Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Buddies (x-Welcome to Ashley) Play Bowery Electric on Friday, Jan. 6th

DOWNLOAD: The Buddies - "All the Beer is Gone" (from F*ck the Buddies)

The Buddies (x-Welcome to Ashley) Play Bowery Electric on Friday, Jan. 6th I really enjoyed the music of Chicago post-punk band Welcome to Ashley (which sounded something like The Smiths crossed with Urge Overkill) and the band has now morphed into The Buddies (which has been called a "southern rock version of The Clash"...though I'm thinking more of The Pogues or Jason and the Scorchers).

The Buddies combines three members of Welcome to Ashley (bassist The Mouse [aka Jeremy Barrett], guitarist Pete Javier and vocalist Coley Kennedy) with Justin, Kim and Scott Collins from Nashville's Pale Blue Dot and the band just released their first full-length F*ck the Buddies.

In a recent interview with Chicago blog DO312, Collie described the band's sound as "Garbage-rock!” (As Justin once referred to our sound). The Mouse and I love old rockabilly music. We are also really into bands like The Smiths, Echo and The Bunny Men, and Jesus & Mary Chain (as is Pete). I think the front-porch/alt-folk/’60s/grunge-ier sounds The Buddies make are the result of Justin, Scott and Kim. The six of us all place a lot of importance on a really strong melody. We all share adoration for bands such as The Clash, The Faces, The Replacements, The Pogues, and The Stones. Throw all of our influences in a trash can, shake it up and dump it out … voila! The Buddies!"

At the show at Bowery Electric, The Buddies are playing with American Darlings and Sangsara. Cover is $8 and doors are at 7:30PM.

The Buddies

Friday, December 30, 2011

This Frontier Needs Heroes Posts New Single "2012"

2012 by thisfrontierneedsheroes

This Frontier Needs Heroes Posts New Single '2012'This Frontier Needs Heroes’ sophomore release The Future (released last May) was one of my favorite discs of the year. Brother-sister duo Brad and Jessica Lauretti wrapped textured vocal harmonies with a minimalist guitar work and various hazy electronica to create a mood around their rich narrative lyrics.

The band has recently posted a new single "2012" (streaming above) which was recorded with Jason from Justice of the Unicorns. The band has also posted a free download of a solo show Brad played in Jacksonville, FL.

This Frontier Needs Heroes

Craig Finn Posts Acoustic Performance of "Jackson" from Forthcoming Solo Disc (out Jan. 24th)

"In July 2011, I went to Austin Texas to make a record. The Hold Steady was on a four month break, and I wanted to try something a little different. Earlier in the year, I had written a bunch of songs that were outside of the norm for The Hold Steady, a little quieter and perhaps more narrative. I also wanted to gain some experience and insight into the process of making a record by working with new

I'm calling this record “Clear Heart Full Eyes”. It's a juxtaposed reference to Friday Night Lights, a TV show that excited and moved me and also happened in Texas. Further, “Clear Heart” signifies honesty and transparency, and “Full Eyes” suggests experience. Thus, it's about being optimistic and open without succumbing to the weariness or doubt that comes with age and experience. To me, that is what it's all about.
" - Craig Finn

Finn invited The A.V. Club to his Brooklyn apartment where he discussed the making-of his debut solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, and performed an acoustic version of the excellent song "Jackson" for their One Track Mind series.

Craig Finn discusses and performs "Jackson"

Craig Finn Tour Dates:
2/01 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
2/02 - Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
2/03 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
2/04 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
2/06 - Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
2/07 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
2/08 - Detroit, MI @ The Lager House
2/09 - Columbus, OH @ The Basement
2/10 - St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
2/11 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
2/13 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
2/19 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
2/20 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
2/21 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
2/23 - Portland, OR @ The Doug Fir Lounge
2/24 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
2/27 - Ringwood, NJ @ Live @ Drew’s House
2/28 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
2/29 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Early Show) SOLD OUT
2/29 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Late Show) SOLD OUT
3/1 - Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s (Tickets are $15 and are still available)
3/2 - Washington, DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel
3/3 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
3/5 - Atlanta, GA @ Earl

Craig Finn

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Camper Van Beethoven Will be Debuting New Material @ Highline Ballroom on Sat., Jan. 14th

DOWNLOAD: Camper Van Beethoven - Live at The Independent, San Francisco, CA 12-28-11

Camper Van Beethoven Will be Debuting New Material at  Highline Ballroom on Sat., Jan. 14thCracker & Camper Van Beethoven's annual year-end California trek is underway and the last night of this run of shows is Dec. 29th in Petaluma. After which, Cracker heads further north to Portland on December 30th for a special one-off with bluegrass jam band Leftover Salmon, where the two bands will perform their highly-lauded 2003 album O Cracker, Where Art Thou? together in its entirety.

The following night, Cracker & CVB will be in Chicago for a celebratory New Year's Eve bash at Chicago's House Of Blues. Camper Van Beethoven will open, followed by Cracker ringing in the new year, and then Big Head Todd & The Monsters playing into the wee hours.

Then Camper Van Beethoven will start off the year with their own headlining shows in Milwaukee, Madison and Iowa City, before hooking up with Cracker again for shows in St. Louis and Minneapolis. The two bands will then head east for their annual winter run through the Northeast. As David Lowery (frontman for both bands) told the Boston Herald earlier this year,"We always do it in January when it’s really cold and not many bands go up to the Northeast. It started from the fact that it was the only time that was slow for the Camper Van Beethoven guys who have real careers. Then we accidentally figured out nobody else is touring, so it’s seen as this mid-winter cabin-fever kind of party."

Both Cracker and CVB will be running through their career-spanning canons of hits and fan favorites, while, perhaps even more exciting, Camper Van Beethoven will be performing a handful of new songs slated for their new studio album - their first in over seven years!

Thu., Dec. 29 - Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, CA [CRACKER / CVB]
Fri., Dec. 30 - The Roseland Theater, Portland, OR [CRACKER & LEFTOVER SALMON perform O Cracker Where Art Thou?album]
Sat., Dec. 31 - House Of Blues, Chicago, IL
[CVB 8pm / CRACKER 10pm / Big Head Todd & The Monsters 12:30am]
Tue., Jan. 3 - Shank Hall. Milwaukee, WI [CVB ONLY]
Wed., Jan. 4 - High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI [CVB ONLY]
Thu., Jan. 5 - The Mill, Iowa City, IA [CVB ONLY]
Fri., Jan. 6 - The Pageant, St Louis, MO [CRACKER / CVB]
Sat., Jan. 7 - TBA, Minneapolis, MN [CRACKER / CVB]
Fri., Jan. 13 - World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA [CRACKER / CVB]
Sat., Jan. 14 - Highline Ballroom, New York, NY [CRACKER / CVB]
(Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 DOS)
Sun., Jan. 15 - Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA [CRACKER / CVB]

Camper Van Beethoven

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jim Florentine - "Cringe and Purge" CD Review (Metal Blade)

Jim Florentine "Kids" by Metal Blade Records

Jim Florentine - 'Cringe and Purge' CD Review (Metal Blade)Wikipedia defines cringe comedy as “a comedy genre that uses awkward and embarrassing situations to cause audiences to feel uneasy”. The problem with this definition is that uber-PC folks need to realize that everyday life has a large number of “awkward and embarrassing situations” and Florentine touches on a number of these situations over the course of his new disc.

While Jim Florentine is well-known for his "Special Ed" and "Bobby Fletcher" characters, Cringe and Purge (Metal Blade) is straight-forward stand-up comedy delivered in a matter-of-fact tone similar to Richard Pryor’s Live on the Sunset Strip. It should be fair warning to the easily offended that Florentine recently opened up for the Big 4 tour (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax) but for those who didn’t get the hint, he starts his show with the comment “if you DVR the show “Glee”, this is going to end badly for you”.

This 45 minute disc is divided into nine tracks and Florentine’s subject matter ranges from the inanity of modern life (“Superstitions”, “Old School Parents”) to the potentially inflammatory (“Gay Guys”, “Religion”, “Hip-Hop Sticks”). Florentine takes on each of these topics with well-developed stories and anecdotes which allow the audience to relate to his feelings and observations. Some of his funnier narratives touch on parents, sex and Catholic priests, the typical angry meathead fans at a Slayer show, and the stupidity of today’s “matching bling” hip-hop culture.

While there are shocks, surprises and stepped-on toes over the course of Florentine’s delivery, his stories and the rhythm of his delivery separate him from comedians who use “shock for the sake of shock”. Florentine will drop a bomb in the middle of one of these narratives and nonchalantly move on to the next topic.

For anyone who appreciates stand-up comedy, Florentine’s social commentary on Cringe and Purge is funny, poignant and most often dead-on.

Jim Florentine

Monday, December 26, 2011

Austrian Death Machine - "Jingle All The Way" CD EP Review (Metal Blade)

Austrian Death Machine "It's Turbo Time" by Metal Blade Records

Austrian Death Machine - 'Jingle All The Way' CD EP Review (Metal Blade) When Austrian Death Machine’s (ADM) first disc came our in 2008, Tim Lambesis describes it as "a tribute to the great Arnold movies. It is a band fronted by Ahhnold with music I wrote and recorded in my free time. But, most importantly, I had so much fun!" Tim and the boys are back with a new three-song EP where the songs are based on Das Ahnold’s 1996 (very painful) holiday movie Jingle All the Way.

Similar to ADM’s earlier releases, all three tracks “I’m Not a Pervert”, “It’s Turbo Time” and “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies” contain dialogue related to Arnie’s pursuit of a Turbo Man doll in Jingle All the Way. Given the problems that Arnie ran into earlier this year with his love child and messy divorce from Maria Schriver, you can’t help but chuckle embarrassedly when you hear Das Ahnold roar on the first track “I’m not a pervert – I was just looking for a Turbo Man doll”. The last track, “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies?”, was first heard on 2009’s Double Brutal and Das Ahnold sets the stage for the death metal growls that follow by saying “If you're going to sound like Cookie Monster, then we might as well write a song about cookies”.

Musically, ADM play thrashed-up metalcore which utilizes a mix of chugging guitars, technical death metal solos and mosh-ready blast beats and breakdowns that are “totally brutal”. Ahnold calls for the solo at the end of “It’s Turbo Time” with the comment: “What the hell's the matter with you? You totally forgot the guitar solo, you idiots! Play it...Play it now!" As you can gather from all of this, the vocals are a mix of Tim’s Cookie Monster death metal growls and Das Ahnold voice-overs.

While this release doesn’t break any new ground, it is simply a fun disc…and a great counterpoint to sappy Xmas discs like Scott Weiland’s cringe-inducing disc It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Austrian Death Machine

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holy Grail - "Seasons Bleedings" EP Review (Prosthetic Records)

The two best metal Christmas releases this year came from Holy Grail and Austrian Death Machine.

Los Angeles thrashers Holy Grail released a two song, limited edition colored vinyl 7” (“Holy shades of Sub*Pop Batman”), "Seasons Bleedings", and these two songs are also included on a four-track digital EP which was issued under the same name. The vinyl single contains covers of King Diamond’s first solo single “No Presents for Christmas” and Rainbow’s “Kill the King” and the digital EP adds covers of Judas Priest’s “Exciter” and Accept’s “Fast as a Shark.” These later two cuts are from the original pressing of the band's " Improper Burial" EP

This release marks the recording debut of guitarist Alex Lee (x-Bonded By Blood) and he and guitarist Eli Santana give “No Presents for Christmas” a heavier feel than the King’s original. The band has some fun with this track, substituting a selection from the Nutcracker Suite in place of the original’s “Jingle Bells” and some music from Charlie Brown’s Christmas for the original’s snippet from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. The second track, “Kill the King”, is a heavier, thrashed-out rendition of Rainbow’s classic song where the original’s keyboards have been substituted for Holy Grail’s dual guitar attack.

The vinyl version of "Seasons Bleedings" is limited to 500 copies (250 on Red and 250 on Green) and is still available through Prosthetic Records’ web shop for $6.66.

Holy Grail

La Coka Nostra Post Free Download - "Malverde Market" - from Forthcoming Second Disc "Masters of the Dark Arts"

DOWNLOAD: La Coka Nostra - "Malverde Market"

La Coka Nostra Post Free Download - 'Malverde Market' - from Forthcoming Second Disc Hip Hop super-crew, La Coka Nostra (LCN) has re-surfaced in time for the holidays with a new song for free download and video! "Malverde Market" features LCN members Slaine and Ill Bill (Bill also doing double duty as producer of the track) and is a sampling of what is to come for 2012. The group has announced they are working on a new full-length titled Masters Of The Dark Arts to be released next May. This will be the follow up to the group’s 2009 debut album A Brand You Can Trust.

There is an in-depth interview with Bill published on The Spizzy (snippet below) where Bill talks about his latest mix-tape, Howie Made Me Do It, and the forthcoming La Coka Nostra album.

Pacino: What’s poppin with La Coka Nostra’s next album, Master of the Dark Arts? How’s that coming along?

Bill: That’s the next record coming out that I’m involved with and it’s coming along crazy, man. Lethal just hit us with a folder of beats. We haven’t heard beats from him in a while. He’s one my favorite producers… he slept-on, he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves but I think he’s a great producer. We’ve sitting on a bunch of beats. I’ve done some production for the record. C-Lance has done some production for the record so far. Jack of All Trades, who did some joints on the Heavy Metal Kings record, he’s done one so far that we’ve rocked. Got a couple more in the chamber.

We’ve waited a while to get into recording this record because everybody’s so busy individually. It presented itself opportunity-wise to be able to work on this record and put it out in the time frame. We have to make moves based off of different schedules, being that we’re all real busy. Slaine might have become the busiest dude in the group in the past couple of years… especially him with the movie work he’s doing. So we had to jump on it. So basically me and Slaine have pretty much been in the studio kind of spearheading everything. We’ve been putting in the work so far, going in. I’m excited because I already got two beats on the record, which is like, a beat and a half more than the last album.

La Coka Nostra

Friday, December 23, 2011

Neil Young - "Live in Chicago 1992" CD Review (Immortal)

Neil Young - 'Live in Chicago 1992' CD Review (Immortal)After enjoying Neil Young's acoustic set on the recently released Live on Air / The Lost Tapes CD (see review), I've been more attentive to some of Neil's one-off releases that have been coming out on little European labels. I recently picked up this 2CD set, Live in Chicago 1992, from for ~$15 (inclusive of shipping.

This 20-song / 110 minute set captures a tight solo performance by Neil which was recorded on Nov. 17, 1992 for broadcast on PBS' "Centerstage". As Neil's previously released live disc from his Harvest Moon tour, Dreamin' Man Live '92, contained only by-the-books live recordings of the 10-tracks from Harvest Moon, it is nice to hear these songs sequenced into the context of the full setlist. Live in Chicago 1992 contains nine of Harvest Moon's ten tracks along with a mix of tracks from Neil's career that include "Long May You Run", "Pocahontas" and a delectable version of "After the Goldrush".

While Live in Chicago 1992 is a great performance, Neil doesn't take any chances this night so the loose arrangement of "Old King" and the two unreleased numbers "Homefires" and "Love Art Blues", which were played on other nights on the tour, aren't included in this night's setlist. All-in-all though, this set is a major leap forward from Dreamin' Man Live '92.

Neil Young - "Live in Chicago 1992" Track List
1. Long May You Run
2. From Hank To Hendrix
3. Unknown Legend
4. Love Is A Rose
5. Pocahontas
6. Like A Hurricane
7. War Of Man
8. The Needle And The Damage Done
9. Tonight's The Night
10. One Of These Days
11. Such A Woman
12. Harvest Moon
13. Dreamin' Man
14. Natural Beauty
15. Don't Let It Bring You Down
16. Mr. Soul
17. Powderfinger
18. Sugar Mountain
19. You And Me
20. After The Goldrush

Neil Young

Chantilly - "Caught Light" CD Review

Chantilly - The holidays seemed like a good time to catch up on some of the discs that slipped through the cracks earlier this year and one of these was the debut disc by Brooklyn singer/songwriter/blogger Chantilly, Caught Light.

I got a huge kick over a rant on Chantilly’s blog about the term singer/songwriter: “anytime you mention the words "singer" and "songwriter" in the same sentence, people automatically raise a leery eyebrow and assume some stereotype of beatniks singing self-indulgent lyrics in a coffeehouse. if you're a girl and play guitar, there's usually some variation of ani difranco involved, as well.” With this in mind, perhaps a little clarification is in order – Chantilly is a singer/songwriter in the spirit of Shawn Colvin and Jenny Owen Youngs (and not the self-indulgent nonsense that I’ve seen at Sidewalk Cafe).

The nine tracks on Chantilly’s debut disc run 32 minutes and, while Chantilly’s vocals are the focal point of each of the songs, the disc stays fresh through Chantilly’s different vocal styles which are backstopped by a variety of carefully arranged instrumentation, that includes strings, piano and hand-claps. Chantilly’s vocals range from the ethereal (“Birthday Wish”) to a soaring crescendo (“Flowing Ice”) and she even utilizes an “alt-country” bluesy twang on “Springtime Travels”. Her lyrics touch on different aspects of the human condition but, outside of “An Affair”, never seem to get into the semi-confessional Ani Difranco territory. The disc ends on a high note with "Springtime Travels" which is a joyful “campfire” style tune complete with handclaps. The song charmingly seems to break down at the very end and the track fades out with a laughing voice saying “That’s a wrap then”.

Chantilly's first album “caught light” was recorded by friend Danielle DePalma, on the heels of graduating from the esteemed Purchase College music conservatory. It was followed up by a quick little Northeastern tour, as well as some slow-building praise from key music blogs. Since then, she has been plodding away at gaining a following through hard work and word of mouth.
– from Chantilly’s web site
Chantilly just concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign which will fund the recording of her second album. For more details, see the video below:


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Exhumed: NPR Posts Full Set from Maryland Deathfest 2011 as Free Download

DOWNLOAD: Exhumed - Live at Maryland Deathfest, Sonar, Baltimore, MD 6-23-11

Exhumed: NPR Posts Full Set from Maryland Deathfest 2011 as Free DownloadI'm pleasantly shocked as I never would have envisioned that I would mention Exhumed and NPR in the same sentence...but NPR has just posted some of the sets from this year's Maryland Deathfest as free downloads.

Exhumed released their All Guts, No Glory full-length earlier this year via Relapse Records. The record continues to reap critical acclaim from fans and critics nationally and has left it's grisly mark on multiple Year End lists including Decibel, Pitchfork,, MetalSucks and Skulls N Bones! The band played their first U.S. show in over six years at the 2011 edition of the Maryland Deathfest and thanks to NPR, the set -- in all its uncensored glory -- is available as a free download (above).

Said vocalist/guitarist menace Matt Harvey: "2011 has been a great year for the band. We've had a killer time scraping off the rust on the gore metal machine and getting back on the road and partying with necromaniacs all over the place. It's amazing how many people have enjoyed our racket and have actually said nice things about our record -- sometimes even in public! We have a lot of shit planned for next year and we're chomping at the bit to continue subjecting the universe to more of our god awful noise! See you on the road...or at the bar. Play fast or die, dudes. Cheers!"

As previously announced, Exhumed will be showering Brazil with their infernal live rituals this Winter with Aborted. This will mark the band's first time ever in the country.

Exhumed w/ Aborted:
2/17/2012 Music Hall - Belo Horizonte, MG
2/18/2012 Hangar 110 - São Paulo, SP
2/19/2012 Hangar Bar - Curitiba, PR
2/20/2012 Bar Opinião - Porto Alegre, RS


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

X (the band) - "The Unheard Music" DVD Review (MVD Video)

X - 'The Unheard Music' DVD Review (MVD Video)Earlier this fall, the original lineup of X regrouped for a limited run of shows where they played the entirety of their 1980 debut Los Angeles and screened their little-seen 1986 bio-pic The Unheard Music prior to the show. While similar minded bio-pics like Decline of Western Civilization (1981) achieved cult status, The Unheard Music seemed to slip under the radar of most people at the time of its original release.

The Unheard Music was filmed between 1980 and 1985 by Angel City Productions – a group of first-time film makers. The film captures the evolution of X over the course of their first four albums and also documents the evolution and decline of the LA punk scene. All of this is set against the background of the Reagan administration’s “Morning in America” and a hostile and apathetic music industry that were looking for the next AOR stadium act.

Director W.T. Morgan and the Angel City team do an excellent job of capturing the personality of each of the band members through candid, ‘at-home’ interviews along with a number of high-energy live and rehearsal performances from X. This footage is inter-spliced with pre-MTV music videos (for the song “The Unheard Music” and “Because I Do”), a variety of topical and stock footage and interviews with various personalities from the LA music scene. These interviews range from Brendan Mullen giving a tour of his short-lived punk club The Masque (which was in the basement of a porno theater) to an MCA Records executive talking about how he didn’t hear the commercial appeal in X’s music and he and MCA were expecting Point Blank to become the “next big thing” (aka the next Journey). There is also a reoccurring thread about a letter that Slash Records received from a girl who claimed that the lyrics from “Los Angeles” were stolen from her life story (but she wasn’t going to sue) so Angel City turned this theme into a mini-video featuring actress Alizabeth Foley.

The individual footage with the members of X include DJ Bonebrake demonstrating a polyrhythmic beat that he came up with on his apartment stove, John and Exene playing an acoustic Hank Williams number in their apartment, Exene giving a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Whisky prior to its closing in 1982, Billy goofing at home discussing his musical upbringing (and there is some footage of him playing the clarinet) and John explaining how the band came together and how he was able to acquire the “X” from the marquee of the old “Ex-Lax Building”.

Songs, in order of performance:
· Los Angeles
· Year One
· We're Desperate
· Because I Do
· Beyond & Back
· Come Back to Me
· Soul Kitchen (w/ Ray Manzarek on backing vocals)
· White Girl
· The Once Over Twice
· Motel Room in My Bed
· The Unheard Music
· Real Child of Hell
· Johny Hit & Run Paulene
· I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
· The World's a Mess; It's in My Kiss
· The Have Nots

"Well in the early 80s, there was a lot of attention on the punk scene then, because it was a revolutionary movement and was important and all that, and then students from UCLA wanted to make videos about us and we didn't really take it very seriously but further on we realized they were serious. Eventually they finished and it was called The Unheard Music and I'm glad they did it because I think as far as documentaries go, it's really good. It really is a good capture of that time and the music business. And it focuses on us, and it also focuses on the bigger picture. I'm a documentary fan. I love any kind of documentary, pretty much.” -- Exene Cervanka (from an interview with Helen Bach)
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the film, Angel City Productions released a “Silver Anniversary” special edition DVD on December 13th with a new film transfer and 5.1 mix of the original documentary along with bonus footage which includes previously unreleased live footage (“Some Other Time”), a current 25th Anniversary ‘look-back’ interview with John and Exene along with an inside look into the making of the film with the members of Angel City Productions (circa. 1983).

X (the band)

The Smiths: "Please, Please, Please: a Tribute to The Smiths" CD Review (American Laundromat Records)

Sheila Take A Bow (Smiths Cover) by Telekinesis by americanlaundromatrecords

Panic (Smiths Cover) by Kitten by americanlaundromatrecords

I'm not sure what will happen first: the Age of Quarrel line-up of the Cro-Mags reunite, The Smiths reunite or hell freezes over. It is a funny world though as I can remember listening to a mid-90's interview with Metallica where they were laughing when asked about the possibility of ever playing again with Dave Mustaine and Dave just played with Metallica at the band's 30th Anniversary show in San Francisco.

For anyone who needs a fix while waiting to see whether the rumor is true that The Smiths are reuniting for Coachella 2012, American Laundromat Records has just issued a loving 2-CD tribute to The Smiths - Please, Please, Please. Following up on Morrissey and Johnny Marr's fascination with English pop-singer Sandie Shaw, American Laundromat Records secured rights to use a Sandie Shaw photograph for the cover of this new tribute disc and tapped rock-poster designer Lonny Unitus (Apples In Stereo, The Decemberists, Willie Nelson) to design the cover art and eco-wallet packaging.

The twenty indie-rock band on this collection keep the core foundation of Marr and Morrissey's songs intact and immediately recognizable but each of these bands reinterprets and adds their individual imprint to the songs so this collection should pull in both long-time Smiths fans along with indie-rock fans who want to hear a new take on the band's back catalogue. Sadly, aside for a few greatest hits releases, The Smiths' catalogue has languished since the late 80's so this compilation breathes some new life into the band's well-established legacy.

Disc One starts with a shoe-gazer, shimmery cover of "Panic" by Kitten and some of the highlights on this first disc include Tanya Donnelly and Dylan in the Movies' languid cover of "Shoplifters of the World Unite" and the industrial leaning "Shop Me If You've Heard This One Before" by The Rest and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" by Chikita Violenta. One of the other stand-outs on Disc One is Greg Laswell's moving piano-driven cover of "Half a Person.

Disc Two starts with Telekinesis' cover of "Sheila Take a Bow" which is one of the few tracks on this set that doesn't stray far from the Smiths' original. From there, Solvents pick things up with a shambling alt-country cover of "Is It Really So Strange?" and Wedding Present deliver an alt-metal version of "Hand in Glove". There are a number of engaging tracks on this second disc, which range from Trespassers William's shoe-gazer version of "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" to Girl in a Coma's alt-punk delivery of "Rubber Ring" to a Blondie styled cover of "I Know It's Over" by Elk City. This disc closes on a striaght-forward note with a glistening cover of "Reel Around the Fountain" from Built To Spill's Doug Martsch.

American Laundromat Records

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paul McCartney Releases First Single, "My Valentine", From Forthcoming Album

My Valentine - Paul McCartney by PaulMcCartney

Paul McCartney Releases First Single, 'My Valentine', From Forthcoming AlbumWhile many a musician is often asked about the tunes that have influenced their songwriting, it is not a question Paul McCartney ordinarily gets to answer – until now. Paul is about to offer a glimpse into “the songs which inspired the songs” with the upcoming release of a brand new album of those standards he grew up listening to in his childhood—plus two brand new McCartney compositions: the album, which is currently untitled, will be released on Hear Music/Concord Records on February 7th 2012.

With the help of Grammy Award-winning producer Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall and her band—as well as guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, McCartney’s new album is a deeply personal journey through classic American compositions that, in some cases, a young Paul first heard his father perform on piano at home. As authentic and daring a musical statement as he could make, this is the album Paul has been thinking about making for more than 20 years - and probably the last thing his fans are expecting. “In the end it was ‘Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,” he says. In short, Paul believes it is about time “the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on” received the recognition they deserve. Moreover, the record also features a couple of new original McCartney compositions in the spirit of those classics.

When I kind of got into songwriting, I realised how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them,” Paul explains. “I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys - I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it’s beautiful, the way they made those song’.

Determined to approach the record in a new and unique manner, Paul enlisted the help of LiPuma and Krall and her band—who delivered ultra-high quality musicianship and were completely in tune with Paul’s restraint and feel for the music. In the studio, the recording of this album was also a new challenge for Paul who, for the first time ever, performed exclusively in the vocal booth without no instrument – no guitar, no bass, no piano - which led to a vocal performance like no other in his career.

Paul said, “It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we’d work with The Beatles. We’d bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we’d say ‘Okay, let's do a take now’ and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we’d learnt the song. So that’s what we did, we did the take live in the studio. It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise.

The album was recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011. It also features guest musicians Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, respectively, on the original compositions "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts".

Paul McCartney

Yes - "In the Present: Live from Lyon" CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Yes - 'In the Present: Live from Lyon' CD Review (Frontier Records)One of the challenges in writing a review of a long-running band’s “greatest hits” album is that the band (most often) has an established and well-known sound so the reviewer adds little value. I feel like I’m in that quandary with the latest live album from Yes, In the Present: Live from Lyon, as Yes has already released over a dozen live albums, CDs and DVDs and the set list on this new disc is predominately comprised of Yes’ greatest hits. One could argue that this is the first live album with vocalist Benoit David but, while his voice sounds closer to Trevor Horn’s than Anderson’s, he delivers the songs in the same style as Anderson so that doesn’t seem to be a valid counterpoint. Songs like “Roundabout” or “Starship Trooper” simply haven’t changed that much over the last 30 years (see comparative Anderson / David live videos below).

In the Present: Live from Lyon was recorded on 12/1/09 at La Bourse du Travail in Lyon, France during the band’s 2008-09 “In the Present” tour. This tour served to introduce Benoit David to Yes fans so the set list consists of the ‘chestnuts’ that are likely on ALL of Yes’ previous live albums along with a few ‘surprises’ in the set list – “Astral Traveler”, “Machine Messiah”, “South Side of the Sky” and “Onward”.

Here is the track list:

Disc 1:
1- "Siberian Khatru"
2- "I've Seen All Good People"
3 - "Tempus Fugit"
4 - "Onward"
5- "Astral Traveller"
6 - "And You And I"
7 - "Corkscrew" (Steve Howe Solo)

Disc 2:
1 - "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
2 - "Southside of the Sky"
3 - "Machine Messiah"
4 - "Heart of the Sunrise"
5 - "Roundabout"
6 - "Starship Trooper"

While this show doesn’t break any new ground (and I assume its main point is to prove that Benoit David can sing like Jon Anderson in a live setting), it captures a solid performance by the band. My one complaint is that the band slows down the tempos on some of the faster material so it is a bit disconcerting not to hear the expected burst of speed and energy as (i.e.) songs like “Your Move” shift into “All Good People”. This complaint, though, isn’t unique to this new recording as Yes has been slowing down for the last couple of years. My other complaint is that Oliver Wakeman doesn’t have the flair of his father and the keyboards sound rather bland. The good news is that Steve Howe and Chris Squire both sound perfectly on-point (and Howe adds a spark to the end of “Yours is No Disgrace” with some innovative guitar work) and Howe and Squire’s backing vocals perfectly balance David’s alto tenor.

There are a number of live video from this show posted to YouTube so you can check out the recording in advance to see if this is for you.

It would have been nice if this record had broken some new ground (a complete run-through of Drama would have been brilliant) but In the Present: Live from Lyon doesn’t diminish the band’s 40+ year legacy.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Announce Fourth Disc, "Rot Gut, Domestic", Due Out on March 20th (Mariel Recording Company)

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Announce Fourth Disc, 'Rot Gut, Domestic, Due Out on March 20th (Mariel Recording Company)Margot & The Nuclear So and So's have announced the release of their fourth studio album Rot Gut, Domestic on March 20th, 2012 via their own Mariel Recording Company.

Rot Gut, Domestic is the Nukes' rawest take on their evocative, soaring brand of guitar-centric pop. The album follows in the footsteps of the more brazen, rocking songs that comprised 2010's Buzzard (called "masterpieces of controlled tension" by SPIN) and the first four tracks provide a fittingly booming intro. Opener "Disease Tobacco Free" is a propulsive low-end led rumble; squealing guitars and rough-hewn edges augment the sinister air of "Books About Trains"; "Shannon" is a bleary-eyed and grimy, fuzzy bass stomp; and undulating first single "Prozac Rock" is a modern pop song's frenetic, slightly spooky sister. The swinging, sweetly twisted tale of "A Journalist Falls In Love" and the rolling "Ludlow Junk Hustle" ease the album's pace, and The Nukes still pen some of the most moving, lush songs today, heard here in the gorgeous, sweeping guitar lilt of "Coonskin Cap".

Singer/songwriter Richard Edwards wrote Rot Gut, Domestic over 26 days in Pismo Beach, CA last spring. Plagued by chronic stomach pain, he'd headed to Pismo Beach - which had become a somewhat mythical place for the band, a respite of calm and healing where they'd somehow always been drawn - following the last days of the band's touring around Buzzard. The album was conceived as the second installment of the band's 'panic pop' trilogy, Edwards composing a new set of songs about Midwestern fringe characters set to his skewed version of the pop music on which he was raised. Upon returning to his current hometown of Chicago, IL, Edwards and the rest of the band headed into Electrical Audio studio with producer/engineer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Bill Callahan, The Walkmen). The Nukes churned out these 12 resounding tracks over 10 days in July before Congleton returned to his Dallas, TX studio to mix the album. A full track listing is below.

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's will perform a New Year's Eve show at Deluxe at Amber Room in Indianapolis, IN. A limited edition (500 hand-numbered copies) 7-inch single of "Prozac Rock", which includes non-album track B-side "Fingertips", will be available exclusively at the show. The majority of the copies will be printed in standard black vinyl, while 50 will be white and less than 10 will be multi-colored. Beginning January 1st, any remaining copies will be available first to fans who contributed to the album's PledgeMusic campaign for one week before a wider release via the band's website. The "Prozac Rock" single will also be available digitally beginning January 3rd.

More touring news will be announced soon.

Rot Gut, Domestic track listing:
Disease Tobacco Free
Books About Trains
Prozac Rock
A Journalist Falls In Love
Frank Left
Fisher Of Men
Arvydas Sabonis
Coonskin Cap
Ludlow Junk Hustle
The Devil

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Tour Dates:

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

R.E.M. Shutters Fan Club with Low Key 2011 Christmas Single

R.E.M. Fan-Club Holiday Single 2011 by Slicing Up Eyeballs

R.E.M. Shutters Fan Club with Low Key 2011 Christmas SingleWay back in the pre-Internet dark ages, it used to be the epitome of indie record-geek cool to be a member of R.E.M.’s fan club as the club put out an annual limited-edition Christmas single containing exclusive material. The original fan club releases were vinyl singles which contained (generally) a unique, one-off cover along with a holiday-themed song. The first few singles contained covers of songs by Television, Mission of Burma and Flipper along with ‘goofy’ holiday covers that included ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’, ‘Toyland’, and ‘Good King Wenceslas’.

I lost interest in R.E.M. in the middle-90’s and dropped my fan club membership but got back involved this year as I expected the band’s final holiday single (the fan club is now disbanded now that the band has broken up) would prove interesting. Unfortunately, the final release from the fan club is unremarkable…it is a two song CD which contains live performances of “Perfect Circle” (Twickenham 8/30/08) and “Life and How to Live It” (from R.E.M.’s final show, Mexico City 11/18/08). While the recording and performances sound great – there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to why these tracks from these shows were chosen. In fact, R.E.M. had previously posted the six song encore from their final show in Mexico City to YouTube.

As R.E.M.’s final holiday single is pretty unremarkable, it is disappointing to see the fan club go out with a whimper rather than bang.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

One One Seven: Long Island Modern Rock Band Makes Their NYC Debut with a Show at Arlene's Grocery on Dec. 29th

One One Seven: Long Island Modern Rock Band Makes Their NYC Debut with a Show at Arlene's Grocery on Dec. 29thLong Island's One One Seven started in December 2007 and the band's acoustic-based music and rich vocal harmonies immediately bring up comparisons to bands like The Trews and 90's "modern rock" bands like Matchbox 20 and Hootie & the Blowfish.

To date, One One Seven has been giging outside of the City and have shared the stage with acts like Romance on a Rocketship, This Condition, Austin Gibbs, Brian Bonz (from Kevin Devine's Band), Truth In Transit and Jonas Sees In Color. The band is making their NYC debut with a show at Arlene's Grocery on Dec. 29th. One One Seven is playing alongside Inlite, I Can See Mountains and the night ends with the Party Money rave - cover is $8.

One One Seven

Johnny Thunders - "Who's Been Talking?" Live DVD Review (MVD Video)

Johnny Thunders - 'Who's Been Talking?' Live DVD Review (MVD Video)With the release of the New York Dolls’ DVD Looking Fine on Television, I went back to check out some of the Dolls/Thunders releases that I’ve missed over the years. These first of the discs that I dropped on was Johnny Thunders Who's Been Talking which is a live DVD of one of Johnny’s last concerts. This show was filmed at Club Citta in Osaka, Japan on April 3, 1991 and this is the last known recorded show that Johnny played as he was found dead in New Orleans on April 23rd. The music on Who's Been Talking will be familiar to long-time fans as a portion of this show was released on the 2CD set Add Water and Stir and the full show was released on the two volume Japanese set Saddest Vacation – Last Live in Japan. What makes this release a treat is that it is the first full concert video of Johnny playing with the Oddballs as, outside of 10 minutes of bootleg footage from the Cat Club, I haven’t seen anything else out there.

This show is neither the barn-storming, ball-busting rawk of the Heartbreakers nor the troubadour-style acoustic sets that Thunders was playing around NYC prior to his death but contains elements of both. With the addition of Allison’s Gordy’s prominent backing vocals (she takes lead on the torch song “I Can’t Go On Without You”) and Jamie Heath’s saxophone, the show has more of a “Buster Poindexter” style flair than Johnny’s typical stage show. Johnny takes on a “showman” role for this concert but his illness has him obviously moving at a slower clip. He rarely plays guitar while singing but guitarist Stevie Klasson plays some nice leads with Johnny adding in some of his immediately-recognizable licks when he isn’t singing. The drug-fueled sloppiness may be gone but Johnny stays true to form by getting both the name of the city wrong (he gives a thank you to “Tokyo” at the end of the set) and improvising some dirty lyrics to “Hang on Sloopy”.

The setlist spans both the Dolls and Thunders back catalogues and Johnny plays some material (“Society Makes Me Sad” and “Disappointed in You” that was new at that time (and "Disappointed in You" was ultimately released on the 1993 Totonka bootleg Sticks & Stones which was later re-released by Cleopatra). It is an interesting and eclectic set list as Johnny skips “Chinese Rocks” and “You Can't Put Your Arm Around A Memory” from his ‘traditional’ set and includes covers of “Hang on Sloopy” and “You Can Walk My Dog” (which are in addition to the standard covers in the set list of “Pills”, “Louie Louie”, and “Stepping Stone”).

Here is the complete (and corrected) set list:

1. In Cold Blood
2. Hit The Road Jack > I’m Not Your Stepping Stone
3. Blame It On Mom
4. Disappointed In You
5. Sad Vacation
6. You Can Walk My Dog
7. Pipeline
8. I Can't Go On Without You
9. Louie Louie / Hang On Sloopy
10. Society Makes Me Sad
11. Too Much Junkie Business > Pills
12. Just Another Girl
13. So Alone
14. Personality Crisis

Encore: (w/ Kiyoshiro Imawano on harmonica and backing vocals)
15. Born To lose
16. I Wanna Be Loved

The disc runs for 66 minutes and also contains a bonus feature which is a short bio write-up by Betty Chienne. The audio quality is solid and on-par with any of Thunders’ previously released live shows but the video is a bit hazy. The video editing shows some ‘amateur’ camera jerks and rough edits but it is very watchable and there is a lot worse –looking Thunders footage out there. While video only shows a single camera angle, the show was filmed with multiple cameras so you get to see different visual perspectives of the whole band in action along with close-ups of the members.

Long-time Johnny Thunders fans will want to check out this disc if they haven’t already picked up a copy.

Johnny Thunders

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meat Puppets - "Huevos" CD Review (MVD Audio)

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live @ Variety Arts Center, Los Angeles, CA 1-22-88

Meat Puppets - Always a prolific band, The Meat Puppets followed the April 1987 release of the very accessible Mirage with Huevos, which came out just six months later. This time out, the band are going for a bluesy, riff-rock power trio sound akin to the James Gang or ZZ Top. In the liner notes for the reissue, Derrick Bostrom said: “At this stage of our career, we weren’t punk enough for our old fans and we were too punk for our new ones...we decided we’d hit a ceiling with SST and developed the self-defeating attitude that as long as we were on an indie label, there wasn’t much sense in putting as much time and effort into out albums as we had with Mirage. For Huevos then, we took the directly opposite course: we vowed to finish the album in a week.

Like Mirage, Huevos is very accessible and, retrospectively, seems to pre-date the alt-rock explosion of the 90’s. The disc’s sound centers around Curt’s thick guitar riffs and upfront (and reasonably) clear vocals, both of which are accentuated with a raw “live in the studio” production. A number of website cite a Musician magazine interview where Curt Kirkwood claimed that a fan letter he had received from ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons inspired a songwriting spree that resulted in many of Huevos' tracks. Derrick Bostrom mentions in the liner notes that a handful of the other tracks on this disc were leftovers from Mirage. While the songs on this disc come close to replicating the band’s live sound, the bonus video of “Automatic Mojo” (filmed at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles, Jan. ’88) shows the band playing more aggressively in the live setting.

There are a handful of standout tracks on this disc – “Paradise", "Automatic Mojo" and the brilliant "Sexy Music" – but one of the challenges of the disc is that too many of the rough edges have been smoothed off. This disc is extremely radio friendly, which shows that the Pups should have exploded long before Cobain and Too High to Die, but long-time fans will likely miss the eccentricities and raw intensity of the band’s earlier albums.

Moving over to the bonus tracks, most of these are ‘snoozers’ as four of the five bonus tracks are instrumental versions of album tracks that are extremely close to the final version. The one interesting bonus track is “Baby Want You Want Me to Do” which combines the words from “I Can’t Be Counted On” with the music of “Baby What You Want Me to Do” (a Jimmy Reed song that the Pups used to cover in concert).

Huevos Bonus Tracks:
1. "Baby What You Want Me to Do" - 1:29
2. "Sexy Music (Demo Version)" - 6:40
3. "Automatic Mojo (Demo Version)" - 3:56
4. "Paradise (Demo Version)" - 4:06
5. "Fruit (Demo Version)" - 5:20

Meat Puppets

New York Dolls - "Lookin' Fine on Television" DVD Review (MVD Video)

New York Dolls - 'Lookin Fine on Television' DVD Review (MVD Video"The legendary and infamous New York Dolls at their best! Amazing rare live clips and interviews filmed by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck in the heady days of the band's ascension in the 70s. Footage from early shows in NYC all the way to the TV studios, clubs and swimming pools of Los Angeles. Black and white film was never so colorful! Includes ripping versions of "Personality Crisis," "Who Are the Mystery Girls?" "Babylon" and more. See the incredible early days of the band that influenced generations of punks and rockers." -- Press Release

I'm the wrong person to write a review of the latest archival DVD from the New York Dolls, Lookin' Fine on Television, as my expectations likely don't match that of a casual fan. To back up, I've bought pretty much every NY Dolls release that I could put my hands over the last twenty years so I have a (too) large collection of the band's commercial releases, quasi-legitamate releases and bootlegs. As such, my expectations are high for any new archival release and Lookin' Fine on Television is a "good" but not "great" addition to the band's catalogue.

This new DVD consists of live audio tracks (likely from the '73 era of the Dolls) over which Gruen and Beck over-layed cut together live footage of the band playing that song from a number of different shows. The footage used came from a variety of shows which include local shows at Kenny's Castaways and Max's Kansas City as well as footage from the band's late '73 West Coast tour. Some of the footage includes clips of the band with Peter Jordan on bass, with Arthur (with his arm still in a cast) looking on, very brief clips from the band's Red Patent Leather era and some great shots of the Dolls' Halloween show at the Waldorf Astoria. As complete performances of songs from some of these shows were released on All Dolled Up, I keep hoping that the full performances will be released so I was a bit disappointed that the cut-together shots on Lookin' Fine on Television end up feeling more like a MTV-style music video than a live performance.

On a positive note, there is some cool interview footage sequenced between the songs. The disc starts with an impromptu interview with the full band who are relaxing on a meadow overlooking the City (and there are some brief shots of future Dolls Peter Jordan and Tony Machine during the interview). There are various clips from a poolside interview with David Johasen which was filmed in Los Angeles and there is also news footage coverage of the Dolls' 1973 Halloween bash.

The disc ends with a bonus clip that is absolutely priceless - this is a 1976 clip of David Johansen interviewing journalist Lisa Robinson on the street outside of CBGB and the taping is 'crashed' midway by a very mod-looking Johnny Thunders.

New York Dolls

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lissie Releases Cover of The Pretenders' "2000 Miles" as Free Download

DOWNLOAD: Lissie - "2000 Miles" (Live - not on Live at Shepard's Bush Empire CD/DVD)

Lissie Releases Cover of The Pretenders' '2000 Miles' as Free DownloadHappy holidays!

I wanted to share my version of the Pretenders' '2,000 Miles' from a show I did last year in London! I hope it's a nice complement to your holiday season and helps ya to feel festive! I also hope you all have a very happy holiday surrounded by loved ones and delicious food!

Love, Lissie


The Magnetic Fields Return to Merge for Tenth Disc "Love at the Bottom of the Sea" / Show at Beacon Theater on April 3rd

The Magnetic Fields Return to Merge for Tenth Disc 'Love at the Bottom of the Sea' / Show at Beacon Theater on April 3rdThe Magnetic Fields’ Love at the Bottom of the Sea will be released by Merge Records on March 6. The band’s tenth full-length album is their first release of new material with Merge since 1999’s highly acclaimed 69 Love Songs. The band will celebrate their new album with a North American tour that passes through the SXSW Music Showcase in Austin, Texas.

After putting out three synthesizer-free albums, The Magnetic Fields are returning to the signature mix of synth and acoustic sounds they established in the 90s with Merge releases such as The Charm of the Highway Strip and Get Lost. Stephin Merritt has come back to the synth with a fresh approach: “Most of the synthesizers on the record didn’t exist when we were last using synthesizers,” he notes. The songs — none over three minutes long — were recorded in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York with Merritt’s usual cast of collaborators: Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Johny Blood and Daniel Handler.

There will be a limited-edition eggshell-colored vinyl available exclusively to those who pre-order the album at the Merge Records store. The first 100 people who order the album from Merge will receive a free signed poster and a Magnetic Fields button, as well.

The Magnetic Fields’ debut album Distant Plastic Trees was released in 1991. In 1999, The Magnetic Fields’ three-CD collection, 69 Love Songs, established Stephin Merritt as one of his generation’s most talented songwriters. That breakthrough was followed by three albums on Nonesuch Records: i in 2004, Distortion in 2008 and Realism in 2010. Between Magnetic Fields releases, Merritt has recorded side projects and albums with his various other bands, Future Bible Heroes, the Gothic Archies and the 6ths, as well as soundtracks to the films Eban and Charley and Pieces of April. In 2006, Nonesuch also released a collection of songs Merritt wrote under the name The Gothic Archies to accompany the Lemony Snicket books, The Tragic Treasury: Songs from a Series of Unfortunate Events. In 2009, Merritt scored the Off-Broadway adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline.

'Love at the Bottom of the Sea' Track Listing:
1. God Wants Us to Wait
2. Andrew in Drag
3. Your Girlfriend’s Face
4. Born For Love
5. I’d Go Anywhere with Hugh
6. Infatuation (With Your Gyration)
7. The Only Boy in Town
8. The Machine in Your Hand
9. Goin’ Back to the Country
10. I’ve Run Away to Join the Fairies
11. The Horrible Party
12. My Husband’s Pied-a-Terre
13. I Don’t Like Your Tone
14. Quick!
15. All She Cares About Is Mariachi

The Magnetic Fields’ Tour Dates:
March 6 -- Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, NY
March 7 -- Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA
March 14, 15, 16 -- SXSW, Austin, TX
March 18 -- The Vogue, Vancouver, BC
March 19 -- Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA
March 20 -- Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA
March 21 -- Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
March 23 -- Orpheum Theater, Los Angeles, CA
March 24 -- Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
March 26 -- Vic Theater, Chicago, IL
March 27 -- Vic Theater, Chicago, IL
March 28 -- Englert Theater, Iowa City, IA
March 30 -- Sound Academy, Toronto, ONT
March 31 -- Le National, Montral, QUE

April 3 -- Beacon Theater, New York, NY
(Tickets are currently on-sale and range from $35 - 40)

April 6 -- Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
April 7 -- Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
April 9 -- 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
April 11 -- Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
April 12 -- Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
April 14 -- Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA

The Magnetic Fields

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meat Puppets- "On My Way" CD Review (MVD Audio)

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live @ KCRW Studios, 1-16-86
(contains live versions of many of the songs from On My Way)

Meat Puppets- 'On My Way' CD Review (MVD Audio)The Meat Puppets’ Up On the Sun (1985) was a staple of my college radio days and there was a rumor circulating at the time that the popularity of the disc was going to lead to the Pups signing to a major label. At this point in the band’s career, Curt’s songwriting had significantly matured, leaving no trace of the speedballing freaked-out punk from the band’s first disc.

Drummer Derrick Bostrom noted that, after the lengthy Up On the Sun tour, “no longer were we scruffy punks making noise for the party-soundtrack of our peers, we were now the proprietors of a prosperous new franchise”. As such, the Pups decided to record their next disc outside of an SST studio and planned test the chemistry at a local Phoenix studio with a stop-gap EP, “Out My Way”, prior to recording a full-length disc later in the year. (Those plans quickly changed after Curt broke some of his fingers and Mirage was delayed until almost a year later).

Out My Way was originally released as a 24 minute six track EP and this reissue has now been expanded to 52 minutes with the addition of seven bonus tracks. Most of the songs are straight-forward country-flavored 70’s rock with a little bit of Byrdsian psychedelia (“Other Kinds of Love”) thrown in. The disc opens with the rave-up “She’s Hot”…and the original disc closed on a similar note with Pups steamrolling through a cover of “Good Golly Miss Molly”. There isn’t a bum track on the disc but two of the stand-out tracks are “Not Swimming Ground” and "Mountain Line", which captures the classic Pups sound.

The bonus tracks, which were recorded around the same time as the EP, show the influences on the band range from George Jones (one of the bonus tracks is the Jones popularized song “Burn the Honkey Tonk Down”) to Foghat / ZZ Top-style southern boogie to Grateful Dead style jam bands (“Everything is Green” is a 8+ minute instrumental of Curt jamming to a drum track). The one oddball track of the lot is “Backwards Drums”, which has a trance dance- club sound. Derrick Bostrom describes this last track as being cut during Curt’s wood-shedding period for Monsters. The disc also includes a bonus live video of the Pups covering Hendrix’s “Little Wing” live at The Stone in San Francisco which shows just how tight the band had become musically.

Meat Puppets

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Fall - "Ersatz GB" CD Review (Cherry Red Records / MVD Audio)

The Fall - 'Ersatz GB' CD Review (Cherry Red Records / MVD Audio)Toward the end of last month, The Fall released their 29th studio disc Erstaz GB (Cherry Red Records / MVD Audio). Longtime champion of the band John Peel said that “The Fall are always identifiably The Fall, but they do seem to evolve” and there is no mistaking Mark E. Smith’s garbled stream-of-conscious, sing/speak vocals on Erstaz GB which are interwoven into a dense layer of frenetic punk riffs, rumbling dirge and crashing heavy metal chords that collectively end up not too far from the music on The Fall’s last two discs.

This disc also marks the most stable lineup that The Fall have had in years as Pete Greenway (guitar), Dave Spurr (bass), Keiron Melling (drums) and Elena Poulou (keyboards) started with the band on 2008’s Imperial Wax Solvent and soldiered on for 2010’s Your Future, Our Clutter.

As to be expected, Smith lets his bile flow across the disc’s ten tracks. Erstaz is defined as “made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else” and Smith lets loose his observations on middle-class culture (in addition to taking a swipe at Snow Patrol) with his typical non-sequitur rants. Musically, the band careens between amphetamine-fueled post-punk (“Cosmos 7”, “Taking Off”), metal (“Greenway”, which is a reworking of Anorimoi’s ”Game Boy”) and rockabilly (“Mask Search”). One notable exception is “Happi Song”, which is a Velvet Underground style number sung by the now third Mrs. Smith, Elena Poulou.

The Fall have been on the road touring in advance of the release of Ersatz GB and below are some live performance of songs from this disc.

Trying to interpret Mark E. Smith's lyrics is a thankless task and one is probably happier not knowing what was on Smith’s mind when he spits out “I had to wank off the cat to feed the fucking dog” (“Greenway”)...but Smith has long used his vocals as a musical weapon. Amusingly, I’ve made fun of hair bands (Bon Jovi and Warrant) in the past for their rhyming lyrics and Smith seems to take his own swipe at lazy lyricists by stringing together all sorts of crazy words that rhyme during the 6 minute rant “Nate Will Not Return”. The disc ends with the propulsive “Age of Chang” on which Smith repeats the chorus “Time for a Change”. With Smith’s track record of leaving dozens of former band members by the roadside over the course of his 30+ year career, I’d start getting nervous if I were one of the other members of The Fall.

The Fall just finished a UK tour last month and are off the road until March '12 when they are playing some shows in France as a run-up to the UK All Tomorrow's Parties Festival.

The Fall

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LA Guns Replace “New” Vocalist Dilana as Lead Singer after Two Months / BrooklynRocks Publisher Rejected as Replacement

LA Guns Replace 'New' Vocalist Dilana as Lead Singer after Two Months / BrooklynRocks Publisher Rejected as ReplacementOnly kidding about the later portion of the title but…Tracii has swapped out Jizzy Pearl’s replacement, former Rock Star: Supernova contestant, Dilana Robichaux after just two months with the band. Tracii has had a revolving cast of vocalists over the years but Dilana’s departure has to set the record for the shortest tenure. Dilana’s replacement is Tony West, who played with the band Blacklist Union (never heard of him or the band…but I never heard of Chris Van Dahl either before or after his tenure in LA Guns).

According to Blabbermouth, Dilana called the band "a fucking joke" after being fired by Tracii and said "I have all the notes written n some recorded about this very fucked up L.A. GUNS tour," she wrote. "One day, you will understand!"

Editor's Note: Would anyone understand what is going on in Tracii's head at this point in time?

Tracii followed this by saying: “It was truly the best L.A. GUNS I ever heard on stage, hands down. Sometimes the greatest art comes from the madness and this was the case here. I know Dilana is ripping on every aspect of the situation and I know that’s how she vents, so I am OK with it.

After watching one episode of Rockstar: INXS (and being nausiated), I’m opposed to any “reality show” contestant fronting ANY band. My fear is that I’ll see Sanjaya fronting a metal band as he will end up being “the most popular” contestant. (Crowdsourcing musicians doesn’t work!! What happened to talent and synergies within the group?). You can watch and decide for yourself if this swap-out is an improvement.

Somwhere, Steve Riley and Phil Lewis are laughing…

LA Guns

Deep Purple - "BBC Sessions 1968 - 1970" CD Review

Deep Purple - 'BBC Sessions 1968 - 1970' CD ReviewAfter getting fairly annoyed / disappointed with the recent series of major label “deluxe reissues” (Nirvana, Pink Floyd, etc.), Deep Purple’s The BBC Sessions 1968/70 is a welcome change - along with being a great addition to the band’s extensive catalog. It isn’t quite fair to call this 2CD set a “deluxe reissue” but about half of these tracks had circulated previously on various compilations and reissues. This is the first time though that ALL of Deep Purple’s BBC session that were recorded between 1968 – 1970 have been released in chronological running order.

Disc One chronicles the band’s under-documented Mk 1 line-up's sessions for the BBC. Disc Two douments the early days of the Mk 2 lineup and captures this lineup prior to their initial studio release (In Rock) with a session that took place less than two months after the Mk 1 lineup came to a close. This 2CD set also comes with a 10-page booklet that details each of the sessions and the songs played. The sound quality on Disc One varies (depending on the source material) but the flaws are minor. The sound quality on Disc Two is “pin drop” perfect.

Disc One – Mk 1 Lineup (Seven previously unreleased songs + a previously unreleased brief interview with Rod Evans)

John Peel “Top Gear” Session – June 18, 1968
- "Hush",
- "One More Rainy Day"
- "Help"

“Symonds on Sunday” Session - 1968
- “And the Address"

John Peel “Top Gear” Session – January 14, 1969
- "Hey Bop A Re Bop" (early version of "The Painter")
- "Emmaretta"
- "Wring That Neck"
- "Hey Joe"
- "It's All Over"

"Sounds like Tony Brandon" Show Session – June 24, 1969
- “The Painter”
- "Lalena"

Chris Grant’s “Tasty Pop Sundae” Session – June 30, 1969
- "The Painter"
- “I’m So Glad”
- “Hush”

Disc Two – Mk 2 Lineup (Ten of the eleven songs along with a brief interview with Jon Lord were previously released on 2002’s Listen, Learn, Read On box set)

“Symonds on Sunday” Session – August 11, 1969
- “Ricochet” (early version of “Speed King”)
- “The Bird Has Flown”

Stuart Henry’s “Noise at Nine” Session – October 31, 1969
- “Speed King”
- “Jam Stew” (aka “John Stew”)

Mike Harding’s “Sound of the Seventies” Session – April 21, 1970
- "Hard Loving Man"
- "Bloodsucker"
- "Living Wreck"

BBC Transcription Services Session – September 23, 1970
- “Black Night”
- “Grabsplatter” (Early instrumental version of “I’m Alone”)
- “Into the fire”
- “Child in Time”

Deep Purple

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Live Photos from Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

Confessions of a heretic…I went to last week’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show to see WATERS as I really had no idea what CYHSY sounded like. I watched the energy of the sold-out crowd explode when the band took the stage but, for whatever reason, the band’s music just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) - Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) - Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) - Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

I was trying to get a feel for the band’s music during the first few songs and, for whatever reason, i couldn't shake the jam band comparisons. CYHSY are certainly talented musicians but I have an innate bias against anything that even remotely resembles a jam/Further Fest band.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) - Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

CYHSY released their third disc. Hysterical. in September and just finished up a series of US and Canadian tour dates. The band is off the road now but are heading to Japan followed by Europe in January.

For anyone who missed the band this time out, they have posted live performances of songs from Hysterical to their website (link below).

Ketamine and Ecstasy from CYHSY on Vimeo.

Clap Your Hand Say Yeah