Wednesday, August 31, 2005

doing some other stuff right now. be back in a few days.

Monday, August 29, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Sufjan Stevens has NOT yet been mentioned on Advance Copy. Oh wait, did that count? Shit. Do-over! Do-over!
The idea of a Cars reunion without Ric Ocasek or Benjamin Orr (he's dead, that's his ghost to the right) is pretty dumb. But Pollstar felt they needed to write about it anyway, even though it's just a rumor. And there must be a better headline than "Revving Up the Cars." I was thinking of something along the lines of, hmm..."Just What We Needed?".

Sunday, August 28, 2005

While MTV is handing out awards tonite for most of the 20 videos they play (oh you know, that 30 minutes in between The True Life of Real College Students Who Play Beer Pong and How to Add Subwoofers to Your Car), you can go online and seek out videos such as Athlete's "Half Light," which, in between my reviews and news, gets the award for best cinematography. And come on, you know it's all about the cinematography. Can't you tell I love that word? watch video via windows media player

Athlete: they've been doing push-ups.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

advanced news ticker: Just Like Heaven, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) starts September 16 and will include, on the soundtrack, a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" by Katie Melua just to piss me off....Echo and the Bunnymen are called "shoegazers" at livedaily.com, when frontman Ian McCulloch definitely said on 120 minutes in 1992 that he was a "stargazer," but whatever cause they're post-punk......new video from Dandy Warhols has a bunch of dogs, a really hot keyboard player and a song that sounds like 30 seconds of thought was put into it.....sub-heading on blogs with the words "random thoughts" are still dull and cliche....episodes left on 90210 with Dylan: 3.....a bunch of bands are playing in NYC, Sept 14-17.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

records out today that you just might care about:

black rebel motorcycle club: howl (rca)
john vanderslice: pixel revolt (barsuk)
new pornographers: twin cinema (matador)
warlocks: surgery (mute)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Cloud Room
Hey Now!

by Kenyon Hopkin

You wouldn't expect it from a suave rock band from Brooklyn, but J of the Cloud Room plays third base in a kickball league on a team called the Orange Sleeves. Sounds like fun, sure, though when you don't know about the gimmicks teams create, it can turn violent. "The Robot Pirates are known for being the bad guys and they heckle everyone," explains J, who, not to be confused with the member of White Zombie using the same letter, doesn't reveal his full name. "It's funny when new teams join and don't know how things work, they take what the Pirates say seriously. Yesterday this girl got so fed up that she smashed a bottle on a guy's head and kicked him in the ribs."

The competition sounds fierce. And it's not too far fetched to compare it to the competition with today's rock bands, especially when you have the Killers bad-mouthing the Bravery. The Cloud Room, who are like a more upbeat Interpol, is facing that feeling as well. "I completely get jealous of bands who are newer than us that suddenly get buzzed about," he explains. "Most of the time their music doesnt do anything for me. Sometimes there were bands that blew me away. It sorta pisses me off that we've been around longer and had to trudge around all these awful clubs playing to six or seven people. But we all chose to come to New York so I'm not gonna whine about what people are like".

Arriving in New York five years ago from California, J was originally trying to break into the film business, persuing a job working for director Hal Hartley. When that fell through, he shifted his focus to the band. And has he been able to watch his films lately? "Just by chance I haven't seen any of his films since. But it wasnt my doing, it was his doing because I heard they were pretty awful." Yikes!

Today he's calling from his job at a law firm, where, after four years, it's his last day before the Cloud Room--J, bassist Jon Petrow, keyboardist Benjamin Nugent and drummer Jason Pharr--goes on tour. How does he manage the job, band and kickball in such an expensive city? "That's why I work these freelance gigs. I normally work at nights. I found a way to make the most amount of money and still have time for the band. Everyone else in the band works at night, so we practice during the daytime. I have friends in other towns who brag about having an entire house for $300. But there's no other town that offers this kind of access, so you pay for it."

After starting the band four years ago, J finally made some inroads in the NYC circuit. About a year ago, they started pushing themselves and things took off after making a new demo. Later, they signed with Gigantic records, released a solid full-length and got the video for the first single, "Hey Now Now" on MTV2. "Sometimes it's good to just pester the hell out of people."

Now that they have some sort of following, does the Cloud Room want to remain in indie rock obscurity or rise to something bigger? "What we're going for is trying to be like immortal bands that we love and not the band of the moment," says J. "It seems like so many indie rock bands these days are not going for greatness. I dont think we've achieved this but thats what we're striving for."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Because I know so many of you love Death Cab for Cutie, here's the audio streams for "Soul Meets Body" from the upcoming Plans, out August 30.

WINDOWS Media Player
New York City band Group Sounds (not to be confused with the Sounds. You know, "Living in America"? Come on it was only a couple years ago) is another post-punk influenced dance rock band similar to Maximo Park, Futurheads, Kaiser Chiefs and yes, the Jam!

Check out their very silly video.

Or go to their website if you'd rather create your own images.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

advanced news ticker: huge outdoor shows in Brooklyn and Staten Island, October 1 and 2, artists include Pixies, Killers, Beck, Interpol (of course) and Oasis....new record from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club very folky, very good...and very copy-protected........Brian Jonestown Massacre teaser EP isn't genius......Seth Rogan is wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt in the trailer for The 40-Year-Old Virgin....Kenyon still hasn't heard from Pitchfork......Broken Social Scene record out October 4, still baffling how they found all those members........Kenyon casts spell to get Warlocks cd.....Gary Numan live recordings from 1979-81 finally on cd, "Cars" not his only good song.....Nine Inch Nails sells out Madison Square Garden, Kenyon insists he saw them when most fans were in elementary school......U2 at MSG less than two months away, latest album still a bore.
dude, listen:

the mainline. with kenyon.
wednesdays 2:30-5:00PM (EST)
WUSB 90.1 FM (http://www.wusb.org/)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


What in the world could country-rock band My Morning Jacket have in common with Kanye West, Jude Law, Jay-Z, Bill Clinton? Besides being, well, people? According to Esquire magazine, they are all some of the "Best Dressed Men in the World." Yea, I also thought it was a typo. I mean, Bill Clinton, best dressed? Why, cause he was president? But seriously now, MMJ? The band "looks the way it sounds," says Esquire. Oh gee. That's just so nice of you to notice, Esquire.

Other listees are Coldplay's Chris Martin (why, cause he's the singer?) and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos (why, cause he's the singer?). Kenyon Hopkin wasn't on the list only because Esquire never saw him singing on a Friday night.

For a fuller story see this article in USA Today, which has a Top 20 list that actually goes to 21. Must be a Spinal Tap thing.

Bill Clinton's got nothing on My Morning Jacket.

In related, and more important MMJ news, the band's latest record, Z, will be out October 4, with a US tour beginning October 6 (Oct. 18 in New York, expect a detailed review from Shannon). Did I mention that USA Today can't count? -Kenyon

Monday, August 15, 2005

Stryper. Honestly!

Following in the footsteps of just about every other band with a few hits from the '80s, Christian hair-pop-metal band Stryper has reformed and will release a new album tomorrow, its first since 1990's Against the Law, just before goodtime metal was killed by grunge. The tour begins September 22, with a date on Long Island September 28! Holy Jesus! The new album is called Reborn (duh!) and features original members Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar), Oz Fox (lead guitar) and Robert Sweet (drums), joined by new bassist Tracy Ferrie. Could it get any sweeter?!

"Our fans have said they would like to hear Stryper with more edge, but I didn’t want to do something so heavy that it would limit us," says Michael Sweet. "We were able to deliver the edge yet still keep the melody and catchy guitar riffs." Yeah yeah! More edge! That's what I've been saying all along! Seriously though, it's so awesome when you can play "Honestly" on the piano. -Kenyon

the obligatory THEN and NOW photos:


NOW (not bad compared to flock of seagulls):

Thursday, August 11, 2005

best of 2005. so far. (or, records most played on my radio show).

Mercury Rev: Secret Migration (v2)
the Bravery: s/t (island)
Embrace: Out of Nothing (atlantic)
Cloud Room: s/t (gigantic)
Russian Futurists: Our Thickness (upperclass)
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm (vice)
Architecture in Helsinki: In Case We Die (barnone)
Northern Chorus: Bitter Hands Resign (sonic unyon)
Elkland: Golden (columbia)
Manual: Azure Vista (darla)
British Sea Power: Open Season (rough trade)
Project Skyward: Strange Synchronicities (nebula)
Maximo Park: A Certain Trigger (warp)

best songs of 2005 not on a best album. so far.

Ian Brown: "Keep What Ya Got"
Hot Hot Heat: "Middle of Nowhere"
Shout Out Louds: "Very Loud"
Lou Barlow: "Catepillar Girl"
Raveonettes: "Somewhere in Texas"
Brendan Benson: "Spit it Out"
New Order: "Krafty"
Spoon: "I Turn My Camera On"
Fischerspooner: "just let go"
White Stripes: "Doorbell"

worst/biggest let downs of 2005 so far.

Adam Green: Gemstones (rough trade)
Daft Punk: Human After All (virgin)
VNV Nation: Matter+Form (metropolis)

looking forward to: Stellastarr*, Warlocks, Brian Jonestown Massacre, BRMC, Ladytron, Richard Hawley, Devandra Banhart, Sigur Ros.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sympathy for the Anton

Dang, I am so glad I got to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre pre-Dig! (October 2002 --or was it 03, oh man I got so wasted that night I don't remember. Just kidding). They played at the Bowery Ballroom to a room that was less than half-full until the house lights went on (no thanks to the less-than-entertaining Dead Meadow and the Realistics playing before them). Now, a few years later, just after the release of the film Dig! (in case you don't know by now, it follows the paths of BJM and the Dandy Warhols), the band sells out two shows at Bowery, July 30 and 31. Hmmm, any connection? Front guy Anton Newcombe definitely deserves this, but he certainly doesn't deserve people coming to the shows behaving like a**holes by provoking him because they think that's what you're supposed to do at a BJM show. I was tempted to go July 30. But after reading some reviews, I'm glad I didn't, at least not to the first show. The consensus is that the band walked off prematurely on Saturday and played for two hours on Sunday.

some reviews:
One Louder (saturday)
Simple Mission (sunday)
IAMalik (sunday, includes a conversation with Anton before the show)

The latest record from BJM is available at Tee Pee records.

Now would be a good time to post my photo of me and Anton, but honestly, I look stupid, as I had yet mastered my technique of posing with a rock band. So instead, here's his signature on the promo for my radio show. Not sure why he put "all the best" in quotes.

In related news, the Dandy Warhols (the friends/rivals featured in Dig!) will release their fifth album, Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, September 13 . The promotional "Suitcase Tour" will consist of sets at radio stations using only instruments that fit into a single suitcase (insert witty joke here). Plus, they'll play at CBGB for the first time ever during the CMJ Music Marathon in September. August dates on the West coast next week, while full U.S. tour will start in November. -Kenyon

Oh yea and, they'll be playing the first single "Smoke It" on Live with Regis and Kelly (what the f*ck?) on September 13.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Various Artists
Never Lose that Feeling Vol. 1
(Club AC30)
release: September 12, 2005
rating: ***

I've got mixed feelings about Never Lose that Feeling. On one hand, it's interesting to hear an interpretation of early '90s shoegaze classics by a newer band. But like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or War of the Worlds, is a re-do really necessary? Although I'll be the first to admit that I love playing songs by these bands and would even love to record them and be on the next volume of this comp, do we want to fool with songs that have been so close to our hearts? Oh, such a dilema. Nevertheless, you gotta give it up for Club AC30 (which is also a club nite in London) for assembling this tribute to the original shoegazers. Most of the bands doing the covers are relatively unknown (at least in the U.S), but most of the songs you will know if you're hip to Slowdive, Curve, Swervedriver (the comp's title is a song by them), Medicine and the Pale Saints. Some tracks are reconstructed, some are stripped down. Some are a complete revision, some are nearly carbon copies. Nothing here really blows my mind, but hey, when you're 16 years old and Ride or Lush is the best thing since INXS and U2, you've got a lot with which to compete. -Kenyon

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Last night California's Dusty Rhodes and the River Band played at the UltraSoundLounge (where I DJ) and I can easily say, hands down, they were one of the best touring bands I've seen at the club. And being there nearly every week for the past year and a half, I've seen quite a lot of bands. Sort of a fusion between folk, rock, country and prog (they cite Woody Guthrie, Yes, the Band and Hank Williams as some influences), they basically can capture your attention after one song (oh whoops, that sounded cliche). They're that damn good. The instrumentation for the six-member group included violin and accordion, enhancing an already brilliant set. Good energy, good tunes. If I start a promotion company for bands not on Long Island, these people would be one of my first picks. They're not on a label yet, but expect that to change and assume you will hear them on my radio show. --Kenyon

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Cloud Room, one of Kenyon's favorite new bands of 2005, will host Subterranean on MTV2, September 28th. Band will play Mercury Lounge August 5.