Thursday, October 31, 2019

Album Review: High On Fire - Bat Salad

High on Fire
Bat Salad
**and1/2 out of *****

This past Record Store Day the Grammy award winning metal band High on Fire released this brief EP, titled Bat Salad. The groups recent efforts have been the strongest in their career with their previous release, the powerful full length Electric Messiah appearing on a few year end lists (including RtBE's).

This three song quickie is a cool stop gap from the band as they begin the EP with the original title track instrumental. The band grooves and slams around with distortion but it is drummer Des Kensel who leads the way, even getting a funky outro which is fitting as he recently announced his departure from the band.

With their future a bit up in the air the band dives into a two covers to wrap up the EP. First comes their take on Celtic Frost's "Into The Crypts of Rays" it is a fairly straight ahead pounding take on the metal track as the band propels forward with fury and thundering low end bass from Jeff Matz around Mike Pike's guttural vocals and riffs.

The trio close with their spin on the Bad Brains hardcore banger"Don't Bother Me". While the originals rawness and H.R.'s unique lyrics are their own breed, High on Fire do a much more metal-fied, double kick drum fueled version as Pike adjusts his vocals to get a bit clearer in delivery.

A fun, brief release from one of the best metal bands out there who will have to regroup with Kensel's departure. Here's hoping they come back stronger than ever and Bat Salad just sounds like something which should be served up on Halloween....
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Support the band, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:

Celebrating the Halloween Spirit Through Songs

A few years ago, one of the best blogs out there, WFMU's Rock and Soul Ichiban put together a great collection of Halloween inspired tunes and playlists.
They have crafted one dealing with ghosts which you can directly download. Another that tackles vampires and you can grab that one directly as well. Now there is also Weird-O-Matic streaming and a you can also drink a spooky cup o' Alligator Wine!

All of these are fantastic and as always Ichiban gives us old songs that are brand new to RtBE and all are also flat out awesome!

I mean how could we have missed The Bar-Kay's "Holy Ghost" for all of these years?

Damn that is some funky stuff. WFMU Rock and Soul Ichiban always delivers the goods, but in 2014 they got some help from their friends over at Fringe Factory who offered up a Halloween themed show themselves right here.

Here are a few songs that jumped out to us from these shows/free downloads and of course it wouldn't be Halloween without Elvira. She closes out our Halloween focus with her Third Man Records release "2 Big Pumpkins" written by the B-52's Fred Schneider:
The Pastel Six: "The Strange Ghost"

The Primates "The Creep"

The Upsetters "The Vampire"

Virgil Holmes "Ghost Train"

Elvira "2 Big Pumpkins":

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Album Review: Hyemen & Metalfunkel - Coasters

Hyemen & Metalfunkel 
Coasters
***and1/2 out of *****

Have you ever asked yourself the following: What if Simon and Garfunkel reunited and decided to only do covers of 70's and 80's metal tunes? If you have, then do I have an album for you! Coasters by Hyemen & Metalfunkel puts that premise to the test and surprisingly the end result passes with flying colors; who knew Ronnie James Dio would hold up under soft textured examination?

Apparently Sean Ferguson and Andy Wagstaff knew, as the duo behind the project they tackle some of the better known metal efforts from the era with nuanced acoustic playing and gorgeous harmonies. Dio's best known track "Holy Diver" twinkles along before light drums enter as Wagstaff and Ferguson support each other vocally, jumping on the tiger before a flamenco inspired solo. All of the tracks are expertly textured, and lovingly played.

"Th Trooper" by Iron Maiden is a studious display, lending itself amazingly well to this folk-metal interpretation (with added cello Isabel Castellvi) while the dour take on Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" it is nowhere near as fun as  Ozzy Osborne's  "Crazy Train" or the country shuffling of Motorheads "Ace of Spades" in this rollicking format.

Even better efforts are White Snake's "Here I Go Again" whose upbeat drums from Paul Greenhaw add a spritely sense of adventure while Judas Priests "Breaking The Law" in this arrangement could be mistaken for a 100 year old folk song written for serfs rebelling against vassals. All are solid but the track that stood out most to these ears is the dynamic record closing "Peace Sells". The technical playing, lyrics and extra backing harmonies added by Abigael Upton Brown really feel as if this is a perfectly crafted folk protest song rather than a chugging metal anthem from Megadeth.     

The production from Ferguson and rich vinyl sound add to the overall feeling of retro success as if this was a relic of a different era, and in some cases it is. Folk fans, metal heads, all are welcome to put on a black turtleneck and snap your fingers and bang your beret to these heavy metal yet coffee house friendly classics. Coasters is worth a listen because beyond the laugh appeal, the playing, singing and production all add new dimensions to old warhorses.
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Support the band, buy the album on bandcamp and peep some streaming songs below:



Live Review - Misfits, Rancid, The Damned @ MSG, NY, NY

Misfits, Rancid, The Damned 
Live 10/19/19 
Madison Square Garden, NY, NY


All reviews here are taken seriously, this show was just a pure blast of fun drunken energy that RtBE literally took zero notes.  If you are looking for a good review check out some other places

Last year The Original Misfits surprising return to their home state of New Jersey was RtBEs pick for Best Show of the Year and they may just win that title back to back as Saturday Night at MSG on October 19th was one for the ages. It was also a sloppy mess on our end as we caught the last song of The Damned, all of Rancid's great set and the cyclone of singalongs which were the Misfits

They are amazing...go see them...blah blah blah. But since we were in party mode, how about some booze puns on Misfits song titles for a review instead of a rehash? Get a beer, put on Among the Living and most importantly feel free to add your own in the comments....

Drunk Came Rippin'
Where Eagles Drink
I Turned Into a Martini
We Are 138 (Beers Deep)
20 IPA's
Some Kinda Hefeweizen ... or
Southern Comfort Kinda Hate
Return of the Rye
High-Life Moments
Highball Hotel
London Drygin
Teenagers in Bars
Die, Die My Yuengling
Theme for a Jager
All Hell Grey Goose
Vodka World
Lager Caress


Thanks to my show and bad booze pun partner Billy for joining on this raucous night of mayhem. 


  

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Album Review: Exhorder - Mourn the Southern Skies

Exhorder
Mourn the Southern Skies
*** out of *****

One of the originators of  groove metal Exhorder have returned with their first studio album in over twenty seven years.  While it has been an obscenely long absence the band still plays with burning aggression and bone slamming power.

Only two original members remain in the current lineup as lead singer Kyle Thomas and lead Guitarist (and album producer) Vinny LaBella anchor things as guitarist Marzi Montazeri (Superjoint Ritual and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals), bassist Jason Viebrooks (Heathen, Grip Inc.), and drummer Sasha Horn (Forbidden) join up for this go around.

Staring with the perhaps the hardest quit your job song ever recorded "My Time" ups the thrash metal ante and lets every listener know that Exhorder has still got it. "Asunder" deals with family love/hate while the most main stream metal "Hallowed Sound" speaks to Southern reliance. Thomas' vocal style is clean and direct, unlike others in this field and his lyrics play with poetic images and interesting phrasing (how many metal lyricists incorporate Laissez-faire and vestiges in back to back lines?) while keeping the fuck you's and screams of aggression.

"Rumination" reminds of what the band does best while "The Arms of Man" stirs the sludge as the hyperactive "Ripping Flesh" and "Beware of the Wolf" kick up the dust and din with galloping drums and thrash metal goodness.

"Yesterday's Bones" mixes things up by stretching out, starting with chugging groove metal guitars before melodic solos and a full on theatrical ending complete with swelling organs and acoustic strings. Along with the extended closing title track which toys with mixing up levels of power and aggression, the group is expanding its sound while remaining true to their roots.

While no song jumps out as must hear, Mourn The Southern Skies is a unexpected comeback but a damn good one as the band who helped start a genre and never really found success now seems poised to the reap some late career benefits.
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Support the band, buy the record and peep some video below:



Album Review: Tomb Mold - Planetary Clairvoyance

Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance
*** out of *****

Tomb Mold hail from the cold North of Toronto, but their heavy as hell tunes and cosmic excursions suggest even further out locales for their landing points in the cosmic realm of heavy metal.  The quartets most recent album is Planetary Clairvoyance and it plays in many metallic sub genres as it slams its way through your cranium.  

The quartet,  Max Klebanoff Drums, Vocals,  Steve Musgrave Bass, Payson Power and Derrick Vella Guitars, slam and motor but also use intricate passages and shifts in tone to keep the ear off balanced and engaged. Opener "beg For Life" has the most obvious example of this as midway through the tune there is an acoustic break with classical guitar amidst the heavy riffs crunching low end which leads to soaring solos and riffs to close; it is an exhilarating display of metal prowess. 
If you are listening to a band named Tomb Mold, you probably already have some idea what these vocals sound like, but Klebanoff goes one step deeper and beyond. Their lyrics incorporate outer space, aliens and possibly the financial situation of modern day Bombay, but listeners will never be able to understand any of it. 

There is no doubt that metal fans are used to this, but the vocal style completely limits the groups appeal and acts a one trick pony, without adding lyrical content to the mix, a shame because this playing is top notch. 
    
"Planetary Clairvoyance (They Grow Inside Pt 2)" uses double kick drum and mixes punk with metal as soaring guitars slam into each other and soar. Both "Infinite Resurrection" and "Accelerative Phenomenae" frantically travel up and down the fret-board with screeching riffs, hyper active drummer and thundering finales while "Phosphorene Ultimate" is a bizarre spoken word sound experiment which works as a pause from the metal assault.  

"Cerulean Salvation" ends with a spacey flow which drips into the black hole chaos of "Heat Death" which just may be the best of the bunch with its elongated intro. If you enjoy the singing style or even can just deal with it, Planetary Clairvoyance, is a hell of metal record. Even as it stands RtBE enjoys the pounding and growling immensely. 
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It is going to be a very metal week here on RtBE. Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Monday, October 28, 2019

Dylan Cover #399 Bruce Springsteen "The Times They Are A'Changin'" Live 1997

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 Bruce Springsteen  playing "The Times They Are a' Changin'"

Thoughts on Original:
Short and sweet from the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
Well it is his most famous song for a reason, it is one of the greatest ever produced in any genre, ever.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and his bombastic style.

Thoughts on Cover:
Well we wrap up our focus on Springsteen's Dylan covers this week with his take on perhaps the Bard's most iconic song. For someone called the "next Dylan" too often it is fun to revisit Bruce covering Dylan a few times this month.  This one is great, as they all are.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Paris 1985

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!


For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts.

Today we jump back to Paris in 1985 at the height of Bruce's Born In The USA tour. When we reviewed his best studio albums, no other album made as much of a jump in our rankings as that one as Bruce and all the players just sound great. He is muscled up and bandanna'ed out, totally ock cliche, but killing it all over. 

That energy was translated to this tour, one of the biggest in history until that point and the crew nail it in Paris.

Enjoy:


Like the last few weeks this show is from a playlist which you can access here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL51C234F973000CA3

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Album Review: Kim Gordon - No Home Record

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of Kim Gordon's first solo release, No Home Record.


RtBE love Gordon, having followed her as the coolest lady back in the day with Sonic Youth, her work with Body/Head and are now happy to dig her first release.

It fits that she found a home in modern LA and can give her spin on the city, culture etc. through this album and hopefully beyond. 

Support the artist, buy the record, read the review and peep some video below:

Album Review: Shovels & Rope - By Blood

Shovels & Rope
By Blood
**and1/2 out of *****

On their last album 2016's Little Seeds, the indie folk rockers Shovels & Rope used modern day events to paint affecting sonic pictures over a mix of sound ranging from noise rock to prayers. It was the strongest album of their career and now on the followup By Blood, the band moves even more into the mainstream with mixed results.

The band is a husband and wife team of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent who recorded and produced the effort. By Blood starts off strong with three tunes that experiment with success. "I'm Comin' Out" uses digital beats and guitar distortion while "Mississippi Nuthin'" displays personal scattered lyrics, excellent harmonies driving drums and keyboard work.

The best tune on the collection is "The Wire" which is also the most poppy/dance laden with clipped drums and a banging chorus that soars; it could be a big pop hit in the right hands/marketing department with its swelling defiance.

Where the band stumbles this go around is when they turn back the dance and rock beat to go more soft spoken and country (usually their wheelhouse). "C'mon Utah!" begins this trend as it waltzes with folk sounds and a harpsichord but begins to over layer the pomp. "Carry Me Home" follows suite with over dramatizing things before dripping into "Twisted Sisters" which pushes this trio over the top in a Broadway schmaltz way.

The group strips down for a simpler (and better) "Good Old Days" and deliver a bizarre field song via fiddle with "Hammer" but it just might be the cinematic title track closer which points the way for this band as they have thrown lots of instrumentation and overblown tracking into this effort. While high points do exist, By Blood feels like a come down and transitional album for the duo, who are never afraid to try new avenues.   
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Support the band, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Live Review: Shannon and the Clams 10/17/19 The Bell House Brooklyn, NY

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

It is of Shannon and the Clams recent live set at The Bell House in Brooklyn.

The band is fantastic live and pulls off everything which made their last album Onion one of RtBEs Favorites of 2018. Having seen them open for Dan Auerbach in the past, it was nice to catch them do a full set of tunes.

Support the artist, see them live, read the review and peep some video below:


The Masters: Bruce Springsteen - Best Live Albums

RtBE loves listening to new music and prides itself on keeping tabs on up and coming artists but in 2019 we are also going to have a monthly spotlight on legendary artists who we really love. We are calling this series The Masters. It will focus on the best albums, live records, transcendent shows and other odd ways we appreciate the artists and their contribution to music, culture and our formation.
For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

While it took a few studio records for Springsteen to completely nail his style, he was a must see live act from his very first days playing, giving it his all when the band members may have out numbered those in attendance.

Live Springsteen is legendary. Whether it is just him and a guitar, constructing a Broadway show, sitting in with a pick-up bar blues outfit or fronting the mighty E-Street Band, Springsteen is a beast on the stage, giving it his all and then some. Ben Stiller even did a sketch on this, love the filling up the ketchup bottle, but it is true, he gives everything to his fans.
RtBE has seen him a bunch (some contributors to the site have caught him A LOT) and there has never been a bad or remotely off show. Same goes for any of the live albums as he has not put out a bad one, even though some of them get more spins than others.

However, until recently there hadn't been many live album releases. Like a lot of older artists in the digital age, Bruce is using the internet to release archival shows and this allows us to have a much more robust section to choose from. Unlike other Masters focused artists who will release seemingly odd/random shows, Springsteen's archival releases tend to capture the best of the best, and while many longtime fans had bootlegs of these shows, now they are "official" and get improved audio; a nice upgrade. 

Again this list is meant to start conversations not end them, so without further ado let's get to racing in the streets...

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Album Review: Chelsea Wolfe - Birth of Violence

Chelsea Wolfe
Birth of Violence 
***and1/2 out of *****

Chelsea Wolfe’s most recent effort, 2017’s Hiss Spun, was a heavy/punishing affair, and if you judged her newest by its title, Birth of Violence, you would think this is simply more of the same, but that’s not to be as Wolfe completely shifts gears, returning to her folk roots with exciting results.

While the sludgy industrial drone may be gone the naturalistic Gothic folk in its place can be just as dark. On the title track Wolfe sings of codeine inflicted comas and coming to know what she needs, visualizing while she bleeds, but the musical accompaniment boarders on pretty, even gorgeous at times.

Opener “Mother Road” wallows in its sparseness as doom slowly arrives via tom drums as strings warble at the fringes before a full cinematic ending; all after Wolfe has sung about spiders in Chernobyl. Things are musically brighter with the easy dripping/swirling sounds around smooth vocals as Chelsea surprisingly calls the listener to dance on “American Darkness” before the gorgeous heights Wolfe’s voice reaches on the ominous “Deranged for Rock & Roll”.

Birth of Violence is chock full of cinematic moments as Wolfe uses her vocals like a flute at times blending with varied instrumentation bending and soaring, constantly growing throughout the songs. “Erde” uses strings in the deep background barely audible until the dramatic final swelling while “Dirt Universe” slowly marches along, increasing the power as it progresses. Wolfe’s vocals truly tie it all together whether they are performing high wire acts like on “When Anger Turns to Honey” or setting the exasperated/breathy scene on “Little Grave”

Ben Chisholm worked with Wolfe to create the sonic landscapes around her earlier constructed folk melodies and those expansive pastures can help elevate and expand on her sound with the simplest twist of knobs or insertion of distortion; from the lush/delicate “Be All Things” to rain storm closing “The Storm” the mood is set with expertise.

Birth of Violence pulls off the neat trick of managing to sound hopeful among the darkness, an excellent statement on modern times and a stark reminder of Wolfe’s vast artistic range.
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Got double booked on this one for Glide, but glad I did as this record is not one RtBE would seek out, but is worth hearing. Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dylan Cover #398 Bruce Springsteen "I Want You" Live Westbury, NY 1975

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 Bruce Springsteen 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:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and bombastic style.
Thoughts on Cover:
This is a crazy cover with lots of instrumentation, harmonica, violins, piano, bubbling bass, drums etc. While the recording is a bootleg quality, the ideas come through and make it pretty cool. Would be cool if he brought this one back with his current theatrical western style it would fit nicely.  

Friday, October 18, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band The River Tour, Tempe AZ 1980

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!


For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts.

Like last week we are dipping into The River, but this time it is the original tour from 1980.  Bruce and the gang had a historic fiery night out in the desert as they blazed through Arizona. Enjoy:



Also like last week the video comes in play list form so if there are any issues just click here for the full list:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJ3gKh8Ty5pY3c0O865FKQLzxw_mipjU1

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Album Review: The Dream Syndicate - These Times

The Dream Syndicate
These Times
*** out of *****

The Paisley Underground forebears The Dream Syndicate were reformed by front-man Steve Wynn in 2012 and These Times is the bands second release following 2017's How Did I Find Myself Here? While the groups Velvet Underground and Television influences are still present their is a late night lounge vibe also flowing through these tracks.

The opening double shot of "The Way In" and the driving "Put Some Miles On" recall the dark sunglasses New York of the late sixties with their tempo, grit and vibe but then the band retreat to sunny folk pop of "Bullet Holes" which brings back the California sweet pop strumming and gorgeous harmonies. Theses Times maintains the bands trademarks while trying out some new twists.

Wynn has mentioned he was incredibly influenced by J-Dilla's Donuts while recording the newest album and the more chill factor does pop up a few times, such as on the pulsing "Black Light" or the more moody "Recovery Mode". The best effort here "The Whole World's Watching" uses Wynn and Jason Victors unique guitar playing over lush bass and slapping drums to deliver an engaging groove worthy of hip-hop sampling in the future.

"Still Here Now" feels like a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers long lost track while the warbling "Speedway" pushes up the road rock tempo with loud organ work from Chris Cacavas before "Space Age" ups the rumbling bass of Mark Walton and pounding drums of Dennis Duck.

Most importantly for reunion/reformation acts the band sounds like it is having fun and the end result is worth checking out. Fans may still only want to hear The Days of Wine and Roses when the band plays live, but These Times tracks could be slipped for a change of pace with little letdown to the vibe and sound, making it a overall success for the reinvigorated band.
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Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp (or below) and peep some video:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Album Review: The Milk Carton Kids - The Only Ones EP

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of The Milk Carton Kids newest EP, The Only Ones.

The original review was harsher for Glide, before it was edited down. While RtBE dug their last release, this one seems like a clear step back. That said it is just an EP and perhaps more cool things are coming soon from the duo.

Until then, support the artists, buy the record, read the review and peep some video below:

Album Review: Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

Bruce Springsteen
Western Stars
** out of *****

When it was announced that a month after Western Stars release that there would be an accompanying movie/documentary and it would be Springsteen's directorial debut Western Stars (the record) made more sense as the word "theatrical" kept popping up in our review notes.

A nod to what he calls Southern California Pop of the 70's (RtBE would say it is much more orientated towards 50's pop) Western Stars is a one off experiment with orchestrated parts around Bruce's tales of isolation and wandering. It is an interesting slight departure in style (Bruce has always been big and dramatic), proving The Boss doesn't want to stay stagnant, however the end results are over the top schmaltzy, not matching the lyrics and sounds easily on all of the efforts.

Each track is predominately the same, starting small as Springsteen weaves a lonely tale before layers upon layers of sound and instrumentation slowly sweeps in with rising grandeur and pomposity. There are some unique touches, maracas and female breathy vocals color "The Wayfarer" in a warm Mexican sunset sound while the sense of despair and physical pain of "Drive Fast (The Stuntman)" gets undercut by the swelling sounds. The title track mixes up movie sets with whiskey, gin and southwestern winds, as closer takes gorgeous guitar lines and piano while describing a desolate scene at the "Moonlight Motel".

Songs like "Tuscan Train" and "Sleepy Joe's Cafe" both could have been on The Rising, except these versions gets pumped up by strings, accordions and horns before "Chasin' Wild Horses" finds strong vocals from Springsteen around cinematic string sections going directly over the top, dripping effortlessly into "Sundown". The movie/documentary makes sense, and even though he just had a long Broadway stand, Western Stars could be reshaped as a Broadway musical with very little effort. 

This is the fourth western looking solo album from the Jersey Devil who clearly finds inspiration from the wide open vistas and sense of isolation that the western United States calls to mind, whether on film or in reality. Western Stars will join Nebraska, The Ghost of Tom Joad, and Devils & Dust as his cowboy hat wearing records and as an experiment it moves to the back of his own personal line of western records; more of an oddity in his career than must hear. 
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It is a testament to Bruce that while we look back at his career this month in our Masters series, he is still out there growing as an artist and trying out new things. Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Album Review: Taylor Kelly - Up Up and Away

Taylor Kelly
Up Up and Away
**** out of *****


Taylor Kelly's newest release is a dynamite mix of funky soul, experimental jazz and from the heart powerful singing, as Up Up and Away soars. Kelly and company have pulled it all together as the Philadelphia singer/songwriter deals with love, loss and confusion (as well as tacos) delivering the goods on each and every track. 

The opening title tune sets the tone with it's rich musicality, tender soul, killer vocals and a ripping guitar solo to end. Engineered, mixed and produced by Robby Webb the sound throughout is warm, but never retro, alive in the present day; Kelly announces her intentions with confidence off the bat and things continue from there. The personal "JWYTK" kicks up the funk and horns while "Taco Night" gets more lighthearted and a touch tipsy with hip hop help from Mic Stewart. There is some distorted bass from Matthew Keppler under the upbeat chimes, drumming and singing (with Queen Jo helping out) on "Love is Blind" while "Run Away" excitingly amps the experimental flute and synth around the ever present groove.

"Tell Me" develops a Latin flair with percussion from Arturo Stable while "Bad Dreams" is adventurous, sounding large and cinematic in scope with a closing jazz fusion inspired jam which could have gone on for even longer as the players were all locked in. The album is a testament to Kelly herself and closer "Fall In Love" is her torch song, allowing her steamy vocals to take center stage and rise gloriously skyward describing a tale of bad relationship decisions. 

These are well worn territories when it comes to lyrics in soul music and the only slight knock on the record is that the themes don't move too deep under the surface, but for a full length album to sound this solid, that is a small quibble as Up Up And Away should propel Taylor Kelly into the national spotlight.
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Another great bandcamp find, support the artist, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:



Monday, October 14, 2019

Dylan Cover #397 Bruce Springsteen "Blowin' In The Wind" Live 1988

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 Bruce Springsteen playing "Blowin' In The Wind"


Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
The classic Dylan song, if you asked 100 people to name you the first Bob Dylan song they thought of, or his best known song, I am guessing 95-99 of them would answer "Blowin' In The Wind".  It is an epic, vital song in the history of recorded music. The lyrics tell a stirring tale, the melody is enchanting, it is pretty spot on perfect, and when it originally came out if announced to the world the greatness that was/is/always will be Bob Dylan.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and his bombastic style.

Thoughts on Cover:
A straight ahead acoustic picking cover from The Boss playing The Bard. We like Uncle Neil's dramatic take on this tune a few months back a bit more, but there is zero wrong with Bruce today AND you get a bonus cover...."It's bound to take your life..."

Friday, October 11, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 7/16/16 Rome, Italy

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!

For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts.

Today we go to a more modern show from 2016 in Rome proving Springsteen and crew are still delivering the grade A goods. Bruce was revisiting The River, playing it in it's entirety this tour and the massive crowd at the Circus Maximus ate it up. RtBE was lucky enough to catch this tour and review the Brooklyn show. It ended up being one  of the best concerts we saw all year.

Different fan videos with pretty solid sound. Enjoy:


This is a playlist so if you are having full show streaming issues you can access it here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuaTth-hU0i-ssAkvBp0eA2E_r7AZGSc4

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fats Domino Twelve Disk Box Set Coming Next Month

The legend Fats Domino will be getting a huge box set from Bear Family Records titled I've Been Around and it is a doozy.

Containing all of his recordings with Imperial records from 1948-62 and ABC-Paramount  from '63-'65 the 12 CD Box Set will be complete with outtakes demos live cuts and a host of never before heard tunes.

RtBE is a fan of the Fat Man (we will be writing more about him very soon) and this seems like an amazing release...but one that could boarder on obsessive or for completists only.

The same company has put out collections on Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, which RtBE has yet to check out, but the same thought applies to those as well, has anyone bought those? If so we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Any which way but loose, you can pre order here and to get in the mood here are some videos of Domino's tunes through the years.


Album Review: Thurston Moore - Spirit Counsel

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of Thurston Moore's newest release the 3 CD box set Spirit Counsel.

RtBE are huge fans of Thurston's and his last album was our pick for record of the year back in 2017.  This is a different beast as it goes full on long experimental, but the first track will be easily linked to that record.

The other two songs are more out there and this is obviously not for everyone, but if you dig experimental guitar based music it is worth picking up. We seem to be the highest on it when it comes to MetaCritic, but we dig on this stuff a lot.

Support the artist, read the review, buy the box set and peep some video below:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Masters: Bruce Springsteen - Top Five Studio Albums

RtBE loves listening to new music and prides itself on keeping tabs on up and coming artists but in 2019 we are also going to have a monthly spotlight on legendary artists who we really love. We are calling this series The Masters. It will focus on the best albums, live records, transcendent shows and other odd ways we appreciate the artists and their contribution to music, culture and our formation.
For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen


The next "new Dylan" Bruce Springsteen had high expectations and early in his career searched for his own sound which would be solidified in the mid 70's as Phil Spector  inspired grandiose rock and roll that goes for it every time.

An artist who recently pulled back the curtain on his craft, Springsteen famously said he never worked a day in his life but yet can craft a song like "The River" or "Factory" which cuts to the heart of a working man. Poetic, bombastic, country tinged and inspired by that sweet soul music, Bruce's sound is his own yet he inspired tons of others. It is impossible for RtBE to listen to Thin Lizzy and not hear Springsteen B-sides and for that matter half of E-Street went over the top with Bat Out of Hell.

The Boss remains an artist striving for the sound, his newest record went all retro-pop country, he is willing to experiment and take chances and his best successes rank up there with the greatest in rock and roll history. He became meticulous in the studio and it shows on the five albums we selected below so let's not waste any more words.

As a reminder these lists are to start conversations not end them, with that in mind let's see all that heaven will allow...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Album Review: Jesse Malin - Sunset Kids

Jesse Malin
Sunset Kids
***and1/2 out of *****

The newest solo record from Jesse Malin is perfectly titled as the NYC artist spins world weary tales about faded youth on Sunset Kids which proves to be his strongest overall effortStarting in the glam punk D-Generation, Malin still has the streets running through his veins but he now sings softer sounding but still harrowing tales of a veteran who still gets in love tussles while wearing his influences and heartache on his sleeve.

Opener "Meet Me At The End of The World Again" (which just might be 24th Street in Manhattan) layers keyboard guitars and tambourines in a welcoming Lou Reed vibe as the excellent production from Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby stands out immediately. Williams leaves the boards to help with backing vocals on the alt-country influenced "Room 13" but the song is notable for Malin's best singing on the record.

The down and out have a musical compatriot in Malin who addresses the dearly departed on the piano lead "Shane", the acoustic picking of the dramatic "Revelations" and the rich warm ballad "Promises" speak to what might have been and memories. "When You Were Dead" is the focal point of the record as it sums things up lyrically:

When you’re young and you run and you’re burning like a star
And it’s fun and it’s done and it leaves you with a scar
Wake up it’s another year and oh, the lock and chain
Wake up and there’s nobody near but oh, the pouring rain

Wake up don’t waste your life on things that don’t get better
There are only two rockers, the dragging "Dead On", the radio friendly shake of "Strangers and Thieves" (complete with background vocals from Billie Joe Armstrong) which comes off a touch too clean and when Malin goes for a mid 80's almost War On Drugs influenced sound on "Shining Down" things aren't as successful. Malin does nail it with the stripped down upbeat strum of "Chemical Heart" which deals with a tough luck lover in poetic terms. 

Mentions to fellow lifers in rock like David Bowie and Sid Vicious/Creedance Clearwater Revival in the pretty jangle of "Gray Skies Look So Blue" pinpoint Malin's true love of the rock life and while songs here branch away from that (the soul on "Do You Want To Know?", country junkie of "Friends of Florida") broadening his scope helps Malin deliver his most affecting record yet with Sunset Kids.
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Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Live Review: Built To Spill 10/1/19 Webster Hall, NY, NY

Built to Spill 
Live 10/1/19 
Webster Hall, NY, NY

For a band celebrating the 20th Anniversary of one of their best selling albums Built to Spill looked put out, as if they wanted to be anywhere else instead of playing to a sold out Tuesday Night crowd at the recently renovated Webster Hall in New York City.

While there is something to be said about the no frills way the band goes about things, from no stage show, minimal lights/effects, tuning their own instruments to looking like accountants more than rock stars, the energy level emanating from the stage seemed about the same as a cubicle lined work place environment. The sold crowd were poised to rock, but things remained mellow throughout.

Keep It Like A Secret was Built To Spill's most mainstream friendly record with shorter, catchier songs and this tour is a testament to the album and bands continued popularity. They sold out five nights in a row in New York City (Mon-Tues Manhattan, Wed-Fri Brooklyn) and haven't released a new album since 2015. 

Their set opened just as the album did with "The Plan" and it was played just like the album version as were all of the tracks on this night. The group switched around the order of the record but each take was very close to the original recorded version; no songs were stretched out or experimented with (minus the set closer). The only deviation from the album came early as band dug deep into their catalog for the Caustic Resin combo tune "When Being Stupid Is Not Enough" as the languid playing rose to the best guitar interplay of the night. The only constant in BtS over the years, Doug Martsch remains a great guitarist when he lets loose.

"You Were Wrong" got screeching before pulling the plug and "Sidewalk" pushed up the tempo, but never took off.  A tune like "Bad Light" was the norm for this set as the live version on this night mirrored the studio and a great groove bubbled up at the end but things were quickly truncated; musical blue balls.

The encore played with a mix of newer unrecorded tunes like "Understood", older throwbacks like "In The Morning" and a cover (helped out by opener Prism Bitch) of The Kinks "Waterloo Sunset", yet nothing pumped the crowd or the band, as they just went through the motions. Closer "Carry The Zero" ended the night well but it was set closing "Broken Chairs" that was the clear highlight as it came the closest to the expansive version captured on Live and there in lies the conundrum of Built to Spill.

A band who has released one of the best live records in indie rock seem either ill prepared, too scared or just not interested in trying to reach those expressive heights again. Whether it is because Martsch chooses to mix up lineups, or just wants to play it safe on stage, the group would be infinitely better/more interesting/worth seeing live if they opened up and played without a net, like they did on their official live album. Even if that meant crashing and burning during shows, at least that would be what rock and roll is about as opposed to re-hashing memories from 20 years ago with zero evolution.

If you want to hear Keep It Like A Secret it is probably better just to blast the original record and if you want to see Built To Spill live, it is probably just better to blast Live these days.
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Having seen the band multiple times this will be the last (unless they are at a festival or an opener for someone). Thanks to Jimmy for the ticket, but they just aren't very engaging live. That said still support them, and peep some video below:

Monday, October 7, 2019

Dylan Cover #396 Bruce Springsteen "Chimes of Freedom" Live from Copenhagen 1988

Continuing our ongoing Monday's Dylan Cover Series, this week we present Bruce Springsteen performing a live cover of "Chimes Of Freedom" .

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
This song is a giant one in Bob's catalog, but it has always been one of the classic Dylan anthems that never really struck a chord with RtBE.  For some reason when we talk about Dylan moving from protest singer to full on poetic songwriter, this is the tune that comes to mind. It seems to be stuck between those two worlds and the version on Another Side Of Bob Dylan just doesn't connect on many levels. I may be in the minority but this has never been a great Dylan song in my eyes...which in-turn does make it ripe to cover...
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Band:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and his bombastic style.
Thoughts on Cover:
A Bruce'd up Dylan cover, but not one that really changes much, just amps it up overall in Springsteen's big band style. A fine cover that is perfect for Bruce's over abundant dramatic style. The 80's chimes are fine for it as well, if a bit crushing in their symbolism, just overall the tune never real grabs us.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 9/20/78 Capital Theater, Passaic, NJ

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!
For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts. Let's start in 1978 on The Darkness tour on his home turf of New Jersey which just might be the best of the bunch. 

We will be talking more about this tour, album and Springsteen in general all month so we will shut up and let the music do the talking, but this is simply put one of the best tours in rock history as Bruce and the E-Street band are super pumped up to be playing.   

Black and white video is grainy at best but the sound is electric and you can see this simply monumental night up close and personal. Set list with timing below. Enjoy:



Badlands 4:36 Spirit in the Night 15:05 Darkness on the Edge of Town 20:08 Independence Day 27:47 The Promised Land 35:05 Prove it all Night 47:29 It's my LIfe (The Animals cover) 53:05 Thunder Road 58:41 Jungleland 1:09:45 Santa Claus is coming to town 1:14:50 Fire 1:17:47 Candy's Room 1:21:02 Because the Night 1:28:10 Intro/Point Blank 1:37:03 Kitty's Back 1:51:00 Incident on 57th Street 2:01:15 Rosalita (Come out Tonight) 2:14:00 Born to Run 2:21:35 Tenth Avenue Freeze-out 2:26:55 Detroit Medley 2:40:17 Twist and Shout

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Album Review: Cassidy - Numbers

Cassidy
Numbers
**and1/2 out of *****

The Philadelphia M.C. Cassidy has had a long career in the game. He started out as a battle rapper around the turn of millennium then signed to J records and scored some big hits with "Hotel", My Drink n My 2 Step" and "I'm A Hustla" which all came with Swizz Beatz production when he was the hottest producer on the planet.

After that in 2006 things went bit sideways as he was convicted of of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime for his involvement in the shooting. Then after he was released from prison he was involved in a traumatic car accident leaving him in a coma. Fully recovered we focused on his career and now his newest release is trying to get him back on the road to the top.

The mix-tape has a few standout moments but an also drag in parts over it's fourteen tracks. Cassidy mixes the energetic tracks and the more downtrodden, horror influenced efforts, the track "Hide From Me" even uses the Nightmare on Elm Street Freddie Kruger rhyme to open and close the effort.

His gangsta persona is well earned and Cassidy drops right into it with minimalist ominous piano opener "Get To A Sell". The boasting is everywhere like on the battle ready "He Pussy" and "I Feel Good" which both do what their titles proclaim while "Like Mine" talks about how bad his bitch is while introducing Reggae Ratchet.

A better pairing of the female M.C. and Cassidy is "It's Mayhem When We Come Through" which is the best effort on the album with its up tempo beats, and flow from both artists and while "Let's Get This Chicken Up" tries to continue their energy, telling off mumble rappers but the rhymes from Cassidy don't work as well on this outing.

Another newcomer Bishop adds some R&B soul singing to Cassidy's street style on "It's Hard Out Here" and gives some Caribbean flair to "When It All Go Wrong" which infuses things with strings and skittering beats, flashing some of the best production on Numbers. Like most mix-tapes things ebb and flow, but Cassidy shows he still has things to say in engaging fashion.     
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Support the artist, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Album Review: Vida Blue - Crossing Lines

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

It is of Vida Blue's newest release, Crossing Lines.

When Phish first went on hiatus, the four individuals all tried solo stuff. Vida Blue was by far the most interesting as Page McConnell stepped to the forefront and invited the amazing rhythm pair of Oteil Burbridge and Russell Batiste to join him.  The original album was cool, the follow up was better with the Spam All-Stars on board for a jammed out DJ spiced Latin flavored jazz/funky excursion.

Crossing Lines is a solid return for the side project, with the instrumentals sounding loose and free. If there is a downside, it is that Page's vocals and lyrics are average at best, but the overall sound, especially the drumming from Batiste is worth a listen.

Support the band, buy the album, read the review and peep some video below: