Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Air makes Love 2 your ears again.

Everything in France is about atmosphere, except for Daft Punk and a select few others who also want you to dance, in good atmosphere.

Air has always been looking to set the atmosphere for different parts of life - mostly ones involving love. Until now when, despite the name of this album, it sounds like many, diverse settings for love - from surfing, to the old west, to, yes, your bedsheets still soaked from last night's lovemaking. Naturally, the 80's are also among them, a decade which I'm pretty sure never ended in France. All that said, they're moving a little harder and faster this time out. Oooh, is it good, too.

This duo keeps the quality up with another essential album. Here's two pieces of proof.

So Light Is Her Footfall by Air  
Download now or listen on posterous
03 So Light Is Her Footfall.mp3 (4604 KB)

Eat My Beat by Air  
Download now or listen on posterous
10 Eat My Beat.mp3 (3899 KB)

Posted via email from Stephen's posterous

Cool bands get Roofless in Miami.

So, Miami's Roofless Records saluted the Death to the Sun party last Saturday, which I was not invited to and probably wouldn't have gone to. Not because I don't want to see a bunch of little-known bands kick out the jams (ooh, did I just rhyme there - fuuuuck!), but more because I wasn't going to Miami on a Saturday night. C'mon, I'm a lame old man with children. I've got better things to do, like sleep Tebow's concussion away.

Anyway, I took a look at what happened on their site/blog. Aside from looking pretty swank - which taking over The American Legion hall will do - a couple of bands set my ears on fire. Correction: the music posted to their MySpace pages set my ears on fire.


Samplers, a guitar and vocals doing the moody ethereal lo-fi thing. "I Told You So" and "Pin Up" sound like they would fit in among the Joy Division and Bauhaus set, minus the suicidal tendencies. Skipping through the rest of his mixpod selections, the potential is clear. I think I've had dreams about the noise Tee Pee bashes out in the Wiggly World live video too, which only made me dig this more. (The Wiggly World video is below, but the "studio" stuff will be infinitely more listenable for most. This should tell you where my head is though.)

Electric Bunnies

Doing a cute indie rock thing. I get a mid-90s, we like the underground feel. Great album art. The animation for the "Sailing All Along Tonight" the stop-motion animation video really makes it, and I bet this song kills it live. Roofless says they were really loud, so I know this kills it live.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As in life, Karen O leads the Mix-Zip-Tape way.

Six songs in 20 minutes. This is a tight six songs - even the Karen O track, which is a lot of fun. The movie it comes from is going to be a lot of fun too. From there, well, we're covering a lot of the rock and roll. Get to it...

Download: Feller Abides v5

Karen O - "Capsize"

At some point the world realized that Karen O has a lot more to offer than squirming around the stage moaning and screeching while her band members bash out the sounds of punk behind her. I'm willing to bet it's because she stopped doing it - it was gonna get as old for us as it already had for her. Since making that turn, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have proven to be a pretty good band and she's turning out to be a pretty good songwriter. "Capsize" comes from her soundtrack to the Where The Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze's adaptation of the Maurice Sendak book that is destined for "Neverending Story" status.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - "Mundo De Ciegos"

Rodriguez-Lopez is one half of the central duo in The Mars Volta, though he ought to be known more for the continuous stream of solo albums he releases rather than the band. Each "solo" record is vastly different than the one before, but is still identifiable as "that guy from Mars Volta" every time out, regardless of the name he uses for it. The album this song comes from, Xenophanes, is the first to be recorded at his compound in Mexico. The man is a psychotic musical genius, and although I frequently have no idea what he's talking about whether the lyrics are in English or Spanish (Xenophanes, though named for a Greek philosopher, is entirely in Spanish) I will continue to listen to all of them. From the sick guitar work to rhythms only Rodriguez-Lopez understands how to write, this delivers what we've all come to expect.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - "Higher Than The Stars (Others In Conversation Remix)

I couldn't resist putting another track out there from this band. This remix, from the 7" for "Higher Than The Stars," adds a louder electric guitar sound - as if they're using the pedals now. It gives a different look at the band.

Frank Turner - "Poetry of the Deed"

I didn't know much of Turner until he started turning up all over TV and being exalted by several punk labels and a lot the bloggers and journalists who salivate over the genre. I've seen the "maybe he could be a new Joe Strummer" reference more than once but he sounds like a less balls-out version of Ted Leo to me. Is there a huge difference? Not really. Is Turner worth your listening time? You better believe it, as "Poetry of the Deed" - song and album - should prove.

Rehasher - "Turn Around"

In 2004, Roger from Less Than Jake struck out with the debut of this pretty straightforward, somewhat LTJ-sounding, skate-punk band. Fast, catchy, melodic - everything you could expect from such a side project. That year, it was one of the albums that I kept in the car because there was no time it wasn't the kick in the ass I needed. The new album, High Speed Access To My Brain, is more of the same. And hot damn is it still exactly the kick I need, and probably would be for you too.

Polvo - "Beggar's Bowl"

Underground heroes I know of from long-forgotten vinyl dug out of the nobody-wants-it stacks at WKPX, though the lack of Internet prevented me from knowing until now that they were underground heroes. "Beggar's Bowl" is the lead single from their comeback album, In Prism. This is some good, angular rock music - just like their old records. Go with loud, I say.

Horse The Band wants to freak out on you.

On their MySpace, Horse The Band characterizes themselves as "melodramatic pop song." OK.

I would put them somewhere between hardcore, noise, and obnoxious noise-rock because they sound like they're playing all three all at once. At times, the vocals attempt to be melodic, which is confusing and probably the point.

The band members are ugly, the music is loud and abrasive, and I haven't seen a music video this good in, um, years. Everything here works...


When I find the whole album, I'll get a full, more descriptive review up. Maybe I'll include something to download too. In the meantime, check them out here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ash starts A-Z project, drops the rock?

As far I as knew, Ash was a British rock band - sometimes stomping, sometimes trying to be epic - but definitely a British rock band. A pretty good one too. Their new single, "True Love 1980," makes me think of 1984. Or a TV theme song. Either way, I was less than thrilled.

That said, let's get to the reason I really decided to write about the song: I think the A to Z thing is a clever adaptation of the "let's release a bunch of singles instead of an album" concept. I don't get the A to Z thing, since the letters clearly have no meaning for the songs, but I like the rest of the concept.

I've never actually paid for an Ash album. At 99 cents a pop, though, I might buy about an album's worth because. Which is true for a lot of bands that can't manage to put out an entire record I want to listen to.

Pains get "Higher Than The Stars."

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart clicked in my head at the beginning of last week, and I've listened to their self-titled debut full length nearly every day since.

The band would probably be at home among the Cure-ish twee-pop groups that indie fans have embraced online in the last decade. Thankfully, POBPAH aren't that lame because I am convinced that, deep down, there's some angst buried among the emotion. Which is why there's no slow-motion boredom - all the songs are upbeat movers.

There's an MP3 linked below, which I listened to six times this morning, and not just because I decided to post it. It's just that bouncy and up-sounding, and totally (not) appropriate for the Day of Atonement.

1. Higher Than the Stars (mp3)
2. 103
3. Falling Over
4. Twins
5. Higher Than the Stars (Saint Etienne Visits Lord Spank Mix) - CDEP version only

Buy the EP, check tour dates and more at their Web site.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Should I be At War With the Mystics?

Did I misunderstand something? I know it was dismissed as less than revolutionary, but I don't get why the world hates At War With The Mystics. I listened to it a lot. And I still like it a lot.

The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots were rightfully embraced for being perfect turned-on-its-head pop that challenged listeners into loving the Flaming Lips. The blogs love the new record, but will the average rock-and-pop set embrace it too considering they apparently didn't care much for Mystics?

What is clear is that Embryonic is a psychedelic freak-out of an album with a simmering WHOA-factor that grows with every listen. As a longtime Lips fan, I'll put that time into the album. How many pop-loving, "Do You Realize?" lip-syncing friends do you know who listened to Clouds Taste Metallic, know about the expansionist experiment of Zaireeka or have a clue that the band existed before "She Don't Use Jelly" or the 90210 appearance?

The Flaming Lips have always done whatever the artistic urge drives them to. They'll keep drawing the biggest festival crowds and getting lots of attention because they do things vastly different and far better than most bands. It's why they're nearing 50 and releasing albums that sounds like a great acid trip.

Here's the Lips on Colbert last week. Sounds like they're still at the top of their game...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Flaming Lips - Convinced of the Hex
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Beak> pecks their way into the world.

What I suppose was the formal unveiling of Geoff Barrow's new project Beak> crossed my Gmail earlier this evening packaged as an update to the Portishead mailing list. As one-third of the much-worshipped band - and since a decade passed between their second and third albums - this is exciting news.

The music that comes out is like the Beastie Boys in live instrument mode working over a strange cross-section of Sunn O))), Mr. Scruff (or something equally Ninja Tune-y) and, well, Portishead. Everything was recorded in one room and performed live, with no overdubs, just edits for arrangement.

Aside from a brief explanation of the group were links to a six-song preview of the debut album from Beak>, a link to a blog/bio, and a link to the video for "Iron Action," which I guess is the first single off of said album:

The debut album from Beak> is out October 19 on Ipecac Recordings.

Oh, and here's some live Sunn 0))) as a bonus...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pearl Jam knows what they've got.

I can't believe Pearl Jam still has an album this good in them. Look, Binaural was a great record, and both Riot Act and Pearl Jam were decent and had a handful of truly stellar tracks.

But Backspacer feels like it came out of nowhere, like a Louisville Slugger to the face, or a steel toe in the balls, this album breathes and feels and moves like nothing the band has done in quite some time.

First off, "The Fixer" makes a lot more sense as the third track on the record rather than a standalone. It follows two of the bands strongest, hardest rocking songs of any recent album in "Gonna See My Friend" and "Got Some."

This is a tight, short album - it's quick and too the point. There's no bull shitting around, no ruminating on points. This is a well-oiled rock band operating at the height of its emotional potential. It explains the live sets that have been kicking fans asses for the last month or so.

The solo on "Amongst The Waves" is particularly searing, and Matt Cameron is rolling all over his drums on the entire album. Seriously, Cameron must be feeling ignored, because suddenly I feel like I've been neglecting the guy, and he's been steadily solid from the start in Soundgarden on. Then again, I mention Dave Grohl as the best drummer alive at least once a week and he doesn't even play drums most of the time.

Songs like "Speed of Sound" and "Just Breathe" so a band moving comfortably into middle age. They don't sound crusty though, they sound certain with what they're doing. On "Speed of Sound," Eddie Vedder sings about somehow surviving - and that's what the band has done. They've stuck around long enough that they albums are judged only as Pearl Jam albums, regardless of the rest of the world. It sounds like the band is in a good place.

Pearl Jam is a modern classic rock band in the sense that, well, they feel like they've been around forever and they act like it but without the pomposity. Vedder told Rolling Stone that fans will have to trust the band to do the right thing. He was talking about the Target deal - which is a pretty good deal for fans who buy the record there - but he's right; just trust the band. Backspacer is the best proof yet that they know what they're doing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woman dances to Karen O's noises.

I feel like I've been very video heavy the last few days but I can't help it, especially not when it comes to the latest from the Flaming Lips.

"I Can Be a Frog" features Karen O on vocals - well, animal noises - but the video is brilliant. The song is pretty good too, but that was the obvious part.

The Flaming Lips "I Can Be A Frog"

From Gosling to Yorke, in five steps.

Nothing is as good as these six songs right now. The play-zip-mix is a tight machine this week. Headphones are a must for at least the first listen. I think so, at least.

Download: Feller Abides v4

The Big Pink - "Dominos"

I'm way late to the game on this band. An anthemic ode to their own greatness and pimpness using soaring electronics and Britpop aplomb, "Dominos" is like the Beta Band abandoning their art damage and going pop. It has one hit wonder written all over it, and I love it.

Dead Man's Bones - "In The Room Where You Sleep"

I ignored this band all year because it's Ryan Gosling and his best friend. Yeah, that Ryan Gosling. Turns out the actor and his mysterious friend have a little Halloween groove and some real musical talent in them. Well, a lot of Halloween groove in them. Weird, haunting little stomper of a track. They better have more of these.

Beat Radio - "Sleepwalker"

Bedroom pop music, literally made that way. Just New Yorker Brian Sendrowitz, sampling his way out into the world with a guitar and help from some friends. Sendrowitz is singing about being lonely and loveless and depressed, but sounding pretty upbeat about it. As good as BOAT, and fully ten million times better then than that douche Waaves. And there's a whole lot more to download at the Beat Radio Web site.

Alvin Band - Ate

A guy and his mouth, also sampling his way out into the world. I defer to Worthless Wit: "as interesting and complex as Bjork's Medulla but as listenable and infectious as Animal Collective's unstoppable Merriweather Post Pavillion." Mindblowingly amazing.

Flaming Lips - "The Ego's Last Stand"

This track float's along with an ethereal, haunting ego-crushing bafflement until exploding open with a repetition of the phrase "there's no way out" and some rock and roll pounding, before powering forward to some sort of psychedelic touchdown. The song is emblematic of all of Embryonic - requiring multiple listens to figure it out. Not that the Lips are ever that immediate, which is part of their enduring studio talent, but this is not a simple record. An interesting and welcome turn after the increasing (and no less welcome) accessibility of the last couple of albums.

Thom Yorke - "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses"

I was conflicted about including half a two-song EP on here but, uh, whatever. This song has a groove that rivals anything the Chemical Brothers did in the late 90s, only softer and with a mean streak that only Yorke can pull off. That lazy eye is coming to get you - I'd run like hell.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A couple Vultures.

New York show added to Them Crooked Vultures tour schedule. This does nothing for me.

They included two live clips with last night's email though. The songs continue to trickle, and continue to be good...

I wish radio were in a better Rut.

I've been all over the commercial rock radio lately because it has creeped back into my life through no choice of my own. If you changed exactly nothing about it, sent it back to 1997 in a time machine and played it for anybody, they wouldn't know the difference.

Anyway, they play the same bands every day. In some cases they're playing a band every two or three hours, and in most cases it's the same four or five songs every day. This is where a band like Middle Class Rut comes in.

They're not changing the game much, but they're not the same stuff that's been on radio for years. It's perfect for who I expect the genious's at Clear Channel (Hello, 93Rock, can you hear me?) think listens to the station. That's based on the fact that they take no risks and play stuff that any hard rock fan can deal with, Creed notwithstanding.

You can hear the influence of Jane's Addiction pretty clearly, and they namecheck Fugazi, Refused, Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine - so they've got good taste without a doubt too.

They're a solid modern rock two-piece that sound like they've got five guys head-banging in unison to well-arranged power chords. The sort of band that once got picked up by the big local radio station and largely shunned by the alternative college station that loved all five of the above-named bands but would probably only admit to liking two of them, three at the most. I mention the college station part because though they were shunned publicly, this record would be in every one of those DJs cars.

I don't know what NME meant when they called this band "Exhilarating, like running naked through a bee storm." That doesn't sound exhilarating at all. This band, however, would sound good with a pitcher at a smallish club where they'd be really loud. That would be exhilarating. I would want to be sitting at a table drinking that beer though. Can you tell I used to be a critic? Is that a dick thing to say?

I hope all this adds up to a good review, because I would kill to hear these guys on the radio. This is a good, relatively straight-forward loud rock band that has been paying attention to what worked in the 90s. If I had an mp3 of "Tied Up," New Low," or "All Walks of Life" I'd probably link at least one of them here but I'm sure you're clicking hand can find the link a few words from here.

They're also touring with Social Distortion, which is hopefully still worth something. Dates are on their MySpace.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Firestarter, meet the Bunny People.

New video from The Prodigy out today. It's for "Take me to The Hospital," the third single off their return to form Invaders Must Die.

If you skipped the album, and I'd understand if you were weary, this track is oooold-school style, like, Experience era. Mmmm, you know what I'm talking about now, huh. And the video, aside from them looking old(er), is a combination of "Poison" and "Firestarter." Which is to say, they're in a dark, wet-looking underground location (it's actually an old mental hospital - how fitting!) and running circles around the camera while screaming crazy slogans over slamming beats.

Remember when they were a revelation now, don't you?

There's an EP with remixes on it. It's out October 20. Here's the tracklist:

Take Me To The Hospital (Subfocus Remix)
Take Me To The Hospital (Josh Homme and Liam H's Wreckage Mix)
Take Me To The Hospital (Rusko Remix)
Take Me To The Hospital (Adam and Horx Remix)
Take Me To The Hospital (Losers Middlesex A&E Remix)
Take Me To The Hospital (Re-Pump Instrumental)
Take Me To The Hospital (Re-Pump Radio Edit)
Take Me To The Hospital (Re-Pump)

By the way, those bunny people are gonna give me nightmares for weeks.

Nothing shameful about the Meat Puppets.

The video for the Meat Puppets' latest single, "Rotten Shame," was unveiled to me last night, on my couch, in a press release.

If you haven't heard their latest album, Sewn Together, you're missing out. If you've never heard the Meat Puppets then it's time to catch up. Quickly.

Oh, and they're on tour.

Great name. Greater band.

I think the newly discovered band that most has me excited for the week is Bipolar Bear. Of course, I got depressed a few minutes later. But it didn't last long...

Alright, bad bipolar joke out of the way, this is some scuzzy punk rock shit and hot damn am I in love. From the first note, this is when I go "yeah! I should quit my job and bang on pots and pans for money!" Then I come to my senses and realize I am nowhere near as good as these guys.

I was gonna save a few words for the mix-zip-tape tomorrow but have been downloading stuff and this just has me all fired up and ready to go. (I was watching the Obama interview series earlier too. What, you think punk rock don't mix with politics?)

Be aware - this is messy punk. There are no melodies. There are vocals, but I have no idea what they're saying. Bipolar Bear makes me hold my ears in awe and I want to shake uncontrollably to whatever it is they're playing. With 30 seconds left in "Calypso Vacation" I started punching holes in the wall, in rhythm with my nodding head and tapping toe.

You may scoff at me or think I'm being ironic for declaring such support for Bipolar Bear. That's fine, but if you ever loved Pussy Galore or Bikini Kill, you know where I'm coming from on this one.

Their latest album, Harlem Pripyat, is out now on Mexican Summer.

Bipolar Bear on MySpace
Bipolar Bear on Hype Machine

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beasties get Nasty with remaster.

The Beastie Boys complete their remaster series next Tuesday with the official rerelease of Hello Nasty, the late 90s masterpiece that cemented the Beasties as a cultural center.

They were, of course, at the height of their powers, and not just because of a fantastic new record with a new sound. The band was also flying high with its Grand Royal imprint, finding deep, different artists from Buffalo Daughter to bringing Alec Empire and his Digital Hardcore Recordings stateside.

This week would have marked the release of the Beastie's latest pile of awesome, Hot Sauce Committee p. 1, but the album was pushed back as a result of Adam Yauch's cancer diagnosis. While the man gets healthy, the band wants us to keep it moving...

From the email to fans yesterday:

Hello citizens of the world and beyond.

Once again all may rejoice and celebrate the deluxe and multi- faceted re-release of Hello Nasty.

Please check this link for details on the plethora of previously unreleased material (seriously though - practically an entire record of unheard cuts):

The patch that comes with the deluxe vinyl version will make your grand ma's knitting circle jealous and on and on.

- El Bando

Practically an entire record of unheard cuts?!? This is either gonna be really good or really bad.

Check out the new Hello Nasty site (link above) for buying options - which are the same as they were for Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, and Ill Communication - including option to download the mp3 action NOW.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pancakes and new music? It must be Tuesday.

Since I've been listening to a bit of the corporate rock radio in South Florida because the CD player in my car refuses to work (only "a bit" because I've also rediscovered NPR, WKPX and sports talk radio), I almost put together a Two for Tuesday gimmick this week. Then I realized there's no reason to act like those slovenly fools when I can do way better than that.

Kind of a different group of tracks this week, what with the folk and the poppy punk. There's enough noise and feedback to more than make up for it though.

Feller Abides v3

Monsters of Folk - "Man Named Truth"

MOF is Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), M Ward (um, Google him - he's everywhere) and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes member), but the album is a little less predictable than I thought it would be. I was going to include one of the more upbeat songs on the album - the Big Bopper meets the Beach Boys meets, well, the members of this supergroup "Whole Lotta Losin'" - but I couldn't shake "Man Named Truth." Like a lot of the album, "Man Named Truth" has more of a country feel to it, and I dig how bitter Oberst sounds. This is one of those times I understand why he has been exalted as the new Dylan. (Listen to the entire album at the MOF MySpace profile)

Beck - "There She Goes Again"

Beck has become an Internet phenomenon, recording an acoustic rethink of his Danger Mouse-produced album Modern Guilt, offering DJ sets, and then a complete rerecording of the Velvet Underground's essential and ridiculously influential The Velvet Underground & Nico. Ok, so maybe he was a big star before hitting the 'net - the fact is, he's putting his stamp on shit. Hard.

Last Days of Summer - "Moving On"

I'm a sucker for the crunch of pop punk, and Last Days Of Summer is doing it well. They're learning from the bands they worship - which ones shouldn't be much of a mystery if you listen close enough - but putting together something altogether their own. By the three-minute mark you should be standing up and pounding on the walls of your cubicle or whatever you spend your day chained to. Full disclosure: The drummer is my brother-in-law. If they sucked I wouldn't put them on here though. This time next summer, LDOS is gonna be huge. Trust me on this.

Muse - "Uprising"

In my anti-anti-Kanye rant posted yesterday I forgot to include Muse as one of the best performances on the VMAs. Chances are more viewers forgot, or ignored, the band played anyway - which is sad. Muse deserves a lot more attention for their hard-charging, somewhat electro rock. This is one of those bands that commercial rock radio ought to play a few times a day instead of a ninth song from the Chili Peppers or anything from Metallica's horrific St. Anger. Good luck not screaming "Call Me" a few times during the song. (That'll make sense once you hear it.)

Times New Viking - "Hustler, Psycho, Son"

Times New Viking continues to write great rock and roll songs, and then bathe them in layers and layers of feedback. As much as I like the noise, this is a band that should be playing over the PA in malls and grocery stores based solely on the quality of song (and the recent propensity for public airing of indie gold). With the wall of sound as barrier, maybe staying in the underground is what they want - and we certainly don't mind it. Check out this song, and the rest of the new TMV album, which is streaming at their Matador Records profile.

Non-Prophets - "Damage"

Though the Non-Prophets' album Hope is over six years old, this track sounds as good now as I'm sure it then, when I heard it and moved on. Sad and shameful as that act was, Sage Francis's rhymes hold up well over Joe Beats', um, beats. Grab the whole album if you made the same mistake I did.

Massive Attack - "Splitting The Atom (ft. 3D, Daddy G and Horace Andy)"

The last Massive Attack album, 100th Window, was boring. It sounded like Massive Attack trying to make a Massive Attack album. It must have been tough to follow up one of the best albums of the 90s in Mezzanine, but that last thing was a huge letdown. This, the first single off the forthcoming "LP5," gives great hope for the future. In the meantime, the Splitting The Atom EP is out in October, before the full album lands early next year. We've heard this before though - if you've not heard the drama of "LP5," check it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Enough with Kanye already.

Finally, we get not only a great VMA show but one that's worth talking about - for both good and bad. I don't know how long it's been, I didn't cringe today when I discussed MTV's annual circus.

I'm sick of hearing about Kanye though. Look, he was a douche. And he was a douche to a genuinely decent person, who also happens to be an 18-year-old girl. Beyonce has class, and made up for Kanye's drunken tribute/tirade. I'm sure that Taylor is over it now too.

In light of this, let's remember two great performances that helped to make the show worth watching at least one more time.

Lady GaGa brought production and shock value back to the show. She definitely won some new fans last night, myself included. (Yes, that damn ad annoys the piss out of me but the video is high quality and I refuse to watch garbage.)

And then Green Day tore the roof off. It's a shame Billie Joe didn't push Pete Wentz off the stage at the end too. (This video isn't as high quality. Kinda wishing for that ad at the bottom now, huh?)

Russell Brand, once again, was hilarious and hugely offensive. The Michael Jackson tribute was good - Madonna gave one of the more heartfelt speeches about him I've heard since his death, and then Janet Jackson lip synced her parts of "Scream." Pink sang while performing Trapeze. And Beyonce and Jay-Z did their thing, well, as always.

It's like MTV feels guilty that they're giving up the Times Square studio because it marks the end of their over-the-top era. Maybe this year's VMAs were a sign the network is about to start putting some effort into it again. I hope so because the last few years have been among the worst they've had.

Maybe all they really need is to throw a good party and let people get wasted on live TV again. Aside from Kanye last night, it's never failed to work!

Indie goes hip hop, and vice versa.

Big news for the meeting place that is rock and hip hop today...

The Black Keys, the other stellar two-piece blues-rock band to emerge earlier this decade, have spent most of this year working on solo projects. They'll come together in November with a host of guests for Blakroc, including Mos Def, Ludacris, Q-Tip and Ol' Dirty Bastard, who seems to have a lot more unreleased stuff than was expected when he died.

The other project, which is intriguing for totally different reasons, is what will surely be beautiful trainwreck of noise and obscenity: MF Doom and Dave Sitek (of TV On The Radio). This comes straight from the mouth of Doom's DJ. And you know the DJ always tells the truth.

Could this be the underground equivalent of the soundtracks to Judgment Night and Spawn?

I'm sure these two albums will get way better reviews than those two somewhat underrated collections did. If only Sir Mix-A-Lot were a little less well known...

(Blakroc in Billboard)

(Doom scoop from You Ain't No Picasso)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guilty pleasure techno-pop.

This is the sort of thing I want to do drugs and dance around to. I'm sure there are people who are doing just that, right now, as I type this. Hell, they may be doing it in the video.

Late in the video Solveig and Dragonette are dancing on a rooftop. It was kind of a disappointing scene for me because I was hoping one of them might go flying off the side of the building.

Anyway, here's a remix of that very track as well.

I don't know what Dragonette does on tour, but if you're nearby I'm sure it could be interesting:

10.5 HAMILTON, ON casbah
10.6 LONDON, ON Call the Office
10.7 WATERLOO, ON The Starlight
10.8 TORONTO, ON The Mod Club
10.12 WINNIPEG, MB west end cultural centre
10.14 CALGARY, AB The Whisky
10.15 EDMONTON, AB Starlite
10.16 NELSON, BC venue TBC
10.17 VANCOUVER, BC Venue
10.18 VICTORIA, BC Sugar
10.19 SEATTLE, WA @ Vera Project
10.20 PORTLAND, OR @ Doug fir
10.22 SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Popscene / 330
10.23 LOS ANGELES, CA @ The Echo
10.24 COSTA MESA @ Detroit Bar
10.26 DENVER, CO @ Larimer Lounge
10.28 KANSAS CITY, MO @ Czar Bar
10.30 SPRINGFIELD, MO @ Outland
10.31 CHICAGO, IL @ Sonotheque
11.4 BOSTON, MA @ Great Scott
11.5 NEW YORK CITY, NY @ Santos

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Aliens land. Again.

My introduction to the Beta Band came with the release of The Three EPs in the late 90s. For most, however, the first mention was via High Fidelity:

The band put out a few more great records before finally breaking up sometime in late 2004. After which, the members went on to other projects, as band members often do.

Robin Jones and John Maclean formed The Aliens, along with help from another former Beta Band member, Gordon Anderson - who became known as Lone Pigeon after BB broke up.

Unlike the Lone Pigeon work, or anything else on earth, The Aliens retain not only much of the magic, but much of the sound of Beta Band. Sort of a folky, sampleadelic, trip hop vibe that naturally radiates through your ears like a groove you didn't know you were feeling.

Last year, the band put out Luna, a great album if ever there was one. This year, they're release a special edition that comes with a 60-page book.

I'm sure the book - limited to 1000 signed copies - won't be cheap. I'm posting this so that ya'll can check out a great band that hasn't got much attention. So listen to the mp3 and get the records.

The Aliens - Sunlamp Show

The Aliens
The Aliens on Amazon

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thanks for the great marketing.

The real problem with great classic rock being used in commercials is that when I'm forced to listen to the radio, and my option is classic rock or Bubba the goddamn Love Sponge, I feel like Demolition Man the 1st time he gets in a car...

Big106 - the classic rock station in South Florida - went from Pat Benetar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," which is in several commercials, to Led Zeppelin's "Rock n Roll," Cadillac's former comeback theme. My fear was that "Start Me Up" would come on next and all I'd be able to think about is Microsoft.

At least they're good songs.

Can somebody explain to me why I'm hearing two or three songs off the first Bush album every day? (I'm talking to you 93Rock.) Yes, it was a good album for a while. But seriously, did these people stop listening to new bands before the turn of the century? Come on!

Revolting Cocks return for more.

Maybe they were a jokey side project for Al Jourgensen to let out the sexual energy that has no place on a Ministry album, or maybe they're a serious work of music art. Either way, the Revolting Cocks return to action on their LuBriCaTouR - bringing the perversion on the road for the first time since a 2006 stint opening for the aforementioned Ministry.

Although Jourgensen will only appear with the band at it's Irving Plaza stop in New York, the trek takes the band across these continental United States, including to South Florida, which I never expect of any band. (Full dates below.)

The occasion, or maybe excuse, for the tour is the release of Sex-O MiXXX-O, a 10-track remix set. Contributing to the album are efforts from Chris Vrenna (Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Tweaker) and Dave “Rave” Olgilvie (Skinny Puppy), among others. The album is out September 29 on Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records.

From the album: I'm Not Gay (Blownload Prison Remix)

Here's the kicker - RevCo put out an album in March called Sex-O Olympic-O. Maybe I was just out of it at the time, but did anybody know that came out? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Revolting Cocks were a pretty decent side project for Jourgensen back in the day. The press release says icons. That word works for Ministry because, you know, it's an understatement. But it feels strong here.

Anyway, no doubt this will be worth checking out if they're in your town.

Also on the tour is Jim Rose, BlownLoad and Left Spine Down...

September 10 - El Paso, TX - Club 101
September 12 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
September 13 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theater
September 14 - Ft Collins, CO - Aggie Theater
September 15 - Salt Lake, UT - Club Vegas
September 17 - Coeur d'Alene, ID - The Grail
September 18 - Seattle, WA - Studio Seven
September 19 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre
September 20 - Portland, OR - Dante's
September 23 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
September 24 - Orangevale, CA - The Boardwalk
September 25 - San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick
September 26 - Tempe, AZ - The Clubhouse
September 27 - Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
October 1 - San Antonio, TX - White Rabbit
October 2 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
October 3 - Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont
October 4 - St. Louis, MO - The Firebird
October 6 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
October 7 - Detroit, MI - Blondie's
October 8 - Cleveland, OH - Peabody's
October 9 - St. Thomas, ON - Coolz Warehouse
October 10 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon
October 11 - Montreal, QC - Foufounes Electriques
October 12 - Toronto, ON - Reverb
October 14 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theater
October 15 - Allentown, PA - Croc Rock
October 16 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
October 17 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
October 18 - Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head Live
October 20 - Jacksonville, FL - Jackrabbits
October 21 - Orlando, FL - Firestone
October 22 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Revolution
October 23 - St. Petersburg, FL - The State Theatre
October 24 - Charlotte, NC - Tremont Music Hall
October 25 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
October 27- Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
October 29 - Fort Worth, TX - Ridglea Theater
October 30 - Austin, TX - Emo's

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New for Tuesday (late).

Ahh, the wonders of Feller-time. It may be Wednesday but I've still got the Tuesday hook-up. At some point later today, Apple will unveil new iPods. What better way to introduce your new iPod to the world but with 7 songs hand-picked by The Gentleman.

Once again, we're all over the place with this thing. Should make for a good whiplash.

Feller Abides v2

Spoon - Got Nuffin

Britt Daniel is one of the best songwriters to emerge in recent years. I should have more to say about this song but I'm still half comatose so I'll offer some advice - listen to this song, then find the last three Spoon albums. You'll be glad you did.

Rain Machine - Give Blood

Kyp Malone's solo project has that TV on the Radio flavor but really doesn't sound or feel like TVOTR. World weary rock and roll that doesn't so much take off as pound along. Hand claps and female backing vocals complement Kyp's own. This raises the stakes for what I expect to be one of the year's best releases.

Raekwon - Black Mozart (ft. RZA & Inspectah Deck)

There's a dark side of life Raekwon focuses on when he's at his best. This is about as much as I want to experience it. RZA brings the gritty, gritty shit on here too. And yes, the whole album is this good.

Kid Cudi - Make Her Say (ft. Kanye West & Common)

Kudi feels stuff. On the album he's rapping AND singing (no auto-tune) about loneliness, unease with life and just making it through the day. Maybe it was the hour that I picked songs for the list, but this is upbeat and a little less introspective. Turn it up and make your license plate rattle.

Vivian Girls - Double Vision

Straight up galloping fuzzed-out punk rock. Some people like it, some people don't. The indie buzz around this band should be enough that you give this at least three listens to burrow into your brain. It's been stuck in mine for days.

The Black Crowes - A Train Still Makes A Lonely Sound

The Black Crowes have put out another album. If you have no interest, this won't change that. They're a band that reclaimed the magic and are having fun playing music again. It shows.

Lightning Bolt - Nation of Boar

Ah, the mighty Lightning Bolt. There's almost vocals on this track, or at least it sounds that way to my ears. Still no bottom end to the fast guitar buzz and faster hardcore drum work (and it is work!). This six minutes is an up and down exercise in what the band does best - rip out your guts, puke on them and shove them back up your ass. Talk about keeping the quality high!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vultures trickling out.

Them Crooked Vultures sent out an update for what I'm sure is a growing legion of crazily expectant fans (including myself) who are expecting a musical revelation based on heresay and, well, almost nothing but reputation.

But this is Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and the most consistently stable force in rock for two decades, Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters/whoever needs the best drummer alive). Based on the few live clips, and the clips these Vultures have released, it's hard not to believe. A lot.

That's the teaser for "Scumbag Blues," a link to which was included in the band's email update, The Crooked Times vol. 3. You can hear a bit of QOTSA in the sound, but it has a vastly different feel. The color scheme is also the similar to what was used for the videos the QOTSA album Songs for the Deaf spawned but the look is all new.

The Vulture-headed human is a brilliant and instantly recognizable image. And the three of them standing there, just waiting to slay you... It works. The enthralling obsession grows. But I digress. Focus on the music.

There's more going on here than just a remade QOTSA. Check out a few live clips...

"New Fang"

"Dead End Friends"

And finally, a full performance of "Scumbag Blues"

U.S. and European tour dates have been announced and shirts have been on sale for a while, though an album - which we all know is coming - has not actually been acknowledged. The rumors are we'll see it in October. I have no idea how anyone will wait that long.

Them Crooked Vultures
Crooked Vultures on Twitter
Them Crooked Vultures Official YouTube Channel (This includes far more studio and live clips than I've posted above.)