Friday, December 29, 2017

Full Show Friday: Wu-Tang Clan- Rock The Bells 4/17/04

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.. Wu-Tang Clan!

Back to 2004 for Disciples of the 36 Chambers Live. Here comes the Wu-Tang Clan, closing out our Full Show Friday for 2017. While hip-hop is def a studio genre ( it loses most of it's power and precision on the live stage) a Wu Tang show is such an overwhelming experience we needed to share one of their concerts.

We also wanted to feature one with Ol' Dirty Bastard who is amazing in multiple aspects. ODB is the MVP of the Wu and it is a shame he passed away only a few months after this performance. The whole group get in on the act here and it is damn good capturing of the crew. Pro Shot Pro Sound (but out-of-synch unfortunately) and a joy to listen to. Enjoy...and see you in 2018.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Album Review: White Reaper- The World's Best American Band

White Reaper
The World's Best American Band
*** and 1/2 out of *****
A cheekily named second full length album comes from Louisville's White Reaper. The four piece do not lack for confidence as their swaggering pop rock is a fun romp.

The group, Tony Esposito, Ryan Hater, Nick Wilkerson, and Sam Wilkerson worked with producer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket) to craft a listenable excursion to nothing but a good time land that touches on both classic Cheap Trick and recent indie power pop revivals with ease. Opening with a cheering fake live sound track the title track actually drags more than most of the other tracks here, starting things off on a low point, but things improve with the the mid tempo riff filled "Eagle Beach" boasting a pleasant guitar solo.

The best track on the album also arrives early as "Judy French" showcases what the band does best; catchy riffs, piano flourishes, vocals that can be sung along to and driving lo-end that will make everyone dance live. Lead singer Esposito engages vocally while singing about heads full of roses, hip swinging ladies and being fenced in; the party ready record never makes a lyrical statement because one is not needed.

"The Stack" pulls on T. Rex loving heart strings with piano banging and fuzzy guitars while "Party Next Door" is a sunshine filled retro effort. The group also brings to mind a less urgent version of Beach Slang as both are honestly searching for the next good time, in a PG-13 manor, hearkening back to Junior High School innocence and directness.

Oddly the tracks seem to stick around a touch too long at times (examples: Title Track, "The Little Silver Cross") even with shorter overall running lengths. The ideas are simple and 15-30 seconds can tack on too long of time for the track to really take off.

If you are looking for a direct good time, The World's Best American Band delivers in a rock and roll fashion that rarely happens in the year 2017. Fans of straight up guitars, bass, drums and vocals need to check out White Reaper's newest album, that doesn't quite live up to the hyperbolic title, is still a blast.   
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Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Album Review: Gorillaz - Humanz

Gorillaz
Humanz
** out of *****

The Gorillaz first new studio album in seven years finds the band, along with an unending lineup of guest collaborators, hurling huge bushels of digital bananas at the listener. Humanz is a long playing and ultimately underwhelming release as heaps of dance laden numbers keep coming in various tweaked styles. While at the end it has been a semi-fun (if exhausting) ride, nothing jumps out as must hear.

Main monkey man and Gorillaz co-founder Damon Albarn wanted the album to be an emotional response to the politically changing world all around him. There are lots of searching feelings and questioning lyrics but little in the form of political protest or statements. There are constant disco club infused beats and guests galore. Vince Staples pop’s up first delivering powerful verses on the skittering “Ascension” and the parade continues until Jehnny Beth arrives to shout out on the positive ending track “We Got The Power” in an almost Queen arena fashion (unlike anything that has come before it on the album).

The moments come fast and are tweaked stylistically and in terms of success. On the positive side you find the nouveau techno soul of “Strobelite” (featuring Peven Everett) and the late night clubby cool of “Andromedia” (featuring D.R.A.M). While “Momentz” finds De La Soul back in the lyrical saddle, however pairing them with Casio keyboard sounds and cheap beats isn’t successful while Popcaan brings his dancehall reggae charm to “Saturnz Barz” but the second half from Albarn falls flat.

One major takeaway is that there is a lack of big beats on the record as it sonically dives into the “taking low end away” movement lacking a bumping energy, instead moving towards club jams and slow efforts (see “Hallelujah Money” and “She’s My Collar”). “Let Me Out” is a clear song that would benefit from bombastic beats and energy but instead (even with Mavis Staples and Pusha T on-board) it remains aloof.

However, this production style does help accentuate the weirdness that floats through the speakers on “Charger” (featuring Grace Jones). There is a creepy coolness boarding on industrial/serial killer sounds with buzzing guitars and eerie sonic settings.

While Humanz doesn’t hit the heights Albarn and Jamie Hewlett may have been searching for, it isn’t for lack of effort. Their “party at the end of the world” effort just never really gives back the bang for the listening buck.
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Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from Rock The Body Electric

Have a Happy One on @RockBodyElec:

Here is our favorite Christmas song for the Holiday Season, sing it Clarence!


And a bonus tune as a stocking-stuffer because we are in the giving spirit. Here is Albert King trying to get Santa the respect he deserves...


Enjoy the holiday and as always, thanks for reading.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Full Show Friday: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Albany NY 12/13/2015

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.. Trans-Siberian Orchestra!
With the holidays upon us, we figured we would get in the weird progressive metal spirit this year. What the hell? We are about to board a train to Albany so let's use the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's 2015 show at The Knick (it will never have another name for RtBE).

The odd thing about this band? Parents LOVE them. this group sells out arenas everywhere and bless them for it. So head-bang for Jesus and Santa or whatever with this Multi Camera Shot, Excellent Sounding (c'mon it is the Knick, great sound) recording. Enjoy:

 

Multi-camera mix full show captured in 1080p HD on the 2015 The Ghosts of Christmas Eve Tour TSO East. Captured from section 1, row A & the balcony at the Times Union Center, Albany, NY on December 13, 2015 at 7:30pm - edited and authored by Frank Anzalone.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Top Ten Albums Part 3

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2017 Top Ten Albums numbers 5-1:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation; click on the name and title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us.

Today we start our top ten, in retrospect it was a year with a lot of good albums but few great ones, sorta like 2011 or last year. Don't believe me? Google "Best Music of 2017" and see the dreck that shows up. Click that Read More button to see what albums we liked the best in 2017.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Album Review: (Sandy) Alex G - Rocket

(Sandy) Alex G
Rocket
*** and 1/2 out of *****

Philadelphia based artist Alex G has been pumping out albums that mix odd genres/styles and recently shot to national fame after Frank Ocean asked him to play on some of his tracks. Rocket is the eighth full length release from Alex G and finds him experimenting with DIY sounds in (mostly) sunshiny pop fashion.

Lots of randomness but very rarely does the disk move away from simple pop song structures while working with four track (and beyond) limitations. On the duet "Bobby" all facets seem to interlock as Emily Yacina joins working an american sound up from the ashes. Other highlights are, "County" a creakily bubbling bass soul effort that displays some mindbogglingly beautiful guitar sounds before  "Judge" pushes the up lever on the creepy cool factor. "Powerful Man" takes to the dusty mid American prairie with gusto while closer "Guilty" manages to expertly incorporate a smooth late night saxophone into the mix. All of these are solid efforts using organs, fiddles, and the kitchen sink messing around with vocals in-front/behind the sound, latching on to the off-kilter pop ear.

On "Sportstar" he dips directly into Oceans world with vocal effects, a distorted modern hip hop beat and infectious piano line. The track is a bright example of how comfortable Alex G is when blurring genre lines and would hold up well if any artist decided to cover it.

He remains offbeat and experimental as well. "Horse" is a soundscape of noises that finishes just as it gets annoying while "Brick" mixes metal, hip hop and noise rock in an almost successful fashion. There is also a lot of mid level filler with indie folksie tracks "Posion Root", "Proud" and "Guilty" but by throwing out all of these short tunes to choose from, the best do stick around after their brief running time.

There is a ton on Rocket that reminds of early era Beck; while not as experimental or raucous the idea of anything-goes-exploration is vivid. Songs jump not only genres, but production levels and listen-ability; as if Alex G has so much to say he rarely filters anything out. This is an admirable trait and provides an enjoyable roots filled ride on Rocket.
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Support the artist, buy the album or stream it on bandcamp/below and also peep some video:


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Top 10 Albums Part 2

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2017 Top Ten Albums numbers 10-6:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us. You can view the first part of this feature, the just misses and let downs as well.

Today we start our top ten, in retrospect it was a year with a lot of good albums but few great ones, sorta like 2011 or last year. All three of these years contain OK albums as opposed to All-Time Greats. However, there is a wide range in the 2017 top ten; from Jazz to Hardcore Metal to Acoustic to Hip-Hop to Country. Click that Read More button to get started with #10-6 today. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Dylan Cover #306 Larry Norman "Everything Is Broken"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Larry Norman doing a cover of "Everything Is Broken" 

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
If Bob wasn't the Bard "Everything Is Broken" would just be another tossed off song. However, is anything with Dylan just simply tossed off? Well this song certainly feels tossed off to me...sorry. Oh Mercy is a hell of an album, one of Dylan's classics, and this song is fine, it just can't even stand close to any of his all-time gems, not remotely close. One of the reasons I started this cover series was to show how amazing The Bard's songs are in just about anyone's hands, but if the original of this tune was written by Joe Schmo would people think it was great, or is it just the Dylan name that gives it clout?  

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We had not heard of Larry Norman, but Wikipedia tells us that he is considered one of the founders of Christian Rock music. He had an amazingly productive career and is even called the Bob Dylan of Christian rock...that is something! Now we are ashamed we never heard him before...
  
Thoughts on Cover:
A fine straight ahead cover of a song we knew had to end our Mondays Dylan Cover Series in 2017. Has there been a year in recent history for the country where things have ever felt so broken? RtBE can't remember one...here's hoping 2018 starts turning things around and picking up the pieces. 

This series will return in January when the focus will be on Jazz versions of Dylan's tunes. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Full Show Friday: Earth Wind and Fire 1973

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...Earth Wind and Fire!
This is the second time we are showcasing Earth Wind and Fire, but this is a completely different beast from the Las Vegas'y 1997 version of the band. Dating back to 1973, this is a less showy, more organic version of the band captured on the television show Soul. The band is working with their first major album Head To The Sky and the wah-wah gets thick in front of the excellent low end.

The grooves start at the beginning and don't stop. Pro shot and Pro sound, but the sound from '73 isn't the greatest. It doesn't detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the half hour broadcast. We also need to give a shoutout to Pa'Dukes who rates EW&F as one of his all-time favorites. Enjoy:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Favorite Live Show

The live show is a slippery thing. There are lots of variables at play, most having little to do with the performance itself. Does the venue have enough bathrooms? Is it going to rain? What day of the week is it on? Did I have a shitty day at work before hand? Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be than in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.
Live Music Has No Equal!
Taken By The Fantastic Megan Donohue
While we can't see every show that is out there, we try our hardest to see as many as we can here at RtBE. Sure there are a few left in the calendar year, but for now, here is a listing of of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have seen in 2017. There are links to show reviews in the titles, also because who doesn't love arbitrary rankings, one show at the bottom took the top prize as RtBE's 2017 Favorite Live Show. To continue our Best of 2017 just click that "Read More" button and get started

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Album Review: The Black Angels - Death Song

The Black Angels
Death Song
**** out of *****
The Black Angels have always been an Austin, TX based version of The Velvet Underground come to life in the new millennium, so now they fully dig into that comparison with the title of their fifth studio album Death Song. While recalling VU’s “The Black Angel Death Song” in title, the group expands their sound on the record from its patented droning doom rock to now wrangling pop and deep groove sections, producing one the strongest efforts of their career.

The band hasn’t abandoned its dark art rocking way, but mixing with that late night doom and gloom with a eye towards wider reception (helped along by producer Phil Ek). “Hunt Me Down” is a perfect example of this with distortion, swirling organs and pedal effects blending effortlessly with a dance-rock groove that is infectious. “I Dreamt” and “Medicine” both contain drone dance beats as well while “Comanche Moon” opens with massive rolling fuzz bass rhythms before dipping into psychedelic pop for the verses propelling things powerfully ahead.

While the band has always used feedback and effects to highlight their tunes it is really the drum work of Stephanie Bailey that elevates the magnificence throughout Death Song.

Written in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election the album can feel very topical, especially on anti-capitalist art-rockin' opener “Currency”. The track is the perfect late night bug out soundtrack for the Zuccotti Park occupiers while “Grab As Much (as you can)” balances greed with a booming bottom and eastern tinged passages before a soaring close reminding of The Doors.

The Black Angels retro sound and late night freak-out is still intact, most notably on the burning and bumping “I’d Kill For Her” which resembles some of the groups best earlier work while they dip into more ballad levels with lyrical relationships for “Estimate” and the pretty “Half Believing”.

Ending with the two sides to the same coin “Death March” and “Life Song” the album closes strong. “Death March” pulses with creepy stalker energy and echoing lyrics filling in the sonic voids while “Life Song” brings to mind David Bowie's “Space Oddity” in lyrics and style. The expansive last track manages to be personal/universal, depressing/optimistic all at once.

The Black Angels aren’t reinventing their style; they are honing it. Retro-loving through and through Death Song touches on new vistas and dark landscapes resulting in their best effort since 2006’s Passover.
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Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Top 10 Albums Part 1: The Just Misses & Let Downs

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2017 Top Ten Albums Part One: The Just Misses & Let Downs:
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it. As always RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20, so expect some overlap (though not as much as in years past).

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but complete releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for RtBE.

Today we are going to focus on the "Just Misses" of our top ten and unfortunately the "Let Downs" released this year. Obviously these are just our personal preferences, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments. Expect installment 2 (#10-6) soon, but for now click on the green "Read More" below:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dylan Cover #305 Oren Lavie "Fourth Time Around"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Oren Lavie doing "Fourth Time Around"


Thoughts On Dylan Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
This is a weird one, as I heard this track after I had already fallen in love with The Beatles"Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and didn't know what Dylan was getting at with this track. After checking out Wikipedia, I guess I am not alone as John Lennon was all over the map with his reactions to it. The music is the same and the lyrics are a mix of lazy and nonsense, reading into anything Dylan says too heavily can cause one to go mad, but why he chose to do this song so close to when the Beatles had their first lyrical success is a mystery. social commentary, goof, stoned malaise? Either way, the song was never one of my favorites and not up to anywhere near the version he was praising or mocking, take your pick.

Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
RtBE is unfamiliar with Mr. Lavie's work. After listening to this cover we learned that he is an Israeli songwriter, author, theatre and video director.

Thoughts on Cover:
This is a cool one that seems to take as much inspiration from The Beatles as it does from Dylan. A neat trick seeing as they are the reason Dylan wrote this tune. Trippy, Eastern and to the point. A good cover of a light song. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Full Show Friday: The Jam In Concert Live At Bingley Hall Birmingham 1982

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 Jam!

This is a band we've gotten into lately, and aren't even all the way in yet. Since that is the case we figured we would showcase them this week on our Full Show Friday post. Let us get down together with The Jam.

Pro Shot, Pro Sound, Full Setlist below...Enjoy:


01. Strange Town 02. Carnation 03. Town Called Malice 04. Happy Together 05. Boy About Town 06. Ghosts 07. 5`o Clock Hero 08. That’s Entertainment 09. Tales From The Riverbank 10. Precious 11. Running On The Spot 12. Move On Up 13. In The Crowd 14. Private Hell 15. Pretty Green 16. Trans Global Express 17. The Gift 18. Circus 19. Pity Poor Alfie 20. Fever 21. Funeral Pyre 22. Butterfly Collector 23. When You’re Young

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Live Review: The Hold Steady 12/1/17 Brooklyn Bowl

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
One of RtBE's Personal Favorites played Brooklyn Bowl in what is quickly becoming an annual tradition as The Hold Steady held Massive Nights last week. Thanks to BB for hooking us up.
We were happy to have caught the band with some of our dearest friends and family. It was a blast of energy, booze, rock, roll and great f'ing times!

Read the review, support the band, peep some video below and most importantly, Stay Positive.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Best Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2017 with a favorite feature in the Best of... area, Album Art. Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we were underwhelmed with and our favorite show. Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc). We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2017.
The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem, but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.

Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc. Thankfully the rise of vinyl is helping this dilemma but it is still not enough. The hours we spent staring, actually holding, examining tons of covers while listening to music can not be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds. You were connected to album in a more physical way, things were deeper, more evocative...Anyways...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Messthetics Playing Tonight in Brooklyn, Tomorrow Jersey

Our friends over at Brooklyn Vegan clued us into a new band who are playing Brooklyn  tonight and have some pretty damn cool roots.
The Messthetics are a trio of some fiery players.  Anthony Pirog on guitar, Joe Lally on bass and Brendan Canty on drums. The rhythm section may ring a bell as they were the backbone of none other than Fugazi.

This group is more the heavy jazz route though with their only online presence being a view clips from their Washington DC show. The music is adventurous with pounding beats and screeching guitar. They play St. Vitus tonight and WFMU Monthy Hall tomorrow night for those who want to stat off December with some experimental music. Peep a preview below:



Monday, December 4, 2017

Dylan Cover #304 Jack Bryant "What Was It You Wanted?"

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 Jack Bryant of the Dylan tune "What Was It You Wanted?"

Thoughts On Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
Oh Mercy brought Dylan back in from the creative wasteland that was his 1980's. It had an eerie sense of foreboding, helped by producer Daniel Lanois and the ghosts of New Orleans. The irritable old man in Dylan came out a bit here as well, and "What Was It You Wanted?" is a good example of that; a confused searching which colors/clouds the lyrics/theme as the protagonist just can't seem to get it right.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have not heard of Jack Bryant before and there isn't much on his youtube page about them.

Thoughts on Cover:
A decent live version with a few flubs but  some really ace guitar work from the old timers. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Full Show Friday: Muddy Waters 10/27/68 Copenhagen Jazz Festival

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.. Muddy Waters!
This is a short and sweet set of the blues from Muddy Waters and his band captured 1968 at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. It is some pristine video and excellent sound. The group is bubbling and this piece of history is a perfect way to kick off December, a month when RtBE will look back at the 2017, which wasn't nearly as cool as 1968.

Pro sound, Pro video, setlist and players below...Enjoy:


Setlist: 
01. "Back At The Chicken Shack" 
02. "Train Fare Home Blues" 
03. "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" 
04. "Long Distance Call" 
05. "Nobody Knows My Trouble" 
06. "Cold Cold Feeling" 
07. "Got My Mojo Working" 
08. "Tiger In Your Tank" 

Lineup: Muddy Waters - guitar & vocals 'Pee Wee' Madison – guitar Luther "Snakeboy" Johnson - guitar Otis Spann – piano Paul Oscher – harmônica Sonny Wimberley – bass S.P. Leary - drums

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fantastic High Water Festival Lineup Announced for 2018

We have never been to the High Water Festival, but with a lineup that was announced earlier this month that may have to change in 2018.

Shovels and Rope were asked to curate the lineup and they nailed it. While we really like that band and now we like them even more as their ears and taste seem to be just as talented as the rest of them. Jason Isbell, Band of Horses, Jeff Tweedy have all been featured on RtBE before and we would love to catch them all at a festival. It is quite frankly some of the best Americana you will hear anywhere...and there will be oyster seminars?!?!

With our commitment to Jazzfest we will probably not be able to head to this one, but we are praying all these bands keep the party going and head to NOLA when that announcement is made. Until then let's hear some of the bands playing High Water, starting with the curators themselves:








Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Hold Steady Songs Ahead of Their 4 Night Brooklyn Bowl Residency

One of RtBE's favorite groups The Hold Steady are kicking off their Four Show "Massive Nights" Brooklyn Bowl run tonight. To celebrate they released two new tracks for their fans, both of which they will probably play tonight.
The group put them out on their bandcamp site and you can stream over there or below. The songs do have a demo feel to them and we wouldn't be surprised if the band re-worked them before officially releasing both on a future album, but they are classic tHS style. Big swells (even horns) tons of lyrics with memorable turns of phrase and major riffs.


While we personally dig "Entitlement Crew" more, both are solid and it is fun to have Franz back in the mix. We will be attending and reviewing the Friday Night show with a bunch of friends, RtBE can not wait to see them. Below are some older live tunes to get us all pumped.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Live Review: Bob Dylan 11/20/17 Beacon Theater NYC

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of Bob Dylan's recent show at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is no secret that Bob is an idol of RtBE but over the last few albums and live experiences we have been let down by the bard...but not at this show. 

This was the best we have seen Dylan and the band in years. 

Mavis Staples was a joy to see as well with her backup singers and band clearly enjoying themselves on stage as well. The only negatives on the night were the exorbitant Ticketmaster service charge ($40 per ticket) and the Beacon Theater having only 5 metal detectors for all 3,000 people to filter through. Clearly that fee was not going to security as lines snaked around the block at 7pm when the doors were opening and moved incredibly slowly. 

Focusing on the positive though, it was a hell of a night of tuns from two of the all-time greats. Support Bob and Mavis, and peep some video below: 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dylan Cover #303 The Steepwater Band "Isis" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from The Steepwater Band and is a live 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:
RtBE have not heard of The Steepwater Band before. Turns out they are a bluesy rock band from Chicago who have been rocking since 1998. 
Thoughts on Cover:
Great guitar work and some upbeat playing make this journey a fun one to take after this holiday weekend. Get up and shake out that stuffing with the fellas. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Full Show Friday: Myrkur Live at Wacken Open Air 2016

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.. Myrkur

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 (or shopping) but have researched a few bands after enjoying the documentary Until The Light Takes Us.

This year we let the female black metal voice be heard as Amalie Bruun fronts her outfit Myrkur. RtBE has actually been meaning to review the bands newest record since it came out in September, but have yet to get around to it. Perhaps this will push deeper into the darkness....

Pro shot, Pro sound, full set list below:

Songs: 00:13 Den Lille Piges Død 05:01 Hævnen 08:57 Onde Børn 13:15 Vølvens Spådom 14:55 Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne 18:51 Mordet 22:57 Dybt I Skoven 26:15 Skøgen Skulle Dø 30:50 Skaði 35:42 Song to Hall Up High

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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. Here is the 1993 Thanksgiving Day Parade:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Album Review: Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples
If All I Was Was Black
**** out of *****

For her eighteenth studio album the legendary Mavis Staples once again teamed up with producer and songwriter Jeff Tweedy. If All I Was Was Black tackles our current political climate and Tweedy addressed this directly when discussing writing songs for the new album:
"I’ve always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself—that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on."

Just last year the Staples and Tweedy combined for one of the best records of the 2016 with Livin' on A High Note, but this album digs a bit deeper lyrically while returning to Staples stripped down musical roots. Racial injustice is present from the first smooth funky outing "Little Bit" and continues into the title track. Both support Staples lead vocals with gorgeous backup singing, grooving riffs and excellently cutting electric guitar lead lines. It is a simple and direct formula that isn't messed with much over the course of the album. 

"Who Told You That" gets grittier with both the lyrics and the funk as the song takes a harder edge while "Peaceful Dream" goes back to church with Staples gospel singing, organ and easy acoustic plucking. There is very little to find fault with as the music effortlessly flows from the sweet soul sounds of "Build A Bridge" to the feedback driven "Try Harder"; all songs have a focus on healing humanity and our present day cultural rifts. One minor flaws is there isn't a full fledged anthem to get behind and a track like "No Time For Crying" runs long and never takes off on the record, but will probably be a focus of Staples live sets.

The pair of artists come together for a blissful duet on "Ain't No Doubt About It" that sums up their professional relationship (if not their personal one) in a very easy going straight ahead manner. Tweedy and Staples clicked immediately, knocking it out of the park in 2010 with the Grammy winning You Are Not Alone and have continued to succeed and strive ever since.

Staples late career renaissance is impressive and while her early wok will always soar high, her partnership with Jeff Tweedy has yielded almost as successful results. While If All I Was Was Black is definitely a 2017 record the sounds and (unfortunately the messages sung about) will live on for a long time.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Album Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 
Polygondwanaland
**** out of *****

The prolific psychedelic Australian rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, put their summer of love meets the new millennium, freak-out style back into action with their newest release (their 4th of supposedly 5 in 2017), with the easy to pronounce (and spell),  Polygondwanaland. The group keeps raising the stakes with concept albums and explorations with free jazz nodding to Sketches of Spain and their newest is a sonic assault on the senses...in a good way.  

The opening track needs special attention as it is over ten minutes of increasing freak-outs around the title "Crumbling Castle". Frankenstein-ed together but somehow flowing, there are sonic excursions, percussive breaks and a variety of vocal styles that make the full trip even odder. It is a bad ass opening statement and sticks around long after it finishes.

After the dizzying opener the group stays odd, but keeps it direct (well, direct for this outfit). The title track percolates with an excellent bass-line/acoustic guitar work while "Inner Cell" incorporates an eastern tinged flair with a snaking groove. The theme of castles reappears with "The Castle In The Air" a dreamy spoken word adventure before dripping into the propulsive "Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet".   

Synthesizers and flutes color "Loyalty" but it is the ever moving beat that pushes things along and the drum and bass combo wind up the MVP for "Horology" as well. The vocals take a back seat to the gymnastic playing but this album was designed for multiple listens to parse out meanings, phrases and lyrics from the melodic soup. The seven piece can sound overly busy at times (see album closer "The Fourth Colour"), but when things lock in the music can be transcendent.

The band released this full album for free, even posting the master recordings online for people to use as they please. KG&TLW seem to never stop producing music and when it arrives as fresh as Polygondwanaland here's hoping it never stops
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Support the band, download the album for free or stream it below, and peep some video:






Monday, November 20, 2017

Dylan Cover #302 Old Crow Medicine Show "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"

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 Old Crow Medicine Show playing "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
The first song on the iconic Blonde on Blonde "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" is an anthem for a generation...to do what with, is up for debate. Stoned in the head or stoned by the masses up to you to decide. Whatever your thoughts on the lyrics and meaning it can't be argued that Bob is having fun which doesn't always come across on his studio releases. The "salvation Army" style horns and marching is a hoot...once in a long while but not made for everyday consumption. Truth be told, the song is normally skipped when I am listening to the album, I like opening Blonde on Blonde better with "Pledging My Time".

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Old Crow Medicine Show have always been a fun folkise root rock ride when we have heard them, but also that hasn't been too often.

Thoughts on Cover:
THIS is the way you cover this song. Rollicking, powerful, full of vigor and rambling shambling around the stage. An excellent version of this song and when we see the man himself tonight we hope he plays one song half as energetic as this version.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Full Show Friday: Joni Mitchell 1980 Shadows and Light

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...Joni Mitchell!
This week we focused on some of the most talented females making popular music today. So it was time to showcase Joni Mitchell live from 1980 Shadow and Light for our Full Show Friday to end things. Playing with Pat Methany and Jaco, Joni digs into her tunes with touches of jazz as all of the players are world class. Joni came up in conversation last week and while RtBE are not the biggest fans of hers we realized we never featured her on Full Show Friday so that needed to change.

This is her Shadows and Light tour which produced the live album. Pro Shot, Pro Sound, full setlist below.

Enjoy:


00:00 - Introduction 01:58 - In France They Kiss on Main Street 06:07 - Edith and the Kingpin 10:18 - Coyote 15:12 - Free Man in Paris 18:42 - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 24:36 - Jaco's Solo: The High and the Mighty Third Stone from the Sun 28:41 - The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines 33:04 - Amelia 39:45 - Pat's Solo 42:46 - Hejira 50:04 - Black Crow 54:01 - Furry Sings the Blues 59:37 - Raised on Robbery 1:02:52 - Band Introduction 1:04:03 - Why Do Fools Fall in Love 1:06:26 - Shadows and Light

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Continental Closing in Summer 2018

Via our friends over at Brooklyn Vegan we found out that the Continental on 3rd ave and St. Marks will be closing next year with the building to be demolished.
You may ask what does a dive bar have to do with a music site? Well RtBE has seen many shows at Continental throughout our time in NYC. From friends bands to Joey Ramone's Birthday shows, to secret NYHC shows after they didn't officially have live music anymore. (They news-papered the windows so no one could have possible known there was a band playing right?!?!) You can view the full statement on the closing,

We ourselves never got to play there, but it would have been exactly our speed. It has been a part of our NYC heart so it is sad to see it go...what was even sadder was when St. Marks Pizza got new owners and then shut down...that used to be our favorite pizza in the whole city!

But we digress...here is some live video from Continental to remember the joint. Head down for some cheap drinks before it gets knocked down in August 2018


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Album Review: Margo Price - All American Made

Margo Price
All American Made
****and1/2 out of *****

Last year’s debut Midwest Farmers Daughter was a long time coming and it delivered the country/Americana goods, kick starting Margo Price’s career. It was on multiple 2016 Best of Lists (including ours) and proved she had the talent to write, sing and pick with the best of best from any generation.

Only one year later comes her follow-up and All American Made is even better. Price has broadened her songwriting to ingest modern day heartbreak, tough mental states and (most expressively) on political touch points; this is a masterful country/Americana record.

The opener "Don't Say It" contains a a splash of “Hard to Handle” and is the most barroom rock and roll shit-kicking Price gets, telling off a bad relationship via killer lyrics. These excellent turns of phrase are everywhere on the disk, you could swear you’ve heard them before but nope, these songs are pure Margo and the second track “Weakness” is an instant classic in the country genre.

Speaking of classics, none other than Willie Nelson shows up for a fantastic duet on “Learning to Lose” and while lyrically it may not top others here, just hearing that purely American voice delicately sing with Price is a joy. She has what amounts to a sequel to the last album’s title track with “Heart of America”, the complications of sexism double standard on the road (and in life in general) with “Wild Woman” and expands into traveling spirituality on “Loner” painting broad strokes lyrically in front of swaying music.

Speaking of the music, there are a few stretches away from Prices bread and butter of Midwestern country. “A Little Pain” gets excellently soulful with organ work while “Do Right By Me” has a down home groove propelled by the bass, drums and soul singing backup vocals; both prove when Price branches out she and her band can succeed.

The two tracks that will be discussed the most are “Pay Gap” and the title effort as Price wades into the political arena on both. “Pay Gap” is a delightful flamenco number that has yips and yee-haws whimsically masking the amazingly STILL prevalent topic of the title and succeeds in all directions. Lyrically Price is fierce and delivers her point with gusto, directness, wisdom and conviction.

“All American Made” isn’t as successful as Price dives into presidential politics, sampling speeches, singing about Reagan selling arms to the Iranians and tying it into an aching pain she can’t quite describe. While her heart is in the right place, the overloaded samples and unclear overarching focus (driving rusty pick trucks to California? Closing with an LBJ sample?) can’t live up to her lyrical directness in “Pay Gap”.

After crafting a solid-to-great country album on Midwest Farmers Daughter no one would have blinked twice if Price played it safe, especially after struggling so long to break through. Instead the opposite happened and she put out a gem of a record that broadens her horizons while simultaneously cementing her as a singer/songwriter who needs to be heard regardless of genre (not gender) bias.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Album Review: St. Vincent - MASSEDUCATION

St. Vincent
MASSEDUCATION
*** out of *****
St. Vincent’s 5th studio album MASSEDUCATION is a swirling mix of pop, pills, sex and personal confessions blending layers of vocals styles, gorgeous production and instrumentation. However, even with a variety of styles there still seems to be a mask over the proceedings keeping things from truly sinking into the skin.

Annie Clark has made her bones being an art rock guitar slayer, but here she moves directly to the pop and visual glam as this music is tailor made for video distribution and costume changes. While David Bowie is a clear comparison for Clark, her baroque style throughout MASSEDUCATION called to mind Lady Gaga more times than expected.

Her guitar playing takes a back seat (or on some tracks it’s thrown out of the car completely) to her production work with co-producer Jack Antonoff. Dance beats, building choruses and electro-funk breaks are everywhere from the rave up for relationships (especially the fleeting ones) on “Sugarboy” to the sexed up role reversal of “Savior” to the silly-before symphonic “Pills”. With “Pills” Clark mixes up the script from direct 2017 mindless radio pop to an arty flair an ending, a trick she uses a few times throughout.

“Los Ageless” is the best of the swaggering dance tunes as it pushes the music into an industrial flavored pop direction with huge bass hits Trent Reznor would enjoy before ending the tune with a swirling mellow refrain of “Try to write you a love song but it comes out a lament” (another phrase/sound Reznor probably enjoys). While the album bumps plenty, it is the slower piano based tracks that really hit home the hardest, leading to the feeling that the pomp around the upbeat jams is more of a smoke screen for the notoriously private singer.

The mystical cool end of “Los Ageless” dovetails expertly into the achingly personal sounding, minimalist track “Happy Birthday, Johnny”. The detail and emotion of the lyrics and vocals elevate this song for Clark a style she also uses for the back-to-what-you-know love song “New York” which turns out to be an album highlight. “Slow Disco” amps up the dramatic strings while “Smoking Section” artfully declares MASSEDUCATION is not over with Clark's final lyrics.

While “Fear The Future” contains intriguing guitar work and overloaded production sounding as if it was made to steal the show, it is those softer numbers that hint at even great depth and layers for Clark’s future. While this disk is sure to have droves of devotees with its dance-pop friendly sheen it also shows Clark can deliver even more in the future.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dylan Cover #301 Hanna & Hank "I Want You" 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 Hank & Hanna singing "I Want You" 

Thoughts on Original:
(From the first time we tackled a cover of this song)
A song that fits the Gemini Dylan like a glove; direct lyrical yearning chorus with verses that meander about introducing characters like roadblocks in the way of true love. It was the last tune written for the mega Blonde on Blonde and a song he and others (it was Al Kooper's favorite) admired so much he almost titled the album after it. Never a track that jumps to the top of peoples "favorites" or "best of" Dylan lists but one that really nails what the artist is all about in some of the simplest terms.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Hanna & Hank are an indie-folk duo from Gothenburg - Sweden. Their page has more on them as well. Thoughts on Cover:
This is a fun duet cover, a fun way to do an easy folkie take on the direct song. Love the dueling lyrics and the harmonica playing.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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.