Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Walkmen cover "Holiday Road"
CB...wasn't this your ringtone (in addition to the Benny-Hill theme)? So awesome. Enjoy.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I dreamed this day would come. This album anniversary tour thing seems to be the trend these days. I feel like the Pixies started it off with the Doolittle tour or Sonic Youth with Daydream Nation then the Flaming Lips, MMJ, Weezer and others followed.
When I first heard Thursdays Full Collapse it was a style like nothing had ever heard. The term "screamo" gets tossed around and stuck to tons MTV friendly bands these days but Thursday was the originator...and it was done well. At least for Full Collapse. I liked hardcore...I liked melodic punk...I liked hard rock...these guys combined the three in a way that wasn't prevalent amongst any bands back in 2001. Please pickup this album if you like hardcore rock and roll. The later albums were decent...but nothing could ever compare to Full Collapse. Its been a constant listen among my collection over the past 10 years. Can't wait to see this live.
They are also sharing this tour with Underoath...another great hardcore screamer...I think they are a christian band? Serious. I have a few of their albums...pretty intense.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Pavement has been one of those very impactful bands in terms of my young adult life. The first album I heard was Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain during my freshman year of highschool via my good buddy Matt. He would throw it in on our drive to lacrosse practice (so suburbs). I was immediately hooked, buying up any/all recordings and seeking out shows. Pavement was very obscure for the time (early/mid 90s) even falling out of the grunge and emerging indie scene. For Matt and I and a few of our friends Pavement was a band that fit our personality, the lyrics were ridiculous and the music was chaotic but so unique. We would be the rebels and throw them in at high-school parties when no one was looking and belt out the lyrics and blast them from our shitty cars while driving down to the beach over the summer. I have so many great memories of driving from the burbs and into Philly seeing Pavement multiple times at the Trocadero. Getting so pumped that before the encore I had to go into the bathroom and suck on the faucet as to not pass-out from exhaustion. I remember seeing them at Lollapalooza ‘95, the WDRE Fest in Camden etc. Its just one of those bands that stuck with me and brings back so many great memories.
I continued to listen Pavement all throughout college. They eventually broke-up right before I moved to NYC and right after the Terror Twilight tour ended. I was it a bit of a transition period so I missed that tour. I made every other since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The catalyst for the break-up is debatable but seemed to center around front man Stephen Malkmus’s desire to pursue a solo career. Seeing Malkmus over the years was great too as he has a solid band but just hearing his voice and guitar reminded me of Pavement. The past decade there have been rumors upon rumors of a Pavement reunion tour. This time last year the dream came true. The first show scheduled was in NYC at Central Park Summerstage…then there were three more…then it became a world tour. I jumped on tickets for Philly and Brooklyn. I had tickets for Central Park but had to bail last minute due to adult/work-stuff. The Philly and Brooklyn shows were phenomenal. Here are the set-lists and some pics. Take a guess which ones were taken from a pro vs me and my buds. Hmm?
Philly – The Mann Music Center 9/17/10
2.Cut Your Hair
5.Elevate Me Later
8.Starlings of the Slipstream
11.Fight This Generation
14.Spit on a Stranger
17.In the Mouth a Desert
18.Conduit for Sale!
20.Rattled By The Rush
22.Date w/ IKEA
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - The Waterfront 9/19/10
1.Cut Your Hair
2.Date w/ Ikea
3.Rattled By The Rush
4.Elevate Me Later
10.Fight This Generation
15.Father to a Sister of Thought
16.Heckler / In the Mouth a Desert
18.Summer Babe (Winter Version)
21.Spit on a Stranger
22.Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17
23.Starlings of the Slipstream
They played every track I wanted to hear...except for Debris Slide which I found out later that they played it in CP...so pissed. Box Elder was the suprise highlight for me as I don't remember them playing that in highschool or college.
All said both shows were insanely good. The Philly show I thought was better played (something was off for a few of the BK songs) and held a special place for me given I experienced it with friends that grew up with the band with along side me. Brooklyn was equally sentimental as I rocked along with my sister who is always there to dance with me even when lame NYC crowds wont. The bands we've seen together over the years I cant even begin to count. Another "point of reflection" is that my first NYC apartment was in Williamsburg not too far from where Pavement took the stage...really hit me how much has changed in both the neighborhood and for me personally in the past 10 years or so. Sad sappy sucker.
While new recordings from Pavement are extremely doubtful and a reunion tour in 2020 would be even more doubtful, I was glad to be transported back to the alt-rock 90's...if only for a few nights.
The lyrics to Range Life really sum it up nicely. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
"The power lines have floaters so the airplanes won't get smashed..."
The Walkmen cover R.E.M.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Me: “Hi guys. I’m Tom (shaking hands) Great show. I’ve been a huge fan since day one”
Sam & Janet: “Thank you. That’s great. Thanks”
Then I walk back over to the bar....
I didn’t get the vibe that they were pissed I stole the setlist but rather that I was STILL TALKING TO THEM. At one point I turned to Janet and was like “Brownies…you remember Brownies?” She was visibly irritated and replied “Of course I remember Brownies man. C’mon” (exact quote could be exaggerated). The conversation then pretty much came to an awkward end and we walked back to the bar.
All-and-all this was phenomenal show that was intense and brought me back into the Quasi die-hard fan club. Not only did I get to enjoy their music but I also got a chance to share a piece of my life/music history with them via face to face conversation (which is extremely rare). Whether they enjoyed the stories or not (leaning towards not) it was pretty amazing to actually explain to them how they played a significant role in many of my more prominent/positive rock and roll memories. "Boom"
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Charlatans UK (http://www.thecharlatans.net/) is one of my favorite brit pop bands of all time. Ask any of my friends growing up and they would tell you I was an avid fan through the 90s until present day. I was even a subscriber to their fanzine "109". I still have a copy. Albums like Up To Our Hips or Between 10th and 11th are monumental in sound and songwriting in my opinion. The b-sides I would pick up off singles were just as good. In fact...many of these tracks were much better in respect to the album single they were released with. I remember Repo Records in Ardmore PA would be chock full of these "imports" when I was a teen....ahh those were the days.
Like other bands (Stereolab, Alice In Chains etc) when a key member of the group dies...a good bulk of the fanbase dies with he/she. The sound just doesn't seem the same. This was the case for the Charlatans. Rob Collins, the keyboard player, passed away via car accident in the mid 90s. The sound Rob achieved with the organ/piano/synths had a lot to do with why the Charlatans were so unique in sound in relation to the other brit rock acts around at the time (Blur, Suede etc). That all said I pretty much stopped listening to the Charlatans after Robs death. Telling Stories was the last album I purchased (a great album despite Robs absence). I read reviews from time to time of the more recent "post Rob" albums and they always got satisfactory to poor marks. I should know better than to trust the critics but I just lost interest.
More recently I was watching a program called London Live around xmas which features live British rock acts with accompanying interviews. This particular program happened to feature the Charlatans...present day Charlatans. The tracks they played were mostly from the albums that I knew and they sounded great...like they didn't skip a beat. The band (fronted by Tim Burgess) didn't appear too weathered either. It made me think...man I hope they come to the US and play a few shows. Sure enough last year I thought my dream was realized...then blown to bits when they cancelled. Then I see this latest news bit.
I'm excited for the NYC show but a little disappointed about the Philly show for a few reasons. First, I live in NYC now so I can't make it to a weekday show in Philly (unless it was a Minor Threat reunion or Fugazi show). Secondly, they are playing at Johnny Brendas. Ive seen a few bands at Johnny Brendas. Its a very small venue. Its one of those bitter-sweet deals in that you would love to see them at an intimate venue...but you feel bad that the band couldn't book a larger space. I felt this way when I saw Gene at the Mercury Lounge in NY back in the day or more recently Sloan (which could sell out huge venues in Canada) at the North Star Bar in Philly.
I guess its just a fact that I'm getting older and some of the bands from the 90s/early 00s that I love may have faded from the spotlight a bit. HOWEVER, I would much rather go see one of my favorite bands at the Bowery Ballroom or Johnny Brendas than MSG or Wachovia Center...Weezer, DCFC, Radiohead, Metallica Im looking in your direction.
Anywho, seeing The Charlatans UK at a place like Johnny Brendas would be like having them play in your buddy's basement...anyone who can make that show please do.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Mates of State released their latest record Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) today and you can get it for cheapskis as Amazons "Daily Deal" for $2.99. You can get there directly from http://www.matesofstate.com/.
Here is the track list and corresponding artists. Some great picks....
1. Laura (Girls)
2. Son et Lumiere (The Mars Volta)
3. Sleep the Clock Around (Belle & Sebastian)
4. Technicolor Girls (Death Cab for Cutie)
5. Long Way Home (Tom Waits
6. Love Letter (Nick Cave)
7. Second Hand News (Fleetwood Mac)
8. 17 Pink Sugar Elephants (Vashti Bunyan)
9. Roller Coaster Ride (Dear Nora)
10. True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston)
You'll notice that they cover Belle & Sebastian's Sleep Around the Clock as well as Dear Nora's Rollercoaster Ride...which is the title of a track on Belle & Sebastian's The Boy With The Arab Strap. Sadly these are two completely different songs. Not "sadly" is that they are both excellent songs in their own right. Wow...that was some meaningless/buzkill-esque info there. Lo siento. Been a long day.
Mates of state is one of my favorite bands of all time ever since I saw/heard them for the first time live opening up for Beulah @ The Khyber in Philly...many...many years ago. I can not f-in wait to see these covers live this summer when they're on tour.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Not bad. Not bad at all. This is the first new song from Blur in 7 years! Fools Day was the single they released as a 7" in the UK for "record store day" that sold out almost immediately. I was bummed but (thanks to a heads up from my buddy Steve) I found out the band wanted everyone to have access to the single so they just released a free download. Go to http://www.blur.co.uk/ to get the free download (MP3 or WAV).
Blur frontman Damon Albarn was interviewed recently and said that they aren't planning on touring again or recording a new album any time soon given the lack of material and all of the work he is doing with Gorillaz (plus the 1000 other side-projects he is involved in). However, he did say that Blur will record some more singles to be released in the near future. I'll take it. It's so good to hear a new song from one of my favorite bands of all time (I know...I say that to all of the bands). Enjoy.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Umm Ted Leo + Surfer Blood = I'll see you in Coney Island on 7/17.
Matt & Kim should be solid live as well...although I was hoping to see them for the first time in a smaller venue like The Troc or Bowery Ballroom rather then an outdoor show. Wait...whats that? It's still free? Yes...yes I will shaddup. I'm not a huge fan of indie press darlings Pains of Being Pure at Heart but seeing them live should be interesting.
I've been to almost all of the Siren Festivals since its inception in 2001. If you can shake off your hangover from the night before and brave the long subway ride and the heat...every year its hot as all hell.....then this is an experience you need to have. The sound always sucks but its Coney Island for gods sake. Beers on the boardwalk, corndogs, THE CYCLONE, vomiting from the beer, corndogs and Cyclone. Man I love Coney Island...however I'm really nervous to see what they've done with some of the old time amusements to make way for the "revitalization" of the area. I'm glad they kept The Cyclone...hell of a ride. You feel like a kid afterwards exclaiming "lets do it again! Again!"...then you puke.
Some of the more notable bands that come to my mind from the past Siren Festivals I've attended include Sleater Kinney, Quasi, The Shins, Liars, Trail of Dead (drunk per usual), Superchunk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Q and Not U, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rainer Maria, We Are Scientists...off the top of my head. The top slots/headliners we usually didn't stick around for because (A) we were exhausted and (B) you don't want to hang out in Coney Island after the sun goes down. "Dicey"
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I'll have some new posts in the coming weeks. Might have some show reviews as I will be pulling a "double-header" in checking out one of my favorite bands, The Thermals, in Brooklyn (Bklyn Bowl) tonight and tomorrow night then checking out Quasi at Johnny Brenda's in Philly on Friday. I also picked up the new Ted Leo and Miles Kurosky albums (which are SOLID) so I will try to get those reviews up as well.
Enjoy the spring weather kiddos (excluding Icelanders).
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
From the first track Floating Vibes I was immediately transported back into to early 90's. I thought "hmm...Sonic Youth? Dinosaur Jr?". That's not to say their sound isn't unique or dated. I believe Astro Coast is a pioneering record but certain chord progressions and song structures overall remind me of tracks from indie bands I was listening to in high-school/early college. There are songs like Slow Jabroni that start out broken and slow then (around the 3:40 mark) transform into a heavenly/mesmerizing/bob-your-head-slowly straight rock jam that tend to remind me of tracks indicative of early indie albums. So freaking good no matter how you categorize. However there are some more recent influences that can be heard as well.
There's some Sonic Youth, Sugar, Shins, Hum, Autolux, Archers of Loaf, Cribs, Superchunk, Cursive...hell even some quick Vampire Weekend (Take it Easy) and Fugazi (intro to Anchorage) sounding portions that are in there. Again, this is my interpretation. There are so many I cannot pinpoint. I welcome comments (as always) in regards to to some bands I haven't thought of. I feel like I'm missing a few.
Vocally they are relatively unchallenged but for some reason I hear a Tim Kasher (Cursive) or Ryan Jarman (The Cribs) similarity in a lot of the songs. Specifically with Swim that screamed "Ryan Jarman" and Harmonix that could have been a track on any Cursive record (skewing towards the more recent). The lyrics themselves are solid. They aren't too complex and have certain lines that jump out at you....specifically on Anchorage, Twin Peaks and Catholic Pagans.
I also will NOT note some of my "favorite tracks" as every single song is amazing from #1 to #10. I've had this album on repeat for weeks now. Please, please pick up this record.
BOLD STATEMENT ALERT! There are a ton of new albums that have come out and are scheduled to come out in 2010 however I do not see Surfer Blood Astro Coast leaving my #1 album of the year designation any time soon. Prove me wrong Thermals, Band of Horses, New Pornographers, Interpol, B&S etc....
Live performances (via their MySpace page)
Video for Swim
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I went to the show with my cousin Danny who lives in Boston and a buddy of his. Danny's "show buddy" as we like to call it (Chris Budz & Cathy are my Philly equivalents as Scotty, Horton & Tarik are my NYC compadres...and Danny most times). The show was at the Middle East club in Cambridge Mass which is just over the river from the city of Boston. I'm not sure if it is zoned as Boston proper but I'll just refer to it as Boston to make things easier (less letters to type). Cambridge is the home of Harvard and a Saucony outlet store (cheap Jazz kicks). When I saw on Fucked-Ups tour schedule in the fall that they were playing a Saturday at the Middle East (which I've never been to) and with Kurt Vile (who I don't know much about other than he is from my hometown) I knew we had to make this happen. Seeing as I hadn't visited Danny in 5 years it made it all the more pressing.
Now I've seen Fucked-Up before in Philly at the "intimate" Northern Liberties Club - Kung Fu Necktie. I wont rehash the experience but check the link from a prior post - http://cugerock.blogspot.com/2009/01/fucked-up-pissed-jeans-kung-fu-necktie.html
The Middle East is a significantly larger club than KFN. That said I thought there was no way I would see lead vocalist Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham take the "liberties" with the space/crowd/mic-cord that I saw in Philly. I was pleasantly mistaken. More about that later.
While we were checking coats (so punk rock) I noticed Damian just hanging out by the merch table. I had a few beers in me so I thought I would go talk to him. I introduced myself, gushed like I was meeting the hardcore equivalent of the Jonas Brothers and he was mega cool and very appreciative. I then asked him if he remembered the KFN show last year, more specifically, when he poured hot candlewax on is fat chubby chest while standing on top of the bar. His reply (laughing) "Hahah ooooh yeah...it didn't hurt that bad cause I was sweating so much". True Champion.
Kurt Vile opened up to a crowd that was literally shaking in anticipation for Fucked Up. I've never heard his music before but read up that it was alt-rock/folk-ish. To anyone who didn't know that FU & Kurt were Matador labelmates then this would have been viewed as an odd paring. He played ok. He had no drummer and just a rhythm guitarist to join him. His voice is solid and the tracks he played were pretty good. I'd mos def like to catch him again with a full backing band. The crowd was very respectful despite the headliner. Any women that were currently at the venue were long gone after he finished. I honestly could count the number of girls present for FU on one hand...and one of them is in the band.
So Fucked Up takes the stage. I think they opened with Son the Father but who the hell knows. The loud opening chords just placed the whole place on fire. The "pit" immediately formed and expanded, with the edge a few people in front of us. We all had our forearms out to block any stray moshers. We were Id say 1/3 of the way back from the stage-left (close to the bar). I couldn't locate the set list online but here is one from 6 days later at a Toronto show:
1.Son the Father
3.David Comes to Life
4.Days of Last
7.The Two Snakes
10.Black Albino Bones
12.Baiting the Public
13.The Chemistry of Common Life
14.Bodies (Sex Pistols cover)
Since before the last show I had only heard the latest FU full length, Chemistry of Common Life, I made sure I bought the singles collection recently released (Couple Tracks 2002-2009).
Basically a compilation of 7-inches. If you want a taste of how good this compilation is then I suggest you download Black Hats. So good I kept yelling it out to Damian in hopes that they'd play it...no dice.
Fucked Up is unique as they are by all means a "modern-hardcore" outfit, yet the music has more rhythm/layers to it which isn't hardcore standard (remember when Helmet came on the scene?). Maybe that is why FU are Pitchfork darlings but I think its more of the band make-up, Damian's personality on/off stage and his willingness to collaborate with just about anyone. Oh and they won Canada's Polaris Music Prize.
The crowd was going absolutely nuts including myself. I didn't think it was physically possible for Damian to get off-stage and into the crowd. I even said to Danny "There's nooooo way he can get on top of either bars" (there was one a few steps up stage-right and one on the floor a few feet from us). Minutes after I make this prediction I look on stage and he's no where to be found (still screaming lyrics mind you) but I look left and sure enough he's on top of the bar, then back on stage, then back on the bar, then on the floor where we were (patrons supporting the mic-cord over their heads), then up on the bar (next to a disco ball oddly enough - here is what I captured from my Blackberry shit-camera)...then he jumped off and fell down on the floor in front of us so we picked his sweaty ass up. The whole time the band continues to look forward and belt off the music like "ho-hum...classic Damian". Might I also add that the band was SO TIGHT (Danny can back me up on this). The only distortion I sensed was in Damian's voice ...which was normal.
Easily one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Such a positive show which reminds me why I love music so much and how live music can be so therapeutic in so many ways. Not one douchebag in the crowd. All participants were just amped on a Saturday night to see one of the most energetic live band performances out there.
The Aftermath: The next day, not only was I hungover but my voice was shot from screaming and my muscles ached from "dancing". Soooooooo worth it. As I noted prior, this show reminded me that I would definitely never be 22 again...but a decade older...I can still slam with the best of em. Age is merely a number my friends. Thanks Advil.
CUGEROCK BONUS: To get an idea of the live Fucked-Up show experience, here is a short film from Ray Concepcion which completely captures the spectators view. A "couple tracks". Enjoy.