Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blackmore's Night - Secret Voyage CD Review

Blackmore's Night - Secret Voyage CD ReviewBlackmore's Night has now been together for an uninterrupted 11 years, which is longer than Ritchie's original tenure in either Deep Purple or Rainbow. Secret Voyage is the group's 7th studio album and it was released on the SPV record label last month.

Secret Voyages follows in the spirit of the band's 2006 release The Village Lanterne as the tracks are a combination of the medieval renaissance music that Blackmore's Night started out with in 1997 crossed with Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow. As on old Rainbow fan, it is nice to hear Ritchie bring a heavier sound back into his music.

For anyone who has been keeping up with Blackmore's Night, there are no real surprises on this disc. On the rock side, "Locked Within The Crystal Ball" is a strong first single. This disc also includes covers of Rainbow's "Rainbow Eyes" (originally sung by Ronnie James Dio) and Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love". On the renaissance side, Ritchie and Candice rework traditional folk melodies from France (“Gilded Cage”), Russia (“Toast To Tomorrow”), Germany (“Prince Waldeck’s Galliard”) and England (“Peasant’s Promise”).

While this disc doesn't stray far from the established Blackmore's Night sound, Ritchie's guitar work continues to be stupendous and the heavier sound that has been drifting into the last few BN releases may start converting a few Rainbow fans.

Blackmore's Night Website

Friday, August 29, 2008

Magic Bullets - Live at Piano's, NYC 8-7-08 + Exclusive Interview

San Francisco's Magic Bullets made their East Coast debut earlier this month with a two-night stand at Piano's. After catching the band's live show, I can see why they have been selling out clubs on the West Coast. The band plays incredibly catchy post-punk style tunes that could almost be mistaken for one of the early 90's Britpop bands.

The band released their debut CD, A Child But In Life Yet A Doctor In Love, early last year and are going into the studio later this year to record their followup. The band has released the first single "Upstairs Room" from their forthcoming disc (entitled Young Man's Fancy) which is currently available from iTunes.

The band was kind enough to let me film some of their set at their second show at Piano's. Here is a live version of "Upstairs Room" along with a post-show interview with Phil (vocals) and Nathan (bass).

Magic Bullets are back home in San Francisco and their next show is September 3rd at The Rumble @ Harlot.

Magic Bullets' MySpace Profile

Kings of Leon Release First Video, "Sex On Fire", From Their Forthcoming CD

Kings of Leon's new disc Only By The Night drops on September 23rd. The band just released the first video, "Sex on Fire" from this release.

Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire

The band released the first single, "Crawl", from this upcoming release a few weeks ago and this tune has been in the band's live set for a number of months.

"Sex on Fire" was debuted live at the All Points West festival a few weeks ago and someone captured the performance on video.

Kings of Leon are playing Webster Hall on September 23rd with The Whigs and tickets are $36.00.

Kings of Leon's Website

Ten Shekel Shirt Release New CD "Jubilee": Exclusive Interview with the Band

On August 19th, Ten Shekel Shirt released their third CD Jubilee (Rounder Records). Vocalist/songwriter Lamont Hiebert had taken some time off from music prior to this release to form Love146, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to help end child slavery and exploitation.

Jubilee is very accessible musically (Snow Patrol is a good point of comparison) but the lyrical themes are pretty heavy. Lamont breaks down each song on one of his MySpace blog posts and here are a few excerpts.

A guy recently told me that he liked my old songs better. He said the old ones made him feel good while the new songs made him think about others. I took it as a compliment.

Although I cut my teeth in the music industry on "worship music" I believe it is dangerous and unhealthy to be self-absorbed with vertical religion. I often warn faith-based audiences that if we hold our hands in the air for too long we become spiritually constipated. Conversely, if we strive to be about God's business without His influence of love, forgiveness, justice, mercy, compassion, etc… we soon become burned out and bitter.

The origin of the word Jubilee has nothing to do with a wedding anniversary or a schmaltzy Las Vegas show. It has everything to do with the emancipation of slaves and the celebration of freedom and justice. When I wrote the title track, Jubilee, I combined that ancient meaning of the word with this true story of a teenage girl rescued from slavery and her first moments in a safehome.

At the tender age of 12, she was sold to a brothel by her stepfather. After 4 years of unspeakable violence, cruelty and shame she was rescued and brought to a safehome our charity (Love146) supports. The first moment she entered the home she noticed a small picture of Jesus on the wall. When she saw it she fell down and wept in utter relief and astonishment. She then explained that while she was in captivity she would often dream of being in a safe place and that in those dreams she would picture that face.

I had the chance to catch up with Lamont and guitarist Johnny Rodgers on the day that the album was released. We talked a bit about the new disc, the inspiration behind it and what's going on with Ten Shekel Shirt.

Ten Shekel Shirt is currently out on a lengthy tour and they have a date at First Baptist Church in Queens tomorrow night. Here are the band's tour dates for August/September.

Aug 30 2008 8:00PM, First Baptist Church, Queens, New York, New York
Sep 12 2008 8:00PM, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida
Sep 14 2008 7:00PM, Harriet Himmel Theater, West Palm Beach, Florida
Sep 17 2008 8:00PM, Southern CT State University, New Haven, Connecticut
Sep 19 2008 7:00PM, FBC, Portland, Maine
Sep 27 2008 7:00PM, Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, Abbotsford, British Columbia

Ten Shekel Shirt's MySpace Profile

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Jesse Lynn Band is Playing The Bitter End Tomorrow Night

Jesse Lynn is Playing Bitter End Tomorrow Night (August 28th)Teddy Williams from Automatic Children turned me on to Jesse Lynn and it was a great recommendation.

There isn't much of a bio on Jesse's MySpace page but there are a couple live tracks streaming on the page. Jesse plays piano/keyboard and if you check out the track "But Here I Am", you will hear that Jesse has somewhat of a Norah Jones vibe. Other tracks like "Citywise" are more in the Tori Amos/Fiona Apple vein.

It should be a good show and tickets are only $10.00.

Woodhands - Live Footage and Interview from Silent Barn, Queens 8-16-08

Woodhands was in town last weekend for one of Todd P's shows at the Silent Barn. The band's debut disc, "Heart Attack", was released in Canada earlier this year (on Paper Bag Records) and the disc was released in the States yesterday.

Here is part of a live clip of "Can't See Straight" along with a post-show interview with the band.

The band puts on a wild live show and they say on their MySpace page that their goal is "emotional, sweaty dance floors". The band is back in the States for a show in Chicago at The Empty Bottle on September 5th but no East Coast dates have been announced.

For anyone not familiar with Woodhands, check out I Wasn't Made for Fighting. There are also a number of other tracks from Heart Attack streaming on the band's MySpace profile.

During the interview, Dan mentioned that the band was just in NYC to film a video for the "I Wasn't Made For Fighting" and the band just posted a link to a fan-made video for the song.

Paper Bag Records

Sonic Youth Play Final Show at McCarren Pool on Saturday, August 30th

There are still tickets left for the final show at McCarren Pool this Saturday with Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth Play Final Show at McCarren Pool on Saturday, August 30thSonic Youth is playing with Wolf Eyes, Times New Viking and Vivian Girls. Doors open at 4PM and tickets are $35.00.

Green Point Wines is one of the sponsors of the event, and the profits from every glass of wine sold go to The Open Space Alliance, a nonprofit responsible for the preservation and renovation of Brooklyn parkland and open spaces.

Sonic Youth's Website
The Open Space Alliance's Website

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

John Joseph: Playing Cro-Mags Set at Dr. Tom/Walter Ryan Benefit Show + Second Video from Book Reading at The Delancey

The NYHC Community is Coming Together on September 27th for a Benefit for Dr. Tom and Walter RyanOn September 27th, the NYHC is coming together for a benefit show at Studio B for Dr. Tom and Walter Ryan (Subzero/Merauder). John Joseph is playing a Cro-Mags set and other bands on the bill include Sick of It All, Jasta and Murphy's Law.

The NYHC community has always come together to help out someone in need and, from what I've heard, Dr. Tom and "Monsta" Ryan really need our support. Come on out to the show, sign up for Moli (click on the poster), make a donation. Every bit helps...

While on the subject on John (Joseph)...I finally located a misplaced video where I filmed some of John's book reading at The Delancey back in June.

If anybody missed it, I also did an interview with John before his book reading (see previous post).

John Joseph's MySpace Profile

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Residents Announce New CD and NYC Tour Dates

The Residents Announce Bunny Boy + NYC Tour StopsThe Residents are back with their first NYC tour since the 2002 Demons Dance Alone tour, which played three nights at The Warsaw in Brooklyn.

The new CD is entitled Bunny Boy and it hits the streets on September 2nd. You can pre-order through The Residents' record label, Ralph America (link below). Bunny Boy "centers around an eccentric character, the bunny boy, whose search for his missing brother compels him to post videos on the internet as a "cry for help." As the story evolves, it opens up to interaction between the bunny boy and his audience, causing the narrative to twist and turn in odd and unpredictable ways. Spanning a gap between insanity and self realization, the loony, but affable bunny boy soon finds himself pursuing a goal no less vital than saving the world from Armageddon."

If you haven't seen The Resident's videos about the adventures of Timmy, you probably need to move quickly as I understand that they will be coming down to make room for the new Bunny Boy videos.

The Residents' Bunny Boy tour plays The Blender Theater @ Gramercy on October 9th and 10th. Tickets are $40.00.

RalphAmerica (The Resident's Record Label)

Holy Trinity River (HTR) - "Let It Die" EP Review

HTR - Let It Die CD EP ReviewThis release caught me out of left-field as I haven't heard a good cow-punk band in years.

HTR are Dallas-to-Brooklyn transplants and their sounds fits in there with the 'first-wave' cowpunk bands like Green on Red and The Divine Horsemen. The band arrived in Brooklyn in 2005 and recorded their first EP, Cause/Solution, with Ellis Traver at Brooklyn's Loiter Studios. The band just released a new four-song EP, Let It Die, which was produced and engineered by Richard Lloyd.

Let It Die is a great slice of whiskey-soaked cowpunk and Richard Lloyd's production is near-perfect. The band doesn't loose any of the overall grittiness of their sound but Lloyd's production brings out some great guitar licks which is complemented by steady-on bass work and I really love the snare drums. All four tracks from the new EP are streaming on the band's MySpace page (link below) and the standout track is "The Shaker".

Here are HTR's upcoming shows:
Aug 20 2008 8:00PM, Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey
Sep 12 2008 8:00PM, The Castle in Hell Brooklyn, New York

HTR's MySpace Profile

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

After the Jump Presents Free Longwave Show on Friday

Longwave Plays Free Show at Music Hall of WilliamsburgLongwave is playing the official after-party for the Regina Spektor/Albert Hammond, Jr McCarren Pool concert. This is a free show and Alberta Cross is opening. The show is at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and doors open at 9:30PM.

Longwave also announced a release date of November 11th for their follow-up to 2005's There's A Fire. The upcoming disc is entitled Secrets Are Sinister and it will be released on Original Signal Recordings. For anyone who wants an advance listen, there are a number of tracks from Secrets Are Sinister streaming on Longwave's MySpace profile.

"[T]he new album was recorded predominantly by the band in their Brooklyn studio and with the help of producer Peter Katis (The National, Tokyo Police Club, Interpol) at his Connecticut studio. Secrets Are Sinister expands on the band’s trademark sound: atmospheric, arena-sized guitars still build to an epic swell while the band’s penchant for dreamy landscapes now gives way to an equally dynamic but louder, noisier, and more driving sensibility. Hailed in the past by magazines ranging from Rolling Stone to Nylon to Alternative Press, Longwave returns with their most varied and accomplished work to date, from the shimmering “Sirens In The Deep Sea” to the thundering, Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Sleater-Kinney)-produced “Life Is Wrong” to the hopeful title track."

Joel Auge - "On The Blue" CD Release Interview, NYC 8-8-08

Last Friday, Integrity Music artist Joel Auge was in town to promote his debut CD On the Blue. The disc dropped in July and the first single, "So Deep In Love", was selected as an iTunes Discovery Download. iTunes said "Auges' mixture of worship music and emotional alt-rock rings makes a solid case for being one of the highlights of 2008. The album mixes up folk and pop with piano pop and Auges' own transcendent vocals."

Joel and I had a chance to talk about the new CD, his beliefs and the inspiration behind the CD and what his plans are for the rest of the year.

In addition to making some great music, Joel's a warm and funny guy to talk to. Check out this video of Joel attempting to purchase his CD from a bookstore on its release day.

For anyone that hasn't heard "So Deep In Love", the tune is streaming on Joel's MySpace Profile and there is a bizarre fan-made video on YouTube that sets the audio track to a picture of the American flag. I guess the videographer didn't realize that Joel is Canadian...

Fans of British piano-pop (Coldplay, Keane) would do well to give Joel's music a listen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Calico Horse - Mirror CD Review

I'm still playing catch-up with some CDs that slipped through the cracks as I was trying to get my life in order a few months back. (Apologies to Banter Records and the band...)
Calico Horse - Mirror CD ReviewSan Diego's Calico Horse evolved out of singer Emily Neveu's previous band The Clock Work Army after recording sessions with this band collapsed. According to the San Diego Reader, Emily told the Reader in an email that “members of the band are leaving me...[a]s the founding member of the band and the main decision maker, I have decided to change the [band’s] name, to complete the new record myself and release it. A new name has not been chosen quite yet. This all has happened so quickly that I haven't had time to come up with anything, sadly.”

Fast forward a year and both the band's name and sound has changed. Calico Horse released their debut CD Mirror in late June on Banter Records. Gone is Clock Work Army's post-punk agit-pop and it has ben replaced with an ornate goth-pop sound (Awake In The Clouds is pretty representative of the tracks on this disc)

Overall, Mirror has a dark feel to it but it isn't quite goth. A number of songs have upbeat rhythms and Emily's clear vocals leave the listener with somewhat of a "whistling in the graveyard" experience. A number of the song titles, lyrics and effects add to the overall "graveyard" experience. There are songs like "Happy Placebo Syringe Day" which starts with a children's class reciting the "Hail Mary" and ends with Emily singing about people laying side-by-side in wooden boxes. "Father Feed Me" is a somewhat 'upbeat' piece that starts with the lyric "My father is dead and gone, He sold his soul for bread. I'm marked to walk the earth...". The piano instrumental "Interlude 5" is pure spook-house music. At this point...I'm sure that you get the idea that this isn't a jolly band.

That being said, this is still great late night listening and the disturbing aura of this disc is really no different than listening to the Velvet Underground (I'm specifically thinking of "The Gift") or similar. The band is currently playing around California and have talked about a national tour later this year.

Calico Horse's MySpace Profile
Calico Horse's Website
The Clock Work Army's MySpace Profile

Do Unfinished Albums Really Leak? My Views on the Buckcherry and Guns N' Roses Leaks...

Just to put some context around this post, I'm still playing catch-up with some releases and just got around to listening to the new "leak" that surfaced in June of nine tracks from Guns N' Roses' forthcoming Chinese Democracy CD.

BrooklynRocks' Views on the Guns N' Roses and Buckchery LeaksWith the new Buckcherry "leak" having been traced back to the band's manager, this seems to prove a point that I made about a year ago re: the Spring '07 "leaked" Chinese Democracy tracks. (see previous post)

I STILL don't believe that these types of leaks are anything more than attempts by someone in or associated with the band to generate publicity. I think the Buckcherry "leak" is a closed case so we won't go down that path. Can you really tell me that, when major labels are starting to send music bloggers watermarked CDs (to tell where any potential leaks are coming from), finished studio tracks continue to 'drift' out of the Guns N' Roses camp and no one has any idea who the source is. I just don't buy it...

If this happened once or twice, I would consider the possibility that the leaks are coming from disgruntled ex-employees or members. Now that June's "leak" marks the 6th or so leak since last year...what is the reality of the situation?? Are there mysterious men from Spain uploading tracks from a seemingly endless master reel (see Idolator for details) or is this a planned attempt at viral publicity??

(From GunsNRoses.US) Here is a blow-by-blow history of the Chinese Democracy leaks:
"In September 2003, radio DJ Eddie Trunk played a new Guns N' Roses song titled "I.R.S." on his syndicated radio show Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk. The band's management issued a cease-and-desist order against Trunk, leading him to strip replays of his broadcast of both the song and references to it. In February 2006, full studio demos of the songs "Better", "Catcher in the Rye", "I.R.S.", and "There Was a Time" leaked online. Brian May confirmed on his blog that he recorded guitar for the "Catcher in the Rye" demo in 1999. On February 20 2007, a new version of the song "Better" was leaked onto the Internet. The song was confirmed real by Dizzy Reed. However, he also said it is not the final studio version. The next day, March 29, 2007 a full studio version of the song "Madagascar" leaked onto a GN'R fan website and is still in circulation. On May 4, 2007, three more tracks leaked from "Chinese Democracy"; the albums title track "Chinese Democracy", "The Blues" and an updated version of "I.R.S." All three tracks had previously been played live and the track "Chinese Democracy" had been partially leaked in March. An updated version of "There Was a Time" was along the 4 songs sent and was leaked on May 6, 2007. On June 2008, a set of nine songs were released online, including never-heard-before demo version of Prositute, Rhiad and the Beduins and If the World."

If the above wasn't funny enough, here is the latest leak (from July):

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunn O))) Announces 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory (NYC)

Sunn O))) Announce 10th Anniversary Show in OCtober at the Knitting FactorySUNN O))) has announced four live performances in the United States, to recognize the 10th anniversary of the band and to coincide with the recording of the first album...The GrimmRobe Demos.

SUNN O)) will be playing material from GrimmRobes exclusively and the show will feature SUNN O)))'s core members Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson ONLY. The band's press release says "No guests, no vocals, no keyboards."

Here is the list of shows:
10/10/2008 Safari Sam's - Los Angeles, CA w/John Weise, more TBA
10/12/2008 Berbati's Pan - Portland, OR - Fall Into Darkness Fest
10/15/2008 Knitting Factory - New York, NY w/Tony Conrad, Thou
10/16/2008 First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA w/Thou, more TBA

Tickets for the Knitting Factory show are $15 in advance.

Stephen O'Malley's Website
SouthernLord's MySpace Profile

Earth - The Bee Made Honey In The Lion's Skull (Southern Lord) CD Review

Earth - Teh Bee Made Honey In The Lion's Skull CD ReviewHere is a clear sign we are in a recession -- there is a limited edition Earth Live CD (from the band's 2006 tour with Sunn O))) that has been available for sale on for more than a month. A year ago, the disc would have sold out within days and been on eBay with a 200-300% markup. This hits close to home as I would like to own a copy of the disc but just don't have the extra cash to buy it now.

I know that Earth's current disc has been out since February but a few major-league crises resulted in a few discs slipping to the bottom of the review pile. Everything is moving forward again is insanely hard to get caught up once you fall behind.

Earth has essentially been touring on this disc since 2007 so the material is very familiar to me. I know this is somewhat of a contradictory statement but Earth played 5 of the 7 tracks from this disc at their show at the Bowery Ballroom last summer (see previous post for set list and pictures).

I'm one of the people who bought Earth's first disc because of Kurt Cobain's involvement so I have been watching Earth's evolution with great pleasure. The feedback and dissonance of the early releases is all but gone by this time and this release is very accessible. By this, I don't mean that this disc will likely get commercial airplay but The Bee... fits well alongside releases from bands like Pelican and Isis.

With this release, Earth has completely shaken the 'doom' label and it may be pushing it to call this 'drone'. The seven tracks (almost an hour) on this disc seem to form one complete story. The all-instrumental CD has typical languid Earth tempos and, while the music is somber, it is almost cheery. Each song has the space in which to breath and each note is heard in its crystalline beauty. The disc almost has an ambient quality but both the individual songs and the disc as a whole are a lot more structured than most ambient bands. The only potential "weakness" of this disc is that, as a cohesive body of instrumental work, this isn't the sort of release that you are going to drop on to listen to one or two tracks.

In looking at Earth's MySpace page (link below), things seem fairly quiet for the band. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, Earth have some Seattle and Portland shows scheduled for September.

Earth's MySpace Profile
Southern Lord Records

Geoff Koch - Exclusive Interview and Live Footage from Crash Mansion, NYC 7-26-08

St.Louis-based singer/songwriter Geoff Koch was in town at the end of July, playing shows at The Living Room and Crash Mansion. Geoff is touring behind his forthcoming disc If It Feel Good, Don't Do It and I caught up with him at Crash Mansion for a brief pre-show interview. Geoff was kind enough to also let me film part of his live set.

On Geoff's new disc, he is playing with an all-star line-up which includes former members of Uncle Tupelo and Tin Machine/Nine Inch Nails. The new disc is available through Geoff's MySpace page and will be available via iTunes and CD Baby in the near future. For anyone not familiar with Geoff, his music should appeal to fans of Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Ryan Adams and Big Star.

Here is the first part of the interview/live performance...

...and here is the second part (which includes a Big Star cover).

Geoff seems to be permanently out on tour so I'm sure he will be back in NYC soon. Here are his upcoming tour dates:
Aug 21 2008 9:00PM, The Neutral Ground, New Orleans, Louisiana
Aug 22 2008 9:00PM, TBA,Baton Rouge/Hammond, Louisiana
Aug 23 2008 9:00PM, Artmosphere, Lafayette, Louisiana
Aug 25 2008 7:00PM, Momo’s, Austin, Texas
Aug 26 2008 9:00PM, Ruta Maya, Austin, Texas
Aug 27 2008 8:00PM, White Rock, Dallas, Texas
Aug 28 2008 8:00PM, Red Cup, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Aug 30 2008 11:00PM, House Show, Springfield, MO

Geoff Koch's Website

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Golden Hands Before God... - Here CD Review

The Golden Hands Before God - Here CD ReviewEvery now and then, the name of a band perfectly describes their style of music. The full name of this band is The Golden Hands Before God Conducts Incredible Magic Band & The Spirits and the band plays blissed out psychedelic music.

The band draws upon a diverse range of sounds which include the psychedelic drone of bands like Spacemen 3 which is then combined with the pop sensibilities of bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Mazzy Star and Darker Day-era Connels. The disc's leadoff track "One Fine Morning" sets the tone for this EP and here is a video of the band performing the song live in their hometown of Windsor, Ontario.

The Golden Hands Before God...One Fine Morning

The cut that is getting the most buzz from this release is "Communist Blues", which perfectly captures the 60's/70's classic rock sound. On this track, the band breaks from the layered psychedelic sounds of some of the previous tracks and lays down some ripping Dylan-ish "Subterranean Homesick Blues" style guitar work.

The new EP Here was released in Canada last week on Pop Echo Records and there will be both a US release and tour later this Fall.

The Golden Hands Before God's MySpace Profile

Motel Motel: Exclusive Interview & Live Footage from Piano's, NYC 8-7-08

Motel Motel played Thursday night at Piano's and put on a fabulous live show. After listening to the tracks on the band's MySpace page, I had earlier described their sound as alt-rock meets alt-county but, now having caught the band live, I don't think this description does the band justice. Eric (vocals/guitars) described the band's sound as "schwag rock" and that is probably a better descriptor. Live, the band showcases a wide range of influences but the music never careens out of control.

At the show on Thursday, the room was full and the band got the crowd dancing (which is always an accomplishment in New York).

I had the chance to catch up with the band before their set for a brief interview...

...and the band was kind enough to let me film some of their set.

Motel Motel's debut disc, "New Denver", is available via CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and through the usual CD subscription/download services (Rhapsody, Napster, etc.)

Motel Motel's MySpace Profile
Motel Motel's Website

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Shanghai Restoration Project Plays the Canal Room on August 13th

At the end of July, I had the chance to catch up with Dave Liang, who is creator of The Shanghai Restoration Project (TSRP). TSRP was inspired by the 1930's Shanghai jazz bands that combined traditional Chinese instruments with Western jazz and then combined this fusion with divas singing in Chinese. According to Dave, this style of music disappeared around World War II.

In celebration of the Beijing Olympics, The Shanghai Restoration Project are playing two shows. The first show was earlier this week at the Viper Room in Los Angeles and the NYC show will be at the Canal Room on August 13th. At the shows, Dave will be playing piano along with the tracks, there will be a number of guest vocalists and the music will be synchronized to old and new footage of Shanghai.

Tickets for the show at the Canal Room at $12 in advance.

The Shanghai Restoration Project's Website
The Shanghai Restoration Project's MySpace Profile

The All-American Rejects are Playing Randall's Island as part of Nike+ Human Race 10K

Nike's 'The Human Race' Takes Place on 8-31-08The All-American Rejects really aren't my speed (and I am somewhat dubious as to whether I could survive a 10K) but Nike's "The Human Race 10K" is a pretty neat concept.

The race covers 25 cities around the globe so runners will be able to compete on a worldwide basis. All of the races will be run on August 31st with the first race kicking off in Taipei and the last race ending in Los Angeles. The NYC portion of the race starts at 6PM on 8/31 and the race is on Randall's Island. After each race, there is an exclusive concert in each city. In NYC, the band is The All-American Rejects (whose new disc in due out November 11th).

Race fees are $35 and here is a link to the Nike Human Race website where you can find complete information about the NYC portion of race.

What Laura Says - Thinks and Feels CD Review

What Laura Says - Thinks and Feels CD ReviewWhat Laura Says stirred up a major buzz on the indie rock scene after the band played a few shows at SxSW this year, which included the all-star tribute to Lou Reed.

On August 19th, the band will be releasing their debut CD , Thinks and Feels, which is an incredibly eclectic but charming disc. This disc seems to incorporate influences as diverse as "Smile"-era Beach Boys, pre-Revolver Beatles, Grateful Dead/CCR style country rock and the mellow-side of 70's rock. With this range of influences, it is little wonder that the band is signed to The Annuals' Terpsikhore Records.

The first song on the disc, "Couldn't Lose Myself", sets the tone for the rest of the disc. The track starts with a man's voice counting off the time ("One and Two and Three and Four") and quickly segues into some rich multi-part vocal harmonies. Midway through the song, there is an Oingo-Boingo style breakdown and the band switches over (mid-piece) into a piano-driven rocker. From here, the band goes into "Fashionably Moral", which is a Canned Heat/Grateful Dead style country rock tune. There are tempo, tune and style changes throughout this disc.

To try and break the remainder of the disc into styles/genres:
- "Illustrated Manual" is a piano-rocker but the band's vocals harmonies push this past any of the Ben Folds/Billy Joel comparisons
- "Wish I Could Fly" is predominately an a cappella tune that is carried on the band's multi-part harmonies
- "Dot Dot Dot" is pure 70's lite-rock in the spirit of Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman
- "Paradice" is one of my favorite tracks on this disc. This track uses movie theatre effects as an intro and outro and the core of the song is simply a great rock and roll tune
- "Waves" is a Jeff Buckley/60's crooner-style tune
- "Get Better Soon" goes back down the 70's country path and the song is complete with shakers and what sounds like a saw blade
- "July 23" is almost comparable to David Gilmour's Pink Floyd songs
- "1000 Faces" has a Doobie Brothers' style California swing
- "Done What's Right" is an Annuals' style spiritual. This tune segues into a hidden track which is an atmospheric instrumental

This is great stuff and I would love to see how the band performs material this diverse live on stage. The band is currently touring around Arizona (check their MySpace page for details and dates) but hopefully some East Coast dates will follow the CD release.

If anyone is wondering about the band's name, Get Out (appears to be an AZ equivalent of the Village Voice ) asked the band about the name in an interview last year. Here is what they had to say:
Get Out: So who is the “laura” of the group’s name?

The band doesn’t really have an answer — there is no specific “laura,” so the band isn’t able to explain what “she” says, thinks or feels. “We just like to think there’s a little a little laura in everybody,” says [keyboard/guitar/vocals Danny] Godbold.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Germs Movie "What We Do Is Secret" Opens Tomorrow at Sunshine Cinema + Show at Blender Theater

The Germs Movie 'What We Do Is Secret' Opens in NYC TomorrowThe long awaited Germs' bio pic opens tomorrow at the Sunshine Cinema (143 Houston) in the Village. After 15 years in the making, it is great to see the film completed and getting great reviews (link).

Both the band and director Rodger Grossman are in town and will be in attendance at some of the screenings.

On Friday:
- Pat, Lorna, Don, and Shane along with Rodger Grossman and actor Noah Segan (plays Don in the film) and actress Bijou Phillips (plays Lorna) will be on hand for a Q&A after the 5:30PM show. They will also be giving the intro before the 8:05PM show.

On Saturday:
- The Q&A is after the 8:05PM show and the intro is before the 10:30PM show. Note though that Pat is not listing as being at either of the screenings on Saturday.

The band is playing tomorrow night at Blender Theater @ Gramercy with the L.E.S. Stitches and Murphy's Law. I just received an email that if you buy two tickets at the Sunshine Cinema box office, you will get a free tickets to The Germs' show tomorrow. (Note: this was listed as a limited offer)

Tickets for the concert are $20 and tickets for the movie are $13.

What is Do is Secret Movie Website
The Germs' Website

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Beau Jennings CD Release Party for "Holy Tusla Thunder" is August 16th at Union Hall

Beau Jennings is having a CD release party next Saturday (August 16th) for his fabulous debut solo CD Holy Tulsa Thunder. The show is at Union Hall and Beau is playing with Bowery Boy Blue. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and doors are at 8PM.

Here is Beau's new video for the title track "Holy Tulsa Thunder". I love the Coney Island footage...
Beau Jennings - Holy Tulsa Thunder - A Silence Production

Beau and Zeb (from Bowery Boy Blue) just did an Artist-to-Artist interview which is posted here.

Beau Jennings' MySpace page
Bowery Boy Blue's MySpace page

The Police: BestBuy.Com is Broadcasting Part of Tomorrow Night's Concert at MSG

BestBuy.Com is Broadcasting Part of The Police's Final Show at MSGIt is getting pretty interesting in watching how Target, Walmart and BestBuy have moved from being retailers to a direct part of the music industry.

BestBuy is broadcasting on its website the encore from The Police's final show at MSG tomorrow night. (Having now watched farewell tours from Elton John, Kiss and The Who, I'm not personally convinced that The Police are going to walk away from this.) Cynicism aside, if you go to BestBuy's "The Police" page tomorrow at 10:45PM, they will be streaming three "of the last four songs" from the show.

BestBuy also announced that they have the exclusive distribution for a new Police live disc ("Certifiable") from the reunion tour. The show is from a 2007 performance in Buenos Aires. I'm guessing that this is the 12/1/07 show - there are a number of audience videos from this show up on YouTube if anyone is curious. What's interesting is that in addition to the expected DVD[or Blue Ray]/CD set, BestBuy is also offering the show as a three LP set. If the LP is limited, my guess is that it will disappear quickly and end up on on eBay with a 200%+ markup.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Motel Motel & Magic Bullets are Playing Piano's on Thursday

Motel Motel Just Released New CD: New DenverThis is my 'pick of the week show'.

Brooklyn's Motel Motel just released their debut full-length CD New Denver. I've been getting into the tracks that are streaming on the band's MySpace. The bands sound is alt-country meets alt-rock and the amalgamation is pretty cool. The band list their influences as Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt but go on to say that "unlike their more direly nostalgic peers...motel motel imbue the gothic storytelling of their forebears with a nubile energy that suggests they're living just as hard but having more fun."

Check out Harlem from New Denver.

Motel Motel's MySpace Profile

Magic Bullets are Making Their East Coast Debut with shows at Piano's on Wednesday and ThursdayI spent a couple years working out in Northern California and still try to keep up with the West Coast music scene. Magic Bullets have been selling out the clubs on the West Coast and the band is making their East Coast debut with two shows at Piano's on Wednesday and Thursday.

Check out some of the tracks on Magic Bullets' MySpace page: "Red Room" has been getting some commercial airplay on the West Coast but my favorite track is "The Upstairs Flight", which has a great 80's post-punk sound.

Here is also a video from Magic Bullets:

Tickets for Thursday's show at Piano's are $8.00. Magic Bullets plays at 11:15PM and Motel Motel plays at Midnight.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blackmore's Night Releases New CD, "Secret Voyage", on SPV Records

Blackmore's Night Releases Seventh Studio CD, 'Secret Voyage'Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night are back with their seventh studio LP, "Secret Voyage".

This release continues with Blackmore's Night's established style of renaissance music and Candice and Ritchie have adapted some the tracks on this release from the folk traditions of numerous countries including France (“Gilded Cage”), Russia (“Toast To Tomorrow”), Germany (“Prince Waldeck’s Galliard”) and England (“Peasant’s Promise”). There are also two covers - the 1961 Elvis Presley hit “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Rainbow’s “Rainbow Eyes”— redone in Blackmore's Night style.

For anyone hoping for a Deep Purple reunion, don't hold your breath. Ritchie has said "[w]ith Blackmore’s Night...we have the creative freedom to play any style of music we want. We can play folk, rock, ballads, instrumentals, or tavern songs. I couldn't do that in Deep Purple. Now I feel as if I'm not in a box anymore.

Here is a link to the second track on the disc: "Locked Within The Crystal Ball"

Blackmore's Night Website
Blackmore's Night MySpace Profile

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gnaw Their Tongues - An Epiphanic Vomiting of Blood CD Review

Gnaw Their Tongues - An Epiphanic Vomiting of Blood CD ReviewI have heard a lot of the bands that are labeled as 'extreme doom' but Gnaw Their Tongues is the first that really creeped me out. I have chilled out to bands like Sunn, Khanate and Xasthur late at night -- Gnaw Their Tongues will have you turning on all the lights and making sure the doors are locked.

Gnaw Their Tongues is a one-man project by the artist known as Mories. Given the extreme heaviness of this album, I would have expected Mories to look like a member of Gwar or Lordi but, based on his photo, he looks like the type of person that you wouldn't give a second glance to on the street. Mories gave a fairly in-depth interview to Lords of Metal and here is what he had to say about the new CD:

Lords of Metal: I was mortified by the darkness of the album. To classify Gnaw Their Tongues was and is very difficult. How would you call it and why? I mean, it's not metal but very extreme and your songs are far from a pleasant listen. What are the influences of your extreme dark songs? Are they from books films or maybe the desolate plains of Friesland?

Mories: Well I don't know how to call Gnaw Their Tongues. I don't really care either. Like it or not, that's all that matters. Influences? I don't know, I get inspired by all kind of things, but not influenced. Gnaw Their Tongues is about channelling my world view. It's about letting my subconscious roam freely. About letting inner darkness 'shine' bright and furiously! There are plenty of books and films I like, but Gnaw Their Tongues is about real things in this world. No fiction, just true horror.

Getting back on track, this CD is a re-release of the limited edition vinyl release that was released on Burning World earlier this year. This disc has new artwork from the vinyl release and it also contains an extra track - "The Urge to Participate in Butchery". Anyone not familiar with the black metal genre might dismiss this as noise, but that is not at all the case. The songs are structured and purposeful and there is enough substance to draw you into the music. The 'problem' is that once you are drawn in, you start to notice the murmuring voices beneath the strings and, after listening to a bit more of this horror/snuff movie soundtrack, you start to feel the fingers on the back of your neck.

Like most of the extreme doom artist, Mories has released numerous limited edition releases and a number of them are available as free downloads on Gnaw Their Tongues' MySpace page. One of the more interesting downloads is the Bubonic Burial Rights EP.

Gnaw Their Tongues isn't for everyone (it probably isn't for most people) some of the tracks from the band's MySpace page and see if An Epiphanic Vomiting of Blood is for you.

Gnaw Their Tongues' Blog

Protest The Hero Announce Remix EP + Fall 2008 Tour Dates

Protest The Hero Announce New EP + Fall 2008 Tour DatesThis Tuesday, Protest The Hero is releasing the Sequoia Throne Remix EP exclusively on iTunes. The three-track EP features three remixes of the band’s current single created C0ndu1t, L-Ion, and Devin Townsend.

The band also announced a headlining Fall tour through the US where they will be accompanied by Unearth, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel and Gwen Stacy. Vocalist Rody Walker said "we haven’t been touring the States too extensively in the past few years so it will be nice to be back for a legit tour… if not for the smokes and cheap booze alone.

The band is in NYC on October 30th for a show at The Fillmore/Irving Plaza and here are the complete Fall '08 tour dates:

Oct 1 – Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
Oct 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Oct 3 – Williamsville, NY @ Club Infinity
Oct 4 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s – Front Room
Oct 5 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
Oct 7 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Oct 8 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
Oct 9 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada
Oct 10 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
Oct 11 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Avalon Theatre
Oct 12 – Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
Oct 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
Oct 14 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
Oct 15 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
Oct 17 – San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
Oct 18 – Lubbock, TX @ The Foundation
Oct 19 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
Oct 20 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
Oct 22 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
Oct 23 – St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
Oct 24 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL@ Revolution
Oct 25 – Jacksonville Beach, FL @ Freebird Live
Oct 26 – Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm
Oct 28 – Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
Oct 29 – Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
Oct 30 – New York, NY @ The Fillmore at Irving Plaza

Protest the Hero's Website

New Clash Live CD from Combat Rock Tour coming in October

The Clash Live at Shea Stadium Will Be Released in OctoberUncut announced that The Clash - Live at Shea Stadium will be released on October 6th. This is a complete show from The Clash's show at Shea Stadium on October 13th. This was the second of two shows that the band played at Shea supporting The Who on their "farewell" tour.

Here is the track listing:

Kosmo Vinyl Introduction
London Calling
Police On My Back
Guns Of Brixton
Tommy Gun
The Magnificent Seven
Armagideon Time
The Magnificent Seven (return)
Rock The Casbah
Train In vain
Career Opportunities (included on From Here to Eternity)
Spanish Bombs
English Civil War
Should I Stay Or Should I Go
I Fought The Law

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Heaven & Hell - Pictures from CD Signing at Vintage Vinyl, Fords, NJ 8/2/08

I'm not much for CD signings but I couldn't pass up meeting Heaven & Hell. Like most signings/in-stores, this was a wristband-only event. With only 500 wristbands available, I thought would sell out right away so I drove out to Vintage Vinyl a few weeks ago and purchased the Heaven & Hell - Radio City DVD and got a wristband. Surprisingly, I heard some people talking that wristbands were still available early in the day. It seems at bit unbelievable that this wasn't as mobbed as the Ozzy/Sabbath CD signing at VirginMega back in the late 90's.

Anyway, the line seemed to move fairly quickly and it was about a 90 minute wait to meet the band. The band was really cool and I got a few pictures in addition to the signed DVD.

Heaven & Hell are playing PNC Arts Center on August 9th and Jones Beach on August 10th.

Heaven & Hell's Website

State Bird Records New EP: "4 New Songs"

State Bird's Mostly Ghostly CD was released earlier this year and the band did a lengthy tour back in the Spring. Now that the band is back home in Ohio, they recorded a new EP, "4 New Songs", live in their home studio. This is a limited handmade release (which is now sold out) with hand-painted covers and inserts.

While the EP is sold out, the good news is that two of the songs from the EP are posted to the band's MySpace page. Here is a link to the third song: I Don't Love U Anymore. There are more new State Bird tracks on the 'net as the band recently recorded four songs for a Daytrotter session.

It doesn't look like the band is touring outside of their local area (there is a show in Cleveland tonight) so here are some pictures from the band's show at The Annex in March.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Good Night, States are Playing Supreme Trading Tomorrow Night

Good Night, States are Playing Supreme Trading Tomorrow (August 2nd) NightI love it when a band that I am not familiar with puts out a disc that grabs my attention. I was planning on reviewing metal CDs tonight but thought I'd listen to a track or two from Good Night, States' new disc Short Films of Self-Control just to hear what the band sounds like. I've now listened to the whole disc through.

The band's music is solid, thoughtful indie-rock but it is the multi-part harmonies, the tasteful synth/piano and the multi-instrument/multi-layers of sound that grabbed and held my attention throughout the disc. This is good stuff...

Check out a couple of the tracks from this release:
Only Thing
The Family Dark

Good Night, States have been releasing singles as "name-your-price" downloads on the 1st and 15th of each month since April 2008 so keep an eye on the band's website for new material.

Tickets are $10 for tomorrow's show and the band is playing with The Shackeltons and Skeleton Breath.

Haste The Day Post New Song, "68", from their forthcoming CD

Haste The Day Post New Track, Indianapolis' Haste The Day have posted the an advance track, "68", from their forthcoming CD Dreamer to their MySpace profile.

It is impossible to make any sort of conclusions based on one track but it appears that the band's sound has gotten a lot heavier. On this new track, vocalist Stephen Keech sticks with a metal growl and there are less vocal harmonies from the other members of the band. The production on this track is also heavier than past releases as the band utilized the services of Andreas Magnusson (The Black Dahlia Murder, Oh Sleeper) for this release.

Dreamer drops on October 14th.