Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Funday -Tom Waits Listening Party for Bad As Me

It is pure Boosh! that Tom Waits is coming out with a new album in a few promote the upcoming Bad As Me he held a Private Listening Party for his fans...Peep it!

Great stuff I would love to be rocking out in that old jalopy with an added bonus I left these two off yesterdays Songs About Horses post because well, I knew this was coming enjoy two more Songs About Horses by the great gravel-y one...

 "Jitterbug Boy" Live in 1977 (with a long intro, actual song starts at 2:31)
"Nowadays it's Fast Women, Slower Horses...Unreliable Sources"
Their is a Live Bootleg from Australia regarding his 78 Down Under Tour that happens to be called Fast Women, Slow Horses Cough*Cough

"The Fall of Troy"  "It's the same with men as with horses and dogs...Nothing wants to die..."

Enjoy your weekend and here's hoping everyone bets on fast ponies....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Travers Week 2011 Special - Songs About Horses

Well it is almost here, we have the post positions picked and the morning lines announced for 142th (!) running of the Travers Stakes in lovely Saratoga, NY.  Last years race was simply a doozy....

Wow...Photo Finish!  Fly Down almost got Afleet Alex at the end...what a finish, here's hoping this year holds up too, I am leaning towards Coil this year, but with 10 horses running the race is wide open so I am committing to nothing yet.

(RtBE note:  I am editing this post as it went up too soon, 2 more songs added to the original list Thanks Caesar for "Galway Races", no idea how that slipped my mind!)

To set the mood we are going to get into some songs about horses today.  The beauty of it is, who knows if the songs are really about horses, women, men, heroin or all of that...So here are 12 songs (plus 2 bonus tracks if you keep scrolling) about horses...or connected to horses...or maybe the writer saw a horse once... 

Why not start with a classic?   Get your bets in and then MOUNT UP!

 Weren't expecting that were ya? Thought if I was going to go with The Man in Black Johnny Cash it would be Tennessee Stud?  Sure it's a great tune, but I plan on betting on those "Camptown Races" while Johnny makes those Camptown Ladies hearts swoooon!

Sticking old school here I can't leave out Gene Autry and while the song has more to do with cowboys, then jockey's yet...they both be riding some horses yo! 

Here is another one that sticks on the acoustic front (don't worry we will start rockin' soon) Townes Van Zandt was known for achingly beautiful songs and some cool mid song chatter.  Oon a live show I own of his he makes sure to mention that this song is indeed about a he pulling the audience's chain?  Perhaps...could I have gone with Pancho and Lefty?  Sure.  But I didn' is "Two Girls":

It's Emerald Isle Time!  Ireland has a great culture of horse racing, and Caesar reminded me of an old Irish tune that is a must to include in this list of Horse-y Songs, especially one that focuses on gambling with the ponies!  "Galway Races" is the song The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem  are performing the version I'm a choosin'.  You even get a mini history lesson of why the Irish are world renowned for their music, beer, writing....but not their err..culinary skill. 

Next up is RtBE favorite original blues-man John Lee Hooker getting his primal electric riffing on for his baby and those "Two White Horses"

Faster Horses, Younger Women, Older Whiskey, and More Money.  Tom T Hall you speak to me...yes sir!

Ok starting to creep into rock territory now...even though it is still mostly acoustic, How about some 60's rock?  First up is some Byrd song action with the descriptive "Chestnut Mare":

Next let's kick it over to Jolly Old England and ride some "Wild Horses" with The Rolling Stones:

How about we "Run For The Roses" huh? This one holds a special place in my special one's heart when it comes to The Jerry Garcia Band so I including this instead of Dan Fogelberg's tune of the same name..Reach for the stars...hope all my horses do that this weekend and hope none of them smack into the sky:

Make it funky?  Ok Here is Cliff Nobles & Co with "The Horse" what does it have to do with horses?  Umm...The title?!:

When I walk into Saratoga this year I will do so with a winning ticket, I get to cash in ticket, receive the real cash, which I am sure I will promptly lose on the next race.  I do however walk in a winner this year, how you may ask?  I picked a top notch pony earlier this season when I hit the raceway with MaDukes!  The horses name?  Runaway Jim!  How could I not bet on a Phish song to win?  So while it might be about a dog, today it is about a horse, Here is "Runaway Jim" from the New Years Day show at MSG this year.

(If you are feeling frisky here is the longest song Phish ever played, and that is saying something "Runaway Jim" from Worcester, MA 12-29-1997, it is over 59 minutes, no idea how the whole thing ended up on Youtube)

And finally rounding out our Songs About Horses (or kinda about) here is the jam that runs through my head every time I play the ponies, a personal favorite from this list...The Hold Steady "Chips Ahoy"

And yes...I will be betting at least something on the 5th the 6th race this weekend...

If you are sticking around this long, lets give you 2 bonus songs from some of my favorite groups who happen to have "Horse" in the Groups Title....
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, "Fuckin' Up" here's hoping we do none of that this weekend:

Band of Horses, "Older" yes we keep getting older, but Travers, never losses it's luster...

Best of luck.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Review - The Nightwatchman - Union Town EP

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 Nightwatchman
Union Town EP
*** out of *****

For those who don't know by now The Nightwatchman is Tom Morello's alias for his solo venture that see's him raging even more against the machine while delving deeply into left wing politics.  Morello has said that this was a reaction to playing in Audioslave, but his songs go back much further then that with their roots in political anthems as old as this country.  He is not trying to be a chart topper and during a time when the country is divided or disillusioned with politics he is not afraid to take a direct approach and express his feelings which I am sure many people who enjoy his rapid fire riffing will avoid. 

This EP goes a even a step further by giving all of it's sales towards so Morello is putting potential proceeds where his mouth and heart is.  The more pressing question for this review is, what about the tunes? 

Well The Nightwatchman started out almost exclusively acoustic, but has gradually started adding electric flourishes to get his point across; this EP is mostly stripped down and focuses on some old songs that have been floating in and out of Union Halls for the last 95+ years.  The title track however is a Morello original (and standout on the EP) that opens with a wah-wah fuzz riff announcing a flaring sense of daring before the acoustic 6 string comes in and the message follows "If you come to strip our rights away/we'll give you hell every time/Cause this is Union Town!". 

Then Tom dips into history books to break out "Solidarity Forever" by Ralph Chaplin using "The Battle Hymn of The Republic" as template and exulting Union pride over piano plunks and a marching snare, then dips into bleakness with the Kentucky Coal Miner anthem, "Which Side Are You?".  The backing tracks everywhere are sturdy and simplistic; never distracting from the message, but never boring either.  The limiting factor here are Morello's vocals, while delivering a fierce message and amping up the fist raised masses he is more then admirable like on the Woody Guthrie classic "This Land Is Your Land?" (banned verses included) but when he goes for emotional effect on "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill" and "16 Tons" things aren't as successful.  Safe to say this version of "16 Tons" won't replace Tennessee Ernie Ford's classic cover version, but Morello isn't really going for studio perfection here as heard on his ripping live track taken from this February's Wisconsin Union demonstrations, "Union Song".  He is here to spread his message and if you don't like it that's fine...he will just keep on singing, marching and protesting for the working man.        

So it is Travers week and I will be heading upstate to join the festivities, such as drinking great beers for charity and hanging with family and friends.  I have spoke in the past of my family still living up in the area and that is where today's review comes into play.  No we didn't all travel to go see Rage Against The Machine together...(all though I did catch them back in 96 on the Evil Empire Tour and it is still one of the best shows I have ever seen) but we did all live in a very Pro Union household.  I have heard these songs The Nightwatchman are singing on this EP since I could walk (well obvious exception being the 3 originals) and these kind of tracks as well as Irish folk music were the first tunes I can remember as a child.  I thoroughly enjoy the songs presented here, even if I have maybe heard better versions else.  The time I first knew of Morello going solo was when I actually walked into one of his free shows on my block in NYC no less. 

It was during the Republican National Convention in New York City back in 2004, I had just moved into my new apartment and there was really very little notice of the Republicans in town, but wouldn't you know it there was a stage on my block set up one afternoon (by the union UNITE if I remember correctly).  While I was walking home from work in my suit looking like a cheap hustler I had to stop.  Then I heard some song playing and realized I knew the guy, it was Tom Morello going to town on an acoustic guitar, I stuck around and heard him play some Guthrie and "Road I Must Travel"
It was pretty cool back then and remains pretty cool is fresh to hear direct expression through music at times, which brings up another point...I have no problem with people expressing their beliefs through song even if I don't agree with them. 

It always boggles my mind when I hear people complain about things like "I bought a ticket for the music, not for some guy to preach his beliefs at me" especially in an age where it is pretty easy to find out pre-purchase what slant you are going to get, or simply go to have a coke and smile and shut the fuck up during that tune.  The Eddie Vedder Bush Mask situation
 or CSNY '06 Freedom of Speech Tour both come to mind.  I have no problem with anyone expressing their views, political, spiritual, emotional...hell that is what all music is!!!  Why people get so worked up over politics and music mixing especially I will never know.  Anyway, enough ranting, look for the Union Label and listen to these tracks from Tom, I am looking forward to his newest full length released soon, and looking to chat with PaDukes this weekend....
"Union Town"
"Solidarity Forever"
And as a bonus a ripping "Ghost of Tom Joad" with Bruce:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dylan Cover #24 The Black Keys - "The Wicked Messenger"

The month of August always brings to mind Saratoga, last year RtBE focused on Dead shows from Saratoga, this year we are going to focus on covers of songs from the first Bob Dylan show Wilson and I saw together which happened to be at SPAC.  It was a gorgeous summer night on July 23rd 2000 when the show took place, each Monday we will pick a cover of a song played on this night...this is the first one....

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by The Black Keys of "The Wicked Messenger"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
A breezy musical number (only 2 minutes long) with some biblical lyrics that actually would foreshadow Dylan's religious musical phase that would arrive in the late 70's/early 80's "The Wicked Messenger" has a cool bass line to match the acoustic guitar.  Like most of John Wesley Harding there is a mellow mood that tends to play down the lyrics, I find it interesting that at this show Dylan would play multiple selections from this album and that (along with the covers) speaks to Dylan feeling at home with his "Country Rock" period for this tour.  I am sure playing with Larry Campbell helped this out as the man can play anything and give a good feel, he played mandolin on 2 numbers this night and pedal steel on one.  This track was the "rocking highlight" of the show, with the 3 guitars dueling and rising.  The song has seemed to pop up every few tours and can usually be found towards the ends of sets, playing the roll of up-tempo-get-down track.  Live versions certainly have improved the tracks standing in my mind from the original. 
Cover Tune:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have written about The Black Keys numerous times here in the past, so I won't go too much into them, but safe to say I dig them.  Brothers was my favorite album of 2010 and Rubber Factory is an all time great as well.  I have seen them live a bunch and while they aren't my favorite act out there they are a solid group and I am really excited to see where they go in the future.   
Thoughts on Cover:
This should be a slam dunk for this group, and while the song is solid there seems to be something just off about it.  Not bad by any stretch, but not mind blowing great either, frankly I expected a bit more bite from the Akron Duo.  There is a feeling of going through the motions, as opposed to crackling vitally.  The tone is perfect and fuzzy from the guitars, but I am not sure, maybe I just had higher hopes over all but to me it just seems like a standard cover.

Grade: C

Wilson's Take:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Funday - Funky Lucille Ball?!? Who knew?!?

Thanks to Bob Kosovsky's great blog post over at NYPL regarding Lucille Ball earlier this week I was turned on to some bizarre disco/funky stuff...
Turns out someone made the "I Love Lucy" theme into a funky disco throwdown...Granted this is before my time and I must confess I never really watched the show, but this re-imaging of the theme song was just too weird not to share...
There is a cool "chicky-wah-wah" break at 2 minutes that makes the song get groovier then all get up and worth checking out.  The video itself (or whiteboy7931 who posted it I should say) types up some facts regarding the song (in a very annoying way), such as billboard placement and that Trevor Lawrence played Woodstock and did a few tours with The Rolling Stones.  Informative and funky, get in there and shake it down on this Friday.

Thanks Bob...Thanks err...Whiteboy7931,  Enjoy your weekend all!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Glide Review: Band of Horses Live Hammerstein, NYC 8/10/11

 What up y'all?

Got a new review up on Glide

Go on, read it right c'here!!!!

It is of Band of Horses rippin' live show last Wednesday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. 

This was a last minute thing and big props to Jeff for grabbing the tickets (while I was actually wagering on real horses) last Friday.  The show was fantastic as the band was in sky high spirits and the crowd was just as stoked.  It almost had the feel of a fan club show as everyone was on the same wavelength.
 J Mascis opened.  I don't need to go much more into my love of J as it has been well documented around these parts...hell, my love of BOH has been talked about too, I am not sure why I was so surprised walking out of the venue, but I guess I was just forgotten how great they were... 
 (Pics from Brooklyn Vegan)
An excellent night of tunes, can't wait for the new album and need to make it a point to listen to that band more.  This along with Sonic Youth in Williamsburg last Friday night (no review from me, go here to L Magazine for a good one) made last week pure Boosh musically speaking. Enjoy some videos:
"No One's Gonna Love You"

 Opener "Infinite Arms"

"Islands On The Coast"
 Bonus Vid, SY from Friday:
"Death Valley '69"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dylan Cover #23 The Rok Boms Live - "Highway 61 Revisited"

The month of August always brings to mind Saratoga, last year RtBE focused on Dead shows from Saratoga, this year we are going to focus on covers of songs from the first Bob Dylan show Wilson and I saw together which happened to be at SPAC.  It was a gorgeous summer night on July 23rd 2000 when the show took place, each Monday we will pick a cover of a song played on this night...this is the first one....

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by The Rok Boms of "Highway 61 Revisited"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
A great blues rock number that has a touch of silly from Bob with the "Siren Whistle".  The original version of this tune found on the album of the same name strikes me as a bit of a put on, Bob obviously loves the historic feel and the bizarre middle American heritage but the lyrics and whistle soften the blow.  The track gets increasingly better in the live versions where Dylan's backers can rev up the honky-tonk and boogie down south as the group did for us up in Saratoga back in 2000.  Tony Garnier the bass player for the group lead things on a thumping rollick in the encore and the band all hopped on board as Dylan sang about God/Abraham.  It was the last rocker the group played that night putting fourth a ton of 6-string energy. (They would go on to finish with the crowd singing along to "Blowing in the Wind").  
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I caught The Rok Boms as they opened for Ryan Scully and the Rough Seven this year down in NOLA, and I have said it before here, but that was my favorite show of the year (and I doubt it will be topped).  One of the things that made it special was the surprising power that the duo of The Rok Boms managed to put out and their cover of "Highway 61" was a definite high point in their set.  Granted this quality of the recording isn't the top of the pops, but the energy and rolling noise is apparent.  Sure, comparisons to The White Stripes and Black Keys are inevitable, but the band is talented as all hell.  (Hope to have more regarding the band for you soon on RtBE)  

Thoughts on Cover:
They nailed it.  No whistle, no silliness just a raucous take on the blues boogie as the group plows ahead.  Excellent drumming from Hutch keeps things moving while Neil Christian riffs and rolls around.  The tempo change towards the end is a nice touch and the raw feel of the crashing cymbals and strums suits this classic perfectly.  Sometimes less is more and that is the case with The Rok Boms live cover of a classic.

Grade: B+
(As an added bonus, here is a free MP3 of the group nailing this cover raw in the studio) 
Wilson's Take:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Glide Review - Cro-Mags, Screaming Females etc. Live House of Vans 7-29-11

 Got a new review up on Glide today.

You can read it Right C'here!!!!

It is of the House of Vans live show on 7-29-11 at which the Cro-Mags, Fucked Up, Screaming Females & Pissed Jeans all played.  I mentioned this before but the 2 bands I was really there for were the CM's and SF's.

I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't agree that they were the highlights, in the order they played of course.

Then again the NY Times seems to put much more stock in Fucked Up then I did...oh well to each there own...Pretty cool the Times covered the event in the first place... 
Besides those two blistering sets I will always remember this show for the rain downpours, the vomit in the VIP section and the oppressive heat trapped in the venue.  It was a steam room in the House of Vans and while the sound kinda sucked in the back the energy was all over the place.  Even Fucked Up, who I can't get into, was giving it there all or at least their front-man was...

The Females did what they always do, impressed the hell out of me and make me want to go on tour with the band...they are phenomenal and I can't say enough good things about them.  Knowing their crowd they decided to play the opposite of a festival set and dove into their raw older tracks, I heard people commenting how much they dug it and had never seen them before.
I got a few videos that I found online, (the images were borrowed from Impose Magazine btw) I was in no shape to film or take pics, but I enjoyed the hell out of myself and had a blast bumping into old friends from the NYHC scene.  The first one gives you a good hunk of the Cro-Mags set that kicked mega ass, so enjoy:
Cro-Mag's: "World Peace" "Show No Mercy" "Malfunction" "Right Brigade" "It's The Limit" "Don't Tread On Me"  "Hard Times"

Cro-Mags | NYC @ House of Vans | 29 Jul 2011 from (((unartig))) on Vimeo.

Screaming Females - "I Don't Mind It"

More Cor-Mag's "Street Justice" and "Seekers of Truth"   My personal highlight combo of the show....
Feel free to share your thoughts...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Album Review - Sister City - Carbon Footprint

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:
 Sister City 
Carbon Footprint
** and 1/2 out of *****

Sister City are a duo (Adam Linder and Daniel Abzug on drums) from Rockville, Maryland, but that classification, 'duo' is completely misleading if you have never heard their first release, Carbon Footprint.  The first thing that belies that term is the production, the album is flushed out and produced (overproduced at times) so that it sounds as if there are 8 people playing and 6 people singing on a majority of the tunes.  Secondly, this is all about songwriter/lead singer/guitarist/bassist/producer/everything else (as per the liner notes) Adam Linder; when you title one of your own songs, on your first album no less, "Reinventing Adm Linder" you are squarely making yourself the focus.  There are tons of first person references and conflicting thoughts about history, religion and love...hell there are just a ton of lyrics. 

Waves of words wash over the listener and at times it feels like Mr. Linder is singing sentences because he simply can't get out of the way of his own thoughts.  There is rarely an instrumental break longer then 10 seconds without the lyrics dominating again, in an English Lit Major restlessness way.  Carbon Footprint may actual contain lyrical links connecting the whole album but sifting through these stanzas would take years.  Even though it's running time is just over 40 minutes it can wipe a listener out and feel much longer, not necessarily painful, just exhaustive.   

As the album progresses it seems to get tighter and more focused, the majority of Carbon Footprint musically contains a direct nod to the power/pop/punk of NoFX while the wordy rants can bring to mind Titus Andronicus as well.  When the focus is tempo changes and speed like on "Eff That" things come together nicely another highlight is the theatrical closer "How Much" which Linder seems to relish.  "IMPERATIVE" uses an acoustic march to build up to its finale, "Cartoon Movies" possesses a gypsy/Klezmer vibe and even quotes Moses while the already mentioned "Reinventing Adm Linder" has a smoother country feel that works.  The genres can seem all over the place, but it adds to the searching sense of the album; Linder may not have found his comfort zone yet, but the journey is all enveloping.       

In an age where lo-fi and minimalism seems to be the route most young artists are taking Sister City hitchhikes on the road (currently) less traveled and tries to blow out your speakers with layers of sounds and words.  The production deserves props as does the overloading of both sonics and verbiage ("Big and Small Words" literally crackles the speakers) and if you can withstand the initial onslaught you may find yourself going back in for more.    

That pretty much covers it, just wanted to point you in the bands direction here and give you a chance to check out the tunes for yourself via their bandcamp or right below.  


Monday, August 8, 2011

Dylan Cover #22 - Beck - "Country Pie"

The month of August always brings to mind Saratoga, last year RtBE focused on Dead shows from Saratoga, this year we are going to focus on covers of songs from the first Bob Dylan show Wilson and I saw together which happened to be at SPAC.  It was a gorgeous summer night on July 23rd 2000 when the show took place, each Monday we will pick a cover of a song played on this night...this is the first one....

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Beck of "Country Pie"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
Recorded for Nashville Skyline "Country Pie" is a tasty little treat that doesn't leave you too fat after consuming it.  The free-wheeling sense that accompanies it is simply charming, almost a kid song that I could see parents singing to children it has a whimsical air that elevates it up above simple throw away tune.  It was certainly a surprise to hear it live, the 2000 tour was the only time he broke it out in his career. doesn't even have it listed as being played, but I am sure that it was as there was a hoot and a holler to accompany it via Dylan's fantastic band at the time.  Praise should be given to Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell who spun southern goodness with this song on this night creating one of the highlights from the set.  It is no exaggeration that this lineup backing Dylan was the best he has had since The Band themselves, this group would go on to release the masterful Love & Theft in 2001 and Dylan may have never sounded better then on that disk.  They were cooking this night in SPAC also...        
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Beck is one intriguing artist...  I was a huge fan of his early work, in fact when I was describing Beck to my girlfriend years ago before he blew up I said "He is like Bob Dylan, if Dylan was born today and huffed a shit load of glue."  The was before he was multi-platinum constantly in demand artist.  My favorite disk is probably one people hate the most, Stereopathetic Soulmanure.  We just listened to it this weekend up at Shadow Bay and I was amazed at how well it still flows through my mind...more sonic structures then songs per-say, but One Foot In The Grave is dope as is Mellow Gold.  I started losing touch for him when he started really becoming popular, all though Midnight Vultures is a hell of a disk.  I am not sure what it is...maybe I changed, maybe he did, maybe I just always expected more from him, but I have since kind of fluttered away from his collection, who knows maybe this will bring me back...
Thoughts on Cover:
This cover version doesn't really have much known about it.  The Unheard Music, did a pretty comprehensive blog post about the tape where this cover comes from so read it here as I won't rehash it.  You can also download the tape from that page as well.  I like the cover, it remains playful, fast, and a good way to pass two minutes of your time.  The song doesn't lend itself to major rearrangement (like other Dylan tunes) but the simple ease and late night feel works totally fine here.

Grade: B+

Wilson's Take:
Way back when MTV actually played music, when radios required transistors and respectable speakers were the size of beer kegs; when depression was fashionable and the Oval Office doubled as a Clintonian sex den, Beck was something of a marvel. He did his own thing. He made the weird accessible and the accessible weirder.

I like Beck's cover of Dylan's "Country Pie". Upon what other vinyl ground should an artist like Beck take a turn? To do anything rich and original with a track off Blood on the Tracks or Highway 61 would require two turntables and a heavy dose of reverb. But in the simplicity of digging into Dylan's Nashville Skyline - originally recorded in that crooning, affected voice - Beck delivers a cover that straightens out the original. He plays "Country Pie" with the same half-smirk that led Dylan to record all of Nashville Skyline...a unique album that when the laughter died down, was terrific. This was the album in which Dylan recorded "I Threw It All Away" and "Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You" in the voice of a poolhall pervert. Beck, master of the weird, cued up a helluva cover on "Country Pie".

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Funday - Mariachi Band & Dancing Whale

Thanks to Vince over at Film Drunk, I saw this whacky/super cute video and had to share it with all...

Yup that's a Mariachi Band Los Trovadores de America serenading a Beluga Whale Juno from Mystic Connecticut who really looks to be enjoying either the sound/vibrations/visuals of the crew....or maybe he is waiting for them to break out the fish tacos.  Either way enjoy the video...and Enjoy yer weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

RTBE Interview with: Majuscules

This will be an on going project of interviews with various artists. Today's guest is Brian John Maloney from Majuscules.
A few weeks ago I had he pleasure to review the bands newest release Aquarium Age, this interview goes more in-depth with the band.   

Rock the Body Electric:  How did the band start?  
Brian John Maloney:  Majuscules began initially by way of a few mutual introductions and the dissolution of other musical projects. Matt and I met and started developing some ideas on acoustic guitars over cold beverages.

There was an earlier version of the band that played a string of shows in 2009, but one dude bailed for time constraints/was in other bands/lived in Jersey, another dude got into a PhD program in Californy, Matt went Euro-trippin’ for a few months…

We started working on some new stuff when Matt came back and then sought a rhythm section to flesh the songs out. Ben (bass) and Julian (drums) came into the fold through some blend of interstellar providence & internet crapshoot. After writing and rehearsing with this ragtag group of misfits, we started playing out and have more recently working on some recording projects.

The Aqaurium Age EP is out right now and we’ve just recently finished recording a batch of four new songs which we hope to have available just about as soon as we can possibly get them mixed.

RtBE: Majuscules is an interesting name, any literary or type-setting enthusiasts in the band?

BJM: Perhaps no type-setting enthusiasts per se, but we officially have at least a passing interest in or aesthetic reverence for letterpress and print-making. Up the artisans!

As for literary interest and the weight of the canon, I think we’re poised to contribute to the conversation of experience in a hopefully meaningful way. I guess that’s probably the express intention in the creation of any art…

And I’d like to hope that there’s a bit of a literary sensibility to the lyrics, even though they are often intentionally oblique or terse. Favorite themes include bewilderment of the senses, the making of meaning, the absolute value of anything at all, the idea of perception/communication and of course, girls.

But as for the origin of the name Majuscules, it was a combination of the powerful m and jsounds, the slant association to the regal and the actual meaning of capital letters which has a host of connotations in its own right. I still think it’s pretty rad, but it requires explanation to nearly everyone who is not a graphic designer.

RtBE:  You seem to have a pretty well developed shoegaze vibe flowing through your songs, who are some of your influences? 

BJM: Sonically, this question is difficult to answer. Certainly an amalgam of thousands of absolutely seminal records released over the past 50 years. More precisely or seriously, pretty much everything Dischord ever put out, Rites of Spring and Fugazi closest to my heart, through to slacker greats like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement and the earlier end of Modest Mouse’s catalog, plus some stoner stuff, protest songs and hippie stuff. If I’m going to rifle off a handful of bands who I’d like to cite as influences, which isn’t to say that I think we sound alike, I’ll go: David Bowie, Grateful Dead, Nirvana, Pixies, June of 44, Velvet Underground and those aforementioned.

RtBE: You have played a bunch in the Northeast, any particularly memorable shows stick out? 

BJM: I think all the shows have been memorable in some way, but sure, I guess some maybe more than others. If I were to pick one, I’d go with May 20 at Legion Bar. Good night, good lineup, good space. That was probably the most crowded show yet, so that always feels good.
RtBE: Plans to tour elsewhere?

BJM: We’ve done some lazy scheming/wishful thinking about expanding the range of where we can play, but the great constraints of Time, Money and Other Stuff will probably prevent that from happening. But a mid-Atlantic/southern edge sojourn and/or a California string seem like a possibility. Time will tell. If anyone wants to send us cross country, let us know.

RtBE:  What was the recording process like for Aquarium Age? 

BJM: We recorded those songs with Erick at Rock It in Greenpoint. That dude is as cool as they come, lots of sick gear and creative atmosphere. We did all of the instruments in three hours then went back later for vocals and mixing. In that sense there wasn’t too much of a process to it, it was sort of just like scheduling practices and I think the approach was probably about as relaxed which suits us fine.

The last session we just did for some new songs was a 42 hour straight blitz in the Philadelphia exurbs where over 100 beers were drank, which also suits us fine.

RtBE: "The Stone" is a long one, was it always intended that way or did it just come together?  Was it originally multiple songs it has some unique parts?

That song was intended to be long. I’m not sure anyone realized it was ten minutes until we were listening back… And it’s bookended by those sort of meandering instrumental parts, which is meant to represent the traditional arc of Story. There were discussions about breaking it up into different songs, but I thought, that it was more effective as this marathon track chronicling some agonizing reappraisal of the whole scene. Hopefully it works.

We hope it works too...For more on the band check out their blog here....catch them live August 19 at The Alamo (house) in New Brunswick, NJ or Saturday August 20 at Legion Bar in Brooklyn

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Drum Nerds Unite! Claypool Carey Copeland and Pert are in the house.

From Scott over at Hidden Track comes this little gem about CCCP a new super drummers and lone bass group that has come together to pummel and get funky...check it out:

Personally I really dig and was surprised by the brass flourishes.  (Could do without the counting though...pretty annoying)

Les Claypool mans the bass while the drumming crew will make any percussionist drool with Danny Carey from Tool, Stewart Copeland from The Police and Neal Pert from Rush

Some where a drum geek's head just exploded...

Knowing that all of them have worked with Claypool in the past I would not be surprised to see an album in their future...but with Primus just putting out Green Naugahyde and about to tour I wouldn't hold my breath...but stay tuned. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dylan Cover #21 Jerry Garcia & David Grisman "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest "

The month of August always brings to mind Saratoga last year RtBE focused on Dead shows from Saratoga, this year we are going to focus on covers of songs from the first Bob Dylan show Wilson and I saw together which happened to be at SPAC.  It was a gorgeous summer night on July 23rd 2000 when the show took place, each Monday we will pick a cover of a song played on this night...this is the first one....

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman playing "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
A long and easy ramble for Dylan.  Showing up on John Wesley Harding the song sounds effortless and snakes with ease through a mysterious tale of friendship and possibly spiritual altercations.  I don't think anyone really knows what Dylan is talking about with this one and while I don't need to know what songs mean, this one seems to lose steam when you don't care too much about whats going to happen (unlike say "Lilly Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts").  Interestingly it was only played 20 times total, and we got to see one of the final versions up at SPAC.  It is a fine song, just never one that I cared all that much about...the lyric says it best “Nothing is revealed”.  
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Well I have spoken at length about the Dead and Garcia but his connection to David Grisman was very exciting and brought him back to his folk roots before he passed away.  Grateful Dawg is an excellent movie that opens up a window into their friendship and working relationship.  Their was a connection and magic that was vibrant and can be heard through their picking and playing.  Their collective love of classics and their innovative playing styles were a perfect match for each other and managed to bring out new sounds and styles into old tunes.     
Thoughts on Cover:
A great version that takes on that rare air of being comparable (if not better then) the original.  The crisp acoustic arraignments are fluttering and add air to the tune, sustaining an almost flight musically.  Grisman's mandolin in particular is radiant.  Garcia's easy vocals are just what the lazy tune needs and he sounds right at home spinning this yarn.  You can almost see the two graybeards on a back porch strumming this one out in the morning crispness, blissful brilliance.   
 Grade: A 

Wilson's Take:

"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" is an oddball; a lyric-heavy outcast recorded when the deep grooves of vinyl were filled with generic bridges, repetitious choruses and sharp hooks. Dylan's ballad offered a barrage of lyrics without so much as the pretense of a bridge. It wasn't Dylan's first such experimental outpouring. The immortal "Like A Rolling Stone" was another such oddity. On Frankie Lee and Judas Priest he took the experiment a step farther by recording his tale of earthly temptation and soul selling without giving the listener a chorus. Dylan stretches the listener's appreciation of the known, and does what any artist must, even at the expense of popularity. The album John Wesley Harding was no Blonde on Blonde; no Blood on the Tracks or Freewheelin' - it was dusty, less satisfying, less familiar to the ear. It was Dylan's latest effort to try for something that hadn't been done before in his uniquely simple way.

On Frankie Lee and Judas Priest Dylan returns to offering life advice, "One should never be where one does not belong," which ranks right up there with Dylan's other geographic-gem, "never give your address out to bad company."

David Grisman and Jerry Garcia recorded a surprisingly beautiful cover - even by the vaunted standards of these two old professionals. It moves simply, easily, like the perfect sailing music. Suddenly a rather dramatic tale seems committed to the sighs of two rocking chair philosophers. As always, it takes a unique talent to improve upon a Dylan original; more important, it takes the right song. Garcia and Grisman doing "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" is one of those rare moments when everything aligns.

Happy Birthday To Jerry Garcia...and Meg

Just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge Jerry Garcia's birthday (more on him later).  It is my sister Megan's birthday as well.  Best wishes Sis, live it up.