Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Rock N' Roll Train" - NEW FROM AC/DC

The album is Black Ice and it's out 10/20 but only at some big box stupid store.

The first single "Rock n' Roll Train" can be heard now at Ac/

It sounds like a cut left off of The Razor's Edge. There's even a fly on the website, ala Fly on the Wall.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yo La Tengo; Titus Andronicus @ McCarren Park Pool

Yo La Tengo; Titus Andronicus; Ebony Bones
@ McCarren Park Pool
Brooklyn, NY - August 24, 2008

The last ever JELLYNYC free show at the McCarren Park Pool (after 3 summers worth) featured New Jersey's legendary Yo La Tengo who weaved in and out of the short and sweet stuff like their recent classic "Hey Mr. Tough" to long, distorted jams, all the while playing a tribute to the summer time (this is a band that likes to sing about the seasons).
Titus Andronicus continues to play everywhere this summer and in the confines of the wide open pool, they sounded sloppy and amateurish except for their fantastic little ditty about themselves.
I heard Ebony Bones whilst waiting on the long line into the Pool, and they started off impressively with some thunderous drumming and bass-heavy winding works. But it very quickly seem to turn droll and weak. But that may have been because of the acoustics affected by the big walls around the Pool.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

LeRoi Moore, 1961-2008

Jon Stewart recently said that he was getting sick of reporting about people who are leaving us at time when they shouldn't. This certainly appears to be the case lately.

Years and years ago, back when the 1990's were getting over grunge and looking for something new, the Dave Matthews Band came along and played a big part in that. And while the band has taken some twists and turns over the years with a fan base and live show that really isn't for everyone, it nevertheless remains that for a good while there, they were one of the best bands in the country and deserved to be popular. Instrumental to the band's success was their horn man, LeRoi Moore, who died today after injuries from an ATV accident in June. He will be missed.

LeRoi's best work may have been in the band's best song, "Ants Marching" (it's also the best song to showcase the talents of Boyd Tinsley).

The band is going ahead with their show in Los Angeles tonight. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like. Sigh.

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Meet The Gaslight Anthem...and Their "'59 Sound"

Meet them.

Leave it to Side One Dummy to do it again. That label has a knack for finding bands with a distinct alternative or retro sound and promoting them right into the mix of the mediocre mall-rock, douche-bag bands that dominate modern rock radio in the suburbs of America. They basically like to teach the kids out there what it's like to listen to real bands with something to offer. They did it with Flogging Molly and now they may have done it again with the Gaslight Anthem.

Yes, these Jersey boys cite Springsteen, but they also sound like the Replacements and the song itself - and it pains me to write this - is much akin to Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69". It even sounds like it's from the 80's. And that Adams song was an 80's song that sounded like an 80's anthem-rock song but was about a by-gone period. But it's ok - that wasn't the worst song in the world and neither is this one. In fact, this is one of the best songs of the year.

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Meet Raphael Saadiq

Meet him. Though you probably already did when you listened to the great neo-soul band of the early 1990's, Tony! Toni! Toné!.

Speaking of soul, the neo-soul movement is doing real well these days, if only for this guy. To heck with King Khan & The Shrines. This man needs no extra gimmick to bring the goods home.

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Remembering Isaac Hayes and Jerry Wexler

What could I possibly add about Isaac that hasn't been said by anyone anywhere else?

Jerry Wexler, the producer behind some of the most consistently good music in history - 60's soul on Atlantic Records, passed on Friday. Fresh Air remembered him yesterday.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Dream Tickets: TV on the Radio & The Dirtbombs; The Hold Steady & The Drive-By Truckers

Regionally and Sonic Parthenon-speaking:
TVOTR and the Dirtbombs:

Fri Oct 10 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia
Tues Oct 14 at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Brooklyn (sold out)
(TVOTR is also playing another show at the Temple the next night, while the Dirtbombs play Maxwell's and Southpaw the next night and night after, respectively)

THS and DBT:
Thu Nov 6 and Fri Nov 7 at Terminal 5 in NYC
Sat Nov 8 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia
Tue Nov 11 at the Phoenix in Toronto

Both tickets are full-blown tours, check the band sites for details

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Of Time Locks, Tetra Cities, and Dymaxion Automobiles: Buckminster Fuller and the Whitney Exhibit

I recently went to the exhibit at the Whitney Museum showcasing the ideas, designs, and intentions of one R. Buckminster Fuller, who, besides having one tremendous name, was a sort of mad scientist for the forces of Good. He was a true visionary, and the kind of bold thinker who not only thought up new methods of solving just about every hiccup in the facets of human existence, he completely rethought the very nature of human existence in and of itself. In some ways, it seems that Mr. Fuller was not of this dimension. He seems to be a visitor from another Earth in the realm of the multiverse, who somehow escaped through a multi-dimensional wormhole and wound up here for a little while.

Besides the practical applications of his designs, structures, devices, and maps, he had a knack for names and logos. "Time Lock" and "Dymaxion" are my personal favorites, and the look of his Dymaxion Car is my kind of ride:
A dirigible on wheels!

WNYC recently had the curators of the exhibit on the Lopate show and This Recording's Molly Young visited the exhibit and had her own take on it.

Speaking of This Recording, in non-Dymaxion Time Lock Thermomovementation Device News, they've had some other recent articles of note:
The Deliciousness (or lack there of) of Disgusting Food
Another Chapter In Their Continuing Valid Obsession With Redheads
(See Previously: In Praise of Jews)

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The Blacks are Here...and They Were at Union Pool

Amazing Baby; The Blacks; Suckers
@ Union Pool
Brooklyn, NY - August 16, 2008

Amazing Baby were a neo-hippie mostly psychadelic, slightly old time metal big band. If you like the genre, they got the job done.

So I had the write-up for the Blacks all planned out, see? It was going to begin with "You gotta give credit to this band just for taking the most oft used adjective in band names in this, or maybe any, decade, and turning it into a right proper noun. Take that Angels, Halos, Hollies, Keys, Lips, Mountain, Rebel Motorcycle Club, etc etc etc!" But lead singer and guitar player Louisa Black went ahead and said it all herself at the gig, post-performance, thereby ruining my set-up. Dammit.
Anyway, the Blacks are tremendously good. They have a very distinct source for their matieral: No Wave. Louisa and her two cohorts have a slight whiff of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks and a more contemporary flair for early Yeah Yeah Yeahs but at the same time, they rely on grinding out concise, sharp, pure rock n' roll melodic mayhem. JDK Blacker plays a tambourine like no person ever before in the history of time. And this is a good thing. And he wears a white suit well. Gavin in the back is exactly the kind of drummer people will be talking about. All put together, this is a new, exciting band that also reminds us of all things we've liked about music this decade and a couple decades back. Take that! Period!

Suckers are not as nondescript as their name suggests. Led by a very potent voiced, powerful bluesy singer, the band dabbled in a little bit of everything tonight, from the aforementioned blues to dance-pop to distortion-rock. It worked very well pretty much overall and this is yet another band to keep an eye on.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Regina Spektor on Soundcheck

A couple days ago, New York's favorite immigrant played a couple rare tracks whilst in the Soundcheck studio, including the very nice "Folding Chair":

Schaefer mentions that Regina opened for the Strokes, and he remarks how far she has come and how big the show at McCarren (tomorrow) will be, but he doesn't mention that her opener is one of those Strokes! Step on it, Schaefer!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Troy Gregory Leaves The Dirtbombs

His last show with the band will be on September 5th at the Magic Stick in Detroit.

It's the end of an era in a way. The Dirtbombs are/were notorious for their line-up changes (only Pat has been with Mick since the beginning of the band over a decade ago) but this line-up has been the longest lasting, 4 years and a couple months. It's also kind of sad because Troy is a real gem of a person, a wonderful guy to know and to speak to. To think that he won't be the guy relaxing in the corner, then screaming his head off, being the "1, 2, 3, 4, 1!" guy, being the Down-to-Earth-Badass that he is, is just a real loss. But he has a lot of plans and we'll be hearing from him again soon.

His greatest moment in the band has to be July 2005, at the infamous Knitting Factory show in New York. When Ko slashed her fingers on her broken string a couple songs into an already tense and raucous set and blood started pouring out, Troy ran to the rescue, dashing across the stage, lifting up his in-shock band-mate over his shoulder and taking her to get help before returning to the stage and improvising with Mick for the remainder of the show. That was the night it was revealed he was Batman all along.

But in terms of being caught on camera, this past April in Toronto was a definite career highlight:

Here's to you Troy.

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David Byrne's Still Got It (With Brian Eno)

The reunion of Eno and Byrne is something to get excited about, especially after hearing the new single (which you can download for free from the official website):

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Metric @ Highline Ballroom

@ Highline Ballroom
New York, NY - August 8, 2008

Who needs the All Points West Festival? All you need is 1:30 in the morning in the Meat Packing District in a slick, sleek yet (yes) meaty venue to see the slick, sleek yet meaty Toronto-based, New York-nutured, internationally-seeded hybrid that is Metric. Emily and the 3 J's came out rip-roaring with a stunningly powerful rendition of their triumphant "Dead Disco" (complete with sounds of old fighter planes crashing), a song so good that if the band produced nothing else they would still be one of the greatest bands of the decade. From there it was a journey through some of their best work - notably "Hand$hake$", "Poster of a Girl", "Rock Me Now", "Hustle Rose", and "Empty" with a peppering of some new material before a set ending celebration with "Combat Baby" - a performance that maximized both band skill and crowd participation. "Doo doo doos" never sounded so good...until the band returned for their encore and kicked it off with another new song, the fantastic "Stadium Love" which actually runs over "Combat Baby" in the "doos" department, and should be a smash hit when it is finally put on record. "Monster Hospital" served as the final house shaker before Emily and James turned "Live It Out" into a sweet natured show ending ballad.

Like the last time they played, Metric appears to be a showcase for Emily Haines, and not just because she's dressed like an aluminum cave woman. But the beauty of Metric is that it really is a full-blown band with four equal members making it work. It sort of sneaks up on you, what with the enigmatic blondie in a little dress running around up there on stage, but this is a really accomplished, really complete band. In other words, omg it's love. <3

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Airborne Toxic Event's Self-Titled LP: The Pennypacker Perspective

So anyone who reads this blog (all four of you) could pretty much expect that this record was going to get a positive review here. But even I did not expect how much of a positive review I would have to offer. As of right now, the Airborne Toxic Event's self-titled LP is the best album of 2008. There is not a stinker in the bunch, not a single filler track. It is an album full of hits from start to finish. The live shows and the pre-LP releases made a pretty overwhelming case for Mikel Jollet's just about perfect ability to write a catchy pop hook but this record not only showcases that ability, it puts it in amber. He knows what makes a hit (whether the songs actually become hits or not is irrelevant, it's the fact that he knows, you know, and I know that this is what it takes to sound like a hit factory). The word "craft" is more applicable to this band right now than pretty much anyone out there. The songcraft, the actual construction, the precision, the methodology - sure it sounds sort of mechanical but don't be mistaken, this is far from lifeless. This is as vibrant and potent and moving as modern pop-rock can be and can go.

OK there is one sort-of-problem: When something like this is so easily, almost effortlessly, good, it sort of leads to a shortage of words. Let's face it, a record with problems can lead to a more in-depth dissection. What's there to dissect here? Five very talented people got together, put together some very sharp, very spot-on rock n' roll songs, found an equilibrium between rock and pop, and released just about the most damned flawless record of 2008 so far. It's to their credit, not their detriment, that a full-blown long-winded essay is not in order (ironic, considering all the literary basis for the band's music).

Erica over at BL&L (the East Coast's best source for all things A.T.E., we're number 2! we're number 2!) caught up with Mikel at the band's recent DC show. Erica has provided a link to the Conan performance in the comments page (I plum forgot that NBC puts its programming up at that HULU site) and the band itself has linked to this (probably illegal) YouTube clipping of the performance on their MySpace page (which is still, god bless 'em, their only official web page).

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Return of the Bamboo Kids!

While other bands are breaking up or fizzling out, NYC's premiere purveyors of all-out good-time punk-spirited rock n' roll, the Bamboo Kids, are finally back in the swing of the things. They will be at Fat Baby on Wed, August 13th, with their better looking friends the Anabolics along for the ride.

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Recent Radio Highlights

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Sudden Stunning Break-Up of Be Your Own Pet

No speculations as to why here but considering how explosive the music is of the Nashville Teen Garage Punk Scene, why should anyone actually be stunned?
Well, considering they were signed to a major label, were getting solid reviews, and expanding their fanbase, it's a bit of a stunner. And it's too bad. They were a good kick in the pants to all the mall-punk bands.

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The Airborne Toxic Event @ Mercury Lounge

The Airborne Toxic Event; Blacklist
@ Mercury Lounge
New York, NY - July 31, 2008

The night before they shook the world on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the pride of Silver Lake made their Merc (and New York headlining?) debut with a solid set that showcased a large chunk of songs they did not play at their two Pianos appearances this year. The band has become so sharp and reliable, they didn't even bother playing 2 of their 4 previously released songs ("Does This Mean You're Moving On?" and "Papillon") though they should have, just because. Now with the Conan appearance, the record release next week, the KCRW appearance to come, and their upcoming tour, it will only be a matter of weeks before people recall the time they saw the Airborne Toxic Event at the Mercury Lounge.

And if you want to find connections and meanings in things, here's something to reflect on: When Mikel discussed Silver Lake and got some cheers, he remarked about how he may as well have talked about Brooklyn and that got cheers in obligation. This led to mentions of the National and the Hold Steady, two of the most written about bands on this the Airborne Toxic Event has been keeping here for so far this entire year. It's all one big happy family these days...


Blacklist sounded like Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, and the Cure. That's about all I can say.

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Flogging Molly; O'Death @ Pier 54

Flogging Molly; O'Death
@ Pier 54
New York, NY - July 31, 2008

It's been a couple years since I've seen Flogging Molly, and I was a bit hesitant. A distinct Irish and Punk band from Los Angeles, Flogging Molly made three excellent albums between 2000 and 2004. Without question, this band - who first came across my radar with a performance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien - were one of the best bands in the world during that time. Dave King wrote and sung with a ferocious spirit and ultimate authenticity, backed by one of the country's most talented bands. But the band went into a quiet phase following 2004's Within A Mile Of Home, perhaps to just finally revel in their hard earned success. They only finally released another complete LP of material this year, called Float. Either I've moved on or they've exhausted themselves because the initial listens of Float came off weak, with the exception of "Requiem for a Dying Song". But how would it be live still? The band always put on a hell of a show but would the new record's diminished strength do the same to the live show?

Feckin' no. Dave is as enigmatic and wonderful as ever and the band is as tight and professional as ever. Though I had to leave about 5 or 6 songs in so I could catch another Los Angeles band on the rise and making an appearance on Conan, it was clear that FM was still a band to rave about. On a beautiful Manhattan night, supported by an excellent sound system, King and company recalled all those great, spine tingling feelings they engineered in the first half of this decade. They still got it.

O'Death is probably the most fitting opener yet attached to Flogging Molly. The band's Appalachian sound, descended from the Scotch-Irish, matches well with the direct Celtic fury of Flogging Molly. Though the band is sloppier, grittier, and grimier than FM - and appropriately so - they not only got the crowd enthused, they gave the overwhelming throngs of drunken macho suburbanites a taste of what's cooking here in the city.

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