Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Woodhand Play the Bell House on 10/31 with Junior Boys

DOWNLOAD: Woodhands - "I Kissed A Girl" (Katy Perry cover)

Electro-rock duo Woodhands are in the midst of a 17-date tour with Junior Boys and are playing Bell House on Halloween. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 DOS.

Woodhands released their debut, Heart Attack, in April 2008 and they are going into the studio after this tour to complete their follow-up Remorsecapade which is due out in early 2010. The band also released a great documentary, where Dan and Paul revisit the site of their breakthrough illegal show in 2006 with Holy Fuck. Check out the clip below...

Woodhands' MySpace Profile

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Galactic Bowling: iPod Touch / iPhone Game Review (Perpetual FX Creative)

Galactic Bowling - App Store Link ($4.99)

Galactic Bowling: iPod Touch / iPhone Game Review (Perpetual FX Creative)Galactic Bowling is a well-done port of Perpetual FX Creative's inter-galactic bowling game for the PC. I have to give kudos to Perpetual FX Creative as this port maximizes the capabilities of the iPhone/iPod touch platform. The game has great graphics, four well-defined characters (all with full back-stories) and the 'inter-galactic battle with aliens' story-line actually fits within the framework of this bowling game.

Here is the official story line: "Since the dawn of time there has been a balance between light and dark energies. For as long as can be remembered each side had a planet that was tied to the fate of these energies. The "Dark Planet" Eosp-B served as the center of dark energy for the universe. It was ruled by one known as the "Dark Queen", Lucindall Evveril. Just as there was a Dark Planet, there also existed a planet of light energy. In order to maintain peace the Dark Queen placed her daughter, the Anubis Princess, in a position of power to watch over the planet of light. By doing so, the Dark Queen was able to have control over all of the dark and the light powers in the universe.

But, the day came when the dark planet began to decay and die. The dark planet beings began losing their energy and their powers. Out of desperate need for survival, the Dark Queen built a magnificent ship capable of harvesting all the power from entire planets. The queen knew she would not be allowed to destroy all life in the galaxy, so she created the ultimate tournament to decide which planets would be spared from death. Each planet would appoint one of their own to travel the galaxy and compete in the Galactic Bowling League. Earth had only four people brave enough and crazy enough to accept this heroic challenge: John Dire aka "The Air Strike"; Kendra Klein aka "The Striking Beauty"; Max Fortner aka "The Lucky Strike"; and Shaniqua Stevens aka "The Cobra Strike".

The winner of the Earth League will earn the right to compete against the clever and fierce aliens in the Galactic League, tough opponents, each trying desperately to save their home planets from total destruction

The game has three distinctive play modes (solo, regular and battle) and eleven lanes to play on. On the first few levels, you compete against the other players from Earth on standard bowling lanes. As the game progresses, the locations change and the lanes get more complex. There are obstacles on the more complex lanes which include such things as fire, loops and worm holes.

The player controls are fairly straight-forward as you are able to position your player by using a horizontal slide bar at the bottom of the screen and you can set the angle of approach with a vertical slide bar. The physical bowling motion takes place by tapping a power meter to set the strength of the throw prior to tapping the bowler him/herself. Don't worry as this all probably sounds a lot more complex than it really is. The quick summary is that you can get bowling right away without having to learn any complex moves but there are features (like the vertical slide and the power meter) that allow you to finesse your approach. Once you throw the ball, you can use the the iPhone's accelerometer to put some spin on the ball while it is in motion.

Galactic Bowling: iPod Touch/ iPhone Game ReviewWith each throw, your "power-up" meter starts to fill - the more pins you knock down, the faster it fills up. Once filled, you can bowl a 'special' ball that automatically clears all the pins standing. You can unlock other special balls as you progress through the story which include extra speed, extra power and the ability to split your ball in two. Like Guitar Hero, you even can earn various types of 'whammies' which you can use to disrupt your opponent's game.

Galactic Bowling will hold your attention quickly but there is more than enough here to warrant many repeat plays.

Fairytale Fights - Porn Stars Ron Jeremy, Krissy Lynn and Andy San Dimas Appear in New Game Trailers (Playlogic)

This has to be some of the funniest stuff that I've seen in a while. Fairytale Fights hit the stores today and is available for the PS3 and XBox 360 consoles.

Marine Sharpshooter - iPhone / iPod Touch Game Review (Groove Media)

Marine Sharpshooter - iPhone / iPod Touch Game ReviewMarine Sharpshooter is the latest first-person shooter (sniper) game added to the App Store. The game got a lot of attention when originally released as is was a free download and is now priced at .99 cents.

Marine Sharpshooter has a decent premise - "Dropped behind enemy lines, you must uncover and dismantle an elaborate terrorist plot to launch a series of co-ordinated attacks around the world. Your mission will take you from hidden outposts in desert cities to full scale military bases." There are five major missions within the game, each of which involve completing a series of objectives - clearing the enemy terrain of hostiles. In addition to having enemies who identify your position the minute you fire your first shot, you are also timed. You have to clear a set number of battlefields within the time alloted.

The problem is that a solid premise is marred by a flawed implementation -- the gun controls can often be sluggish and there is no zoom-in/zoom-out to help target your shots. Without having a zoom feature, you don't get a view of the whole terrain so your scope flashes red in the direction of enemy fire. While the key objective is to clear the enemy terrain, you are awarded points and the points system is somewhat bizarre. You lose 200 points for every missed shot but, when an enemy is hiding behind an object (window, etc.), these are the times where you have to point, rapid fire and hope for the best. My key complaint with Marine Sharpshooter is that the game play seems incredibly repetitive - every terrain has the feeling of 'sameness'.

While the game is certainly priced affordably, I'd recommend passing as I just couldn't find reason to keep playing this game. As a point of comparison, I played iSniper until I finished the game.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Marcy Playground: 90's Alt-Rock Dinosaur Seeks 5 More Minutes of Fame

Marcy Playground
Originally uploaded by brandonzwa
Last week was an insanely long week -- I was working very long hours, had what felt like a touch of the flu, missed pretty much all of CMJ and received my second DMCA notice.

To back up, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) covers two things: 1) it "criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works" and 2) "it heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet". --Wikipedia

It is this second part of this legislation that is used to hammer bloggers as the burden of proof falls on the accused, not the accuser. Here is where it gets really fun (if you are the RIAA or one of their stooges) -- under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, the recipient (Google or otherwise) pulls down 'the offending content' immediate or they are "potentially liable". Think about this -- we pride ourselves as a nation on due process but -- in this particular instance -- Congress has bullied the internet service into blaming the accused. This is the equivalent of threatening to sue Ford or GM for selling a car to someone who is later accused of drunk driving. For anyone reading, filing a DCMA claim is really that simple -- you file a "good faith" notice that the content infringes on your rights and -- BOOM -- the content disappears almost immediately. You don't even have to prove you are the content owner. The accused then can either fight the take-down by filing a counter-notice (which involved supplying the accuser with your name, address and telephone number) or just letting it go.

Here is a real DMCA notice that I've copied from Note all the weasel words in the lead-up to the threats...'even if we are ultimately wrong, it looked like we were right at the time [based on good faith and 'data' available to us] so we aren't liable for false claims'.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) and its member record companies. The RIAA is a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture and distribute approximately eighty-five (85) percent of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies on matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.

We have learned that your service is hosting the above web sites on your network. These sites are offering direct links to files
containing sound recordings for other users to download by such artists as Lady Gaga, Sting, Mario, Madonna, and Muse. These recordings are owned by one of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of
use. We have a good faith belief that the above-described activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to us.

We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the sites or the infringing links from your system, or that you disable access to the sites or the infringing links, and that you inform the site operator of the illegality of his or her conduct.

You should understand that this letter constitutes notice to you that this site operator may be liable for the infringing activity occurring on your service. In addition, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you ignore this notice, you and/or your company may also be liable for any resulting infringement. This letter does not constitute a waiver of any
right to recover damages incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights as well as claims for other relief are expressly retained.

Please note: We have submitted a signature to be placed on file with Google.

You may contact me at RIAA, [private], Washington, DC, 20004, Tel. [private], or e-mail [private], to discuss this notice. We await your response. Kind regards.


VP, Online Anti-Piracy

Coming back to Marcy Playground -- a few weeks ago, I received notice that Marcy Playground had filed a DMCA notice against me and the review that I had written of their newest CD was gone - POOF. So, what was the problem here?? DCMA notices are equally 'fun' for the recipient as Google doesn't tell you what the infringing content was. Given that I don't have any hard facts (outside of the DMCA notice) to go on, all I can do is guess. Let's see...I used a stock picture of the CD (this falls under 'fair use' boys) and I linked (note: linked, not rehosted) to live tracks that Marcy Playground singer John Wozniak had posted on his MySpace blog. Once again, this shouldn't be a problem.

I originally shrugged this off as I found Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy" to be one of the more annoying songs of the 90's but - after receiving this second notice, I really started thinking that enough is enough. It also doesn't say much for me (Just sayin', I am from Brooklyn) if I let some 90's one-hit wonder file a bogus claim against me and get away with it.

Here is where Marcy Playground has a problem - the law holds for severe legal consequences for filing a false or bad-faith notice. There was an obvious lack of due care and good faith on Marcy Playground's part in filing this DMCA notice. I could also likely make a liable and defamation claim stick as DMCA claims are publicly posted.

So -- what's my point with all of this...

1) Downloading isn't what is killing the music industry - crappy product, mediocre bands and poor legislation seems to play a major part in this equation

2) Marcy Playground - What planet are your brains on? I gave your new CD a decent review and you filed a DMCA complaint against me for linking to content that your lead singer/songwriter had posted for free?? Now you have legal issues due to sloppy due diligence on your part. We are going to need to come to some sort of settlement on this. I have to ask you - was it worth it? After this fiasco, I will never work with you and I will also strongly and actively encourage other bloggers and journalists not to work with you.

Seriously - bullsh*t claims like this take away from bands who have legitimate claims when their new CD goes up on Rapidshare (or equivalent).

I like sex and candy as much as the next guy but Marcy Playground has left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ned Collette + Wire Walker Release First Single 'Come Clean' from Forthcoming CD

DOWNLOAD: Ned Collette + Wire Walker - "Come Clean" (from Over the Stones, Under the Stars)

Ned Collette + Wirewalker Release First Single 'Come Clean' from Forthcoming CD 'Over the Stones, Under the Stars'Was anyone fortunate enough to have caught Ned Collette's shows at Joe's Pub or Arlene's Grocery when he was over in '07? The Joe's Pub show was understated brilliance.

Melbourne's Ned Collette + Wire Walker are releasing their third album Over the Stones, Under the Stars later this month. This disc was mixed in Brooklyn, New York by Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Nina Simone, The Black Keys and Sparklehorse) and it is coming out on the Australian Dot Dash label. A digital iTunes release will follow later this year.

Ned Collette

Capgun Coup Release New Single "Bad Bands" from Forthcoming Disc

DOWNLOAD: Capgun Coup - "Bad Bands" (from Maudlin - out Nov. 3rd)

Capgun Coup Release 'Bad Bands' as the First Single from Forthcoming DiscOmaha, NB indie-pop/punk band Capgun Coup are releasing their sophomore disc Maudlin on November 3rd on Team Love (home to Jenny Lewis, The Felice Brothers, etc.)

This disc is the follow-up to the band's 2007 debut, Brought to You by Nebraskafish, and its described as "a satiric commentary on the state of contemporary life, as well as a sonic homage to Capgun Coup’s reputed, dynamic live shows".

Team Love is currently taking pre-orders for the LP and CD.

Capgun Coup is on tour with Cursive starting next month and here are the upcoming tour dates:
11.24.09 -- Lawrence, KS, Bottleneck
11.25.09 -- Springfield, MO, Outland Ballroom
11.27.09 -- Denton, TX, Hailey’s
11.28.09 -- Austin, TX, Mohawk
11.29.09 -- McAllen, TX, Cine El Ray
12.01.09 -- Baton Rouge, LA, Spanish Moon
12.02.09 -- New Orleans, LA, One Eye Jacks
12.03.09 -- Mobile, AL, Alabama Music Box
12.04.09 -- Pensacola, FL, Sluggos
12.05.09 -- Orlando, FL, The Social

Capgun Coup's MySpace Profile

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sonic Syndicate Returns with New Singer and New EP (Nuclear Blast)

Sonic Syndicate Returns with New Singer and New EPSonic Syndicate will be releasing a two-track EP entitled "Rebellion" (Nuclear Blast) on November 6th which will be the first materiel recorded with new co-vocalist Nathan J. Biggs (x-The Hollow Earth Theory). Biggs has been with the band since August and he replaces vocalist Roland Johansson who gave notice in March and left the band in August.

The new material sounds like a good follow-up to Love and Other Disasters. The lead-off single (video below) is a melodic radio-friendly tune that is comparable to songs like "Enclave" and "My Escape". The second track, "Rebellion in Nightmareland", is a good bit harder (significantly less clean vocals) and is comparable to songs like "Jack of Diamonds".

"Something incredible and totally unpredictable has happened here! Not only have I managed to land myself in one the most promising bands in the world, I've gained a new family too. The energy between Sonic and I is electric and its producing some breath taking results. We're taking it to the next level - Don't blink or you'll be running to catch up with us!" - Nathan J. Biggs

Sonic Syndicate is heading back into the studio in January to record their next full-length which will be out sometime in the spring.

Sonic Syndicate

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh My God Play Lit Lounge on October 21st (CMJ - Chicago Roots Rock)

DOWNLOAD: Oh My God - "Baby, Dream" (from The Night Undoes the Work of the Day)

Oh My God (Chicago Roots Rock) Play Lit Lounge on October 21stThe CMJ Music Marathon madness starts on Tuesday and Chicago's Oh My God is coming into town for a show at Lit Lounge on Wednesday, Oct. 21st.

Oh My God has just released their newest CD, The Night Undoes the Work of the Day, on Split Red Records and the disc is getting great reviews. Here is what Time Out Chicago said about the band: "Oh My God crafts music that employs the unlikely juxtaposition of Krautrock/prog architecture and Midwestern pop sensibilities....This hard-touring band has always been so good live that we've counted them as favorites....Onstage the trio sells it to the crowd with such energy, joy and power that we've often confused it for an actual noise or punk or hard-rock band--odd, considering that there are no guitars."

Oh My God is playing Lit Lounge on October 21st with The Black Watch, Binary Sunrise and Tiger!Shit!Tiger!Tiger!. Without a CMJ badge, cover is $6.00

Oh My God's MySpace Profile

Rookie of the Year: Interview with Ryan & Mike, Sept. '09 (One Eleven Records)

DOWNLOAD: Rookie of the Year - "Feels Like New" (MP3)

Rookie of the Year - Pre-Show Interview with Ryan and Mike (One Eleven Records)Last month, Rookie of the Year was in town for a show at The Studio at Webster Hall. I had the chance to sit down and talk with lead singer Ryan Dunson and guitarist Mike Kamerman before the show about the evolution of the band, the current tour, and plans for the future.

BrooklynRocks: Let's start with the show tonight. How far into the current tour are you?

Ryan: This part is ending - we have two more shows left. We have been out for about two months this time around and we have been out on tour pretty much non-stop for the last five years. Over this time, I've probably been home for about eight months.

BrooklynRocks: Where is home for you?

Ryan: I live in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Mike lives in Freehold/Marlboro, New Jersey.

BrooklynRocks: So Mike was the one from (New Jersey power-pop band) All Right Reserved?

Ryan: They were a big New Jersey band and really good. That is how I met Mike...I was doing Rookie solo and had my van and trailer stolen in Columbus, OH so I had to fly home. I was friends with Mike and this other band and they had a tour coming up so I agreed to go out with them for two weeks if they let me ride with them. So I was out on the road with them for about a month, become friends with Mike and then his band broke up. I snagged Mike when they disbanded.

BrooklynRocks: Now are you and Mike the only 'formal' member of Rookie?

Ryan: Me and Mike have been in the band since the beginning. There was only one other guy who was in the band since the beginning and that was our bass player who left about six months ago. We have never had a permanent drummer since our first one who left right before our record came out. We have always had people like good friends fill in for a while while they are out of school or aren't busy at the time and they will end up playing 6 - 7 months with us before going back to their other commitments.

BrooklynRocks: How did you go from a solo project into the full band?

Ryan: I started solo and started writing full band songs that I couldn't perform live so I got friends join and help out. We put out a five-song EP on vice verse virtue Records that they made 800 copies of or something like that. The label that I was on was based in Cleveland, TN and they ran all the school events at Lee University and all of the shows in Cleveland and Chattanooga so I got to open for all of the bands every time there was a show. I played all the time and would sell these EPs for $2.00 so I got rid of all them super-fast. The label made another batch of 1,000 copies and I probably gave away half of this next batch of CDs at shows and to other bands.

Mike: There aren't that many EPs out there so it is kind of cool when someone comes up with one after the show - especially if they have had it since that time period. It is cool to see that people are still coming back.

BrooklynRocks: What's the audience on the tour look like?

Ryan: The audience is fairly mixed; we draw young, we draw a lot of college kids but we draw an older crowd too.

Mike: Some of the kids are bringing their parents who end up getting into the music. Our stuff is melodic and acoustic based so they seem to connect with it. We listen to a lot of older stuff so it is probably a comparable experience.

BrooklynRocks: Now I read that you guys are doing an acoustic EP...

Ryan: Yeah - we go into the studio in a week. We will be there for two and one-half weeks recording. We are recording at Marigolds and Monsters Studio in Atlanta where we did our Sweet Attention record.

BrooklynRocks: What are your plans for the next year or so? What do you want to do?

Ryan: We are going put out this acoustic EP and really push it. One thing we have lacked is not pushing so hard on the internet because we have been touring so much. We are going to take October and November and work on building out our internet presence.

Mike: We are going to tour less and focus more on promoting the tours that we do. Music is in such a different state now - when we first started it was like tour, tour, tour because that is how you got your name out. Now you can get your name out to the same number of people on the internet if you get the right exposure.

BrooklynRocks: With you guys driving between stops on this tour, what do you listen to in the van?

Ryan: I have my iPod and listen to a bit of everything. I've been listening to M83...I was disappointed with the new Imogen Heap.

Mike: I listen to a lot of 90's music like Smashing Pumpkins and Bush. I like the new Nada Surf album a real lot; it is a different sound from their hits from the 90's. The new Superdrag album is good too.

BrooklynRocks: What do you want people to know about you?

Ryan: Give us a listen - we like writing music, performing and letting people know who we are.

Mike: Give us a chance and come out and see what we are all about. We really don't have a huge message that we are trying to get out there. We just want to try and write music that holds a special place in people's hearts. Those are the songs that I still listen to that bring you back to a time and a feeling.

Here are Rookie of the Year's upcoming tour dates:
Oct. 31, 2009, 7:00PM, Crocodile Rock Halloween Bash, Allentown, PA
Nov. 08, 2009, 5:30PM, The Social (w/ In Passing), Orlando, FL
Nov. 11, 2009, 6:30PM, Jack Rabbits (w/ Shut up and deal), Jacksonville, FL
Nov. 12, 2009, 7:00PM, New Brookland Tavern (w/ In Passing), Columbia, SC
Nov. 13, 2009, 6:45PM, Tremont Music Hall Casbah (w/ In Passing), Charlotte, NC
Nov. 14, 2009, 7:00PM, Halligans (w/ Meet The Sky and In Passing), Charelston, SC
Nov. 15, 2009, 8:00PM, Greene Street Club (w/ In Passing), Greensboro, NC

Rookie of the Year's MySpace Profile

Sliimy - New Perezcious Music/WB Signee Releases Music Tees with CD Download Code

STREAM: Sliimy - "Wake Up" (from Paint Your Face)

You have to love an artist that has been described as “a kindergarten Prince with ADD let loose in a toy instrument shop of the future”. Sliimy (Perezcious Music) Releases Music Tees which Include Full Album Download Codes French Sensation Sliimy Releases Music Tees Which Include a Promo Code to Download His Debut CD

French artist Sliimy has been generating quite a buzz on the internet and Twitter having both covered Britney Spears' song “Womanizer" and opening for both Spears and Katy Perry on select dates in Europe. Sliimy has just released "The Sliimy Music Tee™", which is personally designed by the artist and features album artwork on the front and the Paint Your Face album track listing on the back. Each shirt comes with a unique promo code and web link to download his new album (which was released last month on Perezcious Music/Warner Bros. Records).

The Sliimy Shirt is available online and at retailers Fred Segal, Kitson and Metropark.

Sliimy's MySpace Profile

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enforcer: Photos from Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09 (NWOBHM)

Swedish traditional-metal/NOWBHM-influenced band Enforcer made their first trek through the US this Summer as part of the North American Nightmare tour. The band played Club Europa last month with Cauldron (Earache), Black Anvil and At War.

Don't make the same mistake that I did and forget to wear earplugs - Enforcer is loud and vocalist Olof Wikstrand has one h*ll of a metal scream.

Enforcer - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09

Enforcer started about three years ago but the band didn't hit my radar until their song "Mistress of Hell" was included on Earache's Heavy Metal Killers compilation that came out earlier this year.

Enforcer is a young band but they have managed to capture the melodic power of the early 80's metal bands and sound like a cross between early Iron Maiden and Motley Crue. The band released their debut album Into the Night about a year ago on Heavy Artillery Records and are currently back in the studio to record a follow-up. There is a new track, "Roll the Dice", streaming on the band's MySpace profile.

Enforcer - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09

Enforcer - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09

Enforcer - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09

Enforcer - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 9-18-09

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zandelle - Photos from Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

I lost track of Zandelle after L'Amours (in Brooklyn) closed but I probably saw the band over a dozen times during L'Amour's final run in Bensonhurst ('99 - '04).

Time has been good to Zandelle and the band has gotten better with age. The band's sound hasn't changed much over the years and they are still playing epic power metal. What has changed though is the band's lineup (yet again) and this appears to be for the better as both the band's song writing and live show have gotten tighter.

Earlier this year, Zandelle signed with the German label Pure Steel Records and released their third disc, Flames of Rage, this past June. Many reviewers are calling this new disc Zandelle's best to-date.

Zandelle's MySpace Profile

Raven - Photos from Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Raven is sort of like the Dorian Gray of heavy metal - trends come and go, bands age, break up, change their sound and all the while Raven still seems like the exact same band that I saw in the 80's open for Judas Priest.

Raven was in town in August to play the Brooklyn Thunder Fest at Club Europa with Ross the Boss, White Wizzard and Zandelle. The band's latest disc is entitled Walk Through Fire and it was released last March on the Japanese label King Records.

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Here is the set list from the show:

01. Take Control
02. Live at the Inferno
03. All For One
04. Gimme a Break
05. Breaking You Down
06. Long Day’s Journey
07. Rock Until You Drop
08.. Guitar Solo
09. Speed of the Reflex \ Run Silent Run Deep \ Mind Over Metal
10. The King
11. On And On
12. Bass Solo
13. For the Future
14. Break the Chain

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09

Raven - Club Europa, Brooklyn, NY 8-28-09


Monday, October 12, 2009

John Wetton - Agenda/Amorata/Amata CD/DVD Review (Metal Mind)

John Wetton - Agenda/Amorata/Amata - CD/DVD ReviewThis is a limited edition (ltd to 1,000 copies) 2CD/1DVD box set that compiles two live shows that John Wetton recorded in Poland in 2003. Recently, I've approached the slew of John Wetton live CDs with some trepidation as I've gotten a few 'bum' ones (Hazy Monet, Live at XM Satellite Radio) but this set is a real gem. Both shows are soundboard recordings and Wetton sounds in excellent form, both with a full band (Agenda/Amorata) and on his near solo acoustic performance (Amata).

Agenda and Amorata are a CD/DVD set from a show that was recorded live in front of a sizable crowd in Poland in April 2003. The 75+ minute set spans material across Wetton's career and includes songs from King Crimson, UK, Asia and John's solo work. John has grown into his 'elder statesman of rock' role and looks like he is enjoying himself throughout this show. His band is quite top-notch and includes John Mitchell (from Arena) on guitar and Martin Orford (from IQ) on keyboards and flute. The band adds some new life to John's back catalog and does a wonderful job reinterpreting some of the old UK classics. The disc includes great versions of UK's "In the Dead of Night", "Easy Money" and "Rendezvous 602". The set was filmed with multiple cameras and a nice job was done in the editing booth to showcase each of the members of the band. On a related and interesting note, the DVD includes a bonus interview with John Wetton and, while John's candor is fascinating, the video bumps and moves like a hand-held audience bootleg.

Amata was also recorded in Poland during the same April 2003 tour. This is an acoustic performance which features John on vocals and acoustic guitar, Martin Orford on keyboards and backing vocals and John Mitchell on guitar and backing vocals. This set is a bit shorter than the electric set on Amorata and runs for about 40 minutes. The eleven track set starts with two instrumental pieces ("The Circle of St. Giles" and "Mondrago") before going into King Crimson, Asia and solo material. Unlike the electric set, the focus of this performance is John's clear voice and guitar playing. There is a lot of overlap in material between the acoustic and electric sets but the renditions of the songs are completely different so neither feels like a re-hash of the other. Amorata also includes a few more songs from John's solo releases along with a version of King Crimson's "Night Watch".

I don't know what it is about John Wetton and Poland but, next month, John is reuniting with Eddie Jobson for three shows in Poland under the banner of UK's 30th Anniversary. The shows are taking place:
November 3rd--Krakow, Studio Club
November 4th--Warsaw, Palladium
November 5th--Bydgoszcz, Philharmonic Hall

John Wetton

The Antikaroshi - "Crushed Neocon" CD Review (Exile on Mainstream Records)

This disc was mailed to me a few months back and somehow it slipped through the is somewhat of a scary thought but it looks like I'm slowly getting caught up with my CD review pile. The next big project is to move off of Blogger and over to a real .com site. I've gotten pretty fed up with the limitations of Blogger and this "No more than 2,000 labels" is the last straw.

The Antikaroshi - Crushed Neocon CD Review (Exile on Mainstream RecordsCrushed Neocons is the debut CD from The Antikaroshi, who are a fairly new three-piece band hailing from Potsdam, Germany. It is hard to put a label on The Antikaroshi as their music sounds like the bastard child of King Crimson and Fugazi (and, somewhat sadly, it is significantly better than many of the recent King Crimson releases). The band shifts styles (while retaining their prog/art-rock core) across this disc and embrace elements of dub, electronica and indie-rock.

Musically, The Antikaroshi have a lot in common with the 80's line-up of King Crimson. Bassist Ntik starts the disc with some stand-out rolling bass lines that could give Tony Levin a run for his money. Thea lays in some guitar/keys that ranges between 'Adrian Belew-style' syncopation (which falls somewhere between "Elephant Talk" and Belew's work with the Talking Heads) and Robert Fripp's big crushing "Red"-style guitar riffs. Crushed Neocons is musically adventurous and one of the most exciting debut CDs that I've heard in a while.

While there is little doubt that The Antikaroshi aren't George Bush fans (in addition to the CD title, there is a picture on the cover of a man who looks suspiciously like Dick Cheney falling over and holding his heart), the emphasis of this disc is on the music. Guitarist/vocalist Thea has an urgent vocal delivery style that is similar to Ian MacKaye but, unlike Fugazi, the vocals are layered beneath the churning rhythms of the band which makes it difficult to discern any lyrical themes.

The Antikaroshi played their first live show two years ago today and hopefully they will make it over to the States one of these days. While waiting for the band 's US tour dates, you can check out five of the nine tracks from Crushed Neocons which are streaming on The Anikaroshi's MySpace page.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Eagle Twin - "The Unkindness of Crows" CD Review (Southern Lord)

DOWNLOAD: Eagle Twin - "Murder Of..." (MP3)

Eagle Twin - The Unkindness of Crows CD Review (Southern Lord)Eagle Twin, who is a fairly new band based out of Salt Lake City, have their debut CD out on Southern Lord and it epitomizes the word HEAVY. The band is a two-piece composed of Gentry Densley (Ascend, Iceburn) on vocals/baritone guitar and and Tyler Smith on drums. While Iceburm evolved into an avant-jazz band, there is none of Iceburn's jazz/classical music influences here as The Unkindness of Crows is a 60+ minute slab of slow, monolithic stoner doom.

A good point of comparison for Eagle Twin's debut disc is The Melvins' Lysol. There is something of a pagan/tribal feel to the music as Tyler Smith beats out a hypnotic mantra while Gentry Densley layers in his dissonant guitar work, which ranges from sustained and twisted down-tuned notes (that can rise and fall like a roller coaster) and crashing tidal-wave sized riffs. Densley's vocals are crystal clear, almost spoken word, and there is no mistaking the menance in some of the stories he tells. Similar to the latest efforts from Sunn O))) and Earth, producer Randall Dunn captures the band's sound cleanly and lets the listener feel each crashing guitar riff. With the open and atmopheric production, The Unkindness of Crows comes across like the dark twin of Earth.

Lyrically, Eagle Twin focuses on animal mysticism with their primary attention being on crows. In a recent interview with The Aquarian, Gentry Densley said: "Well, I work in a jail library. I work in the jail giving people books, I’m the librarian. We used to have a copy of Ted Hughes’ The Crow. It’s a book of poems. He was poet laureate in Britain before he died, married to Sylvia Plath who wrote some awesome poems as well and The Bell Jar. I picked that up and the language of the poems would always suggest the music to me, the rhythm would give me riff ideas, and it came from that as well, but the lyrical ideas started meaning more to me and it seems like he takes all sorts of world myths and biblical things and imposes onto his crow character. I thought that was really interesting that you could take these universal myths and embody them into one character, just show how it all connects. So that started to interest me a lot more and so I started using the crow as my own variation on that character. Making up my own stories about him and stuff."

Eagle Twin was invited to open for all of Sunn O)))'s shows this year and the current tour finished up at the end of September. Here are some videos from the band's in-store performance at Vintage Vinyl and their show at Brooklyn Masonic.

Eagle Twin's MySpace Profile

Dimentianon To Open for Marduk in NYC on Dec 16th (Black Metal)

DOWNLOAD: Dimentianon - "Undying Bliss" (Live)
DOWNLOAD: Dimentianon - "Breathe Deep" (Live)

Dimentianon (black metal) to Open for Marduk in NYC on Dec. 16thLong Island black metalers Dimentianon have been tapped as the opening act for Marduk's NYC show at Gramercy Theater on December 16th.

The show features Nachtmystium, Mantic Ritual, Merrimack and Black Anvil (in addition to Marduk) and tickets are $20.

Dimentianon has had some recent line-up changes and remaining members Greg L.(Guitar) and M.(vocals) are now joined by Zoltan V. (Lead Guitar), Maureen M.(Bass), and Pete C.(Drums). The band is currently finishing writing the material for their next full-length on a to-be-determined label. Songs set to appear on the album include: "A Credit to Dementia", "The Forgotten", "Undying Bliss", "Breathe Deep", "A Dirge to the Death ov Life", "Love and Hope", "Gamma Velurum" and "Collapse the Void".

Tracks from Dimentianon's previous full-length Hossanas Novus Ordo Seclurum as well as a self-released live CD-R from 2008 are available as free downloads from Dimentianon's website.

Tournament - "Years Old" CD Review (Forcefield Records) / Show at Lit Lounge on 10/19

DOWNLOAD: Tournament - "Walking Negative Man" (Live on WFMU)

Tournament - Years Old CD Review (Forcefield Records)Brooklyn noise-rockers Tournament are playing Precious Metal @ Lit Lounge on Oct. 19th and this seemed to be a great reason to finally get a review of the band's latest disc posted.

Tournament's latest disc Years Old was released by Forcefield Records earlier this summer and this 10-track full-length follows the band's 2007 debut EP "Swordswallower". Tournament plays aggressive, fast-paced noise rock in the style of 80/90's bands like Jesus Lizard, Big Black and early Mudhoney. Similar to many of the aforementioned bands, Sean Kraft's throat shredding vocals are buried beneath a wall of squalling feedback, blues(ish) guitar riffs and hammering bass lines. The band keeps things interesting by slowing down to a Swans' style dirge mid-disc on the instrumental cut "From the Mouths of Non-Believers" before returning to their speaker-shredding core. The rawness of the production adds to the band's sound - all of the music was recorded live to 2" tape.

For the Lit Lounge show, Tournament is playing with Raise the Red Lantern (At A Loss Records) and God’s Revolver (Translation Loss Records); cover is $6.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

John Joseph Will Release New Novel, 'Meat is for P*ssies', in December (Punk House)

John Joseph (Cro-Mags) Announces New Book 'Meat is for P*ssies (Dec '09)In Summer '08, I interviewed John Joseph when his first book "Evolution of a Cro-Magnon" was just released. In the interview, John mentioned that he was working on a new book entitled "Meat is for P*ssies". The new book is now finished and it will be out this December (PunkHouse).

John just gave a detailed interview to on the new book, an upcoming reality show and more.

John Joseph's MySpace Page

Alex Walker Releases New Single through Brian Grosz's

DOWNLOAD: Alex Walker - "Sacrifice" (MP3)

Alex Walker Releases New Single through LapdanceAcademy.comWow - I've really fallen behind as Alex Walker's single came out a few weeks back.

Guitarist Alex Walker has new single "Sacrifice" that has a low-fi dub groove that is reminiscent of early Basehead. For anyone not familiar with Alex Walker's music, he has been around the NYC scene for a number of years and has played in bands that range from Aloke (Steve Albini produced their last disc) to the amplified chamber group Electric Kompany.

"Singing an ode to sacrifice is a form of sacrifice in itself. What you end up sacrificing is the time and presence not being trapped in song. So often we go about life not suspended at all, with little to no awe in our daily routine, that we forget to stop and breathe that rush of animation, that elixir of our reality, the tonic that is the moment. This song is an offering to that possibility." -- Alex Walker, 2009

The new single is out on Brian Grosz's Lapdance Academy label and is a free download. Label magnate Brian Grosz's belief is "People are going to ignore it or find a way to get it for free if you slap a price tag on your music...I think that If you're going to get screwed, you should at least get to pick the position and the safe-word so you can try to enjoy yourself."

Alex Walker's MySpace Profile

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Baroness Release 'Blue Album' (Relapse); US Tour with Iron Age and Earthless

DOWNLOAD: Baroness - "Swollen and Halo"

Savannah, Georgia's Baroness are back with their second full-length CD, Blue Album, which is due out on October 13th (Relapse Records). This new disc follows 2007's Red Album, which was picked by Revolver Magazine as "Album of the Year".

Relapse is taking pre-orders for the CD version of Blue Album and there is a limited edition 2-disc pressing that includes a live disc from 2009's Roadburn Festival. (A vinyl version is due out shortly). For anyone who wants an early listen, three tracks from Blue Album ("A Horse Called Golgotha", "Bullhead's Psalm" and "The Sweetest Curse") are currently streaming on the Baroness' MySpace page.

Baroness is headlining a US tour starting in November with Iron Age and Earthless.

***All dates from Nov. 18 thru 28 w/ EARTHLESS, US CHRISTMAS***
November 18 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel
November 19 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
November 20 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
November 21 Cambridge, MA Middle East
November 22 Buffalo, NY Tralf Music Hall
November 24 Detroit, MI Magic Stick )
November 25 Chicago, IL Reggie's Rock Club (w/ AN ALBATROSS)
November 27 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
November 28 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
November 29 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater (w/ EARTHLESS, GAZA)
November 30 Salt Lake City, UT Club Vegas (w/ EARTHLESS, GAZA)

***All dates from Dec. 2 thru 5 w/ EARTHLESS, IRON AGE***
December 2 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill
December 3 Hollywood, CA Troubadour
December 4 San Diego, CA The Casbah
December 5 Tempe, AZ The Clubhouse

***All dates from Dec. 7 thru 10 w/ IRON AGE, DARK CASTLE***
December 7 Austin, TX Emo's
December 8 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
December 9 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
December 10 Orlando, FL The Social (w/ TORCHE)
December 11 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (w/ TORCHE, PIG DESTROYER and IRON AGE)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Welcome to Ashley - Absent Man EP Review (Power-Pop)

Welcome to Ashley - Absent Man CD ReviewWelcome to Ashley is a four-piece post-punk band from Chicago, IL whose music combines the melancholy pop influences of bands like The Smiths and The Bravery with an Urge Overkill style alt-rock swagger.

This new 4-track EP follows a 2007 EP ("The Catbird Seat") and the band's 2006 self-titled full-length debut. Singer Coley Kennedy has a distinctive voice and a way of turning a phrase that keeps this CD memorable. The band also keeps the production lean (there is none of The Bravery or Echo & the Bunnymen's "layers upon layers" of sound) which gives focus to the jangling guitar and melodic bass sounds and keeps the music uplifting over the somewhat melancholy lyrics.

Welcome to Ashley look like they are staying close to home for the next few months. Here is the band's upcoming tour dates:

Oct. 23, 2009, 9:00PM, Empty Bottle, Chicago, Illinois
Dec. 04, 2009, 9:30PM, Radio Radio, Indianapolis, Indiana
Dec. 09, 2009, 9:00PM, Schubas, Chicago, Illinois

Welcome to Ashley's MySpace Profile

Robocalypse: iPhone/iPod Touch Game Review (Vogster)

Robocalypse - iPhone/iPod Touch Game Review (Vogster)Robocalypse is a new game from Vogster Entertainment that combines elements of real-time strategy (RTS) games with arcade style "shoot 'em up" which makes for a very enjoyable game.

The plot of the game is that an accident happens at the Thermidoom factory and the A.I. routines of polite, state-of-the-art toasters are accidentally installed into Thermidoom′s other product line - Killer Military Robots. After unleashing these evil (but polite) robots who are bent on destroying the world, uber-geek programmer Myron Mako creates a new batch of robots and implants their memories with brain scans from retired WWII veterans. The game action takes places as you (Myron) command these robots in their fight against the evil Demolisher robot and his minions.

There are two main features that separate Robocalypse from many of the other RTS games on the market. The first is that the game doesn't take itself too seriously. The story line, cuts scenes and voice-overs add a welcome element of humor to the RTS genre. The storyline was written by Jay Lender (SpongeBob Squarepants) and Micah Wright (Angry Beavers).

Robocalypse - iPhone Screen ShotThe second feature is that the game is infinitely easier to get started with than many comparable RTS games. Many of the RTS games that I've recently played require a multi-hour commitment to be able to accomplish much of anything. Often these same games require the same time commitment to get out of the 'preamble' (outfitting ships, men, exploring the initial local, etc.) and into the main storyline. You can get through the first of the seventeen missions in Robocalypse fairly easily and learn the game as you play.

There are seventeen missions within the game, each of which includes both primary and secondary assignments along with hidden objectives that you can uncover through exploration of the terrain. You have six heros that you can directly control (heros can be built in a 'Hero Factory' - which requires you to have sufficient scrap metal and batteries) and a number of bots (Builder, Soldier, Medic) which you can control by placing 'action' and 'defend' flags on the screen. Once again, you need to have sufficient resources (scrap metal and batteries) to maintain your army and its factories. Missions range from the straight-forward destruction of enemy bases/structures to the time-boxed objectives where you need to defend a structure or area for a set amount of time.

Robocalypse was released earlier this month at a price of $4.99 but is currently on sale in the AppStore for $2.99.

Robocalypse Game Site

Oh, My Word! iPhone/iPod Touch Game Review (Mobile Pie)

Oh, My Word! iPhone/iPod Touch Game ReviewOh, My Word! is a very straight-forward game to get started with. The goal is to guess the hidden five letter word (which is the middle row in the screen shot) and, with each guess, you are told whether your guess falls above or below the hidden word in the dictionary. The challenge points are that you have a total of 50 guesses (and non-dictionary words use up a guess) and three hints (in total - not per word).

The problem with this game is that there just isn't enough here to hold my attention. I found myself guessing pluralized four letter and five letter words attempting to narrow down the word choices and I would often get to the point where the word bands (the upper and lower words) differed by two letters. The hints are also fairly non-helpful as you only get three for the whole game and you can only get a hint for one of the last three letters of the word. When too many of the hidden words seem to be plurals, it isn't much help to know that the last letter (or last two letters) are "S" (or "ES"). I tried the game multiple times and too often found myself trying to figure out a five letter word that falls between (i.e.) 'SHARES' and 'STARES'. While Oh, My Word! isn't a bad game, I'm not a Scrabble fan and this game didn't connect with me either.

Oh, My Word! is available in a free (advertiser supported) version and a paid version for .99 cents. If anyone is interested in trying the game, the free version will be more than fine for most people as it shows just one (slow to load) ad for Pearl Jam's new disc before the game.

Mobile Pie

Friday, October 02, 2009

Cursive Release New Video for "Let Me Up" + Daytrotter Sessions (Saddle Creek)

DOWNLOAD: Cursive - Daytrotter Sessions 9/22/09 (Requires Login)

Cursive Record Daytrotter Session + Release New Video for 'Let Me Up'Cursive just recorded a great session for (download link is above). There are two covers - The Cure's "Love Cats" and David Bowie's "Modern Love" along with a reworking of "What Have I Done?" (from Mama I'm Swollen) and "The Casualty" (from Domestica).

In related news, Cursive just released a new video for "Let Me Up" (from Mama I'm Swollen) which was directed by Evan Glodell.

Cursive is currently off the road but are playing two shows in Japan later this month:


Cursive's MySpace Profile

Raise High the Roof Beam play the Cake Shop Tomorrow Night (Chicago Folk-Pop)

DOWNLOAD: Raise High the Roof Beam - "The Adventures of Hamza" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Raise High the Roof Beam - "Ancestors" (MP3)

Raise High the Roof Beam Play the Cake Shop on October 3rdChicago's Raise High the Roof Beam are making their NYC debut tomorrow night with a show at the Cake Shop.

The band takes its name from the J.D. Salinger story and they describe their music as "indie folk rock dance fun". Based on what I've heard from RHTRB thus far, points of comparison are The Annuals and Animal Collective.

The band is touring behind their new EP "The Majestic Beast of the Flatlands" which they released earlier this year. The Chicago Tribune said that the band's "looseness builds and congeals into romantic, driving choruses with a lot of shimmery guitar work. They may be newbies, but they know exactly what they are doing, and they do it well."

There is a strong lineup for tomorrow night's show as Raise High the Roof Beam are playing with My Teenage Stride and The Jaguar Club.

Tickets are $6 and Raise High the Roof Beam takes the stage at 8:30PM.

Raise High the Roof Beam

Eula Wins Opens for Mission of Burma on Sunday in Boston (free show)

DOWNLOAD: Eula - "Simple Machine" ('Up In Arms' Demo)

Eula Opens for Mission of Burma at MIT on October 4thNew Haven art-punk band Eula has been select by Mission of Burma (through Matador's 'Battle for Burma' competition) to open for MOB at a free show this Sunday at M.I.T. Major congrats to Eula and hopefully this will lead to bigger things (signing to Matador?).

This sounds kind of crazy but Boston’s City Council have declared October 4, 2009 as “Mission Of Burma Day” and Mission of Burma are playing a free show at MIT's East Campus Courtyard (map). The show kicks off at 2:30 with Eula who will then be followed by Boston's Big Bear.

Eula released a great 6-song EP entitled "Language of Threat" earlier this year and it looks like the video for "Fight Riff" is what won the band the 'Burma Battle'.

For anyone who isn't able to make it to Boston on Sunday, Eula returns to NYC on October 24th for a show at Shea Stadium.