Saturday, October 18, 2008

record review: Oasis- Dig Out Your Soul

it was deleted, thank goodness I've started saving my stuff on my computer. here's the review, without mp3s so that it won't be removed.

Return to form, return to form, return to form. You hear that a lot when it comes to big bands making big comebacks. The thing is, though, Oasis didn’t slip up on their last record, if anything, Don’t Believe the Truth was a return to form after Heathen Chemistry. One thing that is true of their new record, Dig Out Your Soul, is that it is really different. The sound is stripped down, and Noel came through with his promise of a less mainstream record. If this album was released by a band NOT Oasis, people would love its powerful sound and innovative approach. In an age where most bands are so obsessed with sounding pretty, Oasis reject this and deliver songs that blow away your preconceived notions of what they sound like (the softness of Wonderwall, Champagne Supernova etc etc). From the angry guitars “Waiting for the Rupture” to the delightfully experimental "To Be Where There's Life", this record has an eclectic mix which juxtaposes old sounds with new.

The verdict: it is one of the best things that Oasis have released since their phenomenal debut, Definitely Maybe. Oasis are one of the world’s biggest bands, and with good reason. Dig Out Your Soul cements this title. They (mainly Noel) have every right to run off their mouths (see for MANY examples...) because they continue to grace us with new music. Oasis have never been and never will be static, but will always be somewhat relevant in the music world. They've been a band for 17 years, so they kind of know what they're doing. As Liam sings in “The Shock of Lightning: “all in good time…” 4/5

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Albert Hammond Jr records live Lillywhite Sessions

listen HERE

it's so good! does anybody have any idea how to convert streaming sound into mp3s? that's a skill which I NEED to acquire and it would be great for these purposes, I would love these on my mp3 player.

the set includes:

"Miss Myrtle"
"Victory at Monterey"

as well as some miscellaneous interview stuff in between songs.

Albert Hammond Jr - Scared [mp3]

Dead Confederate on Conan

this is one of the best Conan performances that I have ever seen. I really like this band a lot, sadly, though, I can't see them on their current tour because they're playing a 21+ venue in SF. I really need a fake ID, not for booze but for shows.

anyhow, enjoy:

Dead Confederate - Get Out [mp3]

and, just for good measure:

damn good performance =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

concert review: Poor Bailey, WILD SWEET ORANGE, Audrye Sessions

you know those rare, perfect concerts? you know, the ones where even the opening bands blow you away? where all of the musicians are collaborating with one another (opening act with main headliner etc etc) and having a great time? that was the case of GAMH's show last night. as 2 of the bands are from the Bay Area, live 105 sponsored the concert, lowering the cost of admission to a mere dollar.

There was magic in the air, and I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with Elliott Smith (RIP). His spirit was with us. Poor Bailey obviously worships him, Wild Sweet orange played a song of theirs called "Either/Or" (also the name of an Elliott Smith record, and a damn good one at that) and Audrye Sessions...well, keep reading to find out what their amazing tribute to Mr. Smith was.

The first act was called Poor Bailey; basically, this guy was in a band that was later broken apart because of relationship issues (he was dating the girl he used to collaborate with and then it went badly...) anyhow, he’s just a solo artist now. And he’s doing a fine job at it. His range is excellent, mixing a very distinctive voice, Elliott Smith influenced songwriting (that is VERY obvious) and guitars that sound like something out of a Matt Costa record. Midway through the set, he invited Ryan (Audrye Sessions’ lead singer) up and they collaborated on a pretty, slow, acoustic number. The contrast of their voices was striking: Ryan’s is very high whereas Poor Bailey ranged from a tenor to a scratchy pseudo-baritone. He mentioned how his first concert was at GAMH, seeing John Stewart (the musician) and how he was honored to be on the same stage that Elliott Smith once played on (he was lucky enough to see that concert as well). He concluded his set with an anthem which declared “leave me alone, psycho bitch”, ending his somewhat dreary string of songs with a forceful declaration of independence.

The verdict: 3.75/5

Wild Sweet Orange: the lead singer wanted it made clear that their band name has a singular unit of citrus, not plural. Orange. One. Communal. Yeah.
This PHENOMENAL band hails from Birmingham, Alabama. He told the audience that he believed that we are a generation that can and will change the world. Their debut is appropriately named “We Have Cause To Be Uneasy”. I fell in love instantaneously with their fantastic, original sound: think Sigur Ros meets Lynard Skynard. Yeah, I know, a WEIRD combo, but did you ever think of how cool it would be to have an American Radiohead? Well, I dare say it: this band has a lot more talent than Radiohead does. I mean, ok I will not discount the brilliance of Thom Yorke and co, but it’s really nice to see that you can get that awesome transcendental feel from an obscure indie band. I was SO tempted to pull out my pipe, but I told myself NO, I must be sober to experience them for the first time. Once I get some reading done, I will light up and crack their record on the old turn table. Expect a record review in the near future. Let me just say this: it was released on the same day as Vampire Weekend’s debut and it is SO MUCH BETTER. I wish I had been listening to this band since January. Well, I’ve gotta make up for lost time…I was worried that their recorded stuff wouldn't emulate the perfection of their live sound, and I was right. Their record is amazing, but nowhere near as good as what they sound like in person. Watch the video below to get a taste:

The verdict: 5+/5. hello new favourite band. or at least musical obsession for at least a few months. nobody will ever replace The Strokes as my favourite band...

Now, by the time that headliners Audrye Sessions came along, I was just about all done for. The concert just couldn’t get better in my opinion. Audrye Sessions simply perpetuated the ABSOLUTE PERFECTION that Wild Sweet Orange began. They played a fantastic set, and sporadically invited different musicians to play with them: at one point there were 11 people on stage from a trombone player to a cellist to a bunch of guitarists (Poor Bailey actually came up again, which was pretty cool). I nearly cried when Ryan sang “Waltz #2” as the first encore song. I never hear covers of my favourite Elliot Smith song, and let’s put it simply: Ryan did the song SO much justice. If AS’ music was a drug, it would be one of those which just made you feel good in your skin (heroin, etc) while also sustaining an out of body experience. I kept thinking that this band couldn’t possibly be from Earth. The Radiohead parallels are uncanny: their live set is ass-kickingly good, but you SWAY to it, not mosh.

Set list:

Turn Me Off
The Crows Came In
(piano interlude by Dustin)
(early in the morning reverse sample)
Perfect Sometimes
New Years Day
Relentless (cello and violin)
Where You’ll Find Me (extra horns and glocks)

Waltz #2 (solo)
Nothing Pure Can Stay

The verdict: 4.95/5

and now for some mp3s. download them all, but be sure to download the Wild Sweet Orange songs. they are amazing.

Poor Bailey - Mary Lee, My One and Only [mp3]

Wild Sweet Orange - House of Regret [mp3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

if you want to hear their defining sound that combines crazy good guitar riffs with a pretty Radiohead like sound, look no further. if you're only going to download one song, make it this one.

Wild Sweet Orange - Either/Or [mp3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! ]

Wild Sweet Orange - Ten Dead Dogs [mp3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Wild Sweet Orange - Aretha's Gold [mp3, EXTRA HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Audrye Sessions - Turn Me Off [mp3]

Audrye Sessions - Waltz #2 (XO) (Elliott Smith cover) [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Audrye Sessions - Perfect Sometimes [mp3]

please please please support these phenomenal bands by going to shows and buying music. last night's concert was one of the best of my life. here are some remaining Audrye Sessions tour dates

3-Oct Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep
5-Oct Chicago, IL Schubas (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
7-Oct Denver, CO The Soiled Dove (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
8-Oct pending pending
9-Oct Boise, ID Neurolux (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
11-Oct Portland, OR Someday Lounge (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
12-Oct Seattle, WA Tractor Tavern (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
14-Oct San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall (w/Wild Sweet
15-Oct Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
16-Oct Los Angeles, CA Hotel Cafe
19-Oct Wichita, KS The Murdock Theater (w/Wild Sweet Orange)
20-Oct Aimes, IA Maintenance Shop
21-Oct Cleveland OH Agora Ballroom
22-Oct NYC, NY Bowery Ballroom (CMJ)
25-Oct Watertown, NY Velocity
26-Oct Lansing, MI Mac's Bar
27-Oct Columbus, OH The Basement
28-Oct Mt. Vernon, IL The Living Room
15-Nov Tinley Park, IL Mojoe's Rock House
16-Nov Lakewood, OH Hi-Fi Club
18-Nov Buffalo, NY Xtreme Wheels
19-Nov Altoona, PA Jaggard Umc
20-Nov Hartford, CT Webster Underground
21-Nov Albany, NY Valentine's
22-Nov Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock Café
23-Nov Poughkeepsie, NY Platinum Lounge
25-Nov Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
26-Nov Philadelphia, PA The Khyber

visit the bands on MYSPACE to listen to more tunes and stuff:

Poor Bailey

Wild Sweet Orange

Audrye Sessions

pictures, pictures everywhere

here are some concert photos, long over due I know.

the Spoon Fillmore show from September:

The Heavenly States (opening band)


set list:

fan who composed the set list:


Black Kids:

with Donald =)

with Nick =)

with Eric =)

with the other Nick =)

Nick's drawing of the monster =)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

concert review: THE VIRGINS (yay!) and Black Kids (meh) + interview

Black Kids played at SF’s GAMH last night. The highlights of their set were “Partie Traumatic”, which they rendered really well, the powerful voices of their two backup female vocalists, and their lead singer’s superb dance skills. All in all, it’s safe to say that OPENING BAND THE VIRGINS (who enticed me to go to the show in the first place) blew them out of the water. Black Kids’ drummer was good, but Eric gave him a run for his money.

It was just kind of disheartened that the audience wasn’t getting into the Black Kids. They do, after all, make dance music, and only a couple of people (myself included) were dancing. The bright lights and band members’ dancing didn’t do enough to warrant a good show. I think that the Black Kids are a band that gets a lot of their energy from the audience, and although it’s OBVIOUS that they’re trying not to suck, it’s an uphill battle. Clear skies lie ahead though, so stick it out guys.

Anyhow, now to the good part of the review: The Virgins. They opened up their spectacular (but unfortunately short, “strictly 30 minute”, as Eric said) set with “Private Affair.” Lead singer Donald surprised me by actually singing all of the really high falsetto notes, including the beginning of “One Week of Danger”, which I hadn’t realized was HIM singing on the record. Midway through the set, they were about to cover a song (which I later found out was going to be “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris), but they collectively decided against it (I think bassist Nick had something to do with the decision). They promised to play it when they roll back into the city in December, however, and that gives me something to look forward to. Instead, Donald said “here’s a slow song for you” and took over Paul’s guitar obligations as they played “Fernando Pando”.

After the show, I caught up with the band and asked them some questions. They were all ridiculously friendly, and Donald was super polite and genuinely grateful when I told him that I adore his band.

When I asked newly added guitarist Paul where his crazy counterpart was, he replied “oh, Wade’s probably already passed out in the van already”

me: were any of you guys actually virgins when you started the band?
Donald: *chuckles* no.

me: what do you guys make of the abundance of references to The Strokes? They’re my favourite band, for the record.
Eric: Well, we’re flattered. They are a great band, a lot of fun to listen to. But we don’t try to sound like them or anything…
me: I know. By references I meant:
Eric: We’re both from NY…
me: You both make ridiculously good music. Incredible sync. You guys are quite popular and your fan base is growing exponentially. You had a stellar EP followed by an even stronger debut.
Eric: yeah, ok. We just wanted to make a good pop record, y’know? Something that you could put on and just listen to, like a party.
me: yeah: “cocaine brunch.” Those lyrics, man! Crazy! Did Donald write them?
Eric: oh yeah. That’s Donald, man, that’s his poetry.
me: does he write all of the music as well?
Eric: Yeah, but we all add on to it. You have to feel it, y’know? We’re really nitpicky about our music. Like even now, we get on each other’s cases: “we could have done better.” There’s always room for improvement.
me: why did you guys change “Rich Girls” on the record?
Eric: well, we changed the other songs as well. An EP is like, it’s just a demo you know? Just your stuff thrown together. The record is more…
me: polished?
Eric: kind of…more like a…
me: used gum wrapper? (as I point to their cover art)
Eric: haha, yeah sure.

me: why do you have a compass tattooed on your arm?
Eric: I was downtown (NYC) with a friend one day and I picked up a book and there it was. This incredible gold emblem on the cover
me: cool! Do you by any chance remember the book?
Eric: yeah, it was called The US Book of Maps. Super official and stuff.

me: are you one of those drummers who constantly drums with his fingers? Like tapping everything and what not?
Eric: kind of…I mostly use my teeth. I construct all of my beats with my teeth.
me: um, does your dentist approve?
Eric: you know, now that you mention it, I haven’t been to the dentist in a long time. That appointment needs to happen.

me: I adore you. Seriously, I fawn over your brilliance
Nick: well, that’s bound to happen when, well you know *points to self*
me: *laughing*
Nick: I’m just kidding
me: no you’re not

when Nick signed my CD, he made a cloud around his name which I thought looked like a sheep. He then proceeded to add on to it until it looked like an actual sheep, and then drew a monster with male genitalia on another fan’s arm. Twas highly amusing. He inadvertently stole my sharpie, but I totally forgave him for it. In addition to being the most talented of the band (sorry guys, I do love you all but hello his bass playing just makes me HAPPY), he is also the most attractive. A girl can dream, right?

Their manager and self-proclaimed bitch Nick told me to delete the picture of him that I took. I refused. “You won’t find pictures of me on the internet,” he said. “yeah, you guys are impossible to locate online,” I replied. Eric laughed. “Yeah, google images is loaded with pictures of naked virgins, man” he said. “People love that shit.”

To sum it up, the mark of how good the Virgins were was the fact that I was listening to their record (and simultaneously hearing their live versions of it in my head) on the train ride home. That rarely ever happens. Actually, never. This band kicks so much ass.

I hate my SD card reader, it won’t work. I’ll find my camera cable later, and upload pictures.

Set lists:

The Virgins:

Private Affair
Radio Christine
Teen Lovers
One Week of Danger
Fernando Pando [mp3, album version]
She’s Expensive
Hey Hey Girl [definitely the best of the set. I almost died.]
Rich Girls

No encore :(

Black Kids:

Look at Me When I Rock Wichoo
Hit the Heartbrakes
Partie Traumatic [mp3 album version]
I’ve Underestimated My Charm
Listen to Your Body Tonight
I Wanna be Your Limousine
Love Me Already
My Christian Name (new song)
Strange (new song)
I’m Making Eyes at You
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

You Only Call Me When You’re Crying
Hurricane Jane

the verdict:

The Virgins: 4.5/5
Black Kids: 2.75/5

the good news is that The Virgins will be headlining a small tour when they finish up with the Black Kids. Stay Tuned, I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Morning Covers

today, I will dedicate SMC to The Kooks. The Kooks are one of my favourite bands and I think that it's atrocious that the media built them up and then shot them down. They are an excellent band, and quite good live too. Both of their records are really good, the second one faltered a bit but it's still sold. They do excellent covers, behold them below:

The Kooks - All that she wants (ace of bace cover) [mp3]

The Kooks - Crazy (gnarls barkley cover) [mp3]

The Kooks - Violet Hill (coldplay cover) [mp3]

The Kooks - Kids (mgmt cover) [mp3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

The Kooks - Young Folks (peter bjorn and john cover) [mp3 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

and, BONUS:

Lily Allen - Naive (the kooks cover) [mp3]