Thursday, February 26, 2009


The only potential reunion that ever mattered to me (besides Pavement). Graham is back on board and they are starting off with some Hyde Park shows in foggy London town (on American Independence day weekend). Anyone want to fly out there with me? (I think the shows sold out in a matter of nanoseconds) Well...if not I'm sure we can look forward to some shows stateside in late '09 or early '10 depending on if they are recording or not...which I believe they are. Why do some 90's alt-rock reunions never result in new material? Some actually do which can be incredible (Dinosaur Jr) or "sub-par" (Breeders). I'd like the Pixies or Swervedriver to come out with some new stuff...otherwise you just know these reunions are "forced" by reasons of increased mortgage rates etc. Duh. I'm sure they all are but they don't have to make it obvious by not writing any new songs. My zero cents.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Album Review: Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty

Something is not right with me. I know what you’re thinking. “Yes…we know this Tom. We’ve known this since you were in diapers and your current behavior continues to reinforce this widely known fact”. Well, sorry to disappoint you (jerks) but I am referring to track #4 on Cold War Kids latest offering - Loyalty To Loyalty. This is one of those “late-bloomer albums” for me as I believe it was released back in the fall. Something Is Not Right With Me was the first track I heard and for some reason I thought for a split-second that it was off of their debut album Robbers & Cowards which came out a number of years ago. SINRWM is a killer track sonically with great lyrics…which in turn made me pick up the album. After listing to Loyalty To Loyalty I wondered why I didn’t listen to the last album more. Loyalty to Loyalty is a truly excellent album. What’s unique about this band is primarily Nathan Willets vocal delivery and the lead guitar sound similar to bands like the Walkmen, Pinback or Modest Mouse (pre-Johnny Marr). Tracks like Dreams Old Men Dream are prime examples of this sound. I think the reason I didn’t go full force into the last album was that I thought the vocals on the most popular tracks like Hang Me Up To Dry or Hospital Beds were alt-pretentious and the hype around the band turned me off. Hype amongst critics who were more trend followers/buzz agents than appraisers of good music. I saw Cold War Kids interviewed recently and they seem like a grounded group of musicians. They’re “good people”. Loyalty to Loyalty starts out with Against Privacy which is almost a mission statement-like opener setting the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a mellow track that just builds into the last minute of chugging loud guitar riffs (I love build-ups). If Against Privacy is the novel forward then Mexican Dogs is chapter one which makes you say to yourself. “Well all right…we’re moving now”. Cold War Kids uses synthesizers moderately in tracks like SINRWM and Relief but it melds well with the guitar/vocals. It’s not just thrown in there to differentiate one indie rock band from another or make them seem “new-wavey” (just made that up). A number of songs on L2L are bluesy in concept but something if everyone ripped down shotguns of Jolt Cola. There are a few mega-mellow sleepers like Avalanche in B and Every Man I Fall For but the lyrics are still great. The second single that caught my ear was I’ve Seen Enough. What a STELLAR track. Slow/Fast switch-up that rocks along with some guitar fills that in my opinion wasn’t amplified enough when it was recorded. I saw them live on Conan and it’s those loud signature fills that give them their signature sound. Oh well. Pick this one up. If you can get accustomed to the vocals then you’ll be completely satisfied with Loyalty To Loyalty. DOWNLOAD THIS: Something Is Not Right With Me, I’ve Seen Enough, Relief

Friday, February 13, 2009

Liveticketnationmaster - Hybrid Monster Alert

Some of you may have heard that Live Nation, a venue promotions entity is merging with ticketing behemoth (Satan) Ticketmaster. My stomach turned when I was informed of this. I thought to myself - “How could purchasing tickets for shows online get any fucking worse?” The good news is that Live Nation is buying out Ticketmaster to form “Live Nation Entertainment”. Ticketweb is the most efficient service in my opinion but I had no beef with Live Nation. They always seemed to have had reasonable pricing (limited surcharge) and operated a user friendly site. My fears are that Ticketmaster….those “Convenience Charge” whores…will infect the Live Nation Entertainment pricing methodology like “hoof-n-mouth”.

NY Senator Charles Schumer (I have always dug Chucks policy views) echoes my fears claiming that - “This merger would give a giant, new entity unrivaled power over concert-goers and the prices they pay to see their favorite artists and bands.”

The Live Nation CEO assured the public - “Too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences…the new company will work to simplify the ticketing process and increase attendance at events.”

For the love of God just ease-up on the surcharges. If you want to sell more tickets then make it somewhat reasonable to consumers financially. In the long run this builds a relationship and ultimately will yield a better profit for vendor/venue/artists. Don’t charge a 30% premium strictly for convenience (ridiculous). At least Ticketmaster called it for what it was without masking it in ambiguous language like “service” or “handling” or “back-handed”.

BOTTOM LINE - Not everyone lives near the venues to pick up the tickets in person at the box office. Many people have fallen on hard economic times and going to a concert, theatre or sporting event may be the only outlet which brings them enjoyment, relaxation and sanity. If this emotional outlet can not be realized given ridiculous pricing models, then these pent up frustrations are often channeled into other forms of "release" such as booze/drugs/karaoke/clog-dancing. No one wants that. I apologize to the strung-out cloggers of the world. I happen to enjoy booze and karaoke in moderation. Please rock responsibly.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Case of the Monday’s alert. Grammys? More like “Grannys”. The award itself is a Gramophone for god’s sake. I’m sorry, maybe I’m being snobbish and close minded but why does the Grammys consistently suck every year? I think it maaaaaaay have been around the time when Metallica lost to Jethro Tull for “Best Heavy Metal Album”. I tuned in sporadically last night and was consistently disappointed. First disappointment was the “new” U2 song which opened up the show. About as unoriginal as it gets. And the protest language flashing up on the big-screen? Bush is out…no need for that anymore. Show some youtube clips of drugged-up toddlers or resurrect ZooTV. Moving on. Does anyone else find it odd that there is this sudden groundswell of pasty-white British soul singers (Winehouse, Duffy, Adele…wasn’t she in that hipster band “The Gossip”)? Don’t get me wrong…great vocalists all of them…just find it incredibly strange. So, another revelation from last night – Boys II Men are still around? (holding up megaphone) I LIVE AND WORK IN PHILADELPHIA AND HAD NO CLUE. I also saw Kid Rock nominated a number of times…Kid Rock…really? Wow. Aside from those gems, the Grammys were pretty predictable in my opinion. Lots of Coldplay, Jonas Bros, John Mayer. Josh Grobin…old artists collaborating with them. I guess nominations and performances from MIA, Radiohead and DCFC were supposed to indie/youth-it-up….theeeeeeeeen Robert Plant & Allison Krauss become the big winners of the night (booooooo). Hahahaha…so close!. I think they won “Record” and “Album” of the year (wtf is the difference?). In my opinion (and I remember having so many fights about this) Led Zeppelin is and forever will be the greatest rock-and-roll band that ever existed (sorry Beatles/Stones fans). Everyone loves Robert Plant…and I’m sure his album of duets with Ms. Krauss was great. HOWEVER, I’m not sure how the award winners are picked but you’d hope they’d make way for some new talent like MIA or artists that deserve the recognition for the inventive ways they are changing music…like Radiohead (still considered “alternative” by the Grannys standards). There was a 10% ratings bump against adults age 18-49 from last year but I have a feeling that may be attributed to “The Jonas Effect”. My mother actually texted me asking me if I was “watching the Jonas brothers”. Squeaky clean punks. The hip-hop acts I can’t really comment on (but I will then go into a tirade) except that I’ve heard recordings from Lil’ Wayne, TI, T-Pain and Ne-Yo and they’re all god-awful. I took a chance on buying some new Kanye as well. Terrible. Why cant he stick to rock solid singles like “Jesus Walks” or “Lights”. The new stuff is so tone-deaf. What happened to using obscure samples? Any samples at all or just killer beats? I’m so sick of that computer voice modulator over awful beats and slow unoriginal rhymes. It’s such garbage. In terms of mainstream appeal what happened to the NWAs (Dre/Cube solo), Wu-Tangs, Beasties, Jay-Zs, Gangstars, TCQs and Ghetto Boyz of the world? Obviously I’m stuck in the 90s but I haven’t heard ANYTHING that is anywhere near the skills of the aforementioned groups. Nas was right…hip-hop is dead…and the Grammys died in the late 80s. Anyone reading this blog please…please enlighten me. I heard this underground rap outfit P.O.S which I’ve been meaning to pick up (heard a killer track called “Drumroll”…the man can rhyme at lightning speed). I’ll review it shortly.

I guess the one good thing I can commend MTV on is the uniqueness of their awards shows…the only on-air content actually music related about the flagship channel. XOXOXOXO

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Album Review: Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion could be described as a “that was unexpected” album…for me at least. I heard some good things about the newest album so I picked it up. Animal Collective tracks I’ve heard in the past were not my “bag” and sounded completely different sonically then what is on MPP. I took a train to NYC this past weekend. Train rides or long drives are great album testers. Captive environment with limited distractions. Flights never work for me. Too white-noisey and the whole ear-popping deal. The first track “In the Flowers” gave me an initial “buyers remorse” vibe until the drums kicked in. I thought it would be an hour of experimental electronic mellow 10min tracks. The second track “My Girls” is the one that got me interested ( Easily the best track on MPP. Hard to describe ACs music style on this album. Electronica? Electro-Pop? Beat-Pop? (I made that last one up). I guess is the best term out there would be “Electro-Pop” but if I read that on a blog I’d probably back away. You can get an idea of what they use in the “My Girls” video in the link above. Keyboard elements, Synths, drum machines, live drums, mixing boards, hand-claps, etc. I believe the majority of the songs on the album are past the 5-min mark. The reason for this is that each track builds a few minutes before the tootsie-roll-center of the harmony arrangements kick in. You’ll need to have a plan before throwing this album on for a full listen. The vocal style and lyrics somewhat vary per track between the two leads in the band. One of the vocalists I confused with Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) on a few of the tracks. During my first run-through I honestly thought he contributed some guest vocals. Some tracks make you very relaxed (No More Runnin/Taste) while others keep you on your toes (Summertime Clothes/Bluish). The last track “Brother Sport” is my second fav behind “My Girls”. Those two songs (and maybe Summertime Clothes) would be considered singles if this band was radio-friendly. The instrumentation is unique and the lyrics/harmonies on “Brother Sport” towards the close repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat…but you don’t want it to end. Pick the album up and you’ll see. “Two snaps in a circle”

Monday, February 2, 2009

Addendum Alert!

In reference to the prior KFN post - My buddy Chris who attended the "gathering of ladies and gents for the enjoyment of hardcore musical theatre" pointed out a very important "happening". I forgot to describe that while Damian was singing through the crowd and on the one point he busted into the nearby men's bathroom and surprised/pulled a guy out (might have been "mid-pee") into the crowd. Just another positive attribute of smaller venue shows....unless you have a small bladder I guess. Wheeeeoa! (light applause)