Friday, October 31, 2008

The Yelling - Debut EP Review (Los Angeles/Hollywood Punk)

The Yelling - Debut EP ReviewA friend recently sent me the five track debut EP from the N. Hollywood blues/punk rockers The Yelling. When I first heard this disc, I was reminded how early Jane's Addiction was compared to Led Zeppelin and The Doors. These comparisons are defiantly appropriate for The Yelling's debut CD as well.

The Yelling's debut EP is intense take-no-prisoners blues-based garage rock. The disc starts with the hard driving "Fire and a Microphone" and goes from there into the Zeppelin-ish "Long Time My Love". There are all sorts of classic rock sounds on this disc and the band is able to expand on the psychedelic sounds of the 60's and 70's and combine them with a sort of Wolfmother vibe. All five tracks from the EP are streaming on the band's MySpace page (link below).

The Yelling's EP is an impressive debut and it is available as a download on the band's MySpace page for $5.00.

The band is currently touring around Los Angeles and hopefully they will make it over to the East Coast in the near future. Here are their upcoming shows:

Nov 5 2008 9:00PM, Club Moscow @ Boardner’s, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 6 2008 8:00PM, Future Sounds presents THE RUMBLE @ 3 of Clubs, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 12 2008 9:00PM, Club Moscow @ Boardner’s, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 19 2008 8:00PM, The Echo w/ Night Horse, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 25 2008 8:00PM, Wildcat Lounge, Santa Barbara, CA

Bruce Springsteen/Suicide Split 10" Out on Blast First

Suicide/Bruce Springsteen Split Single Out Now on Blast FirstThe world is definitely getting stranger when one can mention Bruce Springsteen and Suicide (the band) in the same sentence.

Well...Blast First has released a limited edition split 10" with Bruce Springsteen covering Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream", a live performance of Suicide playing "Dream Baby Dream" on the Midnight Special, and a cover of "Mr. Ray" by (the recently defunct NYC band) Beat The Devil. This 10" is the first in a series of limited edition releases celebrating the 70th birthday of Suicide vocalist Alan Vega.

The vinyl edition is a limited pressing of 4,000 and available in most indie music shops (Vintage Vinyl is always a reliable source) and the mp3s are available for purchase from Blast First (click on the LP cover to go to the Blast First site).

Suicide are playing Club Europa in Greenpoint on December 11th.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bugs in the Dark - Grand Avenue CD Review (Next show at Lit Lounge on Nov. 7th)

Bugs in the Dark - Grand Avenue CD Review"Having a little fun is the secret to life" - Karen Rockower (Bugs in the Dark)

Brooklyn's Bugs in the Dark released their first full-length, Grand Avenue, earlier this year and I'm completely convinced that the band is going to break big next year.

Grand Avenue is a major step forward for the band as their songwriting has evolved from the Pylon/Hole-ish punk of their debut EP (Shake Shake) to something closer to X meets Sonic Youth.

The band clearly haven't given up their punk roots but there is more of a sense of melody and structure across this disc's six tracks. This time around, Karen Rockower sings of the four cuts and Zach Glass sings two. Karen's strong vocal performance ranges from the punky "Paranoia" to the Sleater-Kinneyish "Aaron". Zach's singing is a real treat as his voice sounds almost like a gothic John Doe (from X). Drummer, Julia Lomax keeps things moving with some great percussion work. Julia's drumming gives songs like "Gasoline" an almost tribal/Cramps-like feel and she mixes things up across the disc with shakers, tamborines, etc.

The new disc is available through the band's MySpace page (link below) and Bugs in the Dark are playing Lit Lounge on November 7th and The Delancey on December 13th.

Bugs in the Dark's MySpace Profile

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WITNESS (Peter Gabriel's human rights organization) Is Holding a Fund Raiser at Santos Party House on Friday, Oct. 24th

Uncensored Interview & Witness are Holding a Fund Raiser at Santos Party House on Friday, October 24thGive it up for a good cause...

WITNESS uses video and online technologies open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. WITNESS was founded in 1992 by musician and activist Peter Gabriel and the Reebok Human Rights Foundation as a project of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). In 1988, Peter was part of Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! Tour. He was struck by the stories he heard from survivors of human rights abuses and the lack of attention these stories received. Peter had brought along one of the first camcorder models and realized the potential of video as a tool against abuse; he noted that perpetrators of abuses were often brought to justice when photographic or video evidence of abuses existed.

Uncensored Interview is a music-oriented broadband video platform that willl be hosting the event with WITNESS and dedicating the evening to raising money for their cause.

The party on Friday is going to be held at Santos Party House- downstairs, on 100 Lafayette Street in New York City. The lineup includes sets by critically acclaimed Bhangra ambassador DJ Rekha, international DJ sensation Aaron LaCrate, hip hop scratch master DJ Boo and surprise guest DJs.

During the event, WITNESS staffers will be conducting video interviews with attendees to be uploaded to WITNESS' participatory media site, The Hub (, in support of the 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 2008.

Uncensored Interview

Monday, October 20, 2008

Exit Stencil Showcase at Spike Hill's Tomorrow Night: My Pick for CMJ Day 1

I told myself that I wasn't going to do CMJ this year...Oh well, I guess some resolutions are meant to be broken. Tomorrow night, Exit Stencil Recordings is doing a showcase at Spike Hill in Williamsburg with some great bands from the Cleveland area.

Cleveland's Exit Stencil Recording CMJ Showcase is at Spike Hill on October 21st
Here are some details, videos, mp3s, etc. on the bands that are playing:

8pm - Spanish Prisoners: " of those squirrelly artists that runs le gamut from a weird freak folk (with spry banjo, dobro, accordion, Wurlitzer, Neil Young-ish harmonica, etc.) to an even more skewed inversion of rough-hewn, '70s influenced indie-rock. No wonder he once backed Daniel Johnston; they've both got a nice artistic screw loose." -
The Big Takeover

Spanish Prisoners backing Daniel Johnston @ Highline Ballroom, Feb '08

9pm - Mystery of Two: "Not quite post-punk, not quite New Wave, this
Cleveland trio nonetheless shares traits with both (angular guitar parts,
occasional synth bleeps), but adds other components Sonic Youth noise
and Feelies guitar drive to come up with something less derivative.
Occasionally the embers ignite into conflagration, which is when the band
rises above the rabble." - Creative Loafing

"Desolate" - Mystery of Two

10pm - HotChaCha: "This all-girl Cleveland foursome packs a helluva
punch, with loud, edgy pop/rock and no apologies. The tracks are huge and
in your face and frontwoman Jovana Batkovic¹s vocals are spot-on with any
other female lead in the business." - Slug Magazine

"J'accuse" - HotChaCha

11pm - The Dreadful Yawns: "Folk rock with a shade of psych, The Dreadful
Yawns swathe the genre with more boy-girl singing adorableness than the
Mommas & The Poppas on a Corey Haim-sized prescription drug binge."
-Verbicide Magazine

"Kill Me Now" - The Dreadful Yawns

12am - Home and Garden: Classic Cleveland avant-rock featuring a rare on
stage performance by both original Pere Ubu member's, Scott Krause and
Tony Maimone!

Matthew Sweet - Sunshine Lies CD Review (Shout Factory)

Matthew Sweet - Sunshine Lies CD ReviewThis is one of the best (and most consistent) releases from Matthew Sweet that I have heard in years.

Gone is the soft-rock of the last few discs and this guitar-driven disc is solidly rooted in 60's power-pop and psychedelia. Sweet's songwriting shows a clear vision and there isn't a bad track on the disc. The strong songwriting is complemented by crystal-clear production (which was done by Sweet in his home studio) which highlight the disc's hooks. The power-pop tracks have exquisite (Byrds/Beach Boys style) vocal harmonies and the psychedelic tracks have both "teeth" and snarl. While Sweet mines from a variety of genres, the disc sounds like a consistent body of work and has a warm feel. Sweet describes this disc as "very direct, but seen through the eyes of nature, or rather modeled on its beauty, chaos and freedom, something like a stab at sonic art nouveau."

There are a number of stand-out tracks on this disc which include "Daisychain", which features Hollies-style vocal harmonies, and "Sunshine Lies", which features glorious backing vocals from x-Bangle Susanna Hoffs. Two of the disc's psychedelic rockers, "Flying" and "Room to Rock" are streaming on Sweet's MySpace page.

Matthew Sweet is currently out on tour behind this new release and he is playing Webster Hall next Tuesday, October 28th.

Matthew Sweet's Website

Lacona is Headlining the Chicago Showcase at Arlene's Grocery on Thursday (CMJ)

Chicago's Lacona is Headlining the CMJ Chicago Show at Arlene's on Thursday"Camera" - Lacona
"(No Misgivings) Dendrochronology" - Lacona

Chicago alt/art-rockers Lacona are headlining the Chicago Showcase on Thursday night at Arlene's Grocery. The band released a great full length CD, Pantomime, early this year which the Chicago Reader described as having a "romantic-80's-pop sense of melody." The band's music is hard to classify into any one particular genre but one point of comparison would be the art-rock of Television meets Radiohead.

They band is trying out some new material on the road that will be on their next disc and some of the new tracks are posted above.

If you are like me and didn't bother with a badge this year, tickets for the show are $10. Lacona goes on at Midnight and the other bands on the bill are:

07:00 PM - Deanna Devore
08:00 PM - Bailiff
08:45 PM - Needers & Givers
09:30 PM - Joe Pug
10:15 PM - Brighton, MA
11:00 PM - Canasta

Lacona's MySpace Profile
Arlene's Grocery

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Natalie Walker - "With You" CD Review

Natalie Walker - With You CD ReviewNatalie Walker's second solo CD, With You, is a logical progression back to her trip-hop roots. Natalie has a beautiful haunting voice and the atmospheric sound which made Urban Angel such a success is complemented on With You by tasteful new wave dance beats.

On this release, Natalie is once again working with Brooklyn-based Stuhr Productions and they have really given her music a full and very accessible sound. The first two singles from the new disc, "Over And Under" and "Pink Neon", have strong beats and catchy hooks that hold up well against anything in the trip-hop genre. Fans of Portishead, Sneaker Pimps and Natalie's previous band, Daughter Darling, will really enjoy the (re)evolution of Natalie's sound. There are also a couple of cuts like "By and By" and "Only Love" which fit well alongside the tracks from Urban Angel so longtime fans should find enough to like as well.

Lyrically, With You seems very similar to Urban Angel as a number of tunes seem to be about love, loss and relationships. What makes this release more enjoyable than the previous is that it just doesn't seem as uber-serious. I found Urban Angel somewhat of a late-night, come-down record. Tracks like "Ordinary" have a sense of humor where Natalie pokes fun at her boyfriend who thinks he is a prince with his new haircut and new jeans.

Natalie has been touring a lot in support of the new disc (which was released in August on Dorado Records) and she is playing the Organic Entertainment/September Gurl CMJ Showcase at Club Midway on Thursday, October 23rd. The showcase starts at Noon with a DJ set and Natalie is scheduled to take the stage at 5PM.

Natalie Walker's Website
Natalie Walker's MySpace page

Nikki Shannon - Live Video from Show @ National Underground, NYC 10/10/08

Nikki Shannon played about an hour set at The National Underground last Friday night to an enthusiastic crowd and full room. I taped part of the show and clip below contains the songs "Had It With You" (non-LP cut; unsure that this is the 'real' title) and "Chocolate & Wine".

Nikki Shannon: Live at The National Underground 10-10-08 -

Nikki has been playing around town in support of her debut CD, Too Few, which was released earlier this year. The new disc is available through all of the major online digital music sites (itunes, Rhapsody, Napster, E-Music, and Amazon) and physical copies of the disc can be ordered through Nikki's MySpace page.

Steve Matteo (contributor for the New York Times, LA Times, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Details) described Too Few as "just the right touches of harmonies and subtle instrumental accentuations, may at first recall such great talents as Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde, and Joni Mitchell vocally and in her songwriting...yet in the end Nikki has a sound all her own." In addition to earning strong reviews from the critics, Nikki has had songs featured on "Six Degrees" (ABC TV) and she announced at last Friday's show that the song "Beauty Is Gone" will be featured on an upcoming episode of "The Hills".

Here are Nikki's upcoming shows:
Oct 22, 2008, 9:00PM, Mexacali Blues, Teaneck, New Jersey
Nov 2, 2008 8:00AM (time and place TBD), NYC MARATHON, NYC

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunn O))) - Pictures from the Knitting Factory, NYC 10-15-08

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08The crowds at the local Sunn O))) shows seem to get bigger each tour. I got to the Knitting Factory around 10PM last night and the club was full to capacity.

The show was exactly as described - Greg and Stephen donned their robes just at 11PM and played The GrimmRobe Demos in its entirety. There were no breaks, no conversations - just 90 minutes of raw, uninhibited sounds.

The somewhat humerous exception to this was, toward the end of the set, somebody from the audience kept trying to climb onto the stage. SOMA pushed him back a few times and finally security came out. It was pretty amusing watching the security guard trying to glare at the guy who was at the front of the stage while Greg played on right beside him.

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08The last night of this brief mini-tour was tonight in Philadelphia but I've heard that there will be a new album and tour next year. In terms of tour merchandise (which might go up on the Southern Lord site), the band was selling:
- The Grimmrobe Demos 3x Picture LP for $40 (it may have been $45)
- Dømkirke for $20 (didn't look close enough to see if they were selling color vinyl copies)
- The Grimmrobe Demos - 2x CD on Inoxia for $25

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08

Sunn O))) Played Their 10th Anniversary Show at the Knitting Factory on 10/15/08

Southern Lord

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black Cobra Announce Headlining Show at The Charleston in Williamsburg

Black Cobra Play The Charleston in Brooklyn on October 26thPsychedelic sludge rockers, Black Cobra, are currently on the road with Genghis Tron and Yip Yip for about another week.

After this, the band is getting right back in the van and touring the clubs across the country. A wide range of bands are joining Black Cobra at some of their shows which include Weedeater, Greif, Sourvein, US Christmas and labelmates Dark Castle and Stinking Lizaveta.

The only area tour stop is at The Charleston in Williamsburg on October 26th. Check out the video for "Sugar Water" (which is from the 2007 release Bestial) and bring your earplugs to the show.

Black Cobra's MySpace Page
Black Cobra's Website

Matt Pryor - Confidence Man CD Review (Vagrant)

Matt Pryor - Confidence Man CD ReviewMatt Pryor's first solo CD is getting strong reviews from other music sites. Unfortunately, I am going to be the contrarian as I found this disc hard to get through.

I've been trying to sort through why I am so down on this disc. It may be that my only exposure to Matt Pryor is through The Get Up Kids and, on this disc, Matt plays very mellow, slightly country-folk tinged acoustic tunes. This isn't to say that this is a bad disc -- it just didn't hold my attention. My biggest complaint is that many of the songs sound similar and this makes this 15-track CD start to drag after a few songs.

There are some standout tracks on this disc, which include the title track, "Confidence Man", which has a Dylanish feel and an upbeat swing and "A Totally New Year" which has Byrds-like feel to the song. "Still, There's A Light" is another strong track that has an Appalachian feel and great backing vocals from an uncredited female singer. On the reverse side, tracks like "I'm Sorry Stephen" and "We'll Be Fine" are really grating. The songs in the middle sort of fall into coffee-shop fodder and there just wasn't enough 'spark' to this disc to hold my interest.

Six of the disc's 15 tracks are streaming on Matt Pryor's MySpace page so check out the music and make up your own mind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Worst Case Ontario are Playing Crash Mansion on Thursday, October 16th

Worst Case Ontario Play Crash Mansion on Thursday, October 16thWhile the band's name still puzzles me, NYC-based Worst Case Ontario play laid-back, melodic garage/alt-rock that sounds like a return to the music of the post-grunge late 90's.

The band released their debut CD last year, Burning Politely, which Deli Magazine describes as "New York rock after it learns to ditch the of the better '90s-inspired indie outfits of late."

Give a listen to the leadoff track, "You're Glib", from the Burning Politely, you'll get a good feel for the band's music. There are a couple of additional tracks from this disc streaming on the band's MySpace page.

This should be a fun show and tickets are only $8.00.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Residents - Pictures from The Bunny Boy Tour, Blender Theater, NYC 10/11/08

The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08Last night, I caught the last of The Residents' three night run at the Blender Theater. The band is touring behind their latest CD, The Bunny Boy.

The Bunny Boy follows a story line of a "unabomber" type loner searching for his missing brother Harvey. The live show follows the sequence of the CD as the narrator deals with obsession, insanity and the coming Apocalypse. Like most releases from The Residents, this is pretty wild stuff.

The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08 The production on this tour was a bit smaller scale than the last time that The Residents came through (DDA tour stopped at the Warsaw in 2002). The Bunny Boy tour is the equivalent of a one-room play where the narrator is the only live actor. The narrator takes the audience through the Bunny Boy story through narrative, songs and showing videos on the projection screen.

Here is an audience video from the tour premiere in Santa Cruz which will give you a sense for the stage set up:

The show was split into two parts and the pictures that follow are from the second act. The narrator performed the second act in a bunny costume (you have to see the show or buy the disc to understand the background for this). and these pictures show the narrator in his "secret room" slowing recognizing his madness.

The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08
The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08
The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08
The Residents - Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 10/11/08

This was an amazing show so, if you get the chance to catch one of the remaining US tour dates (below), you should go.

Oct 14 USA Detroit Royal Oak Theater
Oct 15 USA Chicago Lakeshore
Oct 16 USA Chicago Lakeshore
Oct 17 USA Chicago Lakeshore

Ralph America (The Residents' Record Label)
The Residents YouTube Channel
The Residents Website

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Jean on Jean CD Review (Molly Schnick, ex-Out Hud)

Jean on Jean CD ReviewJean on Jean is the intriguing solo debut from x-Out Hud cellist Molly Schnick. While this is a solo disc, Molly utilizes a "Phil Spector-ish" wall-of-sound approach to its production which makes this sound like a full band effort. Across the disc's nine tracks, there are layers of strings, vocals, guitars, and organs which give this release a warm and rich sound.

The majority of this disc falls somewhere between the chamber pop (a la Joanna Newsom) and dream pop genres but the songs are diverse enough not to be pigeonholed into one specific genre. The disc opener, Tonight, starts with a 60's girl group swing before branching off into more of a chamber pop direction. Molly's cello is an integral part of most songs but it is complemented by guitar, keys, handclaps, etc. Molly's voice also plays an integral part of the music and her voice has a innocent, whispy quality that fits well with the music. The innocence of the music reminds me of Mo Tucker's songs with the Velvet Underground but, like the Velvets, the sweetness of the music hides some dark lyrical themes.

Jean on Jean played their first show at the Cake Shop a few weeks ago (there are pictures from the show on the CMJ blog) and a full US tour is supposed to follow later this year.

Jane on Jean is currently available as an exclusive digital download on eMusic. The full release of the disc (retail and all digital outlets) is scheduled for November 11th on Kanine Records.

Jean on Jean's MySpace Profile

Nikki Shannon Is Playing The National Underground (Houston Street) This Friday

Nikki Shannon is Playing The National 10thUnderground on Friday, October Nikki Shannon is playing tomorrow night at The National Underground.

I caught Nikki at the Canal Room a few month ago (see previous post for live video from the show) and thought she was great. I think Jonathan Clarke (host of Q104.3's Out of the Box show) summed it up well by saying "If you like Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow, then you'll love Nikki!"

Tickets for the show are $8.00 and this is an early show -- Nikki goes on at 8PM.

The National Underground is located at 159 E. Houston Street, NY, NY 10002.

Nikki Shannon's Website

The Canon Logic - Live @ Sullivan Hall, NYC 10/3/08 + Post-Show Interview

The Canon Logic - Live @ Sullivan Hall, NYC 10-3-08 + Interview -

The Canon Logic played to a full house last Friday night at Sullivan Hall and this video is from the band's opening number. I don't know the name of the song but the band has a number of new songs in their set which sound great. Check out the new song "Avenue of Criminals" which is streaming on the band's MySpace page (link below). I have been looking forward to new recorded material from the band and, in talking with the guys after the show, they are going to be releasing a new EP later this year and a full-length release sometime next year.

The crowd seems to grow in number every time that I see The Canon Logic. The band also has some of the most enthusiastic fans that I have seen in a long time as the crowd danced and sang along to all of the songs. The band played about a 45 minute set and, with the crowd alternating between cheers of "CA-NON LOGIC" and "ONE MORE SONG", the club let the band play one final tune. I think the crowd would have kept them on stage for the rest of the night if the club would have allowed it.

Canon Logic are playing the No Correct Way/Fearless Music showcase at CMJ which will be held at Arlene's Grocery on Tuesday, October 21st. The are some great bands on this bill which include Second Dan and The Dig.

The Canon Logic's MySpace Page
The Canon Logic's Website

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dead Confederate Play Union Hall and Conan O'Brien on Friday, Oct. 10th

Dead Confederate Play Union Hall and Conan O'Brien on Friday, October 10thDead Confederate plays dark, southern-influence psych- rock and the band has been building up steam over the past year or so, sharing stages with acts like Dinosaur Jr., Drive By Truckers, and Deerhunte. The buzz really got going when Dead Confederates opened for REM at SXSW and the band was just listed as one of the "Six Acts Defining Rock and Pop in 08" in a recent Rolling Stone.

The band's full length CD, Wrecking Ball, came out last month. The disc was recorded in Austin, Texas at the studio where the sound effects for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were recorded. Rolling Stone describes the disc as "a raw, howling take on Southern rock that recalls the darkest moments of Nineties grunge". Check out "The Rat", which was the first single from the new disc.

Dead Confederates are coming to town on Thursday for a show at the Mercury Lounge and they are playing Union Hall on Friday along with making an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show. Kuroma (from Athens, GA) is playing with the band both nights. At the Mercury Lounge show, the bands are sharing the bill with Catfish Haven.

Dead Confederate's MySpace Profile

Candlebox - Alive in Seattle CD/DVD Review

Candlebox - Alive in Seattle CD/DVD ReviewCandlebox seemed to be on the radio all the time in the mid-90's but the band faded from view toward the end of the decade. I noticed that the band started coming through the area again in 2006 but never really focused on where they have been. Evidently the band broke up sometime around 1999 but reunited in 2006 with the release of The Best of Candlebox CD. After releasing no new material for 10 years, Candlebox released both a new studio CD, Into the Sun, and the live CD/DVD set Alive In Seattle this year.

The live disc captures Candlebox playing live in their hometown of Seattle. The show was recorded at the Showbox on one of the last dates of the band's 2006 reunion tour. In listening to the disc, I don't think I gave the band sufficient due in the 90's. As "Far Behind" was a staple on WHFS (when I lived in DC), I always associated the band with that era of "modern rock". In listening to this disc, the band has a heavy, blues based sound that sort of reminds me of Mother Love Bone. Vocalist Kevin Martin has a big rock voice and the live mix on the disc sounds great. The energy of the crowd adds to the atmosphere of the show as Candlebox is playing some of their best loved songs to a hometown crowd.

The DVD contains the video portion of the concert along with an extra encore track, "Rain", which runs about another 15 minutes. The DVD portion of the concert is equally engaging as the band has a strong stage presence. Kevin Martin is all over the stage, the crowd is wild and the camera angles show off the musical prowess of the band. The encore track is a great finale as all the band members showcase their chops and Kevin even takes a turn on the drums.

This is great stuff!

The DVD also contains a 15 minutes acoustic performance and radio station interview with the band from KCMQ in Columbia, MO. Once again, the band sounds great. Some of the interesting parts of the interview are Kevin is talking about how the band broke up to get out of their contract with Maverick and that the band is finalizing material for a new disc that will be released sometime next year.

Here is a live clip from the DVD:

Candlebox - "Arrow" from Alive in Seattle
The band is all but off the road right now (presumably recording) aside for a one-off festival, Destination Daytona, in Daytona Beach on 10-18-2008.

Candlebox's Website

Monday, October 06, 2008

Taproot: An Interview with vocalist Stephen Richards

After a quiet couple of years, Taproot released their fourth disc, Our Long Road Home, last month. This disc was recorded in the band's home town of Ann Arbor, MI and was produced by Tim Patalan (Sponge, Watershed).

The band is out on the road in support of the new disc and they are playing a run of shows this month with Sevendust. The band is playing Irving Plaza tomorrow night (October 7th) and here are the other area tour dates:

Oct 8 2008 7:30PM, Mulcahys, Wantagh, New York
Oct 11 2008 8:00PM, The Chance, Poughkeepsie, New York

I had the opportunity to catch up with Taproot vocalist Steven Richards over the weekend and we talked about the new disc, some of the one-off acoustic sessions that the band has been playing, working with Billy Corgan and more. Here is a link to the podcast feed View RSS XML and here is a direct link to the mp3.

Tickets for tomorrow night's show at Irving Plaza are $23.50. Our Long Road Home is available in retail outlets and there is a different online-only bonus track on both the iTunes and versions.

Taproot's Website
Taproot's MySpace Profile

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mark Geary Returns to NYC for a Show at The Cutting Room on Friday, October 10th

Mark Geary Returns to NYC for a Show at The Cutting Room on October 19thBefore heading back to Ireland, Mark Geary is playing one more show in town. Mark is playing The Cutting Room next Friday, October 10th. The show is at 8PM; advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door.

Mark's touring behind his new CD Opium which was released two weeks ago on sonaBLAST! / Thirty Tigers.

The first single from Opium is "Tuesday":

There are a few tracks from the disc streaming on Mark's MySpace page (link below) along with a few free downloads. One of my favorite tracks from the new disc is "Facin' the Fall".

Mark Geary's MySpace Page

Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners CD/DVD Review (Rhino Reissue)

Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners CD/DVD Review (Rhino Reissue)In general, I approach reissues with a healthy degree of skepticism as I have watched Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Kiss' catalogs get reissued numerous times over the last few years.

I'm impressed with Rhino's reissue of Graham Nash's 1971 solo debut, Songs for Beginners, as there is a noticeable and significant sonic improvement to the sound quality. This two disc set includes a new stereo mix in Advanced Resolution (48k/24 bit) and DVD of the entire album in Advanced Resolution 5.1.

Included on the DVD is an interview with Graham where he discusses his photography and how he uses it to captures his vision of the world at a particular time and place. It is a fascinating interview as Graham comes across as an every-day person with none of the typical rock star bravado. There is also a set of Graham's photos on the DVD and the audio portion of the DVD uses some of these photos as a backdrop to each song.

At first, I started to grumble as there were no bonus tracks with the reissue but, on second listen, I think the disc is such a solid body of work that and bonus tracks could potentially take away from the simplicity and the power of the disc. The disc starts and ends with the political tunes, "Military Madness" and "Chicago/We Can Change the World", which seem just as relevant today as they were in 1971. There are also a number of tunes about the breakup of Nash's relationship with Joni Mitchell. After listening too many mopey emo-bands cary on about breakups, it is refreshing to hear Graham's dignified and hopeful introspection on life, love and loss.

There is an all-star cast playing with Graham on this disc which include David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, and Neil Young (who plays under the name Joe Yankee).

If you are a CSN or Crosby/Nash fan, this disc is well worth picking up. For long-time Graham Nash fans, the sound quality on this disc is THAT much improved that it is probably worth replacing a previously purchased copy of Songs for Beginners.

Currently Graham is touring the East Coast with David Crosby in support of the duo's 2004 double-disc effort "Crosby-Nash" (which was released in 2006 as a single disc entitled "Highlights"). Graham has written a couple of new tunes "Lost Bird" and "In Your Name" which he is supposed to be premiering on the current tour.

Here are the upcoming tour dates for the NY/NJ area:

October 11th, Shea Center for the Performing Arts, Wayne, NJ

October 13th, State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ

October 14th, The Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury, Westbury, NY

October 16th, Performing Arts Ctr at Purchase College, Purchase, NY

Graham is also supposed to be finishing up a 65-song career-retrospective box set, Reflection, which is due out in February. According to, Nash said that the upcoming box set "starts in 1964 and ends in 2004. So it's the Hollies to the last record that David (Crosby) and I put out. And everything is in there. It's me solo, me with Crosby, me with Neil (Young), me with Stephen (Stills) and Neil, and me with Stephen, Neil and David."

Among the material included in the box set will be unreleased tracks, as well as different versions or mixes of previously released songs.

Graham Nash's Website
Crosby/Nash's Website

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble Returns to Southpaw Tomorrow Night, October 3rd

Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble Returns to Southpaw on October 3rdAkoya Afrobeat is a 14-piece Brooklyn-based band that performs original music in the style of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musical innovator who created the genre of Afrobeat.

I caught the band at Southpaw last year. The band put on a fabulous live show and got the crowd shaking to the beat. URB Magazine said "Akoya is developing a reputation for whipping dance floors into a frenzy with their fusion of African, Afro-Cuban, Jazz and Funk music". Here is a link to some of the pictures that I took at last year's show.

Tomorrow night's show starts at 9:30PM and tickets are $12. On the bill with Akoya Afrobeat is Bryan Vargas y Ya Esta.

Akoya Afrobeat's Website
Akoya Afrobeat's MySpace Page

Husker Du: More on Live EP From 1982/3

Grant Hart Releases Live Husker Du EP as a Tribute to John CleggAn earlier post on this new Husker Du EP seemed to generate a lot of interest so I wanted to follow it up with an update.

I just got back from a week-long trip to Minneapolis and I spent one night at Grumpy's Bar. As I hadn't yet tracked down a copy of the EP, I asked the waitress if there were any copies left over from the record release party and she found a copy in the bar's office. So...$10 later, I have the new EP.

I probably should have figured out in advance that J.C. is John Clegg. John played saxophone with the band in the early 80's and he died of cancer earlier this year. Grant wrote a detailed tribute/remembrance to John on the inside cover.

While there are only three tracks on the EP, it is about 20 minutes in length.

The tracks are:
- Drug Party, Duffy's, 4/14/82
- What's Going On, Goofy's, 8/12/83
- Drug Party, Goofy's, 8/12/83

and obviously John plays saxophone on all tracks.

If you can find a copy of the disc, it is well worth picking up. It is probably worth checking with The Electric Fetus (Minneapolis record store) or Treehouse Records to see if they have copies.