Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Album Review: Tomahawk -Oddfellows

Tomahawk
Oddfellows
***and1/2 out of *****

This thirteen track disk from the famous collection of players is the fourth release from Tomahawk but the first to feature new bassist Trevor Dunn after the departure of Kevin Rutmanis.   Recorded in Nashville with core members and fellow rockers Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard) and John Stanier (Helmet) the foursome seems to have gelled quickly on Oddfellows.

Perhaps hearing this title and knowing the artists involved your thinking that this disk will be some out there freaky music. That is really not the case as all of these players have released more experimental work in the past; this is a rock band.  The title track is a straight ahead (if extremely dark/heavy sounding) alt-metal tune punctuated by Patton's glorious vocal chorus while the first single "Stone Letter" plays as a radio friendly hard rock workout. Even an on-the-edge driving punk tune like "South Paw"dips mellow with the verse and lyrics before getting freaky with the lyrics.

The band isn't as easy to classify on all of the tracks here, it wouldn't be an album from these artists if they were.  "White Hats/Black Hats" is spastic,"A Thousand Eyes" features great bass lines from new member Dunn and "Waratorium" contains some aggressive/dirty funkiness that borders on industrial. 

The most successful of their more experimental efforts is "Rise Up Dirty Waters" with its jazz like intro, space vocals, tempo changes and overall eerie tone; tracks like this make Tomahawk a band always worth checking out. Oddfellows overall could do with some more odd touches to the finished product, however this album is certainly accessible enough for new fans to enter their world, come on in.
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This is a weird disk on one hand I thought this would be pretty crazy stuff, it isn't very experimental. On the other hand, everything presented here works well.  Gave it 3 and 1/2 stars, which I think fits our rating system, but almost dipped it to 3, check it out for yourself.

Support the group here, Buy the album Here, and peep some samples below:
"Oddfellows" (cool as hell video)

"Rise Up Dirty Waters"


Monday, April 29, 2013

Dylan Cover #85 Los Lobos "On A Night Like This"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Los Lobos covering "On A Night Like These"  
(Los Lobos play on 5/4 closing out the Blues Tent

Thoughts on Original:
From our first take on this tune: There are songs that put you in certain places, certain times, recall certain memories. That is what can be so enchanting about tunes, for some reason every time "On A Night Like This" kicks off the criminally underrated Planet Waves, I think of a winter time scene.  Either outdoors or by the raging fire, whatever, this album just screams northern winters too me.  The album was recorded in November but who knows when the songs were from, all I know is that they are great, and this is one of the best on the disk.  
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Los Lobos are one of the great all time acts that I have never fully immersed myself in and it is a shame since every time I hear them I dig on their sound. For anyone reading this who are fans of this band gimme a hand, let me know in the comments where the best place to start with them is and I will dive in when I can.  
Thoughts on Cover:
We saved the best for last this month.  This cover has it all, the band makes Dylan's tune their own by translating some verses into Spanish and injecting a cool sax lead rave up outro that is wonderful.  Like our last cover version of this track an accordion plays a prominent role in the sound but this time it is in the background. The East LA boys kill it here, and probably will this Saturday in the Blues Tent.  
Grade: A+
 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Full Show Friday: George Benson Montreux Jazz Festival

Last year we searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and posted them to the site monthly.  That was all well and good but this year RtBE is upping the ante with a show every week to celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...

This month we are doing something special. As readers of RTBE know, Spring is special for us as Jazzfest is just around the proverbial corner.  So for all of the Full Show Friday's in April we will be spotlighting artists who are playing at this years festival.
To be honest we are completely underwhelmed by this years lineup and I doubt we stick around for any of the headliners except for the closing Sunday, so listening to these shows will do us all better then the mile long cab line. 

This week we are getting down with the one the only ...George Benson!

I think this show out of all of them this month sums up the Jazzfest experience best.  Benson is a virtuoso on guitar, simply amazing, but he ain't afraid to get all romantically cheesy (first song out the gate!) and get the hips saying; perfectly NOLA even if he is from Pittsburgh. 

That bit of cheese just goes down smoother in the bayou and makes its way into almost all the shows and setlists, god bless the cheese. You can do that when you play some of the smoothest jazz out there as Benson does.  Sure I like my jazz much more adventurous but there is a time and a place for everything and you just know Benson is going to be killing it later this afternoon on the Congo Square Stage, god I wish I was there now! Well only a few days to go, hope to see you there next weekend

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Album Review: Two Hours Traffic Foolish Blood

Hey All,

Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it Right C'here!!!

It is of Two Hours Traffic newest release Foolish Blood.

The Canadian group put out a pretty simple, saccharine pop rock album with Foolish Blood that is a fun listen.  It may not stick around your dome too long or convey deep meaning but it makes the time go by nicely and gets your toe's tapping and your mouth humming; pretty respectable end goal.

Support the band here, grab the disk here, see them live here and peep some samples below:
"Amour Than Amis"


R.I.P Richie Havens


Turns out Richie Havens died from a heart attack on Monday Morning.  He was 72.

Peter Catapano at the Times has a nice piece on him here.

I recently talked about one of the many Havens covers of Bob Dylan. He was a folk hero though especially in upstate New York where he played often.

I am sure it will be played and watched in a lot of spots today, but there is a reason for it; Richie Havens impromptu version of "Freedom" at Woodstock is the stuff of legends. Thanks for the memories Mr. Havens.
   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Album Review: The Copper Gamins -Los Ninos De Cobre

The Copper Gamins
Los Ninos De Cobre
*and1/2 out of *****

Basic electric blues duo's have been all the rave since the turn of the century, now put a Mexican/Texas spin on the concept and you have The Copper GaminsLos Ninos De Cobre is the groups first full length release, running long indeed at 17 songs of repetitive mangled fuzz guitar and uninspired slapping skins. 

These back to basic duos have been popular for a variety of reasons, but it usually takes something special to make them great, The Copper Gamins are still looking for that something special.  Their take here on the genre is nothing to write home about, "Golden Card","Little Boy", "Hold My Name", "You Keep Around" take your pick of the tunes presented here; they are far from energizing or invigorating.

The lack of any real fire is perhaps the most surprising thing about the disk.  Things meander and wallow when you want them to kick up some dust. A song like "Bid The Copper" is so slow you could think the players fell asleep mid number.  

Perhaps the Mexican sun dried out these tunes for too long but things drag all throughout Los Ninos De Cobre. Not always does the term "basic" mean dull, but it sure does when discussing this duo's release.      
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I love the blues, but this disk just came off as boring.  It happens, I wouldn't mind seeing what they are up too next, or watch them open for someone but this one is a bit of snoozer. Feel free to judge for yourself though.

Support the artist here.  Buy the album here and peeps some samples below:
"You Keep Around" Live in Studio:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Album Review: Bleached -Ride Your Heart

Bleached 
Ride Your Heart
*** out of *****
Just in time for the hazy days ahead comes Bleached Ride Your Heart, a pop-punk/garage/indie rock release that should help ease your brain while you're stuck in traffic jams on the way to the beach or driving down back roads with the windows down (ala the cover art).

The group is the pairing of sisters Jennifer (Formerly of Cold Cave)and Jessica Clavin who do all the writing.  The group has been a pet project of theirs for a few years but Ride Your Heart is the first full length release the band has offered up.

The disks first single "Next Stop"shows pumped up  polish as does the highway rocking disk opener "Looking For A Fight". Keys come in adding texture for "Outta My Head" and "Dead In Your Head" has a pulsing Tom Petty "Don't Come Around Here No More" vibe while lyrically pining over lost boys.  The fifties girl group vocal style works well with the lo-fi production on "Dreaming Without You".  The nameless boys that the sisters Clavin consistently sing about also goes well with that lost era's simpler seeming times.

The straight ahead Ramones punky rocker "Waiting By The Telephone" would make Johnny and Joey proud. Garage rockers like "Love Spells", "Searching Through The Past" and "Ride Your Heart" are simple but infectious. "Guy Like You" seems to be one of the better combos of all the styles the ladies dig on, including a nice textured, echoing guitar break before a Bo Diddley beat outro.        

There are equal pop-hooky riffs, upbeat sunshiny punk numbers, sing along choruses and stylized lo-fi offerings here.  Nothing earth shattering but a really solid first release from the sisters and the first hip summer album of 2013.

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Pretty cool disk, the band plays NYC tonight at the Bowery Ballroom if you would like to catch them.

Support the band here, buy the album here and peep a sample or two below:
"Next Stop"

"Outta My Mind"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dylan Cover #84 Billy Joel "To Make You Feel My Love"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Billy Joel covering "To Make You Feel My Love"  
(Joel plays on Saturday 4/27 closing out the day on the Acura Stage)

Thoughts on Original:
From our first take on this tune: 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.... 
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
One of the first artists I heard at a very young age, in fact I think it is written law that everyone who lives on Long Island owns Billy Joel's Greatest Hits. I was seriously under the impression growing up that everyone from LI loved and defended Joel while hating on Springsteen...boy was I mistaken.  Anyway, Joel is an immensely popular artist whose early career had some really catchy piano rocking tunes. While he will never be a favorite of mine, I will have fond memories of driving around in Pa'Dukes huge Oldsmobile with "Captain Jack" playing or heading to visit Grand Pa and go fishing in Bayport while the cheese of "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" blared.     
Thoughts on Cover:
For all the reasons I think this doesn't sound like a Bob Dylan song, it makes a perfect cover for Billy Joel.  Grandiose, over blown, theatrical, fine lines behind each of those phrases and Billy Joel has crossed them all a few times.  He does things over the top here with his huge singing marching rhythm and swelling sound. This track isn't necessarily for me and I wouldn't listen to it all that much, but I also can't deny it works pretty well for Joel here.   
Grade: B+

Friday, April 19, 2013

Full Show Friday: BB King Live 1983

Last year we searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and posted them to the site monthly.  That was all well and good but this year RtBE is upping the ante with a show every week to celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...

This month we are doing something special. As readers of RTBE know, Spring is special for us as Jazzfest is just around the proverbial corner.  So for all of the Full Show Friday's in April we will be spotlighting artists who are playing at this years festival.
To be honest we are completely underwhelmed by this years lineup and I doubt we stick around for any of the headliners except for the closing Sunday, so listening to these shows will do us all better then the mile long cab line. 

This week we are getting down with the one the only ... BB King!

Unreal that we will be missing one of our favorite guitarists of all time at the Festival, how did we screw this up by going down the second weekend? You just know for damn certain that BB will be the talk of the Blues Tent stage for this years festival. Well he will light it up next Sunday, but you get to watch him here from 1983 and he is on fire.

Nick's Uptown in Dallas must have been quiet a jumping joint on that night, from the first notes of "Nightlife" you can tell it is going to be lip smacking good.  An Elvis cover next that sounds semi silly until that sweet sax comes in.  Enjoy...and its not too late to head down to Jazzfest one of the weekends....
  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Album Review: Jim James -Regions of Light and Sound of God

Jim James
Regions of Light and Sound of God
*** out of *****

It's odd that James Edwards Olliges Jr. known as Jim James (or Yim Yames) feels the need to do a solo album now as he has been consistently putting out what seems like very personal sounding albums with his main outfit My Morning Jacket and indulging himself with various side projects (Monsters of Folk, George Harrison and Woody Guthrie Tributes etc). 

That thought pushed aside for the moment Regions of Light and Sound of God seems to touch on all that James has done and hint at where he wants to go.  Digital beats, strings, pseudo soul, guitars, instrumental ditties are all presented behind James's distinct croon that is unlike any out there today.  

The stripped down and almost childlike "State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)" begins James on his (semi) spiritual journey (the album was inspired by Lynd War's "Gods' Man") presented through the disk which closes with a similar track where James identifies with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr over sparse saxophone and snare brushes called "God's Love To Deliver". 

In-between we get a mixed bag of tunes. "Know Til Know" is an odd crossing over of dance beats and confessional hovering organ while James goes falsetto; it is almost as James is shooting for an indie rock version of Justin Timberlake with this one. "A New Life" pushes his Harrison love directly to the forefront, while "Actress" is a string laden soul tinged effort that grows with each spin mixing Late 70's Motown and John Lennon.

One of the the more interesting efforts is "Of The Mother Again" which plays with the best instrumental arraignment on the disk as he samples Dr Dog's "Fat Dog" for optimum results.  However, where Jim's voice is his main tool throughout, here he plays with an weird double tracking vocal effect that takes away from the overall product.     

So why a solo disk now?  Well Regions of Light and Sound of God certainly gives a good overview of James's styles (minus the jamband tendencies) with a spiritual undertow that links things (loosely) together. The fact that James is constantly searching is a major plus, sometimes he finds what he is looking for and sometimes he won't; it doesn't matter much as the musical (and spiritual) journey is what's important.
 
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I have gone back and fourth on Jim James, while loving some My Morning Jacket stuff (Z and It Still Moves) and really disliking others (Evil Urges, Circuital). His contributions to the underrated Monsters Of Folk disk are fantastic as was his stunning cover of Dylan that we talked about already and were lucky enough to catch in person.  

James possesses lots of range with his music and sings with one of the best voices going today so he has a lot going for him, but at times it almost feels like he casts too wide of a net with his efforts.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peeps some of our favorite samples below:
"Actress"

"Of The Mother Again"


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Album Review: My Bloody Valentine -mbv

My Bloody Valentine
mbv
**** out of *****

The odd combo of the most anticipated and yet least likely releases of 2013 finds shoegazing pioneers My Bloody Valentine doing what it was they did best...all the way back in 1991.  Follow-up albums don't normally take this long unless you are Guns n' Roses so it was odd that the band just simply released mbv on their website (which immediately crashed) with almost no fanfare or warning.

Forever the critics darling, and rightfully so after the magnificent Loveless, My Bloody Valentine has crafted an album that sounds as if it was recorded immediately after it's famous fore-bearer not 23 years removed. That is a plus an also a bit of a minus, fans looking for an evolution in the band may find solace in the closing tracks of mbv, but for the majority of the time the group sticks to its bread and butter; layer heaping helpings of feedback, distortion and ambient rock into the listeners earhole.

"She Found Now" opens things with wandering mellow sound that should comfort fans as main Valentine Kevin Shields dreamy vocals take the back seat to his buzzing 6 string.  "Only Tomorrow" and "She See's You" picks up the rhythmic pace with a focus on the low end of bass and drums, injecting primal life into the music.  The keys/organ driven "Is This And Yes" mellows the mood before the shimmering "If I Am" with its layers of wah wah'ing vocals and escapists tendencies. The distinctly early 90's "New You" has a English Beat sound to it with thudding distorted bass leading things over the tambourine dance fills. 

The last three tracks are the most unique and interesting things presented here, the thumping but dance like drums flirt with electro-keys and a churing from the depths guitar riff on "In Another Way".  Belinda Butcher provides the ethereal vocals to this track as things threaten to break down with each chord change.  "Nothing New" is an overloaded instrumental number that borders on industrial with its hyper drums and marching sounding guitars.  Disk closer "Wonder 2" swirls chaotically as it builds and buzzes, soaring to heights mbv only hinted at with its previous offerings.

These closing tracks elevate the whole of the disk and by proxy Shields and company once again become a vital band; I guess if you wait long enough everything comes back around I can't wait to see what the the bands next release holds for us in 2035.    

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I mentioned Loveless and how can you not when talking about MBV, but I must confess that album took a long time to grow on me.  It was no where near a love at first listen experience, I am guessing mbv will probably do the same, in fact it already has.  When I first heard this I thought it was simply leftovers from the mid nineties but those last 3 songs really add something new, and mixing that in with Shields old style works wonderfully upon multiple listens this gets better and better

The My Bloody Valentine sound of shoegazing dream pop isn't for everyone, but there are no bands that play this type of music any better then them, even if it takes the group a bit long to release albums.  Grab the new disk here, catch the band live here and peep some samples below:
"Wonder 2"

"Only Tomorrow"


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Album Review: Deadstring Brothers -Cannery Row

Deadstring Brothers
Cannery Row
*** out of *****

The newly arrived in Nashville (by way of Detroit) group offers up their most country tinged album to date with Cannery Row.  Harmonica's blow and steel guitars pluck their way through tunes that sound like old field worked standards and saloon nightcaps.

Tracks like "It's Morning Irene" and "Oh Me Oh My"could have been around since big trees were saplings but the group works them effortlessly.  Kurt Marschke is the main Deadstring but female vocalist Marsha Marjieh supplies such fantastic backing that she almost steals the show.

The bar room piano on "Long Lonely Ride" makes the trip more of a joy then a slog, while specifically referencing  Marschke's oft comparison to The Rolling Stones. Sure he and the Brothers have a Mick and crew vibe, but so do a lot of lesser groups, it is nice to hear a talented bunch of players doing that mid 70's dirty country rock vibe.    

"Like A California Wildfire" is a slow track that burns softly. The title track has some organ and keys mixed in with the weeping lyrics and guitars while the swinging "Lucille's Honky Tonk" gets the brown party liquor flowing fiercely. "The Mansion" is a bit of a drag all over but there aren't many clunkers on Cannery Row

The band has a straight ahead approach that is far from unique but the satisfaction one gets from the songs prove that different isn't always better. 

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Everything you read about the Deadstring Brothers brings up The Rolling Stones, so much so they address it on Cannery Row, to me that is some pretty high complimenting right there.  This disk doesn't scream Stones, but you can def get that dusty early 70's country rock feel from the tracks and Mick/Keef/Charlie and crew did that really well. Comparisons aside this is a good album.

Support the band here, the album is currently streaming over on American Songwriter here for a limited time, grab the disk here and peep some samples below:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dylan Cover #83 Widespread Panic "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Widespread Panic with a live cover of "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"  
(Widespread Panic plays on 5/2 headlining the Acura Stage

Thoughts on Original:
A basic folk number that isn't a Dylan original (Eric Von Schmidt wrote it) yet this is one of the few covers Dylan brought out of the coffee houses and to the masses on his first release.  While the original is a nice, wanting tune of pure lust, the track really jumped to new heights when Dylan busted it out at The Last Waltz.  That version book-ended his appearance with The Band and breathed new life into the song, making it more then just an early spin though, it became a live show juggernaut especially with The Band backing The Bard.       
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Widespread Panic are a talented group of musicians whose members I enjoy when they play in different outings (Dave Schools- Gov't Mule, The Fog. Jimmy Herring- Phil & Friends) but as a cohesive unit they have never really won me over. John Bell's voice may have something to do with it, but I think it lies more in their overall jam band esthetic and song delivering.  The southern based roots are just fine, but it is their middle of the road-ness for some reason I have never fallen in love with. Perhaps I am unfairly against them, but outside of Phish there are no "newer" jambands that I would say I dig on a constant basis.  Oh well, I can't love them all.    
Thoughts on Cover:
Panic did the righteous thing here using The Last Waltz version as the basis for ending their live show on 9/30/11 in Tuscaloosa, AL. This version has the piercing guitar from Herring reminiscent of Robbie Robertson and the thudding drum drops from Todd Nance recalling a smiling and the stomping Levon Helm.  John Bell doesn't need to sing like Dylan, he has his own polarizing rasp, one that I do not care much for, but for a set ending tune, things are just fine.  
 Grade: C+

Friday, April 12, 2013

Some Weekend Reading: Hidden Track Interviews

The guys over at Glide Magazine's blog Hidden Track need to get some love for the fantastic Interviews they have put up lately.

Today they posted a really well done one with Jason Crosby, who we first came across when he played in the Family Band behind Robert Randolph.

Crazy, just realized that I actually played on the same stage (a year or two removed) as these guys...pretty cool

The interview focuses on Crosby's new found friendship with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. Apparently you will be seeing Crosby in the mix for all things Grateful Dead related in the near future, this is awesome for him and any fan of the band. The video HT posted needs to be shared some more, this rendition of "Cassidy" with Crosby on Violin is pretty magical, give it a listen:
  
Awww I love me some acoustic "Cassidy"!

The blog also recently talked to Frightened Rabbit drummer Grant Hutchinson in regards to the bands new found songwriting style and the Scottish outfit's kick ass recent album. A fun quick read for your weekend.  Here is an awesome tune from Pedestrian Verse done acoustically and live for you to listen to while reading:
"Holy":


Keep up the great interviews Hidden Track and have a great weekend all.

Full Show Friday: Willie Nelson Live In Amsterdam

Last year we searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and posted them to the site monthly.  That was all well and good but this year RtBE is upping the ante with a show every week to celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...

This month we have a theme! As readers of RTBE know, Spring is special for us as Jazzfest is just around the proverbial corner.  So for all of the Full Show Friday's in April we will be spotlighting artists who are playing at this years festival.
To be honest we are completely underwhelmed by this years lineup and I doubt we stick around for any of the headliners except for the closing Sunday, so listening to these shows will do us all better then the mile long cab line. 

This week we are getting down with the one the only ...Willie Nelson!

Willie Nelson, an American icon...and weed smoker.  God Bless him, people talk about Keith Richards biography Life in such high rarefied tones...give me Willie's Road mussings any day over the those junkie stories, and I love Keef.   

Out of all the artists we showcase this month, Willie is probably the one we would stick around for the most., but probably won't. We have seen him before and loved it, here's video proof. Willie will be closing this years Gentilly Stage on the 2nd Friday of the fest.

Anyway, this is a pristine looking if lackadaisical playing show, the band seems to be semi going through the motions, perhaps Amsterdam sunk its teeth into them a bit too friskily.  As always Mickey Raphael is the real highlight during Willie's sets, well and Willie's magical voice, let's get listening...  


1. Whiskey River/Stay All Night 2. Good Hearted Woman 3. Funny How Time Slips Away 4. Crazy/Night Life 5. Help Me Make It Through Night 6. Fast Train To Georgia 7. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain 8. Blue Skies 9. Georgia On My Mind 10. All Of Me 11. Stardust 12. Me And Paul 13. The Gypsy 14. If You Got The Money 15. My Bucket Has A Hole In It/Jambalaya 16. Walkin' The Floor Over You 17. Vous And Moi 18. 7 Spanish Angels 19. City Of New Orleans 20. To All The Girls I've Loved Before/Luckenback/Whiskey River (Revisited) 21. Still Is Still Movin' To Me 22. Milk Cow Blues 23. Pancho And Lefty 24. Till I Gain Control 25. Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys 26. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground 27. On The Road Again 28. Always On My Mind 29. I Never Cared For You 30. Please Don't Talk About Me When Gone 31. Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Album Review: Frightened Rabbit -Pedestrian Verse

Hey All,

I got a new review up on Glide.

Read it Right C'here!!!

It is of Frightened Rabbit's awesome new release Pedestrian Verse.

We have loved these guys since we first heard their album Midnight Organ Fight back in 2008.  What blew us away was Scott Hutchinson's great lyrics on relationships, he had a unique view on the most common song subject.

We caught the band live at Siren Fest back in 2009 and they were underwhelming, it just wasn't the right spot for them honestly. Their next album was OK but not great, however Pedestrian Verse can easily wear that moniker as the whole disk just feels like a step up to the big leagues for the band.  We liked their EP when we reviewed it in January, we love their full length now, pure boosh.

Support the group here, buy the album here, see them live here and peep a few samples below:
"The Woodpile"

"Backyard Skulls" Another good tune I didn't even get too in the review

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Album Review: The Flaming Lips -The Terror

The Flaming Lips
The Terror
** out of *****

With the bands last effort Embryonic The Flaming Lips mashed up sound pulses and whirring electro clicks into a messy soup that never really gelled. That idea of a strung together jumbled mess seems to be sticking with the band as The Terror continues the trend of just one long thought augmented by odd sounds and eerie vocals. Turns out this time around though things are even less interesting with tracks getting bogged down in repetitive sinkholes.  

Opening with "Look..The Sun Is Rising" the track contains a scratching and scraping in the foreground with falsetto "ooh's and aah's" struggling to be heard behind the chaos, a trend that continues throughout.  Figuring out what instruments, computer programs, electronics or sound effects are employed is impossible; there are zero guitar/drum/bass songs here and forget about a memorable single.

"Be Free, A Way" pulses with positive energy before drifting directly into questioning vibrations of "Try To Explain".  Wayne Coyne has talked about this being his drug album and (perhaps in a good way for Coyne) it isn't as dark as one might expect, just a bit dull.

"You Lust" is the mid piece of the album clocking in at over 13 minutes with steam valve time keeping and meandering sounds.  It has a touch of "The End" to it, but mostly "You Lust" just circles about not really going anywhere exciting. "The Terror" possesses a dance beat behind swirling vocals and sounds making it one of the more interesting tracks along with "Butterly, How Long it Takes to Die" and "Turning Violent".

The closing "Always There...In Our Hearts" finally manages to mix up the tempo with some industrial sounds rising high but it's simply too little too late to save The Terror as a whole.
   
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We have loved the Flaming Lips since we saw them rock out on the second stage of Lollapalloza 94. As we mentioned in our 100 Best Albums of 00's the group is probably the most unlikely success story (this side of ICP, but that discussion is for another day) that is out there.  We were very underwhelmed/disappointed with the groups last release so we were cautious about this one.  By the way, I am not pissed at myself years later for not loving Embryonic turns out I was right. 

The Terror is a complete flowing work but not one that is overly impressive. In fact it reminds us a lot of Embryonic and is a bit duller overall.  Doubt we go back to this one in two years and love it either, and could easily see it landing on our disappointing list come year end. On the plus side the band can still kick major ass live.

You can grab the album here, you can stream it currently over at NPR for a limited time and you can peep some video samples below:
"Look...The Sun is Rising" Live on Letterman:
   

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Album Review: Earthless/White Hills Label Showcase Roadburn EP

Earthless/White Hills
Label Showcase Roadburn EP
*** out of *****

The great folks over at Scion A/V have put out this live Label Showcase of two bands that we here at RTBE will be keeping a close eye on Earthless and White Hills who both rock out on the Roadburn label. Only consisting of 1 song from each band this EP still packs a punch especially when considering it was recorded live at the Roxy in LA.

Earthless is up first with "Red" and this trio from San Diego, California are instrumental wizards, crafting sonic fireworks that at times can reminding of Black Sabbath on blow before getting super technical in a Satriani like way.  "Red" is a beast going over 11 minutes of magical interplay from the trio, exhilarating.      

White Hills contribution is more textured with layers of sound slowly building up over 7 plus minutes. The Brooklyn based psych/stoner rock band takes their fuzzed out time growing into the track titled "Under Skin or by Name".  The vocals come in about half way into the track before the wah-wah guitars and just after the pumping drums.  

This is some tripped out, heavy rocking and rolling here captured gloriously in the live setting.  Must have been a hell of a show last November in LA, I am glad Scion A/V captured it for us.

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A pretty cool find as I had never heard of either of these bands before and love both of their tracks here. You can grab or stream the album here and download the album below:


 
   
   
   
   
   
 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dylan Cover #82 Ronnie McCoury "Man Gave Name To All The Animals"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Ronnie McCoury  covering "Man Gave Names To All The Animals"  
(The Del McCoury Band plays with Preservation Hall Jazz Band on 5/5 closing out the festival on the Fais Do-Do Stage

Thoughts on Original:
Well here is a deep cut, "Man Gave Names To All The Animals" is a bit of an odd ball on Dylan's most fire and brimstone filled album, Slow Train Coming. In my opinion STC is the best of his Jesus phase releases and the time when Dylan seemed to be incredibly focused on the music and production of his songs; everything sounded good.  The words were another story, he wanted to convey his beliefs, but the imagery is pretty weak and his stories simple and direct, like today's cover tune.  Never giving it too much love or hate, but we must say the focus on turning it into a bluegrass kids tune is pretty intriguing...      
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Cheating a bit with this one as Ronnie McCoury is the named artist on this track, but one only needs to look at the incredibly cheesy video to see that the full Del McCoury Band is in action here as they will be down south at Jazzfest. Ronnie takes the lead on this children focused release but Del and company are there to pick along with him.  For those who have never heard of these guys before, shame on you, they are living legends in the art of bluegrass.  Their pairing with Preservation Hall a few years ago was almost our pick for album of the year. We loved them when they played Carnegie together and we can't wait to catch a couple of tunes from their set on the 5th.     
Thoughts on Cover:
Fairly straight ahead, but with the groups own bluegrass take. Bluegrass (like a lot of genre's) fits Dylan's writing but what puts this one up a little more even is the idea; a children's album. Taking this song out of it's original religious zealot phase makes it lighthearted and a bit more fun.  Granted the group seems very serious in their playing (not in that god awful video though) but the kids are the focus while mixing in drum tight bluegrass. If anything I was expecting the band to be a bit goofier in their delivery, not sure if that would enhance things or not? An album the parents and kids can enjoy together, grab it here.    

Grade: B+ not the best tune to begin with but a fine cover version.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Full Show Friday: Jimmy Cliff Glastonbury 2011

Last year we searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and posted them to the site monthly.  That was all well and good but this year RtBE is upping the ante with a show every week to celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...

This month we have a theme. As readers of RTBE know, Spring is special for us as Jazzfest is just around the proverbial corner.  So for all of the Full Show Friday's in April we will be spotlighting artists who are playing at this years festival.
To be honest we are completely underwhelmed by this years lineup and I doubt we stick around for any of the headliners except for the closing Sunday, so listening to these shows will do us all better then the mile long cab line at the end of days. 

This week we are getting down with the one the only ...Jimmy Cliff!

We have seen Cliff before and thoroughly enjoyed his show.  We were also blown away that he made an album last year that was better then anything he has done in a long long time. Jimmy and company closes the Congo Square Stage on Friday

This show is 45 minutes of his hits and there really isn't any shortage of them. While the opening is a bit shaky sound wise things improve and by the Yusuf Islam cover we are good to go.  "It's hard to get by, just upon a smile girl".

Enough yapping,great outfit Jimmy, on to the show:
     

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Album Review: Cold War Kids -Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Cold War Kids
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
**and1/2 out of *****

The Long Beach based quartet has been the epitome of "blogging buzz band" throughout their existence.  Starting things going in 2006 on a national level they were the darlings of the blogosphere, putting out the successful Robbers & Cowards, quickly followed by Loyalty to Loyalty. Almost immediately the backlash started from the same people who hyped them up; there certainly have been others, but for my money CWK summed up the instant love/hate relationship the fickle net has with bands the best.

Their last album Mine Is Yours moved away from niche fans, they went all in pairing with producer Jacquire King to craft a pop tinged mainstream release that seemed stale from the first note, but also exposed them to a much larger fan base.  Now Dear Miss Lonelyhearts arrives and the band seems to be searching for where to go next.  That wandering can lead to some interesting songs but overall the band seems to not be comfortable in any style they play with here.

The first single "Miracle Mile" finds the group returning to its stripped down piano based rock driving straight ahead slamming into the questions of fame with Springsteen like power, resulting in the best effort here.  Swelling organs join the proceedings as do meaty guitar lines and rising drum fills.

Then things instantly turn into electro-drum dance tunes over digital keyboard beats and new guitarist (and producer here) Dann Gallucci's (formely of Modest Mouse) strums with "Loner Phase" and "Lost That Easy". This straddling of stripped down 4 on the floor piano rock and late night electro dance seems to be just one split in the band as things just never gel as well as they could.  Tracks like the schmaltzy "Water & Power" with big choruses and the odd ballad-like disk closing "Bitter Poem" seem unaffected emotionally, possessing shades of Arcade Fire, but without the passion. 

This is also the first release from the band where frontman and lyriscst Nathan Willett hasn't crafted at least one tale that hits home from a storytelling standpoint.  Perhaps that is because on the title track he sings, "I am giving up explaining sorrow" which (if taken literally) would be a shame because he has struggled with it well on past releases.
 
That is not to say things are lost for the band, far from it.  Songs like the motoring "Jailbird" and the aptly named tripped out sonic experiment "Fear And Trembling" (complete with squeaking saxophones) are both winners. Cold War Kids no longer need blog based love, but it seems they may need a solid direction going forward. 

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We were all over this band when they were first coming out.  Gave their first album some big time love, but since then have been disappointed with their releases, especially their mainstream attempting Mine Is Yours.  

We looked forward to this album to see what the group would do next and to be honest we are not sure where we completely stand on this release.  On first blush we hated it, but certain songs really grew after a few listens...who knows, maybe it will jump to the top of our 2013 list...the one thing I still think is that they do have an all time great album inside of them somewhere. 

You can grab the album here.  (You can also for a limited time stream it here). Catch the band live here and peep a few samples below:
"Miracle Mile"

"Fear And Trembling"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Album Review: Grave Babies Crusher

Hey All

Have a new review up on Glide

Read it right Ch'ere!!!

It is of Grave Babies release Crusher.

This is clearly not my favorite type of music, but this is always why I love doing these reviews. I never would have gravitated towards this release, but the music was surprisingly rewarding.

There is a lot of goodness to be found on Crusher, and despite the dead pig cover art things aren't really that wild within. Give it a listen if you are into that sort of thing, and even if you aren't, grab the album here and peep some samples below:
"Pain Cycle"

"Breeding"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dylan Cover #81 Aaron Neville "I Shall Be Released"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing this years Jazzfest in New Orleans.  Today's artist: Aaron Neville covering "I Shall Be Released"  
(Neville plays on 5/5 closing out the festival on the Gentilly Stage)

Thoughts on Original:
Another one of the classic Dylan songs we surprisingly have missed (or our search feature is busted) "I Shall Be Released" has been covered by too many artists to count and with reason; it is a masterpiece.  A simple song that will forever be etched in Rock Legend as it ended perhaps the best concert in recent pop music The Last Waltz. The Band are always connected to the tune as Dylan wrote it during those amazing days playing with the group up at Big Pink in the Catskills and the group released it on their first album. Gospel in nature the song is about salvation that can be certain, and each listener (and performer) can add their own personal feelings into the sketch, perfect for covering, especially live.    
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Aaron Neville is royalty in New Orleans and the last few years The Neville Brothers have closed the festival on a positive, spiritual note. This year he is going it solo (well with backing musicians) as he focuses on his newest Doo-Wop release, My True Story. If we are being truthful I have never really loved his falsetto voice on things.  Sure it is pretty but those high tones don't always do it for me. It's gotta be also stated he is a weird looking bird...with that face tattoo, mole and jerri curl, he has always uhhh...stood out.  
Thoughts on Cover:
Appearance issues aside, the man nails this cover. The gospel tones play right into Arron's wheelhouse and he knocks it out of the park. The relaxed tone and combo of piano and organ adds a simple, understated backing. this one could easily be an A+ but that falsetto free form in the middle just gets me riled up, I don't know why, this one is just personal, still a great cover though.
Grade: A

Happy Opening Day!!! (And Big Win for Chelsea FC!)

Big sports day here for RTBE. This morning we had our favorites Chelsea FC holding on for a narrow win in the quarterfinals over the hated Man U via an amazing goal from Demba Ba (with service from Juan Mata) 
Bring on Man City at Wembley, the FA Cup will be staying at Stamford Bridge!
So we start the day off on a fantastic note, but things will get even better as the main event starts this afternoon...Opening Day is upon us!!
RtBE doesn't subscribe to fake opening nights, today actually is the real deal in our book, so like last year and the year before, let's celebrate with a quote from the patron saint of this blog:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?405498
I see great things in baseball.  It's our game - the American game.  It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism.  Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set.  Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.  ~Walt Whitman
 
Today's also a historic day in NYC as both the Mets and the Yanks open the season at home, the first time since 1956 that two teams from this city did that, then it was the Giants and Dodgers who play each other today at 4 on the left coast. I just wish the two NY C games were at staggered times because each game on opening day (hell the whole season) is special.

There are some other intriguing match-ups too, we will be amped for that Reds v Angels duel at 4 which could be a World Series preview and the Cubs v Pirates will have our personal attention for fantasy purposes (C'mon Samardzija!).

Since we often talk music here on the site, let's end the post with some tunes to get you in the mood for what SHOULD be a national holiday. See you at the ballpark!

John Fogerty with the E-Street Band "Center Field"