Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Music Reviews: Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Foo Fighters-Wasting Light

Instead of "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two"...why not Hello Nasty Part Two? And that's not a knock. It's just been seven years since I got excited about a Beastie Boys release and I wasn't treated that well that time around with "To The 5 Burroughs". It's not that "To The 5 Burroughs" was terrible by any means, but it was the first time I had to wake up the next morning, look into the mirror, and stare at the cold truth: "You and the three MC's are getting a bit older, aren't you?" And sometime that cold truth can take away the fun you had listening to a band you enjoyed growing up with. It wasn't that the sound structure in the songs had gone wrong. It just felt uncomfortable listening to a band I acquainted Shadrach, Flute Loops and the Negotiation Limmerick File busting out lyrics that were a bit political. And I agreed with the politics they were talking about in some songs but it just didn't feel right. And even when they were having fun bringing the shit like Miss Piggy or being internationally known like the Keebler elf, it was the first time the B-Boys felt like they were forcing something

Monday, May 30, 2011

New and Noteworthy: The Alternates-Spiders and Webs EP

Luck found me the other day on Twitter as Los Angeles based band The Alternates came up in the "Similar To You" category and I followed. And the Alternates followed me. And since I've had a chance to listen to an advance copy of their debut EP "Spiders and Webs" a few times and have finally found an up and coming band I can put my carriage behind. I say finally because a few other times I'd been contacted by some artists or agencies that I couldn't generate any interest in giving a recommendation. That's not the case with The Alternates. This is something I'd enjoy occasionally and, even more important, something I think some friends of mine would really enjoy listening to often.

What gets me the most about "Spiders and Webs" is it's got the gusto of a band that has already had several recordings under their belt. There is a huge veteran sense of musicianship running through the six songs on the EP. If opener "The Modern Way" has a west cost Avett Brothers Americana vibe, then don't let the rest of the EP fool you unto thinking they're pigeonholed into that category. They kind of tackle all points of Americana put more in a way of, say, My Morning Jacket or Son Volt and that is a huge chunk of the charm. "The Modern Way" is a lovely front porch summer jam, "Changing" Course" is led by an awesome guitar line and has the smarts to add in horns to its menu, and the seven minute plus "Metamorphosis" never feels like a lengthy jam thanks to it's variation in tempo and driving style. Lead singer Spencer Livingston has a voice reminiscent of Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age (The title track best examplele track) or Justin
Harris of Menomena ("Nature Of The Mind" is the best example) but his way of holding on to notes in his approach gives each song another layer of character.
Their EP was funded through fans through a fund-raising campaign on kickstarter.com which is something cool in itself. There is no release date for this EP yet but keep an eye out through the links provided below for further information. Also below is a couple songs via SoundCloud available for your listening pleasure (Lead single "The Modern Way" and "Slow and Steady"). Thanks to keyboardist Jake Craven for forwarding the information and I wish him and his mates good luck on future successes because their debut shows they have a lot of potential for it.

  The Modern Way by The Alternates

  Slow And Steady by The Alternates

The Alternates West Coast Tour Dates:
June 16th- Queen Bee's- San Diego
June 17th- TRiP- Santa Monica
June 18th- Good Hurt- West Los Angeles
June 21st- Blue Cafe- Long Beach, CA
June 22nd- Frog and Peach- San Luis Obispo
June 23rd- Grant And Green- San Francisco, CA
June 25th- Brainwash Cafe- San Francisco
June 28th- Skylark Cafe & Club- Seattle, Washington
June 29th- Platform Booking- Spokane, Washington
June 30th- Twilight Bar- Portland, Oregon
July 3rd - Moe's Alley- Santa Cruz CA
July 5th- El Cid- Los Angeles, California

Here's some links provided to follow the band:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eddie Vedder-Ukulele Songs (Drops May 31st)

Pearl Jam fans already know Mr. Vedder's fascination with the Hawaiian hold steady instrument of the ukulele. But if you want a good background on just how he came across the instrument and how he urges everyone to get away from their televisions to pick up ukulele playing, then NPR has a fantastic interview available right now on their website. Vedder's new album is due out Tuesday if you want a whole plethorea of ukulele playing entitled simply "Ukulele Songs". If you liked "Soon Forget" from "Binaural" then this may be your cup of tea. In the meantime check out the link for the interview below and a clip via soundcloud of a song from the album. Also streaming at NPR is new albums from My Morning Jacket, Cults, and Death Cab For Cutie. I am getting soooo behind on new music.

Click Here For: Interview With Eddie Vedder on Giving The Ukulele A Turn In The Spotlight

  Eddie Vedder - Longing To Belong by MMMusic

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Top Ten: Depeche Mode Singles

I admit I clearly bit off more than I can chew here. Grooving along to "It's No Good" on the way to work on I-69 last week and giving the guns to unsuspecting passers, I came up with the wild idea of my favorite ten Depeche Mode songs. Clearly, I can't get them into a tidy package (And I lose out on Blue Dress, Judas, and Pleasure Little Treasure, songs that are some of knock out favorites of mine but not singles). So I've decided to narrow it down to singles and even then, the guys have released 48 singles in 30 years (Should they be in the Hall Of Fame someday?) And even then, it's a heavy task. No Personal Jesus, People Are People, Just Can't Get Enough, Black Celebration or Strangelove. For that, my apologies. So, without further ado, station to station's ten favorite Depeche Mode singles. Ten songs from Gore, Gahan, Fletcher and Clarke that I'd have to include as my all time favorite singles from the band.

1. Never Let Me Down Again (1987)
"Never want to put my feet back down on the ground"
2. I Feel You (1993)
"Where angels sing and spread their wings my love's on high"
3. Stripped (1986)
"Let me hear you speaking just for me"
4. Enjoy The Silence (1990)
"Words are very unnecessary"
5. Blasphemous Rumours (1984)
"When I die I expect to find him laughing"
6. Precious (2005)
"Precious and fragile things need special handling"
7. In Your Room (1994)
"In your room, where times stands still, or moves at your will"
8. It's No Good (1997)
"I'm gonna take my time, I've got all the time in the world"
9. Policy Of Truth (1990)
"Never again is what you swore the time before"
10. Everything Counts (1983)
"It's a competitive world, everything counts in large amounts"

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Music Reviews: Panda Bear-Tomboy, Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues

So the new Panda Bear album "Tomboy" has been out for a few weeks now and the singles that led up to the official release of the album date go back as far as last July when the first single "Tomboy b/w Slow Motion" was released. If you count the other singles "You Can Count On Me" and "Last Night At The Jetty" along with the b-sides, well, you've already heard over half of the material before the album's release. From a promotional standpoint, it should make the listener pretty comfortable and familiar with the album even if a few of the songs undergo different mixes on the full length album (It works great with the sonic booms on "Slow Motion"). Or it could make the listener wish Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear just released the whole affair at one time since some may feel shortchanged with an album full of things already available. I'm in the ball park where I just wanted to take my time and review the album the same week as the animated Kung Fu Panda hits theaters.

After a month of digesting, a couple things hit me about "Tomboy". The best moments show Lennox's craft as chillwave spokesman, a moniker bestowed on him after his fantastically dreamy 2007 solo debut "Person

Friday, May 20, 2011

Husker Du-Could You Be The One?, Turn On The News and Celebrated Summer (Personal Favorite)

It's gotta be the faux visit to Minnesota on Wednesday on our 50 Songs For 50 States tour. I've taken a spin around Zen Arcade and Warehouse: Songs and Stories to remember their glory. Is there anything as ramshackle and slumbering of a love song as "Could You Be The One"? Is there anything as a point of self awareness at how sensationalized TV news can be as on "Turn On The News"? I say no. And there are plenty other treats from Mould, Hart, Norton Inc. the ultimate rock trio of the eighties. Go back and discover

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New and Noteworthy: Bon Iver, Wild Beasts, Incubus, Art Brut

Bon Iver-"Calgary"

Justin Vernon's band Bon Iver is back with their self titled sophomore release due out on June 21st. "Calgary" is the first song available to the public and continues in the same vein as the wonderful debut "For Emma, Forever Ago" from 2008. Song titles include different places on the new album: Lisbon, OH, Minnesota, WI, Hinnom TX...it's like an atlas for the lost soul. If there is anything that touches the best auto tune song, perhaps, ever "Woods" from their 2009 EP "Blood Bank", then there will be cause for jubilation. But just

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Minnesota (50 Songs For 50 States)

I have always thought of Minnesota as the southern most point of Canada. Like if one day our good neighbors to the north wanted some land that Minnesota would be the first to secede to Canada. A few people I've met from the North Star State talk about how cold and desolate the northern part of the state can be and I immediately draw comparisons to the vast spots of Canada. I've never been (my wife visited friends in Minneapolis about ten years ago) but I'd like to visit at least one time. I mean, it's a state with 10,000 lakes. That's a lot of freaking lakes. Plus I wear a Bemidji State University Beavers t-shirt with pride because, well, you can't get more obscure and cool then the Bemidji Beavers.

And how about that music scene. Perhaps, one of the most underrated in the country through the last several decades. Artists from Dylan to Prince to the Replacements to Husker Du, just to name a few, have all hailed from the gopher state. If these artists put a festival on at the same time in their prime....it would be the best musical festival to ever hit the circuit hands down.

I found a honky tonk band called White Iron Band who hails from the North Star state (really, the biggest shame is the NHL team moving to Dallas and taking Minnesota's nickname with them. It could be the biggest highway robbery ever) and they have a little ditty about their home state called

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Music Reviews: Elbow-Build A Rocket Boys

Ever wonder what the perfect follow up to Peter Gabriel's 1986 blockbuster hit "So" would sound like if he didn't take six years to put it together and come up with the mediocre "Us"? Here's your heir apparent Pete. It's British based band Elbow and their fifth proper release entitled "Build A Rocket Boys". Lead singer Guy Garvey has the same pipes that led some of Gabriel's most loved ethereal ballads down the same avenues (according to Q magazine, Garvey even visited Gabriel's studio for inspiration and ideas when writing the album).

After winning the Mercury Prize in Britain for their last album, Garvey goes more introspective and churns out tales of childhood nostalgia and images of a place he can never go back to. It's like he is singing odes to memories of days gone by in a touching black and white film with the rain falling mightily on the characters he serenades. And he's doing it straight from the hip. On "Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl" he mournfully sings "I have a single heartbreak/I celebrate and mourn/A single shining sister/And all the tricks of dawn." Sound dramatic? Well it is....and I love it. Everything is so meticulously placed right down to a trodden gospel choir spilling out "With Love" over several different crescendos or backing up Garvey and a spare piano on "The River". The beauty here, as

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Top Ten: Run To This

Five Against Run is running in the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday morning. Epic cannot describe the event. How about Extavaganzilicious? Catch up with the promos for the event and the Five Against Run blog below. I'd say follow us on Facebook, but I'm not even sure how to follow us on Facebook. But we do have twitter access and 25 followers...why? Because they love awesome things, like five man relay teams. Believe the hype.

Oh, and 10 songs to run to this Tuesday, "Run" being the operative word in the title at the beginning. I could do more homework into this but I'm opting not to, so they're the first ten that come to mind.

Five Against Run Members:
The Fixer: Q & A Click Here
Dirty Frank: Q & A Click Here
Glorified Z: Q & A Click Here
Yellow Ledbetter: Q & A Click Here
Gremmie Out Of Control: Q & A Click Here

Five Against Run Blog: Click Here
Five Against Run Promos: Click Here
Twitter Page: Click Here

1. Pink Floyd-Run Like Hell
2. Iron Maiden-Run To The Hills
3. Vampire Weekend-Run
4. New Order-Run
5. Live-Run To The Water
6. The Go! Team-Running Range
7. Jackson Browne-Running On Empty
8. Sly And The Family Stone-Runnin' Away
9. Kate Bush-Running Up That Hill
10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-Runnin' Down A Dream

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Social Distortion-Mommy's Little Monster, Ball and Chain, Making Believe (Personal Favorite)

Mike Ness and company are back in the Midwest in the next week with stops here in Indianapolis on Friday at the Egyptian Room, Sunday in Cincinnati at Bogart's, Monday in Columbus at Lifestyles Community Pavilion and Wednesday in Pittsburgh at Stage AE. That's four chances to see Social Distortion in a 350 mile radius in a week. Unfortunately, I'm not gonna be able to catch the show, but for those who have a chance, go out and just have a good time with one of the last punk 'n roll bands left without any gimmicks, except being bad ass.

They have a new album which isn't half bad, "Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes", actually it's

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Michigan (50 Songs For 50 States)

Welcome To Michigan. Great Lakes! Great Times! I still remember driving to the state surrounded by great lakes in the autumn of 1998 for a job interview and the first sign that welcomed us as we drove into this new land. "Look, they are welcoming us. With a catchy slogan! The possibilities are gonna be endless!" So for me and my wife (then girlfriend) this was our land of opportunity. Our first address at a really terrible apartment complex in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were ready for the world. The state with my favorite running back of all time Barry Sanders! A place giving you ten cents for each beer and pop bottle and can you return has got something going for it! And there's lakes!

Then the first winter hit. It was the most snow I'd ever seen, something like 30 odd inches of white stuff in a weekend. And the locals told me it was a relatively mild winter. The winter also made my girlfriend's jeep a casualty to mother nature. Amy ended up buying another car buried in snow out of necessity. The color is not important when you need to drive sixty some miles to Lansing overnight for a job, so she got a teale Sunfire (that was some hot shit!).

Spring thawed the ground and we found solace come summer in Grand Haven, a wonderful beach town on Lake Michigan where we would go in the mornings after Amy got off her overnight shift. The sun was