Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dinosaur Jr. Gear Stolen

Dinosaur JrI just got the following via email from the Dinasaur Jr. camp:

Dinosaur Jr.'s gear was stolen last night, Tuesday, August 26, from their trailer, which was parked outside of their hotel in Long Island City, New York.

The band humbly requests that their music industry friends and colleagues help spread the word and keep their eyes out for the stolen gear. They ask that you contact their management at 303.998.0001 with any information.

The list of missing gear and their descriptions are as follows:

Guitars
1959 Fender Jazzmaster SN# 38927 - decal coming off. cracked headstock at top near low E peg. color black with purple/bluish sparkle coming through. adonized pick guard gold metal. tuneomatic bridge gold, tuning pegs gold.

1961-3 Fender Jazzmaster SN# 62012 - purple sparkle, black pickup covers. headstock repaired, a whole new piece of wood was glued on for the top part of the headstock under the tuners and up a 1/2" , along the whole top of the headstock. gold tuneomatic bridge, gold tuners

1964-5 Fender Jazzmaster SN# L21581 - orange, white pearl pickguard, stickers all over it, original tuners.

Fender Purple Jazzmaster new SN# R074329 - purple sparkle with matching headstock gold adonized guard tuneomatic bridge.

Rory Gallagher Stratocaster new SN# R25507 - has a big gold grover tuning peg on low E

Rickenbacker 197? Fireglo Bass SN# 4001 - checker-board binding.

B.C. Rich Warlock Bass SN# 4242413

Cymbals
[1] Paiste 20" 2002 medium
[1] Paiste 20" giant beat
[1] Paiste 20" 2002 crash
[2] Paiste 19" 2002 crash
[2] Paiste 15" 2002 sound edge top hi-hats
[1] 15" 2002 sound edge bottom hi-hats

- Also a Custom pedal board with custom audio electronics RS-10 foot controller, Teese RNC2 wah pedal, boss stage tuner, mute box, and cables

- And one black backpack with Sony headphones, tools, etc.

Spin Names U2 Best Live Band

Once again, my compilation of the best music lists made this summer proves to be premature. Spin is the latest outlet to get into the listmaking act and has put together their views on the 25 Best Live Bands. They've limited themselves to bands who are still touring, so it's not an "all time" list. Either way, U2 would be right near the top and I completely agree (evidentiary support here) with their choics as #1 for this list.

The Top Ten include:

1. U2
2. The Stooges
3. Arcade Fire
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. Radiohead
6. White Stripes
7. Green Day
8. The Hives
9. Prince
10. The Dirtbombs

The rest:

11. Queens Of The Stone Age
12. Turbonegro
13. My Chemical Romance
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
15. Riverboat Gamblers
16. The Flaming Lips
17. The Roots
18. My Morning Jacket
19. Art Brut
20. Gogol Bordello
21. Against Me!
22. LCD Soundsystem
23. AFI
24. The Mars Volta
25. Comets On Fire

I would have bumped Queens of the Stone Age from #11 into the top 10. Overall it's not a bad list, but perhaps they writers and editors over at Spin haven't seen Grace Potter and the Nocturnals? Or, say Pearl Jam? Or, Dave Matthews?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Streaming: AOL To Simulcast Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour

Bob Dylan AOLBeginning Wednesday, August 30 at 10:00 a.m., AOL Radio will commence simulcasting Bob Dylan's weekly XM Satellite Radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour. The program, which features Dylan playing an hour's worth of selections devoted to a themes like death or drinking, has received a warm response from listeners as well as critics. While Dylan's ability to select choice cuts from albums both popular and obscure would satiate most listeners, it has been his banter, similar in style to the autobiographical Chronicles: Volume 1, that has been the show's standout feature.

If simulcasting the mercurial singer isn't enough Dylan for AOL's listeners, they will comply with such demands. In conjunction with the release of the legendary folk singer's new album, Modern Times, AOL will stream the album for all curious listeners.

Neil Young Speaking Out Via Music and Video

Neil YoungNeil Young has never been afraid to speak out on an issue and even after the attempted silencing of the Dixie Chicks he's still undeterred.

In "After the Garden," linked below, Al Gore's global-warming warning An Inconvenient Truth lends footage to create a fictionalized news station, LWW. The second video below, "Families," focuses on American troops in Iraq and the comparison between family life in America and the life some see on the battlegrounds.

Watch "Families" here: QT / WM and "After the Garden" here: WM / QT.

Given his Canadian citizenship (although I believe his wife and two kids are American Citizens), don't be surprised if ole Neil is harrassed by immigration authorities if he continues bucking up against the current administration. You'll recall what John Lennon got for promoting "radical ideas" like peace and love.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Mars Volta Single

Mars VoltaThe new record from Mars Volta is due out in a couple weeks and Amputechture will be in stores on September 12th. Meanwhile, they've released a new single called "Vermicide" - you can listen to it here: ASX / RAM.

TMV is still on tour - despite being pelted with urine at a recent show - and is playing big venues so you'll need to perfect your aim.

The Sadies: In Concert Volume 1

The SadiesCanada's The Sadies recent released their In Concert Vol. I., a two disc set with over 40 tracks. Recorded by Steve Albini, many of the band's friends appear inlcuding, Neko Case, Gary Louris of The Jayhawks, Jon Spencer, Garth Hudson of The Band, Jon Langford, and Kelly Hogan. The band approached this potentially sprawling project with good humor: "If it blows up in our face, it'll still be one of the best things we've ever done in our lives." Pop Matters has an interesting interview and we've got some sample tunes for you below.

Download "Why Be So Curious" here and stream "Jason Fleming" (sung by Neko Case) here.

New Bob Seger Video

Bob Seger Face the PromisIt's clear that Bob Seger still likes that "Old Time Rock and Roll," and his latest video is for a new song off his upcoming record "Wait for Me." The tune is reminiscent of "Against the Wind" and will appear on Face the Promise his first studio album in 11 years, which is set to hit stores on September 12th.

"Wait For Me" Video Streams Available Here:

Windows Media 100 / WM 300 / QuickTtime 100 / QT 300 / RealPlayer 100 / RP 300

Pink Floyd Tops Best Guitar Solo Poll

 Looks like my list compilation was a bit premature. Planet Rock, a classic rock digital station in the UK, has put together a poll that puts David Gilmour's guitar solo in Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" as the top solo of all time.

Two tracks from Guns' N' Roses ("Sweet Child O' Mine" & "November Rain"), Skynyrd's "Freebird" and Van Halen's "Eruption" rounded out the top five.

Complete Top Twenty:

Top 20
1 Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
2 Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
3 Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird
4 Van Halen - Eruption
5 Guns N' Roses - November Rain
6 Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
7 Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing
8 Jethro Tull - Aqualung
9 The Eagles - Hotel California
10 Deep Purple - Child In Time
11 Queen - Brighton Rock
12 Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower
13 Deep Purple - Highway Star
14 Wishbone Ash - Throw Down The Sword
15 Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears
16 Cream - Crossroads
17 Guns N' Roses - Paradise City
18 Led Zeppelin - Since I've Been Loving You
19 Ten Years After - I'm Going Home (Woodstock)
20 Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Damnwells: Air Stereo

Damnswells Air StereoBy: Sean R. Grogan




The Damnwells are the latest Brooklyn-based band to build a national buzz. Even while still unsigned they toured with Cheap Trick and garnered rave reviews. The Damnwells are now on Zoe/Rounder with their lateset release Air Stereo and have sinced shared the stage with The Fray, Los Lonely Boys, and the Old 97s just to name a few.

When singer Alex Dezen launches into "Kung Fu Grip Kiss," he reminds of us Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with his heartfelt crooning and acoustic guitar. As the song's character pleads to his beloved the perfectly-timed horns and the heartfelt chorus that assures, "No one's gonna let you down... I will always be near," convince the listener to believe him. The opening track, "I've Got You," (no relation to Sonny and Cher) begins with charming piano notes (ala Axle Rose on "November Rain"), but the song quickly changes shape as rhythmic drums and jagged guitars join to make the track an easy single. Other songs, such as "Shiny Bruises" round out the record by mixing acoustic guitar with deep bass and piano and give the song a Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral-esque feel.

Air Stereo - produced by the Damnwells, Jon Kaplan and Wes Kidd - is a departure from the band's last record, Bastards of the Beat. Dezen has swapped the desperation and anxiety heard on their raw debut album in favor of a finished and refined sound. The tracks on this sophomore record cover wide ground, but progress in easy succession without the jarring changes in tempo and mood that can doom a young band.

You can listen to the entire record here and check the tour schedule to see when they're coming to your town.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Summer of Lists

Everyone loves lists - bloggers, magazines, tv shows and even cable networks. As the folks at "the Big Takover" said sometimes its too much: "Then let's not talk about Blender magazine's infatuation with lists. By the time you get to the "The 25 Biggest Wusses In Rock" you're scraping the barrel. And VH1 is practically the Channel of Lists."

This summer has seen an indordinate amount of top (fill in a number) lists - and yes, we love lists. So, what else should we do but list the Top Ten Music Lists this summer!

And yes, we're so biased as to put two of ours on the list:

1. Top 500 Songs of All Time: Rolling Stone
Number one because this argument never gets old and it will obviously will never be settled.

2. Top Twenty Five Devil Songs published on June 6, 2006: Earvolution
This ranks so high because I didn't see anyone else doing it and it became a highly talked about compilation. It even got linked Gorilla Mask, the Holy Grail for list makers. And, even if you don't agree with the order you have to admit there are some good tunes on there!


3. The Top 10 Americana Albums: Ask Men
The screen door slams, Mary's dress sways... it doesn't get much better.

4. Top 10 Most Ridiculous Metal Albums: Stuff
How were they able to limit themselves to 10?

5. 50 Worst Band Names: Progressive Boink
There are some good names on the list, but the ones near the top are pretty awful.

6. Fifty Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music: Blender
K-Fed only at #13? This must have come out before his Teen Choice Awards appearance.

7 Five Worst Rap Lyrics from Good Rappers: Cracked
What me worry?

8. 50 Dumbest Rockstar Purchases: Blender
Doesn't everyone love peanut butter and bacon sandwiches?

9 Top 10 Books About Rock and Roll: Earvolution
Yes, another one of ours. Being the people making the list has its perks. Plus, we all need to log off and pick up a book once in awhile.

10. Top 100 Music VideosPitchfork
This is a decent list, but it ranks last because these folks are so unnecessarily arrogant.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

She's So Heavy: An All-Metal Beatles Album

In what might be the oddest twist on a Beatles tribute album yet, Restless Records will release Butchering The Beatles, which boasts the self-proclaimed biggest, baddest, heaviest all-star line-up ever assembled. The album will feature Alice Cooper singing "Hey Bulldog," "Tomorrow Never Knows" interpreted by Billy Idol, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons taking lead on "Revolution" and Lemmy from Motorhead covering "Back In The USSR." Although the covers will attempt to remain faithful to the Lennon/McCartney arrangements, the guitar solo sections were lengthened to accommodate the artists' solo styles.

Butching the Beatles


Of note, the album will include:

"Hey Bulldog" - Alice Cooper with Steve Vai, Duff McKagen and Mikkey Dee;

"Back In The USSR - Lemmy Kilmister with John 5 and Eric Singer;

"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright and Scott Warren of Dio;

"Magical Mystery Tour" featuring Yngwie Malmsteen;

"Day Tripper" featuring Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw of Damn Yankees;

"Hey Jude" with Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals.

The album will hit stores on October 24.

Trey Anastasio Offers 18 Steps With Bar 17

Trey Anastasio Bar 17While most CD pre-orders seem to offer nothing more than the opportunity to take your money before the release date, Trey Anastasio will be offering a full disc of new music as an enticement to purchase his upcoming album Bar 17 before it's released on October 3. Anyone purchasing the album beforehand will also get 18 Steps, a mini-album of 9 songs recorded at the Bar 17 sessions.

Recorded in Vermont and Brooklyn, NY, Anastasio's new album will feature many guest appearances. In addition to his former mates in Phish, Don Hart (strings), keyboardist John Medeski, the Benevento/Russo Duo, Carmen Keegan (I Nine), Joan Wasser (Dambuilders, Joan As Police Woman), Todd Sickafoose (Ani Difranco), Ben Perowsky (Walter Becker, John Scofield) and Stephen Bernstein (Sex Mob) will appear.

Anastasio previewed some of the Bar 17 material on his summer tour with Mike Gordon, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo. If "Dragonfly,""Mud City" and "Goodbye Head" are any indication of the strength of Bar 17, even the most devout Trey-haters, who seem to revile him primarily because Phish no longer exists, should have reason to rejoice.

A Tom Waits Thanksgiving

Tom WaitsOn November 21, Tom Waits will release a 3 CD box set entitled Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. The box set will include fifty-four tracks, including 30 new songs, as well as a 94 page booklet.

"Orphans are rough and tender tunes. Rhumbas about mermaids, shuffles about trainwrecks, tarantellas about insects, madrigals about drowning," explains Waits. "Scared, mean orphaned songs of rapture and melancholy. Songs that grew up hard. Songs of dubious origin rescued from cruel fate and now left wanting only to be cared for. Show that you are not afraid and take them home. They don't bite, they just need attention."

Now if that plea doesn't get you to bring home an orphan in the spirit of Thanksgiving, then you are as hard-hearted as a Grinch . . . or Ike Turner in marital counseling.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Robert Randolph Preview

Robert Randolph ColorblindI saw Robert Randolph put on his usual terrific show when he opened up for the Black Crowes on the Philadelphia waterfront a few weeks back. It was a steamy summer night, but the crowd still jumped, danced and generally boogied despite the heat. It was my third time seeing Randolph and each time seems to be a little better, which is a high hurdle since I was floored the first time I saw him at the Electric Factory in Philly back in 2003 where I thought he was literally going to blow the roof off the place.

In addition to touring this summer, Robert and crew are readying for the release of his latest studio effort, Colorblind. Besides his "Family Band," Robert enlisted some help for this recording. He collaborated with other songwriters, including Tommy Sims (who has written songs with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and Garth Brooks), Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow), Mark Batson (Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani), and the team of Drew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders (India.Arie, Heather Hedley).

As a preview of how the recording sessions turned out, you can listen to "The Thrill of It" audio streams here: Real High / Real Low / Windows Media High / Windows Media Low / Quicktime High / Quicktime Low

Jedi Mind Tricks Sample Sufjan Stevens

Shara WordenI forgot this little gem was in my email in-box. We usually don't publish much rap music, but this is interesting. Jedi Mind Tricks are set to release their new album, Servants In Heavan, Kings In Hell on September 19th through Babygrande Records.

Vocalist Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond joins JMTs on a few, including "Razorblade Salvation" whichh is a reinterpretation of Sufjan Steven's "Dumb I Sound." Worden also sang back up on Steven's Illinoise.

You can preview the track here.

Hendrix Auction Update

I received this email today:

"Earlier this week Earvolution ran an item reportring [sic] that the Jimi Hendrix catalog is for sale; I represent Experience Hendrix and demand that you run our statement in response."

Well I hate it when people demand things and tried to call the guy who sent it but he wasn't in. But, this press release is interesting compared to the information contained in the press release from Ocean Tomo Auctions. So, upon "request" here is the information this guy DEMANDED I print, but man can't people just ask nicely for anything anymore? Have we lost our way as a polite society?

RELEASE:

"Experience Hendrix, the family company entrusted with maintaining the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix, has become aware of an auction which purports to offer “the entire Jimi Hendrix catalog” for sale to the highest bidder. Experience Hendrix is not party to that auction and has no intention, whatsoever, to dispose of these properties. This position is in accord with the wishes of Al Hendrix, Jimi’s late father and heir, to keep the assets of the Jimi Hendrix Estate intact under the administration of Experience Hendrix, the company he formed for this purpose. The assertion that the catalog is the property of the Michael Jeffrey Estate is a specious one which has never been upheld by any court. When the Jeffery Estate asserted a similar claim against Warner Records in the late 1990's, a New York court rejected same as a fabrication. Experience Hendrix hereby gives notice to any would-be seller or buyer that it will use all measures to honor its mandate to vigorously protect its rights to the Jimi Hendrix catalog."

UPDATE: Bob Merlis, who comments below, did in fact both email and call with a very nice message. He explained he used the word "demand" simply to protect his business interests, which in hindsight I understand.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jet Ready for Another Take Off

JetJet - who I love for simply describing their music as "rock" - has announced a series of North American shows to promote the upcoming release of their second album, Shine On, which hits stores October 3rd. The Jet boys (Nic Cester - guitar, vocals; Chris Cester - drums, vocals; Cam Muncey - guitar, vocals; Mark Wilson - bass) teamed up once again with producer Dave Sardy who produced their smash Get Born and has also recently worked with Wolfmother and Dirty Pretty Things.

Before hitting the states, Jet will play the U.K.'s annual Carling Weekend: Reading & Leeds Festivals on August 26th and 27th. The band doesn't start things up over here until they play in Austin, Texas on September 20th. Meanwhile you can check out the video for the first single "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" here.

Dylan Sounds Off

Bob Dylan Modern TimesBob Dylan tells Rolling Stone that he understands why kids today are illegally downloading songs instead of buying records. He says he understands because modern records aren't "worth nothing anyway."

The legendary troubadour went even further, "You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them," he added. "There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like ... static."

Dylan isn't even happy with the sound of his own cd, preferring the big sound you hear in the studio. His Modern Times hits stores next week.

Flashback to 1985

The TriffidsI won't say what I was doing in '85 lest I give away my actual age...but waaaaay back then NME magazine put the Triffids on their cover to proclaim the roughly mid-point of the Reagan years as "The Year of the Triffids" - or at least according to Domino Records who is reissuing their Born Sandy Devotional record this week.

The record - and it really was a record back then - was recorded by producer Gil Norton, who had just done Echo & The Bunnymen's Ocean Rain. The Australian born band managed to get their single "Wide Open Road" in the UK Top 30.

We've got some preview tracks to take you down memory lane, or introduce you to these lads for the first time if you may not have even born in 1985. Check out Lonely Stretch, The Seabirds and Convent Walls.

Page France Aims to Put Baltimore on the Indie Map

Page FranceBaltimore has traditionally been a blue collar, straight ahead rock and roll town foregoing the "indie" scene to its southern neighbors in D.C. So, while their tunes my seem a bit "whimpy" to the folks that use to pack in clubs like Hammerjacks to see hard hitting bands like Wrathchild (America), whose drummer is now in Godsmack, it's nice to see an indie band from Charm City making some waves. Page France, is garnering words of praise from such diverse entities as Entertainment Weekly and Pitchfork (who'd have thought that the tastemaker impressarios at the Fork would ever agree with anything from Entertainment Weekly!?!).

The band traces its roots to Michael Nau's solo project that expanded into a full blown band with the additions of Whitney McGraw, Clinton Jones and Jason Reeder. Previously on Fall Records, Page France is now signed to Seattle's Suicide Squeeze label and is looking forward to the release of their full length "Hello Dear Wind" that will hit stores (online and off) September 12th. You can catch a preview of the song "Junkyard" and "Bush" from the new record here.

Rose Hill Drive: Rose Hill Drive

Rose Hill DriveBy: David Schultz

Something wonderful seems to happen when brothers form a band. Maybe it's the familiarity, perhaps it's the rivalry; but as The Kinks, The Beach Boys, Oasis and The Black Crowes have shown, it's a recipe for success. Jake and Daniel Sproul, two-thirds of the Boulder, Colorado trio Rose Hill Drive recreate the magic of the famous brother combinations of the past, cramming all of the energy and excitement of their live performances into their self-titled debut album. Released on the generally jamcentric SCI Fidelity label, Rose Hill Drive avoids settling into a comfortable groove, unleashing a furious assault of guitar based modern rock sure to prick up many ears.

In a voice worthy of the most epic metal singers, Jake Sproul, who also plays bass, keeps his vocals restrained, using it to accentuate Rose Hill's songs, not caterwaul over them. On their debut, Sproul narrates scenes populated with gurus, gunslingers and gypsy outlaws looking for existential meaning or temporal salvation, creating landscapes filled with unavoidable confrontations, timeless struggles and descents into the depths of one's soul. While Wolfmother escorted Led Zeppelin's psychedelic mysticism into the 21st Century, Rose Hill Drive chaperones the hard-hitting assault of Houses Of The Holy era Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones into the future.

Rose Hill DriveMusically, Rose Hill Drive cruises along, joyously shifting gears and showing the versatility of their much praised live performances that have earned plaudits from luminaries like Pete Townshend. Far from coming across as uneven or schizophrenic (or "quadrophenic" as Mr. Townshend might say), their ability to vary their sound demonstrates their unlimited potential. On "The Guru" they sound like a less psychedelic My Morning Jacket; on "Cool Cody" the conjure up the ghost of Leslie West's Mountain; on "Declaration Of Independence," part of the album's acoustic interlude, they create a Beatle-esque vibe and on "In The Beginning," Daniel Sproul emulates an acoustical Jimmy Page. They do have a knack for creating rabble rousers: the hair-metal derived "Man On Fire" improves with repeated listens; "Raise Your Hands," borrowing from Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression," immediately blossoms. The band works some intricate arrangements into their work, most notably on "Showdown" and "The Guru." The flip side of such innovation: standard fare, like "Cold Enough" suffers by comparison.

Rose Hill Drive's debut shows exceptional promise for a young band that boasts that their combined ages still make them younger than Keith Richards. After celebrating the release of their debut disc with a week of shows in the Centennial State, Rose Hill Drive will embark on an extensive North American tour, heading over to England in the fall.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hendrix Tunes For Sale

Got some extra bucks laying around? A "claim" to the Jimi Hendrix catalog will be sold at The Ocean Tomo Fall 2006 Live Intellectual Property Auction to be held on October 26, 2006 in New York City. [See Comments for Dispute]

The sale purports to includes rights to all of Hendrix's recordings as owned by the Michael Frank Jeffery's Estate, including well-known songs such as "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," "Voodoo Child," and "Foxy Lady."

Gov't Mule: High & Mighty

By: David Schultz

For many years now, Warren Haynes has deservedly earned the title of "The Hardest Working Man In Rock 'N' Roll." One of the world's more ubiquitous guitarists, Haynes has recently been aligned with The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends in addition to fronting his own band, Gov't Mule. In fact, given his other affiliations and frequent guest appearances with other artists, it's altogether too easy to write off Gov't Mule as Warren Haynes' side project. While Haynes' other groups have garnered him a bit more mainstream attention, Gov't Mule, a power trio formed with his then Allman Brothers brother Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts, has always been his first love; he and Woody leaving the seminal southern rock band in 1997 to devote their full energies to The Mule.

Once a weighty blues power trio, the band restructured after Woody's untimely death in 2000. Adding keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Andy Hess, Mule sallied forth, becoming a stalwart touring attraction. On High & Mighty, Gov't Mule has finally hit their stride as a foursome; offering their strongest studio effort yet. Without succumbing to any dreary, plodding extremes, Mule resurrects their signature hard-driving southern blues, adding a few new rhythms and expanding upon their customary style. Haynes' encyclopedic knowledge of nearly all forms of 20th century music manifests itself the razor sharp guitar riffs found throughout High & Mighty. While Abts and Hess provide their typically powerful rhythm, it's Louis' surgically precise organ riffs, creating a gospel-like counterpoint, that flushes out Mule’s heavy blues giving them a fuller, more polished sound.

A portion of High & Mighty expertly treads familiar ground, the stellar weighty blues that listeners expect from any Gov't Mule project. On "Brand New Angel" and "Streamline Woman," featuring Haynes' laying greasy licks over Abts and Hess' relentless beat, they mine gold. Unfortunately, the same doesn't hold true on "Like Flies," which stews blandly in its own juices. The album soars to exciting heights when Mule bravely goes outside their typical comfort zone: on "Unring The Bell," they skillfully and subtly intertwine a reggae beat and guitar effects into a bluesy melody; on "3 String George" a wonderfully funky bonus track, they go old school, channeling Booker T & The MGs.

Anyone familiar with Haynes' 2004 release Live At Bonnaroo knows that Haynes excels at burning smoldering blues, his voice a perfect blend of world weary resignation and fiery righteous passion. When High & Mighty goes this route, it truly matches its title; "So Weak, So Strong" and "Child Of The Earth" achieving the same passion and beauty as Haynes' underrated classic "Soulshine." Mule finishes High & Mighty by bringing their slow simmer to a boil; their yearning blues fitting Mule much better than their attempts at boogie shuffles. "Million Miles From Yesterday" with its gospel choir, "Brighter Days" and "Endless Parade" hit the same soulful high marks as early era Black Crowes, closing the album with restrained yet powerful beauty.

In recording High & Mighty, Mule opened the door to the studio, inviting their fans to drop by their web site and glimpse their creative process at work. The openness of the process spread to the music, infusing it with a rewarding intimacy. A modern southern rock masterpiece, High & Mighty marks an extraordinary leap forward for the band. In challenging the limits of their perceived boundaries, Mule has possibly created the classic rock album of the year.

Gov't Mule will celebrate High & Mighty’s release with a Monday evening appearance (August 21) at New York City's Virgin Megastore in Union Square. The band will be present to sign copies of the album, which goes on sale at 11:00 p.m., and then perform live for all in attendance. On August 28, they'll repeat the effort at the Virgin Megastore in Chicago, IL.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Like to Tour with Muse

The LikeThe Like have been building a buzz in Los Angeles since they formed in 2001. The group consists of Charlotte Froom (bass) and Tennessee Jane Bunny Thomas (drums) and Z Berg (vocals). In their late teens, the ladies, independently released three EPs and by 2004, The Like signed to Geffen Records and have toured with Phantom Planet, Kings of Leon and Maroon 5.

The Like recorded their Geffen debut Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? with Producer Wendy Melvoin (an original member of Prince and the Revolution), and co-producer John Goodmanson (Blonde Redhead, Bikini Kill, Deathcab for Cutie). The mixing was handled in London by Alan Moulder, who has worked with the Jesus and Mary Chain, Elastica and My Bloody Valentine.

The band is hitting the road with Muse, one of the most acclaimed bands in the world. Not bad for these young ladies who who are all barely old enough to drink.

Mingo Fishtrap Musikfest

Mingo Fishtrapby Carmen Belasco

In the ruins of defunct steel factories and in the burgeoning artist colonies of Bethlehem, PA, MusikFest opened up various stages to bring music to the masses for a week this August. To musically culminate the festivities, Heart and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood took center stage during the final weekend. While Underwood received top billing and charged a fee to see her perform based on one season's worth of exposure by singing cover songs for Simon Cowell, other less glamorized and unsigned artists took to side stages to play for free.

While Underwood opened up her set, Mingo Fishtrap simultaneously opened up at 6:30 pm, Saturday night on a side stage with much less adulation. At the onset of the performance, the eight piece band from Austin, Texas began their first song to a slightly disinterested crowd before a half empty venue. By the end of their performance, however, every seat was taken and people packed into the periphery to hear the band's brand of funk, soul and rock. While the band initially received polite applause, by show's end Mingo Fishtrap had people dancing in the front of the stage to their sizzling horn arrangements and closed to standing ovations. Indeed, the cashier at the concession stand complained that the credit card machine broke because the band sold so many CDs.

The band clearly showed why they have been named Best Jam Band and Best Funk Band at the Austin Music Awards. After their rousing performance, I spoke to frontman Roger Blevins, Jr. (vocals, guitar), trombonist 'Speedy' Gonzales and bassist and father of the band, literally, Roger Blevins, Sr.

Blevins, Sr., who can speak from vastly more experience than the younger generation in Mingo Fishtrap, enjoys the new environment of the indie scene that has been enabled by new media. While many bands were previously relegated to playing cover songs in bars, unsigned musicians now have the ability to record and produce their own albums using programs like Cool Edit Pro and Pro Tools, market themselves on the internet, book gigs via email and sell CDs on sites like CDBaby.

Able to break loose of singing other people's stuff, Mingo Fishtrap, unlike Underwood who had to homogenize her sound and abandon originality, works to define their niche in the indie scene. Blevins, Jr. who has the soulful crossover vocal appeal of Elvis, Mick Jagger or Joss Stone enjoys the band's ability to write their own songs. They cater their songs to each band member's strengths and limitations. The result is a unique blend of blues, soul, salsa, funk and rock that gets the audience out of their seats and grooving along with the band. While he was pleased to hear how many CDs the band sold during their kicking performance, Blevins, Jr. says that the group aspires to play great music rather than sell CDs.

While I can't say how Underwood performed in on the main stage in the infancy of her career as a musical "idol," I can say that an unsuspecting crowd enjoyed a phenomenal show by Mingo Fishtrap. These indie veterans have put out four CDs and journeyed from coast to coast in a modest van for a decade. Their act is polished like a shiny penny and their new found fans at MusikFest certainly agreed that Mingo Fishtrap achieved their goal of playing great music.

Bonnie Raitt (see gmail)

Bonnie RaittI love Bonnie Raitt and her Road Tested live cd is one of my favorite driving discs. So, if her new live record is nearly as good it'll be a "must have" for me. This week her CD/DVD Bonnie Raitt and Friends, recorded as part of VH1 Classic's Decades Rock Live, hit stores this week.

The set includes appearances by Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, Ben Harper, Alison Krauss and Keb' Mo'. Raitt is back on tour through the fall with Keb' Mo' with premium seats and meet-and-greet passes for most shows will be auctioned off for charity at Charityfolks.com. Meanwhile,
you can view a clip of "Two Lights In The Nighttime" featuring Ben Harper here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Massive Attack to Tour U.S. for First Time in Eight Years

Massive AttackMassive Attack recently released Collected back in April on Virgin Records - a two-disc "best of" set with a bonus disc of previously unreleased material and a complete anthology of their groundbreaking videos. Rolling Stone said, "[Collected is] a superior, welcome collection."

Now, Massive Attack will tour the U.S. for the first time in eight years. The tour will include stops at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, San Francisco's Greek Theater and multiple nights at New York's Roseland Ballroom. The band will also be headlining both the V Festival in Toronto and Austin City Limits Festival.

Beyond touring, they are also working on their next studio album, Weather Underground with producer Neil Davidge, which is set for release early next year. Check out their video for "Live With Me" here: WM Hi / WM Lo; Real Hi / Real Lo; QT Hi / QT Lo

The Secret Machines Announce New Tour Dates

All At Once (Its Not Important)


Tour dates here.

Related:

Secret Machines Interview.

Review: Ten Silver Drops

Live Review: Secret Machines at Hiro Ballroom

Radio Birdman: Zeno Beach

Radio BirdmanBy: David Schultz

Their story of the Australian band Radio Birdman tends to be an oft-told tale in the annals of seventies-era punk rock: their label poorly promoted their first record; it never released their second and the band's real recognition came when fans found them long after they broke up. Formed in 1974 by Detroit native and navy pilot Deniz Tek (guitar) and Australia's own Rob Younger (lead vocals), Radio Birdman embodied the burgeoning punk attitude of the era with the same fury of bands like the MC5. Their original lineup, which included Chris Masuak (guitar), Pip Hoyle (keys), Warwick Gilbert (bass) and Ron Keeley (drums), burned brightly; their impassioned energy resulting in a mythical history of raucous concerts marred by audience outbursts. Unfairly blamed for the violent antics of their fans, the band finally called it quits in 1978. Although their fame never quite spread to America, Radio Birdman remains one of the seminal punk rock bands in Australia.

In 1996, Radio Birdman reunited at the Big Day Out, remaining together for sporadic live performances. Bragging that they owe nothing to no one, Radio Birdman has returned to the studio for the first time in more than 25 years to record Zeno Beach, their completely independent, self-produced and self-financed new album. Despite the passage of time, Birdman's lineup remains relatively stable. With Gilbert employed as an animator by Walt Disney, the band's longtime friend Jim Dickson has stepped in on bass, joining original members Tek, Younger, Masuak and Hoyle. Completing the group, Radio Birdman has picked up the talented Russell Hopkinson, one of Australia's top drummers.

Age may have refined Radio Birdman's sound but it hasn't blunted their edge. Tek and Masuak resurrect their dual guitar style, imbuing Zeno Beach with simple yet intense guitar riffs that give the album a timeless sound. Opening with the appropriately titled "We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today)," Zeno Beach goes from one three minute burst to the next, building on Tek and Masuak’s irresistible guitar licks; some tracks venture towards sinister surf rock others drift towards punk. Hoyle's keyboards transform the album into something special, keeping Zeno Beach from becoming one barebones punk rock guitar assault after another. The solos on the album are short but they are powerful and to the point. Younger’s voice, too often drowned in the mix, remains sonorous and deep, becoming an instrument all its own.

"Connected," "Subterfuge" and "Locked Up" show that Radio Birdman haven't lost their touch in crafting undeniably catchy hooks; these hits could have originated in any era. On "The Brotherhood of Al Wazah" they stray from the formula with astonishing results: Hopkinson beautifully connects Younger's eighties-style verses to a jam with Hoyle and Dickson that sounds delightfully out of place but no less wonderful despite the anachronistic quality.

In 1977, The Ramones hitched a ride to Rockaway Beach. Close to thirty years later Radio Birdman catches a wave to "Zeno Beach" finding the future out of reach; a sentiment that may have seemed more apropos in their heyday. Radio Birdman's return begs the question of whether punk rock or surf rock can be played by those who have outgrown the youthfulness that fuels the genre. On Zeno Beach, Radio Birdman shows that you can clean it up, present it in a more mature form and still create one of the freshest, most energetic records of the year.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Earvolution Friend Sabriena Stone Advances in American Idol Auditions

We usually poke fun at American Idol, but our tune may have to change if Sabriena Stone makes it to Hollywood. Sabriena, who we've covered here as part of 5th of July and the 7/11 Project, has made it to Round 3 of the current American Idol auditions. Indeed, we were graced by her lovely voice this past Thursday at our Summer Jam at Sin-e in NYC.

After arriving for an early morning audition, Sabriena told the Associated Press that "It was pretty nerve-racking" and that "[She] felt confident for the most part."

She was right to be confident as she sailed past the first two auditions and Sabriena's next performance is before Randy, Paula and Simon. Sabriena we wish you well and be sure to wear that Earvolution shirt when you get to Hollywood!

In The Garden With Tea Leaf Green

By: David Schultz
Photos from Madison House Publicity and TeaLeafGreen.com

Karma, instant or otherwise, has always had a place within the world of rock and roll: everything that goes around seems to come around. In that vein, Tea Leaf Green's recent weekend stint on the side stage at New York City's Randall's Island as part of the Dave Matthews Band Island Getaway brought to mind the DMB's 1995 two night stand in Las Vegas opening for the Grateful Dead. In the same manner that many young fans who found the Dead during their resurgence in the late eighties/early nineties eventually adopted the Dave Matthews Band as their own, many high school and college age Matthews fans, right at the impressionable age where the band they find today can stay with them for life, are getting their first exposure to Tea Leaf Green.

Tea Leaf Green


Taking a page from Mohammed, if the people will not come to Tea Leaf Green, Tea Leaf Green will come to the people. Since forming in 1998, the San Francisco based band, made up of keyboardist Trevor Garrod, guitarist Josh Clark, bassist Ben Chambers and drummer Scott Rager, have been slowly developing a devoted following, building their reputation as one of the most entertaining live acts through memorable festival appearances and noteworthy headlining club performances. Over a hectic weekend, which saw them open both days with condensed sets, Tea Leaf Green spent some time with Earvolution, revealing themselves to be a thoughtful, humorous and down-to-earth bunch of guys that are clearly appreciative of the accolades bestowed upon them by their fans. Also evident, they are having a lot of fun on their journey, remembering not to miss the forest for the trees.

Whether as a group or individually, Tea Leaf gracefully welcomes others into their world; extremely at ease around each other, the band's laid-back nature makes them a lot of fun to be around. Such collegiality seems logical given the band's origins, which trace back to their time at San Francisco State. After class one day, Clark approached Chambers and asked him where he could get some weed and a friendship between the two was immediately born. When Chambers showed up in class a couple days later with his bass, Clark told him he played guitar. They quickly started playing with Rager; Garrod, a botany major, coming into the fold last. Like most college friendships, they run deep. "We can actively hate each other and love each other; it's unconditional love," explains Garrod.

It doesn't take long to discern that Garrod and Clark are the more animated and vocal members of the group, quick to interject a quip or a joke into the conversation. When asked about whether they had an opportunity to meet Dave Matthews over the weekend, Garrod, with a devilish grin responded that, of course, they met the man. "He came in and threw Scotty against the wall and yelled at him for drinking all the whiskey," deadpanned Garrod. He then self-effacingly understates the matter. "He doesn't even know who we are." Clark can't help but be friendly and chatty; it seems inimical to his nature. After delicately rebuffing some insistent young ladies who recognized the talented guitarist and relentlessly beseeched him to bring them backstage, Clark joked about the debauchery they would have faced. When informed that they really wanted to get backstage to see Slightly Stoopid, the good-natured Clark wasn't fazed one bit, finding the whole situation humorous.

In contrast to his extroverted stage persona, Chambers, while no less expressive than his eloquent band mates, comes across as more reserved and thoughtful in his responses. Where Clark and Garrod seem quick to share their thoughts; Chambers often reflects for a moment, weighing his words carefully. Betraying the stereotype of the wild, uncontrollable drummer, Rager is a pretty quiet individual. While lounging in the hospitality trailer after their Sunday set, a couple of Slightly Stoopid fans joined the conversation. Mistaking me for a member of Tea Leaf Green, they proceeded to congratulate me on how well Tea Leaf played this afternoon. As I tried to focus their attention to Rager, the proper recipient of the praise, the non-plussed drummer gave me a smile and a shake of the head as if to say, "nah, go ahead, enjoy."

During their Saturday morning sound check, Tea Leaf cut through the sleepy silence of the empty, spacious Randall's Island acreage with a brief run through "These Two Chairs." Sitting in the shade of the sound booth, a tiny oasis in the bright and sunny field, it was, for a brief moment, like you had the band for your own personal concert. Indicative of the band's appeal, their short warm-up caused everyone setting up the various beer, water and eco-friendly booths to pause from what they were doing to check them out. Despite tired souls - the group had flown in from California the night before and anonymously partied at a midtown karaoke bar until the wee hours of the morning - the band possessed an energetic vibe they can't help but invest into any performance, large or small.

Known for their lengthy club shows, notable for the number of songs they manage to work into their set, Garrod expressed a bit of concern over the makeup of the crowd while crafting Saturday's set list for their 45 minute set. Acknowledging that they would essentially be introducing themselves to a good number of DMB fans; Garrod looked at their time on stage pragmatically, describing the set as essentially "a movie trailer." In trying to predict their audience for the weekend, Garrod imagined, "a lot of young kids that have yet to learn to rock." With a grin, Chambers added, "We're going to try and teach them."

If the sets were a movie trailer, they would be generating Oscar buzz. Over the two shows, Tea Leaf offered a tremendous display of what they can do: "Taught To Be Proud" and "The Garden (Part III)" showed off Garrod's prodigious gift for songwriting; "Sex in The 70s," from Saturday's set, offered Clark the opportunity to rip off a handful of amazing guitar riffs and solos, playing off of Garrod's equally impressive keyboards; Sunday's rendition of "Franz Hanzerbeak" showed off Chambers' ability to carry a song with an extraordinary bass hook and throughout, Rager's understated proficiency on the drums kept the various styles from going astray. Economically packing great songs, funky jams and an evening's worth of energy into a festival length performance, Tea Leaf finished when they otherwise might just be hitting their groove. In doing so, they adhered to the old show business adage: they left the crowd wanting more.

In the same way that fans were coming to check out Tea Leaf Green, they were likewise checking out the fans, seeing what they enjoyed. "It looked like they were responding the songs when there was someone singing," noted Garrod, comparing the reaction to the instrumental jams. Clark's reaction to the fans was a bit more comical. Realizing that a lot of the younger fans who are into the music were concentrating on what he's doing, Clark felt a little self-conscious. "The kids are really into it, really paying attention, really watching; it was kind of weirding me out a little," joked Clark. "I had this group of young boys just staring at me." Clark pauses for a second, basking in the bemused stares of his band mates. "It's cool cause they get into it in their own way, they're checking out my chops; but I'm like 'Don't look at my chops,' 'I'm sensitive about my chops,'" he says with playful exasperation. "They also like a lot more sharpness in the music; years of drug abuse haven't set in yet."

While the Island Getaway makes a wonderful opportunity to play for newer ears, Tea Leaf are cognizant of how they have come to the attention of the majority of their fans, attributing a good deal of their success to the increased communicative power of the Internet. "If there was no Internet, there would be no Tea Leaf Green," overstates Clark. "If you want to go around the record companies with an untraditional model, you need the Internet to make that happen," explains Garrod. "With us, it first started with 'I heard about you guys on jambase,' then it became 'I heard you guys on nugs.net' or the archives; now kids are coming up saying 'I heard you on Sirius' or 'I've got you as a friend on myspace.'" The band has even entered the foray of online sales: making their first three self-produced albums, Tea Leaf Green, Living In Between and Midnight At The Reservoir, available on TLG's Corner Downloads, their own BurnLounge site.

The online activity has resulted in new fans arriving at each show: some who have heard of the band and others who have literally heard the band through the band's enormous body of live material. While Tea Leaf freely acknowledges the benefits of having their live shows easily available, they also note the flip side. "A lot of people go download the music first to check it out," says Garrod. "They'll either be into it or not. So it can work against you too. We have so much free live stuff. You don't know what kind of recording they're getting." Clark also sees quality control as a problem. "We've changed as a band," he says. "You don't know if you're sucking that night." Garrod puts it succinctly, "Here's a trade secret: sometimes your band sucks."

One of Tea Leaf Green's live shows (recorded on a night that they didn't suck), a May 19, 2006 performance at Boulder, Colorado's Fox Theater, will be prominently featured in their latest project, Rock 'n' Roll Band, their identically titled CD and DVD releases that hits stores on October 31, 2006. The DVD project originated with Justin Kreutzmann, son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. Chambers explains that the genesis of the project came when Kreutzmann, a fan of the band, brought the idea to their manager. "He wanted to do a film of a band that could be big, before they were big." The band claims they didn't do anything special or different, playing a normal show. "We dressed up nice and shaved," concedes Clark. While essentially a Justin Kreutzmann project, they did insist that the DVD, which will not be a full concert release, contain complete renditions of songs instead of snippets or partial performances. There will also be one or two songs unique to each release, offering fans two subtly different experiences.

Tea Leaf doesn't consider themselves a jamband: although they realize the appropriateness of the classification and do not shy away from the term; considering the jamband label both a blessing and a curse. "When your first coming up it really helps, because it's a community," says the soft spoken Rager. "As you try and work your way up the ladder though, it definitely hinders you a bit." Clark echoes Rager's opinion, noting, "You get written off fast." Clark marvels a bit at the loyalty inherent in the jamband scene. "They're very obsessive. It really is an individual thing, a connection to the person on the stage. They call Jerry, Jerry, not Mr. Garcia; they call all their favorite musicians by their first name." Referencing the Phish boards, especially some of the extremely harsh and mean comments oftentimes posted there, Garrod notes that, "For the most part we have a pretty positive community." "Our fans haven't turned on us yet," he says with a mischievous grin. When do they expect their fans to turn on them? "When we make a lot of money," beams Clark. "Then they'll call us sell outs. And I'll be like, 'I got a lot of money, cool.' I'll buy myself new friends." "It'll be a bunch of Russian mail-order brides," teases Garrod.

The strength of the songwriting in Tea Leaf's songs sets them apart from the stereotypical jamband. Influenced primarily by the music of the sixties and seventies, Garrod draws inspiration for his songs from just about anything he comes in contact with. While too many jamband songs seemed structured as a framework for instrumental improvisation, Garrod's songs are fully fleshed out thematically tinged works, touching on historical figures, religious imagery and good old ambiguous metaphors and poetic turns of a phrase that have always had a place in folk, country and rock and roll. "I have a theory about this," Garrod proclaims. "Jambands are usually fronted by excellent guitar players who have no business writing lyrics to sing." While Garrod strolls about with a Patron bottle in hand expounding on this theory, Clark, a guitarist and songwriter, looks on in bemused disbelief as if to remind Garrod that he's still in the room and can hear him. In support of his theory, Garrod notes that Jimmy Page was smart enough to get Robert Plant to sing his songs rather than try himself. When Garrod finishes, Clark asks him, "So my songs are shit and I have no business singing or writing?" With a grin, Garrod dismisses Clark's protests, quickly replying, "I'm not talking about you." Clark then spends the next few seconds staring at Garrod until they both start laughing. "It's a theory," finishes Garrod. "An unproven theory."

The guys in Tea Leaf raise very few obstacles between themselves and their fans. "You want to create that sort of environment, where it's very informal," notes Garrod. While they enjoy meeting the very people who make it possible for them to do what they love, they also realize that you can't always be everything to everybody. Clark expressed a great appreciation for the passionate fans, showing great understanding when their enthusiasm takes them overboard, realizing there is a meaningful connection at work. "It's weird when someone comes up and says 'I love you, man,'" points out Clark. "You want to say, 'Have a seat,' 'Have a beer,' and have a regular chat; but it goes in a different direction. Your 'mythical' stage persona is all that they know." Chambers notes that the desire to be social can also be a bit of an onus, "cause if you're not, they'll think you're an asshole." Although the Tea Leaf guys have managed to maintain relatively normal personal lives, Chambers concerns on the invasions of privacy drew boisterous, good-natured teasing from Garrod and Clark who questioned whether "Hanzerbeak's got the paparazzi following him." "We're in the limelight. Lots of times it's very restricting," Chambers explains with seriousness. "If all of us walked outside naked right now and rolled around in the dirt, people in the west coast would know about it." Still playfully mocking Chambers, Clark points out, "No one is peering in my bedroom window."

The raves of the community that has formed around Tea Leaf Green have resulted in fans inflating their expectations as to what the band can deliver. While they normally meet such raised hopes, they don't feel any real obligation to live up to any hype generated outside their control. "Nobody ever lives up to any of that pressure," says Garrod. "We're thrilled that people are interested, period." Chambers shrugs off any perceived burden. "We give them the best gig we can have." As for negative publicity, they are more than rational and understanding about its role in the larger scheme of things. "There's always going to be someone talking about you," explains Clark. "The more you hear people talk shit about you, actually, the more popular you are," reasons Garrod. "The more you hear the harsh criticism, the more it's a function of your success." If anything, Garrod feels the criticism pales in comparison to the analysis he could provide to his and Tea Leaf's own material; Garrod being his own harshest critic.

Their reputation as road warriors is borne out by their constant touring. In estimating that they are on the road for about seven months a year, all agree that it feels like one endless tour. "When they say they're going to break a band, they mean it," says Garrod. Although they match their three to four weeks on the road with the same amount of time at home, they rarely get a chance to rest, playing shows along the west coast instead of lounging on the couch. "The only reason I got into rock n' roll was so I don't have to wake up before noon," says Clark of the irony of his hours. "We hardly sleep because we have to get up for the next sound check." Chambers describes the schedule as "pretty brutal." As for the dark side of touring people that don't get to see: Garrod points out that "we're getting up at the crack of dawn;" Clark chimes in with "the perpetual hangover." Over the weekend, their reputation for being party-loving guys, one not rebutted by Clark and Garrod's good-natured battle over whether they should be a whiskey or tequila drinking band, may have led to some chafed feelings with their fellow side stage bands. On Saturday, they may or may not have drank the Yonder Mountain String Band's liquor (they honestly don't know), leading to an awkward conflict and clearly marked coolers the next day.

On their last trip to New York in conjunction with the Jammy Awards and the Green Apple Music Festival, Tea Leaf played the soon-to-be-closed CBGB, comparing the experience with their first show at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. While others may have seen their show at the historic club as an honor bestowed by the Festival's organizers (one likewise given to Umphrey's McGee), Tea Leaf humbly took it in stride, accepting the opportunity to play without seeing it as their right. "I licked the walls," says Clark about their time in the dank club. "I have a cough I can't get rid of. Joey Ramone had the same cough," brags Clark.

The CBGB show also served as a bit of a celebration for winning the Jammy award for Song of the Year for "Taught To Be Proud." "Our management knew [that they had won] about two weeks beforehand and didn't tell us. They wanted to surprise us," related Chambers. "We were trashed; I didn't think we were going to have to talk; I thought we were just going to sit and watch the show," recalls Clark. The surprise might have worked had they not bumped into Vinnie Amico of moe. shortly before the award presentation. "I came out of the bathroom," says Clark. "Vinnie saw me and said 'Dude, shouldn't you be on stage.' That's when I figured out we won." Although they didn't have any remarks planned, Chambers ad-libbed marvelously: examining the microphone carefully before memorably asking the crowd, "Where's the carb on this thing?"

In the always turbulent music industry, Tea Leaf Green are currently at the center of their own personal storm of goodwill: fans around the country are excitedly raving about them; their concerts are being swapped and downloaded with great frequency and the venues they are playing are increasingly getting larger. Despite all their success, to a man, they remain extraordinarily grounded; seeming to remember the truly important things in their lives. Early Sunday evening, Chambers and Garrod could be found standing alongside the Harlem River catching up with friends. Approximately forty yards behind them, a legitimate rock spectacle - a Dave Matthews Band concert for 60,000 plus people - was about to take place; the excitement palpable. Unconcerned with the excitement to their backs, Garrod and Chambers opted instead to calmly take in the sunset over the Queens landscape while listening to one of their friends discourse on the beauty of the moment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Archie Bronson Outfit Craft a Breakup Album for the New Era

Archie Bronson Outfit
Derdang, Derdang
Domino Recording Company

by Rinjo Njori


In 1991, my girlfriend broke up with me and I listened to Chris Isaak's Heart Shaped World a million times. The album was incredibly sad, both in the music and Isaak's lyrics. In the post 9-11 society things are decidedly darker, and the Archie Bronson Outfit have probably delivered an album that equals that sadness in Derdang Derdang.

Unfairly billed as a psychedelic blues act, The Archie Bronson Outfit's sound is more in line with the Billy Childish school of simplicity, mixed with the dark undertones of revival era seventies folk-psych (see Beck or The Brian Jonestown Massacre), and the haunting vocals of say Jeffrey Lee Pierce or Gabriel Hart (though distinctly more British). Mark Cleveland and Sam Windett make up the nucleus of the group. Where Cleveland writes most of the lyrics, Windett delivers them with unusual despair.

Derdang Derdang has recurrent themes of simmering violence, impulsive sexual fantasies and loss. With lyrics like "Fat Cherry Lips", "Bunching Fists", and "Broken Fingers" contrasted with "It's So Fun To Love Someone", "Only You Can Remove Such an Ache" and "Hold Me In Your Trembling Skin," the listener can only imagine what kind of rage is in Cleveland's heart and marvel at how effortlessly Windett sings those lyrics.

"Dart For My Sweetheart," the most pop oriented track, starts out as an innocent albeit perverse boast, quickly devolving into violence and allusions to death. The rolling and morbid "Rituals" comes closest to the blues genre the band is often aligned with. What starts as a blues meditation quickly picks up when Cleveland's galloping drums enter the song. However, the jazz outro on the last ninety seconds of the song is dominated by Luke Garwood's "mad horns." Although the horns are buried and wasted on "Cherry Lips" and "Got To Get" that is not the case here where he goes full force and almost performs outside the song. There are curious similarities to the lyrics in this song and the movie River's Edge. What if any part the film played in the "inspiration" of the song is not clear; still, the song reminded me of the corpse that laid along the river in movie. The same sick voyeuristic feeling in the pit of my stomach came back as I read through the lyric sheet. Part of me feels that these lyrics try to capture the feeling just after the girl was killed. More than likely I may be reading too much into those lyrics.

The Depeche Mode and Bauhaus influences can't be ignored on "Got To Get (Your Eyes)." The muted tribal drumming tones down the gothic feel, but the bass line has an unmistakable late 70's/ early 80's feel - straddling the line between goth despair and pop inspiration. The drums and guitar on "Dead Funny" are eerily similar to Genesis' "That's All." Excluding that, the group takes the opportunity to craft a solid anthem. If anyone is going to remember any song on this album, it will be "Dead Funny."

Derdang Derdang isn't all "dead roses." The unnecessary "Harp For My Sweetheart" is merely an acoustic rearrangement of "Dart For My Sweetheart." When all is said and done, the "electrified" version hits harder and is more representative of the Archie Bronson Outfit. The directionless "Modern Lovers" does more to irritate then further their sound and feels more like filler.

The Archie Bronson Outfit is a rare find. Rarely does a band keep it so simple and get under your skin so effectively. The mood never boils over. The violent imagery seems to occur after the fact - even if it is right after. The album is raw and if you discount the lyrics the music remains just as dark. Overall, it's perfect music for a rainy Saturday night after you get dumped by your girlfriend, particularly if you must listen to it a million times.

Supernova v. Supernova

CBS & Mark Burnett Productions have been sued by the California rock band Supernova to prevent the use of their name in conjunction with the supergroup to include drummer Tommy Lee, bassist Jason Newsted, guitarist Gilby Clarke and the winner of the surprisingly addictive summer reality series Rock Star: Supernova. While fans of the movie Clerks will already be familiar with the punk trio, their "Chewbacca" being featured prominently in Smith's slacker classic, they may be surprised to learn of the band's continued existence. Formed in 1989, the original Supernova released three albums, their most recent in 2002, and reportedly have a new one in the works. They filed for a preliminary injunction this past Friday in U.S. District Court in San Diego seeking to prevent use of their intellectual property.

It stands to reason that someone involved with CBS or Mark Burnett Productions would have checked out the availability of the "Supernova" trademark before launching their "American Idol with balls" reality show; in that case, such an omission remains baffling. While it's unlikely CBS will replace Lee, Newsted and Clarke with the three other members of Supernova; surely, they can hire them as an opening act, can't they?

Kasabian's Tom Meighan Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

KasabianForgetting that you're not supposed to bite the hand that feeds you, Kasabian lead singer Tom Meighan apologized for his bizarre rant against The Rolling Stones. While appearing on British television, Meighan, whose band was opening for the Stones, began railing against the high ticket prices before unleashing befuddling remarks that made it seem as if they had to pay for the privilege of supporting the legendary rockers. "It's quite incredible. We're f*cking supporting them! So if we get kicked off the stage we've got to buy a ticket, which is about 200 quid," blathered Meighan. "It's probably Americans who are running it, not Jagger. And Richards isn't going to know what's f*cking going on, is he?"

Perhaps realizing the idiocy of his statements, the band quickly offered a contrite apology, writing the whole thing off as a misunderstanding. Begging the question of what Kasabian charges their support acts to stick around and see them play, Kasabian issued the following statement: "We are sorry for the comments made concerning Rolling Stones ticket prices. We now realize Kasabian as a support band do not have to pay to see The Rolling Stones perform."

The controversy hasn't hurt Kasabian one bit: their latest single, "Empire," tops the NME chart this week.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Love The 80s: Axl Rose, Boy George Give Something Back

Belying his reputation as the self-centered frontman of the revamped Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose concluded his band's European tour by visiting the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward at the University College Hospital in London. "Axl spent time speaking with each of the patients individually: asking about their diagnosis and treatment and what they enjoyed doing when they were not in the hospital," reported director Simon Davies. "Speaking with patients after Axl's visit, I got a real sense of just how excited they were to have met him and how much it lifted their spirits."

On the other side of the ocean, 80s icon Boy George began his one week tour of duty with New York City's Department of Sanitation as part of a court ordered community service commitment. The former Culture Club lead singer ran afoul of the law when police discovered cocaine in his apartment when they responded to his false report of a burglary. Performing his service despite the presence of numerous cameras, George became a bit testy. "This is supposed to be making me humble. Let me do this," said George. "I just want to do my job."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Ropes at Sin-E August 10th

New York City's The Ropes are creating quite a buzz with their brand of indie rock. Although they have a style all of their own, the will remind you - in a good way of past bands that built their name in the Big Apple.

For example, WhoNeedsRadio.com says "I remember how I felt the first time I heard Garbage back in '95 on a CMJ compilation. I got that same feeling after giving New York's The Ropes a first listen. The Blondie influence is just as apparent here, and Sharon Shy's vocals are similar in that tauntingly sexy kind of way."

The Ropes also recently earned a rotation as a MySpace feature artist and sold out the first pressing of their EP. You can catch the Ropes live tonight, Thursday, August 10th, at Sin-E in NYC as part of Earvolution's Summer Jam 2006. A few tickets remain and are available here.

Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

Review: Mercury Lounge, NYC Aug 9, 2006

by Sean Grogan

Get On the Bus with the Modern Day Partridge Family...

"Dad!"

And with that single pleading word from the Trachtenburg Slideshow Players' young drummer, the 12-year-old daughter Rachel Trachtenburg, the bustling mass of people huddled in the back room of the Mercury Lounge is silenced.

First it's the drums, then the keyboard that goes offline. But after ten minutes of dealing with technical difficulties – solved by the joint effort of several volunteers from the crowd that "Dad" (guitarist/vocalist Jason Trachtenburg) solicited with the plea, "Is there a keyboard technician in the house?" – The show began. Sort of.

Instead of playing their own music, Jason's wife (and slide master) Tina PiƱa introduced the duo Ching Chang Music who treated the crowd to three wildly funny, theatrical songs that involved cracking voices, a saw, and more than a few off-key notes. Following their unique set, it was time for the Slideshow Players, or what Jason Trachtenberg calls, "an indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-slideshow band." And as odd a label as that may sound, they have created they have a look that somehow fits it. Dad dresses in clothes befitting the 70s and boasts a crazy mustache, mom is decked out in vibrant colors and wild ponytails, while daughter Rachel just looks prim and, like many typical kids her age, occasionally bored.

The trio's premise is simple, but strange. The family travels to yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores and buys old slide collections of "anonymous dead strangers" – including a set they procured from the house of White Stripe Jack White – and transforms them into "pop-rock musical exposes." The offbeat stories they create give life to the images that they've collected, and they had us hooked by the middle of the first whimsical song. As we bopped with the beat and laughed aloud at some of the wacky images – including that of a giant blow-up chicken – we were transported back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It's no surprise they're the first unsigned band to perform on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Their songwriting style has attracted a wide variety of fans (though most are of the indie ilk), including more than a few who tried to pass on their slide collections to the Players in the hope of getting a song written about them. So what is a traveling family of slideshow players to do with these uninspiring slides? Write a song about such people, of course. And the ensuing juxtaposition of these sounds and images was hilarious as Jason belts out lyrics about just how uninteresting and uninspiring the slides were.

After eight songs, Jason switched from electric guitar to keyboard and closed out the show with two piano-drive tunes. Their final song, "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959," was the first song they had ever written in what has become their standard fashion and serves as an interesting way to end their set – by bringing us back to the beginning.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blindswitch

David Litvinsky, the leader of Blindswitch, has been playing music for over 15 years. But, because he started at an early age is a relatively young 20-something. David's influences range from The Beatles to The Cure to Neil Young. However, Dave cites John Lennon as his biggest influence. "John had a certain grace about him, even when he moved it was musical."

David began writing songs for his first record Shadows On The Wall in September of 2005 and was finished just 3 months later. "It all went by so fast, the songs just started coming. I would wake up in the morning and run over to my recorder and hum or sing a melody into it. From there it just grew into a song."

The tunes are receiving great response on Myspace, including the bouncy ditty "Little Girl." Dave has enjoyed the fan reaction: "I wanted to see if people liked the tunes, so I put my first 2 songs up on myspace...I was blown away at the reaction the songs got. I never expected it. This reaction gave me the confidence to continue writing." Shadows On The Wall was released in April and reviews have been positive.

AbsolutePowerPop says "NYC's Blindswitch debuts in fine fashion with Shadows on The Wall, putting the power into "power pop" not unlike contemporary faves such as Waltham, Rooney and Weezer, with a touch of Fountains of Wayne and Jet thrown in as well. Led by singer/songwriter/frontman David Litvinsky, Blindswitch manages to mix things up to good effect. "Little Girl" is the obvious standout - it can probably be best described as Fountains of Weezer. "I Know" is melodic rock at its best; "Kick Me" ventures out of the powerpop genre into straight-ahead hard rock, while "Til Tomorrow" and "World of Dreams" are power ballads that any 80s hair band would kill for. One-stop shopping on this one: Head over to their site, and stream all of the tracks in their entirety."

Blindswitch plays this Thursday, August 10th at Sin-E in NYC as part of Earvolution's Summer Jam 2006. A few tickets remain and are available here.

Tom Petty: Highway Companion

Tom Petty: Highway CompanionBy: David Schultz

In substance, Tom Petty's solo albums, Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers, have contained some of his most memorable and intimate songs. While his Heartbreaker-less material has been lyrically different, musically it's never been a dramatic shift from the distinct style he's created over the past thirty years. Even though Jeff Lynne's production touches are noticeable, the Florida native's latest solo album, Highway Companion, follows the same formula as his previous ones: warm, personal songs sung in an unmistakable, wizened nasal voice over jangling Byrds-era guitar riffs.

Anyone expecting a rowdy, partying album in line with the atmosphere Petty & The Heartbreakers have been creating on their recent summer tour will be disappointed by Petty's latest. The dozen songs comprising Highway Companion are not road songs to accompany a freewheeling trip down a rowdy freeway a la "Running Down A Dream" but rather a companion to the uncertainties and insecurities encountered on the highway of life. Unlike Petty's prior solo efforts which seemed geared towards a more mainstream audience, Highway Companion feels more like a labor of love. Missing the arena anthems Petty fans have come to love, his latest aims not for the gut but for the heart.

While thematically introspective, the album does have its upbeat moments: built around a bluesy John Lee Hooker guitar-boogie based riff, "Saving Grace" strongly kicks off the album and the heavier guitar work on "Jack" and "This Old Town" are greatly aided by the vocal cadence Petty mastered on songs like "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "You Don't Know How It Feels." In contrast, Petty's strumming of an acoustic guitar, though bordering on lazy, suitably matches the ruminations found on the sparse "Square One" and "Damaged By Love."

In bringing these more personal songs to life, Petty has turned to longtime friend Jeff Lynne. While Lynne's production results in the inclusion of some anachronistic riffs that seem more appropriate on an ELO album, his participation also results in the recreation of some old Traveling Wilbury magic, with "Big Weekend," a song about the necessity of being able to cut loose once in a while, sounding like a lost Wilbury song.

Petty seems to be bringing his fans down the same path Bruce Springsteen brought his. No longer teeming with the unbridled energy of youth, Petty's thoughts have become more reflective and introspective; the inevitable result of growing old. Anyone willing to travel down this road with Petty will find great enjoyment in Highway Companion; those who still wish for Petty to be running down dreams or feeling born to rebel may need to look elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The States Hit Sin-e in NYC Thursday August 10th

The States were formed by Chris Snyder (vocals and guitar) and Previn Warren (bass) in 2002 and solidified their lineup with the addition of Joe Stroll (drums) in 2004. In June 2004 The States won Buzzplay.com's national "Best Unsigned Band Competition" out of a field of several hundred bands. Recently, they self-released their debut album Multiply Not Divide, and the Brooklyn-based trio have been touring throughout the Northeast since.

We dubbed the States an "artist to watch" when we first got their record, and as Schultz said then, they "separate themselves from the pack with intelligent poetic songs...The States are clearly a talented eloquent outfit and their self-produced debut album outshines much that has recently been released by the major labels."

The States play this Thursday, August 10th at Sin-E in NYC as part of Earvolution's Summer Jam 2006. Some tickets remain and are available here.

Pearl Jam vs Nirvana: Who's Better?

Black


About a Girl


Courdroy


Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam


Masters of War


The Man Who Sold the World


Evenflow


Come As You Are


Evenflow (unplugged)

Come As You Are (unplugged)

Grievance


Radio Friendly Unit Shifter


Better Man


Love Buzz


Comatose


Lounge Act


Alive


Smells Like Teen Spirit


Leash


Drain You


Porch


Dive


Gone: live webcast filmed on Letterman set

Negative Creep: live @ Pinky's Garage

Yellow Ledbetter


Breed


Animal


Lithium


All Apologies


Daughter

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!