Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon: Buzz Aldrin Was at a Special Screening Today in Union Square

Buzz Aldrin Attended a Special Screening of Fly Me to the Moon @ Regal Union SquareI don't think anyone seriously expects to meet people who have been in every history book so it was really cool to see legendary astronaut and the pilot of the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin this afternoon. Buzz was attended a special showing of the movie Fly Me to the Moon at the Regal Cinema in Union Square.

Fly Me to the Moon is a 3-D kids movie that tells the story of three pre-teen flies who live across from Cape Canaveral in 1969 and ultimately accompany the Apollo 11 astronauts into space. Here is part of an interview from The Digital Filmmaker with nWave CEO Ben Stassen that gives some of the details behind the movie:

Ben Stassen: "While I strongly believe that 3D Cinema is about to become a major component of the out-of-home entertainment market, I don’t think every story lends itself to being shot in 3D. So when we decided to make the move from the specialty film to feature film we searched for a story that could actually be enhanced by the 3D. The search took almost 2 years. When I read Domonic Paris’ script “Fly Me To The Moon”, I knew it was perfect for us in terms of both content and form. Most CG features released to-date are quite stylized. I wanted to create a film with cartoon looking characters evolving in an environment that looks real. “Fly Me To The Moon” is the story of three teenage flies hitching a ride on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. It took a monkey to get man into space, but it is going to take three flies to get them back. The environment we are creating is photo realistic, while our character are very stylized flies. Having flies, as are main characters is fantastic when it comes to 3D, and space was the ideal setting. When making a 3D film, I don’t want to use the screen as a window, but rather as a space. Most 3D film released to-date use the screen as a window. The filmmaker creates perspective behind the window and throws things at the audience thorough the window. When you eliminate the window effect (by shooting with parallel camera instead of converging cameras), you create a 3D space and you can actually transport the audience into that space. This is a major distinction in the way you position the viewer. Having flies as main characters enables me to explore this approach in ways I was never able to before. The characters have much less direct interaction with their environment. They fly around a lot, so does the camera. By doing so, I hope the audience will forget there is even a frame around the picture. I want the viewers to be part of the scene. Hopefully the audience will perceive this as a Space Odyssey of the Third Kind."

Buzz Aldrin at Fly Me to the Moon Screening @ Regal Union Square
Fly Me to the Moon is the first film to be shot in 3-D for showing in 3-D so this is bound to look great when it hits the IMAX. The public release of the film is August 15th. Below is the trailer for the film.

Fly Me to the Moon Official Website

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Motley Crue - Saints of Los Angeles CD Review

Motley Cue - Saints of Los Angeles CDMotley Crue set the bar high with their releases in the 80's and, based on their legacy, this CD is good -- not great.

There was a lot of hoopla around this release as it was the first in 11 years with all of the original band members. The problem is that, while there are moments of past brilliance, the band just doesn't sound hungry. This may have something to do with this being the first release where three external songwriters (James Michael. DJ Ashba and Marti Frederiksen) are credited as co-writing all of the songs.

I generally don't focus a lot on lyrics but Vince's singing is pretty clear on this release and, unfortunately, the lyrics are pretty dumb. The overall concept behind this release is that it is loosely based on the Crue's autobiography "The Dirt". The problem is that it is totally unconvincing to hear multi-millionaire, reality TV stars sing about how hard it was to make it in LA 25+ years ago. While this was the band's reality in the early 80's; it is now 2008 and this sounds like a half-hearted attempt to recreate (or relive) the past.

I don't mean to sound as harsh as I probably do -- I was hoping for a few classic tunes on this release like "Kickstart My Heart", "Live Wire" or "Piece of Your Action". What I got was a few pretty good tunes like "Down at the Whisky", "Saints of Los Angeles" and "This Ain't a Love Song". While these aren't bad - they just don't have the staying power of classic Crue. Staying on the positive, Tommy Lee's drumming pushes these songs past anything on the New Tattoo CD and Mick Mars' guitar work continues to be superb. Better songwriting would have made this a great album.

While I am being somewhat harsh in this review, I'm probably giving the Crue more than their due just because of their legacy. You have to wonder if the band recognizes that this release is fairly light-weight as they are only playing a couple songs from the new CD on the current tour. "Saints of Los Angeles" and "Mutherfucker of the Year" seem to be the only two songs from this release that are consistently in the current set.

The 'problem' with having a legacy like the Crue is that you have both old and new competitors. Say what you will about there being two versions of L.A. Guns but neither band has lost their edge. There are also new bands like Asphalt Valentine who are looking to grab the ring.

I expected better from Motley Crue...but this could have been worse.

Kings of Leon Release Advance Track from Their Forthcoming CD as Free Download

Kings of Leon Release 'Crawl' as Free DownloadSouthern rockers, Kings of Leon, are back with their fourth CD, Only by the Night, which is scheduled for release on September 23rd. The band's Wikipedia entry cites a recent Rolling Stone interview where frontman Caleb Followil discusses how his pain medication inspired him to write some of the "most beautiful" songs for this release.

The band has posted a advance track, "Crawl", as a free download which will be available for the next week.

The band has been playing "Crawl" as part of their live set for the past few months and here is a live performance of the song recorded in Belgium.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kids Movies: Thomas the Tank Engine: The Great Discovery

Thomas & Friends: The Great DiscoveryIt is summer and I have to get the 4-year old out of the house. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince him to see Lou Reed - Berlin so we spent a Saturday afternoon at the Pavilion Park Slope Theatre.

You have to love the marketing behind this - this is a straight-to-DVD production that is scheduled for release in the Fall but it is being pushed out for a limited run in the theatre. The movie is only shown one time each weekend so you know this will pack in the young kids with their parents in tow. I'm sure this 'limited release' is excellent product positioning as the kids can now recognize and bug their parents for the DVD the second it is released. The movie also introduces a new train, Stanley, which is already in the stores so let the merchandising and marketing hype begin. (Maybe the Thomas the Tank Engine folks hired Kiss' marketing people - you have to admire the product positioning)

It is hard to review a kids movie as these types of movies aren't designed for anyone over 5 - 6 years old. I'll do the best that I can though...

This movie "introduced" Pierce Brosnan as the new Thomas the Tank Engine narrator. With the past narration done by Ringo Starr and George Carlin, Brosnan's milquetoast delivery comes across more like Stuart Larkin (from Mad TV) than Bond and it just doesn't compare to George Carlin or Ringo . The story line was typical Thomas the Tank Engine fare (no better, no worse). If your kids like any of the series, they are bound to like this movie. I wasn't completely bored (or asleep through the whole move) and I was somewhat amused by the closing outro-song which was a rap version of the Thomas the Tank Engine theme.

Now for the downside...there was what seemed like 30 minutes of previews and cartoons prior to the Thomas movie. There was one cartoon about superheroes who are sushi was moments like these that made Thomas look brilliantly acted Shakespeare. There were also a good number of screaming babies in the theatre. You have to wonder why anyone would take a baby to a movie theatre. If the kid is still in the eat/poop/cry stage and can't sit for more than 15 minutes, what do you think is going to happen in a crowded theatre? To finish my tirade, there was absolutely no leg room in the theatre. Most kids movies are hard enough to get through but it is 10x worse when your knees in your face and there are screaming babies beside you.

Getting back on point - I guess what really matters though is that my four-year old loved the movie and wants to see it again with his friends. I'm not going back so I have already told him that I'll buy him the DVD (Score: Thomas the Tank Engine Marketing Team-1/Mike-0)

The Walkmen Release Digital Advance of You & Me to Benefit Cancer Research

The Walkmen Release Digital Advance of You & Me to Benefit Cancer ResearchThe Walkmen have released an advance of their new disc You & Me as an exclusive digital download on with all proceeds going to charity.

The new disc will be available exclusively through AmieStreet for the next three weeks as a $5.00 download and “[a]ll donations go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a friend to the band and a current patient who is seven months old and doing a great job fighting a very difficult disease. This is a very good organization that certainly deserves the attention.” Here is the link to purchase You & Me

The Walkmen are kicking off an August/September tour with two dates at the Bowery Ballroom on August 18 & 19th.

Jah-C (from The Project) Releases Advance Track from Upcoming EP

Jah-C Releases Advance Track from 'Soul Banger' EPJah-C, from The Project, released an advance track from his forthcoming Soul Banger EP, "Soul Banger Remix", as a free download. This track features Baje One (MC from Junk Science), Scott Thorough, MC-K-Swift, Stimulus and Cavalier.

This is a cool old-school track but what's even cooler is that all the proceeds from the release are going to the non-profit UrbanWord NYC. UrbanWord "provides free and uncensored writing and performance opportunities to youth in all five boroughs of New York City. Our workshops are designed to develop critical thinking skills, leadership, and to ignite a personal commitment to growth and learning which leads to heightened in-school performance, and a greater interest in pursuing higher education."

Jah-C's Soul Banger EP will be released on Coalmine Records.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Husker Du Release Live EP From 1982 - Release Party at Grumpy's (MN) Tomorrow Night

Husker Du Announce Live EP from 1982This is well outside of the NYC area but pretty cool nonetheless. More Husker Du material is alway welcome...

Grumpy's is Tom Hazelmyer's (Halo of Flies) bar in Minneapolis, MN and here is what is going on tomorrow night:

As a memorial to his lost friend "JC" Grant Hart & co. have released a way limited HUSKER DU CD E.P. on Reflex records containing 3 live songs circa 82-83. So we're throwing a shindig i.e. record release party hosted by Grant. Come on down, as Rick Fuller has thrown together some choice tibits of archival Husker Du footage that we'll be screening as well. Obviously there'll be some of the E.P.'s there for sale, as well as a small number of the limited run fliers for the event designed and numbered by Mr. Hart himself. 10pm at Grumpy's City Club.

I thought Reflex Records was long-defunct so I have been trying to find some info. on how to mail order this new EP. I haven't found any details but a best guess is that this will be available through The Garage D'or Recording Company (who have announced the release of Husker Du demos from 1979 later this year).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kray (from Iller Than Theirs) Releases Ltd. Edition 7"/Tracks Available as Free MP3s

Kray (from Iller Than Theirs) Releases New SingleKray, from the group Iller Than Theirs, just released two new tracks as a limited edition 7". Kray has also posted digital (MP3) versions of tracks as a free download. (Click on the 7" cover to download the two tracks)

This is great stuff that follows in the spirit of Iller Than Theirs' "After All". Kray's delivery is fairly mellow (sort of like Redman, who gets name checked on 'The Blackout') and he delivers thoughtful lyrics on top of some solid beats (powered by Doc. Strange).

Even though the tracks are free, BUY THE 7". It is only $5.00 (and available through Kray's MySpace page - link below). Kray and Tone have the talent to break-out...don't make them give away the music for free. Like everyone else, I'm sure Kray has bills to pay. It is certainly not cheap to live, record and tour in NYC...please support the local music scene.

Kray's MySpace Page
Iller Than Theirs' MySpace Page

Friday, July 25, 2008

DJ Mike Rizzo: NYC Press Interview with BrooklynRocks 7-14-08

Super-Producer, Remixer & DJ Mike Rizzo is back. After taking a two-year hiatus to spend some time with family (and new son), Mike is now back on the scene with a vengeance.

Mike has been keeping busy this year as he has formed a new record label, NY2London, and he has been working with a number of big name artists which include Lindsay Lothan, Britney Spears and Usher. He also has a mix show which airs Friday nights on NYC's 87.7 Pulse Radio. Mike is going to be touring and spinning in the clubs as well so check out his website (links below) for updates.

Mike Rizzo's MySpace Profile
Mike Rizzo's Website

Paul Westerberg Releases New MP3/Online-Only CD, "49:00", for .49 Cents

Paul Westerberg (x-Replacements) Releases Online-Only CD for .49 CentsPaul Westerberg released his latest solo CD "49:00" on Monday as a one-track 49 minutes download, which is available on for .49 cents. (Click on the CD cover to go directly to the product page on Amazon.) The song is a 224kbps MP3 file that contains approximately 20 songs that have been looped together into a single track.

To make the experience complete, front and back cover art is available on Paul's site as a free download. I haven't had a chance to listen to this release so here is a portion of Allan Raible's review (On the Record Blog/ABC News):

"Westerberg is able to prove that he hasn’t mellowed and he can still be sonically unruly. It’s well worth the price. Any fan of the Replacements or Westerberg’s edgier solo material (like let’s say his Grandpaboy alter-ego) should find something to enjoy here. It all sounds as if it was recorded in his basement, and I have to say, there is something refreshing about someone like Westerberg still jamming out like a kid in his parents’ garage. Too many of his contemporaries have mellowed and honed their productions into blandness. This record is anything but bland and uninteresting. "

Thursday, July 24, 2008

London Souls - Highline Ballroom, NYC 7-11-08

Update: The show at the Mercury Lounge has been moved to August 14th and the band will be playing with the always fabulous Second Dan.

The London Souls have been around the scene for a while but I hadn't caught their live show prior to seeing them open for Kirsten Price at the Highline Ballroom. Even though the band is fairly young, they have a raw blues-rock sound that dates back to the late 60's sounds of Cream, Jimi Hendrix and the MC5.

The band is currently unsigned (though that won't last for long) and will be releasing their debut CD later this year. The band has just one track streaming on their MySpace page and they also have a (different) track on the recently released Green Owl Records charity compilation.

Here are some pictures from the band's set at the Highline Ballroom

...and here is a live video from one of the band's SxSw performances.

The band has a couple shows coming up:
August 9 @ Mercury Lounge w/Francis and the Lights (Tickets are $10)
August 14th @ Mercury Lounge w/Second Dan (Tickets are $10)
August 29 @ RocksOff Cruise on The Temptress w/Fishbone (Tickets are $25)

Les Breastfeeders: Live @ Club Europa, Brooklyn, NYC 7-20-08

Here are the first two songs from Les Breastfeeders live set at Club Europa last Sunday night. The band's live set made a believer out of me and I'm looking forward to seeing the band come back through the town in 2009.

Les Breastfeeders MySpace Profile
Les Breastfeeders Website

Les Breastfeeders: Live @ Europa, Brooklyn, NY 7-20-08 + Interview

Montreal's Les Breastfeeders finished up their US tour last Sunday night with a show at Club Europa. The band has been on the road for about two years, touring behind their second release,Les Matins de Grands Soirs, and they are going back into the studio to record new material later this year.

The band is a lot of fun live and they were kind enough to let me film some of their set. I also had the chance to catch up with Sunny (Lead guitar) and Pat (Drums) before the show for a brief interview on a Greenpoint street corner.

I'm going to try to get a follow-up video of the some songs from the band's live set posted tonight. Unfortunately, those in the US will likely have to wait until 2009 to catch the band live but Les Breastfeeders are playing some shows around Quebec this month and next.

Les Breastfeeders MySpace Profile
Les Breastfeeders Website

Monday, July 21, 2008

Are Video Games the Future of the Music Industry?

Every year there seems to be another gloom-and-doom article on the decline of the record industry (below is a snippet from an '07 WSJ article).

"In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music."
If the CD is dead and iTunes has trained consumers to buy single tracks rather than full-length CDs, maybe Rock Band and Guitar Hero are on to something.

There seemed to be a bit of shock a week or so ago that Guns N' Roses was releasing a new track ("Shackler's Revenge") via Rock Band 2. I'm not too shocked as I was reading a recent Ad Age article that stated that all but one of the bands that have songs on Guitar Hero III saw a 100 - 300% increase in sales of that track. One of the cited example was that Alice Cooper's "School's Out" sold 12,000 copies in a one week period last December which the article says was a 453% increase. I guess it is unlikely that the full length School's Out CD sells anywhere near that number of copies.

As an old Alice Cooper fan, the question becomes "What becomes of the other 8 tracks on this disc? Does a great album fade away into one hit single?"

Over the past few years, I've met a number of musicians who have licensed new music to "Grey's Anatomy", "CSI", etc. If Guns N' Roses start a trend and Guitar Hero and Rock Band become the next vehicle to release new music, CDs might end up being nothing more than a compilation of previously released singles (though licensing issues will probably prevent this from happening).

It looks like a crazy time to be in the music industry...

Postscript: If 62 of the 63 bands on the Guitar Hero III game saw a 100+% increase in sales of their single, anyone want to guess which band sucks and will never get invited onto another video game? (The article didn't include the answer so all I can do is guess as well)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kirsten Price - Backstage Interview + Live Footage from CD Release Show @ Highline Ballroom

Kirsten Price had a CD release party for her debut CD, Guts & Garbage, last Friday night at the Highline Ballroom. I had a chance to catch up with Kirsten before the show and we talked about the new CD, the upcoming tour and some of her recent blog posts (Kirsten's blog is on her MySpace page - link below. Check out the post 'Kirsten With Her Knickers Down')

Kirsten's next shows in the area are:
AUG 7 2008 @ JOE’S PUB, NEW YORK, NEW YORK (Don't snooze on tickets - this one will sell out)

Kirsten Price's MySpace Profile

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Karen Rockower (guitar/vox from Bugs in the Dark) Plays Solo Show at Trash Bar

Karen Rockower Plays Solo Show at Trash Bar in Williamsburg on July 23rdKaren Rockower is playing a solo set next Wednesday (July 23rd) at Trash Bar in Brooklyn. Karen has been debuting new material at her recent solo shows and Wednesday's show will be the premier of the song "Dog".

Cover is $6 and Quiet Loudly and Werewolves are also on the bill.

The Trash Bar
Karen Rockower's Website
Bugs in the Dark's Website

The Pack A.D. - Video Interview & Live Footage from Piano's, July 16, 2008

I had the chance to catch up with Becky and Maya from The Pack A.D. before their set last night at Piano's. We talked about the new CD (Funeral Mixtape), comparisons to the White Stripes, the current tour and life on the road.

The Pack put on a phenomenal show and this is one of those shows that people are going to regret having missed a year from now. For anyone not familiar with The Pack A.D.'s sound, here is a review of their first release that posted: "Becky and Maya somehow managed to write a debut record that was full of gritty hybrid blues, but still had the chops to sing soulful ballads that bled with emotion. It usually takes years for a blues outfit to perfect those types of sounds, not a single release."

It doesn't sound like the band will be back through NYC until 2009 so, for the meantime, pick up a copy of Funeral Mixtape, which will be released August 12th on Mint Records.

Becky Black
The Pack A.D. - Piano's, NYC July 16, 2008

Maya Miller
The Pack A.D. - Piano's, NYC July 16, 2008

The Pack A.D.
The Pack A.D. - Piano's, NYC July 16, 2008

The Pack A.D.'s MySpace profile
Mint Records

Doctors and Dealers Made Their US Debut Yesterday/Show Tonight @ Club NME, Annex

Stockholm's Doctors & Dealers made their NYC debut last night at an early show at Piano's. NYC is a tough town in which to play an early set in as it was just myself, Music Snobbery and Jolie from Punkcast in the audience for most of the band's set. The small audience didn't seem to deter the band and they played an enthusiastic set.

Doctors & Dealers is the brainchild of vocalist/songwriter Sparrow and the band plays indie twee-pop that falls somewhere between Moe Tucker's solo work and The Brunettes. The current CD is entitled Confessions of a Drunken Mind and it is available from

Here is the video that Jolie filmed last night of the band performing "He Went Down".

The band plays Club NME @ The Annex tonight along with The Indelicates and Man on Earth. Doors are at 9PM and admission is $10.

Links:'s coverage of the show
Doctors & Dealers' MySpace profile

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trees - Lights Bane CD Review (Crucial Blast)

Trees - Lights Bane CD ReviewLights Bane is the debut release from Portland's Trees. Trees play extreme doom metal and an immediate point of comparison is Khanate. There are only two songs on Lights Bane, "Nothing" and "Black", but both songs clock in at over 10 minutes each.

It is great to see a band step up and take over where Khanate left off. Like Khanate, Trees music doesn't utilize a traditional song structure. Waves of feedback, guitar and electronic noise are combined with vocalist L. Smith's tortured shrieking and murmuring to create a tension and a musical texture that is both disturbing and engaging.

This style of funeral doom/drone isn't for everyone but fans of the genre should find Trees' debut engaging.

Trees' MySpace profile

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Pack A.D. Play Piano's on Wednesday, July 16th/New Album Drops August 12th

The Pack A.D. Are Playing Piano's on July 16thCanadian blues/garage-rockers The Pack A.D. are in town on Wednesday, July 16th for a show at Piano's.

The Pack A.D. have a new disc, Funeral Mixtape, due out on August 12th on Mint Records. Here is an advance track, "Making Gestures", from this upcoming release.

I have been watching some of the band's live performances on YouTube (recent performance footage below) and, while they are often compared to the White Stripes, I think their garage-punk sound is closer in spirit and sound to Jon Spencer Blue Explosion.

Check out this live clip of "Moonshine"

Tickets are $8.00 and The Pack A.D. go on at 8PM (EARLY SHOW).

The Pack A.D.'s MySpace Profile

Thursday Night All-Stars - Sidewalk Cafe, NYC 7/10/08 + CD Review

The Thursday Night All-Stars have been playing around town for about a year and the band just released its first EP, Ayatollah Fancy and the Thursday Night All-Stars. The band combines middle-eastern flavored jazz/world music with humor, political commentary and satire that ends up in an amalgamation that is part Frank Zappa and part Sic F*ucks.

The band's new 5-song EP serves as a good indoctrination into "Doctrine of the Thursday Night All-Star". All of the tracks prominently feature the electric Persian Tar (played by front man Piruz Partow) which is accompanied by drums, saxophone, keyboards, electric guitar, bass guitar and an upright bass. It is a very Zappa-ish mix of instruments and sounds. Lyrically, the band ranges from a mix of serious subjects (condemnation of middle-eastern and home-grown suicide bombers on "Mahmoud" and the lack of relevance of the current educational system on "I Hate Homework") to a tongue-in-cheek 70's-style love ballad (on "Being With You"). "Jihad Jam" and "Zionist Breakdown" are both instrumental jams that showcase the band's musical abilities.

The Thursday Night All-Stars' next show is at the Knitting Factory on (Thursday) July 24th.

Thursday Night All-Stars MySpace Profile

Dantesco - Pagano CD Review

Dantesco - Pagano CD ReviewDantesco's second CD, Pagano, is another recent release on Italy's Cruz Del Sur record label. I've been wrestling with how to write this review as, after repeated listens to this disc, I'm still not sure what to think about Dantesco.

Nothing about this disc is easy to categorize. The music is almost power metal but it is played at a slightly slower place than most of the bands in the genre today. Vocalist Enrico La Bestia shows that he has a wide vocal range but spends the majority of the disc singing in an operatic tenor. I generally don't give a lot of focus to the lyrics on most metal discs but the vocals are mixed prominently on this disc and 10 of the 11 songs are sung in Spanish. Unfortunately, the clash of all these styles is distracting more than anything and it is tough to get engaged with this disc.

There is some pretty good music on this disc but I just can't get my head around "operatic metal". Songs like "I Came From Hell" (the one song with English language vocals) show the potential of the band so I won't give up on them yet. The band has posted a new demo "Burnt" to their MySpace page (link below) which follows in the spirit of "I Came From Hell" so it looks like the band is moving in a more accessible direction.

For anyone curious about Pagano, give a listen to the track "La Ultima Visita De Grendel" which is posted to Dantesco's MySpace page. This track will give you a good feel for how the rest of the disc sounds.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

BattleroaR - To Death and Beyond... CD Review

BattleroaR - To Death and Beyond CD ReviewWith the release of their third full-length disc, To Death and Beyond, BattleroaR have moved over Italian metal label Cruz Del Sur Music. The band seems to have benefited from the move as this is their strongest release to date in terms of both songwriting and production.

To Death and Beyond is firmly rooted in the sound of 80's classic power-metal. Helloween, Iron Maiden, Manowar are some of points of comparison that come immediately to mind. Like many of their contemporaries, BattleroaR's lyrics focus on fantasy and sword-and-sorcery themes. The music is big, epic metal that incorporates orchestral parts, violins and acoustic guitars in addition to soaring guitars and crashing drums. All of the music is complemented by Marco Concoreggi's clean vocals. Check out the track "Oceans of Pain" which is streaming on the BattleroaR's MySpace page and this will give you a good feel for what the rest of this disc sounds like.

This disc clocks in at 60 minutes and most of the tracks are 5 minutes or longer. There is enough variation in the band's songs and song structures that this disc kept me engaged through a couple of listens. While the band doesn't break any new ground, this release is well put together and will find favor with fans of the power-metal genre.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Replacements - Let It Be (2008 Reissue) CD Review

The Replacements - Let It Be (2008 Reissue) CD ReviewAs I noted with my earlier Bad Religion reissue review, the first question everyone asks when a reissue comes out is "Do I really need to buy this again?". I think that an implied second question is "Can I sell (or do without) my old copy?"

The quick answer is that this reissue will probably not replace a previous owned version of Let It Be and the bonus tracks don't provide enough value to justify buying this release a second time.

I've been trying to look at this release by what it is rather than what it could have been, but that has been hard. Rhino did such a fabulous job with the Elvis Costello reissues that I was expecting the same treatment with The Replacements set. At minimum, I would have expected all the unused tracks (below) from the Let It Be sessions would have been included on this disc.

Who's Gonna Take Us Alive
Temptation Eyes
Street Girl (version one)
Street Girl (version two)
Gary's Got a Boner (alternate version)
Perfectly Lethal
You Look Like an Adult

WIth this reissue clocking in at 55 minutes, it seems kind of strange that only two of these outtakes were included. In addition to the missing outtakes, there is so much good live material from this tour that a second disc could have been easily justified. (If anyone from Twintone is reading this - I suggest another reissue that includes ALL of the Let It Be outtakes along with the Feb '84 show from the Pop Shop, Cleveland.) that I covered what isn't there, let's take a look at what is:
- 20th Century Boy (b-side of 'I Will Dare' 12")
- Perfectly Lethal (LIB Sessions)
- Temptation Eyes (LIB Sessions)
- Answering Machine (home demo)
- Heartbeat - It's a Lovebeat (Grass Roots cover)
- Sixteen Blue (alternate version)

I would assume that most 'mats fans have "20th Century Boy" so there is about 17 minutes of new material added to this disc. The sparse bonus material makes it hard to justify owning two copies of this release. Additionally, there are some reviews posted to Amazon that say that some of the core tracks have been edited from the original release. I don't have my turntable currently set up so I can't personally comment but I'm going to keep both Twintone vinyl for the time being. (I'm also going to be keeping my "Let It Be Sessions" bootleg).

Hopefully the other Replacements reissues have more promise.

Kirsten Price is Playing the Highline Ballroom on Friday, July 11th

Kirsten Price's CD Release Party is at Highline Ballroom on July 11thAfter catching Kirsten Price's show last year at Crash Mansion, I was certain that she would be quickly moving up to playing bigger rooms. Kirsten went on to sell out Joe's Pub, open for Sly & the Family Stone's comeback shows at B.B. King's and she was handpicked to open for Wyclef Jean.

This Friday, Kirsten is headlining the Highline Ballroom. This show is the release party for Kirsten's debut CD Guts & Garbage which was just released on July 1st. (The disc is available on Amazon, iTunes, etc.)

Kirsten's music isn't that easy to classify with a single label so the closest label that I can come up with is "blued-eyed soul". This isn't the typical pop-charts type music though as Kirsten's music has a raw sexuality beneath it that is closer in style to Prince than some of her female contemporaries. I really like the quote from the Washington Post reviewer that is posted on Kirsten's MySpace profile: "London-to-Brooklyn transplant Kirsten Price has ferocious rock-and-soul pipes (think Joss Stone or Toni Childs with rougher edges and a mean streak)".

There are a number of tracks from Guts & Garbage streaming on Kirsten's MySpace profile (link below).

Tickets for Friday night's show are $15.00.

Kirsten Price's MySpace profile

Bad Religion - "New Maps of Hell" Deluxe Edition CD Review

Bad Religion - New Maps of Hell Deluxe Edition CD ReviewWith the flood of CD reissues hitting the market, I was prepared to dislike this reissue before even listening to it. Too many of these reissues have just a couple of new tracks or (worse) remixes appended to the CD and then attempt to get full price for the "new" release.

The one complaint that I always read whenever a reissue comes out is "Why do I have to buy this again?". I have a few reissues in my review pile (with this being the first) and my goals with these reviews is to answer the question "Is this worth purchasing if you already have the original issue?"

The Deluxe Edition of New Maps of Hell is a winner. There are seven new tracks added to the original CD. These tracks are acoustic so it took me a second to mentally adjust to the change from Bad Religion's typical tempos. The acoustic tunes are just Greg singing and Brett on acoustic guitar and together they add a whole new dimension to some of the older Bad Religion songs. Three of the seven tunes are unique to this release and the other four songs are re-recordings of (mostly) older material.

The acoustic tunes clock in at about 20 minutes and here is the track list:

- Won't Somebody
- Adam's Atoms
- Sorrow (from 'The Process of Belief')
- God Song (from 'Against the Grain')
- Dearly Beloved (from 'New Maps of Hell')
- Chronophobia
- Skyscraper(from 'Recipe for Hate')

The acoustic tunes are cool but this set also comes a 23-track live DVD of the band performing live last year at the House of Blues in Las Vegas that rounds out the whole package. Also on the DVD are "The Making of the Acoustic EP" and "The Making of New Maps of Hell" along with two music videos from the current CD. I'm not much on the "The Making..." videos for any band (in most cases, these 'VH1 Behind The Music' type clips aren't worth more than one watch, if that) so these last couple clips aren't essential.

The Deluxe Edition of New Maps of Hell is (currently) $22.99 at BestBuy and

Bad Religion's Website

Monday, July 07, 2008

Supagroup: An Interview with Chris Lee (New Single is 'Jailbait')

I had the chance to talk with Supagroup lead singer Chris Lee when he was in town last month promoting the band's latest single "Jailbait". Supagroup play straight-forward, raw rock n' roll and the band often gets compared to Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) or early AC/DC.

Chris and I talked about the new CD, Fire For Hire, the band's Wikipedia bio which says that "Chris can often be seen picking fights at Saint's games", Supagroup's appearance in the upcoming Drake Bell movie "College" and much more.

Fire for Hire comes out in August and the band will be off on a full-scale tour in the fall. In the meantime, the movie "College" comes out on August 29th.

Supagroup's MySpace Profile
Supagroup's Website

New Municipal Waste Video Premiered on MTV last Saturday/NYC Shows with At The Gates are Sold Out

Municipal Waste's New Video 'Sadistic Magician' Premiered on MTV Headbangers BallYou have to love that Municipal Waste's latest video was filmed at the Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant in Playa del Ray, California. The video for "Sadistic Magician" made its premier on MTV Headbangers Ball last Saturday night. Video director Jeff Speed commented that "[h]umor, horror, metal and mayhem have always been a winning combination. It's 80's throwback to the fullest - back when videos were fun and the music was still dangerous. MUNICIPAL WASTE is the perfect band for it because this is exactly who they are - no bullshit."

Municipal Waste - Sadistic Magician Video

Municpal Waste is touring with the reunited At The Gates this month. Both shows at Irving Plaza/The Fillmore (July 9th and 10th) are now sold out but there are still tickets on eBay and Craig's List.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

ism: Urgency CD Release Interview, NYC 6-5-08

NYC's ism has finished their sophomore disc Urgency, which is coming out on August 5th. The band released the single "Sacred Cows" as an advance track from this disc and have been playing some warm-up shows around town. Urgency is a cohesive vision around the theme of rising above ourselves and making the world a better place.

I had the opportunity to chat with the band about the new disc, the newest member of the band (drummer Mike Higgins), and their plans for 2008.

ism is off on a tour of California this month and will be back in town on August 15th for a show at Bowery Ballroom with Kill The Alarm.

ism's MySpace Profile

The Who Release Greatest Hits Collection for Rock Band on July 15th

The Who Release Greatest Hits Set for Rock Band (Out on July 15th)This has to be one of the best reasons I've had to go out and get a copy of Rock Band.

The Who announced that they are releasing a greatest hits collection for Rock Band that includes three tracks from Live At Leeds. Given the action of the Rock Band drum kit, you can really drum along with Keith Moon on what was rated one of the 10 best live albums of all times. It doesn't get much cooler than this.

Here are all the tracks on this collection:

“Amazing Journey”
“Baba O'Riley”
“Behind Blue Eyes”
“Eminence Front”
“Going Mobile”
“Leaving Here”
“My Generation” (Live at Leeds)
“Real Good Looking Boy”
“Sea & Sand”
“Summertime Blues” (Live at Leeds)
“Who Are You”
“Young Man Blues” (Live at Leeds)

This release coincides with the broadcast of “VH1 Rock Honors” honoring The Who. The show airs on Thursday, July 17 at 9PM and will feature tribute performances by Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips, Incubus and Tenacious D as well as a grand finale performance from The Who.

Indie Rocker Nikki Shannon Announces Show at The Cutting Room on July 16th

Nikki Shannon Plays The Cutting ROom on July 16thIndie rocker Nikki Shannon has recently been playing around town in support of her debut disc Too Few which was released last month. Her next local show is at The Cutting Room on July 16th.

Nikki is a talented pianist/keyboardist who is has a raw bluesy voice that is somewhat comparable to early Melissa Etheridge. She also has a fascinating bio as her MySpace profile talks about how the financial challenges of being a NYC artist left her homeless for a period and sleeping on friend's couches and in the basement of piano bars.

I caught Nikki's set at the Canal Room a few weeks ago (video below) and was really impressed with her and her band's set and stage presence. The video below captures Nikki's set-closer "Suffocate". This was the only song that she performed without her band and it showcases the strength of her songwriting.

Nikki's new disc "Too Few" is available on Amazon, eMusic and iTunes.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Comedian and Guitar Virtuoso Mike Rayburn Played Rockwood Music Hall on June 23rd/Live Video + Interview

"Classically Trained, Comically Derailed" guitarist/comedian Mike Rayburn was in town for a show at Rockwood Music Hall on June 23rd.

Mike is touing behind his latest CD, "Mike Rayburn at Carnegie Hall" and his show is mix of stand-up comedy and master-class guitar work. Mike is known for combining musical artists and styles in ways God never intended. This clip starts with Mike combining Dan Folgelberg with AC/DC.

Anybody who thinks this is too much of a joke needs to watch Mike's fretwork at the end of this video. Mike could easily give guitarists like Eddie Van Halen a run for their money.

Mike Rayburn's Website

Philadelphia Sludgemonsters Javelina Play the Knitting Factory on July 14th

Javelina Plays the Knitting Factory on July 14thPhiladelphia's Javelina is playing the Knitting Factory on July 14th along with Demiricous and Monstrosity. Javelina just released their debut CD on Translation Loss Records and the tracks that I have heard from it are seriously heavy (and good).

Blabbermouth describes these guys as "early, sludgified MASTODON...with the unhinged screech vocals and over amped guitar lines) of LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR."

You have to dig some of Javelina's other press quotes:

"Throw in equal parts Eyehategod (speed it up a bit and use less heroin, though) and “Technocracy”-era Corrosion Of Conformity (well, add moments of “Blind”, too), add a dash or two of Soilent Green/ Goatwhore, and include a few post-thrash/ sludge/ stoner touches evocative of newer acts such as The Fucking Wrath, and you have Javelina’s debut full-length in a nutshell." ---LiveForMetal.Com

"Things go from ugly to uglier in a hurry and you find yourself wondering how the fuck Iron Maiden, Motörhead, early C.O.C. and Celtic Frost... could ever be assembled into something so seamless and crushing." - Decibel

Looks like this would be a fun show and cheers to the Knitting Factory for continuing to book metal acts.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The B-52s - Funplex CD Review

The B52s - Funplex CD ReviewThis disc has been out since March but I dropped the ball in writing a CD review (until now). The passing of time hasn't necessarily been a bad thing as I have gotten a better appreciation for some of the new material having watched the band perform tracks from this disc live on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Regis and Kelly. (Almost all of these videos are on YouTube for anyone who missed them the first time)

With this release, The B-52s do justice to their thirty-year legacy (which is more than a number of the band's contemporaries can lay claim to). The new songs fit well with the band's back catalog and it is somewhat amazing that the band can sound this revitalized after a 16-year hiatus from recording. In terms of how Funplex compares to the band's "recent" releases, it doesn't quite have the 'WOW' factor of Cosmic Thing but it is a stronger release than either Good Stuff or Bouncing Off the Satellites.

Funplex has a strong dance-floor sound and may be best compared to an updated version of Whammy!. In talking about writing the music for Funplex, Keith Strickland said "I had been listening to a lot of electronic dance music and early rock and roll. I was inspired to use these two aesthetics together with our own sound to write some shameless dance-floor party music." Keith and the band then added on to this by hiring veteran dance-music producer Steve Osboune (who produced The Doves, Suede and New Order's comeback CD).

Funplex debuted at #11 on the Billboard charts and the first two singles from this release are "Funplex" and "Juliet of the Spirits". Here are the videos for both songs:


Juliet of the Spirits (Live on Regis and Kelly)

Hopefully, it won't be another 16 years until the band's next disc of new material.

The B-52s Website

Les Breastfeeders Announce Show at Club Europa in Brooklyn

French-Canadian band Les Breastfeeders are making one final run through the US in support of their 2006 release Les Matins de Grands Soirs (Mornings of Great Evenings). The band is playing Club Europa on Sunday, July 20th and tickets are $10.

Les Matins de Grands Soirs is a great slab of garage rock crossed with the pop influences and girl group stylings of early Blondie. The band's lyrics are all in French so I'm not sure what they are singing about but all the songs are pretty damn catchy.

Les Breastfeeders' MySpace Profile
Les Breastfeeders' Website

Hydrogyn: 'Deadly Passions' CD Release Interview, NYC 6-25-08

Hydrogyn released their newest CD, Deadly Passions, on Demolition Records last month and I had a chance to catch up with the band when they were in town for a CD launch party at The Delancey.

We spent a few minutes to talking about the new CD, the new band lineup, their past work with Craig Goldy (Dio) and Michael Wagner (Skid Row, Alice Cooper). The band also talked about their upcoming 'female voices' tour with Benedictum which they are going to take to Europe and then through the US in the Fall.

Deadly Passion marks the start of a three-release deal that the band signed with Demoltion Records. The new disc was produced by guitarist Jeff Westlake and the band recorded the disc at Steve Riley's Smash Hits Studio in Huntington, WV.

"Steve does fantastic work out there," Jeff said. "The album is really big, the guitars are big, the drums are big, of course, the vocals are big, the bass guitar is phat, it really is the way we wanted it to sound. Before we ever got into the studio, we did a lot of pre-planning, and it helped out a lot. When it came time to mix the album, it was mixed right in your face -- no big room reverb, I wanted it to be right here." (from Herald-Dispatch.Com)

Hydrogyn's MySpace Profile
Hydrogyn's Website

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Shys - You'll Never Understand This Band The Way That I Do CD Review

The Shys - You'll Never Understand This Band CD ReviewThe Shys second full-length release, You'll Never Understand This Band... is a winner. It is a fascinating mix of 60's British psychedelia, 70's pub rock and indie-punk channeled through vision a young southern-California band.

The band makes a bold move by starting the album with a mid-tempo instrumental (not the typical Side 1, Track 1) which features both a violin and glockenspiel. One needs to listen to the whole album to really appreciate the depth of the band's songwriting abilities. Across this disc, the band embraces a variety of musical styles that range from The Beatles' psychedelia-era (Revolver and the White Album), Nicky Hopkins-era Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street and Goats Head Soup) and pub/roots-rock (The Kinks/Dr. Feelgood).

The standout tunes are on this disc are the "Savior", "She's Already Gone", "Find Some Courage". All of which have a sort of a John Lennon vibe but singer Kyle Krone makes these tunes his own. Kyle Krone has a great voice that matches the band's style of music as his delivery ranges from John Lennon-ish fuzzed-out psychedelia to world-weary Mick Jagger-style blues (on "Mercy" and "Brother Please"). Even though I prefer the Beatles/Stones-style tracks, the pub-rock tracks are pretty cool and may get me to break out my Dr. Feelgood albums. The only track that doesn't seem to fit with the overall flow of the disc is "All on Me" which is a John Eddie/Bob Seger-style roots rocker.

The Shys returned to Aeronaut Records for You'll Never Understand This Band The Way That I Do and the record hits the streets on July 22. Check out Mojo Republik's in-depth interview with The Shy's where they talk about the upcoming CD and their move back to Aeronaut Records.

The Shys' Website
Aeronaut Records

The Subjects To Release New Single/Featured on MTV2 Indie Music Week

The Subjects Release New Single: 'Goldenshire Boogie'Brooklyn's The Subjects started developing a growing fan base last year with the release of their debut CD, With the Ease, Grace, Precision, and Cleverness of Human Beings, and their constant touring. The band kept the local buzz going earlier this year, opening for the White Rabbits at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg.

The Subjects have a new tune, "Goldenshire Boogie", coming out on August 12 on a split single with The End of the World. An advance of the single is streaming on the band's MySpace profile and the single will be available prior to Aug. 12th at the band's live shows.

As much as I hated the piece that MTV ran at the beginning of the year (Brooklyn Rocks: The Birth of a New Scene), it is still kind of cool to see a clip from The Subjects featured on MTV2.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Hives: Black, White and Run: Nike + Original Remix CD Review

The Hives & Nike Remix The Black and White Album as a Jogging SoundtrackAs I have been going to the gym more, I have been trying to load up my iPod with workout music that is going to keep me going. I have been listening to a lot of Earache Records releases when lifting but you can't really run to death metal blast beats.

I have been listening to The Hives - Black, White and Run CD my last few times at the gym and this is really what I have been looking for. Production duo Expensive People have taken elements from The Hives' The Black and White Album and have crafted them into a high-energy disc which you can pace your run by. Unlike a lot of other remix discs, this 45 minute set would hold its own in the dance clubs as well as the gym.

There are elements from "Try It Again", "Won't Be Long", "Tick Tick Boom" and a number of other well-known Hives songs. The disc begins with a brisk start and then picks up the pace as the music intensifies. The breather breaks don't slow the pace much so it isn't until the end of the disc when the beats slow down for the cool-down. This disc runs about 45 minutes and it will drive an aggressive workout.

Here is a two minute sampler from the disc and you can click the CD cover to purchase Black, White and Run from iTunes.

The Hives

Cheyenne Front-Man Beau Jennings Plays Solo Show Tomorrow

Cheyenne Front-Man Beau Jennings Plays Solo Show at Pete's Candy Store on Cheyenne front-man Beau Jennings is playing a solo show tomorrow at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg. Beau is gearing up for the release of his solo disc, "Holy Tulsa Thunder", which is due out on July 8th. This should be a great show as I would expect that Beau will trying out a lot of new material and he doesn't have another local show scheduled until August.

"Holy Tulsa Thunder" is a fabulous disc (I'll be posting a review shortly). You can check out an advance track of Tulsa Sound and there are couple of other tunes from this release streaming on Beau's MySpace page.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Lou Reed Song, "Power of the Heart", Posted As a Free Download

Lou Reed's Power of the Heart Posted to Cartier WebsiteLou Reed has been playing a new song on his current tour, "Power of the Heart", which reviewers are calling 'understated and beautiful'.

There is a studio version of this track posted to the Cartier LOVE website which is available as a free download. The song is being used by Cartier's Love Campaign to raise funds for the group Action Against Hunger.

Blake Lewis: Live Video from the American Idol's Solo Set @ Canal Room, NYC 6-24-08

Blake Lewis headlined the bill last Tuesday at the Canal Room. He seemed incredibly glad to be there and the crowd matched his enthusiasm. He played a mix of material from his new release Audio Day Dream along with some covers.

Here are a couple live songs from the set:

Here is what Blake posted on my MySpace page after the show:

I'm so hyped right now!!! I just done playing the Canal Room in New York and the crowd was so freaking great. Thank you to all who came out. It was truly a great cap to end the last couple of weeks on the road.

Blake just finished a new track entitled "Selfless" for the AIDS foundation Dance4Life and he has a couple dates on the West Coast coming up.

Blake Lewis' MySpace Profile