MOG Music Network

2009/12/02

Apparatjik?!?!?!

Super groups seem to be all the rage these days. So far this year we've gotten the expected and long-awaited Monsters of Folk album, the seemingly out-of-leftfield, albeit legendary Them Crooked Vultures collaboration, the bizarrely inventive/intriguing Blakroc (great album btw), and the "ride the nostalgia wave" Chickenfoot. Just today, I caught wind of Apparatjik, which quite possibly the strangest collective in the bunch, but no less intriguing. Apparatjik features a dude from Coldplay, a guy from Danish rock band Mew, and a bloke from 80's pop band a-ha (you know the one at the top of your iTunes?--'Take On Me' fame). Watch the video for "Electric Eye" on the band's MySpace. Welcome to the future, or is it the past?

In the spirit of super groups, here's the best of the bunch, the short-lived Traveling Wilburys doing "End of the Line":


It's Alright - Traveling Wilburys

Spuff | MySpace Video

2009/11/26

Best of 2009 Lists

A considerably better year for both recorded and live music than '08. The top three on the albums list are all interchangeable. Manners will always be synonymous with summer time for me, and for that it wins the tiebreaker and the blue ribbon for '09.

Best Albums of 2009 (From the 0.002% of albums put out in '09 that I was able to check out)

1) Passion Pit- Manners, Really? Yes. Might be a fad, but I don't think it's ever felt so right in the moment. Listen to "To Kingdom Come"

T-2) Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Check out a live video of "Love Like A Sunset" below:



T-2) Alberta Cross- Broken Side of Time, the return of rock. Listen to "Rise From The Shadows"

4) Atlas Sound- Logos, listen to "Walkabout" w/ Noah Lennox

5) Dinosaur Jr.- Farm, guitar slashterpiece of the year, listen to "I Don't Wanna Go There"

6) Monsters of Folk- Monsters of Folk, The A-Team of independent music, the 21st Century's humbler version of the Traveling Wilburys. Listen to "His Master's Voice"

7) M. Ward- Hold Time. Old school. Listen to Matt covering Neil Young's "Oh Lonesome Me" featuring Lucinda Williams

8) Lil Wayne- No Ceilings. Mixtape Wayne gets his rocks off before serving time. Listen to "Swag Surfin'"

9) Air- Love 2, watch the video for "Sing Sang Sung"

10) Avett Brothers- I and Love and You, Listen to "I and Love and You"

11) Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion, watch a video of "Summertime Clothes" from Coachella

12) Derek Trucks Band- Already Free, listen to "Already Free"

13) Jay-Z- The Blueprint 3

T-13) Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

15) Andrew Bird- Noble Beast, If I had a Ph.D in English I could probably appreciate "Oh No" even more than I already do and understand what exactly the opening verse is trying to say:

In the salsify mains of what was thought but unsaid
All the calcified arhythmitists were doing the math


16) Franz Ferninand- Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, listen to "Twilight Omens"

Honorable Mention-
Phish- Joy, listen to "Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan"
Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
*The Flaming Lips- Embryonic
*Baroness- The Blue Record
*Dead Weather- Horehound
Arctic Monkeys- Humbug
Michael Jackson- This Is It, not really an album per se
Portugal, The Man- The Satanic Satanist
Muse- The Resistance
Depeche Mode- Sounds of the Universe
Antlers- Hospice
The Dodos- Time to Die, listen to "Time to Die"
Yeasayer- "Ambling Alp", just a single but good enough to mention again. Also, "Tightrope" from the Dark Was the Night Compilation
Morrisey- Years of Refusal, listen to "All You Need Is Me"
**It should also be noted that a group called Neon Indian put out a song called "Terminally Chill"...

*Haven't really listened to enough yet.

======================================================================================================

Best Concerts of the Year

1) Nine Inch Nails at Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN. 6/13/2009. Late night retina scorcher. My first (and maybe last) chance to see NIN and Trent Reznor turned the fields of Bonnaroo into a graveyard, crushing skulls and ruining weak minds. Here's a video of them playing "Wish" w/ the boys from Dillinger Escape Plan:



2) Phoenix at Tipitina's Uptown, New Orleans. One of the most energetic crowds I've ever seen. 75 minute set, nary a dull moment. 10/1/2009

3) Futurebirds/Interns at St. Simons Island House Party, 4th of July. LEGENDARY. You just had to be there.



4) Phish first show at Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN. Get 'em Cactus. 6/12/2009



5) Yeasayer at Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN. 6/13/2009



6) moe. at Bonnaroo late night. Would probably have been higher on the list if I didn't show up and have to endure 45 minutes of Grace Potter at 3:30 in the morning (no offense to GPN, that was just neither the time nor the place). Played well past the break of dawn and surreal fogrise. 6/13/2009

7) Kaiser Chiefs at Lollapalooza, row-D. 8/9/2009.

8) The Futurebirds and The Interns at AthFest, 6/25/2009

9) Depeche Mode at Lollapalooza, 8/7/2009. Video of "In Chains":



10) Santigold at Bonnaroo, Rites of Spring, and Lollapalooza.
"Unstoppable" from Bonnaroo:



11) Ray Lamontagne at The Florida Theatre, 4/28/2009

It Should Be Mentioned:
The 2nd set of My Morning Jacket's New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden rang in 2009. Thoroughly epic, check out the YouTube below of the band playing Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" after the ball drop and here's the review of the show some idiot wrote for JamBase.com.

2009/11/25

Yeasayer video for new single "Amblin Alp" [NSFW]

Not even going to attempt to act like I know what's going on in this video. Nevertheless, it's a good excuse to listen to this song again and again. Kind of thought this song had Disney licensing written all over it. Instead dripping faces, naked people and boxing. Who'da thunkit.

Yeasayer video for "Ambling Alp", the first single from the band's forthcoming LP Odd Blood, set for release in February 2010.



Birthday suits seem to be the costume of choice in music videos these days. Guess you can do whatever you want now that you don't have to worry about your video ever getting played on MTV...See The Flaming Lips new video "Watching the Planets" (actually don't unless you wanna see Wayne Coyne naked)...

...or check out Sigur Ros' 2008 video "Gobbledigook" below:

2009/11/22

2009/11/20

Q: What Would I Want? A: Sky -- Animal Collective

Perhaps the most polarizing band in the non-mainstream world, surrealistic mindwarpists Animal Collective have yet another release on the horizon, with the Fall Be Kind EP hitting the web on November 23rd. The EP will bookend a monumental year for the band that started with the most commercially successful release of their career, Merriweather Post Pavilion, which came out in January. Having seen a couple underwhelming performances this summer at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza and a subsequent cursory tour through their catalogue on the recommendation of friends, I still consider myself on the outside looking in. I'm still trying to figure out what it is about them that makes people hale them as the 2nd coming. Songs like "My Girls" and "Summertime Clothes" pique my interest, but for every song like that there are 3 or 4 ADD-inducing drones that never materialize. One can't argue that they don't push the envelope with each record, creating a new creative space with each effort. But the abstractness can be downright discordant at times making it difficult to get through a full record. The third song on the new EP is titled "What Would I Want? Sky" and might be the turning point for a lot of intrigued followers of their work (like yours truly) towards the cerebral sounds of Animal Collective.


My central complaint about this band over in the past is that the majority of their albums sound cluttered, druggy, and downright lost at times. The lack of cohesion in their sound makes continued focus a challenge and usually gets even further lost in translation on the live stage (coming from someone with no problem seeing a band with no words or a jam band). Although their free-spirited sound and wanderlust-inciting grooviness can be downright blissful at times, these sparse and ephemeral movements generally fade into a storm of confused samples and tribal yodeling (or is it just a bridge?).

The first three minutes of "What Would I Want? Sky" delivers some cortex-jarring shock therapy replete with non-sensical vocal loops and thrashing drums before weaving it's way into a dreamy and hypnotic melody. The Maginot Line occurs when Avey Tare leads in appropriately asking "is everything alright", and the rest of the earthy tune flows out like a massively cathartic sigh of relief after a torturous mindfuck. It's only appropriate that the band samples the forefathers of the tension-release jam band movement, spinning a barely noticeable mix-up of Phil Lesh's vocals from the Grateful Dead's "Unbroken Chain" on repeat. Lyrically, the tune seems to be about searching for a coping mechanism for panic-inducing paranoia and focusing negative energies on better things. Sonically, the infectious sound is narcotic and downright addictive with a cool, modern day Pet Sounds flow, melodically focused and loopy all the same. Finally, I think I might get it, and perhaps, the band is ready to let us outsiders in. If AC is gonna put out this kind of product in the 10s I might just have to get on board for the long haul.

Listen here:



Listen here to The Grateful Dead's "Unbroken Chain", a song that only appeared on the band's final tour in 1995.

And finally, here's a short video clip of "What Would I Want? Sky" from this summer's Lollapalooza:



Think it's pretty clear that my standards have just been too high all along...blame Pitchfork and their penchant for handing out 9+ reviews to anything weird/challenging.

2009/11/16

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezy

The rap court's jester king has put out yet another mix-tape, no surprise here. This time it's ironically titled No Ceilings, seeing as Weezy's about to be walled up for a year in the pen on weapons charges. The scatological lyrical style is no different, as Mr. Carter doesn't waste any time being introspective or whiny about his impending stay behind bars; Instead he continues to deliver the bawdily raw and nasty anti-rhymes the world has come to expect from him ever since he was Clearin' tha Set with The Hot Boys. Forewarning and George Foreman? Sounds good to me. Just remember this display of the classic Weezy sound when the hatespeak starts oozing on December 15th when his long-delayed rap-rock project Rebirth is unleashed (barring yet another delay (cold feet?)).

Download No Ceilings here [This mixtape is NSFAnything--Rated NC-24]

Banned from T.V.



Still stickin to the script like Nicole Kidman
Need the man hit? We are those hitmen
He stopped runnin, the bullet holes didn’t
uh, Basically, I’m still a monster
Till the fat lady sings I come to kill the Opera
Yall too plain, Imma helicopter
My words keep goin like a teleprompter


Something tells me a little time in prison ain't gonna stop the most prolific artist in the world from writing, if any thing we might get Pandora's Box Set unleashed when they open the gate and set this man free.

2009/11/07

Ride the Moon Taxi

Going to see Nashville's hottest jungle jam-funk ensemble down at the NOLA House of Blues tomorrow night. Here's a video of Moon Taxi playing "Mustang" this past summer in Louisville:



Go See Moon Taxi

2009/11/03

Voodoo Experience :: 10.30.09 - 11.01.09 :: City Park :: New Orleans, LA

Link to the full text of the article on JamBase

"Worship the music." It's Voodoo Experience's tagline and the sentiment seemed to sum up the New Orleans festival. Referred to as Jazz Fest's "much wilder" cousin by local WWOZ DJ and festival performer DJ Soul Sister, this year, the calendar presented a perfect storm for a spectacular freak show weekend with Halloween falling on Saturday night and All Saints Day hitting appropriately on Sunday. With a heavy lineup curated for thrill seeking rockers, featuring such delectably bizarro acts as Ween, The Flaming Lips, Jane's Addiction, Eminem, Widespread Panic, Gogol Bordello, and KISS, even the casual fan would be hard pressed not to embrace their dark side and celebrate the spirits of the season.

City Park is an ideal natural setting, giving everything "a very beautiful and mysterious looking aesthetic," as Soul Sister put it. The city of New Orleans has a celebrated tradition of embracing all things macabre and doesn't really need an excuse like Halloween to throw a masquerade, but toss in a music festival with a bunch of freaky bands (and fans) and it's on...

Click the link at the top to read more...More videos from the weekend below:

KISS play Dr. Love on Halloween night



Eminem "3 a.m." on Friday night, opening song



The List

Slim Shady's band
The pandemonium of Gogol Bordello
Catching Roses Are Free after Eminem went off early
Driving Song > Diner > Pilgrims > Driving Song
Pogues' lead singer's unparalleled drunkenness on-stage
Black Keys in the rain
Panic in the sun
The people watching factor on Saturday
Naked chick on-stage at Flaming Lips

2009/10/30

Yeasayer Starts the Climb

This morning Yeasayer released the first single from their highly anticipated 2nd LP Odd Blood, which isn't set to come out until February 2010, a whole decade away. "Amblin Alp" oughta tide over hungry fans until the new year at least. This new track has a grander 80s world beat than anything on All Hour Cymbals with hyper-mic-ed drum sounds harkening back to the days when the larger-than-life sounds of Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel ruled the airwaves. I expect big things from this album and band and so far, they have yet to let us down.

Listen to the new single "Amblin Alp" here

And for good measure, here's a video recorded on this day in 2008 of the band playing the clap-stomp "Tightrope":

2009/10/29

Phish promo on the Conan O'Brien show

Go! See! Phish! Concert!



It's always funny how dumb people look when explaining to people who either don't know or care why they are so excited to go stand all day and watch a band play for hours on end and then sleep in a tent.

2009/10/27

Pre-Voodoo Interview w/ NOLA Radio DJ Soul Sister from WWOZ

New Orleans local DJ Soul Sister talks about this weekend's Voodoo Experience happening down in City Park featuring KISS, Widespread Panic, Jane's Addiction, The Flaming Lips, Eminem and many more(You might wanna click the KISS link). Check it out:

ACYL: For those who've never been to either (like yours truly), what is it that distinguishes the Voodoo vibe from the JazzFest vibe?

DJ: I love the heck out of both Voodoo & Jazz Fest, but the thing that distinguishes Voodoo is that it's much wilder, on the underground side of things. Like, you'll have punk rock bands and hip hop and "sissy bounce" and people dressed like zombies and me playing Japanese disco. It's a wild party for the nonconformist music lovers. And it all happens under the trees at City Park, which makes everything very beautiful and mysterious looking. And the party goes into the evening hours, so to jam to all this wildness under the stars and the moon adds that extra element too.

ACYL: Scoop us on an up-and-coming local artist that people everywhere are gonna be talking about 5 years from now.

DJ: There's a great buzz about the rock group MyNameIsJohnMichael, so I'm going to go with them - cause they're cool and I'm friends with one of the members' moms.

ACYL: What has been your favorite Voodoo performance in the past and who are you psyched to see throw it down this year?

DJ: I wanna see Janelle Monae. I hear she's just this wildchild artista who can't be stopped, sort of like the Betty Davis of today. New Orleans' TBC Brass Band will most likely funk things up too. Of course P-Funk. I play at the same time as Jello Biafra, but checking him out would be fun. And honestly, my favorite Voodoo performance in the past has to be that of all the ladies who rushed my stage last year on Sunday night to dance and pop to old school New Orleans bounce music. Yep.

ACYL: How is the station involved with the festival?

WWOZ has a stage at the festival and they're going to broadcast many acts live from www.wwoz.org. Of course, if you're in New Orleans you can tune in to 90.7 FM. In fact, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic are playing on the WWOZ stage and I'm hoping that they get to broadcast that one live. In preparation for that, I'm hosting a P-Funk Marathon on Friday night/Saturday (Halloween) morning from 12am-5am on WWOZ. It should be wild.

ACYL: Tell the fans nationwide why New Orleans is THE place to be nationwide on Halloween.

DJ: Halloween in this city gets bigger and bigger, like Mardi Gras. There's already a few parades for it and people start dressing up, partying and gorging themselves on a candy at least a week beforehand. By the time Voodoo comes around, it's just on for real. It's like Mardi Gras-style partying, without that corny "girls gone wild" element - and it's centered around the nighttime. It's so much fun, but there isn't a saying yet. Like, you go around telling people "Happy Mardi Gras?" No one goes around yelling "Happy Halloween" down here while they're partying. We've got to come up with something.

ACYL: Anything else to add?

DJ: I'll be playing live on the Preservation Hall Stage each night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 8:15-10. I hope everyone will join me and my Booty Patrol Dancers for the right on party situation live at Voodoo. I'll be throwing down the sounds that have made my dear mother think I was crazy for many years.

Thanks to DJ Soul Sister for speaking with us. This interview will be included in the Voodoo Experience Festival Review for JamBase up next week.

2009/10/23

The Voodoo Experience

So here's the slated rundown of the Voodoo weekend, I'll be in City Park covering the festival for Jambase:

Friday, October 30th

The Cool Kids, 4:00 p.m., PlayStation/Billboard.com Stage
Alejandro Escovedo, 4:30 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage
The Black Keys, 5:40 p.m., Playstation/Billboard.com Stage
Silversun Pickups, 6:40 p.m., Voodoo Stage
Little Freddie King, 7:15 p.m., Preservation Hall
The Knux, 7:30 p.m., SOCO/WWOZ Stage
Justice, 8:00 p.m., PlayStation/Billboard.com Stage
Ween, 9:00 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage
Eminem, 9:30 p.m., Voodoo Stage

Saturday, Halloween
The Black Lips, 12:50 p.m., Playstation/Billboard.com Stage
Zydepunks, 1:30 p.m., Bingo! Parlor
K'Naan, 1:50 p.m., Voodoo Stage
Mates of State, 2:50 p.m., Playstation/Billboard Stage
Irvin Mayfield, 3:30 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage
Mutemath, 3:50 p.m., Voodoo Stage
Gogol Bordello, 4:50 p.m., Playstation/Billboard.com Stage
Big Sam's Funky Nation, 5:00 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage
Down, 6:15 p.m., Bingo! Parlor
Wolfmother, 6:20 p.m., Voodoo Stage
Jane's Addiction, 7:35 p.m., Playstation/Billboard.com Stage
George Clinton , 8:15 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage
KISS, 9:00 p.m., Voodoo Stage

Sunday, November 1st
The Pogues, 2:15 p.m., Playstation/Billboard Stage
Widespread Panic, 3:15 p.m., Voodoo Stage
The Flaming Lips, 5:45 p.m., Playstation/Billboard.com Stage
Lenny Kravitz, 7:00 p.m., Voodoo Stage
Robert Randolph & The Family Band, 7:30 p.m., Soco/WWOZ Stage

Not technically part of The Voodoo Experience, but a really, really big deal nonetheless:
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, November 2nd, Superdome, Atlanta Falcons v. New Orleans Saints, DIRTY BIRDZ!

Here's a vid of Gogol Bordello performing "Start Wearing Purple, gonna get rowdy down at City Park:

2009/10/14

Bonnaroooooooooooooooooooooo DVD

The folks at Bonnaroo have decided to release their first DVD from the annual gathering since 2005 (still waiting on the one from 2006 w/ Beck, Radiohead, Oysterhead, and My Morning Jacket). Considering I saw 30+ bands over the course of the weekend there aren't many on this list that I caught. Would've been nice to get Yeasayer, Nine Inch Nails (not gonna hold my breath on that one), moe., Al Green, Bon Iver, David Byrne (shocked this didn't make it), and Dillinger Escape Plan's Sunday Revival. That Santigold track is gonna be fire though. Here's the trailer for the DVD:



And the track listing:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Outlaw Pete
Phish- Down With Disease
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
Snoop Dogg - I Wanna Love You
Elvis Costello with Jenny Lewis and Her Sound - Go Away
Ben Harper and Relentless7- Fly One Time
Andrew Bird- Fitz and the Dizzyspells
The Decemberists- The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid
Del McCoury Band - Moneyland
Coheed and Cambria - Welcome Home
Amadou & Mariam - Masiteladi
Santigold - L.E.S. Artistes
Zac Brown Band - Who Knows
Passion Pit - Little Secrets
Raphael Saadiq - Keep Marchin'
Cage the Elephant- Ain't No Rest For the Wicked

2009/10/13

Alberta Cross: Rise From the Shadows

Here's a link to the interview I did w/ Alberta Cross lead singer Petter Ericson Stakee for JamBase.com

Here's the band's video for their single "ATX" from their newly released debut LP Broken Side of Time out on ATO Records:

2009/10/08

David Gilmour Blast Off

Only fitting way to celebrate the first ever NASA moon bomb at 7:30 EST taking place in a mere eight hours on Friday morning. This is David Gilmour playing "Marooned" at The 50th Anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster. "Marooned" is an instrumental track from Pink Floyd's final album The Division Bell. Amaaaaaazing song.

2009/10/04

Arctic Monkeys at House of Blues NOLA, Friday October 2nd, 2009

Reviewed for JamBase:

The mini-ACL happening in NOLA continued Friday night (after catching the unreal Phoenix show at Tipitina's on Thursday and Dr. Dog on Wednesday) as modern day rock & roll success story Arctic Monkeys rolled through the Big Easy for a sold out show at the House of Blues. The Monkeys shocked the system, delivering an aggressive set leaving little on the table as they coursed through new Humbug tunes and staples from their earlier work.

It's easy to forget that these guys are still relatively new to the game looking so at home playing to a slam-packed house. For a British band, there is a definite surf rock spin on much of the material, with lustrous and LOUD Hawaiian guitar riffage beaming throughout. Songs like "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" bleed power and are almost too fast. The heavy Clash influence exhibits itself on the boisterous "Dancing Shoes" as frontman Alex Turner sings:

The lights are flashing
Down in here tonight
And some might exchange a glance
But keep pretending to dance


A staple cover in their live set these days, Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" was the highlight of the short set as the Monkeys put their stamp on a familiar tune. The cover was downright evil, with a sinister outro that could easily double as a horror movie score. A blinding strobe visual aesthetic scorched retinas and coupled well with the constant power emanating from Matt Helders' drum kit. American mainstream rock bands along the same lines of Kings of Leon could learn a lot from these guys, who give fans something fresh and put their best foot forward each time out. I wouldn't describe their music as particularly ambitious or exploratory - these guys stuck to their script of delivering tightly framed, freewheeling viscera throughout the set - but it's a beautiful thing and the bouncy crowd in the pit surely agreed. They exuded raw energy, seemed to enjoy themselves in the process, and made an outward effort to engage the generation-spanning crowd at HoB.

The encore left fans wanting more and although frustrating, it's always cool to see a band that knows when to hit the road and leave on a high note, with the Monkeys concluding with an epic blast through "505," the closing track from the band's second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. The Monkeys departed the stage one-by-one with guitarist Jamie Cook closing it down in brilliant fashion.

If you need a shot in the arm or just want further proof that ballsy rock & roll is still alive and well, then go check out Arctic Monkeys. The glorified rock dream isn't dead, and the young British rockers are climbing towards that pantheon of superstardom here in the States that they have enjoyed in Europe since the release of their instant classic and record breaking debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, which outsold Oasis' Definitely Maybe as the fastest-selling debut in British history, a mere three years ago.

10.02.09 :: House of Blues :: New Orleans, LA
Dance Little Liar, Brainstorm, Crying Lightening, Still Take You Home, Secret Door View From the Afternoon, Dangerous Animals, Potion Approaching, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, Sketchead Red Right Hand (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover), My Propeller, Cornerstone, Do Me a Favour, This House is a Circus, If You Were There, Beware
E: Fluorescent Adolescent, 505

Check out a couple videos from the show down below:

"Red Right Hand" (Nick Cave and Bad Seeds cover), Halloweenish:



Epic closer "505":

2009/10/01

Parlez vous Francais?

Pop-rock breakouts Phoenix are swinging through the Crescent City tonight at Tipitina's Uptown w/ ethereal dream-weavers Chairlift in the supporting role. The show has been sold out since Monday, proving that the masses are starting to really embrace the Versailles rock group. Here's a video of "1901" the band put together to thank it's fans for coming out for the Fall Tour in support of their newest LP Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the band's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful album to date. The video was released on Bastille Day, how very French of them.



And here's a video I took of Chairlift performing "Planet Health" at the Lollapalloza pre-show at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store, how very corporate of them. Enjoy:

2009/09/27

Universal Studios Florida...The Band

The Animal Collective subgenre grows... Like Beard rock's development over the last three years by way of MMJ>Band of Horses>Fleet Foxes and beyond, this noisy, spatial, narcotic sound seems to be seeping in from all directions at a higher and higher rate. Universal Studios Florida formed fairly recently at the University of Washington (the members are still only 21) by a couple dudes sharing an affinity for dreamy soundscapes and 90s nostalgia. Judging from the first two tracks I came across "Frozen Bayou" and "Sun Glyphed Comanche Kissed" these two have been skipping out on Huskies games and mainlining Avey Tare and Panda Bear's creative outputs/Kool-Aid. Check out this live video of "New Cub" and see what I mean:

Universal Studios Florida - New Cub from Filmed in Stereo on Vimeo.


http://www.myspace.com/usftheband

Not particularly a fan of the AC sound, but I'm sure some folks will be diggin on these guys in the 10s...The Future.

2009/09/25

Fiyo on the Bayo: An embarassment of riches for the week 9/28--10/4


A lot of this has to do with band's routing their tour through NOLA en route to and from next weekend's Austin City Limits, for this reason I wish ACL was more than once a year.

Wednesday, September 30th
Dr. Dog (ft. members of Rebirth Brass Band) at Howlin' Wolf

Thursday, October 1st
Phoenix w/ Chairlift at Tipitina's Uptown

Choices must be made:

Friday, October 2nd
Arctic Monkeys w/ The Like at House of Blues

or

The Dynamites ft. Charles Walker at Tipitina's Uptown

Saturday, October 3rd
The Dead Weather at House of Blues

or

Andrew Bird w/ St. Vincent at Tipitina's Uptown

Boy, there sure is a lot of cool stuff out there on that internet thing

Uh, yeah.

Nosaj Thing Visual Show Compilation Test Shoot from Adam Guzman on Vimeo.

2009 is 74% dunzo, here are some good ones from the year in music.


Alberta Cross- Broken Side of Time "Broken Side of Time"
Monsters of Folk- s/t "Dear God"
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix "Fences"
Air- Love 2 "Sing Sang Sung", amazing video here
Phish- Joy "Sugar Shack", love to hear a new Cactus tune.
Yeasayer- Dark Was The Night "Tightrope" Listen here
Derek Trucks Band- Already Free "Already Free"
Jay-Z- Blueprint 3 "Run This Town" ft. Rihanna
M. Ward- Hold Time "Oh, Lonesome Me" ft. Lucinda Williams (Neil Young Cover)
Depeche Mode- Sounds of the Universe "In Chains" (link to live video from Lollapalooza) and "Wrong"

More to come...

2009/09/23

Monsters of Folk and Alberta Cross make their formal debut on the same day; Moon Taxi rolls out the Fall Tour



A fabulous debut album finally availed itself today, September 22nd, 2009 to the masses from a band formed years ago by four established stalwarts of the scene calling themselves the Monsters of Folk. Also, a maiden voyage set sail in the form of Alberta Cross and there's no telling where or how far it'll travel. Good day to be a music fan...

Also my friends Moon Taxi announced today that they are gonna be playing at House of Blues in the NOLA on November 8th in support of reggae rapper Matisyahu as part of an extensive Fall Tour around the Southland. Very, very cool. Seen these guys play on stages the size of this keyboard so it'll be extra special seeing them in such a historic venue.

Click on the link and be sure to go check out Moon Taxi's Fall Tour

www.myspace.com/moontaxi

2009/09/20

Air creates a Beatles-esque video for new single "Sing Sang Sung"

This video is really really great. A mood shifter for sure. Judging by the first two singles Do The Joy and Sing Sang Sung, Love 2 could be the French duo's strongest effort since their unbelievable 1998 record Moon Safari. It's got a nice Yellow Submarine looking animation quality to it.

Click here to see the video for Sing Sang Sung

2009/09/14

Iron & Wine: Around the Well


Link to JamBase

Iron & Wine'slatest effort is a double-disc collection that attempts, at great lengths, to elucidate on the artist's personal growth and sonic expansion throughout his career. The outside of Disc One is an aerial shot of dormant farmland. In stark contrast, Disc Two has the same aerial in the midst of springtime. The contrast between the two discs is plain as day, and the overt symbolism furthers the artist's point. The first disc finds the artist in the delicate, constantly fragile soundtracking state we've become accustomed to hearing, the solo artist playing with little or no accompaniment. Side A is lonely, raw, rough around the edges and minimal featuring some safe, albeit unlikely, covers of The Flaming Lips' "Waiting for a Superman," New Order's "Love Vigilantes" and the widely spun take on Postal Service's "Such Great Heights." Easy to listen to but not particularly attention-grabbing, it adequately captures Sam Beam in the early stage of his career that many fans will surely appreciate.

The flipside of the collection presents the artist in the more polished, constantly blooming state of his career. On many occasions Beam's voice rises above the hushed whispering we've come accustomed to, and more of the tunes on Side 2 have a fuller sonic accompaniment, featuring pianos, stand-up bass, whining steel, polyrhythms and sprightlier guitar strumming. The latter half of Disc 2 takes a strange and invitingly experimental turn with the backwoods mystic "Serpent Charmer," an attention-grabbing churner that serves as the whirling dervish of the artist's career between the restrained world of The Creek Drank the Cradle and the future unknown. The stylistic meandering progresses with the melancholic, introspection of "Carried Home," a lengthy and inspired nocturnal burn followed by "The Kingdom Of The Animals," a bouncy barroom, fun time kinda thing. This slightly funkier stylistic turn is welcome and encouraging for the future artistic output of Iron and Wine. If 2007's adventurous The Shepherd's Dog was any indication, the throes of Iron and Wine fans should buckle themselves in for what is sure to be an intriguing musical journey. A proper full-length original LP is expected sometime next year.

Trey Anastasio performs "You Enjoy Myself" with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall



Multi-angle video

Boy.Man.God.Shit.

You Enjoy Yourself and take a look.

This is the first live symphonic performance of You Enjoy Myself, a song written by Anastasio in the mid-80s and released by Phish in 1988 on the album Junta. It is the most frequently played song in the Phish canon, having been performed at over 1/3 of their shows over the course of the band's storied 26 year career. This video features Trey Anastasio performing the song at Carnegie Hall with the NY Philharmonic, a dream come true I suppose for Trey himself and Phish fans alike.

2009/09/01

Alberta Cross unleashes "The Broken Side of Time", millions to follow down the road



I just received a copy of Alberta Cross' debut LP Broken Side of Time (out September 22nd on ATO--My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, The Whigs). Barring something invitingly spectacular, this is a lock for my favorite album of the year...Maybe better than anything to come out in 2008 too. Darkly psychedelic yet accessibly melodic, these Brooklynites by way of Great Britain are sure to tear a swath through the indie heartland having created one of the best debut albums of the decade. Just you wait.

2009/08/16

Best Albums of the 2000s


This decade has provided for some pretty outstanding new music (although a far cry from the magic made in the 90s), here is a handful of albums I have in mind for the list, ranking them will be hard:

In no particular order----------------------------------------------

My formative jam banding years are evidenced by my picks:

Outkast- Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below (2003)
My Morning Jacket- Z (2005)
Dr. Dog- Fate (2008)
Sound Tribe Sector Nine- Artifact (2004)
moe.- Wormwood (2003)
Phish- Farmhouse (2000)
Kings of Leon- Because of the Times (2007)
Wilco- Sky Blue Sky (2007)
Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes & Sun Giant EP (2008)
Yeasayer- All Hour Cymbals (2007)
The Raconteurs- Consolers of the Lonely (2008)
Lil Wayne- Tha Carter III (2008)
Delta Spirit- Ode to Sunshine (2008)
Radiohead- In Rainbows (2007)
MGMT- Oracular Spectacular (2007)
Arcade Fire- Neon Bible (2007)
Arcade Fire- Funeral (2004)
Band of Horses- Everything All the Time (2006)
The Whigs- Mission Control (2007)
Ratatat- Classics (2006)
Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere (2006)
Cold War Kids- Robbers and Cowards (2006)
Franz Ferninand- (2005)
Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley- Welcome to Jamrock (2005)
Brazilian Girls- Brazilian Girls (2005)
Beck- Guero (2005)
Widespread Panic- Uber Cobra (Live-2004)
My Morning Jacket- Okonokos (Live-2006)
The Secret Machines- Now Here Is Nowhere (2004)
Particle- Launchpad (2004)
My Morning Jacket- It Still Moves (2003)
Medeski, Martin and Wood- End of the World Party (Just In Case) (2004)
Kings of Leon- Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004)
Red Hot Chili Peppers- By The Way (2002)
My Morning Jacket- At Dawn (2001)
Keller Williams- Laugh (2002)
The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
Coldplay- A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
Passion Pit- Manners (2009)
M. Ward- Hold Time (2009)
Beck- Sea Change (2002)
The String Cheese Incident- Outside Inside (2001)
Daft Punk- Discovery (2001)
Warren Zevon- Life'll Kill Ya (2000)
Radiohead- Kid A (2000)
Gorillaz- Demon Days (2005)
Modest Mouse- Good News for People who Love Bad News (2004)
Sufjan Stevens- Illinoise (2005)
Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
Radiohead- Hail to the Thief (2003)
tool- lateralus (2001)
Santogold- Santogold (2008)
The Roots- Phrenology (2002)
Sigur Ros- () (2002)
Outkast- Stankonia (2000)
Jay-Z- The Blueprint (2001)
Thievery Corporation- The Mirror Conspiracy (2000)
Outkast- Stankonia (2000) *Released on Halloween
Blitzen Trapper- Furr (2008)
Ryan Adams- Cold Roses (2005)
The Black Keys- thickfreakness (2003)
Peter Bjorn & John- Writer's Block (2006)
Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)

Obviously I have forgotten some classics, let me know if you see any glaring omissions.

2009/08/12

Lollapalooza 2009 Rundown and Videos


Here's a video of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" from last Friday headlining the Chicago 2016 Stage at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Chicago:

Fleet Foxes doing "Mykonos" on Friday afternoon on the Playstation Stage.
^Like this one so much I posted it twice.

Tool doing "Forty-Six & 2" on Saturday night headlining the Chicago 2016 Stage

And about 20 more can be found on my YouTube channel

Lollapalooza Best of:

10. Seeing a DJ instruct a young MC (about 8 years old) at the "Hip Hop Academy" in Kidzapalooza. DJ was telling Young Schwilly to say "I'm getting crazy/don't know where my parents are at/this is how I rhyme yadda yadda yadda. You had to be there, wish I had video

9. Snoop Dogg doing his thing in front at least 50-60,000 people. Barely rapped at all, people just liked being in his presence.

8. Arctic Monkeys Saturday main stage performance.

7. Santigold- Unstoppable

6. Chairlift and Passion Pit at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store. High School Musical 14 was being filmed there I think.

5. Alberta Cross for Sunday Brunch. 11:45 Sunday set, made it there just in time. Got to interview the band following the set, cool guys, great musicians. Debut album out September 22nd. Gonna be a big one.

4. Fleet Foxes playing "He Doesn't Know Why", "Mykonos" and "Blue Ridge Mountains" to close a stunning set of music...and the rain finally stopped.

3. Delta Spirit from the side stage. This band just keeps getting better and better.

2. Depeche Mode/tool: Too different to rank one or the other. Both put on amazing shows musically and theatrically. Equally powerful in their own very different way.

1. Kaiser Chiefs rock-and-roll show. Wowie Zowie Batman.

You can read my full review for JamBase.com by clicking here

2009/08/08

Lollapalooza Day 1


Fleet Foxes play Mykonos yesterday at Lollapalooza on the Playstation Stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxSsNY584-M

Fleet Foxes, along with Depeche Mode were the highlights of the first day of my first trip to Lollapalooza. Full review to come next week on JamBase.com

2009/07/24

PhishIndio'laweenOch8


After a month of teases, speculation, switcheroos, and rumors floating through the interspaceweb like a dark, airy, spatial Waves breakdown, Phish has finally let the cat out of the bag and verified early speculation that they would be putting on their first Halloween Phish festival (and first festival since Coventry) at the Empire Polo Grounds, the famed site of the annual Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals. In true Phish fashion, the band has had phans on pins and needles waiting not-so-patiently as they slowly eliminated states from a map of the U.S. on their web site using various methods in doing so. This will mark Phish's first musical costume Halloween show in years and is also the first time the band has staged a festival of their own for the occasion. The entire summer tour sold out in minutes so it wouldn't be surprising in the least if these $199 tickets were gone in the time it takes to say "Wash Uffizi Drive Me to Firenze". Boy, man...this should be a good weekend. I won't be able to make it but am keeping my fingers crossed for a NYE run in Miami.

Cool animation revealing the festival's location:
www.phish.com

2009/07/15

moe. @ Bonnaroo



Caught Recreational Chemistry through Cathedral before walking "home" in the mystical Sunday morning Bonnaroo fogrise. What a night. Check out the band change jam if you're into chunky bass soloing, a nice one for sure after a smoke show Recreational Chemistry.

Link to stream/download page of the show:
June 13th, 2009, This Tent, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN
http://www.archive.org/details/moe2009-06-13.tlm170.fob.flac16

2009/07/09

Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval Returns After 8 Years


I don't know if I should be this excited about this release, I just am, there I said it. "Fade Into You" is one of those influential wonders that freezes you up everytime you hear it. If this album is anything but remarkable I'd be utterly surprised. Reverb lives on again and again again...

Link to Pitchfork.com write-up:

http://pitchfork.com/news/35854-mazzy-stars-hope-sandoval-returns-with-new-album/

"Former Mazzy Star frontwoman Hope Sandoval sang the deathless 90s slow jam "Fade Into You", which means she'll live forever in wedding-playlist form."

2009/07/07

AthFest 2009===June 26, 27 & 28th, 2009===Downtown


Friday, June 26

Ah, city fests... a chance each year for towns to "get cultured" and showcase their finest locally grown artists to the surrounding area. This being my umpteenth trip to Athens, it was exciting to attend my first AthFest Music & Arts Festival and get a slightly different taste of the Classic City. With a main concert stage situated at the bottom of Washington Street hosting free shows all weekend in front of the world famous 40 Watt Club and artists and street vendors peddling their wares as far as the eye can see, this is the kind of event any true music fan could get into (even if you only knew a handful of bands playing) - not to mention the countless bars within earshot hosting concerts all day and night for a nominal fee with drink specials to boot, college girls in summer gear and bombastic locally-owned restaurants around every corner, this fest had the ingredients for a memorable weekend and would not disappoint.

Around 6:50 p.m. on Friday evening Twin Tigers hit the main stage delivering their tightly wrought, psych-pop jaunts to the enjoyment of the early crowd. Although officially hailing from Augusta, GA, Classic City can claim Dead Confederate as one of their own, as these guys have been rocking around the city for years as Redbelly until shifting gears towards their grittier, nastier current self. In just a year-and-a-half since their debut LP, Wrecking Ball, the band has made great strides towards stardom and on Friday night it was easy to see why. Opening with the soaring "Get Out" set the tone for a rapid-fire six-song set of heavy hitters. The quintet ran through the upper echelon of their catalogue, oscillating from the glowing reverb psych splashiness of "It Was a Rose" to lead singer Hardy Morris' scowling, heavy hitting grunger "Start Me Laughing." What stood out from this set was the closer, a new tune called "Split The Seams," with an anomalously pop-leaning melody that will surely please the ears of "fringe listeners."

After a short walk to a watering hole for a nicely priced refreshment, several fans scurried back downhill where The Black Lips would slowly draw everyone in with their "fuck everything" attitude and Kinks-esque, (only way more rancid) brand of garage rock. Each song of the set weaved through the genre jungle but all had a similar texture of fuzzy, garage sound. Nonsensical at times, but offensively hilarious frontman Cole Alexander wildly flailed about the stage as lead guitarist Ian Saint Pe looked to be dizzying through his own mental fog, delivering sheer brilliance at times and looking lost at others. After shooting off a fire extinguisher into the crowd, two of the band members kissed and The Black Lips' circus was well under way. Several mumbled banters preceded their jittery sound with some surprisingly poppy tinges, as in "Drugs" and some instances of impure, raunchy, cacophonous bliss. Fittingly, the show ended with Alexander making a mockery of his loaner Fender by busting it to bits. This was the final musical performance of the night on the main stage.

Word on the street was the next hot set would be cult hero Dex Romweber Duo over at the 40 Watt Club. A very cool mid-sized club on the edge of downtown, the 40 Watt has an endless list of memorable shows under its belt, including a recent Gnarls Barkley set and the now-legendary My Morning Jacket prom night in the Spring of 2006. Also, rumor has it that Kurt Cobain's autograph is on the wall backstage. Undoubtedly an influence on Jack White's The White Stripes, this guitar and drums bluesy tag team entertained the half-full club that had as much of a bar vibe as concert crowd on this particular night. I also made a short stop at Tasty World to check out local jam band Incredible Sandwich, winners of this year's Athens Flagpole Music Award for "Best New Band" (given out on the eve of AthFest). This funky quartet takes strides towards the musical eclecticism of The String Cheese Incident, featuring a wizard-like command of the guitar by lead player Matt McKinney. A fun show always, "The Sandwich" simply needs a little more time to completely come into their own and find their sound.

Saturday, June 27

My crew made it down to the main stage just in time to see "some truly old school Athens rockers" as Bloodkin cranked into the opening "Wait Forever," with lead singer Daniel Hutchens claiming, "I woke up out of tune," a fitting line many Athenians could relate to on AthFest Saturday. John Neff of the Drive-By Truckers added even more twang to "Wet Trombone Blues" before closing the set off with "Henry Parsons Died." The borderline incestuous relationship Bloodkin's music shares with Widespread Panic (WP staples "Can't Get High," "Henry Parsons Died" and "End of the Show" are all Bloodkin originals) is hard to miss, but the band's new songs have helped them step out of the lengthy shadow cast by Panic, as their critically lauded new album Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again was recognized earlier this year as one of "Fricke's Picks" in Rolling Stone and has been well-received elsewhere. A great set by any measure with four guitars working at any given time to give the band a pummeling, acid rock-meets-country sound that most anybody could get down to.
Things really got thrown into the spin cycle at the midnight twin bill hosted by two brand new Athens bands with a group called The Interns kicking things off, followed by the Futurebirds. A boozy crowd of twenty-somethings packed into the tight quarters of the upstairs room of Tasty World to take in the show. The two bands are almost completely interchangeable with four members of The Interns also in the seven-piece Futurebirds, but most musical comparisons stop there. Both outfits had the room completely dialed in for the duration of their sets, something that is extremely rare on a twin bill. The vocals of Thomas Johnson are an intriguing element in both acts as are the traveling instruments as they are passed around. As a member of The Interns, lead guitarist Carter King's rocket launch riffs would often shock listeners into a split second mental coma amongst a raucously wound band. As a Futurebird, King is just another head-banging, integral element in the communal makeup of The Futurebirds' varied Southern folk-rock sound.

It'd be a toss-up to pick the better one on this night and pointless to even compare the two. In slower songs, the Futurebirds have the intimacy of a front porch jam session, but most of this night's 1:15 a.m. set was beyond up-tempo giving this writer a sore neck the next day. Rock-style banjo strumming, female vocals and pedal steel give these guys (and girl) a fresh sound. With the lonesome, refined luster of pre-It Still Moves MMJ and the raw energy of an Avett Brothers show, these guys could be around for a long, long time.

Sunday, June 28
A lazy, hot Sunday sent many fans packing it up as Athens legends Dreams So Real played their first show in nearly a decade on the main stage. Musically a little past my time, the band deserves props for delivering a decent set and showing surprisingly little rust after all those years on the shelf. The Randall Bramblett Band closed out the main stage as a group of us watched from the rooftop of an apartment overlooking the festival strip, which is something I highly recommend.

An action-packed weekend in one of the South's finest towns sure made me long to get back to The Classic City for AthFest 2010, only this time with shows at the Georgia Theatre to restore normalcy to the scene.

2009/07/01

Back from AthFest

I've concluded that you should:

Go see The Black Lips

Go see Dead Confederate

And especially go see The Futurebirds and The Interns


A few random items from the weekend:

1) I got to stand sidestage and watch the most dynamic two young bands on the Athens music scene as they played back-to-back sets at Tasty World. Most of the members of each band are members of both but each has its own distinctive sound. Insane guitar from the Interns and energy you could capture and sell from the Futurebirds.

2) The Black Lips- Didn't expect to really enjoy their music but ended up digging the whole performance. A varied style and somehow lived up to the hype as far as stage antics go (two band members making out after spraying a fire extinguisher into the crowd). At the end of the show frontman made a mockery of his Fender smashing it to bits.

3) Another good vantage point from the rooftop of my buddy's apartment for Randall Bramblett's set. Memorable in its haziness.

4) Camera stopped working at the exact same time the first band of the weekend (that I saw---Twin Tigers took the main stage. Good band, chick bass players rule.

Full length review coming for JamBase.com

2009/06/24

Phish opens for Widespread Panic at The Georgia Theatre in 1990


02/01/90 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA

Phish
O: David Bowie, Walk Away, The Landlady, Suzy Greenberg, Caravan, The Divided Sky, Possum, Fee, Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen, Weekapaug Groove

Widespread Panic

0: Machine > Barstools and Dreamers > Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin > Barstools and Dreamers, Mr. Soul, Driving Song > Proving Ground > Driving Song > A of D > Rock > C. Brown, Space Wrangler, Impossible > Love Tractor, Holden Oversoul > It Ain't No Use > Porch Song

E: I Walk On Guilded Splinters

Can you imagine hearing David Bowie and Driving Song in the same night? Legendary.

Jim James (Or Yim Yames) gives us something to listen to in My Morning Jacket's absence


After yesterday's heartbreaking revelation that MMJ is, in fact, in the midst of a hiatus, news comes today that the 3rd and 4th MMJ-related official releases are due out later this year and, by the looks of this article, both are going to be incredible. Love that Jim James' first official solo release is actually going to be released under the name Yim Yames, what a joker that w00k is. I think the Monsters of Folk album is going to be incredible, not the biggest Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes fan, but hearing Jim's reverb meshing with Matt Ward's should be nothing short of a spiritual experience. That Yim just never stop givin.

Here's the Billboard.com story that broke the news first:
http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/jim-james-readies-george-harrison-covers-1003987164.story

Can't believe Z has still outsold Evil Urges. Although it is infinitely better.

NYEMMXVegas?????????????????????????????

p.s. Look forward to a feature piece I'm doing for JamBase.com about the tragic fire at the Georgia Theatre with interviews with Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Hunter Brown (STS9), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) as well as numerous people connected with the Georgia Theatre business and the Athens music scene. Also will be on the scene in Athens for AthFest. Can't wait for the Black Lips shenanigans!

2009/06/17

Bonnaroo 2009 Top 10



This is my 7th year at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I was not there in 2002 because I had justed turned 17 (don't think I was ready for it at that point anyway). My musical tastes have grown along with the festival and I don't think its a coincidence. Although I still have great respect for the jam bands this festival was built upon, the fact that AC & Superfly have the foresight year in and year out (except for Kanye last year) to push the envelope and invite new elements of fans and bands alike to the farm is what puts Bonnaroo on a pedestal by itself as far as American festivals go. This year's edition looked great on paper and was unimaginably better in person. Great weather and even better music led to this year's edition being the best yet. Below is a random list of things I saw unfold:

10. Dillinger Escape Plan: Seeing band members run full speed into the crowd and launch in knee first. Fans were undoubtedly bruised mentally and emotionally. This, taking place just 12 hours after the band took the stage with Nine Inch Nails at their final North American concert...ever?

9. Passion Pit Thursday night (Got the party started, terrible sound and lots of mud, but the scene was bumpin)

8. Watching Delta Spirit rock like never before in a tent as it absolutely monsooned outside. Particularly exciting because I took a group of people into largely unfamiliar territory and everyone seemed to get it. As soon as the show was over and it was time to leave, magically the rain subsided. The Bonnaroo gods watched over us on this night.

7. Santigold getting Friday started with a bang. Friday was a particularly long day and seeing a day set like this made me wish it lasted even longer. Heavy, heavy live bass and syncopated dancers have a way of getting the most fried daytime crowds going.

7b. Hearing Al Green perform "Let's Stay Together".

6. David Byrne. The Man. The Genius. The Legend.

5. Trusty ole moe. Like your favorite pair of shoes, you can put ‘em away in the closet for years and they still seem to fit like they did in high school. Rolled in (very) fashionably late and stayed ‘til the surreal blankets of fog rolled in capping off the most musically complete night of music I’ve ever experienced. This would be higher on the list, but bringing out Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at 4:30 a.m. just didn’t work for me.

4. Yeasayer FAR exceeding expectations, rolling out their psychedelic groove rock (and you can really understand the lyrics live) from the year 2080 and beyond. All of the songs had slightly new arrangements and bursted with colour as they blanketed the crowd in a wall of sound. The new tune, Tightrope from the Dark Was the Night compilation stood out with it's apropos lyrics:

So, you're wishing that you never did all the embarrassing things you done?
And you wishing you could set it right, and you wishing you could stay the night.
But there I go again. Wishing never solved a problem.
If you wanna get big time, go ahead and get, get big time
Oh, give and give and give it, until you just can't give no more.

Percussive, poignant and full of mystique, this set further manifests my prediction that we’ll see this band run up the ladder at Bonnaroo for years to come. The set was heavy with new songs and I didn’t it mind one bit. Can’t wait for the 2nd LP to drop in early 2010 as reported here on the band's blog.

3. The Naked Guy. Causes a ruckus in the crowd, tries to buy beer (naked people don’t have money, and if they do, the concession people aren’t gonna take it), argues with security, things escalate, and four security personnel bum rush him with fist and foot despite having no right to do so. CAUGHT ON TAPE.

2. Phish Friday night. Words can’t describe the excitement I felt seeing a band for the first time in 6 years. The time off has allowed me to delve further into both their live and recorded catalogue and appreciate what they used to be capable of before their initial hiatus from 2000 to 2002. Seeing the band back in the stride that made them who they are at the best festival on earth is something words can’t describe.

Set: Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Divided Sky, Possum, Down With Disease, Alaska, Stash, Golgi Apparatus, Wolfman’s Brother, Poor Heart, Kill Devil Falls > Free, Wading In The Velvet Sea, Harry Hood, Highway To Hell > 2001, YEM > Wilson > YEM

Encore: A Day In The Life

2b. Phish Sunday night. Never have and probably never will see a wearied Sunday crowd go from full-on zombied to ebullient and full of life (and glow sticks apparently). Also, the mini-set with the Boss, like it or not, was legendary. Stepped into the freezer.

1. NIN. Forever emblazoned into my retinas.

Honorable mention: The Mars Volta, dude drunkenly singing Iron Maiden with a live karaoke band with raw emotion before falling off the stage at the end, the MLB pitching/batting cages, taking EmergenC like it's some kind of shamanistic perscription, Silent Disco Sunday w/ DJ Motion Potion, Moody's inappropriately morbid comments about Nine Inch Nails, hearing Bon Iver perform "Skinny Love" on Saturday afternoon, seeing the ghost town that was Bonnaroo as we departed Monday afternoon, counting down the days til Thursday night 2010 back on the farm.

LINK TO COMPILATION VIDEO FROM THURSDAY AND FRIDAY INCLUDING PASSION PIT, SANTIGOLD, TOUBAB KREWE, ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, moe., DAVID BYRNE and PHISH:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3t0z6hh9FM

2009/05/07

Ray Lamontagne Live at The Florida Theatre, April 28th, 2009--Jacksonville, FL




Ray LaMontagne

With the theater located just a few blocks from the Jacksonville Landing waterfront and the sun still out at show time, a vernal vibe filled the air as concertgoers basked in the picture-perfect day on the First Coast just before filing into the historic Florida Theater. Those who attended the concert would experience a bit of a sea change upon entering the famed 1927 Mediterranean-style theatre for an evening of autumnal music straight from the farm.

The opening act was 19-year-old Ohioan Jessica Lea Mayfield, a uniquely abstract artist with vocals along the lines of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval or Zooey Deschanel of She & Him. Mayfield's performance was incredibly polished and surprisingly mature for such a young artist. Mayfield's compositions are both intriguing and listenable and her animated band made the show all the more enjoyable to watch. "I Can't Lie To You, Love" had drummer Anne Lillis flailing away like an octopus with restless arm syndrome, while guitarist Richie Kirkpatrick's atmospheric Neil Young riffs complemented Mayfield's oftentimes haunting vocals brilliantly. Despondent yet hopefully melodic, most of Mayfield's songs seem to describe relationship complexities only seen in Hollywood. Nevertheless, the singer's sincere delivery surely makes you wonder if they could be autobiographical as she ironically sang, "I love the sound of you walking away," in "For Today," perhaps the most notable tune from her acclaimed debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. The theatre was just reaching capacity as Mayfield's set ended for a short intermission.

Shortly after 9:00 p.m., Ray LaMontagne, dressed in a denim button-down and jeans, took the stage to uproarious applause and was quietly shrouded in an unassuming glow of blue light. The crowd hushed to pin-drop volume and LaMontagne picked a simple riff while playing harmonica before stepping into "All the Wild Horses" from his debut record, Trouble. A sign of a great songwriter, LaMontagne painted a picture with the lyrics of "Winter Birds," a pastoral tune about rural romance that includes the bittersweet verse:

Though all these things will change
The memories will remain
As green to gold and gold to brown
The leaves will fall to feed the ground
And in their falling make no sound
Oh my lady, lady, I am loving you now


Still alone on-stage, the third song, "Burn," received the largest reaction of the night to this point. Bassist Jennifer Condos joined LaMontagne on-stage for a take on "Jolene." The rest of the band took the stage for "Empty," a song with an ironically up-beat melody contrasting with the high, lonesome whine of the pedal steel of Eric Heywood (Son Volt, The Pretenders), a pure tone that would rule the night. After finally introducing his road mates, the band ripped through "Hey Me, Hey Mama," a brand new good-time, boom/tap '50s style country tune from Gossip in the Grain that had Heywood digging below the deepest register to add backing vocals. Equal parts tongue-in-cheek and rough-and-tumble, "Hey Me" fits in the Music Row tradition as a song about unconditional love for mama. As songwriter Alice Randall once told me, country music is "a hard music for a hard people or cliché music for a sentimental people... just three chords and the truth," and LaMontagne and his band played this one like seasoned honky-tonk vets.


I always knew that you were crazy
Always knew you could be cruel
Still, I would do just about anything
In the world for you


The downtrodden hit single "Let It Be Me" came next, followed by a beautifully assembled version of "Hold You In My Arms," a lustrous feel-good ballad that changed the vibe of the night thereafter. Although LaMontagne's voice and deftly sentimental lyrics are the main draw, the second half of the concert was just as much about showcasing his bandmates' talent as his own, with the stage lights finally raised so fans could enjoy seeing Heywood's nimble runs on the slide and Jay Bellerose's jazzy bangs on the tom. I was surprised to find that LaMontagne is as lucky to have such a talented band as they are to play for such a vocally talented rising star.

The most memorable moment of the night came during "I Still Care for You," a plea to a lost lover that had LaMontagne and Condos singing the title words in a cinematic, meaningful way in perfect harmony with the weepy steel riff. It was a moment that words cannot do justice. A candy apple red hue overtook the stage as Mr. LaMontagne sang his ode to White Stripes drummer "Meg White," a song that is perhaps an attempt to prove that he is not all business or possibly a teenage fantasy song that he never had the chance to write. A loungy "You Are the Best Thing" and "Shelter" followed before "Trouble," which closed out the set. Although by no means a flashy display, there was a subtle extra bit of oomph in LaMontagne's performance on this final tune.

The crowd brought LaMontagne, Heywood, Bellerose and Condos back for a couple more tunes. The cryptic "Til the Sun Turns Black" was a cool closer and LaMontagne's way of saying that those who simply focus on living and loving and not the frivolous temptations of the world will find virtue in life. Although enigmatic in its delivery, the tune was delivered with unquestionable poignancy. It's refreshing to find hope in a seemingly apocalyptic tune. LaMontagne gave a simple "thank you, good night," house lights came on and the crowd dispersed.


If you are looking for an ostentatious rocker or a fuzzy sing-along, then a LaMontagne show is not for you. The earthy frontman is as candid as he is endearing, and just plain comes off as a likeable guy with no pretense or strings attached. In many ways it was refreshing to see a concert where the sole focus was the music at hand. Undoubtedly by design, there was no flash photography, not much chatter and a subdued visual display, allowing fans to focus on the intricacies of the music and the powerful lyrics. As expected, LaMontagne's sandpaper voice mesmerized the audience from the get go and the building remained eerily quiet throughout the performance with the exception of a few bumptious females shouting out the standard, "I love you, Ray!" and some surly dudes shouting, "You rule!" There is a reason why a hoarse singer with almost no formal musical training is able to pack the seats every night. On Tuesday in Jacksonville, a couple thousand people found out why.


Ray LaMontagne :: 04.28.09 :: Florida Theater :: Jacksonville, FL
All The Wild Horses, Winter Birds, Burn, Jolene, Empty, Hey Me, Hey Mama, Let It Be Me, Hold You, Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's A Shame), You Can Bring Me Flowers, I Still Care For You, Meg White, You Are The Best Thing, Shelter, Trouble
Encore: Achin', Til The Sun Turns Black

http://www.raylamontagne.com/

2009/04/26

Vanderbilt Rites of Spring festival : April 17th and 18th



Rites of Spring Music Festival :: 04.17.09 & 04.18.09 :: Alumni Lawn at Vanderbilt University :: Nashville, TN


The Flaming Lips :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
The spirit of youthful aggression and collegial camaraderie coursed through Vanderbilt's Alumni Lawn this past weekend at the annual Rites of Spring Music Festival. Since the mid-1970s, a group of students at Vanderbilt have worked all year to put on one of the best college parties in the nation to mark the commencement of spring and the end of another school year just before the campus dives into exams. In past years the festival has played host to Gov't Mule, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, My Morning Jacket and countless other renowned touring acts. For the 2009 edition, the committee decided to bring in purveyors of all things weird and true artisans of the theater of the absurd, The Flaming Lips, to close out the festival.

Since forming 26 years ago in Oklahoma City, The Lips have constantly pushed the envelope, both in the studio and on the stage, with their otherworldly space-pop rock that seemingly comes from a far away universe. Amongst a well-manicured sanctuary of trees, academic buildings and dormitories in the middle of Nashville, Professor Wayne Coyne brought his traveling circus and transformed a quaint little college music festival into the surface of a boozy utopia replete with dancing Teletubbies, endless amounts of confetti and the always great classics of the Lips' canon. Although many memories of college are ephemeral and thereby long forgotten, who can seriously forget seeing two Teletubbies get engaged on their campus' main lawn at a Flaming Lips show? Oh, she said yes! That's the stuff dreams are made of. Really, really twisted dreams.


Friday, April 17

Springtime means the outdoors, celebrating nature, and in the case of Vanderbilt, live music. A beautiful sun-splashed banner day ushered in arriving patrons to the festival grounds in the center of campus, as vendors and student volunteers welcomed their arrival. Asian style globular light fixtures streamed overhead to add a little ambience to the occasion and the festival began shortly after 3 p.m. As is always the case at Rites of Spring, the first acts to take the stage are the winners of the "Battle of the Bands" contest held the night before the festival. A group of students from both Middle Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt known as We the Trufe took the stage and did some funky originals and a surprisingly stunning cover of "Killing Me Softly." Aggressive Nashville rock act Run With Bulls came on next to a smattering of arriving patrons for a short set.

K'naan


K'naan :: Rites of Spring by Alex Person
It was not until the self-described "ghetto rockstar" K'naan arrived that the crowd began to fill in considerably. Arguably the best set of the weekend, Somalian K'naan summoned the spirit of both Bob Marley and Bob Dylan as his keyboard player described, "It's not American rap. It's African rap." "T.I.A." came first with an unrelenting bass groove and K'naan saying, "You don't know how hard it is here." In a moment where art truly described reality, a couple of rowdy twenty-somethings began moshing and a couple of classic college 'near fights' broke out, as K'naan sang about "feeling insane... in America." Lyrically, K'naan is inspirational, uplifting and constantly commenting on his upbringing in Somalia and the hope he has for a better tomorrow. The guy is a multilingual modern day poet and in my mind, headed for superstardom. K'naan (which fittingly translates into "traveler" in Somali) has too positive of a message and too uplifting of a story to be ignored. Conceivably on a mission ever since releasing his most successful album to date, Troubadour, a couple months ago, K'naan flew in from France the day of the show and was headed to Coachella the day after. With a super tight band and a total command of the crowd's attention, the festival really began when K'naan took the Rites stage. For more on K'naan check JamBase's recent feature/interview here.

Okkervil River


Santigold :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
Next, I took in my first Okkervil River show. Wrought with intellectual lyrical themes, and musically almost there, it was a solid set but underwhelming overall. On numerous occasions it seemed as if the band was going to take off on a soaring coda and then the song would just end. Will Sheff's shaky vocals didn't fit my ear and the lyrics, albeit eloquent, were overly depressing and ominous. The whine of the lap steel melded nicely with Sheff's crepuscular warbles in many cases. In their finer, more up-beat moments, they fleetingly resembled The Band with a PhD in Creative Writing. The tune "John Allyn Smith Sails" caught my attention with its lyrical reference to "Sloop John B." By no means bad, Okkervil River just seemed to be a little out of sync with the general vibe of the festival on this day.

Santigold

Santigold (formerly Santogold) took the stage just after sundown and was the surprise performance of the weekend. Hit song "L.E.S. Artistes" came early in the set, and the energy of the show never subsided. With a vibrant smile that matched her gold lamé outfit, Santi White's up-beat attitude and performance had everyone bouncing, and the artist thereby staked her claim as queen of this Rites of Spring weekend. In full command of the stage, Ms. White engaged the raucous crowd while flanked by two eerily robotic and syncopated dancers that neither broke a smile or their fluid strides throughout the set. Not since Stop Making Sense have I witnessed such an intoxicating dance ensemble. Santigold is an artist that does not deserve to be pigeonholed or categorized. Her influences draw from rock, African roots music, soul and hip-hop, and the beats came from all over the map, many with a Middle Eastern flair. Comparisons to M.I.A. are unavoidable, but Santigold creates and dominates a space all her own and I look forward to catching her David Byrne curated set at this summer's Bonnaroo. She's got the stage presence of a pop star and some rockin' material that doesn't quite fit inside the box, so be sure to check her out this summer as she burns through the festival circuit.

Q-Tip


T.I. :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
Harlem's own and A Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-Tip was next to address the progressively more surly audience, and provided a nice mix of solo and Tribe material. Hip-hop music is just so much better and more entertaining with a solid ensemble of live musicians, and this set along with N.E.R.D. the following night exemplified this excellently. It was good to see "Bonita Applebum" make it into the set as well as "Vivrant Thing" and "Jazz (We've Got)." A handful of dancing co-eds were brought onstage to join the party and I was surprised that most actually seemed to know what they were doing up there. Perhaps Vanderbilt kids do have rhythm?! A solid set and a blast from the past, it was good to take a trip back to the old school before the new "King of the South" took center stage.

T.I.

Just weeks before his much publicized incarceration, rap mega star T.I. was brought in to close out night one of the festival. As is the norm at any large-scale rap show, T.I.'s set was not short on posse. Nashville's own Young Buck was invited up to join the party for a bit, and T.I. ranted against the haters and promised he would return stronger than ever after his 366 days in the pen. Swooning and pointing to the masses beyond the security barrier, T.I. ripped through older cuts such as "Bring 'Em Out," "Rubber Band Man" and "What You Know" that had the crowd as jacked as the new tunes from last year's Paper Trail. We'll just chalk this one down as a damn fun time while it lasted.

Continue reading for coverage of Saturday at Rites of Spring...
Saturday, April 18
Stardeath and White Dwarfs

"The age of the freak is in our head."


Stardeath and White Dwarfs :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
Appropriately, this was one of the first lyrics I would hear on Alumni Lawn on Day Two. The Flaming Lips darker stepchild headed by Wayne Coyne's nephew Dennis Coyne, Stardeath and White Dwarfs were allowed the luxury of using the Lips' spatial half-circle video wall for their set. For an early afternoon college festival set, this one was particularly jarring to the mental cavity. Heavy on the prog-a-delic hard rock and even heavier on the smoke, many jaws were dropped at this early set as green smoke came out of Dennis' guitar and uncle Wayne rocked out side stage. An abstract cover of Madonna's "Borderline" was played to wrap the short set, but this would not be the final rendition of the tune on Day Two by a psychedelic, art rock band from Oklahoma.

Sara Watkins

There is something about bluegrass and Americana music that just seems to fit perfectly into the middle of a music festival. As a member of the temporarily defunct Nickel Creek, Watkins has been around the festival circuit countless times and felt right at home wielding her fiddle and singing to the chilled out afternoon crowd. The set was mostly ballads, but was a change of pace in the midst of a downright filthy, dank, rowdy and soon to be rainy second day of the fest.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears


Black Joe Lewis :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
Nashville's Black Joe Lewis brought the rock and soul for a short while just before dusk and the Lost Highway artist exceeded expectations. Bluesy, rootsy and soulful, Mr. Lewis is a showman fit for the big stage. With a dapperly dressed band, good time lyrics and some slick guitar chops, Lewis was able to bring the restrained crowd back to their feet with "Get Yo Shit," a story about women and legal troubles. Lewis' horn section and performance style closely replicates the work of the godfather of soul himself, but if you're gonna imitate a showman why not mimic the best? Black Joe puts on a helluva a party and it'll be interesting to see this young artist grow. I'd be surprised if his new album, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is, doesn't get some heavy spin time at summer cookouts and college radio stations across the nation.

Grand Ole Party

California's Grand Ole Party was an interesting act, not exactly my first choice stylistically but it was unique to see pint-sized drummer Kristin Gundred take center stage and play while singing lead vocals. Grimly passionate, the lyrics were delivered with gusto but just didn't do it for me, so I retreated out of the gates to rest up for the final two acts of the festival.

N.E.R.D.


Rites of Spring by Hodges
Pharrell Williams' rap rock outfit N.E.R.D. (No One Ever Really Dies) was an obvious choice for this festival. Hell-bent on creating anarchist behavior in the crowd and upsetting the powers-that-be and event security, Pharrell relentlessly stoked the fire until near pandemonium erupted in the front and center of the crowd as fans moshed their way closer to the action. He eventually got his wish as crowd surfers floated throughout the audience. "Anti Matter" opened the set and the band ran through hits "Lapdance," "Rock Star" and "Spaz" with shocking precision. The band was wound tight, although low in the mix at times, and the many layers of vocals made for a unique performance. Nevertheless, Pharrell's stage banter is what people will ultimately remember about this show.

The Flaming Lips

As extraterrestrial music blared on stage and Wayne Coyne returned from his walk around the audience in the familiar human-sized space orb hamster ball, a transcendental feeling resonated across Alumni Lawn that something truly paranormal was occurring and the band broke into The Soft Bulletin classic "Race For the Prize (Sacrifice of the New Scientists)." The multi-talented Stephen Drozd harmonized like a small child, and shit was lost, high fives had, many sang in unison and the universe somehow seemed at peace as The Flaming Lips burned brightly.


The Flaming Lips :: Rites of Spring by Hodges
The tension of anticipation released, the rest of the show was a blur of confetti, bright images and "What the F*&!" moments. Coyne, usually nauseatingly political with his banter, was reserved on this occasion and was instead incredibly gracious for the opportunity to host such a big party, only commenting on how happy he is to have Obama in the Oval Office. For the second time this day, Madonna's "Borderline" was covered and Coyne commented that this would probably be the only time in history that you would see two rock bands cover the same Madonna song in the same day at a festival. Stardeath were invited on stage for the tune and it was oddly cool how the Lips made a Madonna tune all their own. The bare bones and slowed down "Fight Test" was a disappointment and "Yoshimi" received similar treatment as the rain started to pelt fans. I found it strange that these two songs were slowed down in the midst of such a rowdy atmosphere, and perhaps they were slowed down because of concern with technical issues with the ongoing rain. "Pompeii am Götterdämmerung," "The Wand" and '90s classic "She Don't Use Jelly" were all extravagantly brilliant, and just before the show's finale one of the dancing Teletubbies unexpectedly (even to the band) proposed to his girlfriend (also a Teletubbie) and she said yes. To paraphrase the song, happiness would make the newly engaged girl cry as the band ran through "Do You Realize??," slamming the door shut on a tour of the universe and a festival that was both genre and mind-bending at times.

Like George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic before them, a Flaming Lips show is just as much about creating an atmosphere as it is about the music. Vibrant orange and yellow stage props, confetti, Teletubbie suits and a man strolling the crowd in a hamster ball are the norm in the universe of The Flaming Lips, and although variations of this same show have been performed countless times all over the globe, if its this much fun why should it matter if it's repeated? Wayne Coyne's mission in life is to create performance art for the enjoyment of the masses, and besides getting a little rain-drenched, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their Flaming Lips experience (many for the first time on this occasion).

After all, as Coyne so eloquently put it, "It's hard to make the good things last." But, if the good times are memorable enough they'll be hard to forget. Kudos to the Vanderbilt Music Group for throwing one helluva party.

The Flaming Lips :: 04.18.09 :: Vanderbilt University :: Nashville, TN
Race for the Prize (Sacrifice of the New Scientists), Lightning Strikes the Postman, Borderline (Madonna song with Stardeath & White Dwarfs), Fight Test (alternate version), The Process, Vein of Stars, Mountainside, "Fuck the Rain" chant, Yoshimi (part 1 only), Pompeii am Götterdämmerung, Taps, The W.A.N.D. (The Will Always Negates Defeat), She Don't Use Jelly, On-stage marriage proposal from one Teletubbie to another, Do You Realize??


Continue reading for more pics of Rites of Spring 2009...