Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Backwords Are Headlining Southpaw on Thursday, May 1st

Brooklyn's Backwords are Headlining Southpaw on May 1stBrooklyn's Backwords are headlining Southpaw on May 1st. Backwords is a fairly new band on the scene. The band played their first live show (Pete's Candy Store) and released their first disc ("Factory Angel") in January of this year.

The band's sound is rustic Americana and there are elements of Dylan, Neil Young and Nebraska-era Springsteen in the music. There are a number of tracks from "Factory Angel" streaming on the band's MySpace page and main website (links below).

On the bill with Backwords are Lord Classic and Broken Trees. Tickets are only $8.00.

Backwords Website
Backwords MySpace Profile

Christian George: Interview with BrooklynRocks (new single is "Strangers")

Earlier this month, I had a chance to catch up with Christian George when he was in town promoting his new single "Strangers". Here is Christian's description of the songs on his forthcoming full-length: “Half of my songs are about sleeping with somebody and the others are about heartbreak...this album is very black or white. I’m either making you scream or you’re making me cry.”

"Strangers" is streaming on Christian's MySpace page and his full length disc is due soon.

"Stangers" was formally launched last month at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. There is an audience video posted to YouTube when Christian joined Dirt Nasty (Simon Rex) onstage in Miami to perform Canal St.

Christian George's Website
Christian George's MySpace profile

Monday, April 28, 2008

Langhorne Slim Plays CD Release Show at Mercury Lounge on Wednesday, April 30th

Langhorne Slim Releases New CD on Kemado Records; CD Release Show at Mercury LoungeLanghorne Slim's new CD, a self-titled release on Kemado Records, comes out tomorrow. Langorne got caught up in the whole V2 Records mess so this new CD is his first since his 2006 EP, "Engine".

The new tracks sound like some of the best work that Langhorne has done to date. There are three tracks from this release streaming on Langhorne's MySpace page. Langorne said "This collection of songs represents our most comfortable, cohesive and soul-shaking music to date...Some [songs] came out of the blue, others took some sweat but if the feeling’s there, then you’ve got something and it don’t make a damn difference how it happened. I hope that you feel it."

Langhorne made his network TV debut last month on the David Letterman show and played "Restless" from the forthcoming CD.

Wednesday's show at the Mercury Lounge is sold out but Langhorne is playing a headlining show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 31st.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Iller Than Theirs Post Two Previously Unreleased Tracks To Their Blog

Iller Than Theirs Release Two Free Bonus Tracks from Sessions for Debut CDBrooklyn's Iller Than Theirs posted two previously unreleased tracks from their debut CD to the band's blog. It is pretty cool that the band put both tracks up as free downloads.

Both Soki Doki (which features J. Howells Werthman) and Diamond Grenades (which features Probe) are complete songs and fully produced.

Here is what the band posted about these songs:
"So when you put together an album of songs you can't include everything you've done. So first you try to include all the "best" stuff. But sometimes you have to leave out really good songs because they don't fit neatly into the larger work. For instance the song "Diamond Grenades" always seemed like a grand finale to close the album. But then we made "Wash, Rinse, Repeat". We couldn't have two Epic endings: so we cut Diamond Grenades. But it's still an awesome song so too is "Soki Doki"

Judas Priest Plans In-Store Appearance at Vintage Vinyl

Judas Priest Schedules Record Signing at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJRob Halford, KK Downing and Glenn Tipton are making a rare in-store appearance at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ. The first 500 fans to pre-order the forthcoming CD, Nostradamus, from Vintage Vinyl will receive a wristband that will get them into the event.

The signing will be on Friday, May 9th @ 6PM and I would expect wristbands to go quickly. According to Vintage Vinyl's site, this is the band's first in-store in 25 years.

Nostradamus is officially released on June 17th but the title track is available as a free download on LiveNation's site. Judas Priest is touring this summer as part of the Metal Masters tour (with Heaven and Hell and Testament). Local dates are August 9th at PNC Bank Arts Center and August 10th at Jones Beach.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) Art Show Opens in May at 3rd Ward Gallery in Brooklyn

Devo Plays McCarren Pool Park/Mothersbaugh Art Exhibit at 3rd Ward GalleryIt is probably old news by now that tickets went on sale today for Devo's show at McCarren Pool in Williamsburg. Devo plays the East Coast too infrequently these days (the last NYC show was at Hammerstein in 2005). There are only three East Coast dates scheduled so I don't mind the $52 ticket price but it still bugs the [deleted word] out of me that Ticketmaster surcharges add another 20% to the ticket price.

Mark Mothersbaugh's art exhibit Postcard Diaries open in NYC on May 10th at 3rd Ward Gallery in Brooklyn.

"During his downtime on early worldwide tours with DEVO, Mark began illustrating on postcards to send to his friends and family, which he still creates, and has been creating every day for over 30 years. It's an obsessive habit/hobby, which still yields anywhere from one to a couple dozen new postcard-sized images per day. You can find more info on Mark's visual art at mutatovisual.com."

The public showing starts at 8PM on May 10th. 3rd Ward Gallery's website says the "[o]pening night will be a Super Thing Circus with live music, interactive art, limited edition merchandise, and a cyber appearance by Mark Mothersbaugh himself."

For more information, check out 3rd Ward Gallery's Website.

Cleveland's Mystery of Two Play Shows In Brooklyn Tonight and Tomorrow

Cleveland's Mystery of Two Plays Brooklyn This WeekendCleveland's Mystery of Two is in town this weekend for two shows in Brooklyn. Tonight's show is at Spike Hill (184 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg) and tomorrow night's show is at Tommy's Tavern (1041 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint).

Mystery of Two has a 70's art-punk feel to their music and the closest points of comparison would be Rocket From the Tombs/early-Pere Ubu or Television. Singer Ryan Weitzel has a similar vocal style to Pere Ubu's David Thomas and the band's music has some of the same free-form, wall-of-sound elements of both Ubu and Television. There are a number of live and studio tracks streaming on the band's MySpace page. All of the tracks are well worth a listen - good starting points are "Desolate", "Corner" and a punked-up cover of Canned Heat's "Going Up The Country".

Exit Stencil Recordings

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Psychic TV - First Live Performance in Over A Year Streaming on NPR

Psychic TV Returns To Action With A Live NPR PerformancePsychic TV returned to action last week and played a live set in NPR's World Cafe Studios. Genesis (P-Orridge) also speaks with the interviewer between tracks and he, as always, gives a facinsting interview.

Tracks played were "No Good Trying", "Papal Breakdance" and "Foggy Notion" (yes, this is the Velevet Underground song) and here is a link to Psychic TV's live performance and interview.

PTV3 is touring Europe in May and, unfortunately, no US dates have been announced.

Genesis P-Orridge's Website

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Alkaline Trio Release Advance Single "Help Me" from New CD Agony and Irony

Alkaline Trio Release Help Me from Forthcoming CD Agony and IronyYou have to love a band who Wikipedia says plays music "characterized by dark lyrics, catchy choruses, fast tempos and recurring subjects of love, alcoholism, depression, fire, drugs, blasphemy, and death."

Alkaline Trio signed to Epic Records last year (after the demise of V2 Records) and are releasing their Epic debut "Agony & Irony" on July 1st. The band has just release the first track from this upcoming release "Help Me". (Click on the art for the single to stream the track).

The band is playing European festivals this summer and a US tour will follow.

Alkaline Trio's MySpace Profile
Alkaline Trio's Website

Cheyenne Frontman Beau Jennings Releases First Track From Upcoming Solo Disc

Beau Jennings/Cheyenne @ Piano's, NYC November 2007Cheyenne's singer Beau Jennings is readying his first solo disc, Holy Tulsa Thunder, and just released an advance single of the disc's title track. This track is a rocker that has a great "Springsteen in his prime" sort of vibe so I'm looking forward to hearing the whole disc.

Beau Jennings' MySpace profile
Cheyenne's MySpace profile

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Acorn Play Union Hall and SoundFix in May/Video for "The Flood Pt. 1"

The Acorn are coming back through town next month with stops at Union Hall on May 3rd and an in-store performance at SoundFix on May 4th.

The band is touring behind their second CD, Glory Hope Mountain, which is homage to the life story of Gloria Montoya Esperanza (mother of Acorn main-man Rolf Klausener).

The Acorn - The Flood Pt. 1

The band's show at Union Hall in February sold out so I wouldn't wait on getting tickets. Given the buzz and press coverage of this band, I would expect the free show at SoundFix to be packed as well (...line up early).

The Acorn's Website
The Acorn's MySpace Profile

Robert Francis - One By One CD Review

Robert Francis - One by One CD ReviewRobert Francis makes a pretty bold statement modeling the cover of his debut CD after the cover of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin'. Francis' CD One to One isn't quite Dylan but it is a solid debut. Both musically and with his lyrical outlook, Robert Francis is closer in spirit to Townes Van Zandt or Cowboy Junkies than Dylan. One to One contains 10 world-weary tales of people, places and heartache. Townes Van Zandt, after being asked why he only wrote sad songs said "Well, many of the songs, they aren't sad, they're hopeless." Francis' melodies and lyrics aren't all hopeless but there is a sort of haunting beauty that carries across these tracks.

There has been a lot of 'to-do' in the media that Francis was only 19 when he recorded this CD. Not to downplay Francis' achievements (which are impressive - he plays guitar, bass, drums, piano, banjo and glockenspiel on this disc in addition to taking on the role of producer) but he is not a newcomer to the music scene. I recently read an overview of Francis' musical career and highlights include receiving a vintage National guitar at age nine from Ry Cooder and taking guitar lessons from Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist John Frusciante. Francis is also the younger brother of Juliette Commagere, who fronts Hello Stranger (currently on tour with the Foo Fighters).

The songs on this disc are driven by an equal combination of the instrumentation and Francis' voice. Francis has his sister Juliette Commagere and other female accompanists singing harmonies with him on about half the tracks which provides a bit of light to Francis' weary baritone. One of the standouts tracks is the title track, One By One, which features Commagere's harmonies mixed with a lush arrangement of piano and violins.

In addition to the positive press and a sold out show at the Bowery Ballroom last month, Robert Francis was also nominated for The Shortlist Music Prize for One By One. The Shortlist Music Prize is a music award given annually to an album released in the United States within the last year, as chosen by a panel of musicians, producers and journalists, known as the 'Listmakers'.

This is a strong mature release from a young artist off to a great start. Francis has set the bar high for future releases.

Boris Releases New CD, "Smile", on Southern Lord

Boris Releases New CD Smile on Southern Lord RecordsSouthern Lord just released the latest disc by Japanese noise rockers Boris. The band's new CD "Smile" has been out on the Diwphalanx label in Japan for about a month but the Southern Lord version has a number of different songs and different mixes than its Japanese counterpart. Like most Southern Lord releases, the label has released a limited edition version of this disc for mail order customers. This mail order version is limited to 3,000 copies and comes with a bonus DVD that includes videos for the songs "Statement" , My Neighbor Satan", and "Pink".

All of Boris' releases sell out quickly so get this while you can (...or pay eBay prices later).

Southern Lord Records
Boris' Website
Diwphalanx Records

Interview with Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) Guitarist Darrell Roberts

Interview with Darrell Roberts from Five Finger Death PunchFive Finger Death Punch is playing next Friday night at the Starland Ballroom as part of WSOU's 60th Anniversary celebration before heading out for a couple of weeks with Disturbed. I had a chance to catch up with guitarist Darrell Roberts and talked with him about how FFDP came together, what the band's current plans are and some of the bands he worked with in Hollywood in the late 80's.

Here is a direct link to the interview with Darrell Roberts and here is a link to the View RSS XML.

Five Finger Death Punch is on the Rockstar Metal Mayhem tour (Slipknot, Disturbed, Machine Head, Mastodon and more) this summer. The tour hits this area in August with a stop at Nassau Colliseum on August 3rd.

Five Finger Death Punch's MySpace Profile
Five Finger Death Punch's Website

Monday, April 07, 2008

Heroes of Popular Wars Play Pianos on April 22nd

Heroes of Popular Wars Play Piano's on April 22ndI've been hearing good things about Heroes of Popular Wars for a while so I've been meaning to check out the band for some time. Unfortunately, I always seem to have committments, working or traveling whenever they play. The band is playing Piano's on April 22nd with Joemca & Poets (...and naturally, I'm out of town).

I finally had some time tonight to check out a video (below) and some mp3s from the band and am looking forward to catching HOPW live sometime in the future. The band has a carefully sculptured sound that is rooted in electronica but each of the songs posted to the band's website are all somewhat different. As I have been listening, my original point of comparison would have been Section 25 or one of the other early Factory bands but, after listening to the band's tracks a few times, I'm not sure that this comparison completely describes the full extent of the band's sound.

Here is the video for There's The Bell

...and here are links to a couple mp3s
3rd of July

This is intriguing stuff - I especially like the sample of "How Great Thou Art" that leads into "Goodbye"

Hereos of Popular Wars Website
Hereos of Popular Wars MySpace Profile

Mackie Jayson Joins Madball

Mackie Jayson Joins MadballMackie is one of my favorite hardcore drummers.

This announcement was posted to Madball's MySpace page yesterday:

We’re sad to announce that after 6 years with the band, our drummer Rigg Ross will be moving on. We’d like to wish him all the best for the future, and he will have our love and respect forever.

At the same time, we’d like to welcome Mackie Jayson (former Cro-Mags, Bad Brains) to the band. We look forward to playing our first shows with him later this month. See you all soon!

Unfortunately, Madball doesn't have any area shows scheduled at this time.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Boston (featuring Tom Scholz) is Touring This Summer - Be Very Afraid...

Boston Announces 2008 TourI'm not going to slag Boston (too much) as I still remember what a big deal it was to get their second LP when I was in junior high. (Anyone who tells you that they grew up listening to Joy Division from 10 year old on is lying). Brad Delp, who was the voice of Boston, committed suicide last year so now the band is touring with Michael Sweet from Stryper on vocals along with Tommy DeCarlo who was 'found' after he posted some cover versions of Boston tunes to his MySpace page.

People make fun of the two LA Guns lineups that are touring under the same name but it doesn't get much lower than this...Boston, featuring one original member along with the vocalist from Stryper plus some random fan who sort of sings like Brad Delp.

I'm surprised that Boston is still playing some decent sized venues. Here are the area tour dates:
Aug. 01 - Big Flats, NY - Summer Stage
Aug. 10 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Center
Aug. 15 - Atlantic City, NJ - Tropicana Casino and Resort

Iller Than Theirs Play Mercury Lounge on April 17th/CD Review

Iller Than Theirs Play Mercury Lounge on April 17thOne of the CDs that should have been on everyone's "Best of 2007" list is the debut disc from Brooklyn rappers Iller Than Theirs. The band is composed of rappers Tone Tank and Krayo (along with beats from Scott Thorough and DJ Snafu) who are all part of the Nuclear Family collective. The band is playing at Mercury Lounge of April 17th as part of an Embedded Records showcase.

Iller Than Theirs combines a wicked sense of self-depreciating humor with social commentary on everyday life. All of the is backed by some wicked beats. I'm a tough critic of rap bands as I expect both great vocals and great beats and this CD has held up to repeated play.

Before jumping into a review of the CD, I've shown this live video (of Iller Than Theirs @ Southpaw) to a number of friends and they have all come away with the comment "wow, they are really good".

Iller That Theirs' self-titled CD is about two guys from Brooklyn (the homeland) trying to 'make rap and make rent' in a city that is rapidly gentrifying. This theme runs beneath most of the songs. "Razor Bumps" is about people who pretend to be cool ("too fly to fart"), "To Be Ill" is about people who want something for nothing ("Everyone want a dog but no one want to walk the thing") and "The Same" is about Ratner's gentrification of Brooklyn and the Atlantic Center area.

"The Same" also features guest vocals from Masta Ace (from the Juice Crew). Kray gave an interview to Underground Report where he talks about some of his influences as "indie Hip Hop stuff that started coming out in the mid-'90s: [Company Flow], Fondle 'Em, Stones Throw, Quannum, early Rawkus stuff...The do it yourself spirit of those records were in stark contrast to the huge over-sized hyped up corporate mega-stars of today. You can make art without money behind it - and it can be even better than the big-budget bullshit." Iller Than Theirs is really a throw-back to the raw, honest DIY rap that came out of NYC in the 80's and early-90's.

On this disc, Tone and Kray tell it like it is - no hype and no phony bravado. This disc is essential listening...I know rap isn't in vogue in the mainstream but Iller Than Theirs has the both talent and the heart to break out of the underground.

Check 'em out at the Mercury - It should be a great show.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New Model Army - Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY 3-20-08

After being denied visas for the shows scheduled at the end of last year, New Model Army was finally able to bring the "High" tour to the US last month. Southpaw opened a bit late so I had a chance to talk with some of the other concert goers as we were all trying to fit into the same doorway to keep out of the cold. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people at the gig who had flown in from the UK to tour the states with NMA.

By the time, New Model Army hit the stage, the room was full and the long-time fans and faithful were ready to sing and mosh along. This has to be the first time that I have seen a "pit" at Southpaw though this wasn't like a hardcore show - "The Family" was at the show and ready for a bit of fun.

Below are some of my pictures from the band's set.

New Model Army continues to perform like there is no tomorrow and mixed tracks from their latest CD High with old stand-bys like "51st State". Early in the night, there was a camera mounted to one of the posts facing the stage so I can only assume this live video for "51st State" came from that camera. It would be great to see the complete show released on DVD.

New Model Army returns to NYC on April 18 for a show at the Mercury Lounge with Echoes & Shadows. This is the band's last show in the US for this tour and they start gigging again in the UK in May.

New Model Army's MySpace Profile
New Model Army's Website

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Halou - Sawtooth CD EP Review

Halou CD EP ReviewHalou has been around for 11 years and had released 3 CDs and 3 EPs prior to Sawtooth. With this release, Halou de-emphasizes the hip-hop/trip-hop sounds of past releases and "Sawtooth" is comparable to 90's era shoe-gazer dream pop. With a heavy focus on Rebecca's voice and a layered guitar sound, the immediate points of comparison are Mazzy Star and Opal.

For fans of indie shoe-gazer pop, "Sawtooth" is well worth picking up. Two tracks from the EP, "Breath Makes Smoke" and "Evensong" are streaming on Halou's MySpace profile.

Check out the live video of Halou performing "Professional" (also from Sawtooth) from their show last month at The Filmore/Irving Plaza.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Halou just finished a month-long tour with Bob Mould and are back in San Francisco where they are playing some residence shows at Cafe Du Nord. (The first show is April 9th).

The B-52s Performed Funplex on The Tonight Show

The B-52s perform Funplex on The Tonight ShowThe B-52s are starting to hit the talk shows in support of their great new release "Funplex". Check out the band performing Funplex on the Tonight Show (from April 1st).

The B-52s are on the Ellen Degeneres show tomorrow (Friday) performing "Funplex" and "Love Shack". I'll be at work tomorrow so if anyone posts a video from this appearance, please send me a link.

The B-52s Website
The B-52s MySpace Profile

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Manes - "How the World Came to An End" CD Review (Candlelight Records)

Manes - How the World Came to An End CD ReviewThis is a bit of a surprising release from Candlelight Records, given that Candlelight is the home of Emperor and other black metal bands. While Manes started off as a ‘traditional’ black metal act, their sound on this 2007 release emphasizes elements of world music, free-form jazz and hip-hop. Immediate points of comparison are the 80’s line-up of King Crimson and/or the world music side of Peter Gabriel crossed with the electronica/goth sounds of 80’s Depeche Mode.

This is an adventurous release by Manes as it is both danceable and accessible to the masses. Tracks like “I Watch You Fall” and “The Cure-All” have both clean vocals and an intricately layered soundscape of melodies and sounds. There are a number of guest vocalists/artists on this release (11 guests are listed on the band’s website) but, even with the stylistic differences between tracks, this disc flows as a cohesive body of work. The atmosphere of the disc is highlighted by crystal-clear production which keeps the layers of sounds from being overwhelming and it also makes for great headphones listening.

It appears that Manes’ MySpace page is down, Mains’ website hasn’t been updated in a year and the band parted ways with Candlelight Records earlier this year so I’m not sure what the best way is to keep up with the band. The band though is supposed to be working on a upcoming release, tentatively entitled 'Be All End All', so I’m sure that Manes will resurface on the web soon.

Amplify - Cutting Room, NYC, March 14, 2008

Wow...I got behind in posting pictures from some recent shows

Amplify held their CD release party a few weeks ago at the Cutting Room. Amplify's debut CD is entitled "Beneath the Beauty...Lies Heaven to Burn" and the disc is available through CD Baby.

Amplify plays melodic hard-rock comparable to The Cult or mid-90's era Guns N' Roses. The musicians in the band have been around the music scene for years and their raw talent and energy really come across to make a great live show.

Here are some photos from the show:

Before going to the show, I was looking at some of Roberta Bayley's photos from CBGBs so I wanted to try a few B&W shots.

Bobbie Rae/Amplify
Amplify - Live at The Cutting Room, March 14, 2008

Joe, Bobbie and Freeze/Amplify
Amplify - Live at The Cutting Room, March 14, 2008

Amplify's next show is at Luna Lounge on April 17th and tickets are only $8.00.

Amplify's MySpace page