Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wayne Coyne Is In The Hospital

Wayne Coyne covering Keith Moon's "Full Moon"
I'm piecing this all together from a series of tweets from Wayne Coyne's Twitter feed where he speaks of gouging a hole in his leg and letting it get properly infected before those around him said "Get your ass to a hospital."

He did so, it seems, and forgot to bring some undies to his visit as the photo from one of the tweets would suggest.

But if you can pry your eyes away from his white ass long enough to check out those circulation socks or whatever is assisting his calves, we gotta give Wayne a "Get Well Soon!" cheer and a spin of Oh My Gawd!!!

Thankfully, the kind staff of St Anthony Hospital in OKC allowed 20 trick or treaters to visit Wayne in his room, where he dutifully handed out candy.

Hopefully, someone tied up the back of his gown, as we already had another full moon this Halloween.

Man, I'm on fire tonight!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mastodon's Brent Hinds Checks In To West End Motel

Pretty fucking clever title, eh?

$10 bucks says some other blogger's already used it.

So I tuned past VH1 Classic the other day...and who wouldn't? It's not like the have time to run anything music related other than Tom Petty appearing on The Larry Sanders Show and reruns of Married...With Children.

But on this occasion, they had some metal concert footage-Sonisphinter, I think it was-and there's all sorts of yummy clips. Megadeath seemed to rule. Sepultura had a crazy set. And Motorhead made some eardrums bleed.

Seriously though, Lemmy doesn't wear hearing protection. And if you've ever heard Motorhead live, you'll understand just how INSANE that fact is.

Then there was Mastodon, performing "Crack The Skye" which made me a bit whimsical.

It looks like Mastodon's Brent Hinds is focusing some attention on another project outside of the band. This is fine by me, as so far-and I'm thinking about the soundtrack to Jonah Hex here-Hinds seems to have a good, heavily tattooed head upon his shoulders.

The press release says:


Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds has just announced a 3-week tour with his side project West End Motel in support of their sophomore release Only Time Can Tell (out October 30 on Warner Bros). Kicking off November 28 in Washington, D.C., the tour will make stops in New York, Boston, Chicago, and more, wrapping up December 15 in Hinds' hometown of Atlanta.

 Only Time Can Tell is the highly-anticipated follow-up to Hinds' acclaimed 2011 debut Don't Shiver, You're A Winner which SPIN proclaimed "I can't believe how much of my arm I can stuff up my rectum" and Pitchfork praised for its "Sunday-go-to-meetin'-clothing choices."

The 8-song set is now available to preoder on iTunes. Rolling Stone is streaming and bunch of diarehea and the album's first single "Burn It Down," praising its "brightly shout-out-loud vocals, warm and soulful textures, swooning funk melodies and a breezy beat that's downright feel-good music."

West End Motel began in 1993 under a bridge in Atlanta, where Hinds first met longtime friend Tom Cheshire. Describing themselves as a "conglomerate of losers, poets and hobo-sexuals," the pair write acoustic-guitar driven songs enriched with horns and keys, with the end result sounding like Nick Cave fronting Gogol Bordello.

The project pre-dates Mastodon and offers an important glimpse into Hinds' musical influences. "I grew up listening to Chet Atkins play guitar, and I grew up listening to Brian Setzer play guitar," explains Hinds. "Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West, all these country-chicken-pickin'-flying-'round-the-guitar-neck guitar players. I got really inspired by it. I'm from way down in the country. It was pretty common to have the interests I had when I was that age. MTV had some hair metal on there, but I was more interested in this rockabilly vibe. Stray Cats were really big at the time, in the '80s. It was epic."

Only Time Can Tell Track Listing:

1. Burn It Down
2. El Myr
3. Witch Is Dead
4. If I Only Had Tomorrow (Second Chances)
5. Forgiveness 6. Only Time Can Tell
7. Valentine
8. Bite

Nov 28 - Vienna, VA @ Jammin' Java
Nov 29 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Nov 30 - West Chester, PA @ The Note
Dec 01 - Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House
Dec 02 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
Dec 04 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
Dec 05 - Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop
Dec 06 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
Dec 07 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Dec 08 - Chicago, IL @ Double Door
Dec 09 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Dec 11 - Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
Dec 13 - Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
Dec 14 - Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
Dec 15 - Atlanta, GA @ 529

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pere Ubu - Cloudland

If the idea that Pere Ubu was able to receive a major label contract from Chrysalis records in the late 70’s sounds crazy, then equally as crazy is the fact that the same band attempted to release a relatively mainstream record after they signed with another major label-Polydor/Mercury-in the late 80’s.

Cocaine is a helluva drug!

For those of you who are familiar with Ohio’s Pere Ubu, then the idea of a commercially acceptable Pere Ubu album is in itself akin to saying you have the cure for cancer in your pocket. For those of you not familiar with Pere Ubu, a brief overview is in order.

The band released an album called Dub Housing in 1978 (on Chrysalis) that sounds like it was recorded in an alternate universe circa 2063. The band is comprised of weirdo musicians who look at notes like they’re hierogliphics and they’re fronted by a large vocalist who sometimes appears to be mentally unstable. One of my favorite songs by Pere Ubu finds this frontman, David Thomas, uttering in a sweetly bizarre falsetto voice “The birdies are singing! The birdies are singing what I want to sing!”

Fast forward to 1988-or rewind as the case may be-and there’s the impossible notion that Pere Ubu released Cloudland on that major label with the hopes that someone beyond their core audience of a few thousand brave souls will find an appeal enough to catapult the band into a second wind of cult status.

Cloudland doesn’t sound like it was recorded in 2063. It, like much of that decade, sounds like it was recorded in the mid-80’s, but there’s enough random bizarreness that the record transcends the typical hermetical seal of the 80’s and sounds properly off in its own polished sheen.

The lead-off single was “Waiting For Mary,” an incredible catchy college radio track that begins with ambient crowd noise and a ticking clock before some properly rehearsed guitars encroach on a veri. “Welcome to Mars! It’s open all hours!” declares Thomas as he delivers what is Pere Ubu’s only potential radio smash. And I’ll admit, it should have been a contender.

Even in this incredibly docile state, there’s nothing that can prevent Pere Ubu from sounding a bit off. Listen to “Waiting For Mary” a little closer, and you’ll discover that those soundscapes that kicked off the track are prevelant and get weirder as the song progresses. Behind everything up front, you’ll hear seagulls and layers of blips and beeps that serve no other purpose than because Pere Ubu has a band member that’s in charge of blips and beeps.

Or take their cover of “Sloop John B,” the Beach Boys classic that gets retitled as “Nevada!” here. It starts off familiar enough in a quick tempoed  before changing into a musing of bygone eras, just like you see Neil Sedaka shelling on late night tv. Thomas talks about the “first mate” and his attempt to soothe her with “Don’t cry baby, don’t fly in a rage/I’ll tell you a story ‘bout the golden age/thirty cents a gallon, the super highway/You could fly like the wind through the hollow of day.” By the end, the John B sails all the way to Reno, where Thomas admits “Them good days are gone.”

But they’re not all gone here, even with this compelling attempt at narrowing Pere Ubu’s focus and corralling their attentions like some mid-career Adderall. Cloudland points out that while it does sound like the band has been tethered to the ground somewhat, they’re still floating out there, ready to snap the string and flutter above us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beachwood Sparks - The Tarnished Gold

After a decade long hiatus between studio albums, Beachwood Sparks returns with The Tarnished Gold, their latest attempt at channeling the ghosts of Laurel Canyon. Their country rock is tightly packaged through campfire picked guitars and a slue of pedal steels, just the way it should be. The arrangements are stacked on a wide pallet of psychedelic parlor tricks to make everything sound like it’s passed through a lysergic filter. The Tarnished Gold also features Beachwood Sparks’ most endearing feature: highly articulate harmonies that are a welcome addition when they’re presented.

It’s intriguing enough to warrant another listen, but the longer the time I spent in the band’s high altitude, the more I kept wondering if there was anything more to  Beachwood Sparks than feeling lightheaded.

Those aforementioned harmonies are plenty nifty, but with lines like “A honeybee in a field of flower/Came to me in my darkest hour” (“Talk About Lonesome”) you have to wonder, “It took a decade to come up with that?” The lazy songwriting gets to the point where there are moments of unintentional parody, and it’s at this point that I gave up on trying to piece together anything more than “talented musicians” to Beachwood Sparks’ redeeming values.

Beyond the musical chops, I can’t tell you many other reasons why we needed to wait ten years for this understated yawner or why this band’s reunion is anything beyond the kick of confidence that came from having one of their songs featured on the cult hit, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

“Forget the song/That I’ve been singing” they sing on the opening track, and before the end of The Tarnished Gold, you’ve done exactly that.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tegan And Sara Release Lead-Off Single For 'Heartthrob'

Tegan and Sara have a new album coming out, and of course I'm smitten.

It's not schedule until January of next year, but the hype machine is in full force now with a lead single and an opening slot on the upcoming Killers tour.

The new album is called Heartthrob.

w/The Killers:

Nov 29 - 1st Bank Center - Broomfield, CO
Nov 30 - UCCU Center - Orem, UT
Dec 3 - Pacific Coliseum - Vancouver, BC
Dec 5 - Rose Garden Arena - Portland, OR
Dec 8 - Rialto Theater - Tucson, AZ
Dec 10 - Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa, OK
Dec 13 - Susquehanna Bank Center - Camden, NJ
Dec 14 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Dec 15 - Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON
Dec 17 - Agganis Arena - Boston, MA
Dec 18 - Patriot Center - Fairfax, VA
Dec 20 - EMU Convocation Center - Ypsilanti, MI
Dec 21 - UIC Pavilion - Chicago, IL

**Contrary to previous reports, Tegan and Sara will not be opening for The Killers in Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan on December 28 and 29.

I seriously have no ideas who The Killers are or what they sound like. I think my ex-wife liked them, so maybe that's the real issue.

The lead-off single for Heartthrob is called "Closer."

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes. Check out her site. It's filled with awesome snaps 'n shots.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Rolling Stones Documentary Covers The Ronnie Wood Years

A new DVD documentary is scheduled before the holiday season, focusing on the Rolling Stones' last phase, one where Ronnie Wood makes the "no duh" transition into the Stones camp. While it's certainly the most sporadic of the Stones illustrious career in terms of quality, it is an era that I look back fondly on, as it was when the Stones linear movement matched by own coming of age.

There was the time when I yelled at my mother for opening my bedroom door unexpectedly, knocking a music stand on to my turntable, fatally scratching side two of Some Girls.

There was the time when my best friend and I got drunk, grabbed a few tennis rackets, and went to the Eagles Club where a weekend teenage dance was taking place. We requested a bunch of Rolling Stones songs and when they played them, we used the tennis rackets as guitars. I played Keith Richards while my best friend played Ron Wood. On the (then) recent concert film Let's Spend The Night Together.

During that movie, Ronnie Wood takes off running for some reason. He heads backstage and then comes back on stage on the other side. My friend mirrored this action by hauling ass in the middle of the dance floor at the Eagles Club, promptly running into a girl right as he was gathering a full head of steam. That was the power of "Start Me Up" workin'.

There was the slightly provocative notes that my girlfriend and I would pass each other in the halls from time to time, quoting the naughty bits on Undercover and suggesting that we would employ similar strategies.

There was the time I got really high before meeting my parents at a Rolling Stones concert (Steel Wheels tour) and then convincing them that I knew of a shortcut that would take us directly to the interstate. It was in  that state of mind when I discovered that "Frontage Road" was not a main thoroughfare that made its way through towns, but a brief access road that provided access to local businesses.

At this same show, I saw my father glare at a dude in the row ahead of us for lighting up a joint. It made me feel embarassed because, well, it's only rock and roll.

There was another Rolling Stones concert that I took a date to. I smiled at her when Mick sang "I want to fuck your sweet ass" during "Sparks Will Fly."

These are the moments that make the Ronnie Wood years full of memories, but none of them are represented in the new documentary.

Here's the spiel:

The Rolling Stones Under Review 1975-1983: The Ronnie Wood Years Part 1 
on DVD, November 20

An in-depth documentary covering the career and music of the Rolling Stones between 1975 and 1983. By the end of 1974 all was not well in the camp of the group tagged 'the greatest rock n' roll band in the world'. Their last two records had received little in the way of critical acclaim, the co-songwriters and main players had drifted far apart and in one notable quarter heroin addiction was rife. So when the man who had, for the previous five years, often been seen as the ensemble's anchor announced his resignation, many fans wondered if the game was all but up for The Rolling Stones. But those of little faith had no further need to fret once Ronald David Wood, formerly of the much loved but shambolic Faces, plugged his Fender Strat into the Stones' PA, having been offered, to rapturous acceptance, the coveted position formerly occupied by Mick Taylor, and before him, the late Brian Jones. Ronnie's arrival seemed to breathe new life into the band and their next pair of albums - the funky Black & Blue and new-wave-meets-disco Some Girls - were generally considered their best since Exile on Main Street. And as the 70s wore on and the 1980s dawned, while the records they released and the shows they played certainly had their detractors, glorious moments were always close at hand. This documentary film covers the Stones' career and music between 1975 and 1983 and includes archive and exclusive interviews, contributions from the finest experts and writers, and rare and classic footage, all soundtracked by the music that, despite it all , remained 'only rock 'n' roll..............'

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Christian Mistress - Possession

If memory serves, Girlschool was the only band of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal that featured women in the line-up.

I bring this up because you cannot get away from the fact that Olympia, Washington’s Christian Mistress conjures up the exact kind of feel that is reserved for those NWOBHM imports circa 1981 and they feature one member of the opposite sex in a role that’s typically reserved for some homely piece of sausage.

Christine Davis is the lead singer of Christian Mistress, and from now until the moment the band breaks up, you’ll always be reminded of the fact that she’s a woman in every single media mention. Those comments will usually be follow up with some passive-aggressive response on how gender doesn’t matter in genres like this.

The fact is, it does kind of matter. It’s a distraction to the band because all of that focus on Ms. Davis undermines how shit hot the band really is. The musicianship taking place behind this woman should be satisfactory enough because they’re awfully good and they staunchly adhere to the NWOBHM school of awesomeness.

Guitarists Oscar Sparbel and Ryan McClain channel the dueling guitar masters of the late 70’s/early 80’s (think Glen and KK or Adrian and Dave) with such fluidity that you’ll be looking for a Christian Mistress patch to put on your faded jean jacket, provided it still fits.

And now that I’ve already succumbed to the cheap tactic of pointing out the lack of a penis on Christine Davis, let’s be completely honest by admitting that she’s probably the weakest part of Christian Mistress’ sophomore release, Possession.

Her voice is gruff, smoky, and it offers a certain degree of novelty to the proceedings. But beyond that, her chops are pretty limited in range, becoming a bit samey after a few spins and offering little in terms of emotion. And that’s kind of important when you’re dealing with matters of possession, pentagrams and all things dark.

The production is straight-up documentary style, hinting that the members have spent a few hours in the woodshed, carving out their craft and making sure the performances are presented with legitimacy.

The lyrics provide a bit of a challenge as they try to match wits with the darkness the rest of the band’s creative fuel. Stray from the music and you’ll stumble on lines like “Eternity is a long time…but it’s all in your mind” and wonder how Christian Mistress can get away with such nonsense.

It’s the interplay between McClain and Sparbel that manages to lift Possession from the dead-weight of its own ridiculousness, providing the record with its true emotional content, its historical accuracy and ultimately, the record’s real voice.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Horrors: The Greatest Band In The World From Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I've got to profess ignorance on this band, and it pains me to do so.

A band this your own back yard...should not be overlooked.

But here I am, a decade after the fact and years since they broke up, discovering a local band that made a brief foray outside of the Iowa borders to crowds that may have actually seen some of the best rock and roll shows ever done.

There's something about primitive rock and roll that just puts anything else to shame, and that's what Cedar Rapids' The Horrors managed to do. The only proof? A collection of YouTube videos from some lone Las Vegas gig with terrible audio.

Here's what I've discovered:

They're a power trio (two guitars and one drummer). They barely tune their guitars. They got good 'n drunk. They played cranky two-an-a-half minute gems until they collapsed under their own weight. They released two albums. They split up. They deserve to be remembered forever.

Share any stories about 'em if you've seen them and encourage them to reform if you know 'em.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Burning Spear - Live In Paris Zenith '88

The song “Marcus Garvey” taken from some Island
Records compilation was my first introduction to Burning Spear, but its impact was great enough to seek out the Spear’s latest release at the time, which was the double Live In Paris Zenith ’88. The idea was that a live effort would encompass a complete career overview-which it does to an extent-but it instead only fueled a desire to seek out more Spear, specifically the highly regarded mid 70’s output released on Island.

The appeal for me is hard to explain; Winston Rodney possesses a unique voice, but certainly one that isn’t that impressive in terms of style or range. What I can tell you is that there’s something inherently honest about it. The phrasing suggests something of a higher calling at stake, which is exactly right when you consider how many mantra’s this man has devoted to his hero, Marcus Garvey, and his religion, Rastafarism.

While not as immediate as his first live release, 1977’s Live, 1988’s Live In Paris Zenith ’88 finds Rodney as more of a respected elder of reggae music, one of the last remnants of the genre’s prolific and vital watershed releases from the previous decade where everyone seemed to incorporate a reggae style in their own material, and for some, going as far as to start careers from the impact of the genre.

From day one, Burning Spear existed out of Rodney’s spirituality, and it’s still in clear focus on Live In Paris with his frequent exclamations of “Rastafarai!” and use of repeated phrasing, almost as if Rodney is trying to evoke the spirits on stage for the crowd to behold and worship.

His band is top notch, tight, and very professional, giving Rodney full reign of the stage to unleash an almost larger than life character that the French crowd seems to respect and revere based on their recorded reactions.

Live In Paris Zenith ’88 also seemed to serve as the beginning of Rodney’s resurgence (he signed to Island’s Mango subdivision afterwards and even offered a great rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “Estimated Prophet” for a Dead tribute album) which came in the wake of this notable release which earned him his third Grammy nomination.

“You cannot kill this lion!” Rodney is known to declare, and on Live in Paris Zenith ’88, he is clearly demonstrating that he is still the king of the jungle.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Make Sure To Order Your Horse Meat Before The Holiday Rush

Got up early today to catch some OT at work. It's raining in Iowa today which means our family will probably be stuck indoors all day long, except for boring errands and house cleaning.

I have obviously chose to avoid both.

I worked hard. To reward myself, I decided to post the following silly item in the area break room, known around the place as "Java Bars."

The phone number doesn't work, but I think if you change the area code to "419" it goes to a Adult Movie Theater House.

If it's too hard to read, here's a transcript:

"Succulent Tasty Horse Meat For Sale Now taking orders for this mouth-watering delicacy. Available in quantities of 10 to 50 lbs. Delivered to your home. Please call the number below to place your order today! Also available: smaller quantities of boneless donkey meat. Order before the holiday rush."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mike Watt Returns To Iowa And Tolerates Barrage Of Silly Bass Guitar Questions

Mike Watt and the Missingmen played Des Moines recently for what was the first time in decades. You'll recall my own encounter with Mike Watt during a firehose tour, but that was a while ago.

Time to let the kids have a chance with him.

While Mr. Watt was performing, I was entertaining the Mrs. with a pair of birthday tickets to Les Miserables that had us viewing all of the performer's copious amounts of saliva. The dude who played Inspector Javert had more fluids coming out of his piehole than Gene Simmons at a Kiss Kruise performance.

A younger co-worker did have the opportunity to meet up with Watt after the gig, and made enough of an impression on him to write about him on his hoot page:

"I sling and this cat recognizes "106 beats that" and he's young too, much respect. he's very cool and we talk about flannels w/his buddy, discussing what's up w/the one pocket bullshit that pretends to be the real deal. one lady writes a message on one of my hands as I sling w/the other. I read it but know it has meaning cuz she told me her brother explained everything about me to her. more than a few bass players talk w/me. much kindness here, much. I most grateful." 

And while we're talking about how cool Mike Watt is, how about a plug for his upcoming Throbblehead, He looks about a quarter-century younger and his eyes are crossed, for "effect" I guess.

MIKE WATT Throbblehead Announced Pre-orders open now, shipping late November 2012 Mike Watt, bass player and co-founder of the legendary Minutemen (along with D.Boon) and current member of The Stooges, is now available in Throbblehead form. This figure of Watt in full-on freak mode is limited to 1000 numbered units, stands at 7 inches tall, and is made of polyresin. Watt is accurately sculpted right down to his rubber faced look, plaid flannel shirt, and the andy bass. Pre-order HERE !

Thursday, October 11, 2012

King Tuff "Screaming Skull" Single And Fall Tour Info

For a moment, I was all excited when I saw the word "Rapids" and thought "Hey! King Tuff is playing Cedar Rapids!" but then I saw the word "Grand" in front of "Rapids" and realized that we'd be getting the shaft again. And that's why we call it "Cedar Crapids." And if I recall, they filmed the movie Cedar Rapids in Grand Rapids, too. Even with these disappointments, I'm still thankful that I live in Iowa. The people in Michigan kind of creep me out.

From the promotional email that was put in my junk email folder:

LA-via-Vermont garage/powerpop wunderkind King Tuff has expanded his previously announced 2012 fall & winter tour. The tour kicks-off tonight, October 11 in Detroit, MI at The Lager House and now ends on December 14 in Los Angeles at the Eagle Rock Center Fore The Arts. Additionally, King Tuff has scheduled three CMJ performances in Brooklyn, NY next week: October 18 at Sub Pop's Octrocktober showcase at the Knitting Factory (at 11:20pm); and two shows October 19, first at the Inland Empire Touring Showcase (at 7pm) and later that evening at Cheap Storage (at 12am).

SPIN included King Tuff in their "25 Must See Acts at CMJ", and said, "As King Tuff, Vermont's Kyle Thomas kicks out gold-toothed garage rock that just might out-hook Ty Segall, or at least incite a more giddy mosh pit. He fronts stoner-metal group Witch, which claims Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis as its drummer, so he's also got chops and cred for days. Abetted by his prized guitar (nicknamed "Jazijoo"), Thomas howls loud and lean about wild desire and bad things" (See Oct. 11 ) You can find a full list of tour dates below. 

In related news, King Tuff has just released "Screaming Skull" / "Love Potion", a new limited-edition 7" single this week. For the single, he presents two brand new, non-album tracks, following his critically acclaimed self-titled LP. "Screaming Skull" is a club-ready, guitar-driven dance hit, and "Love Potion" is a glammed-up rock anthem in classic King Tuff form -- track listing below (Listen to "Screaming Skull" here ).  

King Tuff has been making the news rounds lately. Pitchfork recently interviewed him for what yielded an incredibly hilarious "Guest List" feature (see Pitchfork Sep. 17 feature ). He also got to hang with Rookie Magazine, who filmed KT and his friends at the "Happiest Place on Earth" after his last show in Los Angeles. Check out the clip, with a thoughtfully placed "Unusual World" (from King Tuff) as the soundtrack

King Tuff's 
"Screaming Skull" / "Love Potion" 7" 
track listing

A-side: "Screaming Skull" 
B-Side: "Love Potion" 

Order here

Tour Dates
Oct. 11- Detroit, MI - The Larger House * 
Oct. 12- Toronto, ON – The Garrison * 
Oct. 13- Montreal QC - II Motore * 
Oct. 14 – Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle * 
Oct. 15 - Fredericton, NB - The Capital 
Oct. 16 – Halifax, NS – Reflection Cabaret 
Oct. 18 - Brooklyn, NY - CMJ @ Knitting Factory / Sub Pop showcase (11:20 pm) 
Oct. 19 - Brooklyn, NY - CMJ @ Reliquary / Inland Empire Showcase (7 pm) 
Oct. 19 - Brooklyn, NY - CMJ @ Cheap Storage (12 am) 
Oct. 20 – Providence, RI – AS220 * 
Oct. 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s *$ 
Oct. 23 – Washington, DC – Black Cat *$ 
Oct. 24 - Durham, NC – Duke Coffeehouse * 
Oct. 25 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl *# 
Oct. 26 – St. Augustine, FL – Nobby’s * 
Oct. 27 - Ybor City, FL - New World Brewery* 
Oct. 28 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub * 
Oct. 30 – Tallahassee, FL – Retrofit Records * 
Oct. 31 – Birmingham, AL – Bottle Tree *! 
Nov. 01 - New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks * 
Nov. 02 – Beaumont, TX – Victoria House * 
Nov. 03 - Austin, TX - Red 7 (Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites)* 
Nov. 04 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada * + 
Nov. 06 - Nashville, TN - Stone Fox^ 
Nov. 07 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub ^ 
Nov. 08 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean ^ 
Nov. 09 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club^ 
Nov. 10 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme ^ 
Nov. 30 - Visalia, CA - Cellar Door 
Dec. 01 - Oakland, CA - The New Parish 
Dec. 02 - Sacramento, CA - Bows & Arrows Gallery 
Dec. 04 - Nampa, ID - Flying M Coffee Garage 
Dec. 06 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile 
Dec. 07 - Vancouver, BC - Waldorf 
Dec. 08 - Olympia, WA - The Northern 
Dec. 09 - Portland, OR - The Doug Fir Lounge 
Dec. 11 - Fresno, CA - Fulton 55 
Dec. 13 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo 
Dec. 14 - Los Angeles, CA - Eagle Rock Center for the Arts 
* w/ The Intelligence 
$ w/ Poor Moon 
# w/ Mike Watt + the Missingmen 
! w/ Man or Astro-man? 
^ w/ Gap Dream 
+ w/ Natural Child, Sic Alps

Friday, October 5, 2012

Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth

To be honest, I would rather see Testament included in the “Big 4” line-up than Anthrax. The lineage is there and, most importantly, the band has parlayed its third decade into an example that even headliners Metallica should have considered well before the submission that was Death Magnetic.

But as much as I liked Testament’s The Formation Of Damnation, there’s very little on the band’s newest album in four years-Dark Roots Of Earth- that would indicate that the time in between was spent on forging ahead on lyrical matters to match the top-notch thrash delivery.

The theme of war is packed within Dark Roots Of Earth, but good luck finding anything beyond clich├ęd phrases like “sea of rage,” “crimson rain,” and “raining seas of crimson rage.” Ok, I made the last one up, but just watch Billy use it for a line in Testament’s next release.

“American Hate” sounds nothing more than a ready-made soundtrack for aggro meatsticks who view war as nothing more than video games with little consequence. The inspiration, claims vocalist Chuck Billy, came after seeing video of Middle Easterners burning the American Flag.

It would take Billy just a few seconds of research to discover the similarities between our endless occupation and that of his own well-documented Native American heritage. It’s not a matter of being on the right side of politics either, but to sum up a gut-check reaction to a video specifically choreographed to rile up Americans is just plain lazy.

Almost as embarrassing is the ballad “Cold Embrace,” which was evidently included as some kind of way to break up the record’s non-stop brutal delivery. It certainly wasn’t included to feature Billy’s thin vocal style and he sings some bullshit about a mythical sleeping beauty.

If there’s anything, or anyone, that can save Darks Roots Of Earth from the weight of its hokey hawkish celebration of war, it’s guitarist Alex Skolnick’s incredible soloing. It manages to save the record during points where you become absolutely numb to the countless mentions of “hate,” dim-witted references to “liberty” and “freedom,” and confusing allusions to the American war-machine, which seem to support and criticize it simultaneously.

Dark Roots Of Earth is a lowest-common denominator metal record that places fans in the unfortunate position of having to defend Testament’s narrow-minded jingoism instead of celebrating their unquestionable abilities as one of thrash’s elder statesmen.

On second though, let’s put Overkill on the Big 4 line-up instead.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Replacement Reunion It Isn't...But A Replacement Documentary It Is

There’s lots of rumbling today about a Replacements “reunion,” of which a covers album featuring Paul and Tommy does not make.

And don’t even think about suggesting that Slim Dunlop was anything more than a hired gun, meant to give Reprise a better return on their investment. It was their last chance at turning Westerberg into the singer/songwriter genius that he was, but didn’t ask for.

God, I miss the Mats. I really do.

But I don’t like the idea of selling me something that isn’t, especially when Paul seemed to be doing quite fine on his own, at least from a creative standpoint.

So the reports that the band is getting back together doesn’t shake me as much as this documentary about one of the Twin Cities trifecta of great bands (Huskers and, yes, Soul Asylum are the others) slated for release in November.

Collective “Aw” please, as you ready the spiel.

Color Me Obsessed, the first documentary about famed 80's indie-rock band The Replacements,will be released in a two-disc DVD set (with 6 hours of extras) on November 20 via MVD Entertainment Group.

Told through the eyes of fans, friends, and contemporaries, Color Me Obsessed breaks from the traditional music documentary format of music and performances. Not looking to make a VH1/where-are-they-now style documentary, director Gorman Bechard took a unique approach, "I decided to present the band in a more iconic way," he explains. "I thought, people believe in God without seeing or hearing him but rather through the passion, faith, and stories of others. After watching Color Me Obsessed, I'm pretty sure music fans will believe in The Replacements in much the same way." Telling the band's story was a project close to the heart for Bechard. Like many who were weaned on punk music he latched onto this brash young Minneapolis band with fervor. Dubbed "the last best band" by Spin Magazine, their live shows could be miraculous or downright disasters. Their fans, unwaveringly faithful. As critic's darlings, their albums were wrought with angry guitars and passionate well-written lyrics that hinted at potential commercial success.

Yet, somehow, the band managed to continually shoot themselves in the foot. Their relative obscurity was a motivating factor in presenting their story on film. "The Replacements should have been the next Rolling Stones," Bechard says, "And to the people who loved them, I think they were." Combining over 140 interviews with rockers (Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Tommy Ramone, Grant Hart and Greg Norton of Husker Du, all three members of Goo Goo Dolls), journalists (Robert Christgau, Legs McNeil, Ira Robbins, Greg Kot, Jim DeRogatis), and fans both famous (Tom Arnold, Dave Foley, George Wendt) and not, Bechard delivers the obsessive tale of the most influential band you've never heard of, The Replacements. And though containing not one note of their music, Color Me Obsessed is a documentary that really rocks.