Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Either I ignored reviews of Future of the Left's sophomore album Travels With Myself and Another or I managed to miss each and every single one of them, because it appears the album was received pretty well in all corners.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Jemina Pearl has this mix of danger and sex that Demi, Selena and Miley would be smart to find if they want to stick around past high school. Watching all three of them, I'd be surprised if they (or their stylists) aren't big fans, not that it matters for our purposes here.
There's a lot that I love about Pearl - the lyrics, the attitude, the knee-high boots and daisy dukes she sports on the cover of the album - but her voice is what seals the deal on her solo debut Break It Up. She sings like a pop princess, or at least like she might have it in her to be one, only with a sneer that's probably followed by a broken nose if you look at her the wrong way.
This and more amounts to a win for the former frontwoman of Nashville punk band Be Your Own Pet, which imploded last year while the band was on tour. Being hailed as the new cool kids by none other than that ultimate source of everything cool, Thurston Moore, must have been a lot to handle.
Make no mistake, this is the same Jemina Pearl who was singing about stabbing girls after class with BYOP. She's just added some accessibility to the middle finger she's waving in your face.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
What's the difference between the Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan? Three band members, and quality control.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
At Halloween, I posted what I think is the best Charlie Brown sample ever. This here is more of an intro to the song, but it comes from one of South Florida's most underrated local bands to have entered a studio: Fools & Critters.
The mock & roll band, as they called themselves then and now, sang mostly about bullshit, taking the piss out of nearly anything they could think of. That I know of, the band released two albums, the studio classic Flingin' Powdered Doughnuts and a live tape called Does This Look Infected To You?
Of course, here's the song that anybody in South Florida who listened to WKPX in the mid-90s will know, "Spaceman Spiff". Once I discovered the song, we brought the band into the station for at least one interview and they sent us all sorts of exclusive studio stuff that I'm sure nobody else has.
Mark Herndon, the band's lead singer, also DJ-ed my brother's Bar Mitzvah - which must've been a frightening experience for him.
I'm not sure where they land in the lore of the SoFla local scene but I know I'm still talking about them, though I'm not really sure what that's worth.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I've been listening to the Blakroc album for two weeks now. Obviously, "Coochie," the track featuring ODB and Ludacris is one of the best first album tracks of the decade. "Coochie," however good, is not what keeps bringing me back to the album. That would be the interplay between the almost minimalist usage of the Black Keys, and specifically whatever tracks feature Nicole Wray.Frankly, I'd give this whole thing back (maybe not "Coochie") to hear what Nicole Wray could do on a full album with the Black Keys. She is almost certainly the highlight of the Blackroc album, appearing on four tracks, one of which features only her.
Whatever Damon Dash did to bring this album together is good. He's using the riffs and beats of one of the best garage blues bands out there as a heavy bottom for MCs that run the gamut, from Raekwon and RZA to Q-Tip and Pharoahe Monch. The album is cohesive, has flow and is of a length that when it's over you not only want to start it again, but actually do. Of the four tracks featuring Wray, I posted "What You Do To Me" because it's got the whole package: you've got vocals from the Keys themselves, killer verses from Billy Danze of M.O.P. and Jim Jones, and Wray bringing it home between and behind choruses and verses throughout the song.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
All the End of the Decade lists are pointing to either Almost Killed Me or Boys and Girls in America as The Hold Steady's contribution of their albums to the last 10 years. I say that Separation Sunday was head and shoulders better, even if all you've got is the first three tracks ("Hornets! Hornets!," "Cattle and The Creeping Things," and "Your Little Hoodrat Friend.").
Boys and Girls in America was what Hold Steady frontman and songwriter Craig Finn had seen and felt, as the crowds coming to his shows got huge and the record was buzzed massively. It's a real feeling. But Separation Sunday was balls to the wall, everything he had, everything we've all seen down in the dirt. It's the ups and downs of life to a soundtrack that thoroughly kicks the listeners ass (a sentiment that, to be fair, is true of every one of the albums from The Hold Steady).
Somewhere along the way, people started making Springsteen comparisons. Maybe because the Hold Steady jams the way they say the E Street Band used to. Aside from that - which may or may not be true - I don't see the comparison because where Springsteen is putting it on for whatever the common man is supposed to be, Finn is singing about the underbelly of the teen years and early 20s and probably beyond. You know, the ones that everybody pines for. The ones that so-called adults like to act like they've forgotten about, even as they try desperately to reclaim them.
I dug the The Hold Steady at half Finn's age because he sings ironically about smoking pot and soaking up rock and roll and weaves bible stories into modern tales of suburban growing up. "I always like the guy at door," Finn sings, "cause he always knows what you came to his house for." Separation Sunday is full of wordy anthems with lines like that from start to finish. Words that everyone from the 70s on know about. Yeah, Finn "can't stand it when the banging stops," and neither can we.
But by the time The Hold Steady got to Boys and Girls in America, one of the best albums of the decade for sure, for a couple years he'd been watching 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds that hate each other now get down together to jams about stuff one is living and one used to live but doesn't remember how to get back to. Boys and Girls in America is about both of them. Separation Sunday, among other things, is about the times that both love and hate and never want to give up, and that alone makes it a better album.
(In reality, all the band's albums do this. My preference has more to do with bitterness that Separation Sunday is getting no attention due either to these bloggers "their first album was the best" or "thier biggest album is the best" sentiments. In reality, YOU should download all of them.)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Despite the song posted above, I've had one of the verses from "Materialist" in my head for several weeks now.* Not sure why - I do occasionally think about concepts bigger than I - but it made me pull out BR's 12th, The Process Of Belief. Or, as I like to call it, their comeback album.
Decent as the preceding two albums may be (No Substance and The New America), drummer Bobby Schayer's career-ending shoulder injury is one of two things that contributes to The Process of Belief working as well as it does. New drummer Brooks Wakerman returned the speed and pounding to the original melodic hardcore punk rockers, and brought a sense of youth to a clearly greying but no less intense rhythm and vocal section.
The other is the full reunion of the Greg Graffin-Brett Gurewitz writing team. Graffin did more than well on the hugely underrated The Gray Race, but two albums that followed made one wonder if the band was on its last legs.
Previous albums, and I do mean all of them, balance a mix of introspection and worldly vague political discourse. Sometimes this was something a little more direct, as on "Operation Rescue," "American Jesus," "Fertile Crescent," or even this album's "Kyoto Now," but mostly the scientific and societal statements could stand separate from current events. Almost entirely, though, The Process of Belief is very much a band taking a look at itself.
Both Graffin and Gurewitz spend the album lyrically examining themselves from a religious standpoint, or under the guise of self-perceived failure, or even from age, as I'm pretty sure Graffin is doing on "Supersonic."
The song finds Graffin opening the album wondering if the world is passing him by, and that the solution is to simply speed up. For me then, at 20, as it does now, the "Supersonic" is a mantra. To a certain extent, I am a careerist workaholic and always have been. I have long had some sort of direction and, when I'm at my best, speed forward with a smooth burn.
Interestingly, the song kicks off an album proving the same to be true of Bad Religion.
*The verse in my head: "The process of belief is an elixir when you're weak/I must confess at times I indulge it on the sneak/But generally my outlook's not so bleak."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday morning, I went into surgery to have an infection drained - a somewhat solo mission if ever there has been one - a little freaked out but, thankfully, significantly drugged up. Heh, as if there's any other way to go into surgery.
Monday, November 9, 2009
By now, everybody has heard of The Dead Weather: Jack White, Alison Mosshart from The Kills, Jack Lawrence from The Raconteurs and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age.
The album is great and hasn't left my iPod since it leaked. But sitting in the car, outside a store, watching trees and bushes whip around, something about this sinister movie-soundtrack-sounding track caught me.
The fact is, there's not much menace in any of White's other bands. There's lots of other things, but little if any menace. The heavy menace of "So Far From Your Weapon" has had this song on repeat for me for days now.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday night marked the annual airing of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." While it may not have been the first time it was used, I am confident that Kid Koala's sampling of the holiday special on his world-shaking debut Scratchcratchratchatch is the best.
Released in 1996 as a very limited edition "promo" tape because of the impossibility of clearing any of the samples, Scratchcratchratchatch established Kid Koala as at the forefront of the turntablism movement in the mid-90s. The idea was to use the turntable as a musical instrument, scratching just about sound to create a beat, bassline or melody.
Koala's Scratchcratchratchatch was mixed down to a shorter 10" release, Scratch Happy Land, side A of which you find here. Basically, it's the first four tracks of the album as one seven-minute mix.
About four and a half minutes in, we get to the the last track of Side A of Scratchcratchratchatch, "Trick or Treat." The Peanuts kids are reviewing their Halloween hauls, and we all know what Charlie Brown gets. Kid Koala takes his misery to brilliantly new levels in the midst of blowing our vinyl-loving minds.
"I-I-I-I ga-got ta Ra-ra-rock." I piss my pants all over just thinking about it.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It dawned on me last night that I haven't done a single Halloween-related post anywhere. I woke up this morning with this song running through my head.
Monday, October 26, 2009
What a way to open the week - and I'd like to thank Europe for being literally hours ahead of us. Them Crooked Vultures, the most super of supergroups to emerge since, what, The Traveling Wilbury's (Monsters of Folk may share a sound, but TCV share star power), let out their first single today, "New Fang."
"It's cool to see people's reactions, because their expectations are so high, but they don't know what the fuck to expect," says Grohl. "I've never been in a band like that." "I've never even heard of a band like that," says Homme.""We're beginning to phrase alike now," Jones says. "We're doing fills and stuff in the same places. That's what it was like with Bonzo [yes, he referred to John Bonham when talking about Grohl]. We're coming up with the same chemistry within a rhythm section that makes a band great."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Them Crooked Vultures - once again, that is Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) - will finally release their self-titled full length debut November 17.
“Mind Eraser, No Chaser”
“Dead End Friends”
“Interlude With Ludes”
“Warsaw or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up”
“Spinning In Daffodils”
This week RCRD LBL posted a new track from Alec Empire called "1000 Eyes," and compared it to Lou Reed, among other things. I can sort of see it, what with the pseudo-poetic delivery. I'm a lot more afraid of Empire than Reed - for different reasons than I used to be though.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
w/ The Casualties
13 Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
w/ The Casualties, The Dangerous Summer
14 Baltimore, MD - Rams Head
w/The Swellers, The Casualties
15 Philadelphia, PA - TLA
16 Asbury Park, NJ - Stone Pony
18 Boston, MA - Paradise
19 New York, NY - Nokia
20 Hartford, CT - Webster Theater
21 Montreal, QC - Medley
22 Toronto, ON - Sound Academy
23 Detroit, MI - St. Andrews
24 Chicago, IL - Metro
25 Minneapolis, MN - Station 4
27 Denver, CO - Gothic
28 Salt Lake City, UT - Murray Theater
w/ Cage, The Swellers
30 Seattle, WA - Showbox
1 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
2 Chico, CA - Senator Theater
w/ Fishbone, Cage, The Swellers
3 San Francisco, CA - Grand Ballroom
4 Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
5 Pomona, CA - Glasshouse
6 San Diego, CA - House of Blues
w/ Cage, The Swellers
7 Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theater
9 Dallas, TX - Grenada
10 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
11 Orlando, FL - House of Blues
12 Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Revolution
13 - Tampa, FL - Ritz
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I've been all over Fugazi for a few weeks now. Kind of a random picking back up of a band.
Another new Weezer song leaked. It's becoming glaringly clear that Rivers Cuomo has decided to rape the 80s with the help of a few superproducers.
My problem with "I'm Your Daddy," like "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" before it, is that I really really want to hate it. But I keep listening to it. And nodding my head to it. Which I'll probably do two or three more times before the end of the day.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
DJ Hero tracklist announced in full
New remixes and ridiculous mashups? Lots of classics that nobody even talks about any more? Hello, Bell Biv Devoe, where have you been? (You're not gonna dog "Poison," are you?)
Seriously, I don't care about the game. Just send me a zip file with the music, hit my bank account and I'll be happy.
Stereogum: http://bit.ly/FITztYou can also buy the new Thom Yorke EP from Amazon here: http://bit.ly/zJL9I
Monday, October 5, 2009
The Beastie Boys complete their remaster project this month with the repackage of 1998's Hello Nasty.
The album is still good: "Intergalactic," "Negotiation Limerick File," "Remote Control," "Just A Test," and everything else, including the mellow vocal and non-vocal tracks. This was the move away from the double-shot style of Check Your Head and Ill Communication. Mix Master Mike injected a new sense of adventurism to the Boys at a time when organic was going out and bleepy, sampled exploration was coming in.
With the remastered album is a second disc of remixes, b-sides and unreleased selections. Really, it's as though they've thrown back in the jazz and instrumental stuff they recorded during this period and sequenced it with some of the album's best remixes and studio chatting and fuckery. Aside from a few though selections, though, it's mostly stuff that could have been left on the shelf.
Look, there's got to be better stuff that they're holding back. It just feels, well, nonessential. Or maybe that's just me hoping that when I turn 60 and they're, um, way older, there will a huge box set of mp3s that just, like, "remember when these guys were really, really sick. Here's some stuff they never let you have."
Your need for this new version of Hello Nasty probably depends on the level of love you've got for the Beasties. Which kind of makes it essential anyway now that I think about it.
I hear "Living Dead Girl" on the radio at least once a day. The new Rob Zombie song - "Sick Bubblegum" - is way, way better, even if the whole bubblegum thing is completely stupid. This being the lead single from "Hellbilly Deluxe II," I hope it bodes well for the album.The chorus to the song is "rot mother f*cker/rot mother f*cker/rot mother f*cker/ yeah." John 5's guitars sound like they are screaming from the depths of hell. Zombie sounds mean on here for the first time in, what, a decade? It's relatively vapid, but everything about this song is a step up.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009