Thursday, September 30, 2010

13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere

Any decent rock ‘n’ roll fanatic knows the story about Roky Erickson. They’ve heard the stories of his struggles with mental illness. They know the tale of his unjust incarceration(s). They understand that his legacy has been assured an honorable nod, thanks in large part by one of the only decent tribute compilations ever released (Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye) and the caliber of contributors on it.

Yet there is a good possibility that you only know Roky from only one song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” from his band 13th Floor Elevators. And there is a good possibility that you only know that one song from the scene in High Fidelity when Laura leaves Rob and he cranks up the stereo, blaring that classic Elevators’ tune as she retrieves the last personal belongings from their apartment.

As good as that song is…and as wonderful as its source album is (1966’s The Psychedelic Sounds Of)…it isn’t the band’s defining moment. That moment would come with the second long-player, Easter Everywhere, an album that not only continues the 13th Floor Elevators road trip to mind expansion, it manages to send us the obligatory “Wish you were here!” postcard while the rest of us were still on the road trying to catch up.

Subdued, restrained, yet even more expansive than the aptly titled debut, Easter Everywhere shows the band mixing real emotion with the lysergic-fueled imagery. It’s still a mind-blowing listen, but not to the point where the band’s altered imaginations sound silly to the uninitiated. The straight and narrow can also enjoy the Elevators twists and turns through unchartered territories. It’s a communal affair that incorporates the band members themselves, a single mom with a maternal instinct that encouraged the member’s creativity, and the elder brother of Kenny Rodgers who managed to capture the unique results on magnetic tape.

This is important to remember when understanding Easter Everywhere. It is not, as some may suggest, the work of an individual with enormous talent and unfortunate circumstances. It’s the product of several people, some of which have back-stories that are almost as fabled as Erickson’s.

One of those members was Tommy Hall, a former chemical engineering major at the University of Texas. Thanks to an increasing drug intake and a growing resentment towards the intellectual establishment, Hall became so fixated on spreading his pharmaceutical gospel that he practically invented an instrument (the “electric jug”) and recruited a few local musicians to help with his lofty visions.
Since we’re clarifying Erickson’s role, let’s address Tommy Hall’s too. You notice the electric jug immediately on Easter Everywhere. The sound it produces is unmistakable and unique.

They’re also a sham.

Sources close to the band later revealed that Hall’s ceramic jug was merely a prop. The sounds being made were just noises made from his mouth with the jug providing minimal resonance and a distraction for people to focus on.

With that being said, they are intriguing sounds, heavily reverberated, occasionally eerie and profoundly child-like when you consider the manner in which they were created: An intelligent young man with little musical ability that became so hell-bent on playing an instrument…any instrument…that he effectively made one up while managing to make it an intricate part of the band’s sound. By some strange manner of coincidence, the 13th Floor Elevator is probably the only band in existence where an “electric jug” sounds positively perfect.

Phony instruments aside, Hall’s other two roles seemed to play a greater part in the band’s creative arsenal: chief poet/lyricist and dispenser of mind-altering substances. Of course, the two roles were inherently intertwined and, as in any great acid-casualty story, the creative peak resulting from such substances is relatively short lived. For listeners, Easter Everywhere blends together the perfect balance of cerebral calisthenics and acid eating excess.

It begins with “Slip Inside This House,” an eight-minute song/poem modeled after the same linear structure of Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” It’s the band’s epic and it remains the greatest song they ever managed to produce.
Speaking of Bob, there’s also a spot-on version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” where Erickson’s phrasing sounds sweetly exasperated. It’s perhaps the best version of this song that you will ever hear.

But the real jewels of Easter Everywhere are in the originals. “Levitation” may be the album’s closet thing to a single. “Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)” takes a slow Texas soul groove for six minutes and provides the album with an uncommonly collected closer. And then there’s the prophetic “I Had To Tell You,” a song Roky co-wrote with Tommy Hall’s wife, Clementine. Clementine Hall entered into the Elevators world as a single mother with a few years of seniority on the rest of the members.

In addition to encouraging and praising the band’s creative direction, she occasionally participated in it. The band entrusted her with lyrics and, as is the case on “I Had To Tell You,” backing vocals. Their tender duet on this song is beautifully fragile and frighteningly prophetic. She penned the songs chorus, “If you feel I’d loose my spirit/Like some drunkard’s wasted wine/Don’t you even think about it/I’m doing fine,” while it could have easily serves as the departing words from Erickson himself. Shortly after the release of Easter Everywhere, Erickson met with legal turmoil and some suggest that it was Texas’ draconian methods in treating “drug abusers” that helped push Roky into the mental abyss. Whatever the cause of his subsequent breakdown, he never sounded more in touch with his talents than throughout Easter Everywhere.

As do the rest of the band. Their contributions are so vital and fluent that they even managed to carry on without Erickson for one more album. The third release, Bull Of The Woods was created amid Erickson’s legal and mental turmoil and Tommy Hall’s lack of initiative. But thanks to guitarist Stacy Sutherland’s leadership, Bull Of The Woods managed to be a credible finale for a band that began to crumble after ascending beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

As under-appreciated as Bull Of The Woods is, it’s Easter Everywhere that’s been even more criminally overlooked. The album has been name-checked by fans and critics alike, but even that lofty praise hasn’t prevented it from falling out of print for years on end and being subjected to limiting distribution.

Easter Everywhere is an album so good that it should always be offered an opportunity with prospective audiences, and now is the perfect time for this landmark to be resurrected and examined once more.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RokyErickson & Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil

The greatest praise that I can give to the first Roky Erickson album in fifteen years is that if you listen to it without an inclination of the man, his past, and his inner demons, you’ll find it to be a worthy collection of alt-country originals that’s pleasing to the ear and comforting to the soul.

Of course, for those of you that know about the man, his past, and those inner demons, True Love Cast Out All Evil becomes that much more of an impressive achievement. If you’ve ever seen the documentary on Erickson, You're Gonna Miss Me, the new record may even come as a relief, the first record that finally finds him at peace with himself.

I saw that film last year, and it’s heartbreaking. So much that I had ultimately wrote him off as a casualty, incapable of delivering a new, meaningful album that would come close to his former glory.

When I heard the first song off of True Love Cast Out All Evil from a few months ago-a collaboration with the members of Okkervil River-I was shocked. It was an effort of such clarity that I wondered if it was more the result of Okkervil River’s leader Will Sheff own efforts than of Roky’s input. Sheff seems like the kind of caretaker that would do whatever it takes in making sure that a new Roky album doesn’t embarrass the man or the catalog.

Now that I’ve heard True Love Cast Out All Evil in its entirety, I can say that while Sheff and the rest of Okkervil River certainly have worked hard to deliver what may be the best album of Erickson’s solo career, it’s majesty wouldn’t have happened if not for Roky’s own desire to give us at least one last album of uncluttered greatness.

Because we’ve heard his lysergic-fueled, Lone Star declarations and we’ve heard his post-traumatic terrors. What we really haven’t heard is Roky himself.
Until now. True Love is an intensely personal album with incredible depth and emotion. While Erikson digs deeps and pulls out words that routinely alternate between resentment and resilience, Okkervil River rise to the challenge by delivering beauty and brutality as needed.

By the end of the vitriolic “John Lawman,” the arrangement is a wreck of feedback, squalling trumpets and other sounds of clatters. It segues into a weird bit of an old radio performance where Roky sounds a bit aloof while the announcer tries to corral some continuity from the disjointed guest. Finally, a firmly plucked electric guitar matches wits with a gentle slide guitar for the title track, where Roky delivers a vocal performance that’s the epitome of redemption.

There are moments like this throughout the album, and actually, the record itself is essentially a song-cycle of Erickson’s life. It’s not what you’d call an easy listen, but that’s probably what impresses me the most. True Love isn’t sugarcoated and it sounds like a natural collaboration between Sheff and Erickson. Sheff has picked out the appropriate songs in Roky’s catalog to paint a vivid picture of Erikson’s life since being incarcerated at the Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane until more recently when Roky was finally provided with the kind of care that not only allows him to function, but also create. Ultimately, Roky’s own voice provides the color throughout the album.

In between the reinterpretations are actual archival recording-some even originating during his incarceration-which gives True Love an almost visual quality. And like life itself, sometimes what you see isn’t pretty, but the way in which Erickson and Okkervil River mix their colors together, True Love Cast Out All Evil is a beautiful portrait of the man.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Holy Fuck - Latin

I checked my player three times after starting Holy Fuck’s latest, Latin, just to make sure the thing was playing. There was nothing wrong, as I discovered with each quick glance, it’s just that the album’s opener-“1MD”-takes its own sweet time in opening up; a few minutes go by before you actually hear something music related. When the skies finally do manage to part, this Toronto-based project deliver some impressive electronic workouts.

Particularly with those first three tracks (“1MD”>”Red Lights”>”Latin America”), Latin hints at the same kind of sonic drama that you’d expect with some instrumental rock outfit that adheres to the stories that can be told with just a few guitars, drums, and effect pedals.

Except there aren’t any guitar heroics here, just a few warm-blooded humanoids managing some cold-blooded keyboards and one vitally important drummer. The kind that has to contend with breaking sticks, missing downbeats and the completely mundane art of replacing drum heads.

Alternating between those aforementioned forays into atmospheric crescendos and big emotional dynamics, Holy Fuck also play with Krautrock repetition quite effectively.
“Silva and Grimes” conjure up a bit of Neu 2 during its five minutes of finely-tuned piston rhythms, while “Stilettos” also layers atmospherics over its own tight-knotted analog drums.

The electronics themselves also seem to be from the archives, recalling simpler times when the musical focus was on new, novel sounds. It was also a time when the best sounding percussion couldn’t be created from a microchip, which is why drummer Matt Schultz deserves an extra round of acknowledgement. He has no qualms about playing anything more than simplistic patterns, using fills only on rare occasions and replicating beats that would have merely been programmed in, if in the hands of a lesser band.

Holy Fuck show to be anything but lesser on Latin, a rewarding an emotive electronic instrumental album that plays with such humanism that it should find its place on even the most anti-electronic listener.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scott Weiland's Drunk Type Thing

I normally don’t write much about Stone Temple Pilots because I don’t really give a shit about Stone Temple Pilots. They’re a band that I have no idea of why they’ve had any amount of longevity.

With that being said, their longevity is also self-romanticized. The band has carefully exploited tales of their lengthy career by carefully avoiding the reality that it ended abruptly after album number three with only minimal chart entries afterwards.

Stone Temple Pilots seems like a band that’s talented enough to jump on the alternative bandwagon with no real originality, just the luxury of being talented enough to swing a few hits to the masses without too much trouble.

I think my dislike stems completely from one Scott Weiland, a lead vocalist that likes to spin tales of legitimacy while sounding like a jock who beats up drama kids for talking like fags.

I can’t reference this, of course, it’s just a gut feeling.

My theory runs a bit deeper by suggesting his narcotic problem is a form of medicating his guilt for being such a sham. I don’t believe for a moment that a band that supposedly is the result of a chance meeting at a Black Flag show later uses this epiphany to create a punk anthem like “Plush”

Replace that story with “Oingo Boingo” and I might believe it.

Stone Temple Pilots imploded thanks to that aforementioned addiction and there was a brief moment where you were apt to hear a headline of “Scott Weiland died of a heroin overdose” over “Stone Temple Pilots talks about recent chart-topper.”

Then he had to team up with those other washed-up morons that signed away the name Guns & Roses and buy a few more years of publicity as a result.

Thankfully, that stupor-group died when Weiland’s ego clashed with Slash’s drool.

For some reason, a dipshit thought that the world needed a Stone Temple Pilots reunion which has been a joy to watch unfold as it is proving to be the undoing of Scott Weiland.

It started with a live performance recently featured on the 101 Network. I’ve read fans gush at how Weiland is a tremendous frontman, a vocalist that really knows how to take command of the crowd, but what I noticed is how Weiland really needed to take command of a big sandwich and gain some fucking weight.

Then there was the video footage of Weiland falling off the stage ala Steven Tyler. While the idea of someone falling and hurting themselves isn’t necessarily funny, what is hilarious is how the vocals continued running even after the fall, suggesting that Weiland’s notoriety as a “tremendous frontman” requires the aid of pre-recorded vocals.

Then there’s Weiland’s recent stage antics-a drunken rant of how he’s fallen off the wagon and how the band is going on their thousandth hiatus so that Scott can get his shit together. Here’s the footage.

Notice how some of the crowd yells their approval at the idea of Weiland being messed up again? Note to self: on stage at a rock show is not a good place to preach on the notion of sobriety, particularly if you’re three sheets to the wind as you’re bellowing out your self-righteous bullshit.

Here’s hoping that this latest foray into sobriety will clear Scott’s head enough that he seeks out other forms of employment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For A Smile, They Can Share The Night

I’m watching my wife right now.

She’s home from work, still in her work clothes, and she is glued to the TV.

A smile creeps on her face when one of the cast members breaks out in song.

Yes, my wife is watching the season opener of Glee.

Personally, I’ve never seen it. I mean, I’ve seen Glee, just not an entire episode of it. I think it’s a situation of watching the pilot with my wife-thinking that it was a show about a glee club with the vocal performances saved for the actual moments that they were required to sing-only to realize that it was Hull High all over again.

The moment they broke out in song like life itself was one big musical was the moment when I felt too uncomfortable in trying to handle the show’s alternate universe. From that point forward, I could no longer believe that the cast members were supposed to be taken seriously as teenagers.

And that kid in the wheelchair? I’ve seen a lot of spinals, dude. And that guy’s a fake.

My job during Glee is to keep the kids out of mommy’s hair, which is an impossible task as it usually escalates into a few yells of “Be quiet!” and “Shut up, please!” and “Shhhh!”

I don’t get it. The acting is limited, the songs woefully bland and the plot extremely contrived.

But my wife loves it, to the point where she bought the first season on DVD and once called in sick to work and watched the entire season in one setting.

I tried to sit down tonight, but I could only make it to the freaking looking football coach who looks like a dude dressed like a woman.

“Why is the football coach dressed like a lady?” I asked.

“She’s a woman.” corrected my wife.

“That’s a real woman? On the show?” I asked perplexed.

“No, that’s a woman.” She repeated, growing frustrated with my constant interruptions.

“Why would they hire a woman and the head football coach?” I pondered, remembering the days when the football coach would occasionally wander into the locker room during shower time.

“Shhh!!” answered my wife.

That football coach is indeed a woman as I later learned, a former high school athletic standout that’s made a career out of playing gender-neutral women who could easily double as outside linebackers.

But even her freakish appearance couldn’t stop me from going upstairs to get away from the rest of the episode. While the show and its fans “don’t stop believin’,” I “can’t fight this feeling” and will use these moments of my wife’s hour-long domination over the TV as ammunition for future reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jimi Hendrix - Live Isle Of Wight '70

It was over forty years ago when Jimi Hendrix performed at the Isle of Wight festival, a performance that would prove to be his final one in England.

The obligatory album released after Hendrix had passed suddenly became one of my favorites about fifteen years ago. There’s no explanation for it other than I needed to learn a new story about Hendrix and his performance at the Isle of Wight must have taught me something about Jimi that I didn’t know.

I’m talking about the original Polydor release of Isle of Wight. I don’t own Blue Wild Angel; it’s a victim of the pricey import of the original release that prevented me from purchasing the expanded re-issue.

And, to be quite honest, it isn’t very good either. Oh sure, even the most mediocre of Hendrix posthumous releases will have a few moments of real fire taking place-but this live document shows Hendrix sounding worn out throughout most of the set.

I bring this up because I got the album years ago when trying to piece a complete story of Jimi together in my head. I was trying to piece the narrative together from his performance.

I know, it makes no sense whatsoever, but at that time I was at a point in my life where I was approaching the age of when Hendrix passed away-and I was living at my parent’s home in my old bedroom, a former place of security that had since been remodeled.

Because what parent thinks their child will be back home after they’ve moved out of the nest for good.

I did. And it was embarrassing.

My funk was filled with interrogations from my mother about the number of resumes I had filled out.

Each day ended with a few drags of a stash that were blown through a tube stuffed with Bounce dryer sheets, concealing the smell and the reality of my surroundings.

It helped me sleep, but it was two albums that helped spin the soundtrack to my insomnia.

Live Isle of Wight ’70 seems the perfect song for that period it my life. It’s slow, unfocused, and distracted. Hendrix’s performance throughout it is sloppy and unspirited. Mitch Mitchell’s performance is repetitively bombastic, like a minor-league Keith Moon who didn’t bother to hear how Moonie could at least keep time in all of that percussive chaos.

Even the stable and reliable Billy Cox sounds like he’d rather be anywhere other than on the stage playing in front of a festival crowd.

And then there’s Jimi, who’s lackluster delivery is complete with flubbed lines and exhausted phrasing. He sounds tired, and it reaches over into his guitar playing too. For a man that sailed so high with his guitar playing, it’s sad to hear him sink so low shortly before his death.

Send My Love To Linda

There’s a reason why I continually buy books on bands, read liner notes, or watch endless Behind The Music type of documentaries about artists where I already know more things than most people would even care about: I might learn something new.

A good example of this is with Pink Floyd. I’ve heard the story of Floyd so many times that I can even name the band that Syd Barrett briefly fronted in the early 70’s before realizing after one performance that his heart really wasn’t in it anymore.

Despite all of this worthless knowledge, I continue to seek out more-a thirst for that juicy bit of trivial information that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. That excitement at feeling you’ve learned something new about an artist-a factoid that gives you a one-up on your equally geeky competitor.

Your peer in this rock and roll fanaticism.

Take Jimi Hendrix.

Just a few days ago, I “wowed” my old lady with the bitchin’ tale of “The Night That Jimi Hendrix Choked On His Own Vomit.” It’s not really “bitchin’,” I mean the guy who essentially designed the blueprint for rock and roll guitar playing ends up dying at the end of the story. But it’s a story of the final day of Hendrix and the weird little plot twists and turns that unfolded after he died.

Here’s the Twitter version:

Hendrix gets loaded, chokes on puke. Turns blue. Girlfriend freaks. Calls Eric Burdon. Burdon yells “Call the doctor!” Too much time passes. Jimi Dies. Chick later shacks up with Uli Jon Roth. Chick kills herself twenty years later from guilt over contributing to Jimi’s death.

Actually, I think that’s more than what Twitter would allow, but you get the idea.

I think the word that the kids would use to describe my wife’s reaction to the story above is “Meh.” Perhaps you don’t really care about the life of Jimi Hendrix or get the six degrees of Kevin Bacon in that whole piece, in which case the novelty of it is completely oblivious to you.

Or better still, you have a better story about Jimi-one that can put mine to shame-and you learned in through on-going research, a devotion that would come to fruition at the very moment when you smacked me upside my rock and roll loving head with an even better narrative.

John Ridley is the man who would smacked me upside my rock and roll head last week.

Ridley’s piece about Hendrix on NPR’s All Things Considered is a dandy; a compelling tidbit of Jimi that is so crucial to the man’s rise to fame that it embarrasses me that I did not know about it earlier.

Read (or listen) about the story here, but better yet, listen to the song.

For the first minute of the story, I thought it was going to be about how this new unreleased Jimi Hendrix track sounded like a Nirvana song that most of you are quite familiar with.

But it isn’t.

Instead, it’s an amazing tale of how a caring woman planted some pretty important seeds into Jimi’s head which set a path in motion where he finally found the success and attention that he deserved.

If you can tolerate the ridiculous Guitar Hero video that accompanies it, someone has graciously uploaded this incredible unreleased track up to You Tube.

Why this thing hasn’t been made available yet is beyond me.

There’s also a very brief take with vocals out there too, but this full instrumental version is just incredible.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Open Up My Wallet...And It's Full Of Blood

Notice my boner as I gloat about the tickets I just got for Godspeed You Black Emperor. It's been about ten years since their last performance.

Scratch Acid Live 1986

It was a weeknight, if I recall.

Myself and another friend from college-the same person who introduced me to Scratch Acid's first e.p.-made the ninety minute drive south to check them out at a place called The Central in Iowa City.

It was a pretty nice club and had some great bookings for the short amount of time it was open. Not a lot of people came down for the show, but we convinced another friend of mine to join us for this encounter, sight unseen.

David Yow hadn't perfected his derring-do persona yet. Instead, he paced the stage, which wasn't even much of a stage, and looked menacing. Pretty much the same way you'll see in the video below.

While Yow spent most of his time with the Jesus Lizard out in the crowd, the crowd seemed to avoid him during the Iowa City performance. Only a few unsavory types made their way close to the disheveled Yow.

When I did eventually see the Jesus Lizard, Yow was revelatory. While Scratch Acid seemed like the only opportunity for him, the Jesus Lizard sounded like the last one. As a result, he gave everything during the performance, risking life and limb.

This isn't to suggest that Scratch Acid weren't anything to sneeze at; Scratch Acid were a very capable and menacing band that sounded just as good during the Touch & Go 25th Anniversary shows as they did during the first-run performance that I had a chance to catch.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Coco Rosie - Grey Oceans

Within moments of playing CocoRosie, you hear that you’re listening to someone operating on a completely different level that the rest of us. Sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady fill every bit of open space with hypnotic rhythms, painted with a wide pallet of strange instrumentations (or loops of them) and top it all off with off-kilter vocals. Some transcend the normal ability of pop vocals, thanks to Sierra’s operatic training, while Bianca’s just transcends normalcy, thanks to an almost unnerving weirdness that mixes Bjork cuteness with Tricky’s Martina and a bunch of helium and psilocybin mushrooms.

I’m a sucker for trip-hop blowback, and Grey Oceans does contain a bunch of comparisons that will have you loading those old Massive Attack albums to your IPod.

But Grey Oceans is more than a nostalgic trip for chill-out thirtysomethings, it’s a beautiful mess of two sister’s overreaching imaginations that can be equally brilliant and woefully cluttered at the same time.

Take “Lemonade” which uses a dreamy sputter of rhythms and angelic backing vocals for the melody before breaking into an almost monophonic chorus that’s straight out of your granddad’s Edsel radio speaker.

It’s a nifty effect and one of Grey Oceans best moments, but when a similar approach is used for “Hopscotch,” it becomes almost strangely claustrophobic when the two throw nearly everything into the song-even some crazy, Shirley Temple-kind of chorus that sounds straight off of the Goodship Lollypop.

The very next song sounds like some Japanese song of love lost, as sung through an old Victrola.

By the final verse, they’ve added a tom-tom beat which gives the song an almost Native American feel.

Yes, Grey Oceans is that kind of album, full of promise and frustration. Personally, I find it all curiously appealing, but I have a strong suspicion that I’m in the minority. There’s so much going on within the grooves of Grey Oceans that mortal men and women will surely seek out something less demanding, as CocoRosie’s fourth album requires a lot of attention and patience from its listeners.

With that being said-the “enter at your own risk” sticker firmly in place and your expectation of normalcy completely dismantled-Grey Oceans is a beautiful spectrum of sounds that is uncommon in today music landscape. It may not appease those who are looking for immediate beauty, but for anyone willing to invest the time in peeling the onion of Grey Oceans many layers, it sounds like something very gorgeous.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

It's Official: Earholes Hate Brooklyn Masonic Temple

The last forty-eight hours have created a near legendary status for one New York City music venues, placing it in the echelon of other timeless joints like Max’s, CBGB’s, Irving Plaza-the music places that people like us in the Midwest dream and imagine about.

The venue-the Brooklyn Masonic Temple-has consistently booked hard rock shows for some time now, proving to be a very heavy-friendly venue with some very heavy-friendly qualities.

Yes it seems the Temple’s high ceilings, grubby interior and cool lineage all bow well for metal lineage-but the other bonus is that the venue is independently booked and is not subjected to normal regulations.

In other words, band can play at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple and be as loud as humanly possible.

It is an ideal spot for any band that likes to test the boundaries of hearing loss.

But for the last couple of days, a pair of bands have come through the doors of the Temple and tested the lawfulness of volume.

These aren’t normal purveyors of metal and hard rock; these are bands that are so aggressively loud that a potential to cause audiences to involuntarily shit themselves.

It started with Japan’s ultimate power trio took the stage with Ian Astbury. Since I’m completely smitten with The Cult’s Love album and equally gushing about Boris’ Pink, this match-up is heavenly.

According to the Village Voice’s Sound In The City blog, the power trio plus sometimes Jim Morrison impersonator was so loud that they continually blew the power out at the Temple. In fact, the band finally gave up during their sonically destructive version of The Doors’ “The End,” right as Ian was channeling his inner Jimbo.

The sound crew finally got things in order just in time for planet Earth’s heaviest band ever to hit the stage. The band rarely plays anything about 1,000 kHz, so when their guttural assault was underway, a crew of NYC’s finest came through the doors and literally pulled the plug themselves. Reports indicate that the material was so brutal that most in attendance were too destroyed to protest the man’s decision to end the festivities.

But wait, there’s more.

On the following night, the reunited Sleep came through and provided another night of high volume drama. From the Voice reporter’s account, you could hear even the opening band’s output from several blocks away and it was even louder when Matt Pike took the stage.

No cops were called and no fuses blown, but Sleep’s performance created a trifecta of volume that was seemingly unmatched in New York’s storied history.

And with that much sonic damage taking place, the Brooklyn Masonic Temple has secured its own place in NYC rock history and the venue that dared to make everyone’s earholes bleed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

American Speedway Release Something. World Farts.

Look! I'm cutting and pasting just like the Music Sluts website does!

"Gotta job doin' record promo...And none of the critics can even tell I'm a homo"

That reminds me that I need to review Sheik Yourbuti if I haven't already.

I kind of like American Speedway; if they can keep this line-up together and tour the booze right out of them, they could be even better.

Philadelphia, PA - September 7, 2010 - American Speedway, the beer guzzlin' punk rock n roll foursome from the Philadelphia-area, have nearly completed their sophomore album A Bigger Boat (due Winter 2010). A 7" vinyl single will be released in Fall 2010 and the featured track entitled "Howl (Ya Doin?) is exclusively streaming on right now - .

In January 2010, Lorraine "Dirty" McGurty joined the band as the new lead guitarist. McGurty was lead axe for an all female metal band called WENCH, who (in the early 90s) had a good amount of success domestically and also toured throughout Europe and the UK several times.

"Dirty McGurty!" How awesome is that?!

There's a band in Iowa City with the awful name of The Old Man that mines similar territory and they too could become really good with a ton of practice and a commitment to keep all songs under 3:33.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Regarding The Awesomeness Of Wayne Coyne's Tweets

I resisted Twitter for as long as possible.

I didn’t understand the idea behind it, and I assumed that “tweets” would consist of the most mundane and borings musings and not be worth the trouble. Then I found out the key-because, yes, most tweets are mundane and boring.

But you can configure it in the manner that you want and suddenly, your smart phone beeps, shakes, and lights up with all sorts of ridiculous updates that distract you to a point of near overload.

I was glued to the entire Tila Tequila Gathering of the Jugallos incident like it was the OJ trial.

I followed the zaniness of Axl Rose as he took over NYC recently, showing up at strangely trendy parties which ultimately gave way to Axl acting erratically as if on cue.

I read how Bob Lefsez turned into a Phishhead.

But the best tweets of all-the ones that are so consistently awesome that I would encourage you to sign up with Twitter just to follow-are the ones that come from Wayne Coyne.

Yes, I know that Kayne has the traction and publicity with the quotable quotient of his tweets, but Coyne’s are better.

The obvious reason is his love of tweeting nude pictures of his wife. Of course, the fact that she has a nice enough body to actually welcome said nakedness helps considerably, but the mere act is turn Wayne and Michelle as the most cool indie couple since Thurston and Kim.

And Michelle is not above becoming a digital drool bait as she offers the same birds-eye view of her old man’s junk, but I haven’t gandered too long at those.

Coyne is the perfect personality type for Twitter; he’s continually doing something, afraid of staying at rest for too long, but not retentive enough to not notice the beauty of a sunset or wacky signs or graffiti.

So inbetween those tweets, he gives updates for every little thing that he’s doing, and they all sound like they’re infinitely more fun than anything you or I are doing.

Whether it’s watching Jell-o wrestling at an Oklahoma dive or visiting weird amusement parks in Europe, Wayne Coyne is wonderfully geared towards providing an enviable life while staying close to the overall mantra that his musical band provides.

Nudie shot courtesy of Michelle Coyne's Twitter feed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Obama Quotes Jimi Hendrix

Or something like that. Obama mentions that the right talks about him like a dog, which just happens to be a line from "Stone Free."
Which brings up this badass clip from early Jimi.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Classical Vocal Instructor Analyzes Five Metal Singers

The list doesn't surprise me much and it explains why I am a fan of most of the singers that she has good things to say about.

The "she" is question is Claudia Friedlander, a New York City vocal teacher who specializes in opera. Her opinions were solicited from Invisible Oranges a few months ago, a summary of which appears below.

The two vocalists she seems most enthralled with are Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickenson.

Of Dickenson: "There is a visceral dramatic intensity driving this singing. Many rock and metal singers are tenors who sustain much higher, much longer than operatic tenors are ever required to." and for Dio, she compares him to Queen's Freddie Mercury, stating "This is another very fine singer. His voice is so naturally resonant...Like the first singer, he performs with perfect legato, clear diction, and a consistent, organic vibrancy."

She offered praise for Rob Halford, but admitted he was "the only one I really wish I could get my hands on. He demonstrates several mad skills, but they aren’t well-integrated. It doesn’t matter so much because he is so committed, expressive, and musical, but I could have helped him do it easier and better."

Ha! The metal god needs a vocal instructor!

Actually, the vocal part she listened to is from Sad Wings Of Destiny, probably Priest's best album, but one that was recorded very early in their career.

I'm sure Halford has been through a few vocal coaches since then when money was hard to come by for food, let alone vocal instructors.

But she offers a bit of hesitation for King Diamond, one of metal's premier screamers, suggesting that some of his technique benefits from studio trickery.

And then there's Ozzy Osbourne, a vocalist she's not familiar with and not a fan of. She exclaims how it made her throat tight when she listened to "War Pigs." "The entire range of his singing is contained within a single octave," she observed, "with the exception of the moment when he yells “Oh Lord!” a little higher, in my opinion the only quasi-free vocal sound on the entire track."

While technically misguided, "War Pigs" is pure, throaty brilliance.

I would have loved to hear her take on "Changes."

A nod to Cousin J for the lead and Invisible Oranges for the article quotes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gene Simmons Counterfeit Jewels

Not too long ago, I watched a Gene Simmons Family Jewels episode which rubbed me the wrong way as apposed to other episodes where I quickly turned away because Simmons is a one trick pony and his spiel is as tired as any dinosaur act.

The show is proving that the son doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but with as much bullshit as that show promotes, it’s hard to tell if the father/son dynamic is composed or in fact reality.

Because everything falls too neatly into place with that show, unlike The Osbournes first season where Ozzy putzed around like a clueless sap, painfully showing us that Sharon ran the show, both literally and figuratively. That moment began when Sharron rigged the Ozzy show to pump out bubbles.

Meanwhile, if Kiss had a show with bubbles, nobody would blink an eye-because they’re more about the “show” than the business of protecting an image. And the image is trade-marked and copyright protected.

Which made the “special” episode of Kissteriakind of unique as it included Paul Stanley eating a sandwich at his place with Gene, who just happened to be over for a bite to eat.

Which casually munching away, the television set was conveniently tuned to some station that was airing Extra! Or Entertainment Tonight or some other tabloid show who just happened to be doing an unsolicited announcement that Kiss’ Alive album was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Not 25, Not 30, but 35, because it rolls off the tongue (pun intended).

The viewer is then led to believe that Gene and Paul then start up yet another conversation of “I hate how all these young bands come out and do a boring rock show!” like this is the only conversation that these two men ever have with each other

This in turn then becomes the obligatory “We should do another tour and show these youngsters how a real rock band plays live!” which prompts Paul to put down his sandwich and call manager Doc McGhee to set up an impromptu tour of Australia.

From there, the tour is created and the duo put Doc through a bunch of headaches and pretended to add on additional dates in the middle of their Australian tour.

To make drama, the footage shows Gene stuck on his Peter Pan cables after flying during “God Of Thunder,” making the event as some kind of death defying moment when the only thing Gene was really in danger of losing was his pride.

And even that couldn’t occur, and he takes out all of his spoiled anger on the hapless McGhee who throws back an obligatory “This is what happens when you rush putting a tour together..” reply.

Personally, I don’t believe any of them. I don’t believe the decision to tour was made over a turkey on rye, I don’t believe that McGhee put together a tour that quickly, and I don’t believe that all of the shenanigans that this special episode presents even happened.

The funniest thing is how all of this translates as some kind of living dangerously scenario that Gene and Paul want you to believe. When they’re not living on the edge by scheduling shit on a moment’s notice, they’re giving back to the community in the form of woefully ugly Paul Stanley art pieces, including one that he “forgets” for some charity while in Australia.

So what does the Starman do when he realizes that he forgot his painting to auction? He complains to Doc McGhee. When Doc orders someone to retrieve the painting and overnight deliver it to Australia, they end up shipping the wrong painting altogether.

Again, it’s impossible to judge if this event really happened or was sabotaged for laughs. What’s even more hilarious is the painting that Stanley comes up with in his hotel room while the other member of Kiss and his two hired guns are partying in a club.

It’s awful in an “I’m throwing a bunch of shit on a canvas and I’ll bullshit my way on stage to make up some phony nonsense as to the meaning of this turd when it’s time for the auction.”

Stanley does just that and he gets a fortune for his charitable artwork.

Speaking of Kiss, I never did see how the "Kids Get In Free" promotion even worked. Aside from that initial announcement, did they ever explain how the kids could actually get in free?