70s punk was made of" "tailor-made for grimy pinball arcades and Brand X beer-drinking binges." In addition to a 4 star review, legendary Rolling Stone writer David Fricke went on to comment "There is no better sales pitch for the snot-rock classicism and teenage-warfare spirit of D Generation than [the song] "No Way Out." Richard Bacchus’ and Danny Sage’s guitars spit bullets, singer Jesse Malin seethes with rabid impatience. Malin, Sage, Bacchus, bassist Howie Pyro and drummer Michael Wildwood embrace the values of aggressive brevity." Fricke went on to label the song a "stone classic" and fervently predicted more to come from the band.

A live force to be reckoned with D Generation toured with such artists as Social Distortion, L7, Green Day, Cheap Trick, The Misfits, and The Offspring, among many others. Most notably, the band also played on The Ramones’ farewell tour and the KISS reunion tour.

Speaking on the upcoming D Generation shows Sage says “We all still talk and have stayed in touch over the years. I’ve worked on all of Jesse’s solo albums. Over the years we have gotten a lot of offers to play but just were busy working on our own things. This year we decided to do two shows together and the offers began to fly in from all over the world and it just grew from there.

Echoing the sentiment Malin said “There's a lot of love amongst the five of us, we grew up together. It's like a little gang, a bunch of friends hanging out on a street corner. I miss the good jokes, the unspoken understanding that people have that have such a real history. I miss putting on my creepers and screaming at the top of my lungs.

In closing Sage says of the new era of D Generation “I think it’s a good time for D Generation, the state of rock & roll is so pathetic and somebody needs to kick it in the ass and I’m glad it’s us.

9/02 Benidorm, Spain @ Turborock Fest
9/03 Santander, Spain @ Turborock Fest
9/05 London, UK @ Borderline

9/17 New York @ Irving Plaza
Tickets are $25 and supporting acts are Alexis James, Tyburn Saints and The Biters

9/23 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
9/24 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
9/25 Oakland, CA @ The Uptown
10/08 Chicago, IL @ Double Door / Riot Fest

D Generation

Thinning The Herd - "Oceans Rise" CD Review (St Mark's Records)

Thinning The Herd - Oceans Rise CD Review (St Mark's Records)I missed Oceans Rise (St. Mark’s Records) when it came out (April 5th) and probably would have never gotten around to listening to this disc if I hadn’t received an email that it was going to expire from my promo pool. I’m glad that I grabbed this disc when I did as I would have been missing out a good thing. Oceans Rise is groove-based stoner metal crossed with a healthy dose of grunge and the disc sounds like what you would get by throwing Metallica, Alice in Chains and the current incarnation of Pentagram into a blender.

Thinning the Herd has been around since 2006 and the band is a power-trio comprised of guitarist/vocalist (and fine artist) Gavin Spielman, bassist Nick Lee and drummer Ben Proudman. Spielman sings with a raw but clean vocal style that leads to comparisons to Layne Staley or Pepper Keenan and his clean guitar riffs and solos adds a distinctive element which keeps the band from ‘sinking’ while mining the well-traveled grunge and stoner-metal genres. Adding to the mix, Lee and Proudman lay down the disc’s bottom-end with some muscular grooves and tight fills that sound like they came out of St. Vitus (or any of Wino’s other projects).

The disc’s eight tracks (35 minutes) go by fairly quickly in a haze of slow-burning, dirgey blues riffs (“On Fire”), Sabbath grooves (“Chill in the Air”), greasy hard rock (“Defiler”) and Soundgarden-style grunge (“Binge”, "Look Behind") which make a memorable impact without over-staying their welcome.

Thinning The Herd

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Xoe Wise: Chicago Dream Pop Artist Plays Sept. Shows at The Living Room and The National Underground

DOWNLOAD: Xoe Wise - "Echo" (from Xoe's 2010 CD Echo)

Xoe Wise: Chicago Dream Pop Artist Plays Sept. Shows at The Living Room and The National UndergroundChicago Innerview described dream-pop artist Xoe Wise as "the singer/songwriter and pop counterpart to Columbia native Chaz Bundick’s (a.k.a. Toro Y Moi) laconic chill-wave synth ballads. Both share an evanescent “dreaminess,” as if washing in the aquamarine surf of their native environs."

Xoe will be playing two NYC shows next month: 9/7 @ The Living Room (9:30PM set time) and 9/9 @ The National Underground (8PM set time). Xoe is touring behind the critically acclaimed album Echo and she has shared the stage in the past with John Legend, Colbie Caillat, Lisa Loeb, Greg Laswell and Andrew Belle.

The first video from Echo was for the song "Before Waves" (below) and Xoe talked about the story behind the video late last year with OurStage.com.

OurStage: You have a music video for the song “Before Waves.” Can you tell us the story behind the video?

Xoe Wise: The song “Before Waves” regards a love story where two people fall in love by the ocean. The lovers do not realize their connection to the warm air and sea until returning to where they first met. I think we constantly do this in life. We feel something and then explore it more and watch our heart expand its senses to other beauties of the earth. Things we don’t even realize impact us, will resonate in our souls and play a role in our destiny. The video was directed by Ryan Eakins with help editing from his friend Lev. Ryan and my God moms and my friend Casey contributed to stunning ideas like Ryan’s concept of our walk creating words. The idea of our journey painting love in sand absolutely parallels this love story. Emily Blood is a character in the video who not only did beautifully on camera but is one of the most hilarious and life filled people I’ve met. Her presence added to what love is.

Xoe Wise

The Jesus Lizard - "Club" DVD Review (MVD Visual)

When thinking about audience-baiting lead signers, David Yow ranks up there with likes of Tesco Vee and Lee Ving. The Jesus Lizard’s new DVD, Club, captures the first night of the band’s 2009 reunion tour and Yow started off the set with the ‘joke’: "What's the difference between Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson? About 5 hours" before the band launched into an explosive version of “Puss”.

Age hasn’t slowed The Jesus Lizard and you wouldn’t know by how tight they sounded that this was the band’s first US show in over ten years. Once launched, the band didn’t slow their hammering rhythms and Yow was in the crowd from the first song onward and had his shirt off by the fourth. While Yow made some crack about apologizing for his belly, he did some mad leaps and dives into the crowd that would put a younger stage diver to shame. Surprisingly, all of his clothes stayed on and he only pulled his d*ck out while singing “Blockbuster”.

The band played a sixty minute set and a fifteen minute encore and the set list focused on material from their Touch & Go years. While Yow was in and out of the crowd during the show, only one fan made it onto the stage and the camera crews capture this fan being chased by a VERY heavy security guard (who ultimately falls on his arse) while the band thunders through “Then Comes Dudley”.

The Jesus Lizard
Club Exit/In, Nashville, TN, July 14, 2009

Set List:
Destroy Before Reading
Blue Shot
Killer McHann
One Evening
Then Comes Dudley
Monkey Trick
7 vs. 8
Fly on the Wall
My Own Urine
Dancing Naked Ladies
Bloody Mary
Wheelchair Epidemic

The show was shot by a film crew that obviously knows the band’s work as the angles and transitions are great but the cameras lose Yow during some of his crowd surfing. The audio has both top and bottom-end depth and it is some of the best sound that I’ve heard on a live disc. Bonus features on the DVD include downloadable MP3s of the band’s performance and a photo montage of pictures from this show (which a shot of a chunky David Yow yanking it). If you missed the reunion tour – Club is probably as close as you are going to get to the intensity of a live performance from The Jesus Lizard.

David Yow and David Wm. Sims will hit the road later this year for a very brief Scratch Acid reunion. The only announced show is the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in the UK in December 2011 but Sims announced on his blog that Scratch Acid will play some dates in November and December in the US and possibly in Europe.

The Jesus Lizard

Friday, August 26, 2011

EULA Posts "Maurice Narcisse" as Free Download / Multiple Area Shows in September

DOWNLOAD: EULA - "Maurice Narcisse"

EULA Posts 'Maurice Narcisse' as Free Download / Multiple Area Shows in SeptemberPunk rock trio EULA is coming coming back through town next month and the band is playing five shows in Brooklyn over the course of the next few weeks.

EULA is continuing to tour behind their new 10-track disc Maurice Narcisse which, in parts, sounds like the bastard child of Big Black. Check out QRO Magazine's in-depth review of the new disc.

EULA Sept/Oct Tour Dates
9/03-- The Lamp Post (Jersey City NJ)
9/10-- Tinderbox Music Festival @ Knitting Factory (Brooklyn)
9/15-- Elm City Pop Fest @ Popeye's Garage (New Haven CT)
9/17-- Paper Garden Records' Multiverse Playground III Fest (@ 106 Emerson Place, Brooklyn) ~ EULA @ 6pm
9/17-- Living Bread (2 Knickerbocker Ave., Brooklyn) w/ Shark? & Dinosaur Feathers ~ EULA @ 11pm
9/18-- Brick City Sound Riot Music Festival @ Kilkenny Ale House (Newark NJ) ~ EULA @ 9pm
9/22-- Bar Matchless (Brooklyn) w/ Ritz Riot
10/8 -- The Gutter (Brooklyn)


East Bay Ray & The Killer Smiles CD Review (MVD Audio)

East Bay Ray & The Killer Smiles CD Review (MVD Audio)Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray’s latest project, The Killer Smiles (out Sept. 13 on MVD Audio), may be the closest thing to a new DKs album since 1986’s Bedtime for Democracy. This new disc features Ray along with current DKs vocalist Skip McSkipster and Greg Reeves (who was the touring bassist for the DKs last year) along with drummer Steve Wilson.

In a recent interview, Ray said that this new disc was originally conceived as a DKs disc but McSkipster’s lyrics are “more 'personal politics' and more 'poetry,' rather than 'journalism' and 'regular politics.'" Regardless of the lyrical focus, the new disc fully captures the current sound of the Dead Kennedys. While the band hasn’t lost their fervor, this new disc is melodic and musical diverse and it is a logic extension of the band's post-hardcore sound during their final years with Jello. This would have made a solid Dead Kennedys disc and the DKs played two songs from this disc, “Area 51” and “You’re Such a Fake”, at their concert last year at Irving Plaza.

Musically, this twelve-track/forty minute disc is raw melodic punk that is a healthy mix of power-punk (comparisons to The Atom Age came immediately to mind), Social Distortion/X-style rockabilly and surf rock. Given that this is an East Bay Ray disc, Ray’s guitars are featured prominently on each of the songs and producer (& Butthole Surfer) Paul Leary balances this off against McSkipster’s vocals and exploding sing-along choruses. Long-time Ray accomplice Chuck Lindo (Jumbo Shrimp, etc.) adds backing vocals on about half the tracks and other notable guests are Paul Leary and Paul Roessler, who respectively add guitar and piano to the track “The Heart is Something”.

Standout tracks are the punkish opener “Raising the Stakes”, the roots-rock track “I’m a User” and “It’s Broken”, where this last track has an immediately recognizable guitar riff that sounds like a holdover from Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables.

East Bay Ray Tour Dates:
Oct. 6 - Old Town Pub, Pasadena, CA
Oct. 7 - Juke Joint, Anaheim, CA
Oct. 8 - The Shakedown, San Diego, Ca

East Bay Ray

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Jam - "Trans Global Unity Express" DVD Review

The Jam - 'Trans Global Unity Express' DVD ReviewThere are a number of concert/music videos that I remember from the early days of VHS and Beta that never made it to DVD so the DVD release of The Jam’s "Transglobal Unity Express" concert film comes as a welcome surprise. This disc captures nine tracks from The Jam’s show at Bingley Hall in Birmingham on March 21, 1982 where the band was touring behind their final release, The Gift, which was released earlier that month.

While this disc only captures thirty minutes of what was probably a ninety minute concert, the band is on fire and the energy of the capacity crowd adds to the performance. The Jam played as a five piece this tour, with Keith Thomas (Saxophone) and Steve Nichol (Trumpet) onboard, to reproduce The Gift’s strong R&B/Motown sound. The Gift charted at #1 in the UK and contains some brilliant songs by Paul Weller that are still relevant and poignant today so it seems a crime that Weller disbanded The Jam later in 1982. As much as I’d love to see the original Jam reunite, you have to give Weller credit for sticking by his beliefs and refusing to be a “reunion tour dinosaur” like The Who and Rolling Stones.

As to be expected, the material on this DVD mostly comes from The Gift (six of the nine tracks) and the band’s cover of “Move on Up” also comes from this period and was later released as the b-side to “Beat Surrender”. While this show was originally filmed on tape, it doesn’t have the ‘crispness’ of a recent concert film but that doesn’t detract from either the audio or video portions of the show. This video was filmed with multiple cameras and the sequencing of shots was done with care so there are seamless cuts between camera angles. The audio portion is also stellar and captures the fullness of The Jam’s sound.

Here is the complete track list:
“Town Called Malice”
“Move On Up”
“Private Hell”
“Pretty Green”
“Trans-Global Express”
“The Gift”

Now that this concert has finally surfaced on DVD, I vaguely remember seeing a Japanese VHS release of the band’s final show at the Brighton Centre that I’d love to see make it onto DVD sometime in my lifetime.

Paul Weller
The Jam

Thin Lizzy - "Bad Reputation" Deluxe Edition CD Review

Thin Lizzy - 'Bad Reputation' Deluxe Edition CD ReviewThin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation is the latest in an on-going series of deluxe reissues from the band. Breaking from the last set of reissues, this disc doesn’t include a second bonus disc but rather appends six bonus tracks to the original disc’s nine tracks to take the total running time up to 58 minutes. (Strangely, this reissue was originally announced as coming with a nine-track bonus CD).

Bad Reputation was originally released in 1977 and the band benefited from a switch to producer Tony Visconti as he captured critical elements of the band’s live sound and swagger that were missing from Johnny the Fox. This new reissue sounds great – there is a notable improvement over the previously released versions of Bad Reputation and this set of reissues (which includes Black Rose and Chinatown) are the first to actually use the 2010 remasters by Andy Pierce. The five of the bonus tracks are from a John Peel Session that the band recorded for the BBC in 1977. Four of the five tracks were released on Thin Lizzy’s Peel Sessions CD in 1994 but that disc is way out of print and used copies generally sell for too much on Amazon and eBay ($40+). The last track is a soundcheck recording of “Me and the Boys” which was recorded at an unspecified location.

The high point of this reissue is that it sounds great and it is selling at a reasonable price point (~$16.00, which includes shipping to the US if you order from Amazon.co.uk; the US version will be released next month and is posted at a pre-sale price of $17.99 on Amazon.com).

The only potential negative is that Thin Lizzy announced last month that “October 2012 will see the release of a lavish collection of BBC material 'At The BBC’ that will be available in three formats ' a 7CD, 1 DVD boxset, a 2CD anthology and a 5 LP vinyl set”. Given this, it makes me wonder how quickly these five BBC tracks are going to be redundant.

Bad Reputation Bonus Tracks:
1. “Killer Without A Cause” - BBC Session, 01/08/1977
2. “Bad Reputation” - BBC Session, 01/08/1977
3. “That Woman's Gonna Break Your Heart” - BBC Session, 01/08/1977
4. “Dancing In The Moonlight (It's Caught Me In A Spotlight)” - BBC Session, 01/08/1977
5. “Downtown Sundown” - BBC Session, 01/08/1977
6. “Me And The Boys” – Soundcheck

Thin Lizzy

Monday, August 22, 2011

Queen - "Hot Space" Deluxe Edition (2011) CD Review

This is the first of the 2CD Queen reissues that I've heard and Hot Space was probably a bad entry point to the series as this release looks like a "cash grab".

Starting with the bonus EP, the 5-track disc runs 23 minutes so these tracks could have easily been appended to the main disc (like the bonus tracks for Thin Lizzy's Bad Reputation).

The bonus EP contains:
1. "Staying Power (Live in Milton Keynes, June 1982)"
2. "Soul Brother (B-Side)"
3. "Back Chat (Single Remix)"
4. "Action This Day (Live in Tokyo, November 1982)"
5. "Calling All Girls (Live in Tokyo, November 1982)"

Taking this disc apart track-by-track:

- This live version of "Staying Power" is from Queen's Live at the Bowl CD which documents the band's Hot Space tour. As only four songs from Hot Space were played during this concert, you would have thought all four songs would have been included on the bonus disc.

- "Soul Brother" was the b-side to "Under Pressure" and I believe this is the first time this track has made it to CD. This is a full-on "Aretha Franklin-style" soul ballad with Freddie Mercury singing predominately in a high falsetto.

- "Back Chat (Single Remix)" - A complete throw-away as this is a single edit that runs twenty second shorter than the LP version.

- "Action This Day" and "Calling All Girls" come from the band's concert at Seibu Lions Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on November 3, 1982. Eight tracks from this show were previously released as bonus tracks on Live at the Bowl DVD so it is anyone's guess why the band is seemingly being very stingy with the remaining thirteen tracks.

I generally don’t write reviews of the original album when reviewing one of the many 2CD “deluxe editions” that the industry seems to be banging out by the truckload but I don’t think I’ve every heard all of Hot Space before.

While most everyone knows the song “Under Pressure”, that song is NOT indicative of the music on this disc. For a band that once prided themselves on using no synthesizers, most of the tracks sound like warmed-over Nile Rodgers leftovers or throw-away dance floor tracks. The predominate use of synthesizers and electronic drum machine tracks make this disc sound very “80s” and dated. There are a few moments of “classic” Queen ("Las Palabras del Amor", “Under Pressure”. “Life is Real (Song for Lennon)”) along with some enjoyable segues into Bronski Beat style pop but the dross significantly outweighs these tracks and this makes for a very uneven listening experience.

For the Hot Space tour, Queen played these songs much harder than the studio versions and the use of real instruments (as opposed to electronic beats) breathed some new life into these tracks. As such, an unreleased live show from this tour (or the remainder of the Tokyo show) would have made this set more interesting. At minimum, the original (and heavily bootlegged) version of “Cool Cats” with David Bowie’s backing vocals would have made a nice addition to the bonus disc.

This 2CD set hasn’t yet been released in the US but is available as an import on Amazon for $14.99 (new) through third-party sellers. (No one in their right mind should pay the $30 list price for this set.)


Neil Young - "Live on Air / The Lost Tapes" CD Review (XXL Media)

Neil Young - 'Live on Air / The Lost Tapes' CD Review (XXL Media)Neil Young's Live on Air / The Lost Tapes CD is listed on Amazon as containing six songs, recorded live in 1991 in the UK for a local radio station. Not to take issue with the disc’s liner notes but this 40+ minute set features Neil playing solo acoustic which implies that this recording is either from his 1992 or 1999 solo tours. With tracks like “Ambulance Blues” only played during Neil’s 1999 tour, I strongly suspect that this recording is from Neil’s June 2, 1999 show in Houston, TX as this is the only night of his 1999 tour where all six tracks on this disc were played.

Track List:
Last Trip To Tulsa
Long May You Run (on pump organ)
Harvest Moon
After the Goldrush (starts on upright piano and finishes on pump organ)
Ambulance Blues
Heart of Gold

This recording sounds like it was captured from the audience but it is a solid “you were there” recording. Neil’s vocals and instrumentation are clear and he sounds in great form. As to be expected with an audience tape, there is audience chatter after the songs and some clapping during the opening and closing bars of each song. As this recording is a compilation of tracks from different portions of the show (assuming my hypothesis is correct), there are fade-outs between each of the tracks.

This is a great companion piece to Neil’s 1992 live disc Dreamin' Man Live '92 which documented Neil's 1992 solo tour.

Neil Young

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Living Fields: Interview with Guitarist / Founder Jason Muxlow

DOWNLOAD: The Living Fields - "Interview with Jason Muxlow", July '11

Digital Press Kits

The Living Fields: Interview with Guitarist / Founder Jason Muxlow Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of talking with Jason Muxlow, guitarist and founder of Chicago's The Living Fields.

The Living Fields just released their second full-length disc, Running out of Daylight, which marks their debut for Candlelight Records. Running out of Daylight is an eight-track 60+ minute tour-de-force that is near impossible to categorize as the band extends its doom metal "core" to include earthen pagan, symphonic and progressive elements. MusikReviews.de called the disc "terrible, dangerous, fascinating and wondrously beautiful all at the same time" and this quote does a nice job of summing up the amalgamation of elements found within this new disc.

BrooklynRocks talked with Jason about the band's new disc, the history of the band, Jason's side projects (Earthen Graves), the realities of The Living Fields touring and more.

The Living Fields

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Natur Release New Single "Spider Baby" As Free Download / Show at Union Pool on August 26th.

DOWNLOAD: Natur - "Spider Baby" (hosted on VillageVoice.com)

Natur Release new Single 'Spider Baby' As Free DownloadBrooklyn traditional metal outfit Natur announced signing a worldwide deal with Earache Records last month and now the Village Voice has done a nice writeup on the band. The Voice has posted a fairly detailed interview with singer Ryan "Weibs" Wiebust and drummer Tooth along with a link (above) where you can download the band's debut single "Spider Baby" (The Year Is One Records) for free.

Here is a snippet from the full interview:

Village Voice: What is "Spider Baby" about?

Weibust, guitarist/vocalist: "Spider Baby" is 100% inspired by the 1968 black-comedy horror film my friend Erin McCord let me borrow—thanks, Erin! There are some strange themes in the film that I felt would be a great premise for a song. It's perverted, grotesque and sinister with a pretty amazing back-story. Originally the movie was called Cannibal Orgy; can't go wrong with a title like that, if you ask me. The three orphans in the movie all suffer from a disease called the "Merrye Syndrome." Once they reach the age of 18 they begin to slowly regress into cannibals as they get older/younger. So the lyrics are pretty much based around this idea, but also giving them the personification of a spider, which one of the daughters already has throughout the film.

Natur's next local show is August 26th at Union Pool w/ Aggressor and Mutant Supremacy -- cover is $8.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Canon Logic: Download "Howl in the Night" from Forthcoming "Rapid Engine" EP (out August 30th)

DOWNLOAD: Canon Logic - "Howl In The Night" (from "Rapid Empire" EP)

CanonLogicRapidEmpire by lightscamerawolfgang

Canon Logic: Download Free Single from Forthcoming EP // Canon Logic will release "Rapid Empire" on August 30, 2011 via Engine Room Recordings. "Rapid Empire" is a five song EP driven by striking rhythms and an unrelenting energy. Themes of fear, solitude, risk, and perseverance are set against each other as a fractured narrative unfolds over dynamic soundscapes.

In the Spring of 2010, Canon Logic released their first full-length effort, FM Arcade, an eclectic album of powerfully catchy pop songs. Converse’s Talk Blog said "FM Arcade is rife with slick musical structures and beautiful, clear vocals.” Achieving a growing popularity in their native NYC, supporting acts like Oh Land and the Lemonheads, and headlining Bowery Ballroom, they broadened their reach up and down the East Coast on tour, and the songs stretched even further, landing placements on CSI:NY, internet ad campaigns, and on Hollister Co. and affiliated stores’ playlists, nationwide.

The band teamed up with NYC label Engine Room Recordings after recording a cover of “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” for their popular Guilt By Association covers compilation series, which has featured artists in the past such as Devendra Banhart, Frightened Rabbit and Will Oldham; the band will be featured on GBA-Volume 3 due out in late 2011.

Canon Logic is comprised of guitarists Mark Alu and Josh Greenfield, bassist Sean Enright, drummer Zach Jordan, and frontman and principal songwriter Tim Kiely.

Canon Logic's next local show is September 8th at Music Hall of Williamsburg and they are playing with Pants Velour, Shoot the Freak and The Wicked Tomorrow. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 DOS.

Canon Logic

Maria Taylor - "Overlook" CD Review (Saddle Creek)

Maria Taylor - 'Overlook' CD Review (Saddle Creek)Next Tuesday (August 16th), Maria Taylor is releasing Overlook, which is her fourth solo album. This new disc is rawer, both in sound and emotion, than Taylor’s work with Azure Ray and Now It’s Overhead, and Taylor produced this disc herself after coming off a year-long writing dry spell.

Maria Taylor recorded this new disc in her hometown of Birmingham, AL having moved from Los Angeles early last year and her goal was to capture the sound of Alabama and its music scene. Collaborators on Overlook include neighbor Lester Nubry III, who engineered the disc and played drums on two tracks; guitarist Browan Lollar, who is part of Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit with who Taylor toured with earlier this spring; and siblings Macey Taylor (who adds bass, keys and backing vocals to a number of tracks) and Kate Taylor (backing vocals and marimba on “Matador”) along with Maria’s father Macey Taylor Sr., who played mandolin and added backing vocals to the song “Bad Idea”.

The core lyrical theme of the disc is a coming of (middle) age self-analysis (though Taylor is only 35) and the music ranges from wispy dream-pop to Michelle Shocked-style ragtime Americana to alt-country/folk to pulsing, jagged, alt-rock. While there are a lot of stylistic jumps on this new disc, most of it works.

The disc starts out strong with two of the more upbeat tracks “Masterplan” and “Matador”. “Masterplan” starts with minimalist vocals and a low pulsing beat and the song breaks open midway through with horns and keys and a vital sense of urgency. “Matador” also has pulsing percussion but the song has a bigger sound -- it is layered and lush and mixes squalling guitars and jagged alt-rock with dreamy harmonies. From here, Taylor heads down an alt-country/Americana path. “Happenstance” occupies similar territory to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s works and “Idle Mind” perfectly captures lonely, late-night melancholia.

Note: Ignore the YouTube song title - this is a live performance of "Happenstance"

The strong material that starts and ends this disc more than outweighs the few "soft points" in the middle and all of the songs start to grow on you after a few listens.

Maria Taylor

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Middle Class Rut Release New Videos for "Busy Bein' Born" and "Hurricane" (Bob Dylan cover)

Sacramento alt-rock duo Middle Class Rut recently released new videos for "Busy Bein' Born" (from their 2010 debut CD) and "Hurricane" (Bob Dylan cover). The later video is a teaser for the band's new limited edition vinyl EP which has "Hurricane" on the A-Side and "New Low" (live at Maida Vale studios, 2010) and "Dead Set" (live at XFM studios, 2009) on the B-Side.

Middle Class Rut Tour Dates:
Aug 12 -- Idaho Center Amphitheatre Lot, Nampa, ID
Aug 13 -- The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA
Aug 14 -- Washington County Fairgrounds, Hillsboro, OR
Aug 19 -- LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, KS
Sep 04 -- Edmonton Northlands Park, Edmonton, Canada
Sep 09 -- EndFest - Marymoore Park, Redmond, WA

Middle Class Rut

Waters (ex-Port O'Brien) Posts "O Holy Break of Day" as Free Download from Forthcoming CD

DOWNLOAD: Waters - "O Holy Break of Day" (Waters - Out In The Light is out 9/20)

Photo credit: Ashlie and Amber Chavez
Waters (ex-Port O'Brien) Posts 'O Holy Break of Day as Free Download from Forthcoming CDWaters is the new project from ex-Port O'Brien front man Van Pierszalowski.

Following the demise of that band last year, he took a break from making music and ended up living in Oslo, Norway. After some time off, he began writing again, then traveled most of the next year to Alaska, California, and Brooklyn, NY, before returning to Oslo to record the album with a band he put together. These new songs he wrote veered away from the frequently loose, punchy anthems of Port O’Brien, and as he intensively pieced each one together, he sought a bigger sound – something louder than he could play on his own. So Van returned to Oslo, where his new journey had begun. He put together a band of fine Norwegian gentlemen and spent every day of the next two months rehearsing in a small practice space outside of the city.

This band went with Van to Dallas, Texas, to record with producer John Congleton. Over a brief 10-day recording session in April, Congleton – who has worked on some of Van’s favorite albums (by artists including St. Vincent, Bill Callahan, and yes, R. Kelly) – kept the production stark, maintaining the songs’ intimacy and emotional intensity. Out In The Light has a louder, fuller, more aggressive and raw sound than any of Van’s earlier works. It’s a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies.

According to Van, “The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you’re not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over.

* supporting Vetiver
# supporting Mister Heavenly


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Triple Threat of Terror: Others, Creepersin, DieMonsterDie" CD Review (MVD)

Triple Threat of Terror: Others, Creepersin, DieMonsterDie CD Review (MVD)Triple Threat of Terror (MVD Audio) is a fifteen track compilation from three long-running bands from the horror-punk scene. Each band takes five tracks and their music showcases some of the different styles within the genre.

The disc kicks off with Creepersin, which was formed in 2004 and hail from Orange Country, CA. The band has put out a string of singles, EPs and albums with a revolving door lineup where the only constant has been singer/songwriter Creep Creepersin. Creepersin has a 60’s / rockabilly sound that sounds like a cross between Michale Graves and X and horror movie lyrics that are similar to Graves’ Web of Dharma project.

Creepersin is also a successful film director with credits on a large number of indie films (“Blood Lust Romance”, “Meet Me Out in the Sticks” and “OC Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown”) and the web show “MKC: Monster Killers Club” and he bridged these worlds by joining forces with film collaborator Gary Griffith (“Before the Rain”, “Dustflow”) on Creepersin’s most recent disc, 2010’s Creepersin Reanimated. Creepersin and Griffith have continued recording together for another full-length and some upcoming split releases. The split album Creepersin vs. 13 Tombs: Split Psychosis is due out by the end of 2011.

Next up is DieMonsterDie from Salt Lake City, Utah and they have a ‘Type O Negative meets The Dwarves’ sound. DieMonsterDie have been plugging along since an early incarnation of the band formed in 1995 (as Casa Diablo) and they have released six albums to date. Singer Zero Delorean sings tales of blood letting, b-movie horror films and blasphemy in a deep “Pete Steele” style baritone while the band lays down some melodic hooks that combine the power-punk melodies of bands like The Dwarves and Groovie Ghoulies with the 60’s-a-go-go sound of bands like The Cramps.

DieMonsterDie proclaims that they are on a mission to “destroy rock n’ roll” and song titles like “All Covered in Blood and Dressed Like a Whore” and “A Priest and a Zombie Rent a Fishing Boat as Friends” say a lot about where the band’s head is.

The last band up is Binghamptom, NY’s Others. Of the three bands on this compilation, Others have been around the shortest time (2002) but already have put out fifteen independent releases. Others have more of a harder edge than the previously mentioned bands and their music sounds like a cross between early punk and Los Angeles-style death rock (early Christian Death and 45 Grave) so this is some pretty dark and menacing stuff.

Others’ mainman Mark Dickinson is also a film director and the band has won awards for two of their short films, "Under the Sunset" (winner of the 2009 International Haunted Horror Film Fest for best Horror Musical) & "Broken Vessels" (winner of the 2009 International Haunted Horror Film Fest for best music video ). The later is a fairly creepy film about "4 unfortunate souls who decide to check out rumours of strange happenings at a retired military base and the tragic fate that awaits them."


Friday, August 05, 2011

Harley's War - "Hardcore All-Stars" CD/DVD Review (MVD Audio)

Harley's War - 'Hardcore All-Stars' CD/DVD Review (MVD Audio)After the 2001 ‘break-up’ of the Cro-Mags, bassist/vocalist Harley Flanagan wasted no time going out with his solo project Harley’s War. Harley’s War’s first disc, entitled Cro-Mag, came out in 2002 and featured seven new tracks (which included a ‘who’s who’ of NYHC), four demos 1982-1983 (which include early versions of “Do Onto Others” and “Don’t Tread on Me”) and a live track from 1981 from the Stimulators.

In 2009, MVD reissued Cro-Mag as a CD/DVD set entitled Hardcore All-Stars. This reissue adds five additional studio tracks and a complete sixteen-track live show from the final hardcore matinee at CBGB (Oct. '06) but drops the Stimulators live track (which sounded a bit dodgy so no great loss).

Genre labels can be a dangerous thing…A number of reviews have called the Cro-Mags the “first cross-over band” but I always considered them strictly hardcore (and later metal). My definition of “cross-over” is the hip-hop/metal hybrid of bands like Biohazard and Anthrax. Getting back on point, the twelve new studio tracks on Harley’s Hardcore All-Stars CD capture the raw intensity of this hip-hop/metal crossover sound and Harley throws a bit of old-school punk and oi into the mix.

These new tracks features Harley on vocals and bass; ‘Crazy’ Jay Vento and Rocky George are the primary guitarists but Vinnie Stigma and Gabby Abularach (x-Cro Mags) guest on a couple of tracks; Ryan Krieger (x-Cro Mags) is on drums and Harley shares the mic with Micky Fitz (of The Business) on “Spirit of ‘77”. This later track also includes Vinnie Stigma and the band pays tribute to the Ramones with a chorus from “Blitzkrieg Bop”. This portion of the disc ends with the gang vocal sing-along on “NYHC X-mas”, which also features Vinnie Stigma along with Mike Gallo, Jimmy G. and Phil Calvano.

The next four tracks are demos from 1982-3 that feature Harley on all instruments and vocals and these tracks give an early look into the rage and power of the Cro-Mags. One can also hear the common theme of coming from “the streets” in Harley’s music from the early version of “Don’t Tread on Me” and the previously unreleased demo “Dead End Kids” to the newer tracks “Criminal” and “Who Survived”. The disc closes with a 16-track live performance from Oct. 2006 from the “final hardcore matinee” at CBGB (the video portion can be found as a bonus feature on the Cro-Mags “The Final Quarrel” DVD).

Harley’s War (new tracks):
• "Hardcore LAMF"
• "Nightmare"
• "You Don't Know"
• "Hardcore NYHC-OG"
• "Last Days"
• "Criminal for Life"
• "Parasite"
• "Spirit of '77"
• "Urban Screams (C-Squat)"
• "Scarred for Life"
• "Who Survived"
• "NYHC X-Mas"

1982 Demos:
• "Don't Tread on Me"
• "Wake Up (Do Unto Others)"
• "Dead End Kids"
• "Why Don't You"

CBGB, NYC Oct. ‘06:
• "Intro"
• "Signs of the Times"
• "World Peace"
• "Show You No Mercy"
• "Malfunction"
• "Days of Confusion"
• "Street Justice"
• "Survival of the Streets"
• "Don't Tread on Me"
• "Do Unto Others"
• "Last Days"
• "Crush the Demoniac"
• "It's the Limit"
• "Life of My Own"
• "Hard Times"
• "We Gotta Know

The real bonus is the DVD which includes high-quality live footage from CBGB along with an in-depth interview with Harley. The NYC live footage is classic – while Harley’s War featured a rotating line-up, most of the footage is split between a 2002 show where the lineup was Rocky George and "Crazy' Jazy Vento on guitar and Gary Sullivan on drums and the "Last Hardcore Matinee" show which took place in October 2006. Various special guests on some of the other footage include Vinnie Sitgma, Sean Kilkenny, John Joseph, Daryl Jennifer and Jorge Merauder.

The DVD also includes live footage from Germany and Japan, music videos for the songs “Hardcore” and “Who Survived” along with Harley reminiscing in CBGB post-closure (also found on The Final Quarrel DVD).

Live footage from various CBGB shows:
• "Death Camps"
• "Criminal"
• "Who Survived?"
• "Spirit of '77"
• "Urban Screams"
• "Down But Not Out"
• "Sign of the Times"
• "Regulator" (Bad Brains cover)
• "Life of My Own"
• "Can You Feel"
• "World Peace"
• "Malfunction"
• "Steal My Crown"

Remaining tracks Are From the "Last Hardcore Matinee" show:
• "Street Justice"
• "Survival of the Streets"
• "Don't Tread on Me"
• "It's the Limit"
• "Crush the Demoniac"
• "Life of My Own"
• "Hard Times"
• "We Gotta Know"
w/ Will 'Cavman' Dahl, Joe Affe, Walter Ryan and Craig Ahead (on two tracks)

Harley Flanagan

All Pigs Must Die - "God Is War" CD Review (Southern Lord)

Latest tracks by apmd

All Pigs Must Die - 'God Is War' CD Review (Southern Lord)There is something to be said for the sheer b*lls to name your band “All Pigs Must Die” and these guys have the brutal hardcore chops to back up the name. About ten years ago, I tried to pull together a hardcore band and had people interested in playing with me but they backed away after I told them I was planning on naming the band “Satanic Death Piggy” and wanted to work a Bobby BeauSoleil song into the set.

Following in the same vein as some of the crusty, brutal thrash-metal that Southern Lord has been putting out as of late, the label is issuing All Pigs Must Die’s debut full-length, God Is War, on August 16th. This disc is the follow-up to the band’s self-titled 2010 EP (Deathwish). All Pigs Must Die features vocalist Kevin Baker (Hope Conspiracy), former Bloodhorse members Adam Wentworth (guitars, x-The Red Chord) and Matt Woods (bass), and Ben Kollar from Converge on drums. Given that this is a MA-based band that shares a member with Converge, it was probably a given that this disc was recorded with Kurt Ballou at his Godcity Studio.

This new eight-track disc (33 minutes) finds the band spitting enough hate and venom to sound like one of the bands from the early Florida metal scene (Obituary, Deicide) crossed with a Swedish death metal band. At the core though, God is War is primal d-beat style hardcore album. Vocalist Kevin Baker delivers his lyrics which touch on the realities of life in a harsh bark backed by Ben Kollar’s pounding blast beats coupled with buzz-saw guitar tones and crushing grooves from Wentworth and Woods. The band doesn’t stray too much from their core sound but most songs get up in the three – four minute range so the songs have a chance to build their own identities without racing by in a blur of brutality. The band even slows down (slightly) on the eight minute brooding closer “Sadistic Vindicator”.

All Pigs Must Die (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

All Pigs Must Die’s God Is War is coming out in limited edition mail order version on both CD and vinyl (with Florian Bertmer art) through Southern Lord’s webstore. The mail order version of the CD is a 2xCD set which contains the band’s first EP as a bonus disc and the vinyl pressing is on 180 gram clear vinyl and is limited to 500 copies.

All Pigs Must Die have dropped out of the lineup for the Converge show at House of Vans and posted the following to the band's Facebook page: "Brooklyn, due to scheduling errors we will no longer be playing the House of Vans show that was originally announced for Thurs August 25th and is now changed to a day earlier on Weds August 24th. We promise to make it up in the near future. See you soon."

All Pigs Must Die
Southern Lord

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It Prevails - "Stroma" CD Review (Mediaskare) // Show at Party Expo on Aug. 18th

It Prevails - 'Stroma' CD Review (Mediaskare)Portland metalcore band It Prevails just released their third full-length, Stroma (Mediaskare Records), which is their strongest to-date. Continuing with the ‘tradition’ of having lineup shakeups with each new release, this disc marks the return of original drummer Aaron Marsh and early-on rhythm guitarist Nic Toten. The band is currently off on “The Beautiful & Spineless Tour” coast-to-coast tour. which stops at Party Expo in Brooklyn on August 18th. The lineup for the tour includes No Bragging Rights (tour headliners), We Are Defiance, Onward To Olympas and Boys No Good (8/8 – 8/14) & Burning Twilight (9/3 – 9/6).

This new disc, Stroma, is the followup to 2009’s Capture & Embrace and, musically, it continues in the same melodic hardcore vein. The disc starts out with the barreling, high-energy track “Holes” and doesn’t let off the throttle until the disc’s twelve tracks (40 minutes) have run their course. While the band retains the melodic hooks of past releases, this time around, the guitar leads have been de-emphasized in favor of more percussion-heavy, melodic “full band” sound.

Lyrically, the band continues to write about the “struggles, life lessons, negative situations, and mistakes” and principal songwriter / vocalist Ian Fike delivers these predominately uplifting lyrics seamlessly switching between his clean and heavy vocals (the later delivered in a higher pitch than on previous releases). The track “Break Away” showcases the depth and versatility of Fike’s vocals and the track includes guest vocals from Brendan Foley of Betrayal. Adam Jackson from Twelve Tribes also makes a guest appearance on this disc and joins Ficke on the track “Artisan”.

It Prevails obviously sees this disc as a turning point for the band as, in a recent interview with Rock Edition, Ian Fike talked about the album’s title and how Stroma means “the framework, the building base of something. When me and Aaron were putting the skeletons of the songs together — Aaron kept saying this is the framework of our new ideas, this is what we’ve grown into….writing ‘Stroma,’ it was so much fun. We had all these riffs, and it was very natural how it all came together.

“The Beautiful & Spineless" Tour Dates
08/05 Lewisville, TX – Dad’s Venue
08/06 San Antonio, TX – The White Rabbit
08/07 Austin, TX – TBA
08/08 Baton Rouge, LA – Here Today Gone Tomorrow
08/09 Mobile, AL – American Legion Post 88
08/10 Daytona Beach, FL – Stingrays
08/11 Tampa, FL – Transitions Art Gallery
08/12 Jacksonville, FL – The Pit
08/13 Douglasville, GA – The 7 Venue
08/14 Raleigh, NC – The Brewery
08/15 Fredericksburg, VA – The Refuge
08/16 Linthicum, MD – LHUMC
08/17 Lemoyne, PA – The Champ
08/18 Brooklyn, NY – Party Expo
08/19 Albany, NY – Bogie’s
08/20 Manchester, NH – Rocko’s
08/21 Buffalo, NY – Broadway Joe’s
08/22 Pittsburgh, PA – 42nd Street Rock House
08/23 Columbus, OH – TBA
08/24 Mt. Clemens, MI – The Hayloft
08/25 Toledo, OH – Frankies
08/26 Steger, IL – Another Hall In The Wall
08/27 St. Louis, MO – Fubar
08/28 Omaha, NE – The Commons
08/29 Wichita, KS – The Eagles Lodge
08/30 Tulsa, OK – Reverb
08/31 Denver, CO – TBA
09/01 Ogden, UT – Mojo’s
09/02 Boise, ID – The Grange Hall
09/03 Spokane, WA – The A Club
09/04 Pullman, WA – The Bell Tower
09/05 Portland, OR – TBA
09/06 Klamath Falls, OR – Yesterday’s Plaza
09/07 Rocklin, CA – Studio 21
09/08 Stockton, CA – Plea For Peace
09/09 Bakersfield, CA – The Dome
09/10 Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
09/11 Tempe, AZ – The Fixx

It Prevails

Totimoshi: Desert Death Rock Band Plays St. Vitus on August 20th // Ltd. Edition Split 7" with The Melvins Available at Show

Totimoshi: Desert Death Rock Band Plays St. Vitus on August 20th // Ltd. Edition Split 7California trio, Totimoshi, will kick off their long-awaited North American tour tomorrow in Scottsdale, Arizona. The band will spread its unique brand of heavy desert death rock across nearly 30 cities, before winding down on September 3, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.

The band will be touring in support of their soon-to-be-unleashed Avenger full-length, set to drop on August 16, 2011 via At A Loss Recordings. Avenger was produced by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Shrinebuilder, Tool), mastered by John Golden (Melvins, Mike Watt, OM) and includes appearances by Dale Crover (Altamont, The Melvins, Shrinebuilder), Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Shrinebuilder).

Additionally, Totimoshi will be selling copies of their new, very limited split 7" with the Melvins (released through Volcom) throughout the tour. Commented guitarist/vocalist Antonio Aguilar: "Totimoshi is honored to be sharing a 7" with one of our favorite bands in the world, the Melvins. There will only be 1000 pressed and 200 available through us, so you better get out to the venues!"

Totimoshi U.S. Tour 2011:
8/04/2011 Chaser's - Scottsdale, AZ w/ Greenhaven
8/05/2011 The Due Return - Santa Fe, NM
8/06/2011 3 Kings Tavern - Denver, CO w/ Ume, Self Service
8/07/2011 Duffy’s - Lincoln, NE
8/08/2011 Off Minor - Dubuque, IA
8/09/2011 Garibalid’s - Milwaukee, WI w/ Sleestak, Like Like The Death Deaths
8/10/2011 The Frequency - Madison, WI
8/11/2011 Ultra Lounge - Chicago, IL
8/12/2011 Mac’s Bar - Lansing, MI
8/13/2011 Stone Tavern - Kent, OH w/ Rebreather, The Unclean
8/14/2011 Hard Luck - Toronto, ON
8/15/2011 TBA - Montreal, QC
8/17/2011 O’Brien’s - Cambridge, MA
8/19/2011 TBA - Providence, RI
8/20/2011 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY (Advance tickets are $10)
8/21/2011 Golden West - Baltimore, MD
8/22/2011 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
8/23/2011 The Casbah - Durham, NC
8/26/2011 Milestone - Charlotte, NC w / Music Hates You
8/27/2011 The Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA w/ Zoroaster
8/28/2011 Hi Tone Café - Memphis, TN
8/29/2011 Siberia - New Orleans, LA
8/30/2011 The Mink - Houston, TX
8/31/2011 Scoot Inn - Austin, TX w/ Vaz, Pygmie Shrews
9/01/2011 Korova Basement - San Antonio, TX
9/03/2011 Vaudeville - Tucson, AZ


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A.A. Bondy Premiers "The Heart Is Willing" from Forthcoming Disc "Believers" // Headlining Show at Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 22nd

AA Bondy - The Heart Is Willing by fatpossum

(photo: Ted Newsome)
A.A. Bondy Premiers 'The Heart Is Willing' from Forthcoming Disc 'Believers' // Headlining Show at Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 22ndA.A. Bondy premiered the first song, "The Heart Is Willing," off his upcoming third album Believers earlier this week on NPR Music's All Songs Considered blog. Believers will be released September 13th, 2011 via Fat Possum and a pre-order is now live on the label's website (click on the photo above to go to the pre-order site).

Bondy has also announced an extensive month-long US headlining tour in November, launching on the 1st at the Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City, UT, and wrapping up at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY, on the 22nd. He's already confirmed to play a handful of West Coast shows in late September and early October. A full itinerary is below and more dates will be announced soon.

Believers offers ten new songs by Bondy, "conjured during and between dreams, in bare rooms, and on the late night streets of America." The album was recorded in spring 2011 by Rob Schnapf at Mant/Kingsize Studios in Glassell Park, California, with help from musicians including Ben Lester (drums, piano, pedal steel) and Macey Taylor (bass). Believers is the follow-up to Bondy's 2009 album When The Devil's Loose, which was praised by American Songwriter, Filter, NPR, Nylon, Relix, SPIN, Time Out New York, and V Magazine, among many others. American Hearts, his debut, was released in 2008.

A.A. Bondy Tour Dates:

There is no opening act (currently) listed for A.A. Bondy's show at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets are $15 the Bowery Ballroom's site lists doors at 8PM and the show at 9PM.

A.A. Bondy

The Residents - "Dolor Generar" CD Review (Ralph)

Before shuttering Ralph Records last year, The Residents’ final limited-edition release was Dollar General, which contained the music the played over the PA before and after shows on the Talking Light tour. This sixteen track / 48 minute disc follows in the same vein as Ten Little Piggies and The Ughs! and is a collection of experimental instrumental tracks. The first half of the disc predominately focuses around some creative percussion work and the various Eskimo-style clangings and bangings are coupled with jazz-flavored, polyrhythmic instrumentation which makes some of these tracks sound like King Crimson gone industrial. Intermixed across the disc, The Residents pull out some dark-hued atmospheric/cinematic numbers but never completely step away from the disc’s percussive core.

This latest release from the band, Dolor Generar - Una Noche Lost en Van Horn Texas, is a reissue of Dollar General, but this release includes two additional songs which brings the total running time up to 57 minutes. This new disc is available as a CD-R through Amazon/Ralph Records and is described as “[a]n abstract instrumental album of strange beauty, Dolor Generar is the soundtrack for an unusual night in Texas. Used as pre-show music for the Residents' TALKING LIGHT touring show, this album set the mood for the bizarre stories of ghosts and the missing Carlos.

It is hard to write an in-depth review of an ambient album (Eno's Ambient series kept coming to mind when listening to this disc) as the overall album is about tones, textures and moods rather than individual songs. Like the aforementioned Eno series, this disc is pleasant listening experience, and there are a couple tracks that are somewhat distinctive but there isn't enough substance to keep most of the individual tracks memorable once the disc is done. Fans of the band probably have both versions of this disc already but other discs (like Meet the Residents or Eskimo) are probably more interesting places to start for novices.

Dolor Generar Track List:
1. Black Scars
2. Burning Madrone
3. Mary Achi
4. Memory of Transgression
5. Rats Fight for Water
6. Restrained in the Ward
7. Carlos Buys a Round
8. Dollhouse
9. Last Rites for Bilibago
10. Blow Row
11. The Red Powder
12. Shoeless Thorn Game
13. Temple of the Dragan
14. War Zone
15. Hassled by Mamasan
16. Drunk Again in Van Horn Texas
17. Oil Jobber
18. Una Noche Lost

The Residents