Friday, January 27, 2012

Lou Reed - "Live Performances 1972 & 1974" DVD Review (XXL Media)

I was excited by this release as Lou Reed – Live Performances 1972 & 1974 is the first live recording from Lou’s Sally Can’t Dance tour to be commercially released. The first video segment shows Lou and his band recorded live at the Paris Olympia on 5/25/74. This segment, which was originally broadcast on French TV, captures the first six songs of Lou’s thirteen song set. The second segment contains four tracks that were recorded in Brussels in May 1974 and the final track is from Lou’s reunion with John Cale and Nico at Le Bataclan in 1972.

On Lou’s 1974 tour, the songs have been given a radical reworking to take on an urban, funky vibe. Most of the songs are longer than their respective studio versions which give the band room to jam and highlight prominent bass and keyboard. While Lou has always been the leader of the band, he had now moved to be the focal point as well. Lou is a peroxide blonde, dressed all in black, with large “Marty Rev” style sunglasses – he has completely handed off guitar playing off to Danny Weis and makes some pretty ‘interesting’ pre-disco dance moves while not singing. Lou mostly seems lost in his own world in front of the mic but does tell the crowd “Hey! Shut Up!” as the band is starting into “Ride Sally Ride”. This DVD is a great bridge between Lou’s experimental solo work and the polish of his later work as Lou was a veteran performer by the time of his next concert video – A Night with Lou Reed, which captures Lou live at the Bottom Line in 1983.

Track List - Paris 1974
- Intro/Sweet Jane
- I'm Waiting for the Man
- Lady Day
- Vicious
- Sally Can't Dance
- Ride Sally Ride

Track List - Brussels 1974
- Rock 'n Roll
- Heroin
- Walk on the Wild Side
- Goodnight Ladies

Reed/Cale - "Heroin", Le Bataclan, Paris '72 (Uploader disabled embedding)

There is some variation in quality between the three segments on the disc. The Paris footage is the best quality footage – it is filmed in color and is clear throughout. The source footage has deteriorated so this isn’t nowhere near comparable to “MTV style” live footage but it is very watchable (B/+) and the sound is solid. The Brussels footage is of noticeable lesser quality – while this segment was filmed in color, wide angles along with a good bit of generational loss make the video portion muddy. There are also some source video glitches in this segment. The redeeming factor is that audio is comparable to the Paris segment. The Le Bataclan footage was filmed in B&W and this footage is pretty good – the camera starts behind Reed and Cale but ends up with some nice close-ups of both men.

Lou Reed

Flipper (the band): Resurfaces in 2012 and Announces SXSW Show(s) and Upcoming European Tour

Flipper (the band): Resurfaces in 2012 and Announces SXSW Show(s) and Upcoming European TourAfter a quiet couple of years, Flipper has resurfaced in 2012! The band is playing a local warm-up show in Oakland on March 2 with East Bay Way & the Killer Smiles which is a precursor to playing SXSW in March and Europe in April.

Flipper's last studio disc Love came out in 2009 on MVD Audio.

"LOVE, the brand new studio album from the incredible Flipper was recorded with the great Jack Endino at the helm, known for having recorded many of Seattle's greatest Grunge albums, including Nirvana's Bleach. Recording took place at the Murky Slough Studios, on Krist Novoselic's property in Washington. Bruce Loose, Ted Falconi, and Steve DePace would regularly travel to Krist's for writing and recording sessions, and affectionately referred to it as 'Band Camp." With Krist providing bass, the band dug in and recorded one of their best efforts yet combing noisy guitars with that perfect low end bass and the grind of life and love. LOVE was designed to be a twin and companion to FIGHT. A well balanced experience from the one and only FLIPPER."


The Doors - "L.A. Woman" 40th Anniversary Edition CD Review (Rhino)

The Doors - 'L.A. Woman' 40th Anniversary Edition CD Review (Rhino)This album is heavy as f*ck and will melt your face off!

I always wanted to write a review that says absolutely nothing about the music on the disc (trying Googling “heavy as f*ck” or “melt your face off” and see how many times these phrases have been used in CD reviews). Most reviews that I’ve read of The Doors’ 40th Anniversary edition of L.A. Woman use most of their inches talking about the disc’s original release in 1971. With this disc having now been out 41 years, is there anyone out there who doesn’t already know that this was the last Doors album with Jim Morrison, ‘Mr. Mojo Rising’ was an anagram of Morrison’s name, etc, etc.? As most deluxe editions are targeted at the collector/completest, I think the real question is whether the bonus disc offers anything new or interesting.

Unfortunately, I found the bonus disc pretty much a ‘snoozer’. The first seven tracks are alternate studio takes of tracks from L.A. Woman. The musical arrangement on most of these tracks is noticeably different from the final studio versions but the differences really aren’t radical so there is nothing to get excited about. The two ‘major’ differences among these alternate versions are that “The WASP” ends with an instrumental breakdown and the band goofs around with a short cowboy/campfire song prior to starting into ‘Take 9’ of “Riders on the Storm”. The two ‘new’ bonus tracks – “She Smells So Nice” and “Rock Me” – are part of an extended blues-based jam that is interesting but unessential. “She Smells So Nice” sounds like it was cut out of a longer jam and "Rock Me (Baby)" is a studio run-through of the Muddy Waters' staple. Unfortunately, Morrison sounds like he isn't always singing in the mic and, which he does, his vocals are overloaded on both songs. For anyone who is curious, there are better recordings of “Rock Me Baby” on a number of the official Doors live recordings.

Bottom line is that this looks like a ‘cash grab’ as the two bonus tracks from the previous Rhino reissue – “Orange County Suite” and “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further” have been dropped from this release and both iTunes (“L.A. Woman (Take 1)” and “Crawling King Snake (Run Through and Studio Chatter)”) and Amazon (“Love Her Madly (Take 1)” and “The Changeling (Take 9)”) are offering bonus tracks with digital copies of this release. I can’t reminisce about 1971 but this bonus track nonsense reminds me of when LPs were the dominant format in the mid-80’s and the record companies would release a single bonus track on the CD edition and a different bonus track on the cassette edition. This marketing approach had limited success then so I don’t know why the record companies think it should work now.

The Doors

Thursday, January 26, 2012

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

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ 5/9/87 (Part 1 and Part 2)

Meat Puppets - 'Mirage' CD Review (MVD Audio)In April of 1987, the Meat Puppets released their fifth disc, Mirage. This disc was the band’s first that sounded intentionally geared toward commercial accessibility and Derrick Bostrom has referred to the disc as the Pups “psychedelic epic”. This is a transitional disc for the Pups, which catches them between the blissed-out country-punk of Up on the Sun and the pre-grunge alt-rock of Monsters. The music on this disc falls somewhere in between these two points and most of it ends up sounding like the country rock of the Grateful Dead.

There are some good cuts on Mirage but this is my least favorite of the original seven Meat Puppets albums as it is “too produced”. Curt’s new Roland guitar synthesizer and a drum machine feature prominently on a few tracks which, unfortunately, gives these tunes a very dated “80’s sound”. It seems that these tracks didn’t hold up well for the band either as Derrick Bostrom said “By the end of the [Mirage] tour, however, we pretty much decided that doing this sort of material night after night was a drag. We jettisoned the stuff we didn’t enjoy playing, and began woodshedding a set of comparative “barn burners,” which became the “Huevos” album. We focused on creating more energy on stage, got looser still, and started breaking our songs open into extended jams and medleys. The party was just beginning.

I’ve never noticed this on earlier discs, but the best songs on Mirage are where drummer Derrick Bostrom plays fast and loose; these tracks include “Quit It”, “Get on Down” and “Beauty”. The country rock songs aren’t bad and “Confusion Fog” shows Curt’s finger-picking prowess but they are missing that off-kilter charm that made Up on the Sun so memorable. “Liquified” is a great “guitar hero” song that is a big hairy rock number that showed what was to come on Monsters. Skip “Mirage”, “The Mighty Zero” and “I Am a Machine” (which sound either dated or like mid-period Paul Westerbeg [boring]).

Five instrumental bonus tracks have been added to this reissue along with the promo video for “Get on Down”, which seemed to get a lot of play on MTV at the time. This time out, the bonus tracks are an interesting assortment and the early versions of “The Mighty Zero” and “I am a Machine” seems to have more life than the final studio versions. One of the other bonus tracks is an instrumental version of “Rubberneckin”, which was made popular by Elvis Presley (but I’m not familiar with the original so…no comment) and a previously unreleased track of Curt working through some riffs entitled “Grand Intro”.

Bonus Tracks:
1. "The Mighty Zero (Demo Version)" (Curt Kirkwood/Cris Kirkwood) - 3:40
2. "I Am A Machine (Demo Version)" - 4:05
3. "Liquified (Demo Version)" - 3:39
4. "Rubberneckin’" (Dory Jones/Bunny Warren) - 2:46
5. "Grand Intro" - 2:03

Meat Puppets

Wino & Conny Ochs Stream "Heavy Kingdom" From Forthcoming Collaborative Album (out March 13th)

STREAM: Wino & Conny Ochs - "Heavy Kingdom" (title track from forthcoming album)

Wino & Conny Ochs Stream 'Heavy Kingdom' From Forthcoming Collaborative Album (out March 13th)Earlier this week, the folks at The Obelisk posted the title track, "Heavy Kingdom", from the forthcoming collaborative album from Wino & Conny Ochs. This new LP is confirmed for North American release via Exile On Mainstream Records on March 13th.

Wino & Conny Ochs have also confirmed their first full tour in support of Heavy Kingdom, set for performances across Europe for all of March and through mid-April. More dates are still being confirmed; catch the confirmed itinerary and watch for more updates over the coming weeks at Exile on Mainstream's website.

The legacy of Scott “Wino” Weinrich in the world of heavy music is indisputable and ever evolving, and here he teams up with Conny Ochs, a songwriter so pure and honest in his output that he seems to be the perfect partner for the straightforward Weinrich. The two met for the first time in 2010 when Ochs was supporting Wino on his acoustic solo tour promoting his acclaimed solo album, Adrift.

Through music they discovered a very similar approach to life and art, and a shared wisdom in creating music. It really seemed like two souls becoming one after they got to know each other. Together the two wrote, performed and recorded an incredible set of soulful tunes that speak for themselves, as well as a Townes Van Zandt cover. The artwork contains drawings by both Weinrich and Ochs, and follows the dedicated and deeply personal approach of the whole album.

Heavy Kingdom Track Listing:
1. Somewhere Nowhere
2. Heavy Kingdom
3. Dust
4. Vultures By The Vines
5. Dark Ravine
6. Traces Of Blood
7. Heavy Kingdom Jam
8. Highway Kind
9. Dead Yesterday
10. Here Comes The Siren
11. Labour Of Love

Wino (Scott Weinrich)
Conny Ochs

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quiet Riot Plays B.B. King's on Feb. 1st w/ All Points West (Spread Eagle) and Saviour

I’ve never figured out why there seemed to be a mainstream backlash against Quiet Riot. When Quiet Riot last came though New York (they played the St. George Theatre in Staten Island in 2006), I asked some of my friends who have mainstream musical tastes (i.e. Nickelback and Poison fans) if they wanted to go with me to the show and they gave me looks like I asked them if they wanted to see (i.e.) The Wiggles open for Miley Cyrus. My friends missed a fabulous show – Rehab (which the band was touring behind at the time) has to be one of the band’s strongest discs and it showed them moving toward a 70’s “classic rock” sound that was akin to Rod Stewart & The Faces. Adding to the mix, love him or hate him, Kevin DuBrow was one of the best front-men in rock.

With the blessing of Kevin’s mom, drummer Frankie Banali reactivated the Rehab lineup of Quiet Riot and recently added vocalist Keith St. John from Montrose. This new lineup of the band is making their first appearance in NYC on Feb. 1st with a show at B.B. Kings. There are a strong set of bands opening for Quiet Riot (unlike the terrible Iron Maiden tribute band that opened for QR in Staten Island) – Ray West’s All Points West and long-running Long Island metalers Saviour. Tickets are $18 in advance and $22 DOS.

Quiet Riot

The Residents - "Rivers of Hades" CDR Review (Ralph Records)

The Residents - 'Rivers of Hades' CDR Review (Ralph Records)The Residents’ Rivers of Hades is currently available as a CDR which Ralph is selling through its eBay store. The band describes this release as “music conceived as an aural art piece to accompany the release party of The Residents toy figures recently designed by Steve Cerio. The original music was conceived to utilize two DVD players that were programmed to randomly play abstract bits of music. They would play 5.1 surround audio and each would play different things. The project (which required 12 speakers placed in a circle around the gallery) was entitled “Chaos is not just a theory”. In Greek mythology, Hades was a child of Chaos.

As these kinds of things go, it never quite worked out. The gallery never agreed to provide the sound system and some people felt it would be unpleasant for attending guests (correct) so by the time the toy release actually happened (there were several lengthy delays) The Residents had lost interest and had moved into other projects which did not allow them to even attend the toy release opening.

A track from this project, “Hades” (which includes the music that ended up as "Acheron River"), first surfaced on the Ten Little Piggies compilation and The Residents adapted the music on Rivers of Hades from part of the music written for “Chaos is not just a theory”.

River of Hades is an instrumental disc which contains a mix of dark cinematic soundscapes and polyrhythmic and syncopated percussion. “Acheron River” starts with a percussive intro which leads into dark, cinematic synths and woodwinds. “Cocytus River” is a dense cuisinart of sound which is similar to the blend of percussive and cinematic music heard on THE UGHS!. “Lethe River” is less musically dense than its predecessors on the disc and its hazy atmosphere has a constant undercurrent of a pulsing organic beat. “Styx River” sounds like a couple of kids running amuck on Bill Bruford’s electronic drum kit and there are a couple of rock guitar riffs (Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak”?) thrown in for good measure toward the end of the song. The final cut, “Phlegethon River”, reverses the percussive/cinematic blend of “Cocytus River” and is (predominately) sweepingly atmospheric.

1. Acheron River - 3:23
2. Cocytus River - 13:14
3. Lethe River - 8:33
4. Styx River - 11:01
5. Phlegethon River – 8:46

The Residents

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Residents - "present THE UGHS!" CD Review (MVD Audio)

The Residents - 'present THE UGHS!' CD Review (MVD Audio)To call The Residents “prolific” would be an understatement as the band seems to releases new and archival releases almost monthly. If you follow the band closely though, there are a number of themes that reemerge across the years and most of the band’s recent projects first surfaced on 2009’s Ten Little Piggies compilation (see previous review). The Residents will be releasing a new CD next month, Coochie Brake, which is the second release under “THE UGHS” concept so I thought this would be a good time to go back and review THE UGHS! disc (originally released in Nov. ‘09).

THE UGHS! is a return to the minimalist avant-garde music of the band’s Eskimo era. The band described the concept behind THE UGHS! as “[w]hen The Residents begin work on their 2007 opus to insanity, The Voice of Midnight, the group felt the need to shake things up, consequently they created an alter ego through which they could act out new roles. Proudly, The Residents christened this conceptual alter ego as THE UGHS! The group then fashioned "written music" from the raw, impulsive ideas created by The UGHS!, building the musical structure of The Voice of Midnight on these pieces. Two years later these original UGHS! recordings were rediscovered; freed from its previous role supporting The Voice of Midnight's narrative, the music suddenly sounded as fresh as when it was first recorded. The time had come to resurrect THE UGHS.

THE UGHS! is a primal, percussive-based album that, aside for some inarticulate grunting and chanting, is all instrumental. The band uses this rhythmic foundation as a base to which they add a variety of instruments which twist and turn the music in different and often unexpected directions. The disc starts with “The Ughs”, which mixes industrial percussion with a prominent jew’s harp and xylophone and jumps from there into the free-form freak-out of “The Dancing Duck”. This later track builds up a wall of organic and industrial sounds over which soft woodwinds and crazed duck quacking are layered. On different numbers on the disc, the band works in assorted organic and electronic percussion, reeds and strings along with ambient synths. The music ranges from the Middle-Eastern note-bending tribal stomp of “Floating Down the Nile” to the movie soundtrack gone astray (“Squeaky Wheel”) to the free form jazz of “The Horns of Haynesville” to the King Crimson sounding “In the Dark”.

For anyone who got lost in some of The Residents’ recent narrative-based projects, THE UGHS! is the perfect road out.

The Residents

Fort Frances - Chicago Alt-Country Trio Plays Pianos on Jan. 28th

Ghosts of California by Fort Frances

DOWNLOAD: Fort Frances - "Hard Earned Heart" (from the band's 2011 debut The Atlas)

"Wilco is an easy comparison to make here, and it’s an apt one; there are times during The Atlas when David McMillin sounds as if he’s channelled Jeff Tweedy." - -

Fort Frances - Chicago Alt-Country Trio Plays Pianos on Jan. 28th / Download Debut Album, 'The Atlas', For FreeWhat initially began as a solo project for singer/songwriter David McMillin gradually transformed into Fort Frances: a three-piece band whose debut album represents more than two years of drawing their own map for musical exploration. With an all-instruments-on-board approach to writing and recording, their heavily textured style introduces you to a band with a Beatles influence that shines through every note.

Produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Langhorne Slim), The Atlas was recorded in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere Maine. If you listen closely to the album, you will discover some of the hidden secrets of what it means to make a record: trumpets in the open New England air, lampshades substituted for drums, dog barks and a continuing directional thread that runs between each of its 10 songs.

Fort Frances are headlining a show at Pianos on January 28th (11PM set time) and cover is $10. Also on the bill is Camden Joy (10PM), Life in a Blender and Mark Donato.

Fort Frances

Monday, January 23, 2012

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

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live at Georgia Theater, Athens. GA 11-08-89

Meat Puppets - 'Monsters' CD Review (MVD Audio)The Meat Puppets kicked off the tour for Monsters tour in December of 1989 at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and, in a review of the show, the L.A. Times said: “As individual and uncompromising as the band's approach is, it is still difficult to fathom why the Meat Puppets haven't found the larger success of the Replacements, Bob Mould and other contemporaries. There is a distinctive, imaginative song craft at work in the Puppets' recent material which, coupled with the trio's blistering musicality, could easily snare fans from such disparate camps as R.E.M. and Metallica.

The Meat Puppets released their 7th album, Monsters, in 1989 and, while the band came extremely close to signing with Atlantic, this disc was their final for SST. In the liner notes, Derrick Bostrom mentions that this disc was the Pups attempt to take their career more serious and "[court] the major labels in earnest". Listening to this disc for the first time in twenty years, I can hear the sound that band Nirvana and Soundgarden capitalized on in the early 90’s. This disc was recorded instrument by instrument and Bostrom used a drum machine to lay down the initial drum tracks, all of which gives the music the sort of ‘high gloss’ radio-friendly finish first heard on Mirage. Derrick Bostrom comments in the liner notes :"We...kept the electronic drums a secret to see if anyone noticed. Not only did no one notice, but some people even said that Monsters was the 'livest' sounding album that we'd done yet!"

Monsters is a big alt-rock album that could and should have been the hit that Nevermind was…but the Pups seemed to be cursed by bad timing and a lack of interest in sticking with one particular style of music. In the liner notes to Monsters, Curt Kirkwood said “We could have done Up on the Sun the first time around, but we didn't want to. The sound of that first record wasn't an accident...we needed the debut to have a ferocity and weirdness to it.

As compared with Up on the Sun, Curt dominates this album with controlled vocals (that are in-key) and some chunky guitar riffs that are a mix between Billy Gibbons and Jimmy Page. “Attacked by Monsters” and “Party Til the World Obeys” are an indicator as to what Nirvana would became and “The Void” isn’t that far off from Alice in Chains 1991 debut CD. Never keeping to one style, “Light” shows Cris and Curt singing in Byrdsian harmony. One of the disc standouts is “Touchdown King”, which is the jangle-pop song that R.E.M. never wrote. Curt flexs his guitar hero muscles with the ZZ Top-style instrumental boogie “Flight of the Fire Weasel” and two very different takes of this song have been added as bonus tracks. The disc closes with the mellow, psychedelic and layered “Like Being Alive” which is a precursor to the similarly-veined bonus track “Wish Upon a Storm”.

As a point of interesting trivia, Derrick Bostrom notes that Curt was unhappy with the final mixes of "Attacked by Monsters" and "Like Being Alive" so he replaced these tracks with his rough mixes. This reissue also includes the promotional video for "Light” which features concert shots of the band spliced with footage of the desert.

Meat Puppets – “Monsters” Bonus Tracks
"Wish upon a Storm" – 4:27
"Flight of the Fire Weasel, Pt. 1" – 4:25
"Flight of the Fire Weasel, Pt. 2" – 4:44

Meat Puppets

Town Hall: Brooklyn Indie-Folk Band Cover Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" / New EP Available as Free Download

Town Hall: Brooklyn Indie-Folk Band Cover Jimmy Eat World's 'The Middle' / New EP Available as Free DownloadTown Hall "sold me" with their acoustic re-interpretation (and the vocals trade-offs between Stefan Weiner and Phoebe Ryan) of Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" so I gave the band's new EP, "Sticky Notes & Paper Scraps" a spin. This is a mellow "late night" disc that is powered by the two vocalists with instrumentation like mandolin and omnichord carefully woven in beneath the vocals. Most of the songs fall into the "alt-folk" genre but the exceptions are the Appalachian/alt-country track "Pandora" and the indie-pop of "Mary A. Longden".

I'm going to have to see the band live after listening to this...

This EP release marks the beginning of three crazy months for us. Between now and our full-length album on March 12th, we’ll be releasing a series of cover videos, filming (and drawing?!) three music videos for singles off the LP, and to top it all off, Jesse will be teaching music to children in Africa.

Needless to say, we’re going to need your help- the most valuable thing you can do for us is share the music. Put it on your Facebook, Tweet about it, send a postcard to your weird Aunt Sally… give it to your friends, your enemies, even complete strangers.


Well, we put our hearts into it, it’s pretty good, and it’s free. There ya go.

Love and gratitude.


Town Hall

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Il Abanico - LA-to-Brooklyn Post-Rock Band Plays Goodbye Blue Monday on Feb.11th

Il Abanico - LA-to-Brooklyn Post-Rock Band Plays Goodbye Blue Monday on Feb.11th Los Angeles-to-Brooklyn post-rock band Il Abanico plays music that sounds like one of the bands from the Teen Beat / Slumberland roster crossed with a heavy Latin influence.

Il Abanico is an Indie/Experimental band created in 2010 by Nicolás Losada (guitar) and Juliana Ronderos (Voice). They expose their personalities with innovative melodies, an upbeat rhythm section and unorthodox guitars. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, this duo spent fall of 2010 composing what would become their first work “Crossing Colors” (February 2011); a 5 songs EP, recorded in well renowned Studio G (temporal studio for the Black Keys) in Brooklyn, NY. Established in Boston, MA, and playing around the east coast area, Il Abanico started to play with a full band. The new band members captured the attention of many blogs and interviews because of their diverse nationalities.

Il Abanico has recently moved from Los Angeles to Brooklyn and the band is playing their first show as a "local band" at Goodbye Blue Monday on Feb. 11th. This show is free and Jahn Xavier (who has probably done a million things over the past 20+ years and I'm still going to remember him as "X Sessive" from Richard Hell's band or from his stint leading The Nitecaps) & the Bowerytones, The Nu-Sonics, Mic Raygun and Band of Outsiders are also on the bill.

Il Abanico

Lou Reed - "Walk on the Wild Side" CD Review (XXL Media)

Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side CD (XXL Media) is a re-release of Lou’s live-in-the-studio performance from Ultrasonic Studios which was recorded on Dec. 26, 1972 in Hempstead, NY. At the time this show was recorded, Lou’s second solo disc, Transformer, had come out the month prior and the songs on this ten track disc are predominately drawn from Transformer and the Velvet Underground’s back catalogue (Lou amusingly refers to one of the Velvet’s tracks as a ‘blast from the past’).

This disc is an important addition to Lou Reed’s catalog as his performance and the sound of his backing band, The Tots, sound like a logic extension of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded. In addition to the accessibility and spontaneous urgency of the performance, Lou seems (surprisingly) cheerful and upbeat, both of which stand in sharp contrast to some of his later live discs, specifically the heavy metal bombast of Rock & Roll Animal, which was recorded a year later, or Reed’s venom spitting performance on 1978’s Live: Take No Prisoners. Lou re-interprets most of the Velvet Underground tracks – playing a languid “I’m Waiting for My Man” and he adds back the verse that was dropped from the Velvet’s version of “Sweet Jane” during Loaded’s final mixing – and he gives a “punch” to the Transformer songs that David Bowie wasn’t able to capture in the studio. Lastly, this is the only legit live recording of “Walk It Talk It” and “I’m so Free” and the early version of “Berlin” (from Reed’s self-titled debut) only appeared elsewhere on the now hard-to-find live disc Le Bataclan ‘72.

For completists, there is one minor downside…this disc is missing two tracks that were part of the original radio broadcast. The first track is a brief interview that took place midway through the set where the interviewer asks Lou where Doug Yule is. The second missing track is “Rock n’ Roll”, which Reed closed the set with.

Lou Reed

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meat Puppets - "Up On the Sun" CD Review (MVD Audio)

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live @ McCabe's Guitar Show, Santa Monica, CA 5-3-85 (Up on the Sun tour)

Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun' CD Review (MVD Audio)In 1985, the Meat Puppets released their third full-length, Up On the Sun, and this disc was the turning point for the band’s sound. There is no sign of the band’s hardcore roots on any of the disc’s twelve tracks as the music continues on the acid-drenched, country-punk path that the band started down on Meat Puppets II. The music on this disc has held up well over the years and there seems to be an ongoing debate among fans over whether this disc or Meat Puppets II is the band’s strongest.

Looking back at this disc, it must be near impossible for anyone who wasn’t there to understand how a bunch of speedballing freaks who were recording for Black Flag’s label could transform themselves into a punk version of the Grateful Dead. In an interview with Goldmine Magazine, Derrick Bostrom described some of the impetus behind the band’s evolution in sound: “Being with SST gave us the opportunity to do even more gigs, expand our base,” Bostrom said. “And also play to their audience, which we found somewhat distasteful. So it led us to, like, blow off punk rock, and kind of go into the more mainstream sound. We started doing country-rock, or Creedence-y sort of stuff, or whatever we’re kind of still known for [today].

Curt’s cover art for Up On the Sun, which shows a coffee mug adorned with a pot leaf, establishes the mood for this disc. Cris and Curt mix intertwined, noodling jams with mellow vocals and deliciously off-key harmonies to come up with a sound that pre-dates the “jam bands” that started to surface in the later part of the 80’s. The music, which is a mixture of mellow jams and blissed-out shoegazing, combined with Curt’s surrealist lyrics led Robert Christgau to declare “Curt Kirkwood is the David Thomas of endearing sloppiness “.

“Up On the Sun” Lyrics
A long time ago / I turned to myself / And said,”you are my daughter” / I saw that the image / I saw there was well, / “so you are my daughter” / Well then maybe we’ve got / Something to talk about. / Who told you so? / That gold burns slow / Like coal camper’s candles / All lost in the snow / Lay down — you’re on / The warmth that I’m weaving / Is for you alone / Up on the sun where it never rains or snows / There’s an ocean / With a wind that never blows / And if you see it closer / Then the finer points will show / Not too much more / Too much more

This is a fun and undemanding disc that you can ‘sink into’ and sail away. Two of the stronger tracks are the refelctive title track and the instrumental “Maiden’s Milk”. The later features an intertwined bass and guitar jam mixed with the band members whistling in harmony.

There are a strong set of bonus tracks on this reissue (the first four tracks are from a scraped recording session for what Derrick Bostrom called a “psychedelic epic” and the last track is an extended instrumental demo of “Hot Pink” (from 1983). The disc also holds a video of a live performance of “Swimming Ground” (which is surprisingly not apparently posted to YouTube).

Up On the Sun Bonus Tracks
1. "Hot Pink (Demo Version 1)" - 3:56
2. "Up on the Sun (Demo Version)" - 4:29
3. "Mother American Marshmallow" - 4:28 (Early version of “Maiden’s Milk”)
4. "Embodiment of Evil" - 1:53
5. "Hot Pink (Demo Version 2)" - 8:35

Meat Puppets

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Buddies (x-Welcome to Ashley) - Live Video From Bowery Electric, NYC 1/6/12

After watching a show at Pianos a couple years ago, where the European opening band made their NYC debut to an audience of three (myself and two other bloggers), I'm always impressed when an out-of-town opening band can fill the room.

Last Friday night, The Buddies played a strong 40+ minute set of memorable whiskey-drenched songs reminiscent of The Replacements or a "Southern rock" version of The Pogues and the crowd stayed at the front of the stage throughout the band's set. The band wrapped up their set by playing their final number, which sounded like an Irish drinking song, from the center of floor and it was met with an enthusiastic response. Obviously, I wasn't the only convert that night as The Buddies have been invited back to Bowery Electric and are playing a show on April 21st.

The Buddies combines three members of Chicago post-punk band 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.

The Buddies

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

LA Guns (Phil Lewis) Cancel January 29th Show at Bowery Electric

LA Guns (Phil Lewis & Steve Riley) Plays Bowery Electric on Sunday, Jan. 29thThere must be something about NYC that disagrees with the members of L.A. Guns.

Last November, the Tracii Guns-led band was scheduled to play a poorly publicized show at Club Rebel. All I can find online about the show is a one line comment: "L.A. Guns (Tracii Guns version) were supposed to headline but had a dispute with the club and walked out."

The Phil Lewis / Steve Riley lineup were scheduled to play Bowery Electric on Jan. 29th and the show description listed on Reverb Nation read "Shar Gorgiiss's BIRTHDAY BASH With LA GUNS Phil Lewis and Steve Riley with Panzie* The Mighty Pragmatics, and Suicide Boulevard." I don't know what happened but it looks like Wildstreet is now playing this show in place of LA Guns.

The Phil Lewis lineup's recent signing to Cleopatra may be what derailed this show as the band announced that they are: "currently in pre-production and expect to start tracking in early February with legendary producer, and old friend, Andy Johns (LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES, CINDERELLA, VAN HALEN, as well as the last three L.A. GUNS albums). A CD and vinyl release, as well as bonus tracks available only on iTunes, is set for early summer. A nine-month world tour following the release is also currently being planned."

LA Guns

Monday, January 16, 2012

Automatic Children Will Be Premiering New Songs at Spike Hill on Friday, Feb. 3rd

Automatic Children Will Be Premiering New Songs at Spike Hill on Friday, Feb. 3rd "The holidays have come and gone. 2012 is well underway, and we have some exciting plans for the new year. We plan to record several new songs by the summer and release them later in the year. Perhaps you’ve heard some of them at our recent CMJ and Bowery Electric shows last fall. We are really looking forward to getting them out there for you as soon as we can.

On Friday, February 3rd we will be playing them in a stripped down three-piece format at Spike Hill, as well as some of our ‘classics’. We had intended to do this at CMJ, but this time it's really happening! Spike Hill is conveniently located right upstairs from the Bedford Avenue L train stop in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Air Traffic Controller and Swear and Shake round out the bill. It turns out Swear and Shake also have a song called “Johnnie” (ok well the spelling is different), so it must be fate. We are also really looking forward to playing with Air Traffic Controller, an amazing band from Boston. We hope you can make it, it will be a special night for sure. Buy your tickets here. It’s only $5. We play at 10pm sharp.
- Automatic Children

Automatic Children

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Church of Misery - "Master of Brutality" Reissue CD Review (Metal Blade/Rise Above)

Church Of Misery "Megalomania (Herbert Mullin)" by Metal Blade Records

Church of Misery - 'Master of Brutality' Reissue CD Review (Metal Blade/Rise Above)While waiting for the Black Sabbath reunion album, Rise Above/Metal Blade’s reissue of Church of Misery’s full-length debut, Master of Brutality, should be a good holdover. Master of Brutality was Church of Misery’s first full-length and the disc originally came out on Southern Lord in 2001. This new reissue adds three bonus tracks which extends the total running time by an additional 33 minutes.

While a lot of bands were inspired by early Black Sabbath, Church of Misery is the first band that I’ve heard that writes songs that sound like they came straight out of the Sabbath catalogue. Guitarist Tomohiro Nishimura lays down chunky, blues-based, doom riffs on top of an ultra-heavy rhythm section and the only noticeable differentiation from Black Sabbath’s sound is that vocalist Yoshiaki Negishi has more of a Lemmy/Roddy Stone (Viking Skull) rasp. A quote that was included as part of the packaging with the disc’s original issue tells you everything that you need to know about Church of Misery: “We hate trend. We hate corporate attitude. We hate the word ‘stoner’. Death to false stoners!! Let there be DOOM!!

Six of the disc’s nine tracks are about famous serial killers (Peter Sutcliffe, John Wayne Gacy, Albert de Salvo, etc.) and, for anyone who can’t understand the band’s disturbing lyrics; the tracks include voice-over sound bytes from the killers themselves. The remaining three tracks are a Blue Oyster Cult cover “Cities on Fire”, a (brief) instrumental “Green River” (4:30 minutes – which is one of the shortest tracks on this disc), and a 17+ minute live version of “Lucifer Rising” (which I presume is a cover of a portion of the Kenneth Anger film soundtrack). In keeping with the band’s obsession with serial killers, prior to the Masters of Reality tribute cover on this reissue, an earlier cover showed John Wayne Gacy’s face covered with blood spatter.

Church of Misery didn’t play outside of Japan prior to 2005 and this band is finally making their US debut, which will take place at the 2012 edition of Maryland Death Fest.

Church of Misery

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Aid Kit Release - "The Lion's Roar" CD Review (Wichita Recordings)

First Aid Kit Release - 'The Lion's Roar' CD Review (Wichita Recordings)Sweden's First Aid Kit is releasing their sophomore full-length album The Lion's Roar on January 24th, 2012 via Wichita Recordings. Where the bands 2010’s debut, The Big Black and the Blue, was lonely and intimate, The Lion’s Roar is a full band effort that is comparable to the recordings of American folk/country artists like Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffth.

Klara and Johanna Söderberg recorded their new disc in Omaha with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and contributing musicians include the girls’ father Benkt on bass, Mattias Bergqvist on drums along with Mogis, Nate Walcott and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes along with a cast of Omaha-based musicians to round out the affair. In a recent interview the band was asked about how they discovered the distinctly American influences that are heard on this new disc. Klara responded: “I can say that it all sort of started when I heard Bright Eyes when I was 12, and I was like, “Well, OK, what did Conor Oberst listen to when he wrote this music? What has inspired him?” And through that [process] I found Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and all those amazing musicians. It’s sort of been like that—through searching for their influences—and through Bob Dylan we found the Carter family and Bill Monroe and even older stuff.

The disc’s title track opener, "The Lion's Roar" is a glorious, punchy waltz that sets the mood for the disc. In an interview with NPR, the band described the history of the song as being “written during a U.K. tour when we drove through very dramatic moorland in Scotland. During the tour, we listened a lot to Townes Van Zandt in the car. We were inspired by this mystic scenery, as well as Townes Van Zandt's beautiful melodies. By far our darkest song to date. It was the first song we wrote for the new record, and we chose to name the record after it. 'The Lion's Roar' marked a new stage in our songwriting, and the mystic feeling of this song came to characterize a big part of the new record.

The disc continues strong with the wistful “Emmylou”, which is sure to quickly become a fan favorite. This track is full of acoustic guitar, pedal steel and piano, over which Klara's bell-clear voice name-checks heroes Ms. Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, and June Carter. "It's about the connection you get when you sing with someone else," said Johanna. "It's a love song, but we name-drop some country artists!"

The disc ends on an upbeat notes and wraps up with the exuberate number, "King of the World", which features handclaps, fiddle, accordion, and mariachi horns. Conor Oberst wrote a verse for this song and sings on the track and The Felice Brothers (who happened to roll through town during the recording session) added some violin and accordion.

First Aid Kit recorded a nine song set live in the studio for KCRW last November and the new CD includes a link where you can download six of these songs.

First Aid Kit Live on KCRW, Nov. ‘11
The Lion’s Roar*
You’re Not Coming Home Tonight
Heavy Storm
Marianne’s Son*
Hard Believer*
Ghost Town*
I Met Up with the King*
Our Own Pretty Ways
* The Lion’s Roar bonus track

As expected, First Aid Kit has made the transition out of the clubs and into the larger halls. First Aid Kit is kicking off their Spring North American tour at Webster Hall on March 28th. Tickets for this show are $20 and doors are at 8PM.

First Aid Kit - 2012 Spring Tour

First Aid Kit

School of Seven Bells Post "Lafaye" from Upcoming Disc "Ghostory" (out Feb. 28th on Vagrant)

School of Seven Bells - Lafaye by Vagrant Records

School of Seven Bells Post 'Lafaye' from Upcoming Disc GHOSTORY (out Feb. 28th on Vagrant)School of Seven Bells have just posted the first official single, “Lafaye”, from their upcoming third CD, Ghostory. The track will be available as a single through all digital retailers on Tuesday, January 17th, along with an exclusive b-side titled "Love From A Stone."

School Of Seven Bells' third release, Ghostory, comes out February 28 on Vagrant Records/Ghostly International. Recorded in-between tours, Ghostory exemplifies a fervent progression of SVIIB’s growth as artists, preserving the common themes found on their last two releases but exposing them in different fashions. The familiar ethereal and enigmatic tones are omnipresent, surrounded by layers of influences from ‘80s pop, shoegaze and ambient electronic sounds. However, Ghostory comes with a story in mind; the tale of a young girl named Lafaye and the ghosts that surround her life.

Everyone has ghosts”, says Alejandra Deheza; “They're every love you've ever had, every hurt, every betrayal, every heartbreak. They follow you, stay with you.” This detailed storytelling is evident from start to finish on the record, weaving a tale that moves between a fervent synthesized adventure and spacious lyrical euphoria. Tracks like “Love Play” and “Show Me Love” create a hauntingly indelible atmosphere that grab attention with the ambitious wordplay in the center of it all. Surrounding tracks like “Lafaye” and “Scavenger” entice the vibe of previous School of Seven Bells releases with their steadily dance-centric tempo and uplifting melodic progressions. Ghostory flows seamlessly and effortlessly, a result of the shared songwriting process.

School of Seven Bells is playing Feb. 28 and Mar. 1st at Mercury Lounge but both shows are already sold out.

School of Seven Bells

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sunn O))) - "ØØ VOID / The Iron Soul of Nothing" CD Review (Southern Lord)

Sunn O))) - 'ØØ VOID' CD Review (Southern Lord)Sunn O)))’s newest release, ØØ VOID, brings back into print the band’s second disc, which was recorded in Hollywood in 2000 with producer (and Goatsnake / Kyuss bassist) Scott Reeder and originally issued on Hydra Head.

Like most Southern Lord releases, ØØ VOID is available as a limited edition vinyl pressing (1K on cream colored vinyl / 5K total pressing). There is also a limited 2CD edition of ØØ VOID (1,000 copies) being sold through Southern Lord’s web store that includes a bonus disc that features the ØØ VOID album remixed by Nurse with Wound. (Note: this bonus disc was originally released on the 2CD edition of ØØ VOID that came out on the Japanese label Daymare Recordings in 2008). Stephen O’Malley is also selling a vinyl edition of the Nurse with Wound remixes entitled “The Iron Soul of Nothing” through his new Ideologic Organ label.

ØØ VOID epitomizes the band’s “Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results” philosophy as the disc is composed of four epic-length (~15 minutes each) tracks of menacing, monolithic drone. Each of the songs moves at a glacial pace and the band builds up layer upon layer of notes and riffs that are held to their limit and then crash like an ocean wave prior to rising again with the next riff. These pieces (I can’t really call them songs) are like aural sculptures that are designed to be felt and experienced so this disc requires a time commitment to really appreciate its power.

For this release, the band is joined by guest bassist Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Goatsnake) and the disc includes contributions from both Petra Haden (violinist/vocals) and Pete Stahl (vocals). I haven’t pinpointed where Haden’s contributions are woven within this thick sonic tapestry but there are a lot of different layers and dimensions within these recording so different facets become visible after multiple listens. Pete Stahl’s adds ‘vocals’ to “NN O)))” which are buried under waves of buzzing electronics with the end result sounding like a ghost in the machine.

The group approached the compositions of this album in a different way than their previous recordings: each member focused intently on one composition/piece and brought it into the recording session. Then, each of those songs that were brought in were translated to the other members and nuances were worked out, on the spot, in the studio. Greg Anderson (aka The Duke) brought in “NNO)))”, Stephen O’Malley (aka Mk Ultra Blizzard) brought in RA at Dusk, Stuart Dahlquist (aka G.Subharmonia) brought in Richard. The exception to all this was the inclusion of a rendition of a obscure Melvins song called Rabbits Revenge. This song was actually never recorded in the studio by the Melvins and the riffs were salvaged from a live tape that Anderson had of the band playing the Gorilla Gardens in Seattle from March of 1985!”—from

The Nurse with Wound remixes amount to a complete re-working of ØØVOID so there really isn’t a one-to-one mapping between this disc and the original recordings. There is a bit more “light” and ambiance in this reworking and one of the highlights is “Ash on the Trees (The Sudden Ebb of a Diatribe)” where Pete Stahl’s vocals are pulled out from beneath the wall of noise of the original track to become a menacing instrument of unease onto itself.

"In 2007 we commissioned Nurse With Wound to re-work the masters of SUNN O)))’s second album “ØØVOID” to be included as a bonus CD on the Japanese reissue of said album released a year later on Daymare Recordings. We dug up the original 2" reels from the 2000 session, had Mell Dettmer bake the tapes, made the multitrack transfers and send the drive over to IC studios. The initial brief was to hopefully come up with to come up with something in the vein of Nurse’s legendary Soliloquy for Lilith set (my favorite release of the collective). What was returned was way beyond our expectations, completely transformed and rediscovered material, including highlighting formerly obscured vocals of the legendary Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool, Goatsnake). A vast creepy sonic journey some part drone/depth of SUNN O))), other part concrete weirdness of Nurse, third part just downright out there in surreality and obscure referencing." —Stephen O'Malley

Southern Lord

EULA opens for Mission of Burma at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Jan. 19th

EULA opens for Mission of Burma at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Jan. 19thIn late 2009, New Haven-to-Brooklyn post-punk band EULA was selected by Mission of Burma (through Matador's 'Battle for Burma' competition) to open for MOB at a free show at M.I.T. for Boston's "Mission of Burma Day". EULA has now been tapped to open for Mission of Burma at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Jan. 19th. Tickets are $20 and doors are at 8PM.

EULA's most recent release, Maurice Narcisse, came out last May and Paper Garden Records described the disc as "a playful treatise on pretension, part lamenting part castigating the metaphorical ‘character’ for his egotism. Alyses’ punching lyrics find their match in aggressive drums and plunging melodies, so despite the aforementioned woes, Maurice Narcisse is an undeniably fun listen. Give a listen to the record’s titular track, a smoldering, discombobulated pop song that EULA has made their specialty. It’s indubitably technical and well-crafted, every detail fired off with conviction and purpose."


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Post "Prozac Rock" from forthcoming "Rot Gut, Domestic" CD (Out 3/20)

Prozac Rock by MargotCloud

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Post 'Prozac Rock' from 'Rot Gut, Domestic' CD (Out 3/20)Margot & The Nuclear So and So's have recently posted the first single from the band's forthcoming studio album Rot Gut, Domestic. The single is currently available via iTunes and Amazon and a limited edition 7-inch is available in the band's webstore. Rot Gut, Domestic was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, The Walkmen) and comes out on March 20th, 2012 via the band's 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".

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Coastals (DC Power-Punk) Play National Underground on Thursday, Jan. 12th

The Coastals - Burn White Hot by thecoastals

The Coastals (DC Power-Punk) Play National Underground on Thursday, Jan. 12th DC power-punk band The Coastals just released their second disc, Burn White Hot, and the band is playing a show this Thursday at National Underground with Greg Burroughs, Neil Davis, and Will McCranie.

On this new disc, the band delivers 17 songs about love, anger, addiction, mental illness, class warfare, and mortality, pervaded by the themes of resilience and finding strength in adversity. The band describes their music as mixing reggae, modern indie, and British invasion influences into the bedrock of raw punk rock and that is probably a pretty fair comparison. In listening to the band's disc, comparisons to a mellowed-out Ruth Ruth, Matthew Sweet and The Pilmsouls all come to mind.

The Coastals are playing upstairs at National Underground and I think those shows are free (though don't hold me to this). The band is scheduled to play from 9PM - 11PM.

The Coastals

WATERS (x-Port O'Brien) Announces Spring Tour / Show at Webster Hall on March 29th

Following winter dates supporting Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, WATERS has announced a lengthy new run of spring tour dates supporting Delta Spirit. The tour will travel throughout the US and into Canada, and launches on March 19th at the Revolution Music Room in Little Rock, AR, before wrapping up on May 11th at The Music Box in Los Angeles, CA. The dates include a March 29th New York show at Webster Hall.

WATERS - Live Photos from Webster Hall, NYC 12-7-11

WATERS - whose debut LP Out In The Light was released in September via TBD Records - filmed a live session for Quit Mumbling while in Los Angeles this past fall, and stripped-down versions of album tracks "Mickey Mantle" (below), "For The One", "Back To You" and "O Holy Break Of Day" are posted on Quit Mumbling's site.

WATERS Tour Dates:
MAR. 14-17 -- AUSTIN, TX -- SXSW
(Tickets are $20 and go on sale on Fri., Jan 13th at 12PM)

MAR. 31 -- WASHINGTON, DC -- 9:30 CLUB*
MAY 11 -- LOS ANGELES, CA -- THE MUSIC BOX (Henry Fonda Theater)*
* supporting Delta Spirit


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Poison Idea - "Darby Crash Rides Again - The Early Years" CD Review (Southern Lord)

"We were going to write some self-righteous diatribe about the 'good old day' - but those days weren't good - we were pissed off then and we are pissed off now - go die. Positive = Boring"
- from "Darby Crash Rides Again" 7" inner-sleeve

Poison Idea - 'Darby Crash Rides Again - The Early Years' CD Review (Southern Lord)Portland hardcore stalwarts Poison Idea are the beast that will never die. While guitarist “Pig Champion” died in 2006 and one-time drummer Steve "Thee Slayer Hippy" Hanford was arrested for a string of pharmacy robberies in 2008, the band continues to soldier on under the leadership of vocalist Jerry A. Poison Idea made their recorded debut in 1983 with “Pick Your King”, a 7” (which was issued with a two-sided cover showing Elvis on one side and Jesus on the other) that blasts through thirteen song of hardcore fury in sixteen minutes. While this was one h*ll of a debut, Poison Idea reached further back in their catalog in 1989 and released a 7” of 1982 demos entitled “Darby Crash Rides Again” (American Leather Records) which was clearly influenced by The Germs in both sound and lyrical outlook.

Southern Lord will be reissuing a number of Poison Idea titles this year on CD and the first of these, Darby Crash Rides Again: The Early Years, comes out on January 30th. This disc contains twenty-nine tracks (53 minutes) from the band’s earliest days, the 100% previously unreleased Boner’s Kitchen demo from 1981, the complete "Darby Crash Rides Again" demo from 1982, the complete uncut live-on-the-air set from the 1983 KBOO radio benefit, and outtakes from the Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes recording session. Much of this material has either been out-of-print or never before officially released! All the recordings have been meticulously restored and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door Mastering. The booklet contains liner notes, old flyers and tons of previously unpublished photos from the band’s beginnings.

Poison Idea - 'Darby Crash Rides Again - The Early YearsThe Boner’s Kitchen demos are similar to The Germs’ "What We Do Is Secret" EP as the band careens through six lo-fi hardcore blasts like a runaway freight train that is consistently on the verge on derailing. The tape is continuously rolling during this demo session so you can hear both bum notes and band dialogue between the songs. Prior to "Poser" kicking in, you can hear Jerry A., in a faux-British accent (similar to Darby's) say "Don't erase that, keep that". The eleven songs on "Darby Crash Rides Again" are similar blasts of hardcore fury that all clock in around the one minute mark. This recording has better sound quality and production (production is cheekily credited to Joan Jett, producer of The Germs' (GI)) than the 1981 demos but that doesn’t take away from or diminish the intensity of the band’s attack. The KBOO radio benefit is hilarious as the band plays a solidly sloppy set while alternatively threatening to stop playing if more pledges don’t come in and following that by threatening “if you don’t call in, we are going to keep playing this f@cking noise until it drives you crazy”.

Some songs are repeated between the four different recordings on this disc but that should be of little worry as I don’t think the band played any song the same way more than once. What is particularly enjoyable is the band’s deconstruction of the Lemmy-penned Hawkwind tune “Motorhead” which shows up in live in the KBOO benefit set and as an outtake from the Record Collectors session.

As Poison Idea seems to have fallen off the radar in recent years (due to infrequent touring and most of their discs going out of print at various times), this disc is essentially listening for fans of old school hardcore. After listening to this, I’m going to see if I can find my tape of the band’s 2002 CBGB show and ‘re-live’ the Poison Idea live experience.

Note: The CD reissues are coming out Southern Lord while TKO Records is handling the vinyl reissues.

Poison Idea

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Van Halen: Download First Three Songs from Show at Cafe Wha?, NYC 1-5-12

DOWNLOAD: Jim Florentine's Comedy Metal Midgets Podcast

Comedian Jim Florentine just posted live audio of the first three songs from Van Halen's set at Cafe Wha? and there are all kinds of quality live videos posted on YouTube.

Cafe Wha? Set List:
You Really Got Me
Runnin' With the Devil
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
Everybody Wants Some
She's the Woman
Dance The Night Away
Ice Cream Man
Hot for Teacher
Ain't Talking About Love

Van Halen 2012 North American Tour:
2/18/12 - KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
2/20/12 - The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
2/22/12 - Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
2/24/12 - United Center, Chicago, IL
2/28/12 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
3/1/12 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

3/3/12 - Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
3/5/12 - Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
3/9/12 - First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY
3/11/12 - TD Garden, Boston, MA
3/15/12 - Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
3/17/12 - Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
3/21/12 - Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, ON
3/24/12 - Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
3/28/12 - Verizon Center, Washington, DC
3/30/12 - Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
4/1/12 - Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
4/10/12 - BankAtlantic Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
4/12/12 - St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL
4/14/12 - Amway Arena, Orlando, FL
4/16/12 - Jacksonville Arena, Jacksonville, FL
4/19/12 - Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
4/21/12 - Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
4/25/12 - Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
4/27/12 - Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
5/1/12 - BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
5/5/12 - Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA
5/7/12 - Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
5/9/12 - Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB
5/11/12, Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB
5/17/12 - MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB
5/19/12 - Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
5/22/12 - Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
5/24/12 - Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
5/27/12 - MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
6/1/12 - STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
6/3/12 - Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
6/5/12 - HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA
6/12/12 - Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
6/14/12 - Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA
6/16/12 - US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
6/20/12 - American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
6/22/12 - AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
6/24/12 - Toyota Center, Houston, TX
6/26/12 - New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA

Van Halen

120 Days (Norwegian Electronic/Dance) Announce Sophomore Disc Out March 6th / New Track "Osaka" Posted as Free Download

120 Days- Osaka by JasiJasi

120 Days (Norwegian Electronic/Dance) Announce Sophomore Disc Out March 6th / First Track Posted as Free Download I neve got around to checking out Norwegian electronic/dance band 120 Days when they came through in 2008 (for show at the Merc) but I gave a listen to the first track off the band's sophomore disc (120 Days II) and got pulled in by the band's teutonic New Order meets Kraftwork sound. The band just released the first single from this upcoming disc, "Osaka", as a free download and this track is also the first release on Club Mod, a new singles imprint by Modular and both Sidwho? and Diskjokke remixed it.

If a year is a long time in politics, five years in music can be a career. The fact that 120 Days have taken half a decade to deliver the follow up to their debut album might have counted against them, especially in a world where things have never seemed more ephemeral, even more so since they flippantly admit that they spent as much time “lucid dreaming and partying” as they did “recording and touring”. But there’s no point making a record when you’re not ready, as any band forced to return to the studio prematurely will tell you. The old adage about having a lifetime to make your first record and only a few months to make the second is based upon truth, and 120 Days will testify to that, having entirely scrapped their original follow up. They had good reason: by the time they’d concluded the heavy touring that followed the late 2006 release of their self-titled debut, they were, quite simply, “sick of seeing each other’s faces”.

120 Days II is darker, dirtier, fiercer and sharper than the band's debut disc. The roots of their new, advanced level of savagery are varied: time spent working with other artists, including Serena Maneesh, Bygdin and Masselys, have undoubtedly broadened their horizons, and their equally broadened tastes in music have no doubt done wonders for their writing. Alongside Kraftwerk, Joy Divison, Neu!, The Cure and Primal Scream – XTRMNTR-era, naturally – new influences have come into play: “the hard minimalist industrial sound of Detroit Techno, the transcendental drone jazz of (early) Alice Coltrane, and the over-the-top orchestral maximalism of Wagnerian opera,” they claim rather magnificently. “When we recorded our debut, we were very much into minimalism, and a ‘changing chords is for pussies’ dogma. In the first years after we released it, we went even further in that direction, so, in a way, you could say that the scrapped sessions were our minimalist peak, and after that we started playing around with song structure again. 120 Days 2.0 sometimes likes listening to the Carpenters. We would never admit that before!

120 Days are: Jonas Dahl, Kjetil Ovesen, Arne Kvalvik, Ådne Meisfjord

120 Days

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cursive Release "The Sun and Moon" As Free Download // Shows at Bowery Ballroom on Apr. 3 & 4

Cursive Release 'The Sun and Moon' As Free Download // Shows at Bowery Ballroom on Apr. 3 & 4 Cursive's seventh disc, I Am Gemini, will be released February 21st, 2012 via Saddle Creek and the band just posted the first MP3, "The Sun and Moon", from this disc as a free download.

I Am Gemini is currently available for pre-order in Saddle Creek's online store and via iTunes. The album can be purchased in multiple formats (CD, LP, digital) and bundles through Saddle Creek, including a deluxe package that contains: exclusive colored vinyl; CD; a limited edition (only 500 copies printed) 10" picture disc featuring "The Sun and Moon" and "The Cat and Mouse" plus two B-sides; t-shirt; and poster, among other goods. MP3s of "The Sun and Moon" and "The Cat and Mouse" can be downloaded instantly after placing a pre-order, and all pre-orders will ship two weeks ahead of release on February 7th (at which point the album will also be available to purchasers as a full MP3 download).

Known for their explosive, cathartic live show, Cursive has announced an additional four weeks of shows this spring, from March 22nd to April 21st. This new run of dates includes two shows in New York City on April 3rd and 4th at the Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for these shows go on-sale on Fri., Jan. 06 at 12PM and are $16.

The band had previously announced shows throughout the west coast, southwest, and midwest, and is also now confirmed to perform at the 20th anniversary Noise Pop festival in San Francisco, CA on February 22nd. Cursive also recently added two early March shows, at Abode in Wichita, KS on the 1st and Record Bar in Kansas City, MO on the 2nd. A current itinerary is below.

I Am Gemini is the surreal and powerful musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head. Recorded at Omaha, NE's ARC Studios and mixed at Red Room in Seattle, WA with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus The Bear, Isis), the album marks the first time front man Tim Kasher, with the completed story already in mind, wrote album lyrics in a linear fashion from song 1 to song 13. The result is thirteen singularly cohesive song chapters that blend effortlessly into one unique narrative to create a dynamic, mind-bending, and imaginative ride.

Cursive is the longtime trio of Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass), and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), with Patrick Newbery (keys) and Cully Symington (drums).

Cursive Tour Dates:
MAR. 23 -- MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- 400 BAR#
* Ume support
^ Ume and M. Moriah support
** Ume and Virgin Islands support
# Cymbals Eat Guitars and Conduits support