Friday, August 30, 2013

The Smashing Pumpkins to Release 'Oceania: Live in NYC' (filmed at Barclays Center in Dec. '12) on Sept. 24th

The Smashing Pumpkins to Release 'Oceania: Live in NYC' (filmed at Barclay's Center in Dec. '12) on Sept. 24th
Last year for Halloween, The Smashing Pumpkins were set to perform in New York at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, but due to the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the show had to be rescheduled to Monday, December 10. The band’s powerful performance was captured for an audio-visual experience titled "Oceania: Live in NYC" and due out September 24 via Universal Music Enterprises. The package will be available in four formats: a standard Amaray DVD, a 3D Blu-ray DVD, a Deluxe 2CD+DVD set and digital long form. The DVD and Blu-ray components both feature the full show, along with interviews with Sean Evans, the lighting director and stage producer, plus a photo gallery, both with 5.1 and stereo audio.

1. Standard Amaray DVD – OCEANIA: LIVE IN NYC – full show and bonus interviews

2. Standard 3D Blu-ray – OCEANIA: 3D IN NYC – 3D & 2D on one disc, with 24- bit/96kHz audiophile audio

3. Deluxe 2CD+DVD – OCEANIA: LIVE IN NYC – DVD plus 2xCDs of all tracks in the show

4. Digital Long Form - OCEANIA: LIVE IN NYC - Full content available for digital download

At Barclays Center, the Pumpkins--singer/guitarist Billy Corgan, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, drummer Mike Byrne and bassist Nicole Fiorentino--performed their acclaimed Oceania CD in full, followed by classics and deep cuts from their body of work for the second half of the show (the set list is below). The Pumpkins were backed by visuals prepared by Evans, whose most recent project was assisting Roger Waters on the newest staging of “The Wall.” The OCEANIA: LIVE IN NYC package, with a running time of just over two hours, is directed by Milton Lage and was produced by Rock Fuel's Barry Summers.

The set list captured on OCEANIA: LIVE IN NYC is:

1. Quasar (5:05)
2. Panopticon (4:09)
3. The Celestials (3:50)
4. Violet Rays (4:34)
5. My Love Is Winter (3:37)
6. One Diamond, One Heart (3:54)
7. Pinwheels (5:52)
8. Oceania (10:09)
9. Pale Horse (4:35)
10. The Chimera (4:39)
11. Glissandra (4:31)
12. Inkless (3:03)

1. Wildflower (5:06)
2. Space Oddity (7:38)
3. X.Y.U (10:23)
4. Disarm (3:31)
5. Tonite Reprise (1:27)
6. Tonight, Tonight (4:21)
7. Bullet with Butterfly Wings (5:02)
8. The Dream Machine (7:01)
9. Hummer (7:13)

1. Ava Adore (5:11)
2. Cherub Rock (4:43)
3. Zero (6:01)

Bootleg Video from the Barclays Center show:

Smashing Pumpkins

Bel Argosy - "Let's Hear It for Bel Argosy" Cassette EP Review (Power Punk)

"Bel Argosy rehearses in the attic of the rectory of an Episcopal church in Harlem, and has therefore never had to directly fend-off of a mid-rehearsal vampire attack." - from the band's bio

Bel Argosy - 'Lets Hear It for Bel Argosy' Cassette EP Review (Power Punk)
For anyone not familiar with Bel Argosy, the band has the grit, energy and authenticity that band’s like The Replacements and the Meat Puppets had on their early releases (...which is sorely missed on these later bands’ most recent discs).

Brooklyn four-piece Bel Argosy released their debut 7", “The Wreck of the Bel Argosy”, just about a year ago and I had described the band’s sound as “melodic garage-rock influenced power-punk that seems to draw from bands like the Ramones and Marbles.” A few months back, the band released a 6-song cassette, “Let’s Hear It for Bel Argosy”, which follows in the same musical vein as their debut but, this time out, I’d also add in comparisons to the Meat Puppets and The Pagans.

The disc starts with "Yer Door" which is a garage punk/Ramones-style number (about a girl – natch) with a great bass line. The next track, "Belle Below Dagger", is a roots-rock number with a sing-along chorus that could have easily come out of the Meat Puppets’ back catalog. "Late to Give Up" goes back to the garage rock of the disc’s opener but adds some wild guitar lines beneath the song’s wall of fuzz. "Cloisterfuck" and “Imago” are power-pop numbers that fall somewhere between The Plimsouls and The Fleshtones but with a good bit more edge. Lastly, “The Lie” is a “bash it out” old-school punk number that has the ‘bite’ of The Pagans.

"Let's Hear It for Bel Argosy" is available as a free download or on a vintage matte cassette which features original artwork by Gabrielle Ferrer. This cassette is available for $5 from Jigsaw Records.

I wanted to include a video with this post but, unfortunately, Bel Argosy doesn't seem to play live that much so there aren't a lot of videos on the 'net. This song - "Elevators" - isn't on the new EP but it is a pretty good representation of the band's sound.

Bel Argosy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tim Kasher (Cursive) Posts 'Truly Freaking Out' from Forthcoming Sophomore CD / Show at The Bell House on Nov. 6th

DOWNLOAD: Tim Kasher - "Truly Freaking Out" (from Adult Film - out Oct. 8th on Saddle Creek)

Tim Kasher (Cursive) Posts 'Truly Freaking Out' from Forthcoming Sophomore CD / Show at The Bell House on Nov. 6th
Tim Kasher, frontman for Cursive and The Good Life, premiered "Truly Freaking Out," the first single released off his upcoming sophomore solo LP Adult Film, today and the raucous, barreling track is available as a free MP3 download. Adult Film will be released on October 8th, 2013 via Saddle Creek and is currently available for pre-order in multiple formats in the label's webstore, as is a 7-inch of "Truly Freaking Out" (featuring non-album track B-side "King of the Hill of Beans"). The song can also be purchased as a standalone digital single, and all pre-order options can be found here:

Kasher's fall headlining tour will get underway with a hometown show at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE on October 5th and wind the singer and his band throughout the US and into Canada over six weeks. The run includes shows in Los Angeles and Brooklyn on October 18th at The Echo and November 6th at The Bell House, respectively, as well as a performance at The Fest 12 in Gainesville, FL on October 31st. A full itinerary is below.

Whereas his debut solo LP The Game Of Monogamy was an orchestral album filled with theatrical arrangements, Adult Film favors less ornate, equally impactful instrumentation across its 10 affecting tracks. The album is filled with variations of Kasher's signature blend of ruminative rock/pop, ranging from raucous and barreling ("American Lit," "Truly Freaking Out") to uneasy and undulating ("Where's Your Heart Lie," the dreamy "Lay Down Your Weapons"), from deceptively bright and poppy ("The Willing Cuckold," "A Raincloud is a Raincloud") to tempered and cascading ("You Scare Me To Death," "A Lullaby, sort of"). Lyrically, Kasher is at his incisive best, thematically elastic and touching on aging (self-reflection and taking stock), mortality (one's own and others'), and relationships of all kinds.

Kasher is joined on Adult Film by Sara Bertuldo (bass, vocals), Patrick Newbery (organ, keys, synths, horns), and Dylan Ryan (drums) - who backed him while touring around The Game Of Monogamy - as well as additional artists including Nate Kinsella (drums; of Make Believe and Birthmark) and Laura Stevenson (vocals), among others. The album was mixed by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Wye Oak, Explosions In The Sky) at Elmwood Recording in Dallas, TX.

Tim Kasher Tour Dates
















OCT. 26 - AUSTIN, TX - RED 7




















* all dates with Laura Stevenson


Tim Kasher

The Chameleons - 'Dreams in Celluloid' CD Review (Blue Apple Music)

The Chameleons - 'Dreams in Celluloid' CD Review (Blue Apple Music)
Ten years after Manchester’s The Chameleons broke up for the second time, a posthumous disc, Dreams in Celluloid, has been released in the UK. This disc is a bit of an odd release as I can’t quite figure out the audience it is targeting.

Disc one of this 2CD set is comprised of thirteen demos and early recording, many of which pre-date The Chameleons’ 1983 debut disc, Script of the Bridge. Before any Chameleons’ fans get too excited – the “bad news” is that these tracks are a compilation of tracks from two previously releases, The Fan and the Bellows (1986) and Dali's Picture (1993). The Fan and the Bellows contains four tracks from a 1981 session with Steve Lillywhite, five tracks from 1981 which are probably demos (as the liner notes state these tracks were produced by the band) along with a non-lp b-side (“Prisoners of the Sun”) and a 7” edit of “Nostalgia”. As the disc was reissued a few times, it isn’t that hard to find and is available from for $22 (used) or from for £15.00 new.

Dali’s Picture originally came out on Mark Burgess’ Imaginary label and is a bit harder to find (though it seems to be around if you are willing to pay $30+ for a used copy). The Chameleons’ website describes this ten track disc as: “Dali's Picture is the original demo album the band cut and sent out to various labels. "Dreams In Celluloid" is an early version of "Second Skin". Most of the material is lyrically different than later versions..” Sadly, the disc doesn’t come with any liner notes on the session date(s) or the band members at that time. There is some overlap though between the 1981 session tracks produced by the band on The Fan and the Bellows and the tracks on Dali’s Picture so it seems safe to assume that all of Dali’s Picture came from these 1981 demos sessions.

Below is a breakdown of how the tracks on Dreams in Celluloid map to Dali’s Picture and The Fan and the Bellows.

01. The Fan and the Bellows – recorded in 1981 with Steve Lillywhite
02. Dali's Picture - originally on Dali's Picture
03. Every Day I'm Crucified – recorded in 1981 (self-produced - demo?)
04. Looking Inwardly - originally on Dali's Picture
05. Nostalgia – recorded in 1981 with Steve Lillywhite
06. Turn to the Vices – recorded in 1981 (self-produced - demo?)
07. Love Is – recorded in 1981 (self-produced - demo?)
08. Nathan's Phase – recorded in 1981 (self-produced - demo?)
09. Dreams in Celluloid – originally on Dali's Picture
10. Things I Wish I'd Said – originally on Dali's Picture
11. Less Than Human – recorded in 1981 with Steve Lillywhite
12. In Shreds – recorded in 1981 with Steve Lillywhite
13. Prisoners of the Sun – b-side of 1983’s "Up the Down Escalator" 7”

The “Tony Fletcher Walks on Water” EP used to be the ‘holy grail’ for Chameleons fans but it too has gotten relatively easy to come by. The four tracks on this disc are from the band’s 1987 session for their forth studio album and the sound and lyrical outlook follow in the same vein as 1986’s Strange Times. This EP was originally released in 1990 on Burgess’ Glass Pyramid label but the release was ultimately blocked by guitarist Dave Fielding. This EP later re-surfaced as a bonus disc on the commonly available greatest hits compilation Return of the Roughnecks (1999) which is available from for £7.50.

Given Burgess’ comment in an interview with [sic] Magazine about working again with Dave Fielding: “What stops the two of us from working together is Dave Fielding. I have no idea why.” – Dreams in Celluloid may be as good as it gets in terms of any ‘new’ material from The Chameleons.

Getting back to where I started this review – I’m having trouble figuring out the audience that this disc is targeted to. Die-hard Chameleons’ fans will already have all these tracks and those that don’t will likely be frustrated with the number of tracks from Dali’s Picture and The Fan and the Bellows that weren’t included on this release. Casual fans are generally not that interested in demos and session takes and may be better served picking up the “Tony Fletcher” EP as part of the Return of the Roughnecks set.

The Chameleons

The Mystic Underground : Electro-Pop Duo Play EP Release Show at Grand Victory Tonight, Aug. 27th

”We write pop songs for the disenchanted, disillusioned and disenfranchised. they are songs for the broken-hearted and desperate. songs that celebrate life, love, death and everything in between.” -- The Mystic Underground

Mystic Underground : Electro-Pop Duo Play EP Release Show at Grand Victory Tomorrow Night (Set Time 10PM)
Electro-pop duo The Mystic Underground released their third EP, "Gender Rules", on Aug. 20th and are playing a CD release show at Grand Victory later  tonight.  Cover is $8 and doors are at 7:30PM.  Also on the bill is The Deep Pink, The Dossier and Daniel Kasshu (front man from Dialogue From A Silent Film).

Consisting of four tracks, this "Gender Rules" EP addresses various gender issues in our society today. With Benedetto Socci on synthesizers and Vladimir Valette on vocals, this EP displays the duo’s signature intelligent lyrics and driving dance rhythms, drawing comparisons to iconic bands Erasure and Depeche Mode.

From the very first day that Socci and Valette were introduced through a mutual friend in 2003, the pair were writing songs together non-stop. After Socci produces the musical foundation on synthesizer, Valette adds the lyrics and overarching melodies like icing on a cake. Says Valette, “We pride ourselves on being songwriters in the classic sense where the paramount objective is to write songs that are accessible, danceable and most importantly, memorable.

Valette also likes to write “clever lyrics that explore all aspects of the human condition with a twist of melancholy and a dash of unadulterated wit.” With most of their songs around the theme of gender politics, their single “Fanfare for the Modern Man” makes the statement about how “gender rules are passed but they're never made to last”.

Socci and Valette attribute their musical tastes to a variety of influences, including David Bowie, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, Prince, Joy Division, and Massive Attack. While performing throughout NYC over the past 5 years at popular music venues such as Mercury Lounge, The Grand Victory, and Public Assembly, Socci and Valette focus on really engaging their audiences by putting on an exciting, hi-energy performance.

The Mystic Underground

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hostage Calm Release Pay-What-You-Want Digital Compilation / Show at MHOW in Brooklyn on 9-26 with Saves The Day and Into It. Over It.

Hostage Calm Release Pay-What-You-Want Digital Compilation / Plays MHOW in Brooklyn on 9-26 with Saves The Day and  Into It. Over It.
Hostage Calm have announced the release of Tonight, They Won't Take Me Alive, a digital collection that charts a course through the band's storied career. Featuring various live and acoustic performances, the compilation also includes all of the group's non-album tracks and some highlights from each of their three critically acclaimed LPs and debut Demo 7”. Tonight, They Won't Take Me Alive is more than an outline from a varied back-catalog, it's the manifestation of Hostage Calm's 6-year narrative of challenging the status quo at each junction they cross.

The band is offering the collection for 'Pay What You Want' download on their band camp page, with all proceeds are going towards helping to pay for their new tour van ( "Whether this release serves as an introduction to the band or a chance to explore new and different material, we hope you enjoy listening to the music as much as we have enjoyed creating and living it." - Tom Chiari, guitar

Tonight, They Won't Take Me Alive Tracklist:
1. Brokenheartland (Live @ Audiotree)
2. The 'M' Word (Nervous Energies Session feat. Jon Simmons of Balance and Composure)
3. Olly Olly Oxen Free (from Split 7" w/Anti-Flag, 2013)
4. Don't Die On Me Now (Live @ Warped Tour, 2012)
5. Affidavit (Acoustic, Alternativ News Session Live in Paris, 2011)
6. The 'M' Word (Mixed Signals Compilation, 2011) from Please Remain Calm (2012)
7. Woke Up Next To A Body
8. Patriot from Hostage Calm (2010)
9. War On A Feeling
10. Young Professionals
11. Donna Lee (from War On A Feeling 7" Single, 2011)
from Lens (2008)

12. Interchangeable Parts
13. Gaslighting
from Demo (2007)
14. Grayscale
15. One Face

Hostage Calm Tour Dates:

Hostage Calm only
08/29 Keyser, WV @ Clancy's

w/Into It. Over It.

08/30 Indianapolis, IN @ Hoosier Dome

08/31 Kalamazoo, MI @ Audiotree Music Festival (early set)

08/31 Toledo, OH @ Frankie's *Citizen Record Release* (No IIOI)

09/03 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress

w/Saves The Day, Into It. Over It.

09/04 Pomona, CA @ Glass House

09/05 San Francisco, CA @ Slim's

09/06 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater (Music Fest Northwest)

09/07 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore

09/08 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

09/10 Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound

09/11 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre

09/12 Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre

09/13 Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights

09/14 Iowa City, IA @ Blue Moose

09/15 Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest

09/17 Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick

09/18 Columbus, OH @ Skully's

09/19 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar

09/20 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop

09/21 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon

09/22 Toronto, ON @ The Hoxton

09/24 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

09/26 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
*Show Sold-Out

09/27 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

09/28 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

09/29 Washington, DC @ Black Cat

09/30 Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle

10/02 Jacksonville, FL @ Roc Bar

10/03 St. Petersburg, FL @ The State Theatre

10/04 Orlando, FL @ The Social

10/05 Atlanta, GA @ The Loft

10/06 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In

10/08 Austin, TX @ The Belmont

10/09 Dallas, TX @ Trees

10/11 Scottsdale, AZ @ Martini Ranch

10/12 West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour

10/13 San Diego, CA @ The Irenic

Hostage Calm

Golden Suits (Fred Nicolaus) - Self-TItled CD Review (Yep Rec Records)

Golden Suits (Fred Nicolaus) - Self-TItled CD Review (Yep Rec Records)
Golden Suits is the “nom de rock” of Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Fred Nicolaus, who is best known for being one-half of the band Department of Eagles (along with Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen). Department of Eagles’ last disc, In Ear Park (2008), was awarded ‘Best New Music by Pitchfork and made The New York Times’ year-end top ten lists but Nicolaus seems to have kept a low profile over the last few years. Earlier this year, he announced his first solo disc, under the name Golden Suits, which comes out today on Yep Roc Records. The music on Golden Suits’ self-titled debut is thinking man’s indie-rock (with just slight hints of cinematic chamber-pop) as the disc’s ten songs combines multi-layered instrumentation with lyrics that touch on nostalgia, skewed references to a John Cheever book about suburban marriage in the 1950s, personal confessions and sentimentality.

This new disc was written and recorded over the last two years and Nicolaus plays almost all the instruments himself. The songs on Golden Suits were the outgrowth of a strange year that saw Nicolaus get chased out of an apartment by a rat infestation, go through a painful breakup, travel to Germany to learn about his grandfather’s death in WWII, go broke, and lose forty pounds. Throughout that chaotic time, he became obsessed with a book of short stories by the fiction writer John Cheever, and started writing songs that blended his own experiences with fragments from the book. Cheever’s short story, “The Country Husband”, which is where the reference to ‘golden suits’ comes from, ‘reveals suburbia's darker side -- the side which traps its residents in a web of conformity’ (from A similar outlook on the fallacies of the ‘American dream’ is found in Nicolaus’ lyrics but this darkness is almost completely buried beneath the even-keeled precision of the disc’s shimmering pop.

The disc starts on a strong note with the catchy “Swimming in 99”, which is an swirling, upbeat number with driving percussion, handclaps and twisting guitar lines. Some of the other notable numbers on the disc include “Restaurant Song”, which is a mournful piano ballad, and “Find A Way”, which is a “John Lennonish” pop song with some great melodies and hooks. The disc goes out with “Dearly Beloved”, which is memorable for its orchestral instrumentation, angular guitar lines, cinematic backing vocals and accompanying female harmonies on the song’s chorus (presumably sung by Becca Kauffman and Felicia Douglass from Ava Luna). Other guests on the record include Chris Bear and Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear; Fraser McCulloch from Milagres (who engineered the album); Kris Nolte and Ian Davis from Mason Jar Music (who arranged strings); and Daniel Rossen (who sang harmonies and was an all-around supportive spirit).

Golden Suits is more than just a studio project as they are playing a show in London on August 28th at The Slaughtered Lamb (…I’m trying very hard not to make “An American Werewolf in London” joke).

Golden Suits

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Herzog (Cleveland Slacker Rock) Plays Shea Stadium on August 22nd Along with Clarence, Pup, and Soda Bomb

DOWNLOAD: Herzog - "Fuck This Year" (from Cartoon Violence)

Herzog (Cleveland Slacker Rock) Plays Shea Stadium on August 22nd Along with Clarence, Pup, and Soda Bomb
Herzog has spent the last few months camped out at Kevin McMahon’s Marcata Recording in New Paltz (The Walkmen, Widowspeak, etc), working on their follow up LP to 2012's Cartoon Violence (Exit Stencil) and are now venturing out to play some shows.

Herzog's last disc, Cartoon Violence, earned the band positive reviews from the likes of NME, Pitchfork, and NPR’s All Songs Considered as this disc found the band expounding and improving upon the aesthetic and themes that deservedly earned them comparisons to iconic bands in the pantheon of ‘90’s “slacker-rock.” NME said: "This isn’t bullshit slacker rock. It’s the real fucking McCoy".

On the band's Cartoon Violence disc, the songs continue to explore the fringes of many genres ranging from 1970s FM radio Americana balladeering ("Dreaming Man II"), McCartney-esque pop stylings ("Feedback"), and straightforward power-pop ("Alexander the Great"). The melodies remain soaring and elegant, the arrangements beautifully complex and catchy, and the instrumentation ideally and intelligently complimenting the lyrics of each song. But don’t be mistaken---the loving nods to the 90’s are still present with songs like “You Clean Up Nice,” which is reminiscent of Jawbreaker at their poppiest but infused with a more flippant attitude towards the weight of the world. "The Ballad of Rich People" conjures up images of Keep it like a Secret-era Built to Spill, with its wild guitar-work---both slide and solo.

Herzog is playing Shea Stadium in Brooklyn on August 22nd, along with Clarence (form. Savages), PUP, & Soda Bomb. Cover is $8 and doors are at 8PM.


Analog Birds - 'No-Knock' CD EP Review (Brooklyn Psych-Pop)

Analog Birds - 'No-Knock' CD EP Review (Brooklyn Psych-Pop)
Earlier this year, Analog Birds, a three piece psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn, released their first new music since 2007’s Music Concrete. As the “psychedelic rock” tag could be applied to everything from early Pink Floyd to The Dwarves, to give a bit more of a description - Analog Bird sounds like a bunch of multi-instrumentalist Berklee types, with Beach Boys-like harmonies, tripping on acid. The band’s brand of psych-pop is full of twists and turns which take repeated listens to reveal the multiple layers and subtle complexities of each of their songs.

“No-Knock” is the debut single from the forthcoming 2013 Analog Birds album The First One Follows. This three track EP contains “No-Knock (single mix)”, “Infidel$$$” (from Music Concrete) and “No-Knock (Master Breacher Mix)”. “No-Knock (single mix)” is a brilliantly twisted, eclectic psych-pop number with soaring guitar lines and a shuffling beat that is complemented by an organic sound and multi-part (including falsetto) vocal harmonies. Almost completely switching gears, “Infidel$$$” starts with a minimalist, electronica sound before kicking into a lo-fi pop gem which adds horns, handclaps and more. “No-Knock (Master Breacher Mix)” sounds nothing like the (similarly named) first track. This last track is a 90 second, instrumental romp through 70’s bass-funk before finishing up with a formal chamber outro.

There are a number of free download from both Analog Birds and its member’s solo projects posted on the band’s website (link below).

Analog Birds

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Slim Wray (Brooklyn Garage Rock Duo) Play Thursday Night Residency During August at Trash Bar

Slim Wray (Brooklyn Garage Rock Duo) Play Thursday Night Residency During August at Trash Bar
I've been listening to garage rock duo Slim Wray's forthcoming debut CD, Sack Lunch (out Nov. 2nd), and am wildly impressed. While it is easy to compare every garage rock duo to The White Stripes, what I've heard of the new disc so far sounds like the bombast of bands like Gas Huffer and Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion crossed with fuzzed-out guitar hooks of bands like The Sonics and Flat Duo Jets.

Slim Wray is playing a series of Thursday night residencies at Trash Bar in Williamsburg during the month of August. Shows are August 15, 22nd and 29th and cover is $7 (which includes the well/PBR open bar 8PM happy hour). This Thursday (Aug. 15th), Slim Wray is playing at 9PM and other bands on the bill are The Outros (Midnight), No Small Children (11PM), Black Bear Tribe (10PM) and Isaac and Michael (8PM).

Slim Wray is a party of two that isn’t afraid to get dirty. A brotherhood based on an extensive history together in the New York City music scene, Chris Moran (drums/backing vocals) and Ryan Houser, aka “Howzr” (vocals/ guitar) have not only developed a tight musical chemistry, but have fine-tuned the art of bombastic, irreverent rock 'n roll. Running on thunderous drums and gritty, fuzz-fueled guitar riffs, Brooklyn’s Slim Wray welcomes their single “Bear” off their forthcoming album Sack Lunch. The single attacks with a rousing introduction and swiftly transforms into a plain good time, featuring slamming guitar chords, growling vocals, and infectious “woo hoo’s!”

Slim Wray

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bugs in the Dark Play All-Ages Show on Thursday (8/15) at Aputumpu's party at Muchmore's in Williamsburg

Bugs in the Dark Play All-Ages Show on Thursday (8/15) at  Aputumpu's party at Muchmore's in Williamsburg
I can't believe that Bugs in the Dark haven't yet broken big...the band has more-than-enough musical chops, hooks and loads of indie-punk credibility. I'm obviously not the only one who thinks this as New York Music Daily called one of the songs on the band's last disc as: "the bastard child of Siouxsie Sioux, peak-era Throwing Muses and late-period Sleater-Kinney."

Bugs in the Dark are headlining an all-ages show at Muchmore's in Williamsburg this Thursday night, August 15th. Tickets are $5 and Invisible Days (9PM set time) and Veda Rays (10PM set time) are also on the bill. Death and Taxes magazine called the Veda Rays "" once ghostly and western, lacquered in melancholy".

Muchmore's is located at 2 Havemeyer Street (between N 8th and N 9th).

Bugs in the Dark

The Rolling Stones - 'Hyde Park Live' CD Review (iTunes Only Release)

The Rolling Stones - 'Hyde Park Live' CD Review (iTunes Only Release)
Earlier this month, The Rolling Stones released Hyde Park Live as an exclusive digital download through iTunes. This release also marks the first time that I’ve seen a ‘limited edition’ digital-only release as this download is available for four weeks only (which would mean that this is the last week to pick this up). This 19-track, almost two hour show, is compiled from the final dates on the Stones’ 50 and Counting Tour and was recorded at Hyde Park, London on July 6 and 13, 2013.

I think the key question regarding this release is whether the world needs yet another live release from The Rolling Stones (this is the band’s 17th live release). The answer to this depends on your perspective on the Stones. I was reading an AllMusic review of a quasi-bootleg by the band Death and the reviewer’s comments sums up my view of the Stones new release: “[S]ome hardcore collectors are so obsessive that they want to hear anything and everything that the artist ever did. There are the Rolling Stones' fans who will happily pay $65 or more for a three-CD bootleg of the band rehearsing, there are No Doubt fans who are thrilled to have 25 or 30 live performances of "Don't Speak" in their collections“.

The challenge with this release is that the set list doesn’t differ substantially from what the Stones have been playing for more than a decade. With tickets for the two Hyde Park shows ranging from £100 to £300, it isn’t surprising that, aside for the new cut “Doom and Gloom”, the Stones take no risks and the setlist doesn’t venture any more current than “Start Me Up” from 1981’s Tattoo You. This is a greatest hits set for aging boomers with discretionary cash.

There was a time (many years ago) when bands like The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith were ‘dangerous’ and this was music that your parents were afraid, the Stones and Aerosmith are your parent’s music. Bill Wyman summed it up best in a quote he gave last year to Mirror: “I don’t hear the Stones the same way now as when I was in the band, because in those days, it was all sort of dangerous and loose. Now, it’s like a machine.

Mick, Keef and the band perform like a well-oiled machine and they even trot Mick Taylor out for an extended version of “Midnight Rambler” and the encore “Satisfaction”. I think my biggest complaint is that the grit that made the Stones great in the 70’s is gone. All of the songs are slightly slower in tempos and, looking specifically at a couple of the songs, there is no menace to “Street Fighting Man” and the ‘mysticism’ is missing from “Paint it Black”. This isn’t to say this is a bad show – Jagger is the ultimate showman and does a great job of revving up the enthusiastic crowd with comments like “How many of you were here in 1969?” (Note: the 1969 Hyde Park show was Mick Taylor’s debut with the Stones). Keith’s riffs sound great and he, thankfully, hasn’t lost his grit on songs like “Before They Make Me Run” and “We Got the Silver”. Long-time backing vocalist Lisa Fisher is also a standout (though I would have liked to have heard her contributions higher in the mix). As side note, Fisher recently co-starred in the brilliant documentary “20 Feet from Stardom “ which Jagger references during the show with the comment “Come on out from 20 feet from what’s it”. The problem/challenge with this being a “good show” and not a great one is there is no reason to buy/play the show versus any of the Stones’ other live albums. Outside of this set containing the first officially released live version of “Doom and Gloom”, there is just nothing that stands out as a “must have”. On the other hand, if you are a collector, why not have another live version of “Satisfaction”?

In closing, I’m a bit cynical about the ‘limited’ nature of this release... there already are physical promos floating around on eBay and the Stones haven’t yet released a physical live album from this tour (as they seem to have done after every other tour). It seems likely that it will be a short period of time before this show ends up as either a mass-produced European/Asian bootleg or folded into a ‘deluxe box set’.

Rolling Stones

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Elephant Stone Play Mercury Lounge Tonight / The Horrors' Remix of "A Silent Moment" Posted As A Free Download

(Note: Track is a free download from Elephant Stone's website - link is below)

Elephant Stone Play Mercury Lounge Tonight / The Horrors' Remix of 'A Silent Moment' Posted As A Free Download
Yesterday, Elephant Stone commemorated the launch of their Eastern US tour by releasing The Horrors' Tom Furse Remix of "A Silent Moment". The transcontinental collaboration was born of a chance meeting at Coachella that quickly developed into Elephant Stone's Rishi Dhir and Furse's frequent work on one another's projects.

Recently, Elephant Stone premiered the third video from their self-titled sophomore record, "Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin" which was followed quickly by Dhir's appearance with Beck at Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, before the band began their US tour earlier this week in Burlington, VT and continue to support the powerful self-titled sophomore record, released earlier this year via Hidden Pony and The Reverberation Appreciation Society.

Tonight's show is an early show with doors at 6:30PM and Elephant Stone is going on first (at 6:30PM, according to Mercury Lounge's website). Also on the bill are jangle-rockers Desert Noises (set time at 7:30PM) and psych-rocker Morning Teleportation (8:30PM set time). Tickets are $10.

08 August - Burlington VT - Signal Kitchen
09 August - Philadelphia PA - Kung Fu Necktie
10 August - New York NY - The Mercury Lounge
11 August - Washington DC - Black Cat Backstage
13 August - Asheville NC - Broadways
14 August - Nashville TN - High Watt
15 August - Louisville KY - RYE on Market
16 August - Chicago IL - Beat Kitchen
17 August - Detroit MI - The Pike Room at the Crofoot

Elephant Stone

Michale Graves - 'The Lost Skeleton Returns' CD Review (x-Misfits)

Michale Graves - 'The Lost Skeleton Returns' CD Review (x-Misfits)
Michale Graves’ newest disc, The Lost Skeleton Return, was released last month and this is the second disc that Graves funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. This new disc is also Graves’ second release this year as he released the “rock/folk/pop” disc, Vagabond, in late February. I found Vagabond to be a mixed bag, as much of Graves’ recent output has been, but The Lost Skeleton Returns is a nice return to the sound of The Misfits, Gotham Road and Graves’ early solo work.

The Lost Skeleton Returns is being billed as Graves’ “first anthology Monster Rock CD” and the disc contains new recordings of seven Misfits songs and three songs from Punk Rock is Dead (Graves’ last disc before going off to the Marine Corps) along with 6 brand new songs. A video for “Lost Skeleton” was included as a Kickstarter reward for certain pledge levels and the video was described as a “mini movie spectacle...shot in old school black and white...[with] a ‘low budget’ look and feel”. Videos have also been posted for "Zombie" and “Night of the Living Dead”, both of which feature horror hostess Skel-pira.

The Lost Skeleton Returns Track List
· Lost Skeleton (new)
· American Psycho (originally recorded for The Misfits’ American Psycho)
· Forbidden Planet (new - featuring Chris Motionless, from Motionless in White)
· Dig up Her Bones (originally recorded for The Misfits’ American Psycho)
· Dawn of The Dead (originally recorded for Michale Graves’ Punk Rock is Dead)
· Scream (originally recorded for The Misfits’ Famous Monsters)
· Crying on Saturday Night (originally recorded for The Misfits’ Famous Monsters)
· Die Monster Die (originally recorded for The Misfits’ Famous Monsters)
· Fiend Without A Face (originally recorded for The Misfits’ Cuts from the Crypt)
· Godzilla (originally recorded for Michale Graves’ Punk Rock is Dead)
· Fiend Club (originally recorded for The Misfits’ Famous Monsters)
· Earth Vs. Spider (originally recorded for Michale Graves’ Punk Rock is Dead)
· Zombie (new )
· Night of the Living Dead (new)
· Last Man on Earth (new)
· Something Wicked (new)

Graves’ new cuts are all stylistically similar to his work with The Misfits – all of the songs have big hooks, anthemic, sing-along chorus and Graves’ distinctive vocals are a centerpiece. While the songs on The Misfits’ discs with Graves are credited to all members, it seems pretty obvious that Graves had a major role in the songwriting. As a (sad) point of comparison, Jerry Only butchers a handful of songs from this disc on The Misfits’ Dead Alive! disc so one can quickly hear how much Michale’s vocals are an integral part of these songs.

Michale has been playing a few one-off shows over the last few months but has posted to Facebook that “the lost skeleton returns on October!”. At a show earlier this year, Michale’s touring band was Johnny B. Morbid on bass, Tony “Bones” Baptist on drums and Emilio Menze on guitar.

Michale Graves

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Cold Blood Club - Live Photos / Review from 7-23-13 Show at Bowery Ballroom / Next Show at Mercury Lounge on August 29th

Cold Blood Club - Live Photos / Review from 7-23-13 Show at Bowery Ballroom / Next Show at Mercury Lounge on August 29th
It has been a little while since I’ve been to a show and been wowed by a band as, most of the time, the band will deliver a perfunctory and enjoyable set but there is no “wow” factor. I’ve seen too many bands over the years that can’t keep the energy levels high for the whole show, overstay their welcome by playing too long a set and/or (god forbid) attempt an acoustic / ‘unplugged’ mini-set in the middle of the show.

Brooklyn seven-piece band Cold Blood Club had that “wow” factor during their nine song set at Bowery Ballroom last month, where they were opening for Future Bible Heroes. Over the past year, I’ve heard great things about Cold Blood Club’s live set and it says a lot that, while the band was playing an opening/early slot, the main floor at Bowery Ballroom filled up quickly. (I still remember one show where the out of town opening band played to three people in the audience). It was riveting to watch the seamless interplay between three vocalists - founder/guitarist Tom Stuart and vocalists Brad Peterson and Kendra Jones. The high intensity of the band’s set left Stuart a shirtless, sweaty mess by the end of the night.

Cold Blood Club plays high-energy dance rock and, while the band get compared to acts like New Order (don’t hear it – Cold Blood Club has more of an organic sound) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (maybe?), I thought they were more comparable to the B-52’s (without the camp) or Apes and Androids (without the Freddie Mercury meets Ziggy Stardust fetishes). It is with good reason that Deli Magazine called the band “almost too catchy for their own good”.

Cold Blood Club has a full-length disc coming out later this year entitled Tear Down the Maps, which was produced by produced by Charles Newman (Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes). The band premiered the first song/video from this forthcoming disc, "Goodbye to All That", last month and this song also served as the closing number to the band’s set at Bowery Ballroom.

Cold Blood Club is playing a late show at Mercury Lounge on August 29th along with garage rockers Blue & Gold. Cold Blood Club goes on at 9:30PM and Blue & Gold take the stage at 10:30PM. Doors are at 9:30PM and tickets are $10.

Cold Blood Club

Monday, August 05, 2013

Whitesnake Skips NYC Area on Current US Tour / 'Made in Japan' CD Review

Whitesnake Skips NYC Area on Current US Tour / 'Made in Japan' CD Review
Whitesnake tours the US and skips NYC. Well, what else is new? It seems like too many bands are skipping the City these days…

I’ve got the latest (6th) Whitesnake live album, Made in Britain/World Record, in my review queue but, before getting into this disc, thought I’d back up and finally review the band’s previous live album. Whitesnake released Made in Japan (wonder where David thought of that title?) earlier this spring and Disc One of this 2CD set was recorded on October 15, 2011 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan during the Loud Park Festival. The second disc contains eight tracks which were recorded during sound checks on the band’s Japanese tour.

The 12-song/74 minute main show is exactly what you would expect from a live Whitesnake album. The band’s set list goes back as far as 1984’s Slide It In and most of the tracks are pulled from the band's self-titled 1987 album, their 2008’s ‘comeback’ disc Good to be Bad and the band’s then current disc, Fovermore. Coverdale sounds in good form as the more recent material doesn’t require the vocal histrionics of his early days. Of course, Coverdale is backed by a pair of guitar heroes and this role is an obligatory part of every Whitesnake lineup.  The lineups gels well as current guitarists Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich have the longest tenure of any of Whitesnake’s guitar slingers. The rhythm section of Brian Tichy (drums) and Michael Devin (bass) I can take or leave as I don’t think anyone can compete with the 80’s rhythm section of Neil Murray, Rudy Sarzo, Cozy Powell and Tommy Aldridge (who is now back in the band).

The set list starts out strong with Good to be Bad’s “Best Years” and then the band pulls the audience deep into the fold by playing cuts from Slide It In, 1987’s self-titled album and Slip of the Tongue before moving over to the new material from Forevermore. As to be expected at a Whitesnake show in Japan, there are plenty of audience sing-along moments on the classic songs from the 80’s. The songs from Forevermore are split up by a wild guitar duel between Beach and Aldrich and a overtly long drum solo from Brian Tichy (who appears to have seen Keith Emerson’s California Jam performance too many times). The band ends the show with a trio of hits – “Fool For Your Loving”, “Here I Go Again” and a 10+ minute version of “Still of the Night”.

The 8 song / 42 minute bonus disc is a real gem as it shows a loose and relaxed ‘snake playing a mix of electric and acoustic tracks which includes some tracks that weren’t part of the main concert. The electric versions of ”Love Will Set You Free” and “Steal Your Heart Away” almost sound better than the versions on the main concert, primarily because the guitars sound cleaner and there is more separation in sound between the two guitars. “Lay Down Your Love” and “Evil Ways” are both great hard rockers that easily could have been part of the main set and the four acoustic numbers show that the ‘snake is due for a follow-up to Starkers in Tokyo. In addition to solid playing, there is also a lot of amusing banter between the band members (which includes a few dirty words) as they work the live version of these songs. All-in-all, this is a great set so I’m now very curious how Made in Britain/World Record compares.

Whitesnake – US Tour Dates
06 August 2013 Tucson, AZ @ AVA Amphitheatre
07 August 2013 Scottsdale, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort
09 August 2013 San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
10 August 2013 Roseburg, OR @ Douglas County Fair
12 August 2013 Aberdeen, WA @ D and R Theater
14 August 2013 Coquitlam, BC @ Red Robinson Theater
15 August 2013 Snoqualmie, WA @ Snoqualmie Casino
17 August 2013 Wendover, NV @ Peppermill Casino
18 August 2013 Jackpot, NV @ Cactus Petes
21 August 2013 Lancaster, CA @ Antelope Valley Fair
23 August 2013 Kennewick, WA@ Benton-Franklin County Fair