Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we filled out that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place, some haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  


There were a ton of top notch records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those if you would like.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed its rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Monday, December 30, 2019

Dylan Cover #408 Greensky Bluegrass "You Ain't Going Nowhere" 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 Greensky Bluegrass performing "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" 

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we addressed this cover:
A great song, and one that sounds so simple. It always felt to me that these are the kind of songs Dylan has seeping out of his pores, with lines like "Tailgates and Substitutes" that anywhere else would sound foolish yet here works wonders. The musical backing from the original Band version is loose and matched fantastically with the lyrics. I am sure it wasn't as easy going as it sounds on the final version, but what a gem of a track.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We reviewed Greensky Bluegrass's newest album All For Money and it made our year end best of list, but we have yet to catch them live. We need to rectify that in 2020.
  
Thoughts on Cover:
A fun encore tune done in slow and solid (if not spectacular) fashion. The band was supported by Kyle Tuttle and Mimi Naja for this one.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Album Review: Malevitus - Malevitus

Malevitus
S/T
***and a 1/2 out of *****

The debut, self-titled release from the New Orleans based post-punk outfit Malevitus, delivers angular rock and spoken word lyrics, all buoyed by a dance ready beat.

The four piece (Tiana Hux: vocals, percussion, Marcus Bronson: bass, vocals, keys, percussion, Rob Cambre: guitar, fx, Mike Andrepont: drums) deliver a streamlined effort that fuses poppy tunes with warbling at the edges mayhem. "Panhandle" is a good summation of the groups powerful points as it uses deft drumming and bass around a scratchy/grooving guitar with Hux plain spoken vocals revving up to the edge of disintegration before easing back into a hip shaking ready groove.

Three numbers really capture the ear as the bands cover of X's "Universal Corner" nails Malevitus overall aesthetic perfectly while "Night of the Dog" is an engaging original that pushes more towards late night funky rock mover with excellent guitar work from Cambre and near rapping from Hux. The third standout, "Rapscallion" winningly pushes up the slamming tempo and punk rock feedback while reminding of Royal Trux scuzzy rawk and roll.   

The sparse and experimentally accentuated "Golden Toy Soldiers" buzzes to open while the bass intro and snarling lyrics of "Fire Department" moves the white noise to the distance. Two longer numbers "Sugar and Salt" and "Light Years" are expansive wandering down different paths as "Sugar and Salt" keeps the dance pulse pumping, while the more art rock direction of "Light Years" challenge the listener. 

The group seems torn between the more dance ready pop rock and jagged post punk resulting in a tension which leads to engaging results throughout. Malevitus debut displays its post rock strengths and love of the endless boogie over its eight originals and dynamite cover. _______________________________________________________
Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Full Show Friday: Iron Maiden - Rock in Rio 2019

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...Iron Maiden!

We end the year of Full Show Friday's with Iron Maiden's set from Rock and Rio this year. Pro Shot, Pro Sound, Enjoy:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Live Holiday Cheer From The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady have released some official recordings from 2019 on their bandcamp page which you can stream and download.

The band has made 4 shows from 2019 available including one that was in the running for RtBE's show of the year. The bands March 8th show at the Electric Ballroom in London England was one of our favorites that the band has ever done and apparently they were happy with it as well, being the first show released in this series.

There are other shows from Toronto, San Francisco and Nashville to check out, but we are going to be rocking out to the London gig all weekend. Enjoy.

Album Review: Screaming Females - Singles Too

Screaming Females
Singles Too
*** out of *****

RtBE have been fans of Screaming Females since we first caught them back in 2009 and featured them heavily in our look back at the best bands of the decade. We already owned Singles making this a bit of completist pleasure, but now Singles Too adds a few more covers and unique outtakes; those new to the band could just jump on board right here and get a good sense of the group.

These songs are all on par with album cuts and were not on records for various reasons, but the band is top notch throughout the first half of this record on outtakes like the ripping "Arm Over Arm" and "Zoo of Death". These two outtakes open the record and still get played by the band live as they cook from the drop an show off what Marissa Paternoster, Mike Abbate and Jared Dougherty do best, angular power riffs, rumbling low end and soaring arena ready punk spiked rockers.

The band brought in some MC friends Sammus and Moor Mother to rhyme over a remix of "End Of My Bloodline" which shifts gears and shows how the trio's music can be reinterpreted as the genre change still produces winning results. 

The real joy of the record comes over the second half as the group dives into some covers. "Cortez The Killer" on paper should be a screaming showcase for Paternosters six string majesty but the band twists the tune, punching up the rhythmic backbone as Abbate and Doughtery lead the way; a neat switch of preconceived notions. 

A more direct Females style cover is "A Good Flying Bird" by Guided By Voices, which amps the crunchy feedback and riffage while the "No More I Love You's" cover of the Eurythmics dramatically close things. The two covers the band recorded during their A/V sessions focus on more known tracks and while the band tears into Sheryl Crowe's "If It Makes You Happy" with a vital kick ass energy, they seem to hold back a bit on Taylor Swifts "Shake It Off" which could be better with a longer solo, all though Paternosters vocals are pretty solid up and down the register.

Overall Singles Too successfully collects a bunch of odd and ends and cool covers from one of the best rock bands out there today.
______________________________________________
Support the band, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

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


Jimmy Jule and the Nuclear Soul System let's you that "Xmas Done Got Funky":


Enjoy the holiday and as always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Ghosteen
***and1/2 out of *****

The short double album Ghosteen is a haunting, affecting, hopeless/hopeful album which Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds crafted after the tragic death of Cave's 15 year old son.

There is not much musical variety at work here, just the sparse synths, light pianos and mood textures as Cave expresses his poetic outpouring of emotion, but it all works as a singular effort. The opening "Spinning Song" starts with Elvis and moves throughout the process of dealing with morality as the line "time will come for us" speaks directly to the futility of it all, a them he returns to often, including the albums last lines.

However the brightness of life and hopefulness also plays a vibrant part. "Bright Horses" is one of the album highlights as female wailing begins the song but small musical enhancements like a xylophone and a shift to almost standard blues lines about babies returning on trains shifts the gears into a brighter moment.

The memory based "Night Raid" and the pianos, faith, and soul that "Waiting for You" delivers also rings of a brightness just outside the pain. There is an ethereal floating that drifts across "Galleon Ship" with voices/samples just outside of understanding as Cave paints the wave with his words or moves towards hymnal heights with "Ghosteen Speaks" while the slow building "Leviathan" surfaces eventually from the depths.

The gorgeous, almost thirteen minute, organ and string laden title track is a full musical statement in itself, distilling the artists vision for this record in symphonic and cinematic style. In a sense this title track truly says it all and while the theme is transferred throughout the rest of the tracks, it could have been released on it's own as it is so complete as Cave sings about there being nothing wrong with loving things you can't stand. Along with album closer "Hollywood" these massive musical pieces are fully formed motifs, "Hollywood" is darker and much more ominous with constant throbbing and pulsing as lyrics haunt and end with another mortality examination as he waits for peace to come. 

The humming and one note of the musical style has a tendency to drop the record into the background while weighty, poetic dealings with grief and loss of Cave's lyrics demand you pay attention. It is an tense album, seemingly cathartic for it's creator and one that everyone who has lost someone (which is all of us) can find moments of familiarity with.
_____________________________________________
Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:




Live Review: Steve Earle's Fifth Annual John Henry’s Friends Benefit 12/17/19 Town Hall, NYC

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

It is of Steve Earle's Fifth Annual John Henry’s Friends Benefit held on Tuesday night December 17th at the historic Town Hall in Times Square.

This was a really fun night of good music for a good cause, the Keswell School.  If people would like to donate and help out you can here:
https://www.keswellschool.org/get-involved

Fun night, good cause, great tunes. Not much more needs to be said other than that and what was in the review.  Happy Holidays.



Monday, December 23, 2019

Dylan Cover #407 Cha and Pa "Must Be Santa" 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 Cha and Pa playing "Must Be Santa"

Thoughts on Original:
In 2009 Bob Dylan released Christmas In The Heart and unleashed his version of the rollicking "Must Be Santa" and it's killer video upon the world.

Based on a German drinking song, "Must Be Santa" was concocted by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks and first released in 1960. Dylan's version is a blast in a polka style tossing in Presidents into the mix. While technically not an original for this series...who cares? 

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Cha and Pa are charming.

Thoughts on Cover:
Merry Christmas Everyone. 

RIP Ram Dass

Every now and then RtBE will branch out from strictly music.  Now is one of those times as we bid a fond farewell to Ram Dass.

"After all, we're just walking each other home"


Perhaps more than anyone else we have wished an RIP to, Dass whole heartily believes that his spirit is just changing forms and continuing to evolve; death means he just ditches his human space suit.  There is something very reassuring about that. 


The NY Times wrote up a piece on him for those who don't know and RtBE recently caught a documentary on him at the Rubin Museum which is worth tracking down titled Becoming Nobody.


Hopefully the next journey for Dass (and all of us) is even more interesting than this one. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Full Show Friday: Lee Ranaldo - Barcelona March 12 2018, Centre Artesà Tradicionàrius

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...Lee Ranaldo!

This week we have a fan video of Lee Ranaldo who is playing with his Electric Trim Trio back in 2018 in Barcelona. Big fans of Lee and loved that album, this video is noisy and fluctuates but I think that is how Lee would have liked it. Full set list below. Enjoy:



“Moroccan Mountains” + “Let's Start Again” + “Circular (Right as Rain)” + “Electric Trim” + “Uncle Skeleton” + “New Thing” + “Purloined” + “Thrown Over the Wall” + “Ambulancer”

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Albums Part 3 (#5-1)

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 2019 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.

The number ten just works for this so this is the second part of our top ten, #5-1. You can see #10-5  and the albums that just missed this as well. Like all of our lists or best of's these are meant to start conversations more than end them...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Album Review: Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains

Purple Mountains
Purple Mountains
***and1/2 out of *****

The first release from David Berman since 2009, after the disbandment of his group Silver Jews finds the front man struggling with it all. Purple Mountains took over five years to complete and only a month after its release, Berman took his own life.

Knowing that, the lyrics take on an even more morbid sense of despair but even before knowing that about the creative force behind the album, things were far from rosy. Berman sings about his constant state of depression and the futility of it all while drinking margaritas in the mall. The record was recorded and produced by Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earl members of the band Woods and the excellent sound/production can juxtapose with pain and monotone singing of Berman, as warm horns, rich bass and guitar jangles keep things moving more or less upbeat against the dour fuck it all lyrics.

Berman's mother died in the lead up to the album and he also separated from his wife of 20 years, while the songs like "I Loved Being My Mother’s Son" and "Maybe I'm he Only One For Me" are raw and honest, coming from obvious true places, they depress as well. All of this comes directly from the lead vocal delivery; pain can be transmuted in various ways, but Berman's dead pan direct sing-speak makes the hurt real and hopeless.

This is an artistic twist in itself, but while the album sounds top notch musically it is painful to return to as tracks like "All My Happiness is Gone" and "Darkness and Cold" have no subtext, bleakness is in and of itself the point. The best complete tracks here are the "Margaritas in the Mall" which contemplates life itself/futility, the warm crackling cymbals/organ work on "Snow Is Falling In Manhattan" and the country bar waltz of "She's Making Friends, I'm Turning Stranger" which Taveniere and Earl elevate above self-pity wallow with Berman singing of the scorned lover with poetic charms.

Berman's lyrics and songwriting cannot be questioned as they turn phrases, cut to the core and put fourth exactly what is meant when it is needed, combined with the musicality things are worth hearing. However his vocal approach and the extra weightiness of it all make it hard to camp in these Purple Mountains for an extended time.
_________________________________________________
Buy the album, peep some video below:

Best Live Albums of the 2010's

Live music is religion. Capturing that in-the-moment feeling can be a tricky proposition though for every Live at The Regal or Live at The Isle of Wight, there are thousands of Love You Live's. For the majority of live albums are cash grabs meant to have people pay for shows that are not as good as their memories are. That said in the era of streaming, more live events are being captured and released so "official" album labels are starting to fade...

In looking back at this decade, it wasn't the best for albums as a whole which (we mentioned already in our Top 50 of 2010-2019), but things were much more barren when it came to live albums from the past decade. These aren't archival releases (which there were many great ones this decade), these are from current acts that recorded a live album and released it in the last ten years.

Most of these records on this list are fine, but far from life changing, however the topper is one of our favorite releases of the decade so RtBE wanted to do a post on it and needed some honorable mentions. Feel free to let us know about any we missed in the comments below.

As with all of our lists on RtBE these are meant to be conversation starters, not the be all end all final word.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

New Single "Gypsy Christmas" from Zaragoza

The L.A. based singer songwriter Zaragoza has released a new tune for the season with his original composition "Gypsy Christmas".

Regarding the tune Zaragoza (real name Drew Zaragoza) stated:
"Christmas has always been my favorite Holiday and the modern commercialism of it can make it stressful which is the opposite of what its about. This song is about getting away from that modern commercialism."
It is a relaxed breathy track which you can hear below and download it as well.


Take a few minutes and slow down with this easy going, dreamy tune during this frantic time of year.

Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Albums Part 2 (#10-6)

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 2019 Favorite 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; 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.

The number ten just works for this so this is the first part of our top ten, you can see the albums that just missed as well. Like all of our lists or best of's these are meant to start conversations more than end them...

Monday, December 16, 2019

Dylan Cover #406 Andy & Renee & Hard Rain "Sweetheart Like You" Live 2015

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Andy & Renee & Hard Rain playing "Sweetheart Like You" 

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
All of the songs on Infidels  stuck around to long in the Bards brain (which we talked about before). While "Jokerman" overwhelms as a rambling waterfall of a song the first time you hear it, "Sweetheart Like You" is clear evidence of that fact that things were left to simmer on the stove longer then needed. It is a mix of condescension, sexy, sexist, insecure and scattered. In fact those things make for an amazing Dylan tune, but in this case I don't feel it really adds up to a classic or much of a very good song at all.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
This is our first time coming across Andy & Renee & Hard Rain. Turns out they have a podcast on Dylan though so we may have to dig into them more.

Thoughts on Cover:
A damn fine cover of this lesser played Dylan tune. Tight, well played and sung with gusto. Excellent all around.

Also it needs to be mentioned that with the USA's current political climate more than ever this couplet from the song hits home:

Friday, December 13, 2019

Thundercat to Tour in Early 2020

Thundercat is hitting the road in early 2020 with his largest tour yet as he plays theaters coast to coast of North America. 

He and his two band mates (keyboardist Dennis Hamm and drummer Justin Brown) delivered RtBE's favorite live show for 2019 so we can certainly vouch for this one and hope to catch him again when he plays Webster Hall in NYC this upcoming March. 

Full dates and some video below to get pumped for this tour.




Thundercat 2020 tour dates:

02/28/20 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre

02/29/20 – Portland, OR – PDX Jazz Festival

03/01/20 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo

03/03/20 – Arcata, CA – Van Duzer Theatre

03/04/20 – Chico, CA – Senator Theatre

03/06/20 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

03/07/20 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

03/08/20 – Santa Ana, CA – Observatory

03/10/20 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren

03/12/20 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre

03/13/20 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown

03/14/20 – Minneapolis, MN – The Fillmore

03/15/20 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre

03/17/20 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre

03/18/19 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

03/19/20 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre

03/21/20 – Boston, MA – House of Blues

03/22/20 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore

03/24/20 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

03/28/20 – Silver Springs, MD – The Fillmore Silver Springs

03/29/20 – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival

03/31/20 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works

04/01/20 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel

04/02/20 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse

04/04/20 – New Orleans, LA – The Joy Theater

04/05/20 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall

04/06/20 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues Dallas

Full Show Friday: Billy Strings Live Echo Sessions 2017

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...Billy Strings!

A fast rising jamgrass artist, who we reviewed for Glide earlier this year. Billy and his band are super talented. Here they are from a few years ago on the Echo Sessions.  Pro Shot Pro Sound, Enjoy:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Album Review: Sunn 0))) - Pyroclasts

Sunn 0)))
Pyroclasts
** out of *****

The two piece drone demons Sunn 0))) second album of 2019, Pyroclasts is a (slightly) different rumbling beast from it's predecessor Life Metal. While recorded at the same sessions with the same guests and producer, Pyroclasts is more meditative in its sonic screeches and droning feedback, and in the end less engaging.

The twin rumble bums Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley enlisted help from T.O.S. Nieuwenhuizen (Moog Rogue) Hildur Guðnadóttir (Electric Cello, Halldorophone) Tim Midyett (Electric Baritone Guitar) and were recorded my Steve Albini for Life Metal. At the end of those sessions they tried a twelve minute timed modal drone improvisation as musical meditation with the stated goal to "To connect/reconnect, liberate the creative mind a bit and greet each other and the space through the practice of sound immersion."

Four of those experiments are presented here, just under twelve minutes each, and each stays on one note playing with the octaves and very minimal variations. "FROST (C)" hums and buzzes to pen things with a twelve minute constant wall of sound while "KINGDOM (G)" starts more subtle with open space before instrumentation and white noise increases slowly over it's run time.

"AMPLIPHÆDIES (E)" is the most interesting tune here with scratches and angular blips and feedback cutting in and out over it's time while "ASCENSION (A)" ebbs and flows the most but also is the most off putting with high pitched wails. 

As mentioned with every Sunn0))) review we write, this isn't for everyone, and the droning can be both meditative and off putting. If you are new to the band, Pyroclasts wouldn't be a recommended place to start with the band as there is little movement from start to finish.
___________________________________________
Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Year In Review 2019 - 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 obviously we can't see every show that is out there, we try to get out often to catch live music. Sure there are a few left in the calendar year, but for now, here is a listing of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have caught in 2019.

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 2019 Favorite Live Show. This year was excellent for live music as some killer concerts were left off this list.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Live Review: The Hold Steady - Brooklyn Bowl 12/6/19

The Hold Steady
Live @ Brooklyn Bowl
12/6/19

This is the fourth year in a row that The Hold Steady have taken over the Brooklyn Bowl to host their run of four shows back to back titled Massive Nights. RtBE has been there since the beginning catching at least one show per run, and the packed house on Friday night was a blast of excitement with some new musical twists keeping things fresh. 

The band is always a great time live and their truncated tours, all based around multi-night stands in larger cities, allow the crowds to arrive from all over and soak the Unified Scene in. With their newest album Thrashin' Through The Passion released earlier this year, the band had a few more songs to pull from this run, but instead of skewing new, they went old the first two nights of the Brooklyn Bowl stand, playing a song each night which they hadn't played in some time.

Instead of continuing that trend on Friday night, they transformed into The Horn Steady, inviting The horn players Stuart Boogie and Jordan McLean to join for almost half the show, expanding the groups already over the top sound to soaring levels.

Before the brass joined the proceedings the group came out of the box with a strong "Constructive Summer" opener, powerful drums to kick off "Party Pit" and huge singalong for "You Can Make Him Like You". Boogie and McLean added brass runs for newer songs like "T Shirt Tux" and "You Did Good Kid" but also accentuated old school fan favorites like "The Cattle and The Creeping Things", "Sequestered In Memphis" and the whole runs namesake "Massive Nights".

The core group, Craig Finn (vocals, guitar), Tad Kubler (guitar), Galen Polivka (bass), Bobby Drake (drums), Franz Nicolay (keyboards) and Steve Selvidge (guitar), was in fine form and the added brass really raised the energy levels for longtime fans, it is small flourishes like this that make The Hold Steady worth returning to year and massive year. The night closed with more brass accentuation on "Hostile, Mass" and a blazing version of "Killer Parties" to wrap up the night as the band continues to sound rock solid and excited to be playing their positive jams.
__________________________________________
Support the band and peep some video below:
   

Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Albums Part 1: The Just Misses and 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 2019 Favorite 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.

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 second installment (#10-6) soon, but for now click on the green "Read More" below:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Album Review: Sunn 0))) - Life Metal

Sunn 0)))
Life Metal
***and1/2 out of *****

The follow up to 2015's Kannon, Life Metal is more absorbing feedback drone from the masters Sunn 0))). Main guitarists Greg Anderson Stephen O’Malley turn up their stack of amplifiers and radiate sound from everywhere, as minor touches and flourishes help set sonic tones. While not as successful as their masterpiece Monoliths and Dimensions, Life Metal is a triumphant return for the decibel ramping guitar duo.

Opener "Between Sleipnir’s Breaths" starts and ends with samples from horses neighing, in between the riffs roar and compared to past outings things move to a climax slightly faster. Hildur Guðnadóttir spoken word, breathy vocals hard to make out and get washed in the sound, but things are ominous as always.

"Troubled Air" increases the screeching while adding chimes and as sense of brightness, as if it is an awaking from a deep slumber to the overloaded sound of morning while "Aurora" dips back into the darkness of guttural roars but it is the least engaging piece here. While their are other musicians who ad flourishes, T.O.S. Nieuwenhuizen (moog) Hildur Guðnadóttir (Haldorophone, Electric Cello, Voice) Tim Midyett (Bass Guitar, Bass Crotales) and Anthony Pateras (Pipe Organ) this is Anderson and O'Malley's show as their six strings hum and reverberate.

Album closer "Novæ" drips out of "Aurora" but in the first few moments of it's over twenty four minute journey it is already more inventive. It's cutting riffs and warbling feedback echoes lead the way through winding passage that rev up and cool back down with low end rumble all among the feedback and body soaking power.

Produced by Steve Albini Life Metal is the first of two releases from Sunn 0))) in 2019 and while their sound clearly is not for everyone, fans will be ecstatic that the reverb and doom both loom large on this four song album. Sunn 0))) is back with a vengeance.
________________________________________________________
Support the band, buy the album, listen on bandcamp and below and peep some video:


Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2019 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 2019.
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't 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...


Monday, December 9, 2019

Dylan Cover #405 Crowes Pasture "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" 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 Crowes Pasture playing "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
An energetic romp that has been covered by everyone, this tune is a great swirl through Dylan's freaky mind. It was a punch and a whirlwind journey through Juarez, Mexico around Easter time...Maybe. There are lots of literary hints dropped, as well as a mischievous smile throughout. One of the first Dylan tunes we gravitated towards and with good reason, it is still one of our favorites.
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
RtBE are new to Crowes Pasture who are the guitar/banjo duo of Monique Byrne and Andy Rogovin. The New England based bluegrass romance group have a few albums and EP's out there for those who want more.

Thoughts on Cover:
A really nice light live acoustic cover of the tune with delicate phrasing and banjo break in the middle. A pleasant version for this winter Monday.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Full Show Friday: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 2007 Great American Music Hall, SF, CA

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...Ted Leo and the Pharmacists!
Here is a full Ted Leo and the Pharmacists show from 2007 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Pro Shot with Pro Sound, Enjoy:

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 10-1

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked on that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  


We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed it's rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Live Review: Bob Dylan at The Beacon Theater, NY 12/3/19

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

It is of Bob Dylan's recent performance at the Beacon Theater on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was the 8th night of his 10 night stand.
RtBE loves Dylan and this show was damn solid. While we liked last years arraignments a bit more we can not complain with this performance at all. If you can see Dylan, you should because he is great.

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 20-11

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked out that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.

We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed it's rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. Here are numbers 20-11:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 30-21

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  


We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed its rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8. For Reference, here is 50-41 40-31 and all of those are also listed at the bottom of this post.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 40-31

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked on that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  

We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed its rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8. For Reference, here is 50-41 and those are also listed at the bottom of this post.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Monday, December 2, 2019

Dylan Cover #404 Johnny Cash "Mama, You've Been On My Mind"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Johnny Cash of "Mama, You Been On My Mind"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
An early hidden gem of Bob's writing "Mama, You Been On My Mind" finds him getting poetic, melodic and rhythmic with his words. From the opening 'Sun Cut Flat' phrase Dylan is in top gear, talking to the woman he is thinking about with clarity, fleeting desire and a smirk. Often performing the tune with Joan Baez in those early days the tune took on an add dimension as a duet. A great song that should get even more love then it does.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
RtBE debated adding Johnny Cash into our take on early rock and roll studio albums but voted against it last minute as he was always more country. However, we did put him in our live albums list because we wanted to include him in our look back at the originators of rock and roll. He is part of the million dollar quartet and should at least get some love. He is one of the true voices of America so consider this an extension of last months Masters series.

Thoughts on Cover:
A great light cover of the tune as Johnny duets with June during the chorus. Great harmonica, a surprising saxophone easy bass and rolling drums, an excellent version.

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 50-41

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we filled out that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses. 

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  


We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed its rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Friday, November 29, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bo Diddley - Jerry Lee Lewis - Chuck Berry - Little Richard - Toronto Rock and Roll Revival 1969

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... Bo Diddley - Jerry Lee Lewis - Chuck Berry - Little Richard

For November The Masters showcases the greats of early rock and roll

We close out our monthly showcase of the early rock and roll greats with this killer find, The Toronto Rock & Roll Revival footage from 1969. The greats were getting long overdue respect around this time and this video captures four of the best to ever grace a stage, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry

These clips are so cool and this is the perfect way to wrap up this month's Masters series spotlight. The series will be taking a break next month, but will hopefully be back in the future, hope you enjoyed it.   

Pro Shot and Pro Sound for 1969, this is some history right here. Enjoy: