Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Album Review: Parquet Courts- Monastic Living EP

Parquet Courts
Monastic Living EP
* out of *****

Parquet Courts new EP goes away from everything that has made them the popular darlings of the indie rock world as they experiment with sound in an excruciatingly dull manner on Monastic Living.

Unfortunately creating, then listening back and deciding this was a worthwhile release for the band was a complete mistake. There is little to no craft in the shaping of the sounds and just repetitive drones, electric repeats and feedback that doesn't expand in any direction. Noiserock can be a liberating and rewarding place to dwell and explore but none of that excitement is present.  

"No, No, No!" is the only track with lyrics as the quick blast gets distorted and pumps with energy and would be a fine opener to a more invested experimental album. Unfortunately what follows is a mess.

"Monastic Living I" goes the noise repetition route for over seven minutes and the sound travels nowhere. The "Elegy of Colonial Suffering" is straight noise that again doesn't move the needle off of empty while "Frog Pond Plod" is just boring feedback. "Vow of Silence" starts to add electro keys to the distortion, that continues through to "Monastic Living Part II" and the first half of "Alms For The Poor", playing like bored robot muzak.

The oddest thing happens halfway through "Alms For The Poor Though" it is as if the band spliced on a rough rock demo instrumental as a treat to anyone who made it this far into the EP.

The closing tracks are back to formless sound with a police siren ending the album on "Prison Conversion" pretty appropriate as anyone who shelled out money for this offering should feel the victim of a crime.  
If this was a free release, we would have simply skipped it, but charging $14.99 for this effort we  needed to point out how bad it was. We didn't mind one of their EP's but  RtBE have not understood the hype in the past for this group but they have some decent songs. If you are new to the band check out any other offering besides this one. Still we encourage supporting them, buy the EP if you dare or want to waste 15 bucks and peep some video of an older better song here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Album Review: The Grateful Dead- The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead
The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead
**and1/2 out of *****

This is an odd release for a band that seems to be milking everything out of their "last" shows. They are releasing the complete set of music from these three nights, which collectors will clamor for. The 7/5 show complete with DVD which they must have deemed the best of the bunch. While many fans have already downloaded full streams of all the sets and are free to shuffle around for their own best of. This highlight two disk collection seems to be for fans who want to dip their toes in and see what the fuss this summer was all about, but for anyone truly interested might RtBE suggest you go to the source.

All that said, the playing here in the cold light of headphones is good, not otherworldly as Trey Anasatsio and Jeff Chimenti joined the Dead Boys (Weir Kreutzmann, Hart, Lesh and Hornsby) to celebrate the groups history. While the show was mega from ticket prices to hyper-praise the sets themselves were varied and this highlight disk does it's best to give more then a sample of the high points.

Positioned as if it was a real show, with a classic "First" and "Second" set offering (complete with "Drums") the 2 disks remind of old cassette tapes. Phil Lesh's bass lines take center stage on the funky "Shakedown Street" and the slinky smoothness of "West L.A. Fadeaway" fits Trey's guitar style and Hornsby's vocals expertly. The band bangs around a clunky "Bertha" but the grooving/jamming "Music Never Stopped" picks things back up.

While it must have been a blast for Trey to lead the OGD's on the classic pairing of "Scarlett Begonias > Fire On The Mountain" it isn't a particularly intriguing version, outside of Anastasio's strong vocal work (his best on this collection) and the drumming of The Rhythm Devils Hart and Kreutzmann. The two homage's to Garcia which close this offering, "Touch of Gray" and "Attics of My Life" are beautiful and heartfelt as the last track closed the whole shebang in Chicago. 

There have been other huge musical moments for the remaining Dead players since Jerry's passing (the Trey & Page influenced Phil and Phriends still sends shivers, oooh "Viola Lee Blues") and for those that attended this is a nice record if you blew your wad on tickets and can't afford the full package. Fare Thee Well will be remembered fondly by all involved, but as a major musical moment in the Dead's career? Probably not.   
Support the band, buy the album and peep some video:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dylan Cover #209 Zeb Picaso "Isis"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Zeb Picaso and is a live acoustic cover of "Isis" 

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune in the series:
Desire is such a thick album, Dylan's most complex story songs seem to hover in and around it, and not all are winners...."Isis" is though.  A great song that manages to engage even without a chorus, it is one of Bob's more "mystical" tunes and lures most people in the first time they hear it...before the mp3 age it came right after the powerful "Hurricane" and transforms the album from timely to timeless. 

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have no idea about Zeb Picaso, I'm not even sure if that is his name, but here is his youtube channel with other cover uploads.
Thoughts on Cover:
A really fun, almost off the cuff, energetic run through of an excellent Dylan song in which the live acoustic player makes it his own without recalling the bard, a trick we dig. The energy is really palpable and there is a wander spirit floating around in this version, the way it should be. We will cheers an oil can of Fosters to that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Full Show Friday: Robert Randolph & The Family Band Rawa Blues 2014

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Robert Randolph & The Family Band!
Every year around Thanksgiving, Robert Randolph & The Family Band hold court at Brooklyn Bowl, (they are doing it again next Tues and Wed) and most years we catch a show, this year we can not. To remedy that we are sharing this set from Rawa Blues Festival in 2014.

It is a great showcase of the band as they add their flare to covers, Bill Withers "Use Me" is a jamming good time, as is their Zep mix. Our all time live favorite from the group is here with "I Don't Know What You Came To Do" (41 minutes in) and it is always a foot stomping jump around blast.  So while we won't get to party with the Family in Brooklyn this year we can at least hang out virtually now.


Track list:
01. The Sky Is Crying
02. Use Me
03. Shake Your Hips
04 Brand New Wayo
05. Jam
06. Lickety Split
07. I Don't Know What You Come to Do
08. Whole Lotta Love / Good Times Bad Times
09. Ain't Nothing Wrong With That

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tool To Tour With Primus in 2016

Our 10th grade self just freaked out a little bit when we found out a reformed Tool will be touring with Primus.
While we stopped listening to Tool after 1993's Undertow, we could be down to check this out, but as of now the tour dates seem to be keeping them west and south.

One thing is for certain the visuals on this night are going to be really intense. Until the tour peep some video of both bands below:

 "Tommy The Cat" Live on Dennis Miller

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Album Review: Dead Ghosts- Love And Death And All The Rest

Dead Ghosts
Love And Death And All The Rest
**and1/2 out of *****

The four piece from Vancouver, Canada have a relaxed take on retro garage rock for their newest release Love And Death And All The Rest. While other bands put punk or soul twists on retro rock Dead Ghosts stick in the pop field, taking their time and letting their sound seep in.

The slow rolling "Another Love" kicks off things as the band lackadaisically comes out of the gate and the pretty "Upside Down continues that languid pace to things the band is rarely in a hurry here. "Rat Race" picks up the tempo, injecting some "Hey Hey Hey's" while the advice giving "Waste My Time" shakes things up injecting wah-wah and swirling guitar effects.

"Drink It Dry" plays with tempo on both sides of things sluggishy dripping then kicking things up. Besides pacing, the band seems to be extremely comfortable in these retro waters filled with jangles and organ fills. Guitar slashes and bass runs expertly color numbers like on the "Pretty Woman"
sounding "It's Up To You". While the album is clearly one trick of backwards looking rock and roll, the band plays that trick for all it's worth, while a full disk isn't world beating, it isn't meant to be. 

A track like "All In A Row" brings all the best of the band to the forefront, and sounding like it came right out a dusty 1965 record crate this is a good thing as the bass dances with warbling guitars all in front of distorted vocals. looking to scratch that retro pop itch? Dead Ghosts are up to the task.
Another great bandcamp find. Support the band, buy the album stream it below:


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Album Review: Wolf Eyes- I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces

Wolf Eyes
I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces
*** out of *****
We first got clued into Wolf Eyes when we reviewed their 2006 Sub Pop horror fest Human Animal. While the star ranking is outdated (would be 8 stars on the current Glide system) the same cinematic scope and nuance is present on the bands first release for Third Man Records titled I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces.

The group has moved to calling their music trip-metal, but that term calls to mind crazy tempo psychedelic's and what IAAP:MiP does better then freak outs is deliver an ominous sense of brooding. The first three tracks build up the slow pounding tense like an oncoming headache as "Catching the Rich Train" Twister Nightfall" and "T.O.D.D" all thud ahead while circling otherworldy sounds in front of buried lyrics.

"Asbestos Youth" pulses with more dread kicking off the second side of the album while "Enemy Ladder" takes the buzzing and burning hairs to nightmarish levels kicking up drums, approaching the most "normal" sounding song here which still drips with menace. "Cynthis Vortex aka Trip Memory Illness" closes the disk with a selection of gurgles and hisses, the sound of a mind leaking out of an ear.  

The Michigan based trio capture a movie-tone and dramatic feel in pretty shocking manner for a group who love to play up their minimalist tendencies there are grand theatrics below the surface. While not as cohesive as some past efforts the group gets pretty damn weird and that is exciting in itself.
Support the band, buy the album, peep some video: