Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sharks: UK Punk Band Kicks of US Tour With Social Distortion / One-Off Show at Bell House on May 16th

Sweet Harness by Sharks

Can't Hardly Wait (The Replacements) by Sharks

Sharks: UK Punk Band Kicks of US Tour With Social Distortion / One-Off Show at Bell House on May 16thUK punk band Sharks are releasing their US debut CD next week and are kicking off a late April - May US tour with Social Distortion and Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music).

Sharks’ US debut The Joys Of Living 2008-2010 comes out April 5, in a unique partnership between their own label Velvet Scene and Rise Records. The 14-song album is actually a compilation of sorts, showcasing the band’s first 2 years worth of recorded material ('Shallow Waters' and 'Show Of Hands' EP's and the 'Common Grounds' single) as well as 2 brand new songs.

Video for "It All Relates" from the 'Show of Hands' EP

Sharks are playing a one-off show at The Bell House along with Chuck Ragan and Sean O'Neill on May 16th. Tickets are $10 and doors are at 8PM.

Sharks Tour Dates (w/ Social Distortion and Chuck Ragan):
-April 26 Albuquerque / Sunshine Theatre
-April 27 El Paso / Club 101
-April 29 Tulsa / Cain’s Ballroom
-May 3 Kansas City, MO / Beaumont Club
-May 4 St. Louis / The Pageant
-May 5 Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage
-May 6 Indianapolis / Egyptian Room @ Old National Centre
-May 7 Milwaukee / The Rave
-May 8 Cincinnati / Bogart’s
-May 9 Kalamazoo, MI / The Strutt (SHARKS & CHUCK RAGAN ONLY)
-May 10 Columbus / LC Pavilion
-May 11 Pittsburgh / Stage AE
-May 12 West Chester, PA / The Note (SHARKS & CHUCK RAGAN ONLY)
-May 13 Baltimore / Rams Head Live!
-May 14 Asbury Park / The Stone Pony Summer Stage
-May 15 Providence / Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
-May 16 Brooklyn, NY / The Bell House (SHARKS & CHUCK RAGAN ONLY)
-May 17 Norfolk / The NorVa
-May 18 Richmond / The National


Monday, March 28, 2011

Ghost - "Opus Eponymous" CD Review (Metal Blade)

STREAM: Ghost - "Ritual" (click-through to

Ghost - 'Opus Eponymous' CD Review (Metal Blade)Sweden’s Ghost take an interesting and engaging twist on the metal genre as the band plays psychedelic alt-rock with clean vocals and harmonies, memorable anthemic melodies and heavily Satanic lyrics. The band released their US debut album Opus Eponymous earlier this year through Rise Above/Metal Blade. This disc was released in Europe last year and Fenriz of Darkthrone listed this album as one of his favorite releases from 2010 – “astounding album but is it heavy metal occultism or death-rock? who cares”.

The music and philosophies of Ghost specifically target "individuals who have a void in their life perhaps caused by some form of emotional trauma or upset" (research suggests these are most likely adolescents); this dearth can then be alluringly filled by Ghost's music and philosophies, "so that in time the easily manipulated will come to share the views and goals of the Coven's ministry and can prepare their own plans for the downfall of humanity."

"Our mission is not as much about conversion as it is about underlining which path you all have chosen to go, and where it will ultimately lead you," declared Ghost in a rare communiqué.

The disc’s nine tracks run just under 35 minutes and the catchy, “death rock” sensibilities of the band make this a disc that could have caught on with a wider audience if not for the blasphemous lyrics. With odes to Satan, a spoken word bastardized version of The Lords Prayer and tales of human sacrifice, Ghost’s lyrical content comes close to rivaling Mercyful Fate and Impaled Nazarene. The band adds to the overall feeling of a satanic ritual in their live show as the six (unnamed) members of Ghost play behind masks and robes and the lead singer dresses as a black pope.

If you can get past the overt Satanism, Ghost has impressive musical chops and Opus Eponymous is a diverse and tightly executed disc. Rounding out the melodic death rock, the disc opens and closes with a pair of instrumentals. The opening track, “Deus Culpa”, adds to the death rock comparisons and is a minute and a half piece held together by a mournful church organ. The final track, “Genesis”, is an aggressive, almost art-rock instrumental.

Ghost’s only scheduled US appearance is at Maryland Deathfest on May 29th.


Weedeater: "Jason...the Dragon" CD Review (Southern Lord)

Weedeater: 'Jason...the Dragon' CD Review (Southern Lord)Veteran southern sludge metal band Weedeater released their second album for Southern Lord (and fourth overall), Jason…the Dragon, earlier this month. For this ten track / thirty-five minute disc, the band once again recorded in analogue with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago.

On this new disc, the band continues with their slow, sludgy bass-heavy doom but pick up the tempo for some stoner rock grooves on "Mancoon”. “Dixie” Dave’s vocal chords sound shredded but his manic bark is an important and prominent part of each song. The feedback-laden riffs are thick and slow burning so this disc isn’t quite as heavy and southern-fried as God Luck and Good Speed (2007) but it should strike a positive chord with fans of Black Sabbath / Pentagram style bluesy doom metal.

Where the band breaks from their core stoner/doom rock sound is on:

- “The Great Unfurling” – which is a menacing spoken word piece backed by a church organ,

- “Pain and Opium” – which is a twangy acoustic number where “Dixie” Dave’s vocals are altered which leaves him sounding like a Southern-fried version of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd ,

- “March of the Bipolar Bear” – which is simply a “classic-rock” style drum solo and

- “Whiskey Creek” – which starts with some “Deliverance” style banjo playing and goes into a “hidden” jazzy piano track.

“Turkey Warlock” is indicative of the core sound of the album (below) though the title track “Jason…the Dragon” is the stand-out track on the disc.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rango: The Video Game (Wii Game Review)

Rango: The Video Game (Wii Game Review)Earlier this month, Nickelodeon and Paramount released a video game version of the children’s movie Rango for the Wii. The story line of the game picks up sometime after the events of the film with Sheriff Rango investigating the disappearance of his friend Bean’s father. The player needs to guide Rango through a series of nine new adventures based on his tall tales about a mysterious meteor and battles with villains that range from Bad Bill and his gang to Rattlesnake Jake. Each of these tales is a chapter within the overall storyline.

The game play alternates between third-person shooter and platforming challenges combined with richly-done cut scenes. This is a kid’s game (which my six year-old loved) so the action never gets too complex and the shooter scenes are completely separated from the platforming. The shooting scenes are all fixed position and involve clearing both fixed position enemies (who attack with guns and dynamite) and moving enemies (who attack hand-to-hand). It takes a steady hand to take out some of the smaller fixed-position enemies so some of these scenes may be challenging for the ‘smaller’ gamer. Shooting targets though reveals both health and weapons upgrade power-ups so the challenges are reasonably surmountable with a little bit of patience.

The platforming scenes are likely to be a bit more challenging for a young gamer as they require some precise movements when jumping from train car to train car (a la Indiana Jones) or between cliffs and the camera can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help. This too is not insurmountable as the controls are very responsive and the ‘Continue’ feature of the game is extremely forgiving and often lets the player restart from the point where they had died.

The graphics, audio narrative and cut scenes are all impressive and the cinematic feel is sure to impress young fans of the movie. While the backdrop is predominately set in and around the town of Dirt, the game designers keep the backdrop from getting stale by adding some unusual settings which include an outer space scene and a scene where Rango goes inside a video game world. Adding to the visuals, the actor who provides the voice-overs for Rango sounds indistinguishable from Johnny Depp as he spouts off a number of humorous one-liners.

While the game action is too simplistic for older gamers, Rango should hold the interest of the younger gamer and the well-executed movie tie-in might even bring some new converts into the gaming world.

Rango The Video Game

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nikki Sixx Releases New Book "This Is Gonna Hurt" on April 12th / NYC Book Signing on May 3rd

Nikki Sixx Releases New Book 'This Is Gonna Hurt' on April 12th / NJ Book Signing on May 2ndMötley Crüe/Sixx: A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx has confirmed a number of signing engagements for his new book, "This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens Of Nikki Sixx," which will be released on April 12th by HarperCollins imprint William Morrow.

"This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens Of Nikki Sixx", is part photo, part journal—but all Nikki Sixx. It is a collection of compelling photography and stories that capture the rage, love, optimism, darkness, and determination that shape his work. Combining the raw authenticity that defined his New York Times Bestseller "The Heroin Diaries" with a photographic journey, "This Is Gonna Hurt" chronicles Sixx's experiences—from his early years filled with toxic waste, to his success with Motley Crue, to his death from an OD and his eventual rebirth through music, photography, and love. Love story, bad-ass rock tell-all, social commentary, family memoir, "This Is Gonna Hurt" offers the compelling insights of an artist and a man struggling to survive, connect, and find a happy ending—a search that fuels Sixx's being.

Accompanying the book, and slated for a May 3rd release, will be a new CD by Sixx: A.M. complementing the book's themes and showcasing the songwriting and musicianship of Sixx and Sixx: A.M. bandmates James Michael and D.J. Ashba.

Here is the details on the local stop on the book tour:

May 3, 2011, 7PM
Borders Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle New York, NY

Nikki Sixx

Whitesnake - "Forevermore" CD Review / Show at Irving Plaza on May 18th

Whitesnake - 'Forevermore' CD Review / Show at Irving Plaza on May 18thI’ve gotten a bit cynical with some of the longer-running acts as they eventually seem to run out of creative “juice” in the studio (like The Rolling Stones and The Who) so I approached Whitesnake’s eleventh studio release, Forevermore, with some degree of trepidation. The good news is that David Coverdale and crew do justice to Whitesnake’s legacy. Fans of any era of Whitesnake should find something to like here as the band’s sound on this new album touches upon all points of their career - from their blues-rock 70’s roots to their 80’s radio-friendly hooks to their 90’s acoustic balladry. While I’m preferential to the blues-rock era, Forevermore contains a number of tracks that make me remember why I liked this band in the first place and only a small number of misses.

David Coverdale has always excelled at pulling top-notch guitarists into Whitesnake to serve as songwriting partners. As with Good to Be Bad, Coverdale co-wrote this new ten-track/60 minute disc with Doug Aldrich. Guitarist Reb Beach is the only other hold-over from Good to Be Bad and the new members are bassist Michael Devin (Lynch Mob) and drummer Brian Tichy (Pride & Glory).

The disc kicks off “Steal Your Heart Away” which sounds like early 80’s era Whitesnake. While David Coverdale doesn’t quite have the vocal power that he had twenty years ago (no surprise – who does?), his distinctive voice has held up well. In keeping with the classic Whitesnake sound, Aldrich and Beach deliver powerful melodic guitar riffs and solos and the razor-tight rhythm section is also high in the mix. Some of the other stand-out, hard rock cuts are “Whipping Boy Blues” and “Love and Treat Me Right”.

Where this disc differs from what I remember of past Whitesnake is the use of more backing vocals (include a female singer on the first single “Love Will Set You Free” who adds an element of 70’s funk) and a more eclectic set of songs. Mixed with the hard rock tunes are more mid-tempo power ballads and acoustic numbers than on past discs; some of which work (“Fare Thee Well”, “Forever More”) and others are pure cheese (“I Need You (Shine A Light)”, “One of These Days”).

Back in the 80’s, I remember the major labels issuing different bonus tracks on the cassette and CD versions of an album and I never could envision anyone buying a whole album a second time just to get one – two tracks. As there are five different sets of bonus tracks for Forevermore, this strategy apparently works.

Japanese Bonus Track:
“Whipping Boy Blues” (Swamp Mix)

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
“Love Will Set You Free” (Alternative Mix)
“Forevermore” (Acoustic version)
“My Evil Ways” (My Evil Drums Mix)

“Snake Pack” Bonus Tracks:
“Slide It In” Live
“Cheap an’ Nasty” Live
-Note: Tracks are essentially a teaser for the forthcoming Live at Donington 1990 CD/DVD set due out this June

iTunes Bonus Tracks:
“Love Will Set You Free” (Alternative mix)
“Forevermore” (Acoustic version)
“Love Will Set You Free” (Music video) Bonus Track:
“My Evil Ways” (My Evil Drums Mix)

Whitesnake is heading out for a short US tour in May which includes a stop at Irving Plaza on May 18th. Tickets are still available and are $44.50.

Whitesnake US Tour Dates:
11 May 2011 Westbury, NY, USA @ Theatre at Westbury
12 May 2011 Hartford, CT, USA @ Webster Theatre
14 May 2011 Columbia, MD, USA @ M3 Festival - Merriweather
15 May 2011 Jim Thorpe, PA, USA @ Penns Peak
18 May 2010 NYC, USA @ Irving Plaza
20 May 2011 Biloxi, MS, USA @ Hard Rock Biloxi
21 May 2011 Kinder, LA, USA @ Grand Casino Coushatta
22 May 2011 Richardson, TX, USA @ Wildflower Arts and Music
24 May 2011 Southaven, MS, USA @ Snowdon Grove Amphitheater
26 May 2011 Park City, KS, USA @ Hartman Arena
27 May 2011 Pryor, OK, USA @ Rocklahoma


Friday, March 25, 2011

EMA (Erika M. Anderson) Releases Video for "California" from Forthcoming Solo Debut

EMA just released the video for "California," the first from her debut album Past Life Martyred Saints. Directed by Leif Shackleford, the clip is a one-take performance with no cuts, set against a backdrop of footage of her native South Dakota and her adopted hometown of West Oakland, CA. EMA, the new project from ex-Gowns singer/guitarist Erika M. Anderson, will release Past Life Martyred Saints in the US on May 10th, 2011 via Souterrain Transmissions.

The first single, "The Grey Ship", was released March 8th and features a 16-minute cover of Robert Johnson's "Kind-Hearted Woman" as the B-side. A free MP3 of "The Grey Ship" is available here.

Past Life Martyred Saints is filled with crashing and rhythmic, eerie and elegant, booming and building melodies. Throughout the album, self-taught home-recording engineer and searing guitarist EMA treats fidelity and distortion like another instrument, as on the gauzy, fidelity-mixing "The Grey Ship" and the fuzzed-out piano and pealing guitar ode "California." "Marked," a dark, breathy reverie of raw vulnerability, transmutes into a gorgeous, melancholic organ-fueled melody, illustrating EMA's preternatural knack for finding the shocking beauty hidden within the most discordant moments. While the majority of tracks see EMA manning all duties herself, the hypnotic lullaby-esque build of "Breakfast" and the defiant album closer "Red Star" were recorded with a full band, featuring her sister Nikki on drums and Aaron Davis (who also records solo as ACRE) on bass. With a voice that's at once breathless and gutsy and can rise to the brightest yell, EMA establishes herself here as a singular creative force with which to be reckoned.

Gowns was known for its volatile live shows - which were heralded by LA Weekly and Village Voice, among others - and EMA's recent performances at SXSW are already earning high praise again. Of her first showcase, The Los Angeles Times wrote, "...there's a little bit of punk rock at the heart of Anderson's songs, which give what could have been folksy confessionals a more aggressive framework", while Pitchfork declared "She's a wonder to behold" and Bitch magazine's blog remarked "this is the music you hear when you're entering into the eye of the storm." EMA will head overseas to play a short run of shows in the UK in May; a current itinerary is below. US tour dates will be announced soon.

EMA UK tour dates:
* supporting Scout Niblett


Bridge to Japan: City Winery Hosts Earthquake and Tsunami Benefit on March 31st

Bridge to Japan: City Winery Hosts Earthquake and Tsunami Benefit on March 31stCity Winery is partnering with New York-Tokyo to host a benefit show on March 31st to benefit those displaced by the earthquake and tsunami. Recognizing that times here are tough but one of the after-effects of this catastrophe is many of the displaced people don't have basic amenities like food and shelter. Please support this effort if you can.

Tickets are as follows: Bar Stools $45.00, Reserved Tables $55.00, Reserved Best Tables $55.00 and VIP Tables $65.00. Click through the flyer to purchase tickets.

Below is write-up on the event from City Winery's website.

"In light of devastating earthquake and tsunami that afflicted the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, effectively the entire northeastern coast of Japan, we are producing a benefit concert with the goal of raising $30,000 for immediate aid to assist some of the 500,000 people who have been made homeless. While the 24hr news cycle obsesses over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, these internally displaced people are trying to survive in frigid conditions with little access to shelter, water and basic amenities - a tragedy regardless whether it happens in one of the world’s poorest or richest nations.

Our neighbors in Japan, like our neighbors in Haiti, are part of our global family and need our help.

In 2010 in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, City Winery reached out to our friends, fans, artists and peers in the music industry to support a series of benefit concerts that raised over $100,000. Then, as now, the much-needed funds were put to immediate use helping those in dire need. The warmth and passion of those who attended and participated was a thing to behold, the generosity of spirit and community was humbling, and left an indelible mark on all those who benefited

Once again we are asking you to help support a worthy cause and purchase tickets to the benefit concert. We will donate 100% of all ticket sales to relief efforts. Matching donations from the Ogawa family in San Francisco will double your contribution.

Our target of $30,000 will be directed to help with the immediate efforts of the American Red Cross through the who are assisting those most keenly affected by the catastrophic event that has literally reshaped their lives. We have partnered with our friends at New York-Tokyo to produce “BRIDGE TO JAPAN”, which will feature performers from both countries. Japan like New York City is a collection of islands joined by common experience but comprised of dynamic communities of musicians, artists and fans. It is our hope that the concert will bring together individuals from these communities with the common goal of helping those in need."

Performers include Rachael Yamagata, Tift Merritt, Marshall Crenshaw,Dar Williams, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Nicole Atkins, Ben Sollee, classic pianist Taka Kigawa, and the New York based big band Morning Musuko.

Paula Cole and 12year old phenom Cecilia Gault just confirmed and more artists will be announced in coming days.

Japanese Red Cross Society
New York - Tokyo

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Necronauts - "Gauche et Droite" CD Review (Black Cactus Records)

The Necronauts - 'Gauche et Droite' CD Review (Black Cactus Records)I’ve never heard of The Necronauts prior to receiving a review copy of the band’s sixth disc, Gauche et Droite. While The Necronauts fall into the “indie rock” genre, this label is somewhat misleading as this sprawling forty track / two-disc release has much more in common with bands like Pavement and Sebadoh than with any of today’s indie-rock bands. This release is a welcome throwback to the days of lo-fi DIY rock where, if a band got lucky, they might be able to break-out of the “get in the van” underground with an appearance on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

The Necronauts were formed in the year 2000 by half-brothers Billy and Dale Goodman of Mesa, Arizona. In their first four years, The Necronauts independently released five albums, including a critically acclaimed self-titled EP in 2004. Recording for Gauche et Driotte began in 2005 and singer/guitarist Billy Goodman said “I intended it to be a double album. I talked a lot of shit and opened my mouth about making this epic album, I had to keep my word. I’ll never make that mistake again.

The 2CDs show the evolution of the band's songwriting process as Disc One (“Gauche”) contains nineteen tracks of lo-fi slacker rock and Disc Two (“Droite) contains nine early versions of tracks from “Gauche” that are significantly different from the finalized versions along with ten new songs. The song titles are completely unrelated to the lyrical themes, as reoccurring themes seem to be about dysfunctional people, relationships and the silliness of following the implicit rules of a given “scene”. On top of the band’s general skepticism, they seem to have a particularly negative outlook toward organized religion. This somewhat cynical outlook isn’t immediately obvious as it is delivered amidst catchy, sing-along melodies and memorable musical hooks.

The song “Skateboarding Hurts” (video below) is about dysfunctional relationships.

For anyone who “shot up” on The Minutemen and Meat Puppets in the 80’s and Pavement and Sebadoh in the 90’s, this is essential listening.

Gauche et Droite contains a 30-page booklet with lyrics, artwork by Dave 'Luster Kaboom' Quan, and was released by High School Football Records and Black Cactus Records.

The Necronauts

The Cars Release Video for "Sad Song" Off Forthcoming Reunion Disc

The Cars Release Video for 'Sad Song' Off Forthcoming Reunion Disc In the late 90's, I remember sitting around with some musician friends and we were trying to come up with a list of "big-name" punk and new wave bands that hadn't ever reunited and the only two bands we could come up with were The Cars and The Clash. Ric Ocasek has consistently been saying no ("I'm saying never and you can count on that") to a Cars reunion so I was somewhat surprised when the band announced a reunion late last year.

It sounds like Ric Ocasek is taking the reunion one day at a time as he recently said to Rolling Stone "I looked at it like, "We'll make this record. And that's it. Maybe we'll make another one sometime." It wasn't anything like, "We're going to smash this thing through." I definitely had to explain this to Greg and Elliot. I can understand their position. They wouldn't mind being on the road for six months. I could never do that. It might be fun to do a couple of shows or something."

The Cars' new album, Move Like This, will be released May 10 via Hear Music/Concord Music Group and Amazon has up a pre-sales link.

The band just released the second video, "Sad Songs", from their forthcoming album:

The Cars

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boris with Merzbow - "Klatter" Review (Daymare)

Boris’ sixth collaboration with Merzbow (aka Masami Akita), entitled Klatter, was released last month as a limited edition vinyl pressing (ltd to 1,000 copies) on the Japanese label Daymare Recordings. This recording dates back to 2004 and this disc was apparently planned for release in 2007 through Troubleman Unlimited (with the rumored title of “Mellow Peak”). The five track disc contains re-recordings of two tracks from Boris’ 2003 CD Akuma no Uta - “Akuma no Uta" and "Naki Kyoku” – a Jane cover (German prog/kraut-rock band) along with two previously unheard tracks. The total running time is just over 40 minutes.

This disc is almost entirely instrumental (with some hazy vocals buried in the mix on “Jane” and “Naki Kyoku”) and the overall sound of the disc is kraut/space rock with some hints of industrial “klatter” and garage rock thrown into the mix. This is the sort of music where you can sink into the (almost stoner) ambience and gentle waves of feedback. There is a loose, almost improvisational, feel to the tracks and, to give a frame of reference, bands like Can and early Pink Floyd are both valid points of comparison. The only track to break from this blissful ambience is “Klatter 1” which is an up-tempo, almost industrial track, but, even here, the sharp edges have been sanded down.

Boris is keeping exceedingly busy these days having just released New Album (2LP) through Daymare Recordings and new discs Heavy Rocks and Attention Please are both scheduled for release on April 26th through the Los Angeles-based label Sargent House.


Appearance of Nothing - "All Gods Are Gone" CD Review (Escape Music)

Appearance of Nothing - 'All Gods Are Gone' CD Review (Escape Music)Swiss prog-metal band Appearance of Nothing released their second disc, All Gods Are Gone, at the beginning of the this year and the band does an excellent job of combining the best elements of 70's/80's prog-rock with some hard-edged metal riffs.

Appearance of Nothing was founded in 2004 by Pat Gerber (Vocals/Guitar), Yves Luthi (Drums), Omar Cuna (Vocals/Bass) and Marc Petralito (Keys). The band released a self-produced demo Behind Closed Doors in 2005 after which the band added a second lead guitarist Peter Berger. The band's first full-length was Wasted Time (2008) which was recorded with Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Symphony X).

On this new disc, the band is once again working with Markus Teske and the disc's seven tracks run the gamut from prog-rock to symphonic power metal and there are even some elements of thrash in the mix. The disc clocks in just shy of fifty minutes which gives the band ample time within each song to build out some memorable melodies which are rich with vocal harmonies. While Appearance of Nothing (AON) employ both clean and death metal vocals (courtesy of Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale)), this is nothing like a metal-core album. The band's soaring symphonic melodies combined with Pat and Omar's clean vocal harmonies are closer to "metalized" version of bands like Queen and Asia.

The band changes tempos and structures both within and between songs and they do an excellent job of balancing the heavy with the sublime. The twin lead-guitars of Pat Gerber and Peter Berger soar with clean, melodic leads and crash with thrashing riffs while Yves Luthi pounds on the double-bass. Marc Petralito's melodic keyboards are an important part of the band's sound and are highlighted on a number of tracks, which include the instrumental outro "The Rise and Fall of Nothing".

One of the more striking songs is "Sweet Enemy", which features Devon Graves (ex-Psychotic Waltz/Deadsoul Tribe) on lead vocals and the three-part vocal harmonies end up sounding somewhat like Queen. In a recent interview with Rock Area, Pat Gerber said "As we finished “sweet enemy” we decided to ask Devon Graves to sing some parts of this song. We all felt, that his dramatic and melancholic voice would fit perfect. Now that we hear the result we know that it was the perfect choice."

Appearance of Nothing

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baptists - Self-Titled 7" Review (Southern Lord)

STREAM: Baptists - "Good Parenting"
(RIAA Weenies - Link is posted on the band's Facebook page - Buzz off!!)

Baptists - Self-Titled 7 Inch Review (Southern Lord)Vancouver four-piece hardcore band Baptists just released their self-titled debut 7” for Southern Lord. Baptists is a fairly new band, having formed in 2010, but is comprised of long-time veterans of the Vancouver hardcore scene. Members have had stints in bands that include Ladyhawk, Sports and A Textbook Tragedy. This new four-track (12 min.) single is raw, aggressive hardcore played in the style of bands like Converge and the Cro-Mags.

In a recent interview with Discorder Magazine, the band talked about putting out this record on Southern Lord:

Discorder: How did Baptists come to put out a record on Southern Lord?

Danny: We got a MySpace message from Southern Lord. We never used our MySpace.

John: I thought it was a hoax.

Danny: We kind of did until it [the record] was in our hands. Greg [Anderson] from Southern Lord messaged us and told us to email him and [said] they’d be into doing something. We had these four songs recorded that we just basically recorded before Nick went on tour for two months so we didn’t forget them. Ya, I don’t know, we sent him those songs and he said he’d put them on a record.

After dropping the needle onto the 7”, the first track, “Good Parenting”, sets the tone and kicks off with a wave of grinding distortion prior to vocalist Andrew Drury unleashing his shrieking bark. Across this single, the guitars grind and chug but keep things off-balance by sneaking in some winding, melodic leads. Nick aggressively pummels the drums and John locks onto the beat with his bass.

This is no-frills hardcore that will strike a familiar and positive chord with fans of the bands that came out of the 80’s/90’s East Coast hardcore scene. There is enough anger in these tracks to be a flashpoint for the mosh pit but there is enough substance in the band’s music to keep the tracks memorable.

Baptists' debut single is available on limited-edition splattered grey wax (ltd. to 300) for $5 through Southern Lord's webstore.


King Crimson Releases Free Download from "The Power To Believe" Sessions

PLAY: King Crimson - "Buzzsaw" (Track hosted on DGMLive)

This week's free download from King Crimson is a "Garage Mix" track from the The Power To Believe sessions (recorded 17 July 2002).

King Crimson Releases Improv Bass Jam with Trey and Tony from Thrak Sessions From the same Pat’s Garage Mix as the riotous Happy Nouveau Metal. We think the session dates from the making of The Power To Believe. What a belter this was, is, and might-have-been. Quite why this idea was never worked up into something more complete we’ll never know. As it is though there’s plenty to enjoy - thundering drums, Trey channeling his inner Levin, and some weird-shit soloing that makes you sit up and say “what did they just do back there?” We love the bit at the very end where Robert asks to listen back to it “if only to draw breath!” We know the feeling!

Robert Fripp
King Crimson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainbow - "Rising" Deluxe Edition CD Review (Universal)

Rainbow - 'Rising' Deluxe Edition CD Review On March 22nd, Polydor will issue a 2CD deluxe edition of Rainbow's second album Rising (1976). Rising is phenomenal album but, unfortunately, this deluxe edition adds little to its legacy.

I've got a friend who is a huge Beatles fan and he was ecstatic after finding a bootleg at a street fair with 30+ takes of "Strawberry Fields". I listened to the disc once with him and, for the most part, the takes all sounded very similar yet my friend "studied" this disc and could tell you which take had an extra second of guitar solo, where there was an extra drum beat and where Ringo was passing gas (only kidding on this last one). I feel like the Deluxe Edition of Rising offers similar fare as you have three complete takes of the Rising album and they all sound similar.

Disc One contains the "New York mix" and the "Los Angeles mix" of the album and they sound almost exactly the same. Between the two versions, the tracks differ only a few seconds in length so I couldn't hear any differences when playing each mix through sequentially. In comparing the individual tracks, you can hear that different instruments are brighter in each of the mixes but it still appears to be the same take of the song. As an aside, I've heard for years about the longer keyboard intro in "Tarot Woman" on the UK version of Rising. If all that everyone had been talking about is the ~8 second difference between where the guitars kick on on the "Los Angeles mix" vs. the "New York mix", you are missing little.

Disc Two contains the "Rough Mix" of Rising along with one live rehearsal track. I'm assuming that the "Rough Mix" tracks are the same Cozy Powell tracks that have been floating around as a bootleg for the last few years. There are some notably difference in the "Rough Mix" which include a keyboard into to "Stargazer" and a longer outro to "Run With The Wolf". All-in-all, the total running time is about a minute longer than either of the two mixes on Disc One. The last track is a live rehearsal of "Stargazer". While of bootleg quality (though decent sounding), it would have been nice to have included more tracks from this rehearsal as Disc Two is only 43 minutes. (Note: when the Rising Deluxe Edition was originally announced, a tour rehearsal version of a "A Light in the Black" was planned for inclusion but was obviously dropped from the final release).

Given the large volume of quality bootlegs (both live and tour rehearsals) from this era, I had hoped for better from this Deluxe Edition. Newcomers are better off sticking with the single disc version (which is available new for under $5 on Amazon) and there is no compelling reason for long-time fans to upgrade.

Ritchie Blackmore

New York Dolls - "Dancing Backwards In High Heels" CD Review

New York Dolls - 'Dancing Backwards In High Heels' CD ReviewIf you wait long enough, music comes full circle. The reunited New York Dolls have now been back together seven years (two more years than the 70's lineup) and the band's third post-reunion studio disc, Dancing Backwards In High Heels, came out this week. This new disc shows the band moving aggressively in the direction that the post-Thunders & Nolan lineup of the Dollettes embraced in 1976.

This time out, Sami Yaffi (bass) and Brian Conte (guitar) are gone and have been replaced by Jason Hill (bass/producer - x-Louis XIV) and Frank Infante (x-Blondie). The slashing guitar of Steve Conte (who was channeling Johnny Thunders) and "girl-group gone bad sound" is completely gone and, for this release, the band goes for a shimmering, reverb-heavy AM-Radio doo-wop sound crossed with a few tracks of R&B stomp.

In an interview with Mick Burgess, Sylvain described some of the tracks on the new album by saying: "Some of the songs have pretty cool titles. There’s a song called “Kids Like You”, which is amazing. David wrote the most beautiful lyrics to that and I wrote the music and the organ part. That really has a Leonard Cohen feel to it. David sings that so well in that beautiful baritone, raspy, Bluesy voice of his. There’s also “The End of the Summer” and that is the hit of the album to be honest.

We’ve got another which is a real rocker, a kind of `60`s Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheel kind of tune. It has a real R&B feel to it. It is really Newcastle-ish in a way, you know the way that you guys do R&B and Soul. We didn’t set out to get that sound it just happened because we’re here I guess. That’s the beautiful thing about the New York Dolls and the way me and David work together. That’s a song called “Round and Around”. There’s a great line in there where David goes “I wanna listen to the tambourine” and then there’s nothing but drums and the tambourine going “doo dah da doo dah da doo dah!!” That’s so cool and really dancing. I have to say that I think these are the best set of songs that me and David have written in years.

This isn't quite the greasy R&B of the '76 Dollettes but with songs like "Funky But Chic" (which started life as a Dollette's song) and a cover of Patti LaBelle and The Blue Belle's "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman", the Dolls haven't moved far from their roots. While both Johansen and Sylvain are well over 60, the Dolls haven't slowed down and there are enough double-entrendres ("Streetcake") and energy to keep this disc a solid edition to the Dolls' catalog.

New York Dolls

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Kickback - "Mea Culpa Mea Culpa" CD EP Review

Mea Culpa EP by The Kickback

The Kickback - 'Mea Culpa Mea Culpa' CD EP Review Chicago indie-rock band The Kickback have been building up a buzz with write-ups by The Deli Magazine and described the band as a "high drama Chicago-based rock band that conjures the very best parts of The Veils and The Walkmen and The Killers, writing lean, nervy songs that snarl and snap".

The Kickback just released their fourth disc "Mea Culpa Mea Culpa" which is a strong four-track EP that combines the ringing guitars of 80's college rock bands with the rich harmonies and layered psychedelic pop sounds of bands like The Zombies and Strawberry Alarm Clock.

The Kickback are making their SXSW debut this month in addition to writing and rehearsing new material for their first full-length. Like the new EP, the full-length will be tracked and mixed by the Yost brothers and is promised to be rawer than the group's past releases.

The Kickback

Those Dancing Days Cancel US Tour Due to Visa Delays

DOWNLOAD: Those Dancing Days - "Reaching Forward"

Those Dancing Days Cancel US Tour Due to Visa IssuesThis updated was posted to

"we are so devastated - we have been looking forward so much to going to the US and playing at SxSW but now we have to cancel our US trip because our visas have not come in on time. they were just approved but by the time we get the proper documents from the US embassy in Stockholm we will have missed half of our commitments plus there are no flights for us to get to where we need to be on time. we started this process last year and this is such bad luck that we cannot believe it. we hope that we can come back later in the year instead!"

Those Dancing Days

Teenage Kicks: Toronto Roots-Rock Band Release First Track From Forthcoming EP "Rational Anthems"

DOWNLOAD: Teenage Kicks - "Brooklyn Bridge"

Teenage Kicks: Toronto Roots-Rock Band Release First Track From Forthcoming EPI first heard Toronto's Teenage Kicks toward the end of last year when their debut 7" "Shook Our Bones" was released. Singer /songwriter Peter van Helvoort cites his influences as The Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Who, and Creedence Clearwater Revival but I heard more of the later-day FM-radio bands that I grew up with like Paul Westerberg, Jason Ringenberg and Dan Baird in the band's first release.

Teenage Kicks have announced that they will have a new five-track EP "Rational Anthems" coming out next month and the lead-off track "Brooklyn Bridge" (above) sounds like a major leap forward for the band. The EP will be released as a free download through JuiceboxDotCom.Com and the band will be releasing individual songs, b-sides and videos through their website (link below) on the run-up to the EP release date.

The track list for the EP is:
1. Brooklyn Bridge
2. Hearts of Darkness
3. Beasts of England
4. Lose Your Head
5. The River

"Having recorded and produced the record ourselves it’s safe to say we’ve spent far too much time alone with these songs and we’re looking forward to cutting you all in. We’ll have more stuff going on this week but remember starting Tuesday we’re putting up a song per week for six weeks, each song having it’s own visual accompaniment. Some are like music videos, some are live performances etc etc. By the end of the six weeks we’ll be releasing the EP for free with our friends at Juicebox Records again, and will have physical copies for sale shortly thereafter (more details on the release show next week)." - Peter van Helvoort

Teenage Kicks

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Surf City: New Zealand Psych Rock Band Makes NYC Debut at Mercury Lounge on April 9th

DOWNLOAD: Surf City - "Kudos"
DOWNLOAD: Surf City - "Crazy Ruler of the World"

Surf City: New Zealand Psych Rock Band Makes NYC Debut at Mercury Lounge on April 9th Surf City first came in to existence when bored friends Davin Stoddard and Josh Kennedy met at a party in Mt Roskill in 2004. Tired of the heavy avant-garde music that was prolific at the time Stoddard and Kennedy teamed up with Josh's brother Jamie and Logan Collins to form the band. Originally called The Fibs and then Kill Surf City their fascination with fast guitar pop and the early 80s sound of Dunedin soon saw them develop their own unique and catchy sound. Eventually settling on the Jesus and Mary Chain inspired band name, they arrived with their Steve Keene (hunted down for his previous work for Pavement and Silver Jews) adorned self-titled debut EP. Keene’s art is featured on the long player as well!

Hotly tipped as a band to watch, the group played some manic shows both at home and showcase gigs abroad. Stereogum praised their “impressively assured sound” and “perfect 2-minute pop storm.” All Music was taken with the “sheer energy and ragged happy sound” and gushed “the whole is just a delight.” Pitchfork noted that “their punky psychedelic pop is impressive” and admitted “Surf City’s pleasure for pleasure’s sake approach already has me pining for more.

Surf City are playing two NYC shows on their March/April tour of the States. The first show is a Fire Records showcase at Mercury Lounge on April 9th with Bardo Pond. Tickets are $10 and this is a late show with Surf City taking the stage at 10:30PM.

The second show is at Glasslands Gallery on April 12th. Tickets for this show are $8 in advance and $10 (DOS) and Surf City is playing with Darlings, Lingering Doubts and Little Racer.

Surf City

The Elected (Featuring Blake from Rilo Kiley) Releases First Track from Forthcoming Album as Free Download

DOWNLOAD: The Elected - "Babyface"

The Elected (x-Rilo Kiley) Releases First Track from Forthcoming Album as Free Download (Vagrant)As of spring 2010, Blake Sennett, had quit music. Abandoned it completely. No more Rilo Kiley, no more The Elected. The former guitarist and songwriter focused his efforts elsewhere, writing and directing a short film, moving out of his house of 12 years, and taking in a rescue dog affectionately named “The Baby”. Music was a thing of the past, an afterthought. Dead and gone.

So why is there a new record by The Elected, titled Bury Me in My Rings, set to be released through Vagrant Records (former home of The Get Up Kids, current home to PJ Harvey) on May 17th? Did Blake struggle in his new endeavors, find failure in the harsh realm of the film industry?

The answer, one simply finds, is no. Agents were found, meetings were taken, and a script was in development. The wheels turned with an ease few in pursuit of cinematic relevance ever encounter. It was simply the interest of friend and colleague Jason Cupp that culled Blake from the depths and had him writing again. Jason, the man that mixed The Elected’s previous effort, Sun, Sun, Sun, suggested an impromptu recording session. Blake had no material, no songs to explore, but Cupp insisted. Pressure free, no expectations. These initial recordings sired what would become the album’s opening track, “Born to Love You,” a 3 minute ode to the majesty of determined love. The song came relatively easy, quick, and most importantly, reminded Sennett of the overall joy that music making can and should provide.

He was having fun again, so the feature film was put on hold in order to finish what months before he couldn’t conceive: A new Elected album. Familiar faces contributed (longtime Elected guitarist Mike Bloom, the aforementioned Cupp, Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis), but this album differed from past experience, with fewer initial collaborators. "At first, I just played all the instruments myself,” Blake comments. “I just thought, may as well take it as far as I can alone…then I brought in my friends to fill in the blanks.

The results stand as a singular vision, in what is The Elected’s strongest work to date. For longtime listeners, there are new sounds to enjoy, such as the mid 70’s Bowie bounce of “Go For The Throat,” or the calculated “Miss You” era Stones cum Early Talking Heads groove of ‘Babyface." Signature tones remain, and can be found on the island sunset serenade “Trip Round the World,” with the melodic slide of the lap steel, the comforting pluck of a ukulele, offering new ears a sense of what’s come before.

None of this serves as departure or retread. Everything shines through the prism that is The Elected, Blake’s songwriting as distinct as it is indebted, as simple as it is refined. Instead of retracing his steps, he’s forged new ground. More than a mere dalliance, this former side project now begs the attention reserved for one’s main focus. As the ghosts of Rilo Kiley fade into the ether, Bury Me in My Rings presents the man responsible an opportunity to further himself from the past, and to continue to develop his artistic identity.

Bury Me In My Rings will be made available everywhere on May 17th via Vagrant Records.

The Elected

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earth: "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1" CD Review // Show at Le Poisson Rouge on June 16th

Earth: 'Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1' CD Review // Show at Le Poisson Rouge on June 16th Ambient/minimalist band Earth released their third post-reformation studio disc, Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1, on Southern Lord at the end of last month. Joining founding guitarist and band frontman Dylan Carlson and percussionist Adrienne Davies, the album lineup this time around also includes cellist Lori Goldston (Nirvana, David Byrne, Black Cat Orchestra, Laura Veirs) and Karl Blau (K Records, Laura Veirs, Microphones) on electric bass.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Adrienne Davies back in January and one of the things she talked about was the new members of Earth. (click here for the full interview)

Adrienne: "We are kind of going through a transition because Steve Moore and Don McGreevy weren't going to be able to do the album. Dylan and I had been playing with Lori Goldston who plays cello. She is very, very musically adept and has a wide variety of influences, especially experimental. She doesn't play classical which is so great about her and she can play an electrical instrument. We had her come in and knew from the start that we were going to work with her. When you first think about trombone or cello, it is such a distinctive instrument, you kind of go 'can we have this on every song throughout a whole album or is it going to be too much?' Both Steve Moore and Lori are able to play one instrument without it ever becoming 'oh man - that is way too much cello or way too much trombone'. They can kind of lay low with it or pull it out and that is essential to making it work.

Karl Blau is on bass - he is not actually going to be touring with us because he is doing his own thing but he is phenomenal on the album. He is everything that I love about a bass player."

Angels of Darkness sounds like a logical extension of the musical direction Earth has been heading in over the past few post-reformation albums though the music on this new disc is darker and has more of a riff-driven sound than I remember on past albums. Lori Goldston wraps and intertwines cello parts around each of the songs (and specifically Carlson’s guitar lines) which add a melancholy color to Earth’s arid musical landscape.

The disc’s five tracks span just over sixty minutes and the leadoff track, “Old Black”, sets the tone for the trance-inducing melancholia of the rest of the disc. Each of the songs has their stand-out moments but this disc comes across as a single 60-minute body of work rather than five discrete songs. There is an innate darkness to this disc which is somewhat tempered by an openness and warmth that is carried over from previous discs. Carlson plays his slow riffs and drawn-out notes with a precision that most guitar players would kill for and he is matched by Davies’ subtly precise drumming. The "spaces" in the guitar and drum parts are held together by Blau’s underpinning bass lines which add a deeper bottom-end than heard on past releases and Goldston’s cello twisting and weaving on top of the mix. The strongest track on this release is the twenty minute title track which in anchored by Blau’s bassline and Blau and Goldston intertwine with Carlson’s riffs to build a sense of anticipation not heard on other songs.

Earth are playing Le Poisson Rogue on June 16th along with Ô Paon. Tickets are $15 and go on-sale on March 18th at noon.


To The Wedding: Boston Shoe Gazers Play Lit Lounge on March 19th

DOWNLOAD: To The Wedding - "Let Love In"

To The Wedding: Boston Shoe Gazers Play Lit Lounge on March 19thSadly, I've got about a thirty second attention span with bands that I'm not familiar with. I've now listened to all four song on To The Wedding's debut EP (which is a pay-what-you-will download on Bandcamp) and enjoyed the band's layered neo-psychedelia/shoe-gazer sound. Some EPs have left me wanting to hear more - in the case of To The Wedding, I'd like to hear them live and Lit Lounge's dungeon-like basement seems like the perfect environment for the band's sound.

To The Wedding are playing Lit Lounge on March 19th along with Brooklyn's Manner and Koelie. Tickets are $6 and To The Wedding kicks off the evening at 9PM.

To The Wedding from Boston, MA is rooted in the shoe-gazer genre. Their songs are constructed with attention to melody, space, and emotion. The mix of Lauren Grubb (Vocals, Guitar) Evan Orfanos (Bass) Mickey Vershbow (Drums) and Addam Zaino (Guitar/Piano) make To The Wedding's distinct sound. In December 2010 the band released their self titled EP, and their single, "Let Love In", garnered attention around Boston. A follow up EP is due out Summer 2011.

Pete of WZBC’s Love and Mathematics describes the band as..
"Layering elements of psych, shoe-gaze, and ambient over Boston’s traditional garage-rock template. Creating something new while still retaining what I consider to be the essential characteristics of (i) sounding great on headphones when listening in the library and (ii) sounding even better when played loudly, on a stereo at a party or live in a bar. Making music, that is, for people who like to think but love to rock." -

3/13 @ Precinct
3/19 @ Lit Lounge in NYC
4/16 @ PA’s Lounge/Deep Heaven Now

To The Wedding

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Thin Lizzy: "Jailbreak" Deluxe Edition CD Review (Universal)

Thin Lizzy: 'Jailbreak' Deluxe Edition CD ReviewThin Lizzy’s 1976 album Jailbreak seemed to be one of those seminal albums that everyone had in the late 70’s and the band won over a lot of fans on their 1977 tour down the East Coast (with Gary Moore on guitar, no less) with Queen.

Disc One is the remastered nine track (36 minutes) Jailbreak album. There is an internet debate going on over whether this remaster was done last year by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham (as per the CD booklet) or whether that version was scrapped at the last minute and the 1996 remaster was used. Regardless, the sound on the first disc seems to have more color and life than my 1990 CD of Jailbreak without having any of the compression that has plagued recent remasters from other bands.

Here is the track list for Disc Two (51 minutes):
- "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Remixed version)
- "Jailbreak" (Remixed version)
- "The Boys Are Back in Town" (Alternate vocals - remixed version)
- "Emerald (Remixed version)
- "Jailbreak" (John Peel Session 2/12/1976)
- "Emerald" (John Peel Session 2/12/1976)
- "Cowboy Song" (John Peel Session 2/12/1976)
- "Warriors" (John Peel Session 2/12/1976)
- "Fight or Fall" (Extended version – rough mix)
- "Blues Boy" (Previously unreleased)
- "Derby Blues" (Early Live Version of “Cowboy Song”, Derby College of Technology 11/2/75)

The remixes are interesting as Joe Elliott (yes, the Def Leppard vocalist) along with Brian Downey and Scott Gorham have re-mixed and re-recorded these tracks to give a subtle, but noticeable recasting of the songs. As detailed in the 20-page booklet that accompanies this set, neither Brian Robertson nor Scott Gorham cared for the sound of the original album so there has been some tweaking, re-recording and rearranging of the songs. The most notable change is the adding of a voice-over and siren intro to the song “Jailbreak” which now matches with how the band kicked off their live show during the ’77 tour. The remix of “The Boys Are Back in Town” is fascinating due to previously unheard lyrics and this makes it difficult to tell which portions of the song are an 'early version' versus remixed.

The tracks recorded live for John Peel show (BBC) sound crystal clear and, while the band doesn’t add anything new to the songs, this recording clearly shows the power of the band on the live stage. “Blues Boy” is a slow riff-based blues jam from the Jailbreak sessions and the live work-in-progress version of “Cowboy Song” (aka “Derby Blues”) also has alternate lyrics from the final studio version and it is simply stellar.

Despite Robert Christgau’s bashing of the album at the time of its release -- “The proof of how desperate people are for new Springsteen is that they'll settle for this--even "The Boys Are Back in Town" is the sort of thing that ends up in Bruce's wastebasket.” – this disc has held up well over the years. (Note: Christgau’s reviews seem so out of touch at this point in time that it was little wonder that Sonic Youth renamed one of their songs “I Killed Christgau With My Big F*cking D*ick” after a negative review from the man.) The clear sound on the remastering of the original recording, a strong set of bonus tracks and an affordable price point makes this deluxe edition money well spent.

Thin Lizzy

Reckless Sons Play St. Patrick's Day Show at Bowery Electric (w/ Cheap Beer)

DOWNLOAD: Reckless Sons - "She Forgives Me in the Morning" (acoustic)

Reckless Sons Play St. Patrick's Day Show at Bowery Electric (w/ Cheap Beer)Reckless Sons have a new 7-track EP (available as a free download from which has them moving in a British blues-rocks direction, taking influences from early Rolling Stones and The Faces.

The band played a great set at John Varvatos' store last month and are playing a St. Patrick's Day Party at Bowery Electric. Cover is $5 (or free with RSVP to and beers are $1 between 6PM - 8PM. Sharing the bill with Reckless Sons are The Shake, Toy Soldiers and The Young Things (download their new ep).

Reckless Sons

AWOLNATION Releases Video for "Kill Your Heros" // Debut CD "Megalithic Symphony" Due Out March 15th

Aaron Bruno, front man for Los Angeles' Under the Influence of Giants, formed AWOLNATION in 2009 and the band came through town over the summer opening for Weezer and then followed this with shows at Brooklyn Bowl and Santos Party House. The band's debut CD Megalithic Symphony is due out next week and the band has been releasing videos from their forthcoming disc as a run-up to the release of their debut full-length.

AWOLNATION - "Kill Your Heroes"

AWOLNATION - "Kill Your Heroes" Live @ Santos Party House Nov. '10


Monday, March 07, 2011

The Meatmen Announce April West Coast Tour & Book Signing

The Meatmen Announce April West Coast Tour & Book SigningHaving lived in DC in the 80's, The Meatmen were a breath of fresh air when the SxE kids started getting militant at the punk shows. It is hard to be morally self-righteous when you are watching Tesco Vee take audience-baiting to a level not seen since the original lineup of Fear. Tesco Vee's bio (from his website) says that he was "[b]orn into a strict Christian reformed background, TV has spent most of his adult life rebelling against societal norms, organized religion, and the French."

The Meatmen, brainchild of one Tesco Vee, have been plying the punk rock since 1979 with their trademark cringe inducing very UN PC brand of aggro and knee slappin' profundity. Through many lineups, and countless platters, Vee continues to tour relentlessly to both school the young un's on how its done, as well as satisfyin' all the old school farts who need another shot of old school punk straight up in a dirty glass. Uncompromising as always, Vee's latest line features his arguably most dynamic lineup with Hal Seitan on the Guitar, Biff Bologna on the basso profundo and Swarthy 'Bun Length Franklin' on the tubs.

Recent sold out shows at Chicago's 'Riotfest' and Detroit's Halloween Spectacular 'Theatre Bizzare' have catapulted the band back to the musical fore. Their stage show is unparalleled in the punk/metal/flamenco/comedy genre and features confetti guns, wild costuming, and many other props all used to create what Vee likes to call a 'Hades meets Las Vegas Extrava-gonzo of cosmic fun and frolic!'

Meaty Historical Highlights:
-The Meatmen have sold over 250,000 records worldwide
- The Meatmen have played shows with many legendary bands such as Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Black Flag, The Misfits, Minor Threat, Henry Rollins and many more
-Their music has appeared on Feature Films and MTV
-The band has toured the US and Canada many times
-Leader Tesco Vee founded Touch and Go Records
-Meat fans include legions both humble and haughty; Matt Groenig, David Cross, Thurston Moore, Keith Morris, MC5, Glenn Danzig and Debbie Harry.
-The Meatmen are embarking on a month long US tour in April 2011. Tesco will be doing in-Store book signings to promote his best-selling book, Touch and Go: Complete Hardcore Punk Zine;1979-1983.

Tour Dates:
Tue. April 5 - Denver, CO - Marquis
Wed. April 6 - Salt Lake City, UT - Burt's Tiki Room
Thu. April 7 - Boise, ID - The Shredder
Fri. April 8 - Seattle WA - El Corazon (w/ ZEKE!)
Sat. April 9 - Portland OR - Plan B
Sun. April 10 - Oakland, CA - Oakland Metro
Mon. April 11 - Sacramento CA - Fire Escape
Tue. April 12 - Santa Cruz CA - Matty Hodel Building
Wed. April 13 - Lompoc, CA - Wicked ShamrockT
hu. April 14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Airliner (18+)
Fri. April 15 - Long Beach, CA - Alex's Bar (21+)
Sat. April 16 - Las Vegas, NV - Las Vegas Country Saloon
Sun. April 17 - San Diego, CA - The Shakedown (21+)
Mon. April 18 - Phoenix AZ - Yucca Tap Room
Tue. April 19 - Albuquerque, NM - Moonlight Lounge (21+)
Wed. April 20 - El Paso, TX - Badlands Billiards
Thu. April 21 - San Antonio, TX - NIGHTROCKER LIVE
Fri. April 22 - Houston, TX - Walters on Washington
Sat. April 23 - Austin TX - Red 7
Sun. April 24 - Dallas, TX - Doublewide (21+)
Mon. April 25 - Ok. City, OK - The Conservatory
Tue. April 26 - St. Louis, MO - The Fubar
Wed. April 27 - Des Moines, IA - The Underground
Thu. April 28 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Soc. Club
Fri. April 29 - Chicago IL - Memories (21+)

Tesco Vee

Dakrya - "Crime Scene" CD Review (Sensory Records)

DOWNLOAD: Dakrya - "The Charlatans" (hosted on Dakrya's website)

Dakrya - 'Crime Scene' CD Review (Sensory Records)Dakrya’s second CD, Crime Scene, has to be one of the more unique CDs that I’ve heard in quite some time. While listening to a typical CD, I generally mentally pigeonhole the band’s sound/genre after the first few songs. Refusing to get into the ad-nauseam labeling of the micro subgenres of metal, there are only so many styles out there and most bands you can plug into one box or another. Dakrya though doesn’t fit any of the typical genres/labels – so, how’s this for a new label – “theatrical/operatic carnival of the damned metal”.

Dakrya is a seven-piece band based in Greece that features two female lead vocalists Thomais and Christina along with backing vocals from guitarist George (no one seems to have a surname in the band). Thomais and Christina’s vocals are featured prominently but there are little shared vocal harmonies. The two singers deliver their lyrics like a theatre actor’s lines while George roars in the background in a “Dracula-like” voice. In addition to the vocals, the other prominent feature is the reoccurring carnival sound-effects which range from the calliope to the “plink” of the midway. Given the carnival motif, it is hard to tell whether the reoccurring lyrical theme of evil clowns and charlatans is a political statement (there is a picture of Uncle Sam in the lyric book) or just a rock opera version of Stephen King’s “It”.

Much of the music is guitar and drum driven and there are enough style and tempo changes which keep the music from getting stale. The band expands their sound by adding saxophone on “Camouflage”, a jazzy piano-driven swing on “The Urban Tribe” and the disc wraps up with the instrumental “A Dreadful SideScene”.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Iggy & the Stooges - "Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans" CD Review (MVD)

Iggy & the Stooges - 'Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fan' CD Review (MVD)On Friday, Sept. 3rd last year, Iggy & the Stooges (featuring James Williamson on guitar) performed 1973's Raw Power in its entirety at All Tomorrow's Parties New York. A live document of this show, Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans, is coming out next month as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl release for Record Store Day 2011.

"Getting this top-notch performance of the entire Raw Power album by The Stooges realized a life long dream," said Iggy Pop "This shit really sizzles and we are so obviously a crack band in a class of our own."

Billboard Magazine had the following to say about The Stooges' performance: "[a]s the pretty clear main attraction, Iggy and the Stooges granted a predictably explosive show." This nine track release captures the Raw Power portion of the set along with "I Got A Right" and the band sounds on fire. This disc is a good companion piece to the "Live at Richards" bonus disc that came out with the deluxe reissue of Raw Power. The original Raw Power lineup always sounded like an impending train wreck that somehow managed to avoid total collapse. Now almost 40 years later, the dirty talk and the sloppiness is gone, but Iggy and crew still play with the intensity of their youth.

I have about a dozen Iggy live discs (both solo and with The Stooges) and this one's a keeper. The disc runs just shy of 40 minutes and below is the track list. (Note: the band did not play the Raw Power album in its original sequence)
- Raw Power
- Search and Destroy
- Gimmie Danger
- Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
- Shake Appeal
- I Need Somebody
- Penetration
- Death Trip
- I Got A Right

Iggy & the Stooges

Rainbow - "Down to Earth" Deluxe Edition CD Review

This Tuesday, Polydor is reissuing Rainbow's fourth disc Down to Earth (originally released in 1979) in a two-CD deluxe edition.

For anyone not familiar with this disc, this was a transitional album for Rainbow as the only hold-over from the Dio-era was drummer Cozy Powell. Replacing Ronnie James Dio as Ritchie Blackmore's songwriting partner was x-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and Graham Bonnet took over on vocals. This disc finds the band abandoning the sword & sorcery epic rock of the Dio-era and moving in a more commercial direction. The eight songs on the original disc show the band fitting into the British blues-based, FM-radio sound that was popular at this time and a good point of comparison is Bad Company's Desolation Angels. This disc spawned two singles "Since You Been Gone" and "All Night Long" which were consistent staples in Rainbow's setlist in the years that followed.

Jumping into the reissue, the original album (Disc 1) is fleshed out by two b-sides: "Bad Girl" (b-side of "Since You Been Gone") and "Weiss Heim" (a stellar instrumental which is the b-side of "All Night Long"). Disc 2 is comprised of twelve tracks (~60 minutes) of instrumental versions and outtakes from Down to Earth. The instrumentals are somewhat of a mixed bag for me as, while some of the instruments are higher in the mix than on the finished songs, there aren't any significant differences other than the lack of vocals. The two outtakes "Spark Don't Mean a Fire" and "Ain't A Lot of Love in the Heart of Me" are interesting as they are, respectively, early versions of "No Time To Lose" and "Love's No Friend" with different lyrics. The Cozy Powell mix of "All Night Long" is somewhat of a throw-away as it sounds like a monitor-mix of the song with loud drums and backing vocals and muted lead vocals.

While this set seems a labor of love, I'm hard pressed to say that this reissue is worth its $24.20 price point (current price on Amazon). New copies of the original disc are selling for less than $5.00 on Amazon so one is essentially paying the balance for the fourteen bonus tracks. The "problem" is that the instrumentals are likely of interest only to die-hard fans but these same fans more than likely have eight of these tracks on the "Down to Earth Rough Mixes" bootleg that has been in circulation for years. What's left are just the two b-sides, the two early versions, and a "new" instrumental version of "Ain't A Lot of Love in the Heart of Me" (which sounds like just like the completed version). I would have been happier if the Castle Donington show (where Rainbow headlined the first Monsters of Rock festival) or the soundboard recording of the Denver, CO show from Nov. '79 had been included as bonus tracks. At minimum, "Set Me Free" (from the "Down to Earth Rough Mixes" bootleg) could have easily been included as part of this set.

Ritchie Blackmore

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Belle Brigade Make NYC Debut at the Rock Shop on March 8th

DOWNLOAD: The Belle Brigade - "Sweet Louise" (click through and enter email address)

Belle Brigade Make NYC Debut at the Rock Shop on March 8thLos Angeles buzz band The Belle Brigade is making the NYC debut with a show at the Rock Shop on March 8th.

Here is what KCRW said are the reasons behind the buzz:

1) their maternal grandfather is Oscar- and Grammy-winning film composer John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark)

2) Barbara is an in-demand drummer on the LA music scene. She honed her skills at both Oberlin College and Cal Arts before dropping out to hit the road with The Bird and The Bee’s Inara George, followed by tours with Benji Hughes and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis.

3) The songs are so catchy, you’ll find yourself singing them for days! A perfect example is “Sweet Louise”. (Download link is above)

At the Rock Shop, The Belle Brigade are playing with Sneaky Legend (ex-Salt & Samovar) and Noah of Sam Champion and tickets are $8.00.

The Belle Brigade

The Smiths: American Laundromat Records Announces New Tribute Disc Due Out August

The Smiths: American Laundromat Records Announces New Tribute Disc Due Out August American Laundromat Records (ALR) is proud to announce plans to release a Smiths tribute CD titled Please, Please, Please: a tribute to The Smiths. The CD will feature newly-recorded covers by The Wedding Present, Greg Laswell, Doug Martsch (Built To Spill), William Fitzsimmons, Trespassers William, The Rest, Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls), The Leisure Society, Joy Zipper, Tanya Donelly and many other outstanding artists. The CD is slotted for Autumn 2011 worldwide release.

Confirmed Artists (in alphabetical order) / Track Covering
Cinerama / "London"
Class Actress / "Ask"
Dala / "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"
Doug Martsch (Built To Spill) / "Reel Around the Fountain"
Elk City / "I Know It's Over"
Greg Laswell / "Half A Person"
Joy Zipper / "What Difference Does It Make?"
Katy Goodman (Vivian Girls, La Sera) / track to be announced
Kitten / track to be announced
Mike Viola / "How Soon Is Now?"
Sara Lov / track to be announced
Sixpence None the Richer / "I Won’t Share You"
Tanya Donelly w/Dylan in the Movies / "Shoplifters Of The World Unite"
The Leisure Society / "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"
The Rest / "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
The Wedding Present / "Hand In Glove"
Trespassers William / "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
William Fitzsimmons / "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"

Additional artists will be announced soon.

"I’m a huge Smiths fan and have been planning a tribute for a few years now. Timing just never seemed right. Then late last year, for several weeks, everywhere I went, I heard The Smiths playing… at the mall, at restaurants, on my car radio. It was weird… I felt like the universe was telling me now was the time. I started reaching-out to artists in November and the response was overwhelmingly positive. This is going to be one of the best tributes we’ve ever produced." – Joe Spadaro, American Laundromat Records

For the album cover, American Laundromat Records secured rights to use a Sandie Shaw photograph and tapped rock-poster designer Lonny Unitus (Apples In Stereo, The Decemberists, Willie Nelson) to design the cover art and eco-wallet packaging. Sandie Shaw (aka Sandra Goodrich) is an English Pop-Singer, who was one of the most successful British female singers of the 1960s. Both Morrissey and Johnny Marr of The Smiths were “two incurable Sandie Shaw fans” and reportedly wrote her a letter back in 1983 stating so. In April of 1984, Shaw recorded a version of The Smiths Hand in Glove (their first single) which peaked just inside the UK Top 30. She later collaborated with the band and has covered songs by both The Smiths and Morrissey.

I wanted to do something interesting for the cover art. Most importantly, I wanted it to look like a Smiths album. Beyond that though, I thought the photograph we used needed to be something that had deeper meaning. Once I learned of the Sandie Shaw connection, I sourced hundreds of old photographs and finally found the one of Sandie lying in the leaves in that fantastic pea coat. I thought it was perfect immediately. Not only because the tribute will be an Autumn release, but because Sandie’s expression and the whole feel of the photo, in my opinion, is reminiscent of The Smiths music. It was a lucky find, and Ms. Shaw has been very gracious in allowing us to use it.” – Joe Spadaro, American Laundromat Records

American Laundromat is now offering 3 exclusive limited-edition, pre-order bundles from their website. The bundles range from $13.00 (CD & Promo Pin) to $35.00 (CD, 7” Vinyl, T-Shirt, Free Digital Download, Promo Pin, and Album Preview prior to release date).

American Laundromat Records