Monday, September 30, 2013

The Naked and Famous (NZ/LA Quintet) Debut 'Hearts Like Ours' Tonight on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson / Shows Oct. 10th and 11th at Terminal 5

The Naked and Famous (NZ/LA Quintet) Debut 'Hearts Like Ours' Tonight on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson / Shows Oct. 10th and 111th at Terminal 5
NZ/LA Quintet The Naked and Famous will perform the television debut of their song "Hearts Like Ours," off their new album, In Rolling Waves, on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, tonight Monday, September 30 (12:37 - 1:37 am ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The show will feature Simon Helberg from The Big Bang Theory as the lead guest.

In Rolling Waves follows the band's debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, featuring the hit single "Young Blood", reached global sales of over 500,000 and took the band's YouTube and Vevo views beyond 25 million.  "Hearts Like Ours", first aired as Zane Lowe's "Hottest Record in the World Today" on BBC Radio 1 , the track went #1 on the Hype Machine overnight, garnering praise from Glamour, among others, who said simply, "we're loving it." The band is currently on a North American tour and will head to Europe in late November.

The Naked and Famous Fall 2013 North American Tour:
Oct 1 - Dallas TX, House of Blues
Oct 2 - Austin TX, Stubbs
Oct 3 - Houston TX, House of Blues
Oct 5 - Atlanta GA, The Tabernacle
Oct 6 - Washington DC, 9:30 Club
Oct 8 - Philadelphia PA, Electric Factory

Oct 10 & 11 - New York NY, Terminal 5
(Tickets for each night are $30 in advance and $35 DOS; Opening band is The Colourist)

Oct 12 - Boston MA, House of Blues
Oct 14 - Toronto ON, Sound Academy
Oct 16 - Chicago IL, Riviera Theater
Oct 18 - Denver CO, Fillmore Auditorium
Oct 20 - Vancouver BC, Orpheum Theatre
Oct 21 - Seattle WA, Showbox Sodo
Oct 22 - Portland OR, Roseland Theater
Oct 24 - Las Vegas NV, The Cosmopolitan
Oct 25 - Oakland CA, Fox Theater
Oct 26 - Pomona CA, Fox Theater

The Naked and Famous

Dark Age - 'A Matter of Trust' CD Review (AFM Records)

Dark Age - 'A Matter of Trust' CD Review (AFM Records)
As the German band Dark Age sparked no name recognition with me prior to receiving a copy of the band’s seventh disc, A Matter of Trust (AFM Records), it seems like a good idea to start with a bio/history of the band before diving into a review.

Accordingly to Wikipedia - Dark Age is a German Electronic Rock/Metal band from Hamburg, Germany formed in 1995 by Eike Freese (guitar, vocals), André Schumann (drums) and Oliver Fliegel (bass guitar). In 1994, Eike Freese, André Schumann and Oliver Fliegel formed a death metal band called Dyer's Eve. One year later the name was changed to Dark Age. The new name was inspired by a Vader songtitle, while their older one was inspired by a Metallica song title.

The band’s newest disc, A Matter of Trust, came out earlier this month and it is a pretty diverse affairs. While the band’s Wikipedia bio makes Dark Age sound like a death metal act…depending on which track you play from the new disc, you are more likely to make comparisons to Linkin Park (due to the interplay between clean and screamo vocals) or a number of the 90’s alt-rock/post-grunge acts (both musically and due to moments of messianic [think Eddie Vedder / Scott Stapp] vocals.

Dark Age’s music is predominately electronica/keyboard driven alt-rock (with a few divergences into hard-rock) and vocals are mostly in clear, non-accented English. All of the songs are very accessible and any of these songs could easily fit into regular rotation on FM radio. The disc’s first two numbers, “Nero” and “Afterlife” are very similar in structure and feature chugging guitar riffs, clean leads, atmospheric keyboards and intermixed clean and screamo vocals. This style sets the tone for the first third of the disc and the strongest of these cuts is “Fight!” which brings all of these influences and sounds together into a well-crafted and aggressive number.

The band uses “Don’t Let the Devil Get Me” to shift gears into more of an arena/modern rock sound for the back-half of the disc. “Don’t Let the Devil Get Me” starts with an angelic church choir and diverges mid-track into a soft melodic piano interlude before picking back up with a melodic soaring guitar lead. Following this, the band goes into arena rock for the next few numbers and they switch up this sound a bit on “Dark Sign” with heavy (OMD style) keyboard. The disc ends with “Onwards!”, which is an atmospheric number that sounds a bit like Simple Minds (if one ignores the growled cookie monster vocals joining in on the chorus).

Dark Age

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Bushwick Hotel - Live Photos from Ella Lounge, NYC 9-12-13 / 'Graffiti of the Young Man's Mind' CD Review

The Bushwick Hotel - Live Photos from Ella Lounge, NYC 9-12-13 / 'Graffiti of the Young Man's Mind' CD Review
Generally, when the label “artist collective” is thrown around in reference to a band, this generally means that the band is a ‘freak folk’, shambling hippy collective. Refreshingly, Brooklyn’s The Bushwick Hotel’s post-punk sound is razor tight and falls well outside of this stereotype.

The Bushwick Hotel came together in the summer of 2012 when vocalist/guitarist Gregory Ferreira was recording his second solo album, Graffiti of The Young Man’s Mind, in his Bushwick recording studio, Live By the Sword. The other members of The Bushwick Hotel - Matt La Von (tenor, alto, and soprano sax/clarinet/background vocals), DB Tamir (bass/background vocals), Rudy Temiz (slide guitar/background vocals), and Ben Teters (drums/background vocals) - bonded together over extended jam sessions and a straight month of cohabitation and recording at Live By The Sword Studio and this new disc sounds like the work of a tightly honed unit.

It is tough to describe The Bushwick Hotel’s music with just a single label or two as the music is multi-layered and complex. The closest comparison that I can make is to the early 80’s post-punk sound of bands like The Jam and Elvis Costello. Ferreira’s vocals sound a bit like Elvis Costello and his socio-political messages mixed with danceable post-punk and blue-eyed soul remind me of Paul Weller’s integration of the Motown sound into The Jam's music toward the end of the band's tenure. The Bushwick Hotel's 7-track debut album, Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind, comes out on November 19th.

Diving into the new album, Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind is a high energy affair. The disc start with “Take Care of My Girl” (streaming above) which will get the dance floor moving with a powerful combination of handclaps and horns over which Ferreira lays down smooth vocals and a call and response chorus. This is followed by “Shot Out of Cannon”, which starts with Ferreira on acoustic guitar and the song sounds something like Elvis Costello covering a David Bowie number. On “Talk All Night / The Pressure”, the Elvis Costello comparison comes out in full force as this is a near perfect post-punk pop song. Toward the end of the disc, the band slows the mood down with “Lighthouse”, which is a hazy and psychedelic affair that adds a slight touch of Southern soul toward the end of the track. This song is followed by “Bittersweet” which is a ‘late-night’ moody number with whispered vocals and a bending guitar line. Picking up the pace, the disc ends with the swinging garage rock number “Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind” where the chaos within this song’s free-form jazz instrumentation lurks right below the surface.

On Sept. 12th, The Bushwick Hotel played the "Fashionably Late" party at Ella Lounge in the East Village as part of Fashion Week. The event paired The Bushwick Hotel’s music with a visual display from director/fashion photographer Cathrine Westergaard. For a rainy Thursday night, the band drew a full-house and, over the course of their hour-long set, played almost all of the tracks from their forthcoming CD.

The Bushwick Hotel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moby Premiers Forthcoming CD 'Innocents' on NPR's 'First Listen' / Joined Peter Hook onstage in Seattle for Joy Division Encore (Mute Records)

Moby Premiers Forthcoming CD 'Innocents' on NPR's 'First Listen' / Joined Peter Hook onstage in Seattle for Joy Division Encore (Mute Records)
Moby is excited to partner with NPR for a First Listen of his most collaborative record to date, Innocents. NPR’s very own Bob Boilen has gone on record stating,“Innocents might be the best Moby album ever", you can give it a listen HERE.

Innocents is a record of firsts for Moby. The first time in his career he worked with an outside producer, friend Mark “Spike” Stent, whose résumé includes Madonna, U2, Muse, Björk, and Massive Attack. In addition, this is the first time Moby has concentrated an entire album on collaborations which as well as Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) features alt-rock legend Mark Lanegan, Cold Specks, Skylar Grey – best known for co-writing and performing on Eminem and Rihanna’s, “Love The Way You Lie;” indie-folk singer Damien Jurado, and Inyang Bassey who was the vocalist on “The Right Thing” from Destroyed.

Innocents will be available Monday, September 30th via Mute. Moby will be celebrating all week long and kicking off the week with a performance on Conan O’Brien (11 PM (EST) 10 PM (CST)) on TBS. Performing the critically acclaimed single, “The Perfect Life” live. The video for the song, featuring Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, is below.

For anyone in the Los Angeles area, Moby is playing a three-night residency at the historic Fonda Theatre. Tickets for October 2nd and October 3rd are still available but Friday, October 4th is already sold out! For those outside of Los Angeles, the show on the 4th will be streamed live via EvntLive. Lastly, Moby will also be appearing on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on Thursday, October 3rd at 11:15 AM *PST (2:15 PM EST) for a live in studio performance!

This has nothing to do with Moby's new album but interesting all the same...last Wednesday, Moby joined Peter Hook on stage at Neumos in Seattle for a three song encore of Joy Division songs. Below is an audience-filmed video for "New Dawn Fades" and the other songs performed were "Transmission" and "Ceremony".


Skeletonwitch Release 'Serpents Unleashed' on Oct. 29th / Show at Knitting Factory with The Black Dahlia Murder on Oct. 26th (Prosthetic Records)

Skeletonwitch Release 'Serpents Unleashed' on Oct. 29th / Show at Knitting Factory with The Black Dahlia Murder on Oct. 26th (Prosthetic Records)
On Octover 29th, Skeletonwitch will release their fifth disc, Serpents Unleashed. Recorded with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Isis, High On Fire) earlier this year, and featuring artwork by John Baizley (Kvelertak, Kylesa, Baroness), Serpents Unleashed — the follow-up to 2011’s Billboard-charting Forever Abomination, and a record Decibel has hailed as the band’s “best effort to date” — sees Skeletonwitch at their most punishing. The album — which is available for preorder at in CD, LP, cassette, digital download and limited edition 7-inch collector’s box formats — will be unleashed in North America on October 29th, in Australia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland on October 25th and in the UK and the rest of Europe on October 28th. In addition, you can now pre-order the album digitally at iTunes and Bandcamp and receive an instant download of “I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived).”

Also next month, Skeletonwitch will initiate the massive Serpents Unleashed touring cycle by playing a handful of shows with Swedish occult rockers Ghost B.C., after which they’ll embark on a full North American takeover with The Black Dahlia Murder. The band will kick off 2014 with a stateside journey alongside Amon Amarth and Enslaved. A full list of the group’s upcoming live assaults are included below.

10/04/2013 Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI w/ Ghost B.C.
10/05/2013 Frank’s Power Plant – Milwaukee, WI (Skeletonwitch only)
10/06/2013 Smith’s Downtown – Mishawaka, IN (Skeletonwitch only)
10/07/2013 Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH w/ Ghost B.C.
10/14/2013 Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN w/ Ghost B.C.

w/ The Black Dahlia Murder, Fallujah, Noisem
10/24/2013 Peabody’s Concert Club – Cleveland, OH
10/25/2013 Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA

10/26/2013 Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
 (Tickets are $20 and doors are at 7PM)

10/27/2013 The Met – Pawtucket, RI
10/28/2013 Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
10/29/2013 Le Cercle – Quebec City, QC
10/30/2013 La Tulipe – Montreal, QC
10/31/2013 Ritual – Ottawa, ON
11/01/2013 Rum Runners – London, ON
11/02/2013 Mod Club – Toronto, ON
11/04/2013 Crocks – Thunder Bay, ON
11/06/2013 West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB
11/07/2013 Louis’ Pub – Saskatoon, SK
11/08/2013 Avenue Theatre – Edmonton, AB
11/09/2013 The Den – Calgary, AB
11/11/2013 The Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC
11/12/2013 The Center – Spokane, WA
11/13/2013 WOW Hall – Eugene, OR
11/14/2013 Whiskey Dick’s Saloon – South Lake Tahoe, CA
11/15/2013 Strummer’s – Fresno, CA
11/16/2013 Glasshouse – Pomona, CA
11/17/2013 The Rock – Tucson, AZ
11/18/2013 Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX *newly added
11/19/2013 Club Patron – Odessa, TX

Since signing with Prosthetic seven years ago, a new Skeletonwitch album has materialized like clockwork every other October. First, there was the group’s sophomore breakthrough, Beyond The Permafrost. Produced by late GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot and featuring iconic artwork by John Baizley (Baroness, Kylesa, Kvelertak), the album — and subsequent tours with the likes of Danzig, Dimmu Borgir and Amon Amarth — told the world what the rest of Ohio already knew: That Skeletonwitch was a metal force with which to be reckoned. That album’s “Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery” would eventually be featured in the video game Brutal Legend, placing the band in excellent company with digitized versions of Rob Halford, Ozzy and Lemmy.

Then came 2009’s Breathing The Fire, produced by the legendary Jack Endino (Nirvana, High On Fire, 3 Inches of Blood). Supported by tours with Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom and Ozzfest, the album — the band’s first featuring bassist Evan Linger, and also their first to crack the Billboard Top 200 — caught the attention of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, who invited the group to film a zombie-themed video for the song “Bringers of Death” that the band members still haven’t stopped hearing about.

In 2011, Forever Abomination — produced by Grammy-winner Matt Hyde (Slayer, Deftones) — saw the arrival of drummer Dustin Boltjes (ex-Demiricous), as well as a return visit to the Billboard Top 200. On the road, the group toured alongside Arch Enemy, Kvelertak, The Black Dahlia Murder and Nile before embarking on their most ambitious trek to date: A 63-shows-in-65-days test of endurance they passed with flying colors.


White Wizzard Play The Studio at Webster Hall on Nov. 9 / 'The Devils Cut' CD Review (Earache Records)

White Wizzard Play The Studio at Webster Hall on Nov. cc / 'The Devils Cut' CD Review (Earache Records)
Los Angeles “traditional” heavy metal band White Wizzard is back in town on November 9th for a headlining show at The Studio at Webster Hall. White Wizzard is playing alongside local boys Metalfier (x-Disillusion) and tickets are $15.

White Wizzard has been a tough act to keep up with as the band has had substantial line-up shifts with each release, with only constant in the lineup being bassist Jon Leon. Earlier this summer, White Wizzard released its third full-length, The Devil’s Cut (Earache Records), and this release is the best thing the band has done since their self-titled debut EP.

Early on, White Wizzard got tagged with the genre label “new wave of traditional heavy metal” when this label first surfaced a few years ago in reference to bands who utilize dual lead guitars in a style similar to Iron Maiden and/or early Judas Priest. While one can hear a bit of Maiden influences on The Devil’s Cut, White Wizzard’s sound is more akin to Dio’s work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath crossed with hook-heavy, swaggering Sunset Strip c*ck rock. Complementing the music, new vocalist Joseph Michael can hit the high notes but, on most of the disc, he sings in a register closer to that of Dio or Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath/Badlands).

The disc starts with a two minute instrumental “Forging the Steel” which is powered by a galloping beat over which guitarists Jake Dreyer and Will Wallner play dark-tuned leads and this instrumental flows straight into the early Rainbow-ish “Strike the Iron”. While the disc starts with a guitar duel (which I’m sure drives a lot of the Priest/Maiden comparisons), the guitar leads throughout this disc are predominately “European metal” sounding so there really isn’t much of a comparison to any of the NWOBHM bands. Even the comparison of “Strike the Iron” to a Rainbow track only gets you part of the way. This song takes some unexpected twists and turns, including a brief interlude into Black Metal, which will keep the listener engaged and on their toes. With most of the songs on this disc clocking in over five minutes, White Wizzard has room to experiment and change styles both within and between songs.

“Kings of the Highway” and “Lightening in My Hands” are two of the songs on the disc that could easily become FM-radio staples. Both songs are melodic, hook-heavy arena rockers with killer alternating guitar leads and creative drumming that continually pushes these songs forward at a relentless pace. Never staying in one place for long, the 7+ minute track “Lightening in My Hands” starts slower paced and moody and sounds like an updated take on Dio-era Rainbow or Black Sabbath, even down to where the song picks up speed about the 5-minute mark. Picking the speed back up, this track is followed by the album’s title cut, “The Devil’s Cut”, which starts with a rumbling bass line from Jon Leon before kicking into the most aggressive song on the disc. “The Devil’s Cut” is the closest that White Wizzard comes to a thrash metal tune but the melodic chorus pulls this song back from going completely over the edge. The disc closes with the epic-length “The Sun Also Rises” which is a proggy/moody piece that is similar in spirit to “Lightening in My Hands”.

White Wizzard

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

John Paul Keith - 'Memphis Circa 3AM' CD Review (Big Legal Mess Records / Fat Possum)

John Paul Keith - 'Memphis Circa 3AM' CD Review (Big Legal Mess Records / Fat Possum)
After coming out of self-imposed musical exile in 2009, Memphis guitarist / singer John Paul Keith released his third disc, Memphis Circa 3AM, last week (Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum Records). This new release has its roots in the Sun Records’ sound of the 50’s but Keith expands upon this core with musical touch points that can be compared to John Lennon, The Plimsouls and Dave Edmonds / Rockpile. This is a warm and organic sounding disc that was produced by Roland Janes — house guitarist for Sun Records in the 50s and longtime engineer and producer at Sam Phillips Recording Services. Cut live to two-inch tape—with Janes providing direction from the booth and not a computer in sight—the album sounds deeply rooted and incredibly fresh at the same time.

The disc starts with the 50’s sounding roots-rock rave up “You Really Oughta Be With Me”, which features a blazing guitar solo and a call-and-response ‘chorus’ between the guitar leads and bass. This is followed by the Byrdsian/Laurel Canyon sounding “We Got All Night” which features echo-drenched guitar work along with a guitar solo that could rival Neil Young’s work on “Mr. Soul”. Continuing to switch gears around the band’s core sound, Keith and his band, the One Four Fives, (named after a standard chord progression) slide into the power-pop gem “Everything is Different Now”.

Keith has a winsome voice (with shades of John Lennon and/or Peter Case) and the clarity of his delivery highlight his ability to turn a lyrical phrase. Most of the songs are tales of love and loss – from the bluesy waltz “Ninety Proof Kiss” (“No one ever looked finer still wearing last-night’s eyeliner / I’m sure gonna miss that ninety-proof kiss / The only kind you ever laid on me”) to the rainy-day Lennonish number “She’s Almost You” (“Why should I pine for you every day, when she loves the words I used to say to you / they’re almost true”). The disc ends with the upbeat garage rock number “Baby We’re A Bad Idea” (“I’m not the only one / I know I’m not the only one / I don’t care when I’m tangled in your hair that I’m not your only one”). While other artists have used similar lyrical themes to explore Americana/New Depression tales of woe, Keith’s upbeat and energetic delivery is a welcome change and the disc’s thirty-five minute running time warrants repeated plays.

John Paul Keith is playing Bowery Electric on Oct. 24th along with the like-minded Swingin Neckbreakers and Twin Guns and Party Lights. Doors are at 7:30PM and cover is $10.

John Paul Keith

Monday, September 23, 2013

Marco Argiro (Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, The Killing Floor, Le Mood) Plays Record Release Show at Bowery Electric on Wed., Sept. 25th

Marco Argiro (Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, The Killing Floor, Le Mood) Plays Arlene's Grocery on Wed., Sept. 25th
With a nod to his great influences such as The Beatles (Revolver-era), Tom Petty, The Kinks, Elliot Smith, and The Traveling Wilburys, Marco Argiro’s LOVE calls to mind a psychedelic era of rock infused with harmonies reminiscent of the West Coast sounds of the 70s. The album represents love in all variations: young love, faltering love, and love’s evolution over time. The title track and first single, “Love,” takes a simple and classic message - “All you need is love” - and reinterprets it for a new generation. LOVE is Marco's second disc released under his own name and it comes out Sept. 24th on Argiro's Outright Rock Records label.

Argiro has made a name for himself internationally in the ultra melodic power-pop band Le Mood, as well as the transatlantic anthemic rock group The Killing Floor. “Ever the quintessential frontman,” (The Broward Palm Beach New Times), Argiro caught the eye and ear of Marky Ramone in 2010. Ramone tapped Argiro to take over as lead vocalist, filling in for the ailing Michale Graves (The Misfits) during the kickoff of Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg European tour. For Argiro, a lifelong Ramones fan, it was a dream come true. The experience inspired LOVE’s closing track, "Will You Remember Poison Heart?"

For the show at Bowery Electric, doors are at 7PM (Happy Hour is until 8PM) and Marco goes on around 9:30PM. Tickets are $8 and the other bands on the bill are Arc Waves, Diane Gentile and Greg Humphreys. Attendees will receive a free copy of LOVE on compact disc with paid entry.

Marco Argiro

Lissie Releases 'Back to Forever' (Fat Possum) CD on Oct. 8th / Show at Webster Hall on Nov. 25th

Lissie Releases 'Back to Forever' (Fat Possum) CD on Oct. 8th / Show at Webster Hall on Nov. 25th
Lissie made a number of "Best of" lists in 2010 with her full-length debut Catching a Tiger and the follow-up to that disc, Back to Forever, will be release on Oct. 8th.   Back to Forever was recorded late last year at The Garage in Topanga Canyon, Seahorse Sound Studios in downtown Los Angeles and Brotheryn Studios in Ojai, California. Special guests Catherine and Allison Pierce of The Pierces and Barbara Gruska (The Belle Brigade) are featured on backing vocals.

Back to Forever, produced by Garret "Jacknife" Lee (R.E.M., Snow Patrol, Silversun Pickups), is every bit as frank as 2010's Catching A Tiger, but reflects an added objectivity and depth. In short, the Quad City native has grown into the Mezcal-and-cigarettes voice that that was so riveting on her debut album. The first taste of the new album came earlier this year when the song "Shameless" was posted as a free download and Lissie has now followed that with a video for the song "Further Away (Romance Police)" - which MOJO called"brilliant". This song is already a Top 20 hit in the UK, where BBC Radio 2 put it on the "A List" and named it "Record of the Week".  Lissie will be performing this song on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Wednesday, October 9.

Lissie was in town last weekend for a show at Central Park (video from the show follows) with City and Colour and, on November 21, Lissie will kick off a North American tour at Adelaide Hall in Toronto. The headline run will include a show at Webster Hall in New York City (November 25) and an evening at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles (December 9). Kopecky Family Band and Purple Apple will be supporting as noted on the itinerary below. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, September 27, at

Oct 5 - Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Music Festival
Oct 12 - Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Music Festival
Nov 21 - Toronto, ON, Canada @ Adelaide Hall
Nov 22 - Boston, MA @ Royale Night Club *
Nov 24 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
Nov 25 - NYC @ Webster Hall *
Nov 27 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre ^
Nov 29 - Chicago, IL @ Park West ^
Nov 30 - Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre ^
Dec 2 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre *
Dec 3 - Salt Lake City, Utah @ Urban Lounge *
Dec 5 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
Dec 6 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
Dec 7 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent *
Dec 9 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre *
Dec 11 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues *
Dec 12 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory *
* Kopecky Family Band supporting
^ Purple Apple supporting


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Empty Chairs: Brooklyn Dream Pop Band Release "GTMO" from Caveat Emptor (out 11/5) / Record Release Show at Pianos on Nov. 1st

STREAM: Empty Chairs - "GTMO" (from Caveat Emptor)

Empty Chairs: Brooklyn Dream Pop Band Release "GTMO" from Caveat Emptor (out 11/5) / Record Release Show at Pianos on Nov. 1st
After forming Empty Chairs as a solo project in 2011, singer-guitarist Peter Spear was joined by bandmates Whitney Broadstreet on synth/vocals and percussionist Matthew O'Koren, following the release of "Empty Chairs" EP. Skewing trends, the band's sound continues to grow outward in all directions.While their  first full-length, Caveat Emptor isn't due out until Nov. 5th, Empty Chairs has been releasing a few advance tracks from this forthcoming release over the last few weeks along with a trippy video for the song "Akira" (below). A video for "GTMO" will be following shortly.

Empty Chairs is having their record release show at Pianos on Nov. 1st -- advance tickets are $10 and the band's set time is10PM.  There are a number of good bands sharing the bill which include: Boston, MA's Spirit Kid, local experimental pop act Pink Drink  and Night Panther. (Small Plates Records' owner Conner McGlynn describes Night Panther as "sex pop...[t]he vocals scream velvet and black lights, the bass lines are assless leather chaps, etc. That sounds utterly ridiculous and it would be if these guys didn't have the quality and musicianship to back it up".)

Empty Chairs

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) Release 'Night Shift' EP and New Video for Title Track

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) Release 'Night Shift' EP and New Video for Title Track
"Night Café" is the third single from OMD's English Electric and was released this week as a digital EP via BMG.

The single is accompanied by four superb remixes and a complete collection of the albums' b-sides, forming a 10 track digital release package. A brand new track 'Kill Me' is also included as the official b-side to Night Café. When asked about the track Andy McCluskey said, "'Kill Me' was actually one of the first ideas that we had for the songs that would form the English Electric collection. I mentioned to Paul that it would be interesting to try a looped vocal idea something like our old song "4-Neu," and suggested the words 'kill me.'"

One remix in particular features the dark disco re-workings of synth pop newcomers Vile Electrodes. Their 'B-Side the C-Side' remix came as a result of supporting OMD's live shows throughout Europe.On his inspiration for "Night Café" Andy says, "I was in New York for the first time in 20 years. I was feeling melancholy. It was -9 degrees, it was dark and I was on a street corner looking into an almost empty restaurant. How could I not be reminded of Edward Hopper's paintings?" The song references seven titles of his works and combines OMD's romantic melodic touch with a lyrical sadness that matches the tranquil emptiness of Hopper's art.

Track listing for Night Café:

Night Cafe
1) Night Café

2) Kill Me
3) The Great White Silence
4) Time Burns
5) No Man's Land
6) Frontline

7) Night Café (Vile Electrodes 'B-Side the C-Side' Remix)
8) Night Café (Metroland's Nighthawks Remix)
9) Night Café (Taoyoyo Remix)
10) Night Café (Sin Cos Tan Rmx)


Sinner - 'Touch of Sin 2' CD Review (AFM Records)

German bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner isn’t exactly a household name in the States but he is a big draw in Europe as Sinner (the band) was formed in 1980 and has over a dozen full-length albums under their belt. Sinner’s style of music is melodic, guitar-driven hard rock and, in a review of Sinner’s 2009 disc Crash and Burn, I compared the band’s sound to Thin Lizzy meets pre-disco Kiss. After a fresh listen to Sinner’s music, other points of reference may be U.D.O., Accept and Saxon. Bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner sings with a throaty rasp similar to Gene Simmons and the dual-lead guitars of Andre Hilgers and Christof Leim give the band's music a pre-NWOBHM sound.

Sinner’s newest disc, Touch of Sin 2 (AFM Records), came out on Sept. 10th and is comprised of 11 re-recorded tracks from Sinner’s predominately out-of-print back catalogue, a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” along with two new songs. The disc starts off strong with the melodic, gritty rocker “Born To Rock” and this track sets the tone for the rest of the disc. The band doesn’t stray far from the sound of the opening track but the pop hooks come out a bit more on “Bad Girl”. This isn’t a bad thing as this song has a sing-along chorus that will strike a familiar chord with 70’s rock fans. Some of the stronger cuts on the disc are “Knife in My Heart”, which is driven by Sinner’s vocals and strong guitar riffs, and “Danger Zone”, which is a hard-rocker with great guitar leads and a melodic chorus. “Don’t Believe A Word” is a great take on the Thin Lizzy classic as, while it sounds like a Thin Lizzy song, Sinner and crew rework and imprint their own style on the song. The disc ends where it started – with another strong rocker. “Heat of the City” is one of the new tracks and it combines the “punky” aggression of early Iron Maiden and AC/DC with great guitar riffs and leads and some call and response fist-pumping vocals.

All-in-all, Touch of Sin 2 is a great introduction to Sinner’s brand of anthemic hard-rock that should catch the ear of fans of 70's/early 80's arena rock and it would be nice to see the band do a US tour. I didn’t think Sinner had ever toured in the US but I recently ran across an interview where Mat mentioned coming to the States to play one show in New Jersey. I was curious enough to do some searches and it turns out Sinner played the March Metal Meltdown 5 festival at The Cricket Club in Irvington, New Jersey in 2003. (It goes to show I’m getting old as I completely forgot about The Cricket Club – next thing you know, someone will start name checking Voodoo Lounge in Queens or Studio One in Newark).


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Church of Misery (Japanese Bluesy Doom) Play Saint Vitus Bar on Nov. 12th along with The Gates of Slumber

Church of Misery (Japanese Doom) Play Saint Vitus Bar on Nov. 12th along with The Gates of Slumber
Church of Misery - who, musically, are sonically comparable to early Black Sabbath - are coming back to the US in support of their fifth full-length disc Thy Kingdom Scum (Metal Blade). This new disc features the return of the band's original vocalist, Hideki Fukasawa, and the disc's seven tracks (50 minutes) were written and recorded by Tatsu Mikami, Junji Narita, Ikume Kawabe, and Hideki Fukasawa.  This new album has been praised as one of the best doom releases of 2013, with Decibel Magazine declaring it has "some of the wickedest doom grooves since Black Sabbath 40 years ago…it's resounding proof that no one right now-not even the reunited Sabbath with a newly wound-up Ozzy-can come close to the gargantuan swing of the mighty Church of Misery."

For the show at Saint Vitus Bar (advance tickets are $15), Church of Misery are playing with Detroit speed-rockers Against the Grain and Indianapolis doom-metal band The Gates of Slumber.  While I don't know much about Against the Grain, The Gates of Slumber released a great new EP, "Stormcrow", earlier this year which is available as a free download from Scion AV.

Church of Misery Fall 2013 US Tour Dates
10/18 - Oakland CA @ The Oakland Opera House
10/19 - San Francisco CA @ Thee Parkside
10/20 - Portland OR @ Rotture
10/21 - Seattle WA @ The Crocodile
10/22 - Bellingham WA @ The Shakedown
10/23 - Vancouver BC @ Rickshaw Theater
10/24 - Edmonton AB @ The Pawn Shop
10/25 - Calgary AB @ The Palomino
10/30 - Fargo ND @ The Aquarium
10/31 - Saint Paul MN @ Turf Club
11/01 - Chicago IL @ Ultra Lounge
11/02 - Rock Island IL @ Rock Island Brewing Co.
11/03 - Grand Rapids MI @ Pyramid Scheme
11/06 - Pittsburgh PA @ 31st St Pub
11/07 - Syracuse NY @ Lost Horizon
11/08 - Toronto ON @ Hard Luck
11/09 - Ottawa QC @ Mavericks
11/10 - Montreal QC @ IL Motore
11/11 - Providence RI @ AS220
11/12 - Brooklyn NY @ Saint Vitus
11/13 - Richmond VA @ Kingdom
11/14 - Baltimore MD @ Otto Bar
11/16 - Atlanta GA @ EARL
11/17 - New Orleans LA @ One Eyed Jacks
11/18 - Austin TX @ Mohawk
11/19 - Dallas TX @ Club Dada
11/22 - Tempe AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
11/23 - Los Angeles CA @ The Satellite
*w/ Saviours (10/18-10/23), Wizard Rifle (10/18-10/31), The Gates of Slumber (11/01-11/19), Against the Grain (11/01-11/23)

Church of Misery

Monday, September 16, 2013

Paul McCartney Posts Impromptu Acoustic Performance of "New" (Title track from new disc -

STREAM: Paul McCartney - "New"

Paul McCartney Posts Impromptu Acoustic Performance of "New" (Title track from new disc -
Last month, whilst getting ready to go on stage at Regina, Paul McCartney was caught on camera performing an impromptu version of "New". This quickly turned into an acoustic performance when Paul was joined by the rest of his band for a run-through the song.

New comes out in the US on October 15th and this will be McCartney's first album of brand "new" solo material in six years. The title track of the new album was produced by Mark Ronson and the other producers who worked with McCartney on this new album include Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns and George Martin's son Giles Martin. New is available as a 12-track "standard edition" and a 14-track "deluxe edition" - the later is listed on Amazon at a pre-order price of $17.04.

Paul McCartney

Danny Malone - 'Balloons' CD Review (Austin 'Future-Folk')

Danny Malone - 'Balloons' CD Review (Austin 'Future-Folk')
Austin’s Danny Malone released his second full-length disc, Balloons, earlier this summer and, unfortunately, I had trouble getting past the John Waite-ish cover photo so this disc slipped to the bottom of my review queue. After finally giving this disc a spin over the weekend, I quickly realized that I had been missing out on some good music as Malone writes hazy, psychedelic folk-pop which has the eccentricities and demented genius of artists like Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light) and Roky Erickson.  It is easy to slip away into the haziness of Malone’s music but a careful listen to the lyrics quickly lets you know that Malone is trying to purge his soul through tales of loss, love, lust and addiction. Malone describes his “future-folk” music as “sexy, dirty, sad songs about the human condition”.

A brief snippet of an interview with Musiqtone says a lot about Malone’s state of mind:

LL: Do you have any fun memories or stories to share about any performances?
DM: No. I blackout before I play , like Beyoncé. Have you ever- Wait, didn’t she say that recently?

LL: Umm, I have no idea! I’ve never heard her say that before…
DM: There’s discussion that she’s involved with Satan and someone said, I think she said that she blacks out when she performs, and I just relate with that. And I do that…and that’s it! Wait, what was the question again?

This new disc was recorded in at Engelsholm Castle, a haunted castle in Denmark where Malone had been inspired to write a number of the songs on Balloons after attending a writers workshop at the castle the previous year. Returning to Engelsholm Castle, Malone and producer Matthew Smith recorded all 10 songs in 10 days, each in a different room of the castle, utilizing sounds that they found or created – such as slamming a piano lid shut, hitting a pool cue against a wall, and stomping the floor – for all the drum sounds. Malone said: “I only remember bits and pieces of recording each song because it feels like one big dream or something. It was great. It was like going to another world. Completely like another dimension to record it, and then coming back to reality to put it out.” (from the same Musiqtone interview).

The songs range from the darkly erotic “spiderlegs” (video below), which leads in with delicately picked guitar notes which build to electronic beats that wash over Malone’s vocals. This is followed by the shimmery and upbeat tune “sugarwater” which brings multi-part vocal harmonies to the forefront and features a “bop-shu-wop” sing-along chorus that hides that this is a tale about hypochondria. This is followed by “whitewhitelight”, which is a hazy psychedelic number that would float away if it weren’t anchored down by a shuffling percussive beat.

Live reviews have cited Malone as an extremely compelling live performer but, as he doesn’t have any tour dates currently posted to his website, those outside of Austin may be out of luck.

Danny Malone

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Secret Policeman's Ball - 'Teenage Crimewave' CD Review (MVD Audio)

A Secret Policeman's Ball started when Greg, Mike, and Jesse finally took the "No Girls Allowed" sign off their club house and let Nikki read their comic books – from the band’s bio

A Secret Policeman's Ball - 'Teenage Crimewave' CD Review (MVD Audio)
Murfreesboro, TN four-piece A Secret Policeman’s Ball released their debut CD, Teenage Crimewave, earlier this summer and the band’s sound is an intriguing and compelling mix of seemingly disparate styles. At the core of the band’s sound is a wall of sparkling shoegazer fuzz which is complemented a healthy layer of synthesizers, all of which leaves the band sounding somewhat like Blondie or Lush. Categorizing the band’s sound through isn’t as simple as I just made it sound as vocalist Nikki Oliff can quickly switch from melodic clean vocals to a throat-shredding growl while the other members of the band veer off from melodic post-punk to menacing black metal and pounding hardcore.

The disc starts with “Brian’s House”, which combine Oliff’s angelic vocals with an ominous and menacing back metal buildup which subsequently crashes into hardcore fury and ends by slowly dissipating as the musical storm fades. “I’m Not A Scientician” builds up a Garbage/Lush-like wall of sound with swirling atmospheric guitar lines and prominent synthesizers before Oliff switches into throat-shredding vocals that sound like Courtney Love’s early work with Hole. “A Flock of Beagles” switches gears completely as this track sounds like an 80’s college rock number with traded-off male/female vocals and guitarist Greg Harp’s vocals sound a bit like Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter. Skipping forward in the disc, “They Already Banged” and “Padfoot” could pass for British post-punk dance club numbers from 10-to-20 years back. Seemingly never content to stand still, these two tracks are followed by “Trying To Find Shon a New Hat”, which is blast of hardcore fury that clocks in under a minute.

A Secret Policeman’s Ball’s bio describes the band as having a "can't quite put your finger on it" sound. Given the seamless transitions between all the disparate musical elements on this disc, I’m guess these guys must have fascinating record collections. When asked in an interview with The Saturday Independent on how the band got together, they responded “We all met in an online chat group for Jewel fans.” Generally. I’d laugh at a comment like this but…with all the different influences that ASPB are pulling into their music, it seems possible this is true.

A Secret Policeman's Ball

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Throwing Muses Release First New Album in 10 Years - Album/Art book 'Purgatory/Paradise' out Nov. 11th on Harper Collins' It Books imprint

DOWNLOAD: Throwing Muses - "Film" (from

Throwing Muses Release First New Album in 10 Years - Album/Art book 'Purgatory/Paradise' out Nov. 11th on Harper Collins' It Books imprint
This album has been in the works for some time as the following was posted to Kristen Hersh's website in Jan '12: "Throwing Muses is in the process of mixing their new record, which, for now at least is coming in at 38 songs(!) This one is entirely listener-funded thanks to Kristin’s subscribers (Strange Angels) and other generous contributors via CASH Music."

In addition to the track "Film" (above), there are eleven other tracks from the new album available from Throwing Muses' CASH Music site.  I believe that all of these tracks are demos and they are available in MP3 (320K), FLAC and Apple Lossless format

Purgatory/Paradise looks similar in concept to Kristen Hersh's 2010 book/CD Crooked which was also published by It Books,  Purgatory/Paradise is being released as a deluxe 64-page book containing: * the full studio album on CD * photographs and artwork by Dave Narcizo and Kristin Hersh * lyrics for each song * stories and essays by Kristin Hersh to accompany each track * instructions on how to download exclusive content The exclusive content will only be available with this special book edition. 

Purgatory/Paradise is currently listed on Amazon for the pre-order price of $18.35.

Purgatory/Paradise Tracklist:
01 smoky hands
02 morning birds 1
03 sleepwalking 2
04 sunray venus
05 cherry candy 1
06 film
07 opiates
08 cherry candy 2
09 freesia
10 curtains 1
11 triangle quanitico
12 morning birds 2
13 lazy eye
14 blurry 1
15 folding fire
16 slippershell
17 bluff
18 blurry 2
19 terra nova
20 walking talking
21 milan
22 curtains 2
23 folding fire 1
24 static
25 clark’s nutcracker
26 dripping trees
27 sleepwalking 1
28 smoky hands 2
29 speedbath
30 quick
31 dripping trees 2
32 glass cats

Throwing Muses last came through town in 2011 for a show at Bowery Ballroom, touring behind their greatest hits/rarities compilation Anthology so you would assume the band will be touring later this year or early next year behind Purgatory/Paradise.

Kristen Hersh  (Strangely, there doesn't appear to be a Throwing Muses site out there outside of a splash page at

Rick Moranis - My Mother's Brisket CD Review (Comedy Album)

Rick Moranis - My Mother's Brisket CD Review (Comedy Album)
Rick Moranis’ latest comedy album, My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs, really isn’t my cup of tea (or preferred style of comedy) as this 44 minute disc contains thirteen tracks of Jewish-themed parody songs. While I prefer Moranis’ sketch comedy work (his work on SCTV was brilliant), he established himself as a singer with "Little Shop of Horrors" and his 2005 comic-country album The Agoraphobic Cowboy. This new disc goes further down the parody track and is comparable to the songs of Allan Sherman (early 60’s Borscht Belt comedian).

In an interview with the New York Times, Moranis describes the origin of this project: “The writing of these songs came out of the fact that so much of my life had moved from being very involved with show business, which in the Jewish aspect is very secular, back into family and friends and community and much more of a practicing Jewish culture. Many of my friends and family were more involved with the faith, with their temple, with the practice of rituals, so day to day it was back in the orbit I was in, which it hadn’t been for a long time. As I was thinking of things, these ideas for these songs were coming up, and I started writing them.

My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs suffers from the same challenge as many parody albums – they are (somewhat) amusing in short spurts but there are very few that you can listen to start-to-finish without the joke getting old. I had trouble finding anything to “anchor to” to really get involved with this disc. The music ranges from jazz/cabaret to klezmer but none of it really caught my ear to warrant a repeated listen. My other challenge is that I don’t have the cultural reference points to many of the topics Moranis references and had to Google words like “Zaide”, “Balabusta” and “Mezuzah”.

While some of the lyrics / rhyming couplets are clever, that too got old quickly as I just wasn’t that interested in Moranis’ perspectives [and most of it seemed like schmaltz]. As an example, in the same New York Times interview (reference/link above), Moranis describes the song “Live Blogging the Himmel Family Bris” as “really fun to be explaining ritual circumcision in Nashville... And this whole blogging stuff has been bugging me for years. Talk about no filter on things. People feel free to do and say whatever they want with no vetting, with no editing, with nothing. And I thought, I’m going to put these two ideas together and explore something.” Again, it seems like I'm running into a generational/cultural gap as this seem like the views of my grandparents set to “cruise ship” music.

Other songs explore Moranis’ obsessions with his cleaning lady (“My Wednesday Balabusta”), his mother’s brisket (“My Mother’s Brisket”) and Christmas (“I Can’t Help It, I Just Like Christmas”). [Is it really funny that a Jewish man sings a quasi-country song about liking Christmas??]

If you are a Rick Moranis fan, my recommendation is that you would be better served picking up 1981’s Great White North album.

Rick Moranis