Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fear of Blank Prog Rock

Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet, released 2007 (Atlantic)

Porcupine Tree are one of, if not, the purest prog rock band since the 90's. While being outstandingly technically proficient, they do so with out the lameness of bands such as Dream Theater. I personally named this album my favorite of 2007 in my year end review last January. I also had the pleasure to see the band perform this entire album in it's entirety on tour last year, which was incredible.

"Porcupine Tree makes a triumphant return to experimental, non-linear style with 2007's Fear of a Blank Planet. Maybe Steve Wilson was afraid that the comparatively poppy Deadwing and In Absentia were edging too close to the mainstream, because he seems far less concerned with overtly accessible songwriting on Blank Planet. Even still, the cerebral, atmospheric sound on this album remains enormously compelling from almost the first moment. While there is no "radio single" on the disc — certainly nothing with a conventional pop arc like Lightbulb Sun or "Trains" — most songs transcend their complex structure and feel as provocative as any traditional rock tune. The aptly named "Sentimental," in particular, features Wilson's trademark lush arrangement with layers of vocals, piano, ambient synths, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, live drums and sampled drums — but cutting through its tightly contained mosaic is an expertly constructed chord progression that evokes a desperate sense of tension and longing, developing incredible emotional momentum as the track progresses.

Blank Planet sounds like Wilson spent about half of his studio time on the guitar; it's full of buzzy, meticulously distorted solos that you can easily picture him folding into the prototypical Porcupine Tree amalgamation of drum machine, organ, and synthesizers during many long hours in front of the sound board. The quiet, English restraint with which Wilson croons seems to have saved his voice from the decay that so many male singers experience over a twenty year career, and lucky for us (and for him), the style still works perfectly with Porcupine Tree's sound. As a vocalist, he has an amazing capacity for juxtaposing cold, haunting moments against evisceratingly passionate ones, mostly thanks to the control he exerts over his instrument. Wilson's clear, boy's choir timbre sounds like a torrent of frenzy and hunger when he breaks free of it and explores the limits of his vox on tracks like "Sleep Together." His sleepy, melodic approach also has the benefit of ensuring that his poetic lyrics, which run the gamut from acerbic social criticisms to wrenching personal narratives, are always perfectly discernible. Though it's only six tracks long, each of the songs on Blank Planet is exquisitely crafted, even the 17-minute long "Anesthetize." Wilson has a great sense of flow, leading mournful, ambient ballads into graceful crescendos, and over long interludes that sway blissfully throughout rises and falls, only occasionally losing themselves to moments of plodding or meandering. At roughly 51 minutes, Fear of a Blank Planet is short by Porcupine Tree standards, but by measure of quality rather than quantity, it's one of the most substantial prog albums to come out in years." - Cammila Albertson (allmusic.com)

For fans of: King Crimson, Oceansize, Radiohead, Riverside, etc.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The New Bob Dylan?

Rage Against The Machine and The Nightwatchman's Tom Morello is gearing up for a solo tour of North America, which will feature both acoustic and full-band electric sets at every show.

The outing will kick-off in San Francisco on November 1 and will support the release of Morello’s brand new album ‘The Fabled City’ which is released tomorrow (September 30).

The album was produced by Brendan O’Brien, who has previously worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, and features guest slots by System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian and Shooter Jennings.

Morello says “On The Fabled City Tour, I will be playing both acoustic and electric guitar. I want to start off with the darker acoustic songs and then build to some of the wildest electric guitar playing I have ever unleashed on stage in my career. The idea is half Dylan/half Hendrix.“

Meanwhile, Morello will appear at the annual New Yorker Festival in New York City this Saturday (October 4). He will be performing songs and talking with The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki in a public interview. The performance and interview takes place at the Acura Stage at Cedar Lake Theatre in Chelsea.

The tour dates announced so far are:

San Francisco, CA The Fillmore (November 1)
Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom (2)
Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom (5)
Salt Lake City, UT The Depot (7)
Aspen, CO Belly Up Aspen (8)
Boulder, CO Fox Theater (9)
Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Café (11)
Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom (12)
Indianapolis, IN The Vogue (13)
Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory (20)
New York, NY The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza (21)

Here is Decoymusic.com's review of the brand new album...

"Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine is releasing The Fabled City, an 11 song set that follows up his 2007 The Nightwatchman debut, One Man Revolution, and on it you'll find appearances from System Of A Down's Serj Tankian and Shooter Jennings.

In times of greed, corruption, a downtrodden economy and political swashbuckling, I believe we need a hero to guide us through the darkness. While Bob Dylan and others worked their magic in previous decades, our country’s current status beckons for a fresh, honest voice. Shedding his alter ego “The Nightwatchman,” and stepping into the critical and political spotlight, Tom Morello may just be that necessary voice to guide us into better times.

There were two things I happily recognized before the end of the first song when listening to this disc. The first is that Morello incorporates a full band this time around, including an electric guitar instead of the acoustic previously employed. Although there is nothing stellar in the arrangements or difficulty, it gives the political messenger that “oomph” missing on his debut. The second feature is the tone, pitch, and delivery of Morello's voice. It’s much more refined and clear, not nearly as forced and obtrusive as his prior release. The first two songs, “The Fabled City” and “Whatever It Takes,” surprisingly kicked me in the teeth, not only with the creatively discrete political and social messages, but also with their fast tempo rhythms. Both tracks feature simplistic beats and chords, yet they easily get the job done, eerily reminiscent of Morello’s current affairs musical predecessors.

As the CD continues, the innovative rock guitarist starts to incorporate some guitar licks and effects probably stolen from his RATM bag. While they are a welcome treat on this simplified effort, Morello walks a thin line between being tastefully done throwbacks or over the top connections to his prior band. The political and social messages Morello touches on aren’t quite in the same spectrum as Zach de la Rocha’s lyrical attacks. I catch myself on numerous occasions slightly bobbing my head and tapping my foot as I am uncharacteristically drawn to activism websites in charge of change and action.

However, as the songs continue, the revolutionary acoustic troubadour loses me. Although I’m all for tempo change, the variations on song structures, and the overall sound of this release, Morello loses me due to the character of the songs themselves. While the beginning of the disc starts out as a call to civic action with upbeat tempos and politically charged lyrics, he begins to wander into a soft-spoken territory with “Lazarus on Down” and “Midnight in the City of Destruction.” In most cases, I’d be a fan of the well-rounded attack with lyrics and cadence, but I feel the distance between the two styles of songs is too great and unflattering. It’s like matching a RATM disc with Jack Johnson. While both are great on their own, together they don’t compliment each other or work well together. A quick fix to this polarity problem would be to offer a double-disc with compatible songs paired together or to just drop the softer, less activist songs for a later release in more manageable times.

This disc is worth the attention of those in need of a new liberal-minded protester who is ready to take on big business, politics and, apparently, love and life. What Morello lacks in grace and song to song coordination, he makes up for with meaningful messages and powerful playing." - Chris Kies

For fans of: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, etc.

Join the Good Fight

The Toadies street team is looking for recruits to help promote their new album, "No Deliverance." I have been a member of the team for almost a year, and am happy to give them all the help I can. By joining the team you can meet other cool Toadies fans, and get first access to articles and videos of them performing live, acoustic, and all their news.

The album has sold 18,307 copies in America to date, and they could use the push to get them to 30,000 in the next few weeks! Crap like Buckcherry more than doubled this in their first week, and this just means that we need to concentrate promoting Toadies to a wide mainstream audience. Their singles are all very radio accessible, and by joining the street team, you can have the opportunity to help the band, while gaining personal insentives!

Join at www.toadiessquad.com

Video Beck-ons

Aspiring video makers are invited to remix the clip for Beck's latest single, "Gamma Ray." Use the MTV Video Remixer and a slew of effects and video snippets to "outcool music's coolest chameleon" with your own "Gamma" video.

In related news, two "Gamma Ray" singles, each with a different B-side, will be issued Tuesday. Meanwhile, Beck will open Los Angeles' new Club Nokia with a pair of shows on Nov. 9 and 10.

Dead but not Forgotten

Swervedriver - Ejector Seat Reservation, released 1995 (Creation)

Ejector Seat Reservation - Swervedriver

"What a bummer to have your finest hour left for dead. When Swervedriver delivered the tapes for their third and best record to U.S. label A&M, they were told that they'd have to wait over a year to see it released. Due to a busy release schedule, the label balked on issuing it in a timely manner. Frustrated, the band ended up splitting with the label. Treatment wasn't much better with their U.K. label. Creation was nice enough to release Ejector Seat Reservation, but the record received nothing outside of a couple small ads promotion-wise, and the band was dropped a week after its release. Since Creation was making the bulk of its Swervedriver money from licensing the band in the States, there was no need to keep them around if they didn't have a U.S. label, right? (What does the music matter, anyhow?) Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, Ejector Seat Reservation is the band's most cohesive and concise record, best experienced in whole. The band scales back the roar of Mezcal Head and points to their classic pop and glam influences; "Bring Me the Head of the Fortune Teller" is the only completely blasting thing here. Otherwise, it could pass as another band to a casual listener. Even the most gnashing moments are more melodically driven than previous outings (Mezcal Head's "Blowin' Cool" is a good reference point). Those who thrilled over the band's badass, Stooge-ified sonic assaults might not know what to think of after a couple listens, but taken on its own context, the record ropes you in just as tightly as anything else they've done. Helping the band reach new pop heights is the expanded range of Adam Franklin's voice. Check the upper register on the Love-y acid trip "Son of Jaguar 'E'" and the gentle, graceful croon on "Last Day on Earth." A T. Rex/Sweet-like shuffle pops up in the title track, with more hallucinatory lyric imagery. The vocal hook from Bacharach/David's "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" gets cleverly nicked for "Candy," a song that's possibly their best fusion of overload guitars and singalong chorus. It boggles the mind how a song as powerful and melodic as "The Birds" didn't find a home on a radio chart of any form, in any country. Swervedriver effortlessly committed this as if they had it in them all along." - Andy Kellman (allmusic.com)

For fans of: My Bloody Valentine, Failure, Dinosaur Jr., etc.

Lousy Rumor Mill

Well, the big news about Led Zeppelin reuniting for a summer 2009 true has been shot dead. Robert Plant denied any truth to this tour, and had this to say...

Robert Plant has put the hammer down on rumors he will join Led Zeppelin for a 2009 tour and recording sessions. In a statement on his Web site, Plant says he "has no intention whatsoever of touring with anyone for at least the next two years."

Following Zeppelin's one-off reunion last December in London, rumors of further activity have been constant. Most recently, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham were said to have been rehearsing together and mulling vocalists to replace Plant on tour if he opted not to participate.

"It's both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to rear its head when all the musicians that surround the story are keen to get on with their individual projects and move forward," he said. "I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects," he added.

There is one piece of Zeppelin news to report. On Nov. 4, Rhino will release a 10-disc boxed set featuring the band's nine studio albums plus the rarities album "Coda" in mini-LP replica sleeves with artwork from the original U.K. vinyl releases. The attention to detail is eye-popping: "Led Zeppelin III" has its gatefold sleeve with a rotatable laminated card disc, while six different versions of the cover for "In Through the Out Door" are featured. Even the complex "Physical Graffiti" inner/outer cover is faithfully reproduced.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All By Myself

One of my all time favorite musicians, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree/Blackfield fame has announced that he will be releasing his first official solo album, "Insurgentes".

A website dedicated to the forthcoming Steven Wilson solo album (and Lasse Hoile's documentary) "Insurgentes" is now online. You will soon be able to pre-order the special deluxe edition exclusively from this site, but for the time being a new trailer for the album is available to view below. This time the music is a special edit of the album track "Get All You Deserve". Once again the footage is taken from the documentary of the same name, shot, directed and edited by Lasse Hoile. There are 6 other established musicians in the trailer - gold star if you can name them all!

Here is the press release for the site...

"Insurgentes is the first Steven Wilson solo album, recorded all over the world between January-August, and due for release in November as a special deluxe multi disc mail order version. The special multi disk edition will be available as a 2 CD/1 DVDA version (limited to 3,000 copies), and a 4 x 10 inch vinyl version (limited to 1,000 copies), both with hardback book. Both editions will only be available to order from this website. A standard retail CD version will be issued early in 2009.

CD1 features the album itself, while the second CD includes songs recorded during the sessions but not included on the main album. The 4 x 10 inch vinyl version includes all the songs from both CDs in the digital edition. The DVDA contains a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album, high resolution 24 bit stereo, 18 minutes from the work in progress Lasse Hoile film "Insurgentes", and other video material.

The hardback book contains a breathtaking set of photographs captured by Lasse Hoile and Susana Moyaho during SW's travels around the world making the album and shooting on location for the documentary. All designed by Carl Glover, printed on super high quality paper and bound in a hard cloth cover with embossed text. The ultimate collector's piece. The album will not be made available again in this deluxe form.

The album itself is one of the most creative, emotive and diverse works of SW's career, including everything from sublime ballads, gorgeous shoegazer anthems, to all out industrial noise assaults, enhanced by several guest appearances by both long term and new collaborators. The title of the album comes from Avenida de los Insurgentes, the longest avenue in Mexico City, where some of the album was recorded.

More news and preview material soon...."

Hella Zach

Zach Hill of Hella fame will be performing the second disc, "Necromancer", of his recent 2-CD solo album "Astrological Straits", in its entirety at the following stops:

November 07th Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
November 08th Seattle, WA - Nectar Lounge
November 10th Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
November 11th Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
November 13th Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
November 14th Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
November 15th Toronto, ON - The Kathedral
November 16th Montreal, QC - Le Divian Orange
November 17th Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
November 18th New York, NY - The Knitting Factory

Dark Art - Zach Hill

Volta Reloaded

The Mars Volta recently finished up tracking their new album and are set to begin mixing it with Rich Costey (Mastodon, Weezer) in the coming weeks.

Nobody Beats the Biz

Big Business - Here Come the Waterworks, released 2007 (Hydra Head)

"Splitting their time between their day jobs as the rhythm section of the current lineup of the Melvins and their own duo work as Big Business, bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis may actually be doing more interesting work without their far better known boss. Their second album as Big Business, Here Come the Waterworks seems at first like it should be the logical culmination of stoner metal, eliminating almost all the guitar in favor of non-stop rhythm section sludge. But while stoner metal is an obvious touchstone, songs like the punky battle cry "Hands Up" are far more direct and the closing one-two punch of the epic slog "I'll Give You Something to Cry About" and the slow-build climax of "Another Beautiful Day in the Pacific Northwest" verge on Rush territory, especially when Willis is busting out moves that even Neil Peart would find showboating. Metal for the artsy kids, then." - Stewart Mason

Another Fourth of July - Big Business

For fans of: Melvins, The Sword, Black Mountain, Tool, etc.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Best [non-existant] Band You've Never Heard

Barkmarket - L Ron, released 1996 (American)

"Hardcore super-producer Dave Sardy (Helmet, Far, Orange 9mm) fronts New York City's Barkmarket, so it comes as no surprise that the trio serves up some tasty, abrasive rock on their fourth full-length, L Ron. Joined by John Nowlin on bass and Rock Savage on drums, Sardy and co. specialize in taking a melodic idea, scraping it up with sandpaper, and ramming it into the ground repeatedly. It sounds ugly, but it makes for a dynamic hardcore sound. "Visible Cow" opens the album with a detuned acoustic guitar and Sardy's scratchy moan; a tape recorder prattles in the background, almost warning the listener of the impending explosion of distorted slide guitar and pounding drums. Savage beats away on the drums so relentlessly that he must ruin the heads on every track, and Nowlin's low-tuned bass remains a snarling constant in every song. Lyrically, Sardy's distended poetry often has a dark humor about it; lines like "I opened all your mail" ("Feed Me") and "I got a game/it won't take long/we'll list all our beatings in a cursory rhyme" ("How are You") add a dash of laughter to the often humorless scowl across the face of hardcore music. Each song seems to be a unique study in angular, heavy music; "Falling" is a roiling dirge punctuated by stop-start drums, while "Undone" builds a sinister drone off of a surprisingly bluesy core riff. The caper is "Shiner," which starts with a guitar lick that sounds like Sardy is trying to sonically scrape paint off of the hood of his car. Nowlin and Savage tear in behind him and build to a skyrocketing chorus, featuring Sardy wailing at the heaven's, "How do you keep that shine on?" We may never know, but Barkmarket creates quality hardcore rock by keeping the shine distinctly off."

I only discovered Barkmarket through a friend's suggestion in January of this year, and I am still bothered by all the years I missed listening to their music. Their last two albums, L Ron and Gimmick, along with the EP between them, Lardroom are incredible additions to the grunge/hard-rock world, and easily some of the best music of the 90s. Whether you prefer to call it art-grunge or noise-rock, Barkmarket bring some of the purest and rawest music I've ever heard, with energetic bursts coming through the cracks in de-tuned heavy guitars, drums, and bass. Dave Sardy has become one of the biggest producers in rock music since, as he was Rick Rubin's right-hand man for a while, and these albums show a style no one can create quite like him. While they are CERTAINLY not easily accessible, as they push all limits to their maximum capacity, the sound is so intentionally raw and jagged. Listening at a louder volume really is pivotal to this band as you want to hear all the nuances and tinkerings going on in the beautiful chaotic mess.

For fans of: Helmet, Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, etc.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mountains of Grainger

Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains (ex Death From Above 1979) has announced that they will release their debut self titled on October 21st via Saddle Creek Records. Head to the comments for the tracklisting and artwork.

He's widely known as one-half of the now-defunct duo Death From Above 1979, but since the band split back in 2006, Sebastien Grainger has been following a different trajectory, one that's led him towards a solo promising career.

The ex-dance-punker will release his debut full-length, Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, on October 21 via Saddle Creek, following on the heels of his American Names EP, which came courtesy of the Omaha, NE-based label earlier this summer. If the latter is any indication, fans won't find Grainger screaming and thrashing about DFA-style on the new album, but there's still plenty of rock to go around, only more refined, with sweeping guitar chords and heartfelt lyrics that carry a warm melody as equally as they rattle the speakers.

The tracklisting is...

1. Love Can Be So Mean 3:26
2. Who Do We Care For? 2:27
3. By Cover of Night (Fire Fight) 3:46
4. I'm All Rage (Live '05) 4:12
5. I Hate My Friends 4:31
6. (Are There) Ways to Come Home? 4:03
7. Niagara 1:27 Not Available
8. (I Am Like a) River 4:29
9. Love Is Not a Contest 2:37
10. American Names 4:12
11. Meet New Friends 5:12
12. Renegade Silence (feat. The Rhythm Method)

The Tour of the Decade?

"Led Zeppelin is planning a full tour for next summer, with singer Robert Plant set to rejoin the band, according to reports in The Sun today (September 26).

Despite their massively-successful reunion gig at London's O2 Arena last winter, the band has so far declined to confirm whether they will plan any more shows together.

Initially, it was believed that singer Plant was against a full tour with the band. However, today's report claims that Plant is now ready to join guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham in rehearsals for a tour set to start next summer.

An unnamed source told the newspaper: "He [Plant] realised he couldn't face the thought of not being involved. The band were over the moon when he told them the news." - NME

Democracy to Arrive in November??

"According to RollingStone.com, it is rumored that GUNS N' ROSES' long-awaited new album "Chinese Democracy" will be released exclusively through Best Buy on November 25. The source of the rumor is a supposed "vendor convention" that Best Buy had on Wednesday in Dallas, Texas. GUNS manager Andy Gould told the 900 employees the news about "Chinese Democracy" before previewing three songs from the album. Gould also reportedly revealed that the new GN'R song "If The World" will be featured in the closing credits for the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio/Russell Crowe film "Body of Lies", which was confirmed by message boarders on movie websites (like IMDB) who happened to catch a press screening of the film yesterday."

I wonder if everyone in the country now gets our free Dr. Pepper except for Slash and Buckethead. I know I'd enjoy mine!

Too High for Nothing

Meat Puppets - Too High To Die, released 1994 (London)

"Although the Meat Puppets' previous album, 1991's Forbidden Places, was one of the Arizona trio's finest, the band wasn't completely happy with the album's sound, courtesy of longtime Dwight Yoakam producer Pete Anderson. So on their second album for London Records, 1994's Too High To Die, the trio hooked up with Butthole Surfer Paul Leary to put them back on track. Not only did they succeed, but they scored a big radio hit with the melodic rocker "Backwater," and the release became their first to be certified gold. The electrified album opener "Violet Eyes" kicks things off, and immediately thereafter, the trio takes you on a wild musical roller coaster ride. Hard rock ("We Don't Exist," "Station," an unlisted remake of "Lake of Fire"), blues rock ("Roof With a Hole"), ballads ("Shine," "Why?"), country ("Comin' Down"), and demented pop/rock ("Never to Be Found," "Severed Goddess Hand," "Flaming Heart," "Things") help make up perhaps the band's most musically varied album." - Greg Prato

"Always prone to rock music, the Meat Puppets came roaring out of the gate with 1994's TOO HIGH TO DIE, leaving the softer-edged, jazzy experimentalism of albums like UP ON THE SUN in the dust. The high-octane opener "Violet Eyes" peels off distorted riffs that would make Guns N' Roses proud. "We Don't Exist" has a crunchy, in-the-pocket punch that belies its quizzical existential message, and the band's first certified radio hit, "Backwater," lets a hard-rock boogie-rhythm carry the tune's sprightly melody.

None of this is to say that the Meat Puppets have traded in their brains for brawn here. Mixing styles and surprises is still the group's forte--there are jangly angles and remarkably surreal lyrics on "Never to be Found," country-fried folk on "Shine," and looping, mid-tempo meditations on "Why?" As always, the high caliber of musicianship impresses (the Puppets' brisk, fleet-fingered interludes can stand against any rock band of their generation), and the intriguing harmonies that characterize every song are both melancholic and oddly comforting. Like the Minutemen and Husker Du (two of the band's strongest contemporaries), the Meat Puppets rocked with intelligence and originality."

This is by far my favorite Meat Puppets album, and I consider it to be one of the most under-rated 90's albums. Yes, it was the most successful for the Puppets, but it's still not given the credit that it really deserves. A diverse album that mixes so many musical influences, yet has always reminded me of a twisted mixture of 90's alternative rock and The Grateful Dead. Check out the video for the ever-so-classic "Backwater."

For fans of: Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Ween, etc.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Empty Video

Innerpartysystem have posted the viral video for "This Empty Love" online off their debut out September 30th. It's a little NSFW (Not Safe for Work). Here it is below. I've heard the album many times, and it's terrific. Think a whirlwind mixture of Nine Inch Nails and 80s new wave influence with a modern pop undertone, and you have this complex and rewarding band. You can check out their music HERE, and be sure to check out their debut album, in stores next Tuesday.

My Bloody Reunion

"My Bloody Valentine's chief noise maker Kevin Shields has announced that the reformed rockers are recording two albums. One will be chock-full of brand new material, but the other is a revisit to the infamous unfinished third LP.

The album was aborted in 1997 due to the band's label, Island Records, cutting off finances. Shields, who was still legally tied to Island until 2001, reportedly delivered another 60 hours worth of material, which also never saw the light of day. "It just got dumped," Kevin told KUCI radio in 1999, "but it was worth dumping. It was dead. It hadn't got that spirit, that life in it."

Now, it would appear that the guitarist has changed his mind. The NY Times caught up with Shields before My Bloody Valentine's headlining slot at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in New York: "I realized that all that stuff I was doing in 1996 and 1997 was a lot better than I thought."

As for the new material, Shields hints at an altogether more upbeat affair than previous work: "I definitely don't think you need to suffer to be creative. I've written some of my best songs when I've been happy."

How much!?
Shields has long been dubbed as a 'perfectionist' by fellow band members, which might explain how he spent an incredible $366,000 on equipment for this tour. My Bloody Valentine's ambient drone depends heavily on the many "hundreds" of effects pedals in Shields' arsenal, although he "only uses 30 onstage." Only? That's a pedal board we need to see…" - Tom Porter

Flea goes to College

"While the Red Hot Chili Peppers take some time off, Flea is spending his time in the halls of higher knowledge. The Chilis' bassist tells the Los Angeles Times he is studying music theory, jazz trumpet and composition at the University of Southern California. He tells the paper, "I think most people see it as being about commerce –- you only go to school to make money, and you already make money playing music so why would you go to school? It seems backwards but it makes perfect sense to me. My whole musical life has been an educational process and I’m just furthering my education and filling in the blanks. There’s stuff that I want to know that I don’t know." Flea adds that the band is taking a set, two year break before they reconvene and he is working on a "mostly instrumental" solo record at home." - FMQB

Can you imagine taking music theory, looking around the room, and then having Flea sitting next to you? Unreal is all I can say. A Flea solo album should be quite interesting as well. I'm sure most people who listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers remember "Pea." Watch this extended live version of the song as only Flea can deliver...

High Wizardry

Bad Wizard - Sky High, released 2006 (Howler)

"A righteous blend of Southern-fried boogie and true New York grit" is how the half North Carolina-half New York quartet, Bad Wizard, like to describe themselves. And upon listening to their fourth long-player, 2006's Sky High, it's hard to argue with that assessment. The group has certainly carved a niche for themselves with the stoner rock set, as evidenced by their riff obsession and band name (although "Bad Wizard" sounds like an early Black Sabbath tune, it's a play on the name of the band's favorite beer). But like most bands that sift through the "retro-rock goldmine," Bad Wizard suffers one tiny set back. They have no problem approximating the sound, feel, and approach of bands from yesteryear — namely AC/DC and MC5 — but there's a dilemma when it comes to penning memorable songs like their forefathers. However, what Bad Wizard does have on the other bands is that they have indie cred, since Jennifer Herrema from the Royal Trux serves as producer. The album-opening title track sounds comparable to Stone Temple Pilots at their most psychedelic, "He's a Rat" kicks off with some nifty double-guitar harmonies before morphing into boogie, and the mellow "Black Navigator" turns out to be a break from the cranked-to-11 Marshalls." - Greg Prato

While I think this is a good review of the album, I don't agree with Prato about their songs not being memorable. All three tracks he mentions are highly memorable, not to mention favorable, tracks. "Agent" and "13x Around the World," are also both excellent and fun spirited tracks.

For fans of: Queens of the Stone Age, AC/DC, MC5, etc.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beyond Colossal

"Beyond Colossal on iTunes Now!

Good news! The Dozer album "Beyond Colossal" just went live on Itunes
today. We will have the cd version available late October/ early
November, just in time for their upcoming Euro tour."

This message just came from Dozer's myspace blog today. While I had not heard anything mentioned about this release since they unveiled the title, all of a sudden, it's available! Great to see it premiere on iTunes since the actual album will most likely be hard to find in America. I've never been a fan of ordering CDs online, due to horrible impatience, but I'm happy to have downloaded this album, and am waiting to listen soon. For those unfamiliar with the band, they are a Swedish stoner rock band mixing the typically fuzzy guitars, dirty blues riffs, doom filled solos. They've been around since the "heyday" of stoner rock emerged in the late 90's, and have been considered by many to be Kyuss' European counterpart. "Beyond Colossal" is their fifth studio album, and if the title is any indicator of the sound, it's going to be one HUGE and HEAVY stoner metal groove.

"One of Sweden's first and most enduring stoner rock bands, Dozer were formed in 1995 by vocalist and guitarist Frederik Nordin, lead guitarist Tommi Holappa, drummer Erik Bäckwall, and bassist Magnus Larsson, who would soon quit to pursue a martial arts career and be replaced by Johan Rockner. Dozer hailed from the sleepy town of Borlänge, but quickly started making waves on the international stoner rock scene when 1998's "Hawaii Cottage" was awarded "single of the week" honors by Kerrang! magazine. Several split releases with Demon Cleaner (1998), Domestic Dudes (1999), and Unida (1999), plus another single (1998's "The Phantom") later, and Dozer unleashed their year 2000 full-length debut, In the Tail of a Comet, through up-and-coming stoner rock label Man's Ruin.

Despite being recorded for a meager $500, the record landed on many critics' year-end Top Ten lists, and set the stage for a much anticipated sophomore effort in 2001's Madre de Dios. Unfortunately, both Dozer and their album fell victim to Man's Ruin's much lamented bankruptcy debacle later that year, and a third opus, Call It Conspiracy, would get lost in the shuffle when released by vinyl experts Molten Universe in 2002. The members of Dozer then decided to take some time off from touring and recording to pursue parallel projects (most notably Holappa's Greenleaf), and only reconvened in early 2005 for a European tour with Extol and Mastodon. This bout of roadwork was enough to start the gears turning again, though, and after installing new drummer Daniell Liden, Dozer finally set to recording their fourth full album, Through the Eyes of Heathens, released in early 2006 by Detroit-based Small Stone Records." - Eduardo Rivadavia

...and you will almost be able to hear a new album

From Pitchfork.com...

"…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead singer/guitarist Conrad Keely probably shouldn't have done this interview when he did. After spending the afternoon on the phone with publicists, I was told that the band was busy finishing something up, and would need a few more minutes. We finally connected, but I was halfway through the chat before Keely let me know that Trail of Dead were at that very moment in the studio, just about an hour away from the completion of the the band’s sixth LP, the follow-up to 2006's So Divided. (The new album will be preceded by the preview EP Festival Thyme, out October 21 on the band's own Richter Scale imprint of Justice Records in America and on Superball Music overseas.)

There's still plenty to be done on the disc before its planned January release. Keely needs to break out the pen and get to work on the album artwork, and the thing doesn't have a title yet. But just about everything else is all set. We spoke with Keely about Trail of Dead's current sound, the benefits of leaving Interscope, working with Yeasayer, and the proper way to make an ambitious record on a shoestring."

Read the lengthy interview HERE

Yes, he was Disrespected

Yes rocker Jon Anderson is furious the band is embarking on a new tour without him, insisting he feels "disrespected" by the move.

The prog-rock legends initially axed their road trip plans back in June (08) when singer Jon Anderson was ordered to take six months rest after being hospitalised with acute respiratory failure.

But the remaining bandmates - Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Oliver Wakeman - have since decided to press ahead with the tour, with tribute band singer Benoit David in Anderson's place.

Anderson writes on his website, "(I am) disappointed that, with the exception of one phone call from Alan, none of the guys have been in touch since my illness, just to find out how I am doing, and how we will foresee the future for Yes.

"And disappointed that they were not willing to wait till 2009 when I'm fully recovered. And I feel very disrespected, having spent most of this year creating songs and constant ideas for the band. Of course I wish the guys all the best in their 'solo' work, but I just wish this could have been done in a more gentlemanly fashion. After all, Yes is a precious musical band. This is not YES on tour..."

Today's Lesson: Consistency

Dinosaur Jr. - Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best of Dinosaur Jr., released 2001 (Rhino)

"The conventional wisdom on Dinosaur Jr. is focused almost entirely on their sonics, which admittedly were devastating and influential. Other bands had never relinquished the force of electric guitars — Hüsker Dü were a galvanizing force, Sonic Youth reaffirmed that sheer noise had poetic power — but Dinosaur, through their laconic frontman, J Mascis, restored not just the idea of a guitar hero, but showed that underground rock could soar with the eloquence of a guitar hero, reeling from lovely leads to sheets of noise to tranquil chords. In their early days, they relied more on sheer, overwhelming power, which tended to overshadow Mascis' subtle songwriting — something that came to the forefront when the group, shed of Lou Barlow, shifted to Sire early in the '90s, because that also brought cleaner, precise productions. Since Rhino's 2001 compilation Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best of Dinosaur Jr. concentrates the Sire recordings, it does wind up emphasizing his songwriting, yet since those songs were always graced with Dinosaur's sonic power and grace, it does provide an accurate summary of their career. And it provides a pretty tremendous listen in doing that. Some may argue that there's not enough Homestead or SST material here, and "Raisans" should have been here (along with Green Mind's "Puke + Cry," and possibly their cover of "Show Me the Way"), but this generous 19-track collection never sags in its momentum, never has a dull spot, and pulls off a tricky move — it makes Mascis seem consistent, which latter-day Dinosaur Jr. were not necessarily. However, as this collection proves, Mascis never lost his touch and could still write terrific songs, even as late as the group's final album. But what really stands out here is the consistency of the work — "Little Fury Things" and "Freak Scene" may be the benchmarks of underground '80s rock, but alt-rock standards like the straight cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," "Whatever's Cool With Me," "Start Choppin," "Get Me," "Feel the Pain," and the astonishing "The Wagon" are their equal, as is nearly every other song on this collection. And while the inclusion of "Where'd You Go," a cut by Mascis and his post-Dinosaur outfit, the Fog, is puzzling, "Take a Run at the Sun," a Beach Boys homage from the Grace of My Heart soundtrack that puts the High Llamas and R.E.M.'s latter-day efforts to shame, certainly isn't, since it illustrates that Mascis' genius is conscious. So, while there may be a couple of songs that maybe should have made the cut, what is here cements that Dinosaur Jr. are one of the great bands of their era, and it's a terrific listen, one of the best records in their catalog." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine

"Feel the Pain" has got to be one of the most classic music videos of the 90s, and here it is...

Short Clutch

Clutch have lined up some new shows with Russian Circles and Viking Skull for late this year, they include:

December 27th Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
December 28th Hartford, CT - Webster Theatre
December 29th Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
December 30th Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
December 31st Grand Rapids, MI - Orbit Room

On a related note, Clutch side project, The Bakerton Group, have also rolled out some new dates, they include:

October 10th Los Angeles, CA - Roxy (feat. Year Long Disaster, Graveyard)
October 11th Tempe, AZ - Club House (feat. Sourvein, Zoroaster, Voodoo Organist)
October 12th Albequerque, NM - Launchpad
October 13th Denver, CO - Marquis Theatre (feat. The Swayback)
October 14th Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club (feat. Opeth, High On Fire, Baroness)
October 15th Sauget, IL - Pop's

As previously reported, The Bakerton Group are set to enter the studio on October 20th to begin recording their new album with J. Robbins (Clutch, Shiner) handling the production. Clutch are scheduled to enter the studio immediately afterwards to begin tracking their next effort.


Greymachine's new track "Vultures Descend" has been made available online here. The group features Justin K. Broadrick, Dave Cochrane and Diarmuid Dalton of Jesu, etc. fame and Aaron Turner of Isis within its ranks. A debut effort by the name of "Disconnected" is being prepared for a release.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Everyone Loves Syd

Two years ago the legendary Syd Barrett died. He was, of course, once the primary songwriter for Pink Floyd in it's original incarnation, a man who had retreated to the life of a country hermit by the time Pink Floyd were in their commercial hey day.

He's a cult figure, but more than that one of the primary catalyst for British psychedelic rock

Today, September 23rd, Dwell Records released "Like Black Holes In The Sky: The Tribute To SYD BARRETT." Incredible bands ranging from Dredg to Intronaut have submitted their versions of Syd's solo material as well as "Piper" era Pink Floyd. I bought this album last night from iTunes, and it is better than I hoped for. While many of these bands are heavier than my usual tastes, they do a great job of showing just how Barrett was able to influence their music. You can hear the entire album, HERE!

Tracklisting is...

KOSMOS – 'Vegetable Man'
KYLESA – 'Interstellar Overdrive'
INTRONAUT – 'Arnold Layne'
STINKING LIZAVETA – 'Matilda Mother'
JARBOE – 'Late Night'
PENTAGRAM – 'Flaming'
GIANT SQUID – 'Octopus'
YAKUZA – 'Lucifer Sam'
JESU – 'Chapter 24'
DREDG – 'Astronomy Domine'
CIRCLE – 'Rats'
ZODIAK – 'See Emily Play'

Smoothing the Pavement

It's an even-numbered year, which means we're due for another deluxe reissue of a classic Pavement album from Matador/Domino. This time around, it's 1997's Brighten the Corners that gets the treatment, and Matador has just revealed the details of its reissue package.

Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. comes on two discs. Together they contain the remastered original LP, all of the B-sides and compilation tracks from around the album's original release, and previously unreleased studio and live tracks. The package also includes a 62-page book of photos, writings, and other nice things.

Matador will release Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. on November 18, and the label is currently working on a "Buy Early Get Now" promotion for the record with even more extras. Domino will handle the reissue's European release.

Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.:

Disc 1:

01 Stereo
02 Shady Lane / J vs. S
03 Transport Is Arranged
04 Date w/ IKEA
05 Old to Begin
06 Type Slowly
07 Embassy Row
08 Blue Hawaiian
09 We Are Underused
10 Passat Dream
11 Starlings of the Slipstream
12 Fin
13 Westie Can Drum ["Stereo" B-side]
14 Winner of the... ["Stereo" B-side]
15 Birds in the Majic Industry [previously unreleased vocal version taking place of released instrumental "Stereo" B-side version]
16 Slowly Typed ["Shady Lane" B-side]
17 Cherry Area ["Shady Lane" B-side]
18 Wanna Mess You Around ["Shady Lane" B-side]
19 No Tan Lines ["Shady Lane" B-side]
20 And Then... [full seven-minute+ version of "Spit on a Stranger" B-side]
21 Harness Your Hopes ["Spit on a Stranger" B-side]
22 Roll With the Wind ["Spit on a Stranger" B-side]

Disc 2:

01 Then [BBC Radio One Evening Session, January 15, 1997]
02 Harness Your Hopes [BBC Radio One Evening Session, January 15, 1997]
03 The Killing Moon [BBC Radio One Evening Session, January 15, 1997]
04 Winner of the... [BBC Radio One Evening Session, January 15, 1997]
05 Embassy Row Psych Intro [previously unreleased intro, BTC sessions outtake]
06 Nigel [previously unreleased, BTC sessions outtake]
07 Chevy (Old to Begin) [previously unreleased version, BTC sessions]
08 Roll With the Wind (Roxy) [previously unreleased version, BTC sessions]
09 For Sale! The Preston School of Industry [previously unreleased, VPRO "Lola da Musica" TV show, April 4, 1997]
10 Oddity [from the God Save the Clean compilation]
11 Type Slowly (live) [from the Free Tibet compilation]
12 Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar [previously unreleased, KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic", February 25, 1997]
13 Maybe Maybe [previously unreleased version, KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic", February 25, 1997]
14 Date w/ IKEA [BBC Radio One John Peel Live Session, August 21, 1997]
15 Fin [BBC Radio One John Peel Live Session, August 21, 1997]
16 Grave Architecture [BBC Radio One John Peel Live Session, August 21, 1997]
17 The Classical [BBC Radio One John Peel Live Session, August 21, 1997]
18 Space Ghost Theme I [previously unreleased, recorded live at WFNX, Boston, February 12, 1997]
19 Space Ghost Theme II [previously unreleased, recorded live at WFNX, Boston, February 12, 1997]
20 Beautiful as a Butterfly [previously unreleased, BTC sessions outtake]
21 Cataracts [previously unreleased, BTC sessions outtake]

Here is the great "Shady Lane" video directed by Spike Jonze...

12 Angry Months Never Sounded so Great

Local H - 12 Angry Months, released 2008 (Shout! Factory)

"Scott Lucas of Local H is far from the first musician to find inspiration in a bad romantic breakup, and he's just one of many who has written a whole album about losing someone who was once the girl of his dreams, but the group's seventh full-length album, 12 Angry Months, is their most ambitious and adventurous work to date, finding new musical avenues to express the many emotions that emerge in the wake of a busted relationship. 12 Angry Months opens with an unusually subdued acoustic guitar and piano prelude before the electric guitars kick in and Lucas and his ex battle over how to divvy up their mutual friends and the CD collection ("Where's all my Kyuss records? You never liked 'em until you met me!"), and though Lucas delivers plenty of his trademark meat-and-potatoes hard rock guitar on this album, he also shows a greater willingness to explore other textures. "White Belt Boys" and "Taxi-Cabs" flirt with minor-key Eastern modes (though they seem to be drawn from Led Zeppelin rather than a new interest in world music), "The Summer of Boats" and "Simple Pleas" are rare examples of "power ballads" that sound heartfelt and dramatic rather than maudlin, the sarcastic pop accents lurking below of the surface of "Jesus Christ! Did You See the Size of That Sperm Whale?" add to its bite, and the epic-scaled closer, "Hand to Mouth," achieves a fitting sonic grandeur. Lyrically, 12 Angry Months runs the emotional gamut of post-breakup resentment, from ranking out on your ex's new boyfriend ("BMW Man"), wishing misery upon her and her friends ("White Belt Boys") and bitter resignation that the affair was doomed to failure ("Twenty-Four Hour Breakup Session") to self-loathing ("Jesus Christ! Did You See..."), foolishly pondering another chance ("Blur"), and clumsily moving on ("Taxi-Cabs"). 12 Angry Months is often funny but just as often cuts deep enough to sting for anyone who has ever has a less-than-graceful breakup (i.e. nearly everybody), but it doesn't aim for cheap shots so much as capturing the kind of pain nearly anyone can recognize, and the music is smart enough to match. This isn't Local H's best album, but it's certainly their most daring and emotionally naked, and the results are truly impressive." - Mark Deming (allmusic.com)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nine Inch Opinions

Trent Reznor is asking for Nine Inch Nails' fans opinions. In a new e-mail sent yesterday, Reznor writes, "I'd like to thank everyone for a very successful year so far in the world of Nine Inch Nails. I'm enjoying my couple of weeks off between legs of our Lights In The Sky tour and got to thinking... 'wouldn't it be fun to send out a survey to everyone that's shown interest in NIN?' Well, that's not exactly how it went, but regardless - here it is. As we've moved from the familiar world of record labels and BS into the unknown world of doing everything yourself, we've realized it would benefit us and our ability to interact with you if we knew more about what you want, what you like, what you look like naked, etc." Fans who fill out the entire survey can then download a video of the band performing "1,000,000" live at Red Rocks and Reznor promises some fans could be selected at random to win prizes "like signed stuff, flying someone to a show somewhere in the world" or jokingly, "a magic amulet that makes you invisible [or] a date with [ex-NIN bassist] Jeordie White." The survey can be found HERE.

The man gave us two free albums already this year, I think taking this survey is the least we can do to help him.

Screen Shots

New Telescreen Video for upcoming Tragic Hero CD/DVD Sampler

"The song is "True" and the video was taken from a Greene St and Lincoln Theater show. The Sampler will be out on Dec. 9th and available at all Hot topic locations.
Repost if you would like! Thanks" - Telescreen

True by Telescreen from Jon Tuttle on Vimeo.

Return of Township

Township have posted their first single from their upcoming new self-titled album due in stores on October 28th, 2008. The song is called "Sinister Minister," and can be streamed over on their myspace page.

For those unfamiliar with Township, they create solid jam based rock and roll music. Here is a small blurb from their page...
"TOWNSHIP powers through latin, psych, southern, folk and fantasy all with a classic rock sensibility. With lyrics focused as much on the current state of politics, environment and human relations as magical mares and enchanted lakes, Township creates a timeless, not dated, good time."

"Despite being hailed as a 'supergroup' sounding like 'The Who on steroids with an Afro-Latin twist' (The Boston Phoenix), Township took the stage at the 2007 29th Annual WBCN Rock n' Roll Rumble as virtually unknown. After sweeping the competition in all 3 rounds, the secret soon revealed itself that the band contained Vermont native and Cancer Conspiracy drummer, Greg Beadle and Boston's Runner and the Thermodynamics frontman, Marc Pinansky and Spitzz's John Sheeran. In just a year and a half, Township has been featured in internationally released commercials and videos, and shared stages with acts ranging from Incubus and Perry Ferrel, to the Fiery Furnaces and Richard Lloyd of Television. With two EP's under their belt and a full length arriving soon, these classic rock worshiping guys don't just live the music, they are the music."

For fans of: ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, early Aerosmith, Dead Meadow, etc.

Check out this cool music video for "Gunnin' Through the Night," from their debut full length, Coming Home.

Recued from Hardcore

Codeseven - The Rescue, released 2002 (Music Cartel)

The Rescue - Codeseven

Like the Deftones, Codeseven mixes its metal history with emotional pop influences for a record that really transcends genre. The title Rescue says it all: This isn't death metal, doom metal, or nu-metal — far from it, the record is part emotional, part pop, and a little metal. "Southie" couples vocal pleas with melodic grandeur and then adds in some metal bombast. "The Camel City" evokes the slick psychedelic rock of Pink Floyd circa A Momentary Lapse of Reason. The dark atmosphere of "Sounds of Cyan and Magenta" sounds closest to Echo & the Bunnymen and "Smell of Yellow and Black" is pure space rock, with vocals that conjure up Jeff Buckley. When all is said and done, Codeseven manages to totally confound listeners' expectations with a resonant album poised for wide appeal.

For fans of: Deftones, At the Drive-In, A Perfect Circle, etc.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Business Time

Big Business have posted a new track, "The Drift," from their "Tour III EP" online HERE. They are currently on tour with the Melvins in Europe. Here is a message they sent with the new track...

"Well, you guys are finally learning that if you want us to get anything done, you really really have to nag. "The Drift," one of our new songs from the Tour III e.p., is up and running. Learn it, love it, live it!

We are in Vienna, Austria today. The Europe tour with the Melvins is going well so far, no major crap-ups to report. Dale has been doing a top-notch job sitting in on guitar, as Toshi wasn't able to leave his pet turtle Chachi for more than a couple of weeks. We miss ya, Tosh.

We're having fun, but we're excited to get back to the states and finish our next LP. Still looking at a springtime record release, we'll give more details as they manifest." - big biz

They will also be playing ATP's "Nightmare Before Xmas Festival" in England, December 3rd-5th. They will be sharing the festival stage with Isis, Melvins, Meat Puppets, Torche, Soulsavers featuring Mark Lanegan, and many more.

Everyone's Favorite Jerky Dance Punk

Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, released 2004 (Last Gang/Vice)

"Death From Above 1979 makes their considerable racket with only bass, drums, and the occasional Moog squelch assist. This isn't a gimmick — between Sebastien Grainger's frantic wail and the overdriven bass riffs of Jesse F. Keeler, the duo's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine pulses with a steady, sweaty energy that's punctuated with arena-sized hooks. "Blood on Our Hands" boils dance-punk nearly all the way down, leaving only a relentless hi-hat cymbal, while "Turn It Out" and "Cold War" churn on double-time rhythms and rudimentary, yet completely effective bass runs. The duo's setup certainly limits their range, which means the album can occasionally resemble one long song. But at just over a half-hour, it's over before any questions about the lack of guitars can even start to form. There are hyper indie rock flare-ups, like in the Hot Snakes/Rocket from the Crypt yelp of "Going Steady." And "Sexy Results" is a flirtatious and amplified cross of new wave and Rapture-style strut that comes complete with a cowbell upbeat. Preoccupation with the opposite sex provides some of You're a Woman, I'm a Machine's strongest moments, from Grainger's "I don't need you/I want you" clarification on "Romantic Rights" to the frenetic late-album standout "Pull Out." Other highlights include the title track's layered vocals and wiry punk revivalism, and the subtler "Black History Month," which is a nice break from the record's consistently jerking pace. In the 2000s, dance-oriented energy keeps creeping regularly into rock & roll. On You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, Death from Above 1979 makes people move by exposing the live-wire tension rock music had all along." - Johnny Loftus (allmusic.com)

For fans of: Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, The White Stripes, etc.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Proud Lion's Roar

LIONS to do next record Jan-Feb 2009 w/ Matt Hyde in LA!

This is a message Lions sent out today regarding their recent one day recording session with Matt Hyde, and their new album.

"We'll be cutting a record w/ producer Matt Hyde (Porno for Pyros, Monster Magnet, Slayer) in LA in the next coming months. After a great session in LA after The Roxy show, we've decided that we need to do this record w/ Matt. He's slated to come to Austin in December for some pre-production and then we blast to LA at the top of the year. This record is going to sound huge and I'm happy to say that the band will finally be captured in the big bad motherfuckin' way we intended. Rocknroll!!" - Lions

For those not familiar yet with Lions, they are an energetic rock band from the incredible Austin rock scene, that has been touring with Toadies and Local H for the past half a year or so. "No Generation," their debut full-length followed their successful "Volume 1" EP with a sound that was more streamlined. The song writing has become tighter, and the riffs are even bigger. Lions music speaks with an urgency rarely seen these days, and it walks a fine line between grunge and stoner rock, creating a sound that is unique and immediately identifiable as their own. Their choruses are filled with a certain rowdiness that makes you want to shout along, while the riffs tower about, and guitarist Austin sends bursts of exploding solos into the mix. Imagine a cross between the guitar playing of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and you can begin to get a feel for Austin's live guitar sound. I can understand the excitement of working with a producer of Hyde's caliber, as Lions, as good as their albums so far are, have not quite captured the intensity they bring live on record. With Hyde behind the boards, we will be sure to hear more of Austin's incredible guitar wizardry, and an even greater and stronger Lions that we have now! Their music is currently featured in the new FX show "Sons of Anarchy," including an upcoming episode that will feature the new track from their one-off session with Matt Hyde. Along with that, their track "Metal Heavy Lady," was featured in Guitar Hero 3. With nationally sold out tour appearances, video game an television placements, Lions are doing pretty damn well for an unsigned band. Look for these guys to make a big impact in the new year. I will keep you posted as their recording updates continue.

The wRight Toadies

The wRight Brothers are a band four piece rock band from Seattle that create a new brand of 90's alternative rock. Mixing the sounds of Stone Temple Pilots, Toadies, and even a touch of Candlebox, they create a strong sense of nostalgia while still sounding fresh and new. They released their debut album, 4 Aces, in 2007, and I've been hooked since. With stadium built hooks and larger than life guitar solos, The wRight Brothers manage to honor just the right amount from their 90's counterparts without looking like a rip off. They won the honor of best new band in Seattle for last year, and look as if they should break out of their local state shortly. Today they posted their live and acoustic take of the Toadies classic, "Push the Hand." You can hear that HERE. Check out their music video for "One by One," off of their debut album.

Melanie the Passenger

The Deftones have posted the second in a series of videos from the studio sessions for their upcoming new album "Eros", you can check it out HERE. The album is expected out this winter. In other news the band recently performed a live show at Spaceland in the Los Angeles, CA area (250 person capacity) and fan-filmed footage of the set has been surfacing online. You can watch the band perform their new song "Melanie" online below. While footage of the group performing "Passenger" can be seen HERE.

Future Perfection

Autolux - Future Perfect, released 2004 (Red Ink)

"After tenures in overlooked '90s outfits like Ednaswap and Failure, the members of Los Angeles' Autolux joined forces. The fruits of their labor have yielded Future Perfect, an album that triumphs as it defies expectations. Meshing the guitar blur of the shoegazer movement (Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints) with traces of indie rock royalty (Sonic Youth, Ivy), it's hardly what you might expect producer T-Bone Burnett to stand behind. But the trio excels as it thumbs its nose at the new wave revival movement of the early 21st century via the hypnotic "Sugarless," the lilting and riff-sturdy "Trigger," and the menacing whirl of "Blanket." If the aforementioned numbers highlight Greg Edwards' (former Failure) guitar antics and bassist/vocalist Eugene Goreshter's twee vocal approach, the band's secret weapon is drummer Carla Azar, who is not just skilled behind the kit. Azar's pipes sound eerily similar to Kim Deal's Pixies efforts on "Angry Candy" and "Here Comes Everybody," which are arguably the band's finest moments." - John D. Luerssen (allmusic.com)

Look out for their new album, "Transit Transit," hopefully coming soon. They have released the first single from the release for free download on their website, HERE!! You don't even have to sign up for anything, just download and enjoy, "Audience No. 2."

For fans of: Death From Above 1979, My Bloody Valentine, Failure, etc.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Come to Us, We'll Come to You

Eagles of Death Metal have firmed up their touring plans, dates include...

October 30th Seattle, WA - Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room
October 31st Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
November 01st Bellingham, WA - Western Washington University
November 02nd Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
November 05th Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
November 06th Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
November 08th Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line Music Cafe
November 09th Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
November 10th Chicago, IL - The Bottom Lounge
November 11th Detroit, MI - Small's
November 13th Toronto. ON - Mod Club
November 14th Montreal, QC - Studio Jar
November 15th Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
November 16th Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Wiliamsburg
November 17th New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
November 18th Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
November 20th West Chester, PA - The Note
November 21st Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
November 22nd Atlanta, GA - CW Center Stage
November 24th New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
November 25th Houston, TX - The Meridian

The Eagles Of Death Metal have made their new single "Wannabe In LA" available online HERE. The song will impact at radio on October 07th. It comes from the bands new album "Heart On", which, according to the bands publicist, is now scheduled for an October 28th release date through Downtown. In addition, the band have announced the following headlining dates:

A Devil on One Shoulder

One of the most tragic stories of the 1990s rock world was that of singer Shannon Hoon and his band, BLIND MELON. Despite scoring one of the decade's most enduring singles and videos, "No Rain", and a quadruple-platinum hit with their 1992 self-titled debut album (in addition to touring alongside rock's biggest names), Hoon could not overcome a dangerous drug addiction. Only two records into a promising career, Hoon was dead from an overdose at the age of 28. "A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other" is the first book to tell the group's story — culled from over 50 exclusive interviews, and featuring many never-before-seen photos.

"A Devil on One Shoulder" was written by journalist Greg Prato, whose work as appeared in a variety of sites and magazines, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, RollingStone.com, and Classic Rock magazine, among others. A longtime fan of the band, Greg has been working on this book — with the help of the surviving members of the band — for the past few years. In the process, Greg conducted interviews with such renowned rock names as Duff McKagan (VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N' ROSES), Gilby Clarke (GUNS N' ROSES), Mike Clink (GUNS N' ROSES producer), Kim Thayil (SOUNDGARDEN), Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS), Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS), and Craig Ross (LENNY KRAVITZ), plus family and friends — including Shannon's mother, Nel Hoon.

While it will obviously appeal to fans of Shannon and BLIND MELON, this 344-page paperback book (whose title comes from a phrase that guitarist Rogers Stevens once said to describe Shannon) will also be of interest to fans of GUNS N' ROSES, as Shannon's friendship with Axl Rose is chronicled throughout the years, as well as memories of when MELON opened shows for GN'R in 1993 (at their out-of-control peak). Elsewhere, you'll find additional stories on SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS, NEIL YOUNG, LENNY KRAVITZ, PAGE & PLANT, and THE ROLLING STONES — all of which are bands that BLIND MELON toured with. And of course, new light is shed directly on this great yet often underrated band, as you get the inside scoop behind the three classic Hoon-era albums (the aforementioned "Blind Melon", 1995's "Soup", and 1996's posthumous release, "Nico"), the story behind "No Rain", the colorful yet tragic life of Shannon, and the group's recent rebirth, with new singer Travis Warren (and new album, 2008's "For My Friends").

The book is available through www.lulu.com for $19.99 (U.S.), and there are samples to read at the site (including a full chapter, titled "Axl and Shannon"). BLIND MELON and Shannon Hoon's unforgettable story certainly deserves to be told, and "A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other" covers all the bases. "I am honored that Greg has painstakingly accounted for what the hell happened during those crazy times. He has summed up all the chaos, jubilation, and paranoia that is BLIND MELON," stated Brad Smith, BLIND MELON bassist.

Jubilation Indeed!

Jubilee's press release...

"Jubilee is a new rock n’ roll band from Los Angeles, California consisting of...

Aaron North (vocals, guitar)(Buddyhead, NIN, The Icarus Line)
Michael Shuman (vocals, bass)(Queens of the Stone Age, Wires on Fire)
Jeff Lynn (guitar)
Troy "Boy" Petrey (drums)

Jubilee’s new single, "In With The Out Crowd", and their first single, “Rebel Hiss” are both out now. They are going on tour in the UK, which kicked off on August 21 in Cardiff, Wales... Continues through the Reading and Leeds Festivals... And then... Continues even more 'til you probably have kids or something (or more of 'em). Their debut album will be released sometime this year before you'll hafta start wearing a coat outside. Anywhoo... to purchase the first single in a physical format... Or t-shirts, hoodies, and all that kind of stuff, your best bet is to buy 'em on the world-wide-web HERE @ http://merchlackey.com/buddyhead for now. Improvements in that area coming soon.

The best place to purchase digital formats of all the tunes we mentioned above would be this website.

The band is currently locked up in their recording studio, "Shabbey Road", putting the finishing touches on their album, and to me, it all sounds something like The Replacements, The Stone Roses, Neil Young, Blur, Jane’s Addiction, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Verve, all sliced ‘n diced together quite nicely. And… For some reason, the band chose to record this album and subsequent singles with a dozen different drummers. Some of these friends include:

Julian Gross (Liars)
Nick Jago (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
Dave Grohl (Yeah... that guy)
Joey Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age)
Carla Azar (Autolux)
Josh Freese (Devo, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, eh… everybody)
Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, Tones On Tail)
Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal)
Trent Reznor (Well... PROGRAMMED drums obviously duuuude)
Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters)
Maynard James Keenan (Well... This guy didn't play drums, just sang on some song with a really long name)

And many, many more, with some exciting surprises in store…
So keep it in your pants. BUT, don't get the wrong idea here. This ain't no weirdo, "experimental", "side project" type thing. This is a BAND. Ahhhhh... I could try to explain it all now, but it'll all make sense sooner than later.
- Travis Keller"

You can stream high quality versions of all eight tracks released so far HERE. Their sound is truly incredible and inspiring and this band should leave a huge impact on today's rock scene. This is rock music that can honestly be enjoyed by fans of all genres, and is exploding with personality.

Jubilee are part of a groundbreaking new way to sell music. Through their website, with the help of Topspin.com, you can subscribe to recieve all their musical output for a year. That means you get the eight tracks that have been released as their two CD singles, as well as their full length album they promise to release before the year's end, all for $20. I don't know if this will prove to be less than a dollar a song, but you can expect it to be the easiest and most cost effective way to recieve their incredible music.

Strength in the Army

Army of Anyone - Army of Anyone, released 2006 (Firm Music)

While you can call them a "super-group" if you want, Army of Anyone deserve respect. While they only released their self titled debut album before both Filter and Stone Temple Pilots got back together, their time in AOA was time well spent. The band that features the DeLeo brothers, Dean and Robert, one of the best and most consistant alternative rock guitarist/bassist combos, pairing up with Filter's Richard Patrick, and their drummer, Ray Luzier. While Luzier may seem like a newcomer compared to the other three members, he played with David Lee Roth for the eight years previous to AOA, and quickly shows he can hang with the rest of them. If you like brooding, agressive, and searching alternative music of the 90's, you will love this album. Their live shows consisted of songs from their album, as well as many classics from Filter and Stone Temple Pilots, as well as extended jams between the DeLeo bros. and Luzier. While Patrick does not contain the vocal quality of Weiland, it was interesting to hear his take on STP songs, and Filter songs were all enhanced by the obviously superior musicians.

"When Richard Patrick asked the DeLeo Brothers of Stone Temple Pilots fame to guest on Filter's fourth album, he never expected where it would lead. But so satisfying was their collaboration, "A Better Place," that the trio decided to continue it, leading, upon the enlistment of drummer Ray Luzier, to the birth of Army of Anyone. The taster for their eponymous debut album, "Goodbye" has already been welcomed by fans of both bands and then some, lighting up radio coast to coast. That electrifying song certainly sets the stage for the full-length set, which is filled with sharply written numbers filled with dynamics, musical nuances, and a big sound courtesy of producer Bob Ezrin [not to mention the album is mixed by Ken Andrews]. Delicate moments are also found within, as on the sweeping "A Better Place," awash in muted atmospheres and glorious guitars. "Disappear" features sumptuous strumming guitars, but here the aura swirls toward psychedelia, while "Stop, Look and Listen" is painted in gentle pastels. The set's finale, "This Wasn't Supposed to Happen," is so rich in ambience, you could almost cut it with a knife, a moody ballad that shimmers in dappled sunshine. The set opener, "It Doesn't Seem to Matter," is its polar opposite, a big rock number with storming, searing guitars and a pulled-back, chiming chorus. Other sonic assaults follow — "Generation" with its phenomenal dynamic shifts; the bluesy "Ain't Enough"; and the churning, metal-riven "Father Figure." It's a sumptuous set, with a density of sound and atmosphere that almost echoes of the Verve, but so solid and potent is the rhythm section that the comparison is far from satisfactory. With its mixtures of moods, subtle use of genre-shifting, and powerhouse guitars, Army of Anyone breaks down the rock barriers, and fans should be joining up by the droves." - Jo-Anne Greene (allmusic.com)

For fans of: Filter, Stone Temple Pilots, Audioslave, Foo Fighters, etc.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Estrogenology 101

"HEART ON The much anticipated tri-cuplet birth from the Eagles of Death Metal undercarraige breathes life.


Class is in session.... Welcome to Estrogenology 101, Semester 3.... an EODM indepth celebrational study around womens contribution to rock n' roll.

Heart On was hand-crafted, hand-built around the EODM essence we, and EODM fans share alike. Heart On is our latest Fabulous Weapon. A top-secret, Music Missile, with a sonic warhead sexually-tipped for your pleasure." - E of DM

The first new song from the album is now available HERE!! It's all I hoped for, and should please EODM fans of all ages. Can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Topsy-Turvy Theory

The Apex Theory - Topsy-Turvy, released 2002 (DreamWorks)

When The Apex Theory first emerged in 2001, it was during the years dominated by "nu-metal" and "rap rock," whatever you'd like to call that genre. While that scene produced loads and loads of garbage, there were a handful of bands that arose triumphantly. Glassjaw, Vex Red, Deftones, At the Drive-In, and a few others were able to stray far enough from what else was going on at the time to gain massive cult-like fan bases. The Apex Theory were another one of those bands. They created an intense mixture of Eastern influences (3/4 of the band are of Armenian decent), wildly shifting rhythms, and huge choruses that will sink deep into your memory. I loved this band when they came out, but for some reason or another stopped listening to them shortly after. Well, I have re-picked up this band, and will not be putting them down again. I am floored by how great the song writing is, with strong delayed guitar effects mixing with intricate, intelligent drumming, and provocative lyricism. Their music is clever, with Mediterranean cadences throughout the guitar playing to extreme shifts in the drums time signatures.

Come Forth - the apex theory

Apossibly - The Apex Theory

After their debut album, lead singer Andy Khachaturian, left the band due to creative differences, but they continued onwards as a three piece. Guitarist Art Karamian, took over on vocals, and things have only changed for the better. While not extremely different from Khachaturian's vocals, Karamian's are a bit more subtle, which gives way for the musicianship to shine, not that it needed much help. They have since gone the independent route, and released two EPs. In late 2007, ready to drop their second full length album, they changed the band name to Mt. Helium, and dropped the terrific "Faces" album in 2008. Look out for a in-depth review of that album coming soon. Here is the allmusic.com review of their debut, "Topsy-Turvy".

"Sometimes when several genres appeal to the same group of listeners, some interesting and inspiring blends come together. At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command was an excellent mix of Korn's intense alternative metal and Jawbox's tense emo rock, and it caught on with audiences because of the cross appeal. Apex Theory makes a similar leap, blending At the Drive-In's unique music with Incubus' melodic mood metal to make another excellent genre-bending album. Apex Theory knows exactly which elements to take from each approach, whether it be the clear-throated croon of the latter or the delicate, experimental guitar of the former. For a good example, just try "Bullshed," which has amazing guitar work, intelligent lyrics, and a catchy melody that sticks around long after the song is over. Or "That's All," which uses a stuttered drumbeat and a weird ringing guitar part to keep the intense vocal work of Andy Khachaturian afloat. The production, by Don Gilmore, is crystal clear and allows the listener to pick up on every detail of the band's multi-faceted sound. The addition of mixer Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails) on the latter half of the album isn't the drastic sonic shift one would expect, although the band seems more willing to experiment with various sounds on these tracks. Metal and emo fans should both give this a listen; this is rewarding music that could easily fit into many categories, but ultimately stands on its own as a really great Apex Theory record." - Bradley Torreano

For fans of: Dredg, Incubus, Wintersleep, etc.