Monday, November 30, 2015

Dylan Cover #210 Jack Evans "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 Jack Evans of "Make You Feel My Love" 

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From our first take on a cover of 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:
Have not heard of Jack Evans before, but he is a multi-instrumentalist from Cincinnati. You can find more info on Mr. Evans here. His bandcamp page also has some releases.
Thoughts on Cover:
As we have said, this is a perfect candidate for covering from Dylan's catalog and Jack does a fantastic job. He spruces up the drama, incorporates an accordion and sings passionately. Excellent work.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Full Show Friday: Carpathian Forest Live at Wacken

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. Carpathian Forest!

It is upon us!  BLACK Friday! In a tradition we started a few years ago it is time for the most evil Black Metal ever; because really it is the perfect soundtrack if you are hitting the brutality of shopping on this day. Granted we here at RtBE are not fans of the genre but have researched a few bands after enjoying the documentary Until The Light Takes Us

Carpathian Forest are a Black Metal band from Norway who are apparently here to "make sex with you!" Classic. The group have a bunch of albums out and sway more towards the punk side of Black Metal rather then the theatrical side. So we welcome the most evil day of the year the only proper way.

Enjoy:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving From RtBE!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Make sure you spend some time over this holiday doing what is truly important...Watching The Last Waltz:

Also make sure to enjoy your time with loved ones and family. As a famous man once said, "Enjoy Every Sandwich"...especially the leftover turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and gravy ones on potato rolls...

The last few years we have thrown it back to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades of the past and this years no different. Enjoy the full parade from 1991 broken into two parts:


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Album Review: Parquet Courts- Monastic Living EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 23, 2015

Dylan Cover #209 Zeb Picaso "Isis"

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

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

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

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

Enjoy:

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tool To Tour With Primus in 2016

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

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

 "Tommy The Cat" Live on Dennis Miller

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dylan Cover #208 James Kole "Country Pie" Live

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 James Kole 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.    
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Have not heard of James Kole before, but he is a blues-man from St Paul, Minnesota, same state as the bard as well.       
Thoughts on Cover:
A really fun light run through with some cooking electric guitar a nice stand up bass and some funky drums. Nice quick way to kick off the Monday, in fact listen to it twice. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Full Show Friday: The Kinks- One For The Road

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...The Kinks!
This show comes from their 79-80 tour and while we dig them, we've never been huge Kinks fans, but it is impossible to not get into the opener "All Day And All Of The Night". What a classic piece of kick ass rock and roll. It is a bit messy here and that only makes us like it more.

"Lola", "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" are some great numbers played here and the band cooks. They made a live album out of this tour as well. Pro-shot and Pro-sound and an hour of fun for this Full Show Friday.

Enjoy:

  1. "Opening"
  2. "All Day and All of the Night"
  3. Intro: Lola
  4. "Lola"
  5. "Low Budget"
  6. "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"
  7. "Attitude"
  8. "Celluloid Heroes"
  9. "Hard Way"
  10. "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?"
  11. "You Really Got Me"
  12. "Pressure"
  13. "Catch Me Now I'm Falling"
  14. "Victoria"
  15. "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" (snippet sung)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Album Review: Lil Wayne- Free Weezy Album

Lil Wayne
Free Weezy Album
** out of *****
With The Carter V in purgatory Wayne released this FWA, Free Weezy Album and while not on par with his best work it contains blinding reminders why Wayne is constantly worth keeping tabs on.

The be all end all (and one of Weezy's highest points of his career) "Glory" starts the offering and it literally destroys over its running time of five plus minutes, eschewing a chorus for overstuffed verses in front of a huge sweeping back beat provided by Infamous, Onhel and Avenue Beats.

From the beginning of this invigorating track the stage is set regarding the tone of his album/contract ("Woo, This the Shit they didn't want me on") to staples like putting down rivals ("soft as teddy bears/talk to Marky Mark") shit rhymes ("Glory Hallelujah/Holy Shit, I'm the Holy Shit/God's Manure") weed/the boss boasts ("I'm spittin' hail/I'm like Clinton/Well, I did inhale") and numerously crazy Wayne flights of fancy that touch on everything from MLK, The Boston Bruins and Marcia Brady.

The last one is for "White Girl", the cocaine rhymes that Wheezy touches on in each of these songs setting a tone that flows through the album of up tempo cuts mixed with slower lonely tracks. The tempo changes and wild fluctuations are novel attempts at structure, but a madman on the mic like Wayne works best when he has a target and attacks.  "Pull Up" is an example and another solid track, starting slow, with a piano movement, before things kick up instantly with a lot of skittering slapping beats as Euro helps out but the run on sentences calling out Young Thug by Weezy are vigor filled.

The issue is on this full length release, even while being free, it just sputters too much especially anytime the tempo slows. Slow songs in themselves can lead to decent results, but it is the production here that does him a disservice. Wayne never needed huge booming beats, and seems to do his best work over Casio and thin pop samples, but here getting artsy and minimalist just doesn't work; the beat all but disappears on some tracks leading Wayne to just wander. The best example is when Weezy does his Drake impression to close on "Pick Up Your Heart" it sounds like a demo or Weezy trying out a style that doesn't fit him like it should.  

The double meaning of the albums title in which this Tidal release was free and his wish to be let go from Birdman's Cash Money Records sparked some flame in Wayne, but the hit or miss style of his full length releases continues here, for both better and worse. Whose knows, maybe The Carter V will be out for Christmas.
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Catching up on some releases this week that are from earlier in 2015 of artists we like. Thanks for staying tuned, support Weezy here and peep some video of Wayne debuting "Glory" semi live for BET below:
       

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thoughts on Allen Toussaint

Guest correspondent Stefan Ian Muir sitting in on the keys this mournful evening. . .

The gumbo in New Orleans, Louisiana is like none other. A catalytic mix of French Imperialist, African Slave, Acadian Exile, Choctaw Indian, Irish and German Immigrant, plus the Spaniard,  más Cubano, plus the Greek, the Jew, and every gypsy wanderer on bottom or top, too. It is a sunken, Creole, port city brew. It is the birth of jazz in Congo Square. It is Professor Longhair. It is both the most and least American place in the Americas. And if you are with rhythm, nowhere in the world matters more.

In early 1938, just as Duke Ellington was making the leap from jazz composer to sponsor of what he called “American Music”, Allen Toussaint was brought to Gert Town (LA) and dropped into the NOLA musical stew. He studied at the syncopated feet of the aforementioned Longhair and bore witness to the birth of the funk, even if we knew not what to call it for decades still.

Toussaint was a rhythm and blues cornerstone for about 60 years and stood in the heart center of the NOLA sound. Earlier this week, he was taken from us in the best way I can see, shortly after he exited stage left at the Teatro Lara in Madrid. By all known accounts, he was in fine form.

It is a foolhardy quest to capture precisely how many melodious pies the man had his fingers inside, so let us not try. Instead, rest assured that if you find your foot transitioning from a subtle tap to a full scale rock and roll, Toussaint is in there somewhere. And while we are within that pocket, let us meditate a bit on just a smattering of his highlights.

Cissy Strut” (1969) and REJUVENATION (1974)



The studio band that Toussaint led through his string of 1960’s hit singles was composed of Art Neville on keyboards, George Porter Jr. on bass, Leo Nocentelli on guitar, and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums. They are collectively known as the Meters and they took the second line sound to the world at large. Rejuventation is possibly the funkiest record of 1974 and this is a year that included albums like Damn Right I Am Somebody, Inspiration Information, Up for the Down Stroke, and Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. It was nothing less than a feast for future hip hop samplers with acts such as the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy bearing witness. “Cissy Strut” is an unmistakable early evening smoker featuring the rhythm section of Porter Jr and Modeliste in all their nasty glory. It has brought ample bottom to turntables everywhere.

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert (1972)


Rock of Ages is a bit of a glorious mess and represents a moment when The Band was exploding for better and worse. It is also precisely that joyfoul carnival ride due in no small part to the horn arrangements provide by Mr. Toussaint, who first collaborated with Robertson et al on the above track off of Cahoots (1971). Levon Helm, drummer of The Band, was a particularly natural collaborator for Allen Toussaint, as he was born on the immediate opposite side of the Muddy from the Mississippi Crossroads and carried the Delta sounds in his soul. The two would remain friends until Helm’s passing. As the story goes, Toussaint’s arrangements for Rock of Ages were lost along with his luggage and had to be rewritten on the fly after his arrival in New York. The hotshot, big city horn section hired for the New Year’s Eve gig balked at the sheet music laid before them, insisting that the arrangements were written in error. In response, one member of the group (Robertson?) gently suggested that they just play the goddamn notes.

“A CERTAIN GIRL” (1980)


Toussaint is paradoxically best known and least remembered for a long string of hot ones handed off to other artists. “A Certain Girl” was penned in the early 60’s, passed on to Ernie K-Doe, covered by the Yardbirds, then later charted by Zevon some sixteen or so years forward. Toussaint will be fondly recalled by many for his graceful nature; this was on no better display than when he would acknowledge the wonderful magic that others spun with his work. In short, he was as generous with praise as he was with singles.

RIVER IN REVERSE (2006)


Of all the devastation that Hurricane Katrina wrought, perhaps the lone blessing it provided was a powerful second act for Allen Toussaint. He playfully referred to the storm as his “booking agent”, as the aftermath forced him out of his NOLA home and back on the road. As the world’s thoughts were turned towards New Orleans, their ears inevitably followed, and interest in Toussaint’s catalog was on the rise just as the levy waters receded. Toussaint’s collaboration with Elvis Costello would become the most powerful artistic statement directed at that American tragedy and one of the finest records of the young 21st century. Toussaint’s songbook was reopened and he spent the next nine years carrying it across the globe.

“FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION” (2005)


“Freedom for the Stallion” was originally recorded by frequent Toussaint collaborator Lee Dorsey and was a centerpiece on the River in Reverse album. Toussaint was a brilliant pop music composer and many of his songs are best loved for their infectious R&B bounce. However, he was not without his heavy moments, both subtly (“Working in the Coal Mine”) and directly. “Freedom for the Stallion” is one of the finest examples of the latter. Allen Toussaint carried with him a sincere appreciation for both the beauty and the pain associated with our American melting pot, perhaps because he was born into the funkiest of those various kettles. If you are still with me, I invite you to spend some time with Toussaint’s Steinway, for that was where he was at his apex. However, if you choose instead to linger on his lyrics, you can do no better than these:

Some sing a sad song
Some got to moan the blues
Trying to make the best of a home
That the man didn't even get to choose

Lord, have mercy, how you gonna be?
With people like John and me?
They've got men building fences to keep other men out
Ignore him if he whispers and kill him if he shouts

Oh, Lord, you got to help us find a way

May it someday be so. And to our friend Allen Toussaint, may he find that blessed truth inside and lay in restful peace. Laissez les bons temps rouler.




Allen Toussaint (1938 – 2015)

Album Review: Titus Andronicus- The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Titus Andronicus
The Most Lamentable Tragedy
*** out of *****

If there are two words that strike fear into many fans of popular music when they are combined "rock-oprea" could very well be at the top of the list. One band on the current scene, and a song writer in particular who could pull it off would be Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus. The Most Lamentable Tragedy tries to do just that, but in the end, scattered results keep it from the heights it is shooting for.

Let me take a step back here and give some personal background. The site focuses on full albums and we still only listen to music this way. No shuffle, no nitpicking a track here or there and we love when artists take these leaps. Being a fan of this band gave us very high hopes for this disk, so this isn't a matter of form, it is more a matter of execution.

TMLT is huge, angsty, hymn filled and sprawling all over the place, one listen will not do much good, hell it takes a few just to dig into the themes. Beginning and ending with the same droning organ bookends the effort but "No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant" is the first proper tune.

The song goes after an upbeat punk kick in the teeth setting the stage for whats to come, however for a man with so much to say the mushed vocal production is off putting and this unfortunately is a constant on the album. The DIY sounding production fits the Husker Du Zen Arcade link but pushes away many listeners who would benefit for Stickles "fictional" workings here dealing with depression/anxiety to be more lyrically accessible.

Sure, you can argue there is an added "punkness" to the sound and buried vocals, but punk bands make 22 minute full length albums, Titus covers that with two tracks on TMLT. If you are striving for something more, something higher (which they clearly are) a handbook or annotated lyric sheets from genuis.com shouldn't be needed to parse the couplets.

For more on the individual songs (which really just sink into the overall aesthetic) "Lonely Boy" stands out. The vocals and lyrics scream to be isolated/left alone but the backing track with huge piano runs, a swaggering rhythm and a motoring air of confidence (more than on any other song here), plays up the critical duality felt throughout the disk.

"Lost My Mind" easily recalls a Jersey hero of Stickles, Bruce Springsteen, as does "Fatal Flaw" adding a classic rock twist to the punk. The segues of "Look Alive", "The Magic Morning" and "Lookalike" feel forced and clunky while "Dimed Out" oppositely blasts with slamming hardcore and slashes excellently.

The Pogues get a punch in the chest as the band twists things slightly with the lyrics to fit the albums vision a bit, while TA's artiness gets the best of them when the excellent guitar work on "I'm Going Insane" slams into the jarring feedback of "Into The Void" off-putting and again crushes the vocals. Those guitars do sound firm though and when solos are given air, such as on "Stranded", the six strings shine.    

After listening and living with TMLT it certainly feels more like an album Stickles had to make more then one we need to hear. It would be a fitting closing chapter on Titus Andronicus as a project if he chooses, or they (he really) could keep soldiering on as punk rock purists either way we will still be listening, because he will always be worth checking out.
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Catching up on some releases this week that are from earlier in 2015 of artists we like. All that said, support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

Veterans Day 2015

We got a day off from the day job so we are extending that out to RtBE. Veterans Day is an important one in our history, read more about it here.

Since this is a music site we will pay homage in our way and especially since our friend Glen has recorded a song with his great NYHC band Billyclub Sandwich titled "Veteran's Day". You can listen to bad ass tune below following the perfect Patton quote that the group used to intro it:
No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.


"I choose to fight for what I live for" Well said fellows. Well said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Album Review: Gary Clark Jr.- The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Gary Clark Jr. 
The Story of Sonny Boy Slim
** out of *****
Gary Clark Jr. broke onto the scene as a fiery electric blues slinger from Austin, TX. With his live shows and excellent early EP he solidified himself as a true draw and an engaging craftsman of sound. When his first proper studio release Blak & Blu hit it was easy to see that he fell into the trap of branching out in so many directions that there was zero focus but his talent still shone through. Now on The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark is still searching for that sweet spot that can wrangle all of his musical loves into a cohesive package but the worst possible event happens, as the guitar playing that made him great is regulated into the background in favor of faceless modern R&B and generically light hip-hop.

The "The Healing" opens the disk with a spiritual but then immediately delves into a standard hip-hop beat, where Clark lays out how music is his healing. Lyrically the album is basic, "I feel like a man", "My girl looks good" playing it safe in every direction. While the guitar use is sadly light, the biggest surprise is Clark's vocals which have noticeably improved. His love for all these styles has always been evident, but he felt light singing some of the more modern R&B infused tracks on Blak & Blu, and while the songs here lack anything unique, his delivery of his love lines is much more polished and successful.

The blandness of the album is clear with the safety nets Clark casts for new age funk ("Can't Sleep"), rap tinged R&B ("Hold On") repetitive 70's style soul ("Star") and programmed sounding beats and bass ("Wings") none of which make a lasting impact. The best of these backwards looking efforts is "Our Love" which incorporates organ work into a retro soul format.

"Grinder" finds Clark using the six strings the most aggressively screaming as a counter point behind his relaxed singing that is listing off a basic "mo'money mo'problems" motif ending up the most interesting track here. His best guitar playing comes on the outro solo of "Stay" feeling menacing, then devolves into the generic hip shake of the unironically titled "Shake".

The album closing slow jam of "Down To Ride" plays as a groovy get down jam and at over seven minutes takes to long to get anywhere feeling under-cooked and flaccid. Clark doesn't need to stay rooted in the blues, and should incorporate different styles to his playing, but when the results end up as forgettable as this perhaps using more of his roots as a basis would be wise.
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Catching up on some releases this week that are from earlier in 2015 of artists we like. Clark has now officially fallen into Trombone Shorty and Robert Randolph range of amazing live artists who blew up and then never get it together in the studio, they all should work with some ghost writers for a hit...or maybe work together? We dig him though and wish him (and all of them) the best of luck. Support the artist, buy the album, peep some video:

 

RIP Allen Toussaint

The world lost an amazing songwriter today as it was confirmed that Allen Toussaint passed away while on tour in Madrid, he was 77 years old.
We love New Orleans and he was a titanic voice for that town, writing so many classic songs and working with everyone under the sun. Nola.com The Times and other sites have reflections on the legend and NPR is sharing a full concert you can check out from him back in '09 at The Village Vanguard.
Here at RtBE, Toussaint will always have a special place in our heart. I distinctly remember one of the major tipping points, a quick yet powerful moment that really solidified our love for The Crescent City. It wasn't one of Toussaints sets or one of his numerous sit in's we caught with great musicians. It was simply getting down to NOLA early one Wednesday in 2010 to kick off our Jazzfest experience. Dropping off my bags, getting so pumped, I headed directly to the Louisiana Music Factory for live tunes and records.

In a state of unadulterated joy I stepped off a curb a bit too quick, and looked up to see a Rolls-Royce cruising slowly through the intersection of Decatur and Conti. Never in danger, but a bit in awe, I looked in to see Mr. Toussaint himself give a warm smile and politely waving me along, guiding me up the block to see Kermit Ruffins play.

Shaking my head I realized this was the beginning of an amazing trip, in a magical city and really put things over the top before anything even happened. New Orleans is alive, and Toussaint will always live on there as a massive legend and really anywhere you get to hear his fantastic songs, sang/played by him or anyone else as he has crossed generations/races/genres. Below are just a few.       

"Riverboat" Live in NYC


Lee Dorsey and Toussaint "Working In A Coal Mine"


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Toussaint "On Your Way Down"


Bonnie Raitt and Toussaint "What is Success?" Live


Toussaint "Tipitina & Me"


Toussaint "Soul Sister"

Monday, November 9, 2015

Album Review: Bob Dylan- Shadows In The Night

Bob Dylan
Shadows In The Night
** out of *****

Here's the deal, do you like Bob Dylan's voice as it sounds in 2014-15? If you do you will like his most recent studio recording Shadows In The Night a lot. If not? Skip this.

RtBE loves Dylan, there is too much written on this site already about him, but regarding his newest release, there simply isn't that much to say. This collection of standards was literally recorded and marketed to the AARP crowd, with Dylan's voice the direct focal point. He sounds fine, the songs are classics, the backing instrumentation is dull to the point of muzak. It is a slow sleepy affair that is acceptable as background music during a retro cocktail party, but it may be even too subdued for that.

In all honesty if a die-hard Dylan fan can't get that excited about it, I can't give it more then 2 stars. Maybe when I reach retirement age I will come back to it, but for now, if you are infatuated with the bard's vocals check it out, if not move on.
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Catching up on some releases this week that are from earlier in 2015 of artists we like. Pretty amazing that we have so little to say about a Bob Dylan release, but it stirs up zero passion on either side for us, it wasn't laughably bad, nor surprisingly good. Obviously continue to support the artist, buy the album and peep some video:

Dylan Covers #207 Odetta- "With God On Our Side"

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 Odetta playing "With God On Our Side"
Thoughts on Original
From the first time we talked about around Veterans Day as well:
Perhaps the most poignant and lasting song Dylan has written and that speaks volumes. Lyrically it is perfect; using history, the warping of religion and politics to get across the point that man will rationalize anything, even war. Only played live 30 times since it's debut at Dylan's historic Town Hall show the song has added weight and meaning when it is played.

Morality and War, Religion and Righteousness, all just words when it comes down to it, hold life inside those letters. Musically stark Dylan uses his impressive lyrics to express the confusion perfectly. Should be mandatory listing in every history classroom.
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist
Odetta is a pure legend, a voice that will transcend time. To learn about her history check out this.
Thoughts on Cover
We have talked about this song on Veterans Day (or the week of) every year since we started doing this series and we will continue to, Odetta takes center stage with a version this year. the acoustic instrumentation seems to be banging into each other in intoxicating fashion. In fact we like the intricate playing much more then Odetta's dramatic vocals. A cool version, Thanks Ceez.

Oh and stay tune later for more on Dylan today...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Full Show Friday: Morphine Pinkpop 5/23/94

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Morphine!
The baritone styling of Boston's Morphine gets our full show treatment this week as the unique trio plays Pinkpop Festival in 1994. Mark Sandman, Dana Colley and Billy Conway first entered my brain in the same year this show went down. A friend of mine played them often and those catchy ass low baritone notes just lodged themselves into my ears.

Two of our favorites from the band are here back to back ("Candy" & "Thursday") as the group sounds in top form playing the European festival. The are certainly a group to experience a the excellent and purely Sandman's own bass style, Colley's crazy duel sax work and Conways' drumming kick off your weekend...Find a cure for pain..Enjoy:

The Saddest Song 0:22
A Head With Wings 3:48
Mary Won't You Call My Name 7:21
Candy 10:44
Thursday 14:10
All Wrong 17:21
You Speak My Language 21:02
Dana Dominated the Baritone 25:04
You Look Like Rain 25:55
Buena 29:48

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New Yuppicide Record Out 12/4 Release Show 12/13

One of the great New York City Punk/Hardcore bands Yuppicide are releasing their first full length since their 2010 reunion.
 The album, titled Revenge Regret Repeat, will be out on 12/4 via Dead City Records and the band will play a special release show on 12/13 at Grand Victory in Brooklyn.

We have a special connection to the band, even more than reviewing their music as our good friend Glen Lorieo worked hard on the album (hey, he worked on both of ours as well!). We have hung with the band and seen them live a few times since their reunion and are very happy they are putting out this record.

We have inside word it is going to be great, so grab it when you can.
 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Album Review: Beach Slang- The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us

Hey all got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of Beach Slang's excellent debut full length release, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us. This is some winning, upbeat, power-pop/punk rock right here. James Alex Snyder is making 40 years old sound as vital as 18 years old and god bless him for that.

We reviewed their cover EP last week and really dig on the band, expect to see this pop up on some year end lists. Please give them your support, buy the album and peep some video below: