The first line of the Big Star song “September Gurls.” If you don’t know the song, or who Big Star is, or who Alex Chilton was, please do yourself a big favor and dig into to it and find out quickly. You will not be let down I promise you. Alex Chilton was a phenomenal musician and songwriter who was greatly under-recognized in his youth during the late 70′s, but found a better deal of success later in his life and musical journey. I had the pleasure of shaking his hand and thanking him for his music and found him to be a very pleasant guy. I was on cloud nine for weeks just because I had talked to him. The song “Thirteen” ripped out my soul, put it back, and takes me back to the early years of discovering girls every time I hear it. It is the reason you push play on whatever device you listen to music on. So let’s check out some new music! First, let me help you out with some Big Star!
Big Star- “September Gurls“
Figure & Cas One- “The Accident”
Dubstep artist Figure supplies an avalanche of able and ready wubby bass jacking backdrop to Cas One’s fluent rapping. Great line by Cas One with “ Ain’t that tragic when a person don’t recognize that magic, A trapeze act of sadness trying to re-spark old habits...” moody and brilliant stuff.
Enter Shikari- “System.../Meltdown”
Found this British band researching the Reading Festival. Enter Shikari have been regulars at this epic British Festival for the past few years. They are a mix of electronic, hardcore, rap, dubstep, raw energy and mayhem and I love it. I’m excited by this band. America should take notice now. The lyrics a of “System…” are a strong warning we should all heed. Political, brazen, energetic, in your face, we need this, we definitely need this!
Ry & Frank Wiedmann- “Howling (Âme Remix)“
Fact is, I’m not usually bowled over by house music. I find it tedious and repetitive. Compared to more exciting styles of electronic dance music (EDM) like dubstep and glitch hop, its kind of boring to me a little bit. So it takes a special house track to catch my attention and hold it, and this one does. First off, it’s very low key and moody with its seductive bass line. And even more seductive is the vocals. Its an 8 minute long song, but I know you van handle it. I’m fully hooked as you will be too.
Hooded Menace-“In The Dead We Dwell“
This song’s opening sample from some old horror movie will teach you the basics of vampire killing. The rest of the song will rock you solidly with its old school doom metal pace and virile grunts and angry growls.Throw up the goats and just rock heavily to this plodding and heavy tune. I command you!
Noah Grunderson & The Forest Rangers- “He Got Away“
This song closed out the first episode of the new season of Sons of Anarchy, one of the best shows on television. The Forest Rangers are a band of session musicians who have never really played a live show. Their main focus is mainly recording tracks to fit the narrative of this show about a motorcycle club based northern California. This acoustic, folksy pairing with artist Noah Grunderson actually stands up as great song outside the narrative of the show.
Dust Bolt- “March Thru Pain“
Thrash metal never dies! And that is a good thing, because thrash metal is good metal. All the things that are awesome about thrash are here. The crushing riffs. The double bass drum kicking. The growled, screamed vocals of undiscernible content. It’s masculine, angry, and rocking. Bang your head accordingly.
Murph & Gawkman-”Eat!”
These fellows are from the humorous metal band Psychostick. They are also responsible for “The Dumb Song” which was so stupid it was funny. Here they name check every restaurant chain they can think of to chuckle inducing effect again. Two things will happen you sill smile and you will be hungry. Quizno’s anyone?
Bloc Party- “We Are Not Good People“
Bloc Party is back after a hiatus that started in 2009 to explore other side projects and solo work that lasted three years. And they charge out of the gate swinging. This spin finds them much more aggressive and a bit angrier sounding. Singer Kele Okereke prowls around menacingly offering that,”this is a warning!” The band crashes along almost like thrash with quick cascading riffs and a fiery pace that you barely keep up with. There’s going to be mosh pit somewhere soon.
Minus The Bear- “Cold Company”
I often refer to this Seattle, WA. band as the Rush of the indie scene. Mainly because of their shifting time signatures, and technical guitar riffs. Lyric wise they don’t venture into sci-fi themes like Rush does. They have however drifted away from the emo-ish long winded song titles that were evident on their early recordings. Jake Snyder draws on the story of Sisyphus (maybe those Rush comparisons are closer than I thought) to lament ask forgiveness for walking away from someone who just keeps pushing that rock up the hill only to watch it roll down again. Sometimes you just have to walk away, it’s not your rock. The new album Infinity Overhead is out now.
The Hives- “Wait A Minute“
The Hives have been on a tear this year. Right now there isn’t a band out there who is better live. They are destroying every festival they have played. It’s hard not to be thoroughly entertained by Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s stage banter between songs, often stating “I have no idea what I’m talking about!” Complete with roadies dressed as ninjas. The band has also released one of the best albums of the year Lex Hives featuring “Wait A Minute.” A straight blast of pure happiness. Long live The Hives!
The xx- “Chained“
The British duo The XX have finally gotten around to album number two. Coexist is often slower, more restrained, and even more painfully shy than their first self titled album was. This time around the band gets moodier and darker. “Chained” comes off as a slow rolling house jam, but definitely a jam as your head will eventually bob along to the beat, which is cool because the song may also work as a slow working tranquilizer dart, but one that will leave you with a warm and fuzzy lazy Sunday morning haze about it.
More dubstep action. Hoedown comes from Zomboy’s latest ep The Dead Symphonic. Here Zomboy throws in a little country stomp to his nightmare-ish stomper. Play loudly and often.
Twin Atlantic- “Yes, I Was Drunk (Polaris At Noon Remix)”
Twin Atlantic’s tale of desperation and the despair of a betrayal that ends badly gets the remix treatment by Polaris At Noon. While the original song was emotional and sparse while building to its tragic crescendo, the remix loses none of the emotion and spares us the tragedy, while taking the pain to the dance floor. Sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does.
Primus- “Tragedy’s A Comin’“
Les Claypool is another musician that’s quietly been doing good stuff under the radar for long time now with Primus, his solo work, and various other projects. Primus had a few minor hits in the 90′s and have managed to stay around with a supportive following. “Tragedy’s A Comin’” is pretty much solid Primus in full force with freaked out Zappa-esque guitars from Larry Lalonde, funky bass slapping from Claypool, and a solid driving beat from Jay Lane.
Night Sins- “Spectral Bliss“
Feel the weather getting cooler? The leaves are changing color. Time to get out the darker shades of clothing. Or, you could just go total Goth and start wearing black, dye your hair straight black, turn off the lights in your room, light and candle, and brood like it’s all just too much. Then throw on this gloomy, cold, and icy synth driven perfectly Goth number and wait for the cold dark strains of the winter of our discontent to take hold on you. “Son, we’re worried about you….”
Line & Circle- “Roman Ruins”
Line & Circle are a new band rising from L.A. sporting a sound that is reminiscent of the late 80′s jangle pop of bands like R.E.M., The Smiths, and lesser known acts of the era like Miracle Legion. With all the new wave influence going on today’s bands, it’s about time that someone finally began bringing back the jangly guitar sounds. The first single “Roman Ruins” is a beautiful song that is slightly melancholy with those jangly and shimmering guitars and a little piano on top. Sounding very Reckoning era R.EM.-ish and that is not a bad thing at all. Well done, can’t wait for more.
Primate- “Global Division”
This metal/punk band may have the best album title of the year, Draw Back A Stump. I don’t know much about this band except that they are from Atlanta and are comprised of Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp and several vets of the Atlanta punk scene. I like their sound. It’s heavy, driving, angry, dominating, in your face with an intense punk attitude. Pummel on Primate, Pummel On!
The Mountain Goats- “Cry For Judas”
John Darnielle has been around for almost twenty years now. Pretty sure he hasn’t written a bad song in that entire time. My personal favorite song of last year was “Damn These Vampires” which was a true and desperate gut punch of a song. Many Mountain Goats songs deal heavily in misery, so don’t let the uptempo strumming and sunny sounding horns fool you. Darnielle is laying some heavy blows down this time too. Just check the chorus, “Long black night, Morning frost, I’m still here, But all is lost” The spiral down continues from there. It hurts so good.
Miike Snow- “Black Tin Box”
Swedish and American project Miike Snow are a group consisting of Swedish producers Bloodshy & Avant (Christian Karlsen, Pontus Winnberg) and American songwriter Andrew Wyatt. The group makes insanely catchy indie dance pop. They also specialize in haunting and moody slow brewing songs. For “Black Tin Box” they’ve enlisted fellow Swedish siren Lykke Li to have a back and forth where the edges were sharp. Mesmerizing in the details and the spaces in between.
The Orb/Lee “Scratch” Perry- “Ball Of Fire“
I’m actually not sure if this is The Orb remixing Lee “Scratch” Perry, or vice versa. Frankly I could care less, both those artists should be in your record collection. It’s actually a collaboration between the visionary reggae master and the ambient dub pioneers. Either of these two artists releasing an album would be a stellar happening, so the two combined is an equivalent of an aural rocket dub sonically exploding in your head. Simply put buy the new album The Orbserver in the Star House immediately! See it, hear it, feel it!
Baroness- “Little Things”
The Savannah, GA. band Baroness have taken some slack over their new album Yellow and Green. Supposedly because the band shifted direction a bit from the Sabbath like sludgy heaviness of their previous work to a more Queens of the Stone Age grooviness. I say calm down people! You’ve got to let a band breathe and flex a little. Step back, listen to the new stuff, let it seep in and stew around. I think you’ll find its still good stuff. Its rock n’ roll, its allowed to break the rules and live on its own. Look at all of you getting all steamed up over some grooves thrown in the music, see it’s all better now. Carry on Baroness, we’re good here.
Had the opportunity to see the mighty Rush recently as their Clockwork Angels Tour passed my way. Despite having nosebleed seats and suffering from the unusual, and slightly uncomfortable warmth of the venue the three masterful Canadians lit up the stage with their pyrotechnics and explosions, actual fire wise and their red hot musicianship! Since their last Time Machine tour was a hit heavy affair the boys decided to concentrate the live show this time around on excellent new release Clockwork Angels.
After playing a first set of deeper cuts off previous albums that started with “Subdivisions” the band spent the middle section playing almost the entire new album. While most of the crowd stayed attentive, I felt impatience growing towards the end of the section, but they got the crowd back with a few older selections. The encore consisted of the mighty “Tom Sawyer” and a blazing except from the epic 2112. The concert started and ended on shaky notes with a short movie where the band members played “dwarves” aboard a galactic clock making ship playing pranks on a hapless tax collector, or something along those lines. The sound quality of the arena was bad, so the humor of it was a bit lost as the crowd sat mostly silent. The ending of the show was anti climactic as the movie concluded and the house lights came up, causing many to groan and scratch their heads. But musically, very satisfying, especially those Neal Peart drum solos!
Rush Set List
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO.
September 22, 2012
The Big Money
The Analog Kid (Dedicated to the legendary long time rock radio station K-SHE 95)
Where’s My Thing
The Halo Effect
Wish Them Well
Red Sector A
The Spirit of Radio
2112 Part I: Overture
2112 Part II: Temples of Syrinx
2112 Part VII: Grand Finale
That’s all for this time around. Get out all those fall clothes its getting cooler out there. Don’t forget to sign up for Bandbook.com!