Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If I Only Remember Half Of This

When Sony and Phillips ushered in the birth of the compact disc thirty years ago, the world was a very different place. The country where the first CD was pressed was called West Germany, and the world somehow entertained itself without Super Mario Brothers or Reddit.

It's been so long since I have a bought a CD. Wait! Not true, I bought one a week ago at a Starbucks, of all places. Do people do that? Am I the first person to succumb to impulse buying of music at a coffee shop? Perhaps Starbucks sells more CDs than Best Buy these days. Doubtful, but according to the inter-webs, they sold 4.4 million CDs in 2008.

Enough with the history lesson I hear you tweeting...


"I came to have some fun."

Communist Daughter

Communist Daughter is an American rock band from, where else but, Minneapolis, MN.

 A few years ago John Solomon walked away from music. After a long struggle with addiction and a brief stint in jail he broke up his critically acclaimed band Friends Like These and moved to a small town in Wisconsin. And supposedly that was that.

Even though Solomon left music, music never left him. After a long hiatus, he called some friends to come to Wisconsin and demo up a new album.... now fiance Molly Moore, Adam Switlick, Jonathan Blaseg, and Al Weiers. If you already know who Communist Daughter is, perhaps you are Grey's Anatomy fan? I have never seen the show, but I feel like I have reviewed a dozen great bands who cite that as their jump into the mainstream. Enjoy this song off the bands latest EP, Lions and Lambs released this year in January.

Communist Daughter - City Love

Look for a new album from Communist Daughter and even a new LP from Friends Like These very soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just What You Tryin To Prove

"Psychedelic-Blues music for your soul" is what the Iowa band Radio Moscow wishes to deliver to your eardrums. They've been compared to Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This music will definitely take you back to the 60's and 70's. Get comfortable and prepare to be molested.

Radio Moscow - Misleading Me

This band was formed when Parker Griggs began jamming in his basement and got a demo into the hands of Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys. Auerbach went on to produce their first album, Radio Moscow, in 2007.

The band has seen a lineup shift or two over the last few years but managed to create two more full-length albums and then release a "basement recordings" album from early demos. The current album, released in 2011 and called The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz is a 12-track masterpiece of soul-churning hard rock mashed up against 'shroom riffs and fuzzy rhythms.

Radio Moscow - Insideout

Radio Moscow just finished a US summer tour including a performance at the "notorious and legendary" Deep Blues Festival in Bayport, MN. I've got to give a shout-out to Bayport - it's the town where my family made its bread and butter, located just across the river from my own hometown of Hudson, WI.

The Deep Blues Festival ran from 2007-2010 and became "one of the biggest alternative blues festivals in the world" before having to shut down because of financial issues. They were able to re-launch the fest this year and featured 26 acts, including Radio Moscow. ALIVE AT THE DEEP BLUES FEST is a compilation of live recordings from this event and is set to be released November 27.

Check out the band's other albums, including 3 & 3 Quarters and Brain Cycles on Amazon:

And pre-order the Live Blues Fest album! Buy all your music on Amazon - you can choose mp3 format or hard copy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What If I Can't See Toronto, Mildred?

I've been listening to the Canadian Adult Alternative station The Iceberg for a few weeks now, and it has lead me to the discovery of several pretty awesome artists. Not everyone they play on that station is Canadian. I discovered Colorado band The Lumineers via this station, in fact.

But today, as the NXNE festival wraps, I am going to tell you about Matthew Good. And I suppose I should tell you about NXNE as well. Because of course you have heard about SXSW... The Austin festival which began 25 years ago to highlight the music scene but only took a handful of years to develop into a film and interactive conference as well. In all this time, South By Southwest has grown unbelievably and exponentially. North by Northeast, held in Toronto, has been going on almost 20 years but hasn't grown to the size of its southern counterpart. It is run completely on volunteer power. This year, the film, interactive, and music conference was held all in the same week and the music portion hosted approximately 780 artists. The majority were from Canada.

When American kids were wearing flannels and crowdsurfing at Pearl Jam concerts, the Matthew Good Band was creating a similar sensation in Canada. Well, in Canadian years that is. Because until the internet existed in every household, Canada remained 5 years behind the States in pop culture. What? Sorry. It did. Their debut album, released in 1995, produced several popular singles, including "Symbolistic White Walls"... Check out the video:

Like many of his American counterparts, Matthew Good struggled to deal with the band's success over the next 5 years and in 2002 he permanently dissolved the band. He launched his solo career the very next year with the album Avalanche. The new sound he intended to create was to contain more strings, and resemble folk more than the grunge that the band played. After turning down Juno award after award, his political activism poured out more and more. Not only did he proclaim that the Canadian award platform appeared to be simply a "marketing warehouse...for the United States", but much of his music directly pointed out the globalism forwarded by America. His second album was more political and more controversial.

Since then he has continued his activism, his blogging, and his stand against Canada's Juno Awards. Although he would call it more simply speaking his mind rather than being an activist. I agree, MG. Speak your mind! His mind just happens to continue to remind people that the USA basically exists to promote military motives throughout the world.

Never mind all that. The music and the lyrics that he has been writing for the last two decades are damn fine and poignant. Relevant. Speaking of which. Do you know who coined the phrase "First World Problems"? Yeah. You didn't know? I mean, this may already be the longest post I have ever written, and so far I've only shared with you a song from 1995... Oh, ho hum. First world problems.

someone would love to have my first world problems - "Omissions of the Omen"

Here it is. Check out Matthew Good, check out the North by Northeast festival, and ask yourself what great music you're missing from Canada.

Matthew Good - What if I Can't See the Stars Mildred

Sunday, May 6, 2012

math is hard

I have a confession to make: I am a pretty big geek. I've spent the weekend rebuilding my computer, watching anime, and playing video games. Not the first-person shooter types; RPGs and "artsy" games. I have a decent grasp of the sci-fi world, so when a (similarly geeky) friend showed me that io9 was doing a countdown of the "100 Albums Every Science Fiction and Fantasy Fan Should Listen To," my ears perked up.

I won't spend much time explaining how io9 is a haven for those interested in this kind of thing. You can check them out on your own. What I wanted to do is give you this link:

100 albums

and let you look through the list on your own. It has some pretty interesting stuff on it, and I've been exposed to some artists and albums that I really like. In fact, that brings us to the real reason I'm writing this post today.

I hadn't heard of Add N to (X) prior to reading said top-100 list. They were a trio from London who made some crazy cool electronic music, along with some very edgy artwork and videos. Here's a song off 1999's Avant Hard that I really dig.

Click to play Add N To (X) - Revenge Of The Black Regent

The group focused on analog synth compositions, following in the steps of Kraftwerk and Gary Numan and prophesying the direction Radiohead would ultimately take after their shift from rock music. Their first album, Vero Electronics, is repetitive and noisy, as if Phillip Glass had composed a Moog symphony with some assistance from Sonic Youth, but from there they began to write songs that took more form and periodically involved some (processed) vocals. Even on their second release, On The Wires Of Our Nerves, you hear a very inventive electronic pop group that wants to make your head explode. Here's a track from that record to illustrate the point:

Click to play Add N To (X) - King Wasp

Sadly, the group broke up sometime around 2003, but they released five albums that are definitely worth a listen. I highly recommend you at least check out Avant Hard to hear something not quite like anything else out there. Even now. Listening to their albums, I envision a robotic civilization in some other dimension where this is their Britney Spears:

Click to play Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator

and this is their Claude Debussy:

Click to play Add N To (X) - A Silhouette Of A Man And A Wasp

And though I was never the most loyal fan of the Beastie Boys, I do want to recognize the passing of Adam Yauch, aka MCA. From what I can tell he was one of the most genuine artists out there, and a good guy to boot. I do appreciate how the Beasties have always done their own thing with conviction and a sense of humor, while so many others are out there "rapping like it's a commercial." Rest in peace, MCA, and thank you for what you gave us while you were around.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coachella Preview - Fitz and the Tantrums, Real Estate, and Jimbo Jenkins

We drive to Indio tonight. Bummed that the temps are in the 100s, when weekend one had such nice temperatures. That's life tho. I'm still praying for El Nino on the lineup.

The one nice thing about going to weekend two is that you can peek at some of the live footage and make a decision on what bands to see in a particular time-slot.

Real Estate
We had planned on seeing Fitz and The Tantrums on Sunday. I love the album Pickin' Up the Pieces so I was stoked to finally see them live. Catching their set on Coachella's youtube channel changed my mind. It could have just been a bad sound engineer, but I didn't like the way the mix sounded. We are pivoting and seeing Real Estate instead.

Click to listen to Real Estate - Beach Comber

Real Estate's latest, Days, is a real gem. It still had all the great aspects of their self-titled debut, but was a much cleaner end product.
It was considered to be in the top 50 albums of 2011 by many blogs and music sites. Not bad for a psychedelic pop album.

The 11:00 slot was open for us on Sunday, so I looked into Jimbo Jenkins. That guy is dope! Totally looking forward to having Mr. Jenkins start our last day! Click his name above to check out his website and download his last two mixtapes. Your dancing feet will be happy you did!

Also, be sure to check out his Travis Portishead project. It's a mashup project that you might dig. I know I do!

Click to play Jimbo Jenkins -Travis Portishead - Bring It Back x Sour Times

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Coachella Preview - Beirut, Company Flow, Justice, and Calvin Harris

Beirut is not a band I think about very often. Sometimes I used to forget what they even sound like. I do that a lot. When you review a lot of bands, you sometimes forget that you've ever heard of them. And then you read a great review you wrote and you think... Oh.
So when I saw that Beirut was up against Girl Talk in Coachella's lineup, I made a mental asterisk to figure out how much I want to see Beirut. I knew I liked them, I knew I wanted to see them, but couldn't remember why.
Click to play Beirut - A Candle's Fire

Because... I really like Girl Talk. He is the one of the only DJs who can get me working out when I don't want to.
But I accidentally caught part of the live stream that Coachella put up of Beirut... And forget it. I am sold. Live horns. Oh yeah, that's right. Yes. I'm really looking forward to this.

Unfortunately this time slot also features Calvin Harris. To be quite honest, I am not sure I could point out a Calvin Harris track either, although since Rihanna joined him at Coachella I guess I can surmise that he had something to do with the "We Found Love" track? Mookie is going to be so disappointed that I even chose to include him in this post for my lack of knowledge, but we've still got a good several dozen of artists to cover before Weekend 2 begins!
Check out Calvin's Soundcloud channel here.

And in the interest of fairness, let me share that Company Flow and Justice also overlap the Sunday 8 PM set time.
Being that I only seem to like rap if it was released in the mid- to late-80's, no thanks to Company Flow for me. But I'll share some of their work with you here. Company Flow I guess is technically hip-hop, but I will still call it rap. And even though they've been around for 20 years, it's just not my style. Ben Westhoff, contributing to LA Weekly, says they are "seminal" and bemoans the low attendance to their show. Listen. Most of the concertgoers were just doing the fallopian luge when Company Flow hit the scene. There's that.
This is "8 Steps to Perfection," one of the singles released in 1996 off their debut EP.
Click to play Company Flow - 8 Steps to Perfection

I have no idea who Justice is either - we're on a roll - but they are playing the main stage. French Electro Duo. Oh. They're the ones with the big cross on the stage. They're the ones with the track called "D.A.N.C.E.". I don't have it. You can watch the VMA-nominated video here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coachella Preview - pt 4 All The Bands We Loved Before

This is the final installment of "All The Bands We Loved Before", where I share with you Coachella "previews" by reminding you about bands we've already written about in blogs past.

Weekend 1 of Coachella has concluded. Most acts could be seen live via streaming, and many more could be re-broadcast through Coachella's YouTube channel. This tool has been totally invaluable in helping us decide who to see when we venture out for weekend 2. One of the tough decisions is skipping Arctic Monkeys. Yep. And even though Mookie swore he wasn't going to miss them in September, well... He did. They were scheduled a week before our wedding, and he was probably busy trying to catch pinkeye from a stripper that night. Mookie has since discovered Wu Lyf, and their coinciding performance looks like it's going to trump the primates.

But I'll still share some tunes with you. Track 11, title track, Click to play Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

tUnE-yArDs is an act that Mookie had on the list, but I want to see The Head and The Heart, so boom. Trumped again. Besides, as Mookie put it... "I never put that voice with tits"

Looks like we will be seeing Yuck, though, as we scamper away from the end of the Givers' set to catch this band. Check out "Holing Out" from their self-titled album.

Click to play Yuck - Holing Out

We've had to make a lot of tough decisions because of the schedule that does things like puts M83 and Explosions in the Sky against The Black Keys... Feist against The Shins and Kasabian... Bon Iver against Miike Snow, SBTRKT, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor... Sleeper Agent against Fanfarlo, Gardens & Villa, and Morgan Page... Fitz and the Tantrums against Real Estates... Band of Skulls and Metronomy against Le Butcherettes... Beirut against Girl Talk... Maybe our music tastes are just too varied. If you can help, please send up a comment!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coachella Preview - Madeon and Martin Solveig

Here's a post of two artists appearing at Coachella that I WON'T get to see. It's not because I don't want to see them, but the difficulties in planning my schedule for the three day event. The post is going to tie in both artists with one song submission. Madeon recently remixed Solveig. Let's take a listen: Good! Let's break it down.

French music is hot right now. I've always been a fan of French House music like Daft Punk and Cassius. Recently there has been a few hot rock/indie bands out of France. The one that most of us in the states know is the band Phoenix. Vocalist Thomas Mars of Phoenix is who we are hearing on "The Night Out".

Martin Solveig is an electronic DJ and producer from Paris. He's got five albums under his belt and is rated 26th best DJ in the wold according to DJ Mag. Martin was also named a producer on Madonna's latest album MDNA, but who gives a shit about that album...You probably most know of his work from his hit song "Hello" that was used in a Trident gum commercial.

Madeon is an 18 year old electropop genius from France that has been featured several times on "15 Minutes of Fame", a segment of Pete Tong's radio show on BBC Radio 1. He usually performs in a blazer and a white v-neck t-shirt. He makes crowds of bows in girls lift their hands as if in rapture. He makes asses shake too. Is an 18 year old that good?
39 samples and nearly 10.5 million views makes Madeon legit, for sure. Dying to know all the samples played? I'm here to serve...

Alphabeat – Boyfriend
Alphabeat – Fascination
Bag Raiders – Shooting Stars
Black Eyed Peas – Gotta Feeling
Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time
Capsule – Can I Have A Word
Chromeo – Momma’s Boy
Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Daft Punk – Aerodynamic
Daft Punk – Around The World
Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix)
Deadmau5 – Right This Second
Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed
ELO – Mr. Blue Sky
Girls Aloud – Biology
Gorillaz – Dare
Gossip – Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)
Gwen Stefani – What You Waitin For (Jacques Lu Cont Mix)
Housse de Racket – Oh Yeah
Justice – DVNO
Justice – Phantom Part II
Katy Perry – One Of The Boys
Ke$ha – Take It Off
Kylie Minogue – Wow
Lady Gaga – Alejandro
Linkin Park – Crawling
Madonna – Hung Up
Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette – Boys and Girls
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Nero – Me and You
One Republic – All The Right Moves (Danger Remix)
One-T – Magic Key
Ratatat – Shempi
Solange – I Decided (Freemasons Remix)
Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
The Killers – Losing Touch
The Who – Baba O’Riley (SebastiAn Remix)
Yelle – Que Veux Tu (Madeon Remix)

Missing Pop Culture surrounded by a group of fans is about the biggest Coachella regret I'm likely to have.

Bummed to miss both acts, but if you end up seeing either of them, please let us know what we missed!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

(not) lost in translation

Somehow, a recent conversation with a friend turned to a discussion of English-language covers of foreign songs. I'm not exactly sure how that happened (the conversation, not me having a friend) but it inspired me to write this post and share a few of my favorites. Warning: this is going to be Flash-y. I want to include specific videos so I'm going to keep it all in the same format for consistency.

Let's begin. And yes, I know the photo is completely unrelated. I'm doing a thing here, so just let it go.

An oldie but goodie (on both sides of the pond) is "La Mer." Charles Trenet wrote and popularized the song in French in 1946. Later that same year, Jack Lawrence wrote English lyrics and the song became "Beyond The Sea." You've probably heard Bobby Darin crooning it. Here are both versions.

It's hard to say which I prefer. Trenet had an amazing voice and gets credit for penning the tune, but Darin just swings it so hard. Let's call it a draw and make sure both are in your music library.

Moving from France to Germany: Harry Winter had a hit in 1948 with "Und Jetzt Ist Es Still." Here's the original song.

Three years later it was Americanized and became a hit for Betty Hutton as "It's Oh So Quiet." More recently, a crazy cool singer called Björk covered it, complete with Spike Jonze video. I'm going to post that one because, um, Spike Jonze.

I'll also give Björk's version props for being my favorite. No offense to Ms. Hutton but those screams blow me away every time. And the original is a bit stuffy, no?

Finally, the song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" has been popularized by a few different acts over the years. Nat King Cole loved performing it, Doris Day has a classic version, and Cake helped reintroduce it to a younger generation. That's just to name a few of the many, many covers through the years. Here's the Doris Day version from 1964.

The song was originally by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farres and became a hit in 1947. "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás" is still a Latin staple. Here's the amazing Gaby Moreno doing an acoustic cover.

I'm not sure you can beat that version. Point, set, and match to Gaby.

Like I said, these are just a few of my favorites. Feel free to add yours in the comments or pass them along to us. I'm always interested in hearing the origins of a song I love.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Coachella Preview - Wu Lyf

"I wanna feel at home."

I checked into the live video streaming Coachella was doing for the first night of the festival and caught what might be a must see show when the inALLcaps street team catches the festival next weekend.

I caught the last three songs of Wu Lyf's set, and was instantly mesmerized by what I heard and saw.

First, let's fill you into the Wu clan (I couldn't help my self....) is and where they come from. You should pronounce WU LYF like "Woo Life" and the name is actually an acronym for a longer band name. Unless you think World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation isn't very hard to fit on a CD cover. The band is from Manchester, England and has created some mystery about themselves by rarely releasing information about the band and often declining requests for interviews. The band describes the music on it's first full length album "Go Tell Fire To The Mountain" as "Heavy Pop" and it was unconventionally recorded inside of Saint Peter's church in Ancoats, Manchester. The band consists of four members:
  • Ellery Roberts — Vocals, Organ
  • Joe Manning — Drums, Piano
  • Evans Kati — Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
  • Tom McClung — Vocals, Bass, Guitar

I happened to catch the live set as the band began playing 14 Crowns For Me & My Friends. Granted, the lead singer is a little hard to understand live, but that's no different than what you will hear on the record. His accent, combined with a voice that sounds like it's been sauteed in acid, makes it difficult to capture the words. Even still, the passion behind the words was not lost on me.

Click to play Wu Lyf - 14 Crowns For Me & My Friends

The expansive and atmospheric sound of the quartet remind me of Explosions In The Sky, and help to amplify the anthemic lyrics of Ellery Roberts.

I'm going to try and catch Wu Lyf at Coachella next weekend. There isn't really a try, but the sad thing is we might have to bail early on the Arctic Monkeys? It's so tough to figure out how we will traverse this schedule...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Coachella Preview - Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog

The lineup set-times is finally available for Coachella. All I can say is, FML. There are at least 5 very tough decisions to make. I'm guessing The Little One will be making us see At The Drive-In which makes seeing Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog an easy thing, since they are both at the same stage. At least a few things in this lineup worked out.

Snoop and Dr. Dre
I've seen a few weird news postings about the Dre and Snoop set. Since we are attending the second weekend, I guess I'll get a confirmation of exactly what's going on. Let me summarize what I've heard thus far.

  • Warren G posts on his website that he will be joining Dre and Snoop onstage along with Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Wiz Khalifa.
  • This announcement was later pulled by his rep Domenick Nati who released the statement saying: "Warren G is not announcing that he and Eminem will perform with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Warren had no knowledge that any such announcement was being made until after it was posted. Any postings involving him and other artists were made without his knowledge or consent and he is not willing to confirm or deny anyone's involvement in this years Coachella event. We apologize for any confusion that this caused."
  •  Then the headline Nate Dogg will be appearing with Dre and Snoop passes my eyes. That shocked me, since Nate is dead now a year.
  • Nate Dogg is appearing as a hologram onstage with Snoop and Dre on multiple songs.
  • JUST NOW - Tupac confirmed to appear as a hologram! WTF!

    I'm left assuming the others might also appearing as a hologram? I mean...what is going on? Is this just some ruse to attract publicity? How high do I gotta get to believe that Tupac has finally decided to come out of hiding? This is just cray. 

Click to play The Recipe - Kendrick Lamar featuring Dr. Dre
Click to play  Young, Wild & Free - Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Coachella Preview - pt 3 All The Bands We Loved Before

There are more! There are still more bands for Coachella we haven't covered. There are still more bands that we've covered in the past who happen to also be playing Coachella this year. We aren't done yet, and Coachella begins TOMORROW!
Well, we don't head out there until next week's installment, but folks... COACHELLA BEGINS TOMORROW! Are you ready?

Explosions in the Sky plays at 10 PM in the Outdoor theater Friday night. Kilter gave us a preview of this post-rock band almost a year ago. "They build lush, extended (most songs are over 7 minutes long) soundscapes that really draw you in," he said. No new album, but you can check out a track from Take Care, Take Care, Take Care here: Explosions In The Sky

Girl Talk plays the outdoor stage Sunday night at 8:25 (this is the second-to-last show Sunday night on that stage.) He's up against Calvin Harris on the main stage at the same time, Company Flow on the Gobi stage, and his set will end just before At The Drive In is set to take the Coachella stage. Yikes. One of many tough losses for fans who have to cut out of a show early or give up seeing one of their favorites altogether.

James plays the Coachella stage at 3:50 on Friday, and Miike Snow headlines the outdoor stage Saturday night at 10:10.

Hard to know for sure whether they will juggle set times for Weekend 2... It would be nice to have this much time to plan ahead!

Prepare yourself by getting all the music using the links below!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coachella Preview - pt 2 All The Bands We Loved Before

I'd like to take you back to a time when I actually typed the words, "I had never heard of The Black Keys before." It's hard for me to imagine a time that phrase could have been true. But it was true for far too long. The band had already sold a shit ton of records by the time I wrote that in January 2010. Today, I am seriously pooping myself that I can finally see them live. As headliners at Coachella no less. I never get sick of any of their songs. They feel too damn good. "Take a listen to this bluesy rock sound and heartbreaking guitar..." I said back then.
I don't have to be original. I can say the same damn thing today. This music kills me. And you've heard it a thousand times. Can't love it more. Can't NOT get caught up.

Click to play The Black Keys - Lonely Boy

Check out the post I wrote the first time around... What a set of interesting coincidences. Maybe you'll find a new book you want to read, too... Check out The Black Keys

And who didn't love this video!

Next in this grouping of bands we've loved before and will love again at Coachella... More soul coming your way with Florence And The Machine!

Other Lives was a band we were pretty fortunate to stumble upon in an amazing free show here in Las Vegas. Now I don't know who has more fortune... Other Lives to be on tour with Radiohead, or inALLcaps to see them at Coachella! OK, that was a cheesy thing to say. I give you that. But seriously.

I can still hear them introducing themselves on a stage that barely held them. "We are Other Lives from Stillwater Oklahoma." And now they are touring Germany, Amsterdam, Belgium, the UK. What an amazing ride. They deserve it. So talented. I want you to go right now and play their album. Melt away your stress. Immerse yourself in the symphony.

Oh, and go buy something from this band. You know you want to!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coachella Preview - pt 1 All The Bands We Loved Before

As you may or may not have noticed, we're insanely ecstatic to be going to Coachella this year because SO MANY of our FAVORITES are playing. We've double and triple and quadruple covered some of them so far in the years our blog has been running AND in the current Coachella preview series. I'm going to try to get through all the rest of the bands that we have covered in the years past, who are also playing Coachella.

Back in September 2010, I was feeling pretty spent. You know what's funny, but not really, is that it was a month before I received a health diagnosis that told me that uh, yeah, you have a reason to be a bit worn down. At any rate, I claimed this album helped me find my soul.

Check out Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.

Earlier that year, in January of 2010, I discovered a lil band called Fanfarlo. Now in their 6th year together, they've recently released their second full-length album, Rooms Filled With Light. It's so new that I haven't given it all that many spins yet. So let me randomly pick a track to share with you. Of course we all have our opinion on which track is the best track of an album, but for me, it's usually 4 or 5. Track 4 is "Shiny Things", and we all like shiny things don't we?

Click to play Fanfarlo - Shiny Things

You can probably find them somewhere near you. They're on tour now and will pick up again in the fall. Check out what my initial impression was: Fanfarlo

Mookie discovered The Black Angels in a conversation with a barfly. Wait. Can males be barflies? What are males who are ever-present bar patrons called? Either way, Mookie decided they were "good stuff." Check out Black Angels

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Coachella Preview - Manchester Orchestra (Part 2)

There isn't going to be a post for today.

Bonus Track: Manchester Orchestra - April Fool (The Joy Formidable Remix)

visitors you won't want to leave

Well hello there. I know it's been a while since I contributed anything to the blog. Let's call it an unexpected hiatus. Luckily, you've been in the best hands possible with the rest of the crew. Anyway, I'm here now and I've got a doozy for you.

Johnny Roset Cervini is the front man for Just Visiting, and the founder of Black House Records. The former is an up-and-coming rock outfit from New York. Their press kit came our way and I was struck by two things: their music, which is a tuneful throwback to early 90s rock (I'll lovingly and nostalgically call it grunge), and Johnny's story. Cervini won a hard battle with crack and heroin addiction and is turning his experience into an awareness campaign via his band, label, and the #impactchange hash tag. Here's their current single, "Life In A Shoebox," with an additional interview excerpt added for good measure.

Wanting to know more about Johnny's projects, I sent over some interview questions. I'll post the entirety of that below. In the meantime, here's another video. Did I mention that Just Visiting is a bilingual band?

I'll let the music speak for itself. Actually, I'll let Johnny do the same.

kilter: Your press release mentions Nirvana and Audioslave, and I hear some other early 1990s influences. Who else would you list as inspiration? Do you draw from other bilingual and non-English-speaking acts?

JRC: I would say blues artists. I know that I studied a lot of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Hendrix, and other artists whose foundation lay in the blues. I'd like to be well-rounded and say that I draw from non-English-speaking acts, but the truth is that I don't. I can appreciate artists like Mana and La Ley, but I don't feel the inspirational push that I might feel from an Alice In Chains song. My heart and musical soul belong to the dynamic that the Pixies created and Nirvana perfected.

kilter: I'm researching #impactchange and will definitely include it in my writeup. I'd like to hear more about it in your own words. What is the message you want to get out? Does your personal history inform your songwriting?

JRC: My songwriting comes exclusively from battles I've won and battles I've lost. The message I'm trying to get out with #impactchange is that drug addiction only defeats you when you are not informed. When I was doing NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings, I met a ton of people in their 30, 40, 50s, even 60s that were doing rehab for the ninth or tenth time.

Had someone exposed me to their stories as told in their own words before I picked up a crack pipe in 2004, I think I would have never done it, but since I wasn't exposed to the unholy brutality that hardcore drugs and their effects have on a person over decades, I just lost myself in the momentary high. I was lost there for five years and successfully quit on December 23, 2009.

kilter: You've started your own label, which can be a big undertaking. What led you to that decision? Did you work with other labels along the way who weren't receptive of your message/approach?

JRC: I started a record label because coming out of college, it was the only idea that captured my entire attention and ambition. I just had so much respect for people like Clive Davis, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Lyor Cohen and how they masterminded their labels from inception through expansion and ultimately success and visibility in mainstream culture.

I never worked for another label, but I did intern at a few labels. They were all crucial experiences when I was just getting my hands wet in the music industry.

kilter: How did Caspa Narkz get involved with Black House Records?

JRC: Well, growing up in the East New York section of Brooklyn, I was always drawn to the catchiness of certain hip hop songs. I started studying Diddy's business moves, and I had friends in the neighborhood that would be in studios. I started tagging along to see what the creative process was like. I was almost exclusively studying the motions of writing, recording, and releasing a hip hop song. I actually developed a true love for rock only after I had become obsessed with the full circle that encompasses hip hop. 

kilter: Are you currently courting any other acts for the label, or do you plan to in the near future?

JRC: At the moment, we are quite comfortable with a two-artist roster. Just Visiting NYC and Caspa Narkz are a handful, but in time, and probably in 2013, we'll be looking for new talent to mold, manage and represent.

kilter: If you overheard someone talking about your band or label, what would you want to hear them say? What would you hate to hear them say?

JRC: I'd hate to hear them say anything negative, but that's just the Aquarius in me. If I heard them say something good, I would hope to hear that we consistently put out hit music, our videos are dope, and our live performances are awesome. 

kilter: What does the rest of 2012 look like for Just Visiting, Black House Records, and yourself?

JRC: The rest of 2012 will find us (Caspa Narkz and Just Visiting) on the road separately rockin' shows and giving people their money's worth. We will also be releasing new material all the time and looking to secure respect from top blog, magazine, and industry publications. I want to get on Billboard and knock some other artists out of their boxes. Finally, and most importantly, I want all music from Black House Records to eventually be in heavy rotation on radio and the music videos on MTV, VH1, BET, Fuse, etc.

You can check out the label at blackhouserecords.com. You can learn more about the band at justvisitingnyc.com or on Facebook. Be sure to give them and Caspa Narkz a listen, and pick up their albums on iTunes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Coachella Preview - The Head And The Heart

I left my book in the car, because I had taken it to jury duty. So as I prepared for my evening reading I asked my husband where the latest "Rolling Stone" was. He scoffed at the cover and sneered, "You gonna read about Bruce Springsteen?"

I feel sorry for him, never having experienced the awe and genius that is Bruce Springsteen. But I digress. No, in fact, I was too tired to read an entire article that night. I just wanted to read the blurbs.

It was the following night that I read the entire interview that Jon Stewart did for the magazine. Wow. So much eloquence coming from that guy's head. But wait, you are asking. Is Bruce Springsteen at Coachella this year? Stop - don't go google it. He's not. But I thought back to something he said in the article as I was listening to the self-titled album from The Head And The Heart. Who will be playing at Coachella.

To paraphrase, Springsteen said that the "who" that we are at any given moment is like a car we are driving. Lots of people get in, but no one ever gets out.

Click to play The Head and The Heart - Ghosts

Is it any wonder why we all leave home?
People say, "I knew you when you were six years old!"
And you say, "But I've changed, I've changed, I've changed."
Mom and Dad, if only you could see me now
Been here for a year and now I own this town
Cause I've changed, I've changed, I've changed, I've changed.

Springsteen says otherwise. That six year old is still in the car with you. Every person you've been and every experience you've had, they're still in the car with you baby.

Check back to last summer, when Film Bird first introduced you to this band. If you didn't buy their album then, don't you think it's about time? We will be checking them out at Coachella on Saturday of the festival weekend.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coachella Preview - honeyhoney

“In a brave new world where vintage American has helped the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers achieve headliner status, Los Angeles duo honeyhoney ought to be rising stars.” – Buzz Bands LA
“…the common pop thread between alt. country, spaghetti western soundtracks and swampy blues.” – Paste
“…honeyhoney deftly mixes elements of folk, soul, country, pop, and rock…” – Glide
 “The foot stomping/sing-a-long/folk/blues/country anthems have the power and confidence of an entire band, in a cute lady/dude duo.” – inALLcaps.com

Did you watch the video above? It's a little intro to today's blog post. Go ahead. Watch it. We'll wait...

Suzanne Santosuosso and guitarist Benjamin Jaffe are honeyhoney, and I love them. I love them as people as well as artists. They seem down to earth and have a great chemistry in front of the camera and with each other. They are also pretty saavy, using social media to get the word out about who they are and what they sound like and to engage with their fans. They have a great YouTube channel, which is one of the places I like to go to learn about a band. You'll find music videos, live performances, and silly outtakes!

The latest album by honeyhoney, Billy Jack, is an amazing record. The foot stomping/sing-a-long/folk/blues/country anthems have the power and confidence of an entire band in a cute lady/dude duo.

Honeyhoney - Ohio

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coachella Preview - AWOLNATION

I've been pleasantly surprised by two albums in the last year, and these albums hold up every time I play them. Blink 182's Neighborhoods is such a vital album with Energizer Bunny energy, and AWOLNATION's Megalithic Symphony is like a steam engine. Here we go, can't stop.

Formed and fronted by Aaron Bruno, AWOLNATION is electro-rock that gets recorded as soon as it's conceived, without a lot of thought or explanation. And it feels fucking good. Their debut album was released a year ago after the first single, "Sail", opened at #30 on Billboard.

I have so many favorite tracks on this album. And I've never had the chance to enjoy them publicly. As in, shared with others simultaneously. And that's a shame, because Track 5, "Jump On My Shoulders", really calls for you to pull those earbuds out and rally those around you.

Click to play AWOLNATION - Jump On My Shoulders

But it doesn't stop there. Track 6 keeps the momentum. Figuratively, people! Figuratively!
I would not like to burn down any buildings, that's not my place. There is enough of that going on, or at least metaphorically...
Bruno tells altsounds.com.

Click to play AWOLNATION - Burn It Down

Is it wrong to hope for rain ONLY for this band's set? Because jamming like crazy with other hippies in the mud does not sound terrible. OK, I take it back. Check out their latest video. And GET THIS ALBUM, SERIOUSLY!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coachella Preview - Radiohead

I keep forgetting that Radiohead is playing Saturday night at  Coachella. There are so many amazing bands at this year's event, that I just blank out on the main reason I am going to the show. I blame it on amazing line-up overload!

Radiohead is one of those bands that I thought had become too big for me to ever see. It's difficult for me to pay a giant ticket price to see 3 bands at a stadium, no matter how epic they are. I skipped seeing the Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch The Throne tour because I wouldn't pay those ridiculous prices to be up close, nor would I pay-up for a "still pricey" balcony seat. Wrapped up in a very pricey 3-day festival affair is something where the math adds up for me, as long as you don't add in the costs for cortisone shots in your heel after the foot damage you will do after three days on your feet.

Radiohead might be one fo the most reviewed and analyzed bands in the last 10 years. I can give you a perspective on In Rainbows and Limbs, based on an experience I just had yesterday, that no other reviewer has ever given you. It's a dentist's best friend.

Say what?

I haven't been to a dentist in at least 10 years. After a quick check, the cleaning was going to be extensive. Four shots of anesthesia into my upper left quadrant. That's the only part of my mouth they could get to that day. One and half hours of serious scraping just under the gum line. I have a high pain threshold, but the duration was going to be taxing as I tensed my way through it. My hygienist was working out of a spot right next to the chatty front desk of the busy office. She apologized for all the noise as she was getting ready to numb my mouth for the injections. I decided to ask her if it was ever acceptable for someone just to put in their headphones and listen to music when the cleaning took place. Her reply was literally music to my ears! Of course! Drown it out buddy, it's not a problem at all!

Knowing that I had this post half-way done, I quickly queued up the last two albums of Radiohead, and  barely felt the needles piercing my gums while being completely distracted by Thom Yorke speaking directly into my head: "Full of holes / Check for pulse / Blink your eyes / One for yes / Two for no."

Click to listen to Radiohead - Bodysnatchers

Staring into a bright light and trying to figure out if the scraping was in the songs I was hearing or the stainless steel hook ripping the tartar off my enamel was maybe the most twisted music experience I have ever had.

Click to listen to Radiohead - Feral

I've been peeping out pictures of Radiohead's current tour set, and it looks amazing. It's going to be a multimedia mashup of a night.

After checking out some amazing fan photos from the band's previous dates, I wanted to get an idea of what songs I might expect to hear at Coachella. If you don't know, setlist.fm is the best place to get that kind of scoop. Here was the set from the Glendale, AZ show on March 15.

15 Step
Little by Little
The Gloaming
Morning Mr. Magpie
Pyramid Song
The Daily Mail
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box
Lotus Flower
There There

How to Disappear Completely
Kid A

Encore 2:
Give Up the Ghost
Paranoid Android

Whoa! "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" hasn't been played on a tour since 2001, so that's exciting to know! It is my favorite song off all 8 albums.

This is a remix, but I think you will like it:

*All the pictures in this post were taken from W.A.S.T.E. Central http://www.waste-central.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coachella Preview - Hiatuses End Here!

Hiatus, WHAT! If you slept on this year's Coachella, despite there being TWO weekends to choose from, I don't understand what you were thinking. This is the hiatus ender. This is the year. Take note:

The Shins end a 5-year touring hiatus this year AND deliver a new album. Mazzy Star has been on hiatus since about 1998! Also not together since 1998, the band Refused. Brit band Pulp split in 2002 and will be on stage to entertain at Coachella...
And saving the best for last... At The Drive-In has reunited and will be performing at the festival.

So when someone asks who you're going to see at Coachella... Or why you're sad you're missing it- it's the year of the reunions.

Click to play The Shins - Pink Bullets

We begin with an all-time favorite by The Shins, from 2003's Chutes Too Narrow. I definitely hadn't heard of the Shins in '03, but it was this album that started popping up in coffeehouses around me in '06. Zach Braff definitely heard of them. They had a song on Scrubs early in the decade and then he used them for the "Garden State" soundtrack. So one way or another, including a Gilmore Girls soundtrack appearance, I should have... I just didn't. Four albums, three EPs, and a five year hiatus followed. This week, Port of Morrow dropped with an absolutely lovely collection of tracks. The Shins is pretty much a revised band, too, but it doesn't matter. This album is as much a pleasant collection of tunes as every other James Mercer-crafted record.

Oh my Mazzy Star(s). Mazzy Star! If you don't think you know them, you're too young to realize the name of the band but you have heard at least one of their songs at least forty-one times. The duo of Hope Sandoval and David Roback released a double A-sided record in October and will release a full-length album on their own label later this year. I'd love to share a deeper Mazzy Star cut with you, but just in case you aren't placing them... here you go.

Click to play Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Performing punk music just this side of Anarchy and hailing from Sweden, Refused threatened to take over punk rock in the 90's but I imagine the world just wasn't ready. They broke up in 1998 and in 2006 the band's guitarist directed a documentary about the band's last year together, called Refused Are Fucking Dead.
Regarding the reunion at Coachella, the band says
It's been a motley 14 years since our band came apart. We've all kept busy in our respective endeavors but we've all remained friends and kept in touch. There have been offers, and lots of jokes about these offers. We've sort of looked down from our high horses and made fun of people who've just wanted to share the psychopathic intensity that we would deliver on a nightly basis in our post-pubescent prime. A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do.

We never did "The shape of punk to come" justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there's this possibility to do it like it was intended. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes. We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual.

The world pretty much heard about both Refused and At The Drive-In playing Coachella 2012 at the same time back in January this year. Playing South By? No. Playing Warped Tour? No. Playing Sasquatch (LOL)? That's a negatory. Playing mah-fah Coachella. Because that's where it is AT this year, kids. That's where it is AT!

Also from another country, and also having spent the last decade on hiatus is the band Pulp. Their reunion was announced in 2010 and they've played multiple dates in Europe throughout 2011, but they still count for this list. They've not been to the States yet. And they'll be here in a little less than a month. They're kind of weird. But you're kind of into that.

As for At-The-Drive-In, their decision to accept gigs at Coachella, Reading & Leeds, Japan's Fuji Rock and the like was pretty much just all about money. According to Omar Rodriguez-Lopez,
"Will there be a new album? No, no, no. At The Drive-In is more of a nostalgia thing – it's songs we wrote when we were all in our 20s and we're doing a couple of shows ... We're not getting any younger and there's been an offer of money every year. You can't avoid that. You'd be a fool and a politician to pretend that wasn't part of it."

I first heard of ATDI, actually, after they had even split. I fell quite deeply in love with the band Sparta, and in researching their beginnings, I came across the band's earlier work and Omar's continued work. He produced an album for Juliette Lewis and for The Butcherettes. And after Sparta split/went on hiatus, I continued to follow both Jim Ward and Tony Hajjar. So being a big fan of Ward, I am ridiculously giddy to have the opportunity to see him play with the thing HE started so long ago. After seeing both Mars Volta and Sparta live, this is just an exciting culmination for me and I am insanely jazzed for it.

Check out one of their signature frenetic tracks, off In/Casino/Out but be careful with the slam-dancing.
Click to play At The Drive-In - Chanbara

And now check out the only ATDI song with Jim Ward on vox...
Click to play At The Drive-In - Hourglass

Can't not share one of my favorites. You get three ATDI tracks in this post because I am literally that excited.
Click to play At The Drive-In - One Armed Scissor