Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mates of State Live on Letterman - "Palomino" (10/10/11)

A little late on this post but I was watching this again and forgot how kickass this performance was. Pretty sure this was their first network TV appearance but prove me wrong Cugerockers. Best albums of 2011 coming soon. Happy Holidays!

 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! No tricks, all treats.

Treat #1 - Superchunk covers The Misfits Where Eagles Dare available for download for Halloween

http://www.superchunk.com/mp3/Superchunk-WhereEaglesDare.mp3

Treat #2 - Danzing/Samhain/Misfits (Glen and Doyle) video of the Danzig Legacy live show in Chicago on 10/7 (full hourlong show) Amazing. Also amazing that I learned about the 10/29 NYC show too late. Hellfire.

Thanks BrooklynVegan for the links.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Summer Album Reviews: "Comin Atchya"


Hey kiddos. I've been meaning to roll out a number of album reviews over the summer but got a little sidetracked...sidetracked meaning I got engaged (roaring applause). Godblessher. That all said I figured I'd combine all of the reviews into a very truncated format with some videos to boot. Enjoy.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: Mirror Traffic
Excellent record. Concise and catchy tracks. No long ass jams seen in previous albums. Similar to Pig Lib.



The Joy Formidable: The Big Roar
One of my favorite new bands. I saw them perform Austere on Subterranean. Then the same track live on Conan. I proceeded to but their latest EP and Album (a few overlapping tracks). I'd really like to see them live. They were insane on Conan and I've only read solid reviews of their live shows.



Fucked Up: David Comes To Life
My first summer album pick-up which was highly anticipated as I'm a huge Fucked-Up fan. The album is over an hour long. Its a rock opera of sorts but don't let that throw you off. Its amazing and I'm as jaded as they come. If you've never heard Fucked-Up before then this may be an acquired taste or total distaste (you can hear the hardcore roots in Damians voice). All of the tracks are solid but songs like A Little Death and The Other Shoe come to the top. Madeleine Follin (Cults...see below) guest vocals on The Other Shoe and a few other tracks I believe. All in all a great evolution for this band but not too evolved (see my MoS comment)



The Rapture : In the Grace of Your Love
A few mediocre tracks. I wish they would bring back their early/more rockin style on previous records or at least reminiscent of dance/punk Echoes (which is one the top albums of all time). Its like they lost their drive. Very disappointed.

Wild Flag: Wild Flag
Top notch super group of riot gals who pushed out a equally top notch album. Great to hear Carrie wail while Janet pounds the skins again. Mega pumped to see them in a few weeks.



Mates of State: Mountaintops
I love these guys. Always have. They also seem like a cool couple that I would totally be BFFs with but why oh why cant they bring back the organ more. We need another Team Boo. Don't get me wrong. The album is high energy and pop-tastic but I just wish bands would stop experimenting and go back to the sound that built their fanbase.



Cults: Cults
Saw a video for Go Outside on MTV2 (below) and noticed that it starred that douchey character that was on Scrubs - The New Class (or whatever they called it). That realization quickly faded as I listened to the song. Incredible. So I bought the album. Very good dreamy pop. An easy listen like that Best Coast record but not something on repeat at the moment.



Washed Out: Within and Without
Once I heard that Washed Out was responsible for the theme song to the Portlandia IFC show I had to pick up the latest record. Not to mention the album was repeatedly in the press. The bad news is that the Portlandia theme song (Feel it All Around) is on the Life of Leisure EP...which I subsequently picked up also. Both are good records if your into the genre...which is electronica I guess? (Dom help me out).  I place them on the same bill as M83. Stellar compositions but again...not something I toss into an album shuffle...maybe a few tracks in a playlist.



Iceage: New Brigade
Garbage. Another Pitchfork pumped-up disappointment. Sounds like a cat thrown into a lawnmower...in Denmark.

Artists I need to explore...
  • James Blake - Never heard this cat but he seems to be on everyone's must listen list
  • Jens Lenkman - Heard one song years ago and it was awesome. That's all I got.
  • The War On Drugs - Hot press and recos from my friends (mainly Meg)
  • Battles - Mirrored didn't blow me away as much as the critics but I like some of the tracks I heard on Gloss Drop. Should I pick up?
  • M83 - Really dug the other records and saw a killer live show. Even if he looks like Ryan Reynold's. The new album is supposed to be kickass
If you have any of these records and can throw some reviews in the comment section I would very much appreciate it.

Bands/artists I'm sick of hearing about...
  • Das Racist
  • Girls
  • Weeknd
  • Neon Indian
  • Wilco
  • Jeff Magnum
BTW - Pre-ordered the new Surferblood album Tarot Classics (out 10/25) which came with a free download of an advance track (Miranda). Decent. Nothing earth shattering but decent. Psyched to hear some new stuff from these young bucks.

Going to see Maritime and Wild Flag in the coming weeks. I'll try and throw up some reviews following. Have a great Christopher Colombo weekend.

Cuge

Friday, September 16, 2011

Let's Talk Nada Surf For A Moment Shall We?

Ok. Lets get this out of the way. I'm sorry for my lack of posts over the summer. Its been busy on the cugefront. Changed jobs, weddings, had some family milestones etc. I actually saw DFA79 during that time (Brooklyn) but it was literally hottest day on record in NYC so sorry for not jumping on my laptop afterwards. No excuse...despite the heat the show was incredible (worthy of the shirt in my cugerock pic and decal on my Honda).

I actually ran into a few people at the thousand weddings I attended over the summer that commented on my lack of content. I was initially flattered that they followed Cugerock then very disappointed at myself for being MIA. Apologies.

I was/am going to come back with a post surrounding the many albums I've been listening to this summer (Joy Formidable, Cults, Washed Out etc) but had to take a brief moment and discuss Nada Surf.

So I got the three Nada Surf albums I own (Let Go, Lucky, The Weight Is a Gift) on shuffle "on the pod" and it got me thinking - "man these guys are good, I wonder if they're playing any upcoming shows....wait...didn't they have a new album come out last year?". So I got into work and checked their site. No shows in NYC in 2011...boo. Then I remembered that the album If I had a Hi-Fi came out in 2010 but I never listened to it. The next step there was to go to Pitchfork to see if they reviewed it. No....they didn't...but they did review Let's Go...and gave it a 3.8. I was mystified. Then I read the review.


Doooooouche. He obviously only knows Nada Surf from their 90s one MTV hit wonder Popular. He rips on song titles containing the chorus lyrics? Welcome to pop music asshole. You need to look at certain bands and their genres for what they are...in Nada Surfs case...its indie pop. Deal with it. I usually get angry when reviewers knock albums that I have an affinity for but in this case I was more confused and amused by his lack of rationale.

Let Go is a phenomenal album. Blizzard of '77 should be on every mix anyone's ever compiled. It's one of those records that immediately brings me back to a time and place....specifically to my days living in the East Village in my 20s. Its one of the top records in my collection and I forgot how good the other two albums are as well. Given these guys do live in NYC I guess I have a better appreciation of the lyrics (see also: Paper Boats) but the album is solid for any rock fan in any city. Yeah...there are a few misses on Let Go...mainly the song in French (and its nothing against the language..I'm a HUGE Stereolab fan) but all-in-all its a top notch effort. Psyched for future recordings/shows and will now think twice before referencing critics reviews.

Jaysus...I have Spotify...why don't I use it more or buck-up for the mobile app. Need to make some changes peeps. Fall is coming. Yes! No more sweat and bring on the sweatshirts!

Here's some Nada Surf videos. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

David Indeed Comes To Life!!

If you haven't picked up the new Fucked-Up album David Comes To Life yet...please do so now. It is an epic masterpiece. A true step forward for these Canadian hardcore alums. I'm pumped to see these cats with Dinosaur Jr in NYC next week. I've seen them many times before but never in a venue this size (Terminal 5).

Lets see if Damian can muscle through the crowd and get up on the bar for this gig. Check out my prior F-ed up show reviews on Cugerock HERE and HERE

Also, here is some history on the band and the concept behind David Comes To Life. So fing good.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weezer Covers Radiohead's "Paranoid Android"? (Scanners head explosion)

In my mind Weezer hasn't put anything good out since Pinkerton (Maladroit was ok) but this is pretty freakin rad...a pleasant surprise if you will. Enjoy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Show Review/Retrospective: Trail of Dead & Surfer Blood (Bowery Ballroom NYC 4/29/11)


And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (or “Trail of Dead” in the short form) came in guns blazing with the 2002 LP Source Tags & Codes which was arguable one of the best albums of the decade (Pitchfork rated it a perfect 10.0) and then then followed up shortly after with an EP in 2003 (The Secret of Elena’s Tomb) of equal caliber. They had recorded a few albums before Source Tags which were decent but this was truly their breakout album.

So I went to see them at Irving Plaza back in the early millennium. They were good live but didn’t blow me away…a little drunk but so was I…so no big deal. Saw them a few more times and show by show they would sound progressively worse…and get progressively more drunk. I saw then at the Siren Fest in Coney Island and they were so hammered they could hardly structure a song.

It seemed this lack of regard (for their fans and themselves) translated to their subsequent recordings like Worlds Apart (2005) and So Divided (2006). These albums (in my opinion) got progressively worse. Each album after ST&C I would think – “Ok, maybe they pulled themselves together and will come out with another epic recording”. Notsomuch. There were literally one or two good tracks on each album. I pretty much wrote them off moving forward as a band of low expectations.

Eventually their major label dumped them so they decided to start their own label. Aside from founders Conrad Keely and Jason Reece, a few members have left over the years hence the lineup has changed a bit. Because of this and the label change seemed to be a catalyst for sobriety in many forms.

When 2009’s The Century of Self came out it was very refreshing as I was then completely jaded with this band (see the CugeRock review HERE ). They felt tighter. Despite some lengthy tracks with a few poppy elements mixed in, they sounded so much better and getting back to their roots (with some experimentation which was welcome). Didn't floor me but showed promise. I didn’t catch them on that tour but after I picked up the latest album 2011’s Tao of The Dead (a rock solid album/ST&C grade)…I had to see them live. Good thing my sis purchased tickets for their Bowery Ballroom show way in advance (thanks Amy) and on top that they were playing with Surfer Blood, a young new outfit which I believe put out the best record of 2010 (see the CugeRock review HERE ).

The Bowery Ballroom is and always will be my favorite venue to see a show. Perfect space…perfect sound...great location...great downstairs bar. The billing of this show was a little mysterious as you didn’t know going in who would open given both bands are headliner-worthy. Trail of Dead being the indie-prog vets with Surfer Blood being the young upstarts on the indie scene.

Trail of Dead started it off….and how. They came out with Strange News From Another Planet and just pummeled their set. The songs were so tight, the vocals were clear, they were lucid and they played all of my favorite tracks from the entire catalog (I love when bands do that). One great thing about experiencing a Trail of Dead show is that Conrad Keely, Jason Reece and Jamie Miller switch instruments for a number of the songs. It is testament to how freakin seasoned these guys are and how great they can sound when they’re not 20 drinks deep. Jaime Miller on drums was especially strong…insane actually (Rob Strickland cant attest).

Here is the setlist:

Strange News From Another Planet
Summer of All Dead Souls
Ebb Away
Will You Smile Again For Me
Caterwaul
It Was There That I Saw You
Relative Ways
Fake Fake Eyes
A Perfect Teenhood

Here is the only decent pic I got.


Seeing TOD again after so many years with such a tight and rockin performance made me fall back in love with the band. I will most definitely attend future shows. Although their t-shirts offered at the merch table sucked…bummer. Now Surfer Blood on the other hand used a Joy Division slant on their shirt design which = “XL please”. Like most band t-shirts I purchase I will beat this one to death. Oh and it’s that soft/light urban outfitters grade fabric. Here’s a photo.


Speaking of Surfer Blood, after such a riveting performance it would be tough for Surfer Blood to maintain the current crowd energy…and they kinda failed at the onset. The opened with Floating Vibes but they looked a little off and out of sync…like awkward teenagers. The band is notably young and compared to Trail of Dead they were like the “junior senators” to the seasoned vets. Lead vocalist John Paul Pitts (or JP) tried some theatrics with the opening track but proceeded to knock the mic stand over (“awkwaaaaard”).

After that first song the enormous talent of these young guys overtook any on-stage shortcomings. They really started to coalesce and got progressively better song by song. They only have one album so it was great to hear all of the tracks live. They played some new stuff also that sounded pretty damn good. Couldn’t locate the setlist so I don’t have the new song names just yet.

Here are some more crude pics.


JP’s voice is unique and really captivated the audience (couldn’t think of a better word…”enthralled”…”mystified”…”impacted”?). JP even tried to take the mic into the audience for one song (which was awkward but you have to respect the initiative) but the whole time he was moving through the crowd his lyrics were clear as a bell…even when they were hoisting him back on stage.

Yeah…these guys are young and looked the part on-stage but their talent is limitless. I only expect these guys to grow into more advanced territory as their albums progress. Psyched to see what the future holds from these young Florida chaps. Oh and I believe they closed with Catholic Pagans…one of my favorite tracks on Astro Coast.

Here are some Trail of Dead and Surfer Blood videos for your leisure/pleasure.














Monday, February 21, 2011

DFA'79 is back baby!...well...for a few shows at least.


Death From Above 1979 is one of many short lived bands that I absolutely obsessed over. They put out a few records..and EP...then dissolved. I was lucky to catch them live @ the Bowery Ballroom in NYC right before they broke up and I can honestly tell you it was one of the best live shows I've ever experienced. One of those shows where I threw my beer down and screamed and danced...then subsequently felt like I just competed in the Iron-man triathlon as I staggered out of the club. I proceeded to buy all merch available including two shirts (featured in my cugerock pic), buttons, a sticker (still on the back of my honda) and oddly a DFA79 soccer scarf (currently draped over my "wall of rock" in my apt).

DFA is a two-piece outfit with a guitar/bass hybrid and a drummer/vocalist. When they split, guitarist Jesse Keeler went on to form funk/dance/electronica mashup MSTRKRFT and Sebastien Grainger went on a rock solo pursuit. I'm not impressed by either. So I thought there was no hope of the magic reforming...then I saw this...



Needless to say I am beyond pumped that they are coming back for a few shows. I have high hopes that they might catch the Pavement bug and extend this into a full on tour of the states. Stay tuned. Devil-horns crossed.

video



Friday, January 7, 2011

Bands We Lost in 2010

(via Stereogum)



Shockers (or the bands that I care about) are as follows: Wolf Parade (no-clue), Supergrass (heard rumors), Mobius Band (no clue), Isis (no clue) These Arms Are Snakes (didn't realize they were still active), Scorpions (see These Arms Are Snakes).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

CUGEROCK TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2010!!! (cue pyrotechnics)

Well kiddos. Another year of rock has ended and a good one to boot. My apologies as I know I'm a little late with this post. I am also fully aware that my posts have been lacking in frequency for the past 6 months or so. 2010 has been a "transformative" year for me personally to say the least. One of my many New Years resolutions for 2011 will be to carve out more time to hit up more shows, buy more records and post more friggin Cugerock posts for Gods sake (all intertwined).

To kick it off...here is a recap of my top 10 albums of 2010 (counted down to #1) plus some honorable mentions and duds. Some great new bands mixed with some new material from a number of indie rock mainstays.

TOP TEN OF 2010

10. Quasi - American Gong











Was skeptical given the prolonged absence of the Roxichord but was more than pleasantly surprised. I think Sam and Janet have found a solid trio with the addition of Joanna. See the Cugerock show review HERE

9. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks











Ted Leo come back full force with a more punk rock record than the last disappointment. Pure rock record through and through.

8. Beach House - Teen Dream











Such a great unique sound. Love it. I honestly thought the lead vocalist was a dude this whole time until I saw them on Conan recently. Check it out.




7. Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love











Doesn't quite compare to the last record and takes a few run throughs but there are some stellar tracks on this late 2010 release. They use more synths and slow jams which I enjoy (oddly).

6. Superchunk - Majesty Shredding











Um. Did these guys ever lose their skills after a decade? I feel like this is a follow up to Foolish. Man this record is solid.

5. The Walkmen - Lisbon











A healthy mix of sounds from Bows-And-Arrows and You And Me = Perfection.

4. The Black Keys - Brothers











A more bluesy take on this one. On repeat. Soooo good.
3. Best Coast - Crazy For You











Such an pleasurable listening experience. A fresh yet retro sound if that makes any sense. Another record that I cant stop listening to. Highly recommended.

2. The Soft Pack - The Soft Pack











Extremely close 2nd. I can't stop listening to this band (formerly known as The Muslims - Thanks for the reco Dom). Really need to catch them live.

1. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast











I called it last March. Nothing tops this album. Hands down the best of 2010. See the Cugerock review HERE

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record












Tokyo Police Club - Champ













No Age - Everything In Between













Past Lives - Tapestry of Webs













The Thermals - Personal Life












Vampire Weekend - Contra












Arcade Fire - The Suburbs













LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening













HO-HUM/NOT IMPRESSED

Interpol - Interpol












Band of Horses - Infinite Arms












The New Pornographers - Together












The National - High Violet












I'm sorry Faust siblings...I'm trying but I just cant get into these guys. Too mellow in most areas for me or maybe its his vocals.

ALBUMS I STILL NEED TO LISTEN TO/MAD AT MYSELF

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach












Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy













Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way














Well...there you have it. Best of 2010. Hope 2011 will do its part to push rock (and myself) forward. Happy New Year Cugerockers. xoxo T