Thursday, December 31, 2020

Year In Review 2020 - Favorite Albums of 2020

Here are our all of our favorite albums of 2020. This is the year end review, all in place.

It starts with our honorable mentions then moves into our top ten albums of the year. There is a short blurb about the album and a song from it, click on the title to read our full review of the selected records. The focus here is on full albums, not singles, but long playing releases you can slap on and listen to all the way through.

It has been a weird year to say the least... 

Thanks for reading.

Live Streams: Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers

Ringing in the New Year from the West Coast are Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers:
There will be added musicians and special guests helping out the band as we say good bye to 2020 and hello to 2021. Here is a Tiny Desk Concert from the band to get you in the mood:

Live Streams: The Avett Brothers - New Years Eve Celebration

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: The Avett Brothers - New Years Eve Celebration

Watch on nugs.tv as The Avett Brothers ring in the New Year:
To get in the mood here is RtBE's favorite tune from the band: 


Live Streams: Phish: Dinner and a Rematch - NYE 95

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: Phish: Dinner and a Rematch - NYE 95

This one is super cool. Phish go back to one of their best shows for tonight's stream, New Years Eve 1995, but you need to watch the full video preview for the whole story....as this one is going interactive...
Queen's Gambit indeed....25th anniversary of this great show...Join the band tonight at 8pm and to get into the mood for the show here is "Chalkdust Torture"


Live Streams Hiromi Live from the Blue Note New Years Eve

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: Hiromi Live from the Blue Note New Years Eve

Piano player extraordinaire Hiromi is ringing in the new year at Blue Note in NYC tonight: 
This will kick off RtBE's Jazzy January as we focus on Jazz for the next month on the site. To get in the mood for tonight's show here is more Hiromi:

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Live Streams: The Dandy Warhols 13 x 20: A 20th Anniversary Concert Celebrating 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight:The Dandy Warhols

It is a mouthful but tonight it is on, The Dandy Warhols 13 x 20: A 20th Anniversary Concert Celebrating 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia.
To get in the mood here is the announcement and some music from the band:



Album Review: Night Cobra - In Praise of the Shadow EP

Night Cobra 
In Praise of the Shadow EP
*** out of *****

The Houston, TX based metal band Night Cobra have come out swinging on their debut EP In Praise of the Shadow. Recalling a specific period in metal the band takes from the greats of the genre while injecting modern energy into the mix. 

The group is Christian Larson vocals, Trevi Biles bass, Brandon Barger guitar,  Bill Fool guitar and drummer Cheech and collectively they shoot for that turn of the decade ('79-'80) sound when British metal and punk were mixing. The bands logo even looks like it was sketched in some long haired loners notebook a thousand times back in '81. 

That aesthetic is delivered right off the bat as "Chains of the Beast" starts as straight ahead classic metal in the vein of Judas Priest before a mid song pause delivers a bass rumble and killer guitar solo around pounding drums in Motorhead fashion. That injection of punk power and pacing helps the group overcome any cover band comparisons or hero worship, delivering them their our style with substance. 

"Escape From Earth" stretches out in Iron Maiden fashion as Larson sings his lungs out and the band get a bit theatrical, but things improve to close with the slamming title track that kicks back up the punk low end. The finale of this short EP "Nightmare Eternal" is the best of the bunch, and encapsulates all of their strengths; starting off with a blazing guitar solo, before chugging along and kicking into a full punk rock mash pit filling rager, before easing out with acoustic flair.

The four songs on In Praise of the Shadow, prove that Night Cobra, have a style, focus and mission to spread punk infused classic metal to the masses, here is hoping more goodness is arriving soon.     

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Yet another great bandcamp find. Support the artists, buy the album stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Live Streams: NYE in NOLA

 With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: NYE in NOLA    

A host of New Orleans favorites are ringing in the New Year virtually:
It will be a great night of tunes from various venues, so grab your tickets to the unique event that rings in the New Year in multiple time zones. 

Here is some live Galactic to get you in the mood:

Album Review: Lil Wayne - Funeral

Lil Wayne
Funeral
** out of *****


Oscillating between heart broken inner looking depressed mussing and braggadocio strip club jams Lil Wayne's Funeral is all over the map. While the schizophrenic word play proves his talent is still vibrant, the shoddy production, long run time and lack of any truly memorable songs make for a sluggish overall listen.

The truth is Wayne's rhymes are sharp as ever, he smashes through extended simile chains like a wrecking ball, yet his compulsion to always sound modern has him using non existent beats and breathy synths to minimal musical success. His intense rhyming starts directly from the top as the title track is passionate, Wayne has stated the whole album is a dedication to Kobe Bryant with 24 songs representing his jersey number (a bonus edition with 8 more cover all jersey bases).

"Mahogany" produced by Mannie Fresh continues Wayne's torrents of words that, along with "Mama Mia" and late album highlight  "T.O.", are all reminiscent of Eminem's habit of showing off amazing lyrical bars...yet never fully connecting to a song or a mode. The skittering trap sounds of "I Do It" brings in Big Sean and Lil Baby while "Clap For Em" gets the bounce NOLA party booty shaking by the unique route of harpsichord and tried true samples from "Drag Rap (Triggerman)" by The Showboys.

The flip side to that upbeat effort is mild synths and beats of "Wild Dogs" which precedes a mid album run of tracks which delve deep in the artists mind. "Trust Nobody" finds Wayne flirting with acoustic guitar and auto tuned singing, "I Don't Sleep" rips through drug usage, while "Sights and Silencers" plays like morbid late career Michael Jackson R&B. Around the tedious "Ball Hard", which isn't more than a list of things Wayne free associates, the album hits a wall, with the psycho horror film sounding "Bastard (Satan's Kid)" and the limp "Get Outta My Head" (featuring XXXTentacion) grinding the album to a halt. 

While editing was never Wayne's strong suit, thankfully he has saved his best for last as "Wayne World" concludes the overlong effort on a bright note. The Mannie Galvez and Louie Haze beats support Wayne's dexterous party times rhymes, yet over the course of the full record these complete songs are scarce.

More representative is the so minimalist it is almost spoken word, "Stop Playin With Me" with Wayne devolving into diary mode, dealing with death and really nailing the thesis to Funeral as a whole with the line "They say to be or not to be, bitch, I'm indecisive". By quoting Shakespeare's most famous line and then not really going anywhere Wayne sums up his output days and while the talent is sturdily in the drivers seat, the destination is truly unknown. 

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Support the artist, buy the album peep some video below:

Album Review: The Kings of Frog Island - VI

The Kings of Frog Island 
VI
** out of *****

The Leicester, England based Kings of Frog Island have been crafting 70's inspired stoner rock with modern touches for over seventeen years. Their newest and sixth album is titled directly as VI.  

The record begins with an intro track "Monotron" which sets the tone for what is to come, flowing into "Ever and Forever" which displays chugging melodic heavy rock with splashes of dark psychedelia in the vein of the Black Angels. While the band clearly are in love with the early days of heavy metal there are millennium flourishes that they spice in with varying effect throughout. 

The perfectly titled "Bad Trip" is a slow slog that wears down over it six minute run time using creepy vocal effects but things just drag, while the more experimental "Pigs In Space" goes a different direction but with same result. The track brings in a weird techno dance vibe, mixed with industrial sounds during the instrumental, never really clicking into gear. 

On the bright side when the band moves to a more pop friendly sound on the album things improve. Specifically during the closing "Fine" and the fun, My Morning Jacket sounding, "Toxic Heart" which is the most successful effort here. When the band twists things in a more radio friendly sound the brightness shines, however, most of the album swerves darker. 

Tracks like "Sicario" are more par for the course, a plodding mix of styles with an overarching stoner rock vibe. "Brainless" pushes a marching drum beat with soaring guitars but ends too short while "Murder" brings in an eerie female vocals to mix up the sound before "I am the Hurricane" moves back to the bands main style with shaking tambourine as added flair.     

The band, Mark Buteux, Gavin Searle, Dodge Watson, Tony Heslop, Lee Madel-Toner are six albums deep and VI shows they will mix in new styles with their old tried and true sounds as The Kings of Frog Island hop on. 
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A random bandcamp find. Support the artists, buy the album stream it below or on bandcamp:



Monday, December 28, 2020

Dylan Cover #460 Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer " Not Dark Yet" Live

 In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This week we have Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer doing a live cover of "Not Dark Yet".


Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
A excellent Dylan tune from any era but one that in particular screamed "I'm Still Alive And Kickin'!" on Time Out Of Mind at a phase when Dylan was simply an after thought in current popular music scene. One of Dylan's most haunting tracks; it is hard not to feel his emotions and finality of the coming darkness as Dylan sings this lyric set.  An all-time great that is mysterious, foreboding, honest and powerful. First class Bob.
Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
This is RtBE's first time hearing this sister duo. 

Thoughts on Cover:
This song was always the choice to close out 2020 on the Dylan Cover front from RtBE. This version is stunning.

As always, thanks for reading. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Fun New Christmas Song from Sin City "High By Christmas Time"

The new for 2020 duo Sin City has been writing and performing all through the pandemic and their newest release is a fun Xmas romp titled "High By Christmas Time".

Can check out the song on bandcamp or below. Sin City have put our a few albums in 2020 and more are on the horizon from the partnership in early 2021. 


Friday, December 25, 2020

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":

Our friends The Clay Pigeons doing their best with "Oh, The Holidays":

and we will end with Reigning Sound double dipping with "Jingle Bell Rock" and "If Christmas Can't Bring You Home":


Enjoy the holiday and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Album Review: Delta Spirit - What Is There

Delta Spirit
What Is There
*and1/2 out of *****

2020 was a horrible year for the world but a small bright spot was the announcement of a reunion album from the indie rock band Delta Spirit. The group had released some feel good music in the mid to late 00's before dissolving and What Is There would be their return effort offering hope. 

Unfortunately the comeback album is shockingly overproduced and never coalesces at all, sounding like a sampling of pop rock styles trying to eek out a hit around cliches, pomp and circumstance without much substance.

While the basis of decent songs may be lurking under the surface, the band self produced the album and decided to over do it to death on every number. A track like "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" starts as a bleak remorseful (if cliche) ballad before incredibly over the top instrumentation blows away any sense of sincerity. "Home" as well starts basic with hand claps and happiness of familial life before again drowning the sound in saccharine over done music while "Just the Same" is a meditative tune on love but it drags on and adds more strings to the mix, yet again over baking the final product, a disappointing theme on the record. 

The band is in full pop mode throughout, the 80's new wave rock of  opener "The Pressure"  and the Peter Gabriel inspired "Lover's Heart" are two of the better tracks here but neither rank very high in the bands overall catalog. The sappy "How Bout It" with overly dramatic ooh's and ahh's is redeemed somewhat by an excellent sounding closing guitar solo while "Better Now" is passable straight ahead groovy pop. The closing title track is the most successful overall because it is also the most natural with Matthew Logan Vasquez just singing straight ahead with an acoustic guitar backing.  

A track like "It Ain't Easy" sums up the album with banal lyrics being offered after an organic piano jangling intro dissolves to a dance beat that facilitates a full on pop dance rave up; three songs in one and none seem to be successful in what they are doing. 

By self producing What Is There, Delta Spirit indulged in too many detracting aspects and unfortunately ended up with a dud of a reunion album. Perhaps an outside ear would have trimmed these songs successfully, whatever the case may be, hopefully the band will shift gears when they are ready for the follow up.       
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Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Album Review: Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

Jeff Rosenstock 
No Dream
***and1/2 out of *****

On the swinging riff heavy "The Beauty of Breathing", Jeff Rosenstock sings of being jaded and this line: "I’ve read that if you just sit in a chair and think of focusing your nervous energy on the beauty of breathing you could live a life of real tranquility". Never fear however as that life is far from Rosenstock on NO DREAM, the whole album is that twitchy shaky wreck as he sings about modern day societal mega issues and individual personal problems with the same over the top gusto.  

The fourth solo record from Jeff Rosenstock is a jolting blast of upbeat punk with flashes of brutal hardcore and sweet dance ready pop. He is supported by a whip crack backing band of Dan Potthast – acoustic guitar, keyboards, vocals, John DeDomenici – bass, Mike Huguenor – guitars, vocals and Kevin Higuchi – drums, with other guests eager to help out throughout. 

The blistering "NO TIME" kicks off the album with four on the floor drums and bass leading the charge before the anthem "Nikes (Alt)" which tackles the hollowness in materialism with pumping musical support in highlight fashion. The keyboard accented "Scram!" is text book pop punk at it's best with Rosenstocks whiny vocals being supported by Laura Stevenson (who shows up on backing vocals a few times).  

His pleading vocal style makes his more societal screeds and personal tunes blur together and take on the same level of urgency which is odd, but the dance ready post punk of "State Line" and the slamming short "Monday At The Beach" deliver enough musical diversity that the listener is kept on their toes throughout. 

The title track combines Rosenstocks melodic tendencies with his crushing hardcore power as the song starts out in power pop fashion with a catchy progression before shifting into full on blasting metal resulting in the most adventurous and successful effort here. 

Other highlights are the growing old combo of "Old Crap" which uses acoustic guitar and "***BNB" which delivers an inventive story lyric about living out other peoples lives and dreams by literally living in their house.   

"Leave It In The Sun" is shout along catchy, while "f a m e" deals with it's title obsession but sticks around a bit too long. The final pairing of "Honeymoon Ashtray" and "Ohio Tpke" feel like the most personal offerings here dealing with relationships mixed emotions and the musical life style and choices that are made.   

A complete album that uses it's pop punk base as a springboard to tackle troubles head on with emotional weightiness and bright catchy music. NO DREAM is an excellent display of what Rosenstock and crew does best.   
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Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Album Review: Soul Glo - Songs To Yeet At The Sun

Soul Glo
Songs To Yeet At The Sun
*** out of *****

With a blood curdling scream the newest EP from Philadelphia's Soul Glo blasts open. Titled Songs To Yeet A The Sun, this collection of 5 tracks blister with aggression, experimentation, grooves and anger. 

"(Quietly) Do The Right Thing" yelling and screamo style is a kick in the ear as lyrics are unintelligible without the lyric sheet provided, while the guitars slice like chainsaws chewing up the scene. The antidepressant love song "29" is an invigorating hardcore punk romp in Bad Brain's style with added distortion and piano to spice up the excellent short tune; an album highlight. 

The band switches gears with the schizophrenic "2K ft. Archangel" moving into hip hop with industrial noise beats as backing. The track works as a break from the propulsive metallic onslaught but still manages to keep the bands style flowing and expanding. 

The short EP ends back in the screaming punk world as "Mathed Up" contains massive blast beats and throat ripping yells while the more groove laden "I'm On Probation"  injects some tripped out psychedelic guitar leads to broaden the pounding sound palette even further pout there. 

Soul Glo do not play it safe, lashing out at everything around them in various styles on Songs To Yeet A The Sun. A band that breaks boundaries with raw aggression, here's hoping more is coming from the Philly group soon.
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Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Monday, December 21, 2020

Dylan Cover #459 Chris Moore "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 Chris Moore 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:
This is our first time hearing Chris Moore 

Thoughts on Cover:
Merry Christmas Everyone. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Live Streams: Yo La Tengo - Last Night of Hanukkah

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can. 


Today we highlight: Yo La Tengo - Last Night of Hanukkah

Every year Yo La Tengo do some must see Hanukkah shows down at the Bowery Ballroom.  This year it will be virtual and just for one night:
To get in the mood here is one of our favorites from the band:

Full Show Friday: Phish - Raleigh, NC 8/10/18

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.. Phish

For December 2020 RtBE are going to highlight the bands we can't wait to see when it it is safe to do so, hopefully in 2021. These are the bands we are looking forward to seeing the most.

When the lock down's and pandemic started RtBE fell into the Grateful Dead more than we had in years. Box sets, long forgotten shows, it all just struck a nerve and really eased the pain of the first few months of the pandemic in NYC. 

When seasons changed we were drawn back into Phish more than we have been in years, kick started by one of our favorite streams during Covid-19 lockdown. For some reason over the last five years we had rarely put on the bands music which was so formative to the shaping of our love for live music. The pandemic changed that, with more down time came the rediscovery of how funky fall 97 was, how cool the icy grooves of 98-99 were and how amazingly inventive "Phish 2.0" truly was. 

With New Years coming up this will be the first time in a very long time that we have not seen the band at least once in a calendar year. While Phish's most recent incarnation "3.0" hasn't grown on us very much during the pandemic the bands hey day ('97-'04) sounds even sweeter. We are past our days of touring with the band, but catching Phish live both indoor and outdoor whenever concerts resume is a must.

Here is the band live in Raleigh, 8/10/18:


This is our final full show friday of 2020...good riddance to bad years. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Year In Review 2020 - Favorite Albums Part 3: The Top 5

Another year is finishing up and @RockBodElec wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE presents 2020's Favorite Albums Part 3: Top Five.


In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album, either on this site or elsewhere, we will link to that review and just give a quick summation; click on the name/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 long playing 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 here is the second part of our top ten, numbers five through one. You can see the back end of our top ten and 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...