Friday, September 30, 2011

Glide Review: Lydia Loveless - Indestructible Machine

 Hey all...

Got a new review up on Glide.

Go read it right c'here!!!!

It is of Lydia Loveless new album Indestructible Machine.  She is a firecracker and the album is pretty fricking good. 

I have always like Bloodshot Records, they do some really proper Americana but are never afraid to branch out and Lydia fits their style like a glove. 

This little spitfire of a singer is poised to have a bright career, it is amazing that for someone so young she sounds so polished all ready.  Years of living, loving and losing will only make her a better songwriter, but she is formidable already.

I am anxious to catch her act when she hits the city, I am hoping to make her show on the 4th, until then check out some of her live tunes and give the album a listen...
"Can't Change Me"

"Steve Earle" Live

"Learn To Say No" Live

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Album Review - The Parting Gifts Strychnine Dandelion

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 Parting Gifts
Strychnine Dandelions
**** and1/2 out of *****

The teaming up of Greg Cartwright and Lindsey "Coco" Hames got music nerds all jacked up and apparently it did the same for the participants as a one-off-quickie-collaboration spun into a new band and a full length release.  The newly christened, The Parting Gifts shacked up and spun out Strychnine Dandelion a 15 song album that breezes past in a quick 32 minutes, meaning these songs are short, and very very sweet.  

A slick early 60's lofi rock and roll permeates all of these tracks, while they do cover 1 song from that era the rest all sound so rooted in that peak garage rock time frame it wouldn't be a shock to learn that these were unearthed hits from The Seeds or Birdwatchers, except for one thing...these songs are better.  

Combining Reigning Sound and The Ettes looked great on paper and sounds even better in practice all though it must be noted that Cartwright seems to dominate, and I am guessing no one had a problem with that as the songs flow expertly.  The smoother, slower aspects of all involved come to the forefront with the jangling "Keep Walkin'" opener setting the tone.  

From there on out the mold has been established, the shimmying, tambourine banging "Strange Disposition" warbles the ears and the countrified boogie of "This House Ain't Home" allows Coco to take the lead vocals and play around with male/female dynamics, ending things on a high.  The lone cover comes from a lesser known Rolling Stones song, "(Walkin' Thru This) Sleepy City" bangs a piano and allows all the players to breath musically while the ohhs and ahh's float along among the abandoned streets, a simple tune that sounds like it could go on forever.     

Revisiting the wheel instead of reinventing it, all the tunes presented are great in this vein, "Shine", "Strychnine Dandelion", "Hanna", "Bound To Let Me Down"... I could list them all.  Even with some A-listers helping out (Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and Patrick Keeler from The Raconteurs) the album plays straight as a love letter from Greg and Coco to a period of rock and roll that still remains unknown to many fans.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this release, break out the tamborine, pump the volume up loud and shakeout out those 21'st century blues.   

I got no idea how this album slipped past me last year...I got it early in 2011 but the review never went anywhere as it was too far past the release date when I wrote it...That is strictly my bad.  Now however, with The Ettes playing Bowery Ballroom this weekend, I figured I would get this post on RtBE.  As for this album...all I can say is wow!!!  It easily would have made my best of 2010 list last year... 

I love me some Greg Cartwright very very much as a musician, he is one of my favorite writing tunes today and can not get enough of anything he has done.  I will say I favor Reigning Sound over most everything else, but if The Parting Gifts stay together they may start to rival that.  Will Coco plays her part here you can just tell Cartwright is the mastermind, you only have to look at his past work with The Detroit Cobras or Mary Weiss to tell he loves writing for a female voice.

This coming together is Boosh and I urge everyone to buy this album if you like straight ahead early 60's garage won't get much better anywhere, including from that decade...take a listen:

"Sleepy City" Stones Cover

"Keep Walkin'" Live
"Don't Wait Up" Live
"This House Ain't A Home" Live

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Glide Review - The Hold Steady Live - 9/17/11 NYC and Show Download Link

Hey all,

Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right C'here!!!!

It is of The Hold Steady's live show on 9/17/11 down at the Beekman Beer Garden/Beach Club from a few Fridays ago...

I am not going to pussyfoot around with this one, the full day and concert was one of my favorite days in a very long time.  I have been on a roll of good times, but this one raised the bar a bit.

As I mentioned the day started with Oysters and Guinness which is a perfect way to get into anything...
 My sister Meg came down to join me and some friends in the fun which was appreciated. The show opener of "Ask Her For Some Adderal" was exactly what I wanted to hear and got me jumping and singing along.
Well...for some of us...It is no secret I like this band in a weird way...normally I am drawn into the music first and all else follows, but Craig Finn has a way of digging into my brain and having me act like a Teeny Bopper...I identify all too well with a ton of what he sings about and his New York songs seem to have been my soundtrack for the last few years...
The music was top notch though as the band didn't stop all night and I had the chance to actually meet and talk with a few of them.  Craig seemed a bit jittery and nervous pre-show so I gave him his space, but chatted with drummer Bobby Drake.  He mentioned it was the old "hurry up to sit around and wait", the band was just ready to get it on....That they did...
Post Show I had the opportunity to chat with Finn about Minnesota, Baseball and Beer, turns out he is friends with the owner of the hotel we stayed at when we made a trip to the Twin Cities this summer to catch a game, Graves 601.  I also had the pleasure to talk at length with bassist Galen Polvika, mentioning that "Hot Soft Light" was one of the first songs I learned to cover on bass.
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It was an epic show, from a group of genuinely nice thing I didn't mention to them was that this was the third time I saw the band this year, I can see them every weekend and not get bored...they are that far up my alley...wait that sounds wrong.
I also had a chance to chat for a bit with Patrick Stickles from Titus Andronicus and I mentioned seeing his bands great set on the other side of the pier earlier this summer.  I also complemented his Civil War motif on the album, something that I think is a touch genius, even if his jeans were a tad too skinny...
Anyway the night ended with some tasty late night sushi at Blue Ribbon....Perfect way to end a perfect day of pure Boosh!.

Thanks for reading this long, as a beautiful bonus, the amazing people over at NYC Taper were on hand to record the show so you can experience the night or re-live the magic. 

The link is right here.

Thanks for the fantastic time Boys, Catch you @ the next NYC show.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dylan Cover #26 Noel Harrison - "One Too Many Mornings"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Noel Harrison of "One Too Many Mornings"  

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
A blissful tune that seems simple upon first listen but contains layers and layers of meaning and wonder as you dig into it...or another way to say it...a classic Dylan song.  Relationships, Isolation, Restlessness, Depression, they are all addressed in the short tune, each approached in an artistic way.  It is a hazy dream like number that can instantly be recognized and discovered, because we have all been there.  Really an amazing tune ... 
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I am going to go out on a limb and say that Noel Harrison is the only Olympic Athlete who recorded Dylan and then played him pseudo live with groovy dancing chicks behind him on British TV.  Had this guy fought a lion he may have been the inspiration for the "Worlds Most Interesting Man".  Olympics, Academy Awards, Albums, TV Show's, Screaming teeny-boppers, son of Sir Rex Harrison....This guy lead a pretty cool life, perhaps the best part?  He is still at it:
Thoughts on Cover:
Honestly I was more intrigued by the artist here then the actual cover, but it does have it's moments. I do like the organ fills around the 40 second mark, they add nicely to the heavy plunking down electric guitar, and the swaying sweater girls...I almost called this a live cover, but we all know by now those shows were pre-taped and lip-synched.  They look great, and Harrison was known to cover Dylan often, but I couldn't find "One Too Many Mornings" officially released, so who knows this could be a B-side rescued from somewhere.  The ending organ swell and acoustic layering is very nice though, nothing to turn your nose up at.

Grade: C+  A bit better then your average cover...     

Wilson's Take:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pre-sale Info: My Morning Jacket & Band of Horses @ MSG

Hey all,

Just grabbed 2 tickets to catch Band of Horses open up for My Morning Jacket @ MSG in December.  If you want to get in on the Pre-Sale, go to this Ticketmaster link, pick your tickets out of the artist pre-sale, and use the Password: CIRCUITAL
I am psyched to see two great bands just a few blocks from my house in the worlds most famous arena.  Grab yours while you can...

Band of Horses Live:
"The General Specific"


My Morning Jacket Live:
"One Big Holiday"


Album Review: St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

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:
 St. Vincent 
Strange Mercy
*** out of *****
St. Vincent is the moniker for artist Annie Clark who has had a pretty successful last few years playing a part in the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens band, but Strange Mercy is her newest and most accomplished solo effort.  Skittish and at times daring Clark tosses styles and sounds up into the air and let them float along at their own accord, at times falling sparse before swelling up grand.  There are electronic bleeps and thin screeches that can hiccup for a measure or stick around for a full on track.

"Neutered Fruit" is a good example of what is on display throughout Strange Mercy, swooning vocal builds, multiple song segments, electronic flourishes, quiggling elector-guitar warbles all over a thin drum machine low-end before a climatic finish.  The track seems longer then it's 4:13 and some interesting boy/girl lyrics get over shadowed by the musical happenings.   

While none of the songs are conventional they seem weird in the same vein, holding the album together with a freakish theme that bubbles in and out throughout.  "Cruel" is the most poppy/disco track (if a bit out of place) while "Hysterical Strength" rocks the hardest with sharp ending riff's.  Clark's singing is high pitched and at times frail, it matches and then melts into the Space Invaders soaring electro-pulses during "Northern Lights" and warbles with tenderness during the title track "Strange Mercy".   "Champagne Year" showcases here singing off the sweetest with a Jeff Buckley-like tone that turns on the ear.  

Lyrical "Cheerleader" is a highlight opening with "I've had good times/with bad guys/I've told whole lies/with a half smile" assuring itself multiple plays in rebellious girls bedrooms this school year.  "Surgeon" also has a resonating tone and lyrical word play behind rising strings, repetitive keyboard runs and and a bounce-outro-techno-freakout.  While things can seem to drift off at times, or not mesh properly, Strange Mercy ends up an engaging listen, Clark could strip down further towards Singer-Songwriter land, but the musical quirkiness keeps you off balance and adds to the charm; lets hope she stays weird.

Got this album a few weeks ago but Jeffrey Taylor was assigned the review for Glide, go read his take here if you would like...Short story is: he likes this disk more then me, (as do most others) but I had already written up a review so I thought I would post it here on the blog.  Jeff's review and others really harp on Clark's guitar playing...honestly I don't hear all that many great 6 string doings, there is fuzz that could be distorted guitar, or more likely keyboards, in The Dead Weather vein.   

Could be the layers of production that coat them, and I have never seen St. Vincent live, so I will wait, but what stood out to me was the sparseness, then next stanza grandiose songs.  She also plays with words well, and I dug some of her lines.  What didn't hold up so well is the lack of low-end and at times her vocal style matched to her tunes...but just my opinion...give it a listen for yourself, here are some tunes:

"Cheerleader" Live at Metropolitan Museum of Art:  Great sound...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oyster Fest, Guinness and a Free Hold Steady Show!

Tomorrow is going to be a rocking even more then most Saturdays do and the focus will be waaaay downtown in Manhattan. 

Ulysses is not only an amazing (and frustrating) James Joyce novel, it is also a Folk House on Stone Street and it will be the site of an all out consumption fest on Saturday.   Bivalves will be everywhere as they throw their 8th annual Oyster Fest in the streets that used to be covered in shells. 
I have proclaimed my love for those tasty critters before and love the pairing of a great Guinness with them so I am heartily looking forward to this event...The bands playing should be fun, Milo Z is an NYC staple, and Celtic Cross play traditional Irish tunes and are familiar with the bar,
but I am not sure how long I will last there because...
I may be even more excited to catch one of my favorite bands play later that evening only a few blocks away.  The Hold Steady will be playing a Concert Confidential show with all proceeds of VIP tickets going to VH1's Save the Music Foundation

The show is going to be at one of the coolest summer venues in the city, the Beekman Beer Garden.  We hung out there earlier this summer after the 4 Knots Festival and dug the place...dipping our feet in the sand as we looked out over the East River and one of us maybe even pissed in it (but that's another story).  I can not wait to hear the fellas pull off their sound and rock out under the stars, this is going to be a hell of a show...

What a great song...

Hope you RSVP'ed and will make there as well, if not enjoy anything else you may be doing, time to do what you want is precious, squeeze it tight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Glide Review - Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

What up killers?  Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right c'here!!!

It is of Girls newest release Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

Back in 2009 I had the pleasure of reviewing Girls first release cleverly titled Album.  You can check that review right here.  I liked it but it was more of a scatter shot effort, Christopher Owens sounded as if he was trying to find his voice...literally singing with different vocal styles from song to song.  Musically there was a mixed feeling too, some songs were really great though.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost, is all great.  Individually the songs might not stand out as extraordinary but over the course of the album the presentation and progression elevates the whole disk.  Owens sings in a steady if hurt-filled voice conveying loneliness, desperation perfectly.  The relationship pains are dug into with raw simpleness and successfully express basic truths.   The full band backing helps a lot here also as opposed to the duo of the first disk.

The album also sounds fantastic, regardless of the songs, the production is some of the best I have heard and it is far removed from most albums released this year.  This alone is a major is pleasant to listen to and when Owens despair threatens to weigh things down you can focus on a vibrating guitar or cymbal ride to get over the hump. 

Owens is a real talent, and while the disk is certainly one note, the note rings true.  I really thought Owens would be a internet darling then fade away, but this album solidify his standing in pop/indie rock. Give this one a whirl, doubt you will be are a few tunes from the disk for you to check out:


Honey Bunny:

Jamie Marie Live

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Album Review - Something Fierce Don't Be So Cruel

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:
Something Fierce
Don’t Be So Cruel
**and1/2 out of *****

Certain bands you instantly know who their hero’s are.  It took about 5 seconds to realize Something Fierce are massive Clash fans and they proclaim that over and over again throughout their album Don’t Be So Cruel. More stripped down then their hero's this Houston, Texas trio uses a prominent bass and power-pop/punk styling to bop into your speakers.

There are clear distinctions in production between instruments with the scratching guitars chick-chicking along playing an obvious 2nd to the constant round clear bass lines while the vocals can sound distant and a bit distorted in front of cymbal rides.  “Future Punks” takes this formula and ties it neatly with a poppy bow and “When You Hurt” speeds it up adding fluttering vocals and a 50’s vibe to things. Things never get fierce at all; this is sweet power/pop that gets the head bobbing, “Bad Choice” is the most aggressive offering but still contains a radio friendly progression and guitar solo.  “On the Backroads” is a quick speedster that lets the band dabble with some organ sounds which catch the ear and "Empty Screens" pushes the envelope into an arena/single territory with some big breaks and riffs.   

“Afganhi Sands” and “Before You Raised Your Gun” continue to channel “the only band that matters” as a sprinkling of politics is added to the hand claps and low end runs. Summing up their style and sound is  “What We Need Now”, a grooving exercise that ends with the repeating chorus that “what we need now/ain’t coming today” but you get the sense this band won’t stop looking for what they need.


Judging Books by covers...never do it.  I was dam tooting positive I was about to hear some freaky noise punk when I looked at this album cover before sliding the disk into my wrong I was.  Something Fierce is straight up Power-Pop, I know they have the punk label on them and float in those circles, but this collection of songs is too catchy to really be punk-rock, granted the songs are short and to the point (a plus) but that aggression is never really felt.  What are labels though?  The tunes are good, catchy and fun, if a bit one note throughout the full album but it is repeatably listenable and engaging.

Here is where I am going to lose people though...I mentioned multiple times in the original review the obvious influence here is The Clash...and I was never really into those guys...never have been, ain't now...

(Ducks rotten fruit being tossed at computer screen)

Maybe it was being submerged in Hardcore/Punk first without going through the pop stage, but I skipped over The Clash and went right to Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag etc on the national scene and local friends bands playing metal/punk in the NYHC style. 

To me that was raw and urgent...animalistic and dangerous, I never got that with The Clash.  When it comes to "original" punk groups I butter my biscuits with The Ramones, you may disagree but using them as the "radio friendly punks" and the NYHC and others mentioned as the more immediate "punch-someone-in-the-face-I-need-a-release" punk I think I turned out OK.  All right this conversation can go on and on and probably will this week in a bar somewhere, but lets not take away from the group reviewed.  Peep Something Fierce below, and grab their shizz here:

"Afganhi Sands"

"Empty Screens"
"Future Punks"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NYPL Blog Post - Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

Hey all, got a post up on, give it a gander and feel free to comment.

It is a continuation of the Great Albums You May Have Missed series and it is of Eels classic Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.

I love this album, and think it is Eels crowning moment.  I ranked it 29th best of the albums from the last decade and am constantly amazed at its honesty and ability to affect me while listening to it.  It has an emotional connection to September 11th so I wanted to write about it this week, my small tribute I guess.

The other thing I want to point people towards during this time is this Hunter S Thompson article regarding the attack that was published on ESPN Page 2.  I am not  huge Hunter fan, I like what he stands for but have never been a massive fan of his writing, no matter what your opinion of him it is scary how correctly he nails this one...I go back and read it yearly to keep it in mind.     

Anyway, grab the album is you don't have it (you can take out of the library here) and enjoy some heart wrenching, honest tunes.

"Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)"

"Trouble With Dreams"

"Railroad Man"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dylan Cover #25 Carmel Conway - "Make You Feel My Love"

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Carmel Conway of "Make You Feel My Love"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
There is something about this tune that always felt off to me, it doesn't strike me as a Dylan song (which makes it an excellent candidate for covers).  Perhaps it is just too Broadway or schmaltzy but the tune never really felt like his to me.  Simple and direct in it's lyrics and sparse with a piano for the tune, it should be a simple pleasure, but it always felt forced to me coming out of the bard's mouth.  The fact that he has never played it live perhaps gives some indication to his feelings on the song as well.  Or maybe he just hasn't found a way to re-work it yet.... 
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I had never heard of Carmel Conway, all I know is that she has a great name and sounds Irish.  After doing a bit of research she has toured the US and then toured Ireland with the Chieftains, pretty cool.  Her only Album This Beautiful Day is streaming on her website here and this cover is track 5 on that disk.  Her stuff sounds good, she has a light voice and plays up the singer/songwriter drama nicely.    

Thoughts on Cover:
As I mentioned this tune is ripe for covering, and Carmel does an adequate job of it.  The song itself fits her style perfectly, so very little reinterpretation is needed, this is straight ahead pop vocals and a pleasant little stroll through a piano setting.  Nothing here is mind blowing, but it certainly sounds more natural for Carmel to sing this one then it does to hear Dylan give it a whirl, and while that might seem odd in theory it is perfectly natural in practice.  Wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if this cover was used as a wedding song for many couples. 

Grade: Solid C

Wilson's Take:
"To Make You Feel My Love" has had its share of visitors. Billy Joel offered a barroom version of the song on 1997's Greatest Hits Vol III that seemed greased with several shots of Jameson. That version may have missed the romantic mark, but Billy drove the song up the Long Island Expressway and put his stamp on it. Garth Brooks picked up the tune and brought it to Nashville. His take sounded so commercially-country, that half the nation could be forgiven for thinking it was a country original. But like the best Dylan songs, "To Make You Feel My Love" can walk into any room and seem a natural part of the place, as if it's been there since creation.

Carmel Conway offers perhaps the most unique version of "To Make You Feel My Love", if not the least contemporary. Her version seems heavily influenced by Karen Carpenter and one can bet that Dylan wouldn't mind catching a performance at a roadside Jazz bar between shows. If you're into the Irish songstress, then this agreeable tune is the perfect accompaniment to making dinner or reading the Arts Section of the Times after Yoga Class. But for the real yearning, desperate promise that is "To Make You Feel My Love", stick to the original.

We have a new special guest giving some thoughts today, please welcome Steve Janasie, with his take:
Time Out of Mind is an album that will always hold a special place in my heart; it came out when my Dylan fandom was at its peak and it marked one of his many returns to full power.  "Make You Feel My Love" is by no means the best song on that album and it was first introduced to the world through Billy Joel, something I have always subconsciously held against it.  Nonetheless, it is a beautifully written tune that manages to feel familiar without being cliche.

The Carmel Conway version is fine.  I like the sparse arrangement quite a bit.  Ms. Conway's voice is lovely, though I don't know that she has put it to best use here.  As with many Dylan numbers, world-weary vocals are most effective on a song like this, one that is so full of sadness and desperation.  In this respect, Carmel Conway is a little too polished.  I'd stick to the original.
Be sure to check out Steve's blog here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Funday - Shufflin' Stars and Bars

My friend and coworker Lauren just recently posted and interesting piece regarding iTunes Star Rankings and the dreaded Shuffle over on her personal blog.  It got me thinking and checking up on a few things regarding iTunes.  First a bit of background, I was very slow coming to iTunes and Apple products in general having a budget no-name MP3 player for many years and being quite happy with it was one reason.
Not my exact one, but very similar
Lately however (like Lauren) I purchased an iPhone and unlike Lauren I went for the big one deciding I am going to put a bunch of my music on it, thus I have been using iTunes much more then I have ever have in the past.  Unfortunately my laptop can't keep up (it is full) so the vast books and stacks of CD's are still waiting to get uploaded into the phone...   

However I never use the star system in the slightest and that may be weird considering I use a Rating System for all of my reviews that I write.  There is actually only 1 song that has a rating out of the 2873 currently on my phone and that is The Hold Steady's "Stevie Nix", which has 5 stars.

While I love that tune, it certainly isn't my all time favorite, and I am guessing I clicked the stars by accident, but it is odd that I never once used them, I could say that I just have way too many to rank, but I am not sure that is a valid excuse because I am sure people have more and use the ranking system.

I like Lauren's proposed system for ranking, "Gym", "Party" etc, but my brain is so warped with music that I would probably end up limiting myself.  I used to love to work out to the Grateful Dead, (especially a good "Dark Star" for cardio) and I can just as easily party with Sepultura

as I can with  Jorge Ben and those are just two Brazilian groups that popped into my head.

Also as anyone can attest to the "Late Night" ranking for me would just be The Band's Last Waltz...over and over...god I want to hear/watch it right now!

The shuffle embarrassment aspect is another interesting concept.  Personally I rarely/if ever use shuffle, I am 99% an album person and proud of it.  For some reason Shuffle has never appealed to me, I love to be in the mood for the artist and hear their thoughts over the course of a full release, always have, never went for singles at all and it is one of the main things I hate about iTunes; making the single a viable commodity again where artists put out one good song and 8 filler tracks.  Then again I shouldn't be too old man grumpy about this as it has given Weird Al a career re-birth, and that is always a fun thing... 

(Pretty sure Jack loves this...and kinda surprised he never covered it...)

How do you feel about Stars and Shuffle?  Do you use them at all?  Think they are a nuisance?  Thanks again to Lauren for getting me thinking about this.  Feel free to comment and enjoy your weekend...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Band of Horses Get Grungy on Conan

So I was just about to drift off into slumber land last night when I noticed Band of Horses were about to play a song on Conan.  I have been on such a BOH kick since Jeff and I saw them at Hammerstein early last month, I haven't gone a few days without listening to one of their albums, so I was excited to catch this Late Night Showing.  They played "Infinite Arms" peep it:

Wow...digging the homeless look on national TV, but loving the rough edged sound that they pulled off here even more!  During the Hammerstein show I commented that if this band got a little scuzzy musically to go along with the blissfully amazing vocals they would be sensational.  Hearing and seeing them amp up the distortion in the guitars and take an overall tougher tone throughout before that bombastic ending to this song made me sit up (literally) from the couch and clap.

I can not wait for their new album and hope they keep this grittier edge and add it to their growing sound as a band.

Slightly off topic, I actually flipped over during a commercial of a very funny Seinfeld episode, "The Outing".  I am glad to see this received a GLAAD Media Award (sorry for the lame wordplay) as I was wondering while watching it what the GLBT community thought of it at the time when it came out.  The phrase has entered society now so it is a bit dated but this was back in the early 90's and dealt with the subject in a proper and funny manner.

When we were out in the Hamptons during July 4th my friend Vig asked a group of us what we thought the funniest TV show of all time was, while I thought it about it for a minute I had to say Seinfeld.  There hasn't been another show that I could watch the same episode 30-40 times and still find it amazingly laughable.  I might get there some day with The Venture Bros and Frisky Dingo is flat out Boosh, but neither can really match up to Seinfeld's longevity, creativity and attitude towards a full network audience.

Just so you know, other answers people had to this question were: The Honeymooners and Cheers, they may have been others, but I can't remember off hand...not that there is anything wrong with that.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy 20 to Pearl Jam

Labor Day weekend saw one of the best American Rock and Roll groups of all time celebrate their 20th year playing together as Pearl Jam hosted a festival in Alpine Valley.  Day 1 Setlist, Day 2 Setlist. I didn't get a chance to travel out there but by the gracious power of the internet and particularly youtube, you can feel like you did...  

Ahh, "Breath" one of my favorite from the Seattle group...While I praise them highly now, I was not always into PJ.  I enjoyed their first two releases sure but if I must confess Vitalogy was the album that resonated the most because honestly it was the weirdest...and I was a weirdo who at the time dug Sonic Youth much more then I dug any classic/arena rock, which is what their first 2 albums really strove for and achieved.

I slipped out of their slipstream for awhile after that and it was not until April 29th 2003 when I even thought of them that much again.  I was bored on a Tuesday night in Albany and my friend Pete had an extra Ten Fanclub ticket that he offered me.  I had read about Eddie clashing with fans in Denver earlier that month regarding Bush Jr. and I figured what the hell as I hadn't listened to that band in over 6 years at that point.

I was blown away.
No other way to state it, I had never expected them to turn into the live powerhouses that they obviously were. From the opening song "I Am Mine" which I consider one of the greatest songs they ever wrote (I can't believe they didn't play it at PJ20) until the set closing cover of "Baba O'Riley" I was hooked and on the train from here on out.  The setlist that night wasn't especially epic, but the playing was razor like, "Corduroy" was fiery (another one they skipped this weekend) and the "Porch" set closer was all over the map.  Since then I have considered it an obligation to try to catch them every tour.

I have reviewed them a bunch for Glide and hope to catch them next time they swing east, but until then lets check out some of the PJ 20 Youtube least until Cameron Crowe releases the full length documentary of the bands career later this month.    
Festival opener "Release"

"Yellow Ledbetter"

"Who You Are" with John Doe, Liam Finn and Dan Peters

As you can see some new and old friends joined them as well to create an epic event, like Chris Cornell who helped resurrect the Temple of the Dog days....

"State of Love and Trust" blasting out with the help of Dhani Harrison
Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age playing on "In The Moonlight"

and Mudhoney who ripped the fuck out of "Sonic Reducer" with the fellas:

The group returned the favor, helping out their friends during the earlier shows...
Glen Hansard w/ Eddie Vedder "Falling Slowly"

The Strokes w/ Eddie Vedder "Juicebox"

Here's hoping the band has 20 more years left in them...

Festival Closer "Rockin' In The Free World"  (where was uncle Neil?)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Album Review - Paul Dempsey Everything Is True

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:
 Paul Dempsey 
Everything is True
** and 1/2 out of *****

The successful Australian artist Paul Dempsey finally gets an American release for his 2009 album Everything is True, officially bringing his groomed voice to American shores.  This is Dempsey’s first foray into the solo world after fronting the Bush styled group Something For Kate and his songs on this collection have a distinct pop/rock vibe behind their singer/songwriter exterior. 

“Ramona Was A Waitress” is urgent, clicking along while lyrically shirking off constraints with the refrain, “I don’t need these arms anymore/I don’t need this heart, now to love/I don’t need these skin and bones, at all”.  Layers of vocals (all his) flutter on the delicate “Out The Airlock” and the wordplay gets accelerated in front of acoustic guitar strums during “Bird In A Basement”.  He pushes the energy in a Train adult-contemporary style with “Have You Fallen Out Of Love?” but then gets intriguingly twangy on the catchy disk closer “We’ll Never Work In This Town Again”.

If at times overly dramatic (or borderline sappy) the album is a fun waltz down Main Street.  Dempsey should deservedly find an audience, airplay and success this summer in the USA with Everything Is True.     
RtBE Programing Note:  Well it has been a bit of time since my last post, Hurricane Irene and some major computer issues slowed my output (as has this new web formatting) but things should be back on schedule now, forgive the delay.

Paul Dempsey's Everything Is True album is solid, if not particularly my style, but that is the fun things about reviewing this stuff, even though I may not personally listen to it all the time I hope to recognize talent, and Dempsey certainly has it.  It would not surprise me in the slightest to see his career skyrocket now that he has finally released this album in the States.

I mentioned "Main Street" in the review and if there was such a thing as FM radio still I think he would find a vast audience.  Here's hoping he still does in the fractured world of niche music in the year 2011.  Some songs for you to judge for yourselves:

"Ramona Was A Waitress"

"Have You Ever Fallen Out Of Love"