Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review 2010 - Top 10 Albums - Part 3 (5-1)

So it shall be presented, here is part 3 of RTBE's Year in Review for 2010, today we are dealing with the cream of the crop, concluding our top 10 list with albums 5-1.
In the instance that I have reviewed the album either on this site or somewhere else I will link to that review and I will also provide a link to Amazon so you can pick it up with the quickness.  I worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap, but not a ton. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to all the way through.

After the jump we have albums 5-1, all are excellent and will remain in the my listening rotation for years to come I am sure.  There was actually a struggle for the top spot this year as I went back and fourth multiple times, but I feel pretty good with the list.  Some are popular, others aren't well known but all the music is captivating so click that Read More button and let's get started.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Glide Review - Automagik - Selft Titled



Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it c'here!!!

It is of Automagik's Self Titled Release.

This is a pretty catchy album that rages all over the place, give it a listen if you want some trippy pop in your earhole. 

Here is "Boogieman" from the album, not one of my favorite's but a good rep of what's on here:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Glide Review - Frank Zappa DVD - The Torture Never Stops



Got a new review up on Glide.

Go read it C'here!!

It is of Frank Zappa's newest DVD release The Torture Never Stops.

Zappa is a strange artist in anyone's book, but I will explain my feelings on him.  Unlike most acts that I would say I "like" I never need to hear Zappa for years at a time.  Then I will find myself, listening only to him for about 2 weeks solid.  Perhaps it is because of the tangled web of a world he created (placing himself firmly in the center) but it seems like there are times when I don't need to mess with him and limited others when I can't enough.  Not sure why or if others feel the same way.

Any-which-way, I own Baby Snakes but this new DVD is a nice addition to the collection as it is a solid show of crazy segues and top notch playing, no crazy 45 minute forays into stop motion clay-mation. If it weren't for the stupid fucking pyscho edit that shows up from time to time there would be few negatives to bring about this one.  I do feel it does a neat trick of being accessible for new fans and appeasing old die-hards too which is much harder then it sounds.

Coincidentally Zappa would have been 70 years old today...so happy whatever goatee'd one, Here are some clips...enjoy:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Dead - RTBE Personal Favorites Edition: 8-27-1972 Veneta, OR

Originally I wanted to do a "Best Of" instead of a Personal Favorite Edition of the Dead, but when it came right down to it I realized there are two shows that are pretty spot on for the best ever Grateful Dead show...Cornell 1977 which is popular and lots have been written regarding it and there is my personal favorite, today's show 8-27-1972 from Ken Kesey's Dairy Farm up in Veneta, Oregon. 
Click that link or listen right c'here!

 While Cornell gets a ton of publicity as the pinnacle of the group, I think this show from the pacific Northwest is even better.  The sunstroked serenader's earned their title of the greatest expansive group (jamband?!) on this summer day.  This show has it all, inventive playing, tight song structures when needed and cohesive singing.  When it all clicked for the fellas it was magic, and this is one of those shows.

I can talk all day about this show, but I will keep it short...or try to...so you can get your listen on.  You can also get your view on as the show was filmed and titled "Sunshine Daydream".  It has long been rumored for official release, and here's hoping that happens soon, but currently their are clips up on Youtube that I will embedded here.  The "Sugaree" is a perfect work out and the second song in as the group starts rolling.  An all time version that is a good bell weather for things to come.  Same can be said about the "China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider" which flows as one track here. 

The tightness of the band can be found multiple times, but "Mexicali Blues" particularly cackles.  Garcia's guitar leads are monumental spicing up everything, take his solo in "Bertha" for example that just cooks.  While the first set is pretty solid, things explode into the heavens with set 2 starting with the first tune; "Playin' In The Band"

 This is the first of a few all-time greats on hand here today, this "Playin" has it all free form flowing, melodic harmonics, everything.  It goes in seven directions at once but never sounds cluttered, Garcia of course leads the way, but the band does a great job following on this one, 20 minutes of magic.  When they come back around to the theme 15 minutes in you can't help but smile.  
The "Jack Straw" is another one I rank as a Best of with it's crisp delivery and perfect singing. 

And this "Birdsong" is simply fantastic, on par with the Branford version from 3-29-90 and in my opinion even better.  This is a class act that I would like to have as my theme music following me around.  Not overly long, but glorious in the paths it takes, a must listen.  Around the 4:20 mark Jerry's guitar lines ring with precision and elevates everything around him, try this one on for size for people who never got the dead, it will open some eyes.   "The Greatest Story Ever Told" has a ton of energy and Wah-wahing.

and then comes the third set and really the centerpiece; an absolutely epic "Dark Star".  This outing rates as my favorite playing of this song, just barely edging out the version from only a few days before...8-24-1972 which I all ready wrote about here.  The group playing here is a complete brainwave, trippy as all hell and worth every penny.




I am sure many minds have been lost to this piece of spacey art and my favorite part just may be as it drips effortlessly into "El Paso", cosmic cowboys indeed.

One would think that would be enough, but no no no the fellas pull out one of their most beautiful moments with this drop dead gorgeous version of "Sing Me Back Home".  This one tugs at the heartstrings and confirms how monumental this show is.  Again, I can go on and on about this one, but you are probably better served by just listening and enjoying some amazing music. 

Next week I hope to have some input from friends and their recommendations as we wrap up the year of Mondays and the RTBE Personal Favorites Edition. Until then enjoy the tunes...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Funday - Clay Pigeons and The Boss and a "Blue" King Christmas

Ok Everyone, so it's the holiday season, and that means it is Clay Pigeon time.  Even if this was their only show of the year (which it is) the boys always amp it up for holiday time and break out amazing songs and playing for the Christmas Extravaganza. 
It is going to be a hoot, an 'anny, and a blast so come on down if you are in the proper town on Tuesday night.  Their Christmas tunes are not to be missed...plus their is a certain Afro'ed gentleman who will be drumming it up for a few tunes...your soul can't afford to be marked absent. 

Before we get there though the kind fellas at Hidden Track clued RTBE into this fantastic video from Bruce Springsteen, playing songs off The Promise for a select crowd.  Give it a shot and don't skip the "Blue Christmas" closer.
Because I can't resist...
Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Year in Review 2010 - Top 10 Albums - Part 2 (10-6)

Here is part 2 of RTBE's Year in Review for 2010, today we are dealing with the first half of our top 10 list Albums 10-6.
In the instance that I have reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else I will link to that review and I will also provide a link to Amazon so you can pick it up with the quickness.  I worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap, but not a ton. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the full way through.

Here re albums 10-6 after the jump and it seems these are always the one's I slap around in different orders 100 times until I feel best about them...anyway, click that Read More link down there...to well, read more and find out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Glide Review - The Televangelist and the Architect -Expect Everything Out Of Nothing



Hey there, got a new review up at Glide.

Read it right c'here!!!

It is of Televangelist and the Architect's newest release, Expecting Nothing Out Of Everything.

This is one of those easy ones to review...

In fact I wasn't even going to review it because I was thinking it was so rough that it had to be the artists first release.  When I found it it was his third, I figured he could deal with some criticism.

The half a star was only added on for the packaging which is top shelf, and as I stated that is where the record will stay...this one was bland all over and a little (nah, fuck that Zappa reference) a WHOLE LOTTA pretentious on the side.

Nothing redeeming here, just move along...
 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Album Review - Drive By Truckers - The Big To-Do

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
Drive By Truckers
The Big To-Do
***and1/2 out of ***** 

Clever lyrics about southern culture on the skids in front of an overloaded 3 guitar attack containing monster riffs and pounding drums that make fists fly, form the foundation of the Drive By Truckers 10th studio album.  For those who thought that backing Booker T might leak some more R&B into the bands output, put those fears (or hopes) aside as The Big To-Do is more of the same from the group.  The albums first three songs are the strongest and each one gets a smile from clever word play and just cast iron southern rock. 

"Daddy Learned To Fly" explodes with six strings everywhere and will bust ear drums making it hard to hear Patterson Hoods lyrics conveying a sad tale of a boy who misses his dad.  The bender song "The Fourth Night of My Drinking" starts with "On the first night of my drinking/I was looking for my keys/I was half blind and stinking and bloody at the knees" and goes down hill from there, capturing a descent into the bottle perfectly.  Things really shine on the could be single "Birthday Boy" in which Mike Cooley presents a engaging foray of a hooker and a john that makes you laugh and cringe, but contains some all-time lyrics with the stanza:

The pretty girls from the smallest towns,
get remembered like storms and droughts
that old men talk about for years to come,
I guess that's why they give us names
So a few old men can say they saw us rain when we were young.

The album continues in this vein but never quite gets back to reach those first few heights.  A tune about Mary Winkler ("The Wig He Made Her Wear") brings real life events into the Truckers path while "You Got Another" takes up the light tone of piano ballad breaking up the male sound with Shonna Tucker's vocals. 

One thing the group never does is skimp on the proceedings and the album clocks in at 53 minutes but feels longer as things tend to drag towards the end.  "This Fucking Job" feels repetitive and "The Flying Wallenda's" will probably soar live but plods a bit here.  "After The Scene Dies" seems like a Craig Finn tune; in fact by this point The Hold Steady are the cold northern twin to the Drive By Truckers dirty south take on America, and any fans of past Trucker albums will undoubtedly love what the The Big To-Do has got to offer this time out.      

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The Truckers have always existed on the out skirts of my musical perimeter.  I have just missed their opening sets at shows I attended, enjoyed some of their past songs and albums but never felt the need to really dig too deep into their catalog.  The Big To-Do doesn't cause me to instantly dive into their waters, but it proves that are legit and not just a critics darling.  I think all of these jams will probably grow live, so I will make New Years Resolution for 2011 to see the DBT's. 

Here are some tracks, all live:
This is my favorite tune on the album, "Birthday Boy"

Another Cooley Number...gotta say I liked them better this time out, "Get Downtown"

And one for the Hood, "The Fourth Night of Drinking"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Dead - RTBE Personal Favorites Edition: 9-10-1991, MSG NYC

So here is the third entry into the Personal Favorites Edition at RTBE, and it goes back to 1991.  This is the last "great" show the Grateful Dead ever played in our opinion.  Today's gem is from 9-10-1991, New York New York at Madison Square Garden.  Click that link or stream the show right c'here:

As the picture gives away, The Dead were joined by a guest who pushed all the right buttons and hit all the right notes on this night, Branford Marsalis.  Branford had joined the group on multiple occasions in the past including the epic "Birdsong" which appears on Without A Net, and he would continue to pop up, playing with the group a total of 5 times.  This one was the midway point and the peak of the mountain if you will.  The band gels with the horn seemlessly throughout as he manages to push and pull the fellas in directions they hadn't traveled in years. 
Their are multiple versions of this show on the archive, some Matrix's that are sweet, but I posted the version that I have had and listened to over the years, and consistently go back to.  All of them are crisp and in the A+ range for sound, the difference being how much audience do you want.  You get some in today's posted version, more in others, feel free to find your favorite, this is mine.  

This is a magical night and it starts right from the opener.  This version of "Shakedown Street" is one of the all timers, maybe because it signals such a great show to follow, but to these ears the band hadn't been this funky since the early 80's and the horn is the main reason why.  The crash to start things off gets the stage a rocking and Branford's interjections are all flowing and gorgeous with Hornsby adding to the mix on piano and Phil's pumping bass lines.  This town had a bunch of heart on this night with even Vince getting accented and acquainted with Branford. The hugeness of sound is there in there with everyone soloing and chasing the 9 minute mark; it never once feels like an overloaded experience even with the wah-wah's, echoy effects, sax, two sets of keys and rambling drums. 

The blues of "C.C. Rider" comes next, and acts as Bobby's first singing contribution on this night and his vocals would play an important part as Garcia's guitar lines and Branford's Sax flights would back them.
A pretty cool internet aspect of this show is that a bunch of songs are captured and posted for you to check out the groups interplay on this epic night, and here is the first one:
The sound is surprisingly crisp on these clips and the site of the band adds another dimension to this epic night in the Garden.  The group stays in the bluesy cover vein as they slide effortlessly into Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry" and I can say without equal that this is my favorite version the group produced in regards to the classic tune.

Garcia knows he is onto something special with his singing here and the fluid playing but they don't over extend it opting instead to go back to Bobby for his "Black Throated Wind" :

Never one of my favorite tunes but it is hard to complain with the way Branford approaches this one; the fact that he plays a Soprano Sax on this one just ups the cheesiness, but really that is what it is all about and works wonders.  There seems to be a bit of an extra stomp from the Drumming crew on this version as well.

Then comes the meat and potatoes of the 1st set with a glorious "High Time", the band isn't in much of a hurry to start things as Jerry smooth's his way into the lyrics.  His aging voice fitting this weeper to a T and the playing of the group swirling all around him makes this a winner even with all the pain presented in the tune. See for yourself:
Ahhh that was nice.

The set wraps up with two more tracks that are glorious and both on video, so peep them, first up "Cassidy" which flies super high around the garden on this night:
and then a rollicking "Deal" to close:


While the first set is far from long, I think it is perfect.  Excellent playing, unique arraignments and some rare played songs create a trip worth taking over and over and we haven't even started the massive second set that's going to roll out....


The opening combo use to be the B-side to my first tape and I always used to listen to it and marvel, the "Help on The Way>Slipknot!>Franklins Tower" just explodes and lets the crowd instantly know this wasn't a one set trick pony of a show.  One of the main reasons I picked this version off archive to present is the fact that the 3 tracks are presented together as one 23 minute whirlwind as I feel it should be.  No need for glitches or little clicks with this one, as Phil's loose monster Bass causes dancing in the aisles.  Branford seems to be a bit behind in the structured sections but laps up the jam parts and makes his statement loud and clear.  Hornsby gets into the act perfectly here running with Garcia and Branford around the higher end of things around the 8 minute mark while the Rhythm Devils, like always, refuse to quit.

Things start to get freaky around 11 minutes in before the rise and majestic fall of "Slipknot!" into the composed breakdown that ends the tune before the joy of "Franklin's Tower" takes hold and refuses to let go.  Hornsby's piano leads through the darkness as the band casts a bright light on the crowd and end a pretty snazzy group of tunes.  "Estimated Prophet" is up next and while being one of Bobby's best jams this is good but maybe not as great as some of the other songs on this night...could be because they knew what is in store for the crowd next, "Darkstar".

Such is the treat of 1991, the popping up of "Darkstar" and on this night Branford gets to play along to the bust out with wondering excursions and various interplay from all the members. At times paper thin this version seems to be searching the city night for the right in-roads and everyone gets to take a sot with Branford sounding more comfortable then perhaps he has all night.  When the group coalesce before the 11 minute mark their are glimpses of magic stars from the past floating all around.  The "Drums>Space" sandwich fits easily into the song and allow the band to explore outer regions of sound before dipping back into the familiar refrain for 12 minutes more of the "Darkstar" work out complete with lyrics and invention. 

After the rare tune playing the band amps back up the energy with the Bobby warped blues of "I Need A Miracle" and we get the pleasure of having another video to see the group play the upbeat boogie:

While that is a treat, the live video capturing of one of my all time favorite Jerry tunes is even more so, "Standing On The Moon":

One of the best later day ballads with the added Sax makes it even more special.  Then the group implores the crowd to "Turn On Their Love Light" for the climaxing finale of the show


All of this is great! Grand!  and we even get the Accordion ladled encore of "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" to end the night....what a treat, what a show. 9-10-91 is easily one of my personal favorites and a recording I will constantly go back and listen to and watch.  Here's hoping you enjoy this special night in Dead History.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Year in Review 2010 - Top 10 Albums - Part 1 (The Just Misses)

Well we are about to complete the first calendar year for Rock The Body Electric, and we have had some amazing times in my brain and chatted about some great music.  I have been able to expand my writing style, delve deeper into The Dead and conduct a few special interviews; here's hoping it's only the beginning of things to come.

I got some ideas for the upcoming year and hope to incorporate a few new voices/threads/topics so we shall see.  Before we stumble into 2011 though we should probably give a look back, and because everyone and their mother enjoys a good list I am going to rattle off my top ten albums of 2010. 
In the instance that I have reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else I will link to that review and I will also provide a link to Amazon so you can pick it up with the quickness.  I worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap, but not a ton. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the full way through.    

Today I am going to focus on the "Just Misses" and unfortunately the "Let Downs" released this year.  Here's hoping you like them, but also feel free to call me an idiot in the comments and tell me your choices.  Expect installment 2 soon, but for now click on the jump homey:


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Album Review - Trombone Shorty - Backatown

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
Trombone Shorty
Backatown
**** out of *****

The future sound of New Orleans music is here, Trombone Shorty's Backatown has announced the arrival.  The opening winds of "Hurrican Season" are intoxicating and will probably be sampled by a smart DJ before you finish reading this while the title track contains a haunted march over snapping snare and funked out keys, but this isn't a full instrumental album.  Shorty has managed to fuse rock/hip-hop/jazz to cook up the audio gumbo that will get you fat before you are compelled to dance off the calories.

Troy Andrews attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts but had his nickname earlier, playing the trombone before his arms could even hold it up, he is already a legend in New Orleans and attracted some major players to help him out here on his first major label release.  Allen Toussaint contributes on his own "On Your Way Down" and Lenny Kravitz pops in for the slow rock get down ballad "Something Beautiful".  Not all the guests add to the quality of things though, Marc Broussard's vocals and lyrics on "Right To Complain" take away from a great backing track.  When it comes to new lyrical tunes Shorty can still use some work, "One Night Only" works better live as a party tune then it does here, yet the playing is still world class. 

Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue shine brightest when they can control the tempo and flair like on the trumpet based "Neph" and balls out blasting of "Suburbia" complete with fuzzed up guitar and spastic horn breakdowns.  There is enough pop appeal to grab newbie's ears and enough experimentation to draw in jazz hounds creating an album that can really be enjoyed by all.  As Troy and the gang continue to grow and work with other great artists a lot will be expected as they have set the bar extremely high with Backatown.         

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Sure there are artists I love that I constantly view through rose colored glasses, but I can admit when they drop a clunker (Dylan's last) but it is always a blast when someone you completely dig comes through with the goods.

2 years ago Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue was clearly the highlight of my annual Jazzfest trip, but for those who weren't there it was hard to describe the mix of Rock Funk Jazz and sprinkling of cheesy that made them great; and there was precious little I could play for them.  This release changes that.  Anyone who wants to get down to the new sounds of New Orleans needs to make a couple of purchases this year and Backatown is certainly one of them.   Enough words, let's party:


    

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Album Review - The Megaphonic Thrift - Decay Decoy

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
The Megaphonic Thrift
Decay Decoy
**** out of *****

If the worse thing I can say about a band is that they are a knock off of one of the most innovative groups from the last 25 years then that isn’t the worst criticism in the world.  This is the case with the Norwegian noise rock outfit, The Megaphonic Thrift’s first full length release Decay Decoy.  Sure, they may have been born bred and raised on Sonic Youth’s expansive art-rocking pallet, containing both male/female lyrics and countless excursions into the unknown, yet there is unmistakable feedback-y goodness present from the jump to the last fadeout. 

“Talks Like The Weed King” is an upbeat duet that seems barely contained in it’s 3:20 run time, while the repetitive beats of “Neues” are trance like and “You Saw The Silver Line” contains enchanting jangling strumming.  Ferocious drum rolls and fuzzed guitars on “Candy Sin” along with the distorted bass on “Queen of Noise” shatter the amps and pump the energy to cathartic levels.  There are some down moments such as “Sister Joan” and there isn’t an obvious standout track but the quartet from Europe certainly have southern Manhattan flowing throw their six strings and will hopefully keep experimenting in the future.  


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This band is right up my alley.  While it isn't world altering or super unique, the group are obviously gifted when it comes to shifting sound and feedback via pedals and noise builds and I love that so much.  I really liked their demo last year, and loved them live.  While this is no major step forward you get more of the same with the full length which shows their obvious Sonic Youth love and ramps it up.  Hey, I love Sonic Youth, so me and this album are friends.  It may not be for everyone, but if you can get down with SY, Dino Jr, My Bloody Valentine and that ilk odds are you will really dig on The Megaphonic Thrift.

Some Vids:
Opening track on the album "The Undertow":
Here is the Video I took of them Live @ Santos Party House:

Some Acoustic:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Dead - RTBE Personal Favorites Edition: 5-3-1972 Olympia Theater, Paris, France

So continuing the RTBE Personal Favorites Edition I am going to a post show that I can not get enough of and it is a WHOPPER!  Today's behemoth comes from 5-3-1972 Olympia Theater in Paris France
 Click that link or stream it right c'here:

I have all ready discussed a couple of shows from 1972, and may even discuss some more because it was a magical year for the fellas.  Keith was becoming comfortable, Pig Pen still had legs (more importantly a voice) and Garcia was hitting a career highlight with Robert Hunter when it came to song writing.  Europe 72 is the most memorable tour the group would ever undertake, and while the times were wild the playing may have never been better, today's show is a great example of the majesty that was on display. 
Four cuts from today's show actually make the official release of Europe '72, 3 of them come in the first set.  This show is is broken up to 33 songs here and it covers 4-CD's worth of music, I love slapping my Blue Highlighted Disks into the player and letting the magic unfold, but the stream from this archive feed is just as good.  Prefect recording that does justice to the perfect playing.  There are other versions on the archive, and feel free to pick your own favorite, but just do yourself a favor and devote sometime to this night.  While everyone is working together and on for this evening, I believe the real reason I love this particular show is the crisp, inventive bass playing from Phil, masterfully recorded and presented here on every tune. 
He works his bass into and out of country staples, psychedelic vamps, and blues walks with ease and grit when needed, it is a pleasure to listen to him conduct the group on this night and still manage to drop sonic bass bombs.  That may be getting a bit ahead of myself though.  This show, like so many in 72, offers something for every kind of music fan.  The first set focuses more on the shorter country/blues/rock flavored numbers that casual fans can bop around too, while the section set showcases the jamming which made the groups legends and larger then their parts.

Some highlights of the first set is an engagingly sung "Black Throated Wind" where Garcia rips a major solo in the end to close things up, a fun little "Chinatown Shuffle" sung by Pig Pen and killer versions of "Sing Me Back Home" and "Next Time You See Me" which has pure attitude flowing through the harmonica and fret runs.  There must also be attention brought to the 3 songs from this set that made the cut for Europe 72 and can be actually be heard here on this stream, which is nice.  Granted there seems to be consensus that studio work has been added to enhance these tracks, but I am not complaining.  The solid piano runs and vocals that color "China Cat Sunflower" and weep into "I Know You Rider" are things of beauty.  They are worthy of "best of" consideration and are versions I know many fans cherish.  The "Tennessee Jed" also made the huge album released post tour and rambles along, giving the French a taste of Americana on this night.
I can talk about every track at this hulking mass of a show, but it would take you all day and night to read it, so let's skip to the second set (at least in writing, keep listening all day long). 

It may open with a smoking wah-wah filled version of "Greatest Story Ever Told" but this set will always be known to me (and I hope many others) as "The Other One" set.  Phil is everywhere and doing everything but before the full chaos drops we get a moving version of "Hurt's Me Too" that puts desperate emotion on display with a slicing guitar tone from Jerry and panged vocals from Pig Pen.  A tightly wound and energetic "Truckin" begins the chaos and you can hear Phil is amped (Pretty sure he even yells out some vocals on the first chorus) and the group is hyped and rolling.  About the 5:50 mark the pianos start playing along one would think to a crescendo, but instead we get a wandering jam where the band literally seems to be talking to each other about what to play through their instruments.  Lesh starts moving in the direction of "The Other One" and we are off to the races via some freaky cosmic dancing and the patented space rumbles.
The track explores tons of different locales; the group isn't in a hurry to hit the vocals any time soon.  Jerry runs in one direction, Phil follows behind, looping in the distance and adding weight to his runs as Billy is a whirl on the cymbals and Pig's organ sustains underneath it all.  Bobby joins the party around the 10 minute mark along with Keith's piano and then the band gives way so Billy can take center stage on "Drums".  Sensing they were onto something special though the group dips back into "The Other One" with some jazzy undercurrent once again being led by Lesh; in fact it sounds like it's just him and Billy getting down for a couple of minutes once it starts back up.  The band weaves and bobs around the theme again, finding new nooks and crannies to explore, at times leaking into the unknown or doing choreographed exchanges like around 7:20.  To say the freak out machinations were blowing the minds of the tripping few that night would probably be an understatement, but for them to fall away and leave a bright shiny "Me & Bobby McGee" in it's wake is almost as mind numbing.  This pop gem seemingly oozes out of nowhere and is a glorious ray of light, here's a video of a version of the tune from a few nights before this show:
Pretty cool to see what the boys looked like on this tour, but we can't leave this show as the group thunders out another "Other One" segment with Phil's bombing and a wrap up of the lyrical piece before dipping directly into a ballad, with Jerry's soulful "Wharf Rat".  Fantastic playing which features Garcia's riffs that sound easy and jangling.  The set gets a midpoint energy injection with "Jack Straw" and "Sugar Magnolia" and Straw was the 4th song featured on Europe 72, an all time version while the Sugar is no slouch with killer Phil runs and Garcia wah wah.

The end of the set is a segue/combo that I love; "Not Fade Away>Going Down The Road Feeling Bad>Not Fade Away".  I kept this version of the combo on my hard drive for ever and would drop it onto various Dead shows or CD's I burned and I always love revisiting it, especially after "The Other One" madness from earlier in the set.  This is a nice and tight combo that manages to always put a smile on my face and today's version is no exception with the clear lines Garcia plays.

(I like the version from todays show better, but this is a cool video)
The band ends the huge night of music with "One More Saturday Night" and it is hard to ask for anything more from a Dead show, and they still had another night at the Olympia (which a lot of fans like even more then this show).  Easily one of my personal favorites when it comes to this band, here's hoping you enjoy it.

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I also wanted to take a second to mention that the Dead completed their offering of a new Mp3 download for every day in November, and the crew over at Dead Roots were nice enough to compile them all for your downloading enjoyment.  Go here to get them!

I haven't gone through them all but some of my highlights were "New Speedway Boogie", "Sailor/Saint" and "The Music Never Stopped" which is completely killer and I actually discussed before here.  Feel free to check it on out and enjoy all the great music.   
 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Funday: Funny RIP Leslie Nielsen

I can't overlook the death of a man that I find hysterical, gotta give it up to my main man Leslie Nielsen.

Keeyrist as Jason pointed out I even saw Spy Hard in the theater.
I think me and my dad were the only two who did!

Anyway Leslie will be missed, even if his later movies were ummm iffy  (excluding the scrumptious Diora Baird of course).  Take a moment and laugh out loud...I am serious, and stop thinking about that Shirley line.
This has to be one of my favorite moments in film...so classic....Bingo!


I know it is stupid comedy, but that's the best kind...Some deleted scenes from Naked Gun:


And here is a combo of two of his best movies, RIP Drebin:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Album Review - Ryan Bingham Junky Star

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
Junky Star
*** out of *****
Lost Highway Records does a good job of catching those voices that are wandering the Southern Midwest, singing the songs of heartlands and heartbreak in a uniquely country way.  Junky Star continues that tradition that dates back to even before there were highways; expressing the stories that ramble around the heart, head and home.

After Ryan Bingham won the Oscar for Best Song last year with "Weary Heart" fans and critics alike were afraid he would instantly "sell-out" or "Go Hollywood" but he has done neither of those; he made a record that relaxes in his singing and simple musical phrases.  Binghams' vocals and songwriting are his main tools and he ply's them craftily throughout, he borrows from everyone (like most good ones do) and he manages not to get caught being too much of an imitator. Rather then a whiskey soaked country hero Ryan seems to be trying to channel his western Bob Dylan, getting a touch more nasally then raspy on tracks like "The Wandering" and working out some of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska's weariness on "Yesterday's Blues".  On one of the albums highlights, the opening track "The Poet", Bingham sings, "As I keep walkin, people keep talking/About things they never seen or done" he tries to do the opposite with Junky Star focusing on what he knows, traveling, honky-tonks and loneliness.

The Dead Horses back him admirably but aren't asked to do much of anything as the tempo never raises above a mini-shake via "Direction of the Wind"; the tone is consistent throughout and it is more Junkie then Star.  The disk closing "All Choked Up Again" seems to just nod off rather then wrap things up and at over 6 minutes it doesn't do much to stand out from the rest.  Rather then getting "glossy tinsel-town'ed up", Bingham seems to have done the opposite and go bland, slow, alt-country for a bunch of tracks here, not the best of signs.  A mixing up of pace and tempo would make for a better overall listen, but Bingham seems content to travel along while showcasing the songs that will hopefully stick around long after that Oscar stops shining.     
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Like most good country albums the artist who produces them always seems to be more concerned with the individual songs then the album as a whole, it just seems to be how the genre works.  Bingham follows this along, but more variety or a bit of energy might draw in more ears, then again though that doesn't seem to be his slightest concern; he is writing because he has the songs in him and god bless him.

I think in the end I won't turn Junky Star off when one of the songs pop up on Shuffle but as a full listen it does lag in multiple places, then again Alt-Country, Outlaw Country, Americana, whatever you want to label this sound has always done it this why, so why change?  Some tunes for you to peruse:
"The Poet" Live:

 "Depression" Live and Soooo much better then the studio version!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

RTBE Interview with: Noun (Marissa Paternoster)

An on going project of interviews with various artists.  Today's guest is Marissa Paternoster, the creative whirlwind behind, NOUN
Rock The Body Electric:  You seem to be extremely prolific with song writing, recording and touring with your other band Screaming Females, what made you think now was the right time for a solo album?

Marissa Paternoster:  Sadly, I am not as prolific of a song writer as I would like to be.  Writing Noun songs is somewhat of a reclusive activity, and I haven't had a moment to be much of a recluse with the amount of touring Screaming Females has been doing.  I need to have a lot of time to build a song that I find satisfying, and time is something that I haven't had lately.  The Noun record seemingly came out of thin air.  I was interning at a recording studio in Millstone, NJ called The Hunt Studio and when the owner, Eric Bennett, and I were on down time, we'd record Noun songs for fun.  When Joe Steinhardt from Don Giovanni heard some of the tracks, he offered to release an album and, well, viola!


Noun - Holy Hell from If You Make It on Vimeo.

RTBE: Why Noun and not The Marissa Paternoster Project or something like that?

MP: I started recording under the alias Noun when I was about seventeen.  I wouldn't want my name to become synonymous with a project that I may not identify with fully in the future.  I also wanted to maintain some semblance of mystery.  As artists, it is our duty to procure interest in an audience so that they will listen to what we are trying to say.  If no one asks a question, no one is going to bother looking for an answer.  Kiss wears make-up, and Marissa Paternoster calls herself Noun.  It's that sorta thing, you know?    
Marissa MacKaye?!?! 

RTBE:  Ha, Yes I know.  You wrote all of the songs here, who helped you out on the playing?

MP:  Jarrett Dougherty of Screaming Females played on "Pearly Gates", and Mike Abbate from Screaming Females played bass on a bunch of tracks..."Outerspace" and "So Rough" to name a few.  The absolutely amazing Angela Boylan played drums on "Holy Hell" and "Outerspace".  She used to be in a wildly popular Brooklyn band called Cheeky who dissolved about two years ago (I think).  Miranda Taylor is an another amazing lady who played the drums on "So Rough".  She's in an awesome band from New Jersey called Black Wine, and she used to play the drums in an infamous Jersey band called Hunchback.


RTBE: There is an obvious piano influx on Holy Hell, does this come natural or is piano something you had to work at?  Any other instruments you are comfortable with and may bust out soon?

MP: Haha, I am in no way comfortable playing the piano!  Piano is a fairly (easy) instrument to understand, most folks can sit in front of it and play something in a matter of minutes.  Writing songs on different instruments offers a new perspective.  I also really enjoy organs and things because they offer such a wide array of sounds.
 RTBE: You're dynamic when using pedals, feedback and distortion like the jet engine roar on "So Rough" and the warbling on "Wrong Things".  Are these methods used to simply expand/sound larger or is there more going on there? What artists inspired you with pedals/feedback/distortion?

MP: I suppose the songs on Holy Hell run the gamut because they were recorded over such a long period of time.  All of the songs had quite a bit of time to develop and change.  Also, giving every song its own character makes songwriting and recording a lot less boring.  There are a ton of artists who inspire me in so many different ways it'd be silly only to name a few....



RTBE:  There is spiritual element on this album, starting right at the title, Holy Hell, going down to what feels like very personal lyrics.  How much did spirituality come into the writing of this album?  Is it something you wrestle with often?

MP: I am not a particularly spiritual person but I have a profound interest in the fanaticism that drives fundamentalist ideals.  Religions zealots almost seem like they posses some type delusional mental illness, which is something else I take great interest in.  I often write about Heaven and Hell because they serve as practical metaphors for best and worst case scenarios.  I struggle with faith, but the struggle does not concern god or any sort of institutionalized religion.  


RTBE: Do you plan on touring behind these songs, or playing them live with Screaming Females?

MP:  Nope!  Screaming Females tours to heavily I haven't had time to play much as Noun.   


RTBE:  Holy Hell shows off your impressive singing range, have you had any professional training?

MP: I was in choir when I was young, but that's it.
RTBE: "Call Earth" simply sounds epic, when it is done I am always surprised it is only 3:36, was it your intention to cram such a wide musical journey into such a short song?

MP: Hmmm...can't say I agree with the "wide musical journey" you speak of...I don't suppose I thought too much about it, the song just turned out that way!  Thank you, though! 

RTBE:  No, Thank you for the time and all the great music!  Keep up the great work.


Go buy the fantastic Noun album c'here, there is an album Review of Holy Hell c'here and go see Marissa whenever she tours in any form or group...you will not regret it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Glide Review - Bob Dylan Live 11-23-10, Terminal 5, NYC



Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right c'here!!!

It is of Bob Dylan's live set from Terminal 5 last Tuesday night, and I love the picture Shane and Eric used...CHEECH!

Seems Dylan comes to NYC every Nov/Dec and I will be there every year until he decides to hang it up.  This years show and the ever changing song arraignments were very reminiscent of last years show and successful tour and as no one has left the band why should it change?  The main difference was obviously the venue and I loved seeing Bob in Terminal 5 as opposed to the United Palace.  I could walk there and it was cool seeing him in a club were people had to stand.

The singalong during "Just Like A Woman" was simply crazy and the fact that the version was so good made this an amazing moment for me seeing the legend.  The night was a ton of fun as I got to see it with some of my closest friends from a prime bar spot.  His band was on and alive, Dylan had energy and the setlist was more then you can ask for...a hell of a night.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Dead - RTBE Personal Favorites Edition: 8-16-91 Shoreline, CA

So I wanted to wrap up the year, and possibly the whole Monday Dead series, with a comprehensive "Best of" series of posts, but I realized quite a while back that this would be impossible.  Besides getting me more into this band then I have been in years, the Monday postings have made me realize just how amazing this group is and how many special nights remain out there for even committed (Commit-able?) fans (myself included) to still unearth with glorious results.   

So what I am going to do is post a month's worth of shows that mean something special to me; we will call it Rock The Body Electric Personal Favorites Edition.  They are the nights in the bands history I reach for the most and have a special chamber reserved in me old grizzled heart for one reason or another.  I was at none of these shows, so it is only the recordings that matter to me, not the vibe or weather, but more likely who gave me the tape (yes tapes) and/or when I heard it and where.  I think all the shows presented this month are great for various reasons and I will try to touch on them all, feel free to comment with your personal favorites.  The last Monday in December I will try to post a list of the "must have" shows from each era so newer fans can at least have a solid foundation and Dead Heads can yell at me for leaving classics off of it....anyway, why not start at the beginning?

My first tape... 8-16-1991 Shoreline Amphitheater,
Click that link or Stream the show right C'here: 

You are always going to remember your first...tape, and it is pretty glorious show at that, not one of the "classics" by most peoples judgment, yet 8-16-91 cooks and got me into this band proper. So sometime in the spring of my freshman year in college a friend thought I might dig on this tape...Until then I had never listened to the Dead, I grew up on Metal/Hardcore-Punk and Hip-Hop, with splashes of noise rock, Jimi, Industrial, Primus, oddball pop and a whole heaping of Irish Folk (Thanks Pops).  After chatting with Mattie B one night over cold beverages and explaining my range of musical tastes, he (wisely) thought I would dig on the Dead, and this was the first tape he gave to me out of his vast collection.  I still can remember the cover with it's green/purple/white swirls and the black ink on the jacket, but what I remember even more was hearing those loose ass bass strums first kick in from Phil on the opening "Jack Straw".
The strings sound so loose when he comes in you think they are going to flap off...I can't find this anywhere today, but at the time I did some research and I think he was trying out some new green bass, and then ditched it post song, either way I was hooked by something unique and kept on going.  Not sure if there is any correlation, but to this day I would say "Jack Straw" is still one of my top 5 tunes from the fellas.  This first set is surprisingly energetic, at the time had I been given a "classic" recording of the band that was slower paced I doubt it would have stuck, but the "Bertha" from this opening night in the August Shoreline run has speed and grace, thanks predominately to the majestic piano runs of Bruce Hornsby.
Listening now it is easy to hear the piano player inspiring the fellas to take different angles while attacking older classics like "Bertha", Garcia particularly, but when I first heard it I was impressed by the interplay and the crescendos plain and simple.  Bruce's impact on the Band was huge and kept them active, I often wondered what would have happened to the group as a whole and Garcia personally had he joined the group full time?

"It's All Over Now" which can sometimes fell like a throw away, is shining here with the grand piano taking the center stage and urging the group to follow.  This rendition of "Desolation Row" was pretty eye opening as I was not yet a Dylan fan (shocking!) and had never heard the song, while it wasn't monumental in it's playing it is the Bobby version I have always liked best, and got me curious about that Zimemrman kid...
Photo from Minkin is the next night of this stand in 91.
The electric runs of "Desolation Row" stood out as did all the words and references, but the freakiness of the next song was just as important.  The uber rare first set "Dark Star" shone on this hot day for the first time since 11-15-1971 and they tell me that is over 1,307 shows...wow.  The cosmic wandering here was shocking to those in attendance and my ears when I first heard it, I can't say for certain, but it was tracks like this that really got me listening and appreciating free jazz going forward.  The trippy misplaced guitar of Bobby blaring into the sweet and melodious Bruce/Jerry interplay over the funky strut that the drummers drop add up to a succulent treat.  This version was an event for both the band and myself...don't they always play this song in the first set?!?!  The fluttering exit directly into the rocking "Promised Land" rev's things back up and shows the range of the band, especially to a neophyte...and that was just set 1.

My tape at the time had the highlight of the second set on the end of side B, I am talking about the amazing opening run of "Scarlett Begonias>Victim Or The Crime>Fire On The Mountain".  I can't be certain (well I can ask him but not sure if he would remember) but I think Matt gave me this tape/show in particular because of this run and specifically "Victim Or The Crime", before we get to that though we get a short, upbeat version of "Scarlett" that still has some odd guitar riffs emanating from Weir and powerful vocals from Garcia.  Then while everyone was expecting the reggae sunshine of "Fire On The Mountain" the Dead throw a dark and deadly curve ball with "Victim Or The Crime" which Hornsby eases the band into.  Easily the eeriest song in the Dead's catalog (and one fans either love or hate) the dark tones stand in stark contrast to the positive vibes surrounding it, but I think that is why it succeeds so winningly and one of the reasons I started to really dig the band.  I understood while listening to this for the first time that it wasn't all hippy-dippy love and there was deeper meaning there, the fact that they could address it that openly was exciting and more akin to what I was used to.      
I loved the call back to "Darkstar" (I know the lyric is Dark side, but I swear he says Dark Star here) and the other worldliness of the track instantly thinking a good metal/hardcore cover could be made of this one.  It still remains my favorite version of this song.  The twist back to the upbeat comes out with the wah wah of Jerry and plucky rhythm of "Fire On the Mountain", saving the wandering brains of tripping fans on that night.   Piano features heavily again as Bruce bangs and smiles on the ivories.  A kaleidoscope of partying sounds makes up this punchy tune tonight while heads get bobbing...hey was that a bizarre bass run from Phil around 9 minutes or something else entirely?!?  
After that came a tape switch and while the upbeat keyboard based "Trucking" isn't particularly memorable or exciting it did give me a glimpse into one of the groups signature numbers and the epic nature of certain lyrics.  What I did find fascinating was the "Drums>Space" I am not sure why but I can still remember sitting in my dorm room overlooking Washington Sq Park on a sunshine filled spring day and hearing this combo, I was fascinated by it, much like the "Dark Star".  That a band could noodle and experiment like that was eye opening, I confess I am often bored with "Drums>Space" and will skip it most shows for some reason this one got me from the start.  Listening back to it today the Drum section is nothing really special until maybe the end couple of minutes and the Space has it's freaky moments, but the word that keeps coming to mind is overindulgent...I know I wasn't high back in freshman year, but my mind must have been somewhere else entirely.

Anyway...umm when they come back into the out of nowhere "Playing In the Band Reprise" that is still really triumphant and a neat twist.  No idea where this came from, but it is a blast of music before my first experience of a Jerry ballad with "Standing on the Moon".  Quite affecting this version like later all later day ballads have the rasp I love while I feel Jerry makes this song his personal own...the back porch line allows me to picture him just lounging and I like that.  "Good Loving" (with "LaBamba" intro Tease) and  "US Blues" are fine but didn't do much to impress me then or now, however all in all I was hooked by this fine show...

More great shows flowed out from all directions and from all the eras of the Dead's playing, but as I said in the beginning, you always remember your first, What was yours?