Friday, February 29, 2008

New Canvas Solaris CD Due in May - Two Shows Announced

Canvas Solaris Ready New CD, 'The Atomized Dream 'Canvas Solaris evolved from playing 'weird death metal' to playing complex instrumentals that would be comparable to pieces by King Crimson. The band has a new CD, 'The Atomized Dream', coming out in May on the Sensory Records label.

The band has scheduled two shows in the region (unfortunately, not the area) next month:

03/07/2008 Frangelica’s - Chesilhurst, NJ w/Dysrhythmia, Behold...The Arctopus
03/08/2008 Orion Studios - Baltimore, MD w/Dysrhythmia, Behold...The Arctopus

If anyone is interested in catching one of these shows, Chesilhurst is the closest location and it is just outside of Philadelphia.

Canvas Solaris' MySpace page

The Teenage Prayers - Everyone Thinks You're the Best CD Review

The Teenage Prayers Ready Second CD for Release March 18thThe forthcoming sophmore release from The Teenage Prayers hasn't left my CD player for the last week. The band's music is somewhat of a throwback to the 70's but it touches on all points of the spectrum. There are elements of Cheap Trick, New York Dolls, Queen and California funk-rock on this disc.

One of the standout tracks is "I'll Never Let You Go" which has the ballsy swagger of the New York Dolls and the band goes right from this track into the 70's Steely Dan-ish track "I'm In Love Again". Stylistically, the band is all over the map and yet this CD sounds like a coherent body of work.

Below is another track from the new disc that captures the soul-infused rave-up sound of the band.

The Teenage Prayers "Good Voodoo"

The new disc is produced by x-Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn. Wynn describes The Teenage Prayers as "the best elements of 70's art rock and Memphis soul put in a blender".

This is great stuff and the band got strong reviews for their show at Propect Park Bandshell last year. The band's current tour doesn't get any closer than Baltimore but, once the band gets back to NYC, I would expect a couple of local shows to follow.

Links:The Teenage Prayers' MySpace page
The Teenage Prayers' Website

Snoop Dogg Releases Second Single, "Life of Da Party", From New CD "Ego Trippin"

Snoop Dogg Releases 'Life of Da Party' from Ego TrippinI don't listen to much rap outside of Dre, Nuclear Family (and Iller Than Theirs and Junk Science) and Snoop Dogg. Snoop has a new CD "Ego Trippin'" coming out on March 11th on Doggystyle/Geffen. Snoop just released his second single, Life of Da Party, from this upcoming release.

Life of da Party has a solid groove and features guest vocals from Too Short. It is great to see an established artist like Snoop take some chances with this release. Snoop is quoted as saying "I can afford to take chances and have some fun. I always made music to win in my neighborhood but after all these years I needed to do something bigger – I had to get out of my usual gangster zone without losing who I am, this time around I am going to win worldwide."

This looks like it will be an intriguing disc as Snoop worked with producers Teddy Riley and Everlast/Whitey Ford (who also wrote the track "Johnny Cash"), Charlie Wilson (from the Gap Band) and he also covers The Time's song "Cool".

Snoop Dogg's Website
Snoop Dogg's MySpace Page

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Xasthur - A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors CD Review

Xasthur - A Gate Through Bloodstained MirrorsXasthur's MySpace page reads "Dont even bother trying to add me...Xasthur is a suicidal black metal one-man-band from the United States."

This should tell you what you are getting into with this re-issue of Xasthur's first full length CD from 2001. This disc was the first CD where Xasthur became Malefic's solo project. The original release of "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors" was a CD-R that was limited to 150 copies; this release is from the 2003 remix that was original issued on Total Holocaust Records. This new reissue includes a 40 minute bonus disc of a 1997 Rehearsal.

This is a fascinating document of the evolution of both Xasthur and the US Black Metal scene. While Malefic's voice plays a major part of recent releases and his work with Sunn O))), this disc is almost entirely instrumental. Its claustrophobic atmosphere is both compelling and depressing. The production is low-fi which adds to the intensity of the music. Malefic also gives a nod to Norwegian black metal predecessors Burzum by including a cover of "Black Spell of Destruction".

For any fan of black metal, this disc is essential. For anyone who already has this disc, the 6-song bonus disc justifies picking this up a second time.

This reissue came out in January on the Hydrahead label.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Christian Death - American Inquisition CD Review

Christian Death - American Inquisition CD ReviewChristian Death’s thirteenth studio CD, “American Inquisition”, came out last October and it is probably the best thing that the band has done since releasing Sexy Death God in 1994. Valor’s paranoia has shifted from the ‘end of the world’ to 9-11 conspiracy theories but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a band like Christian Death.

This is somewhat of a concept album and the central theme is a protest against George Bush and the “global conspiracy” of right-wing evangelicals and neo-cons. Musically, the band has gone back to their goth/death-rock roots and there is very little of the ‘metalism’ that detracted from the last few Christian Death releases.

The album opens with a sample from George W. Bush’s inaugural speech and closes with a long track, “XIII” that strings together spoken word samples from George Bush and right-wing fundamentalists over a sparse musical backdrop. The other tracks range from straight-forward death rock (“Dexter Said No”, “Water into Wine”) to the middle-Eastern sounding “Worship along the Nile”.

Standout tracks are “Dexter Said No” and “Angels and Drugs”.

This CD is an intriguing return to form from a band that many had considered down for the count.

Christian Death's Website (newly revamped)

Memorial for Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge (Psychic TV/Thee Majesty) Planned for March 8th

Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge MemorialEvent details were recently posted to Lady Jaye's MySpace page (link below).

The memorial will begin at 7pm(approx). There will be never before seen documentary video and film footage of Lady Jaye's theatre and performance story created by Marie Losier and Laura Parnes; an archive photographs and slide show created by Laure Leber; musical highlights and method go-go burlesque reminiscences as well as rare documentary movies and installations. The "CANDY CABARET" has confirmed Mr Bryin Dall, Miss Marti, Julie Atlas Muz, Kembra Pfahler, Hattie Hathaway(tbc) with more legendary surprises to be added.

The memorial will be held at:
(between Norfolk and Suffolk)

Additional details about the event are posted to Lady Jaye's MySpace page.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cheyenne Is Playing Piano's on March 1st

Cheyenne is launching a full scale tour behind their sophmore CD "The Whale" and are playing Piano's on Saturday, March 1st. Cheyenne released "The Whale" last December at a show at Joe's Pub. The video below is from the Cd release show and the band performs "Horsepower" and "Cimarron River".

Unfortunately, the show at Joe's Pub was delayed a couple of hours due to a fire alarm (or something) at the early show and the band went on stage well after midnight, so my filming wasn't the steadiest.

Here is the title track from the new CD, "The Whale", which was filmed at Cheyenne's show at Piano's last November.

Cheyenne is taking the stage at Piano's at 9PM (Don't miss Wynn Walent who goes on at 8PM) and tickets are only $8.00.

Cheyenne's MySpace page

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Omega (Bugembe Okello) - Live @ Canal Room, NYC 2-21-08 + Backstage Interview

Omega has had a 20 year singing career but it has been more focused on the international stage. With the upcoming release of her new CD, "Kiwomera Emmeeme”, Omega is certain to make an impact on the US market.

From Omega's website:

Influenced by Omega’s past and present, the musical arrangements seamlessly blend the two cultures with hints of jazz, rock, contemporary and pop melding with the traditional melodies, while the instrumentation ranges from western keyboards, guitars and bass guitars to the traditional tube fiddle and African xylophone. The cultural dichotomy is not limited only to musical specifics. With this album, Omega wants to defy stereotypes of a troubled Africa with the soul and words of the music being pushed by her bubbly persona and a desire to show the bright side of her homeland.

“It will take you on a journey to increase awareness that while Africa is known for producing sad things, it can also produce good, quality music and happy people. It’s not just starvation and war. I want people to know a little bit more about my culture,” Omega says. “I want people to learn a little bit more and see the happy side of Africa.”
Omega puts on a compelling show and her band is top-notch. I filmed some of Omega's set and was amazed watching her drummer and bassist (see video below) play these really complex African-style rhythms.

Tugilabilile (which means "Let's take care of the earth")

I had a chance to talk with Omega after her set about her forthcoming CD Kiwomera Emmeeme (which is due out on May 27th, 2008), her twenty years in the music industry and her dual-career as a musician and health advocate.

It doesn't look like any area shows are scheduled but keep an eye on Omega's website for updates...

Protest The Hero - Live @ Nokia Theatre, NYC + Backstage Interview 2-22-08

On Friday night, I caught Protest the Hero's set at Nokia Theatre. The room was at capacity before the band took the stage and the crowd seemed to really connect with the band's music.

Protest the Hero was kind enough to let me film some of their set and I had a chance to chat with lead singer Rody Walker after the band finished their set.

The band is touring behind their latest CD Fortress, which was released by Vagrant Records on January 29th. The current tour with Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prada and A Day to Remember runs into April and then the band goes right back out on the road for a co-headlining tour of Canada with Chiodos.

Protest the Hero's MySpace page
Protest the Hero's Website

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bugs in the Dark Play Luna Lounge in Brooklyn on March 1st

Bugs in the Dark have been playing some shows around town these last few weeks while they are finishing recording their first full-length CD. The band puts on a phenomenal live show and their next show is at Luna Lounge in Williamsburg on March 1st. The Sad Little Stars and Bell Hollow (who are also opening for New Model Army at Southpaw on March 20th) are also on the bill and tickets are only $8.00.

Bugs In The Dark - Southpaw, Brooklyn 1-24-08Bugs In The Dark Play Luna Lounge on March 1st

I caught up with the band at their show at Southpaw last month and here is a link to a video interview and some live footage of the band.

FiddleWhileYouBurn.Com describes Bugs in the Dark as "a band making some SERIOUS noise with obvious potential. Brooklyn's Bugs in the Dark's have no time for sleepy-eyed, middle of the road, groan along, pseudo-rock anthems - they're too busy delivering ferocious, sweaty punk, fueled by sledgehammer drums and mean dueling guitars . . . Bugs in the Dark are Highly Recommended for fans of classic power-punk trios such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Sleater Kinney."

Karen Rockower/Bugs In The Dark - Southpaw, Brooklyn 1-24-08
Bugs In The Dark Play Luna Lounge on March 1st

Karen Rockower posted an update on the recording sessions for the new CD to the band's MySpace page and here is an excerpt:

This cd is going to be a real step up from our first EP. With "Shake Shake" we were rushing to get something out as quickly as possible. We love it but it's very raw and simple. With this upcoming cd, we were able to take the time to get creative, add layers, use things like keyboards, shakers, trashcans and more. We even got Julia to sing on "Attention". We tried to get Ozzy to sing, but he mostly just snored in the love seat while we recorded.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ray West's New Band, Hostel Inc., Played With Great White @ Don Hill's 1-22-08

Ray West's (x-vocalist for Spread Eagle) new band Hostel, Inc. was also on the bill at the Great White show last month. It is great to see Ray back in action after he took a number of years off from music. The band has a solid hard rock sound and there are three demo tracks streaming on Hostel Inc.'s MySpace page.

Ray just appeared on Maximum Threshold radio to talk about everything from his days in Spread Eagle to Hostel, Inc. and the show is available as a downloadable podcast.

Here are some of my pictures of Hostel, Inc. from the Don Hill's show:

Hostel, Inc. - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Hostel, Inc. - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Hostel, Inc. - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Hostel, Inc. - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Here are the band's upcoming tour dates:

February 22, Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
February 27, Webster Hall, NYC (supporting LA Guns)

Thrashing Like A Maniac CD Review - An Earache Records Compilation

Thrashing Like A Maniac - CD ReviewLet me start by giving a big shout-out to Earache for bringing thrash back to the forefront of the metal scene. This CD is subtitled "16 Ripping Cuts of New School Thrash" and that pretty much sums up the disc. Sixteen bands from around the world play old-school thrash in the style of 80's Bay Area thrashers like Megadeth, Exodus, Forbidden (Evil) and Testament.

One (of the many) things that I respect about Earache is that this compilation just doesn't cover bands on its label but includes tracks from bands like Dekapitator (Relapse), Fueled By Fire (Metal Blade) and Warbringer (Century Media). The Earache artists run the gauntlet from well-known acts like Municipal Waste to new signees Gama Bomb (Ireland) and Bonded By Blood (Los Angeles). There are also a couple of tracks that are unique to this release.

The CD/LP comes with a exclusive 24 page Thrash fanzine, ‘Speed Merchants’, featuring interviews with all the acts on the compilation. There is also a limited edition (200 copies) orange vinyl edition of "Thrashing Like a Maniac" that is available through Earache's UK Webstore for 14.99 pounds. The way the dollar is going - this may soon be $45.00 (US) but if you are in the UK or Europe, grab this one while you still can.

Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, this is a high-energy compilation that should hold up well to repeated listening.

Earache Records US Webstore

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The B-52's New Single "Funplex" Now Available on iTunes

New B-52's Single 'Funplex' Available on iTunesThe new single from The B-52's, Funplex, is now available on iTunes. It has been too long without a new B-52's release so it is great to hear the band back in action. The full album is due out on March 25 on the Astralworks label.

As I have continually been out of town when the band has played in Coney Island, I am excited to see the band finally coming back to the NYC area. There is a April 11th show at SUNY Purchase. Here is the link for tickets.

Friday, February 15, 2008

White Rabbits Play Free Show Tomorrow Night (Saturday, Feb 16th) at BAM Cafe

White Rabbits Play Free Show at BAM CafeThis is pretty exciting...White Rabbits are playing for free tomorrow night at BAM Cafe. My problem is that I already made arrangement for a bunch of people to come over tomorrow and I don't think they would be too hip if I told them after they came over that we were all going to BAM. I'm thinking the Webster Hall show with The Walkmen may be the next time that I catch the Rabbits.

Anyway, White Rabbits are playing with Miss Fairchild and EFFI BRIEST with DJ Mikey Palms (who I assume is Mikey from the Southpaw family). The show starts at 10PM.

White Rabbits just released a new single, Cotillion Blues, which is streaming on the RCRD LBL site.

White Rabbits' MySpace page
White Rabbits' Website

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Vicious Disorder Live @ Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Vicious Disorder went on stage at Don Hill's right before Great White. The band has been around for a number of years but this was my first time seeing them play live. There was a bit of a buzz about Vicious Disorder just over a year ago when the band recorded the song "Pure Evil" which incorporated the theme music from the Halloween series of horror movies. For anyone not familiar with the band's sound, there are some live videos of the band performing "Pure Evil" in concert on the band's website (not from the Don Hill's show though).

The band had a tight hard rock sound that almost borders on thrash. Vicious Disorder isn't quite as hard as some of the mid-80's Bay-area thrash bands but these would be close contemporaries to the band's sound.

Here are some of the pictures that I took at the show.

Rob LaFlamme/Vicious Disorder - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Vicious Disorder - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Scott LaFlamme/Vicious Disorder - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Vicious Disorder - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Chris Pauze/Vicious Disorder - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Vicious Disorder - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Scott LaFlamme/Vicious Disorder - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Vicious Disorder - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

The band's latest CD, "Life Is A Chance", is available through Vicious Disorder's website and CD Baby.

Vicious Disorder's MySpace Page

Amplify - Live Reheasal, Brooklyn, NY 1-18-08

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with the alt-metal band Amplify and I posted a video interview with Joe (guitars) and Bobbie (vocals) from Amplify about a week ago.

Here is some live footage from the band's rehearsal.

Amplify has some upcoming shows next month, which include a release party for the band's debut CD, Beneath the Beauty Lies...Heaven to Burn.

March 06, 2008 Fat Baby, NYC
March 14, 2008 The Cutting Room, NYC (CD Release Show)
April 17, 2008 Luna Lounge, Brooklyn

Amplify's Website

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08 (25th Anniversary Show)

G*d...I have really been working too much these days as the Great White show was a couple of weeks back.

Great White made their only area appearance on their 25th Anniversary tour at a show at Don Hill's. It was a really strong bill this night (Great White, Ray West's new band Hostel Inc. and Vicious Disorder) for only a $10 ticket.

Great White took the stage at the early hour of the morning (I think it was after midnight) and played a great set of classic tunes from their back catalogue, some tunes from the new CD "Back to the Rhythm" and Zeppelin cover or two. Aside for some initial sound problems when the band first took the stage, the band sounded great.

Jack Russell/Great White - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Michael Lardie & Sean McNabb/Great White - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Jack Russell & Mark Kendall/Great White - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Audie Desbrow/Great White - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Great White - Don Hill's, NYC 1-22-08
Great White - Don Hills, NYC 1-22-08

Great White's latest CD is "Back to the Rhythm" which came out last summer on Shrapnel Records. The band is currently finishing up a UK tour and there are rumors that the band will be touring the States sometime over the summer.

I'll follow up this post with pictures of Hostel, Inc. (some of my pictures are currently posted to the band's MySpace page) and Vicious Disorder. Does anyone know who the first band was? I caught the end of their set but didn't see their name listed on the bill.

Great White's Website

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bugs In the Dark - Live Video and Backstage Interview

Bugs in the Dark returned to Southpaw on January 24th and I had a chance to catch up with the band before they went on stage. The band was kind enough to do a pre-show interview with me in addition to letting me film some of their set.

For anyone not familiar with the band, I'd describe them as having an "art-punk" sound that falls somewhere between the Pylon, The B-52s and X. (see previous post on the band)

Bugs in the Dark - Backstage Interview & Live, Southpaw, Brooklyn 1-24-08

Bugs in the Dark are a great live act and you can check out a number of tunes from their debut EP, Shake Shake, on the band's MySpace page.

Here are the band's upcoming shows:
Saturday, February 9th, Cake Shop
Wednesday, February 13th, Cutting Room (house band for a comedy show)
Saturday, March 1st, Luna Lounge

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Amplify - Rehearsal Studio Interview, Brooklyn, NY 1-18-08

Amplify is a NYC-based alt-metal band made up of longtime music-scene vets. Members have worked with a range of musicians from Peter Gabriel to Fahrenheit 451 and are able to leverage these diverse influences to create Amplify's sound. The band's sound falls somewhere between prog-rock and the hard rock sounds of some of the 80's/90's metal bands (Soundgarden and 'Use Your Illusion'-era Guns N' Roses are the immediate comparisons).

The band released its debut CD, Beneath the Beauty Lies...Heaven to Burn, earlier this year and are starting play some shows around town in support of this disc.

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit in on one of the band's practice session and film some live video and an interview with Bobbie Rae (vocals) and Joe Rodriguez (guitars).

Here is the interview and the live footage will follow in the next few days.

Amplify has a couple upcoming shows:

March 6, 2008 9:00PM @ Fat Baby, NYC
March 14, 2008 10:30PM CD RELEASE SHOW @ The Cutting Room NYC
April 17, 2008 8:00PM @ Luna Lounge Brooklyn

Amplify's MySpace Page
Amplify's Website

State Bird - Mostly Ghostly CD Review (Record Machine)

State Bird - Mostly Ghostly CD ReviewState Bird’s new CD, Mostly Ghostly, has a certain innocent charm and the music held my attention from the first track onward. It is hard to pin State Bird down with a label – there are elements of freak-folk, Americana/alt-country and sonic dissonance of The Annuals in their music but the music spans across all of these genres. As the band uses a mix of non-traditional instruments and each of the songs seems to have some sort of musical surprise, a hypothetical point of comparison may be Devendra Banhart meets Danny Elfman.

Mostly Ghostly is the second release from Coby Hartzler, Jared Riblet and a cast of friends. Here is a link to the first track from the CD, “I Saw the Light”, which is a good representation of what the rest of the disc sounds like. The band also has an online video tour journal so here is a song from one of their shows from late last year.

In other reviews, I’ve tried to highlight stand-out tracks. In the case of Mostly Ghostly, the whole album works well as a cohesive unit and there really isn’t a dud track on the disc. If you want to check out a couple more tracks though, the band just recorded a four song live set for My Old Kentucky Blog/Sirius radio which are posted as a free download.

The other point worth mentioning is the CD packaging is one of the more interesting that I have seen in a while. The picture of the CD cover doesn’t do the experience justice as there is unusual artwork in the cardboard cover + a fold-out poster on the inside. After the “death” of the LP, I missed the experience of the gatefold cover art and the posters/booklets that used to come with some LPs so it is nice to see a band focus on both the music and the overall experience.

Mostly Ghostly comes out on the Record Machine label on February 26th and the band is currently doing a tour of the Mid-West.

State Bird's Website
State Bird's MySpace Page

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Automatic Children Live @ Rockwood Music Hall, NYC January 22, 2008

I have always felt that a good live show should both hold your attention and leave you wanting more. Automatic Children's show at Rockwood Music Hall hit the mark on both fronts. The band seems to really enjoy themselves on stage which made for a fun live show.

Here are a couple live songs from the band's set:

Automatic Children are working on scheduling some shows for next month so watch the band's MySpace page for details.

Previous Posts:
Pre-Show Interview with Automatic Children

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bring Me The Horizon - "Count Your Blessings" CD Review (Earache)

Bring Me The Horizon - Count You Blessings CD Review (Earache)Bring Me the Horizon’s full length debut, “Count Your Blessings”, came out in the UK in 2006 amid much hype but wasn’t released in the US until late summer last year. The band generated a serious media buzz in 2006 when Bring Me the Horizon and Coldplay were the only British bands to chart on the MySpace Music Top 100. Unfortunately, with big hype come big expectations. This release is a good brutal, metal-core release but it isn’t as striking as the band’s debut EP, “This is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For”.

My biggest complaint with this release is that a number of songs follow the same basic metal-core structure and start to blend together at times. There are also two instrumentals on this release, including an acoustic number, which seem somewhat out of place and show the band still exploring their sound. When the band’s sound comes together, with soaring guitars and clean(er) hardcore-style vocals, they sound great.

Standout tracks on this release are Tell Slater Not to Wash His Dick, A Lot Like Vegas and (I Used to Make Out With) Medusa. You can see by these and other song titles that the band still hasn’t gotten past some broken relationships.

To really appreciate the band’s sound, you can check out a video of the Bring Me the Horizon performing live on Rockworld that was recorded in 2006.

According to the band’s MySpace page, they have two shows in Russia this weekend but no further dates or plans posted.

Fans of the band and the EP will likely love this release – for the newly initiated, the EP is a better starting point.