Friday, April 29, 2005

VNV Nation
Matter + Form
released: April 12, 2005
rating: **

It's hard to not like VNV Nation after they released the phenomenal Empires five years ago. Even after the slightly disappointing follow-up, Futureperfect, the EBM duo is just so damned passionate about what they do that you could feel rather guilty turning your back on guys who have songs referring to the deep complexities of life, death, war, et al. And that's more or less the case with Matter + Form. Ronan Harris' vocals (the other guy, Mark Jackson, just plays electronic drums at shows, and it's freakin' sweet) are full of passion, sure, but there's just no melodies--or even music--to go with it. And instead of dance-floor anthem after dance-floor anthem, they again start retreating to some much slower tempos (dare I say, ballads?) and three or four instrumental trance tracks, none of which really get the gears going. Strangely, one of the better moments doesn't come until track nine, which has a comforting synth melody reminiscent of their epic "Further." Still, given the lack of immediately engaging songage here, it's not going to be easy to stand by VNV, as they end up sounding like a band trying to pay tribute to themselves. -- Kenyon Hopkin

style: EBM, Industrial Dance, Electronic
similar: Covenant, Assemblage 23, Icon of Coil

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Astralwerks will release Kraftwerk's first official live recording, Minimum Maximum, on June 7. The group will play some very selective dates (perhaps following the lead of New Order, maybe these bands just don't have the energy anymore) where robots may or may not be present for the pioneering band's electro-pop.

5/30 Washington, DC 9.30 Club
5/31 Washington, DC 9.30 Club
6/01 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
6/03 Detroit, MI State Theatre
6/04 Chicago, IL Riviera Theatre
6/06 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
Merge records will release Teenage Fanclub's 8th album, Man-Made, on June 7th, 2005. The band's previous releases have been on such labels as Geffen, Columbia and Matador. If you were hip to 120 minutes back in the day, you probably remember the wonderful videos for the Bandwagonesque record. And if you're like me, you didn't think the band was still around.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

RAVEONETTES U.S tour dates. Second full-length Pretty in Black out May 3, though it doesn't have any songs that sound much like the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy. Hear some of the new record and video for "Love in a Trashcan" at http://www.theraveonettes.com/ .

4/26/05 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
4/27/05 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
4/28/05 Brooklyn, NY Southpaw
4/30/05 Indio, CA Coachella
5/3/05 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
5/5/05 Vancouver, BC Richard's
5/6/05 Portland, OR Dante's
5/7/05 Seattle, WA Neumos
5/10/05 Minneapolis, MN 1st Avenue
5/11/05 Chicago, IL Double Door
5/12/05 Milwaukee, WI Mad Planet
5/13/05 Indianapolis, IN Patio
5/14/05 Nashville, TN Exit/In
5/16/05 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room
5/17/05 Austin, TX Parrish
5/19/05 New Orleans, LA Twiropa
5/20/05 Tallahassee, FL Beta Bar
5/21/05 Orlando, FL Social
5/22/05 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
5/24/05 Tampa, FL State Theater
5/25/05 Athens, GA 40 Watt
5/26/05 Atlanta, GA Smith's Olde Bar
5/27/05 Chapel Hill, NC Cats Cradle
5/28/05 Washington, DC Black Cat
5/29/05 Baltimore, MD Otto Bar
5/31/05 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
6/1/05 Philadelphia, PA North Star
6/2/05 Boston, MA Paradise
6/3/05 Montreal, QUE Petite Campus
6/4/05 Toronto, ONT Lee's Palace
6/6/05 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
6/7/05 Cincinnati, OH Southgate House
6/8/05 Detroit, MI Magic Stick
6/9/05 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls
6/10/05 Buffalo, NY Show Place Theater
6/11/05 New York, NY Webster Hall

Friday, April 22, 2005

Posted by Hello
Project Skyward
Strange Synchronicities
rating: ***1/2
released: ????

Tons of reverbed male-female vocals, swirling melodies, lots of atmospheric guitar and electronic effects. In other words, most of this sounds just like Slowdive. Which means it's totally worth the journey. -- Kenyon Hopkin

styles: Space Rock, Shoegaze, Ambient
similar: Slowdive, Sianspheric, M83

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

My Epiphany
released: May 10
rating: ***

Dang, these guys are on the little Eyeball label? I guess that's impressive for Eyeball, but once you get through even the first solid emo anthem on Miribilia, you'd be sure that My Epiphany were already on a major label, or at least Victory or Drive-thru records. It's not that they sell out to the mainstream and sound all accessible, it's just that this is pretty damn polished and engaging. Oh, and don't be put off by the "emo" tag here. The guitars and vocals sound that way, but the lyrics stretch beyond the boundaries of personal conflicts. Well, most of the time. The synthesizer also helps them stand apart from the hundreds of other post-hardcore/emo bands, including the big ones they've played shows with (Thursday, The Used). Although it doesn't seem totally necessary to use the piano or synth, when they use it for the little interludes and intros it adds something that's just a little bit haunting. -- Kenyon Hopkin

style: Emo
similar: Taking Back Sunday, Straylight Run, Early November, the Movielife

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Thur July 7 House of Blues Orlando, FL
Fri July 8 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA
Sat July 9 The Norva Norfolk, VA
Sun July 10 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC
Mon July 11 9:30 Club Washington, DC
Wed July 13 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
Thur July 14 Central Park SummerStage New York, NY
Fri July 15 Avalon Boston, MA
Tue July 19 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
Wed July 20 Clutch Cargo’s Pontiac, MI
Thur July 21 The Madison Theater Covington, KY
Fri July 22 The Eagles Club Milwaukee, WI
Sat July 23 The Quest Minneapolis, MN
Sun July 24 Lollapalooza Chicago, IL

4/29 Orlando, FL House of Blues
5/05 New York, NY Canal Room
5/06 Houston, TX Hush
5/12 New York, NY Canal Room
5/19 New York, NY Canal Room
5/26 New York, NY Canal Room
6/01 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre
6/02 San Diego, CA House of Blues
6/03 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
6/04 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore


12 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House Of Blues
13 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
15 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
16 - New York, NY - B.B. King's
17 - Cleveland, OH - The Odeon
18 - Chicago, IL - Metro
20 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
22 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre
23 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
24 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
26 - San Diego, CA - House Of Blues
27 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
28 - Anaheim, CA - House Of Blues

Friday, April 15, 2005

VNV Nation Formation Tour 2005.

May 06 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
May 07 Tampa, FL The Masquerade
May 09 Charlotte, NC Tremont Music Hall
May 11 Atlanta, GA Earthlink Live
May 12 Nashville, TN Exit/In
May 13 New Orleans, LA House of Blues (18+)
May 14 Austin, TX La Zona Rosa
May 15 Dallas, TX Gypsy Ballroom (17+)
May 17 Phoenix, AZ Marquee Theatre
May 18 Anaheim, CA House of Blues **
May 19 Los Angeles, CA Avalon **
May 20 San Diego, CA 4th & B ** (21+)
May 21, 22 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore **
May 24 Portland, OR Aladin Theatre
May 25 Vancouver, BC CAN Commodore Ballroom (19+)
May 26 Seattle, WA Showbox
May 28 Edmonton, AB CAN Starlite Room (18+)
May 29 Calgary, AB CAN The Whiskey (18+)
May 31 Salt Lake City, UT Lo-Fi Café
Jun 01 Denver, CO Gothic Theatre
Jun 02 Kansas City, MO Madrid
Jun 03 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe (18+)
Jun 04 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
Jun 06 Chicago, IL House of Blues (18+)
Jun 07 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
Jun 08 Detroit, MI Majestic Theater
Jun 09 Toronto, ON CAN The Phoenix
Jun 10 Montréal QC CAN Spectrum
Jun 12 Boston, MA Axis (18+)
Jun 14 Covington, KY Madison Theatre
Jun 15 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero
Jun 16 Washington, DC Nation (18+)
Jun 17, 18 New York, NY Irving Plaza **
Jun 21 Buffalo, NY Club Infinity
Jun 22 Albany, NY Saratoga Winters
Jun 23 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre

All shows are "All Ages" unless otherwise indicated.
** A different set list will be played at these shows

Monday, April 11, 2005

Doris Henson
Give Me All Your Money
released: March 22
rating: **1/2

Oh, these bands with the tricky names. Perhaps a little too tricky, as this quintet from Kansas is only going to confuse people. I bet they got the name from some obscure actress from the '40s or it's some girl that hangs out in bars in Kansas. Name-critiquing aside, Doris Henson (which has a couple members that prove there's life after a ska band) can be pretty old school indie rock. Well, sometimes at least. The opening track starts the record with a field recording of some girl talking about...bees (guys, get to the music, you're wasting time). After the first song, which doesn't do too much, they really get the album going with "The Most," which has the semi-memorable lyric refrain "do the most with what you have, do the most from what you want." "A Dark Time for the Light Side of the Earth" is where the indie rock really kicks in, as they do their best impression of Built to Spill. From there, however, they change the pace. "Let You Down" starts with a wacky vocal intro and then burns rubber with harder rocking guitar. They pretty much slow it down from there, but don't let their guard down on energy. And hey, they must be doing something right cause they're playing some shows with Trail of Dead! -- Kenyon Hopkin

styles: Indie Rock

Friday, April 08, 2005

THE ORIGINAL DINOSAUR JR. REUNITE AFTER 15 YEARS. WILL PERFORM FOR THE FIRST TIME ON TELEVISION ON CBS' LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON, Friday, April 15. obviously this coincides with the merge records re-issues of the band's first three records.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

NEW ORDER concert dates in U.S. yea, too bad i only just found out about the new york date. looks like a teaser promo tour. let's just hope they don't wind up getting involved in some 5-band tour package in the summer or fall with green day, garbage, nine inch nails and queens of the stone age. what? oh no thats not happening, i just randomly picked those bands.

Apr 29, 2005 Henry J. Kaiser Arena - Oakland, California (US)
May 01, 2005 Empire Polo Field - Indio, California (US)
May 03, 2005 Aragon Ballroom - Chicago, IL (US)
May 05, 2005 Hammerstein Ballroom - New York, NY (US)

first single/video from Waiting for the Sirens' Call:

Friday, April 01, 2005

Posted by Hello
Mando Diao
Hurricane Bar
released: March 8
rating: ***1/2

Right now, Mando Diao (maybe one day I'll know how to pronounce this) is probably the biggest and best rock 'n' roll band from Sweden that you haven't heard of yet. Probably. But just you wait, cause I'm sure you'll hear one of their songs in a commercial for Old Navy or iPod or something. Produced by Richard Rainey (who worked on U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind, thanks a lot! that record is awful!), Hurricane Bar surprisingly outdoes the band's debut Bring 'Em In, in terms of energy and songwriting. It's pure rock 'n' roll, with nods to garage and mod-punk. Somehow, Mando Diao pulls off youthful showmanship like "God Knows" and "This Dream is Over" with ease, and you forget that these guys are totally arrogant. -- Kenyon Hopkin

styles: Garage Rock, Rock & Roll
similar: The Jam, The Hives, Mooney Suzuki, The Libertines

4/30 Indio, CA Coachella Valley Music Festival
5/01 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
5/03 Seattle, WA The Showbox
5/04 Portland, OR Aladdin Theatre
5/06 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
5/08 Salt Lake City, UT Club Sound
5/09 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre
5/11 Kansas City, MO Madrid Theatre
5/12 Minneapolis, MN The Quest
5/13 Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
5/14 Detroit, MI The Majestic Theatre
5/16 Toronto, ONT Kool Haus
5/18 New York, NY Webster Hall
5/19 New York, NY Webster Hall
5/20 Boston, MA Avalon
5/22 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of the Living Arts
5/23 Washington, DC 9:30 Club