Tuesday, December 26, 2006

new SHINS via video shot by fans. this is the first single from upcoming record out in January.
MTV reality competition show I'm from Rolling Stone starts January 7 and the candidates for the editing position are behaving like they're on vacation. Sure enough, 2.5 minutes into this 5-minute promo they start getting called on that. These guys were chosen from a pool of thousands of applicants? note the assignment for Lollapalooza. I thought Lollapaloza died like 10 years ago.
The Cure’s Festival 2005 DVD was released December 5. This concert features guitarist Porl Thompson, part of the quintessential Cure line-up circa 1985-1993. I'll watch this after I'm done with the Cure in Orange on youtube. could take a while.
no, seriously, that last record from Brand New was hot. here are tracks from latest, if your connection doesn't fail.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stars of Track and Field: Centuries Before Love and War (Wind-Up)
release: January 16, 2007
styles: Rock with some electronic help
rating: ***

Portland, Oregon trio Stars of Track and Field has two sides to them. One is the soft indie electronic side ("Lullaby for a G.I.") and the other is big rock, nearly arena-sized ("Movies of Antarctica.") The band began experimenting more when they replaced the bassist with programming, which may have led to such a difference within the same record. Hushed indie electronic is great and all, but the band actually does better when it's trying to be the next Embrace or Coldplay. I'm totally serial. -Kenyon


Honey Power: Macrosilly (Seksound)
released: September 1, 2006
styles: Indie Rock
rating: *1/2

The name implies cutie indie pop, though this band from--of all places--Estonia is more like a less antagonistic Art Brut or the Fall. Honey Power's instrumentation is rooted in the school of post-punk and it's neither exciting nor memorable. The vocals are like a hungover Mark E Smith while the guitar never produces power or anything as sweet as honey. -Kenyon
Steve Almaas & Ali Smith: You Showed Me (Parasol)
released: October 17, 2006
styles: Indie Country Rock/Pop
rating: ***

If the Raveonettes ever explored their country-western side more, it would probably resemble something like this. Steve Almaas, whose history goes as far back as early Minneapolis punk band Suicide Commandos, combines harmonies with book-writer Ali Smith. With the expected pedal steel and ringing country-style guitar, there are several songs that work splendidly (the breezy "Absolutely Free" and the chugging "#7") while only a few wonder off track ("Culebra," featuring an old school Casio rhythm, loses focus). "I Don't Like to be Alone" could have been about Texas, but instead it's an ode to New York City as well as country music's greats. -Kenyon

Thursday, December 21, 2006

VNV F-in Nation. TOUR 2007 . next record out April 2007.
first leg- April, covers the East and Midwest
second leg- June/July, covers the West and South

15-18 Mar 07 - USA : Austin (TX), South by South West Festival
05 Apr 07 - USA : Miami (FL), Studio A
06 Apr 07 - USA : St.Petersburg (FL), Jannus Landing
07 Apr 07 - USA : Atlanta (GA), Masquerade
09 Apr 07 - USA : Charlotte (NC), Tremont Music Hall
10 Apr 07 - USA : Norfolk (VA), NorVa
12 Apr 07 - USA : Washington DC (DC), 9:30 Club

13 Apr 07 - USA : Philadelphia (PA), Trocadero Theatre
14 Apr 07 - USA : New York (NY), Irving Plaza
15 Apr 07 - USA : New Haven (CT), Toads Place
17 Apr 07 - USA : Burlington (VT), Higher Ground
18 Apr 07 - USA : Boston, Axis
20 Apr 07 - CAN : Montreal (QC), Club Soda
21 Apr 07 - CAN : Toronto (ON), The Docks
22 Apr 07 - USA : Detroit (MI), St. Andrews Hall
24 Apr 07 - USA : Cleveland (OH), Peabodys
25 Apr 07 - USA : Chicago (IL), Metro
26 Apr 07 - USA : Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

my morning jacket "it beats for you", starring caldwhale.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hammock: Raising Your Voice...Trying to Stop an Echo (Darla)
released: November 20, 2006
style: Bliss
similar: Manual, Robin Guthrie, Sigur Ros, Emerald Down
rating: *****

Gorgeous. Stunning. Sublime! Deserves no distractions or interuptions from barking dogs, people talking and general noise pollution. A candidate for best ethereal rock record of the year. -Kenyon

Casper & the Cookies: The Optimist's Club (Happy Happy Birthday to Me)
released: August 22, 2006
styles: offbeat post-Elephant 6 indie rock/pop
rating: **1/2

Given the varied instrumentation, boy and girl vocals and the list of bands they've played with (Marshmallow Coast, Dressy Bessy), it shouldn't come as much shock that they're from Athens, GA and include an ex-member of Of Montreal. In comparison to Elephand 6 artists, Casper & the Cookies is less about Brian Wilson and psychedelics and more about a quirky stew of instruments and optimism. It's not the most exciting indie rock album ever, and in fact it's confusing at times. Still, there are at least a few enjoyable experimental indie tracks to warrant the cute band name. -Kenyon

Beau Tand: s/t (Pinstripe)
released: December 12, 2006
style: singer/songer with dance music
similar: Barry Adamson, Maxwell Implosion
rating: *1/2

Former Eighteenth Street Lounge DJ from Washington D.C. that I'm sure has a very alluring voice....when he's not singing. On this debut as Beau Tand, he's got that right idea to be a singer/songwriter with various styles of music blended together, but most of this just sounds like a washed-up Tom Jones or a tortured Neil Diamond. It's not quite the classic noir film soundtrack music the press release indicates. -Kenyon

Friday, December 15, 2006

classic vintage video.
John Waite- "Change" (1982)

he's pissed off at his girlfriend because she's doing coke.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Morning Jacket: Okonokos concert DVD/CD
released: October 31, 2006
rating: *****

It seems like overkill for a band to not only release a live DVD while they're still on tour but release it only a year after the last proper album. Having just seen the country-rock-ethereal My Morning Jacket for real (see below), it was an unusual chance to experience a very similar performance via DVD so soon. All the songs here sound phenomenal and the band uses the lighting to its advantage on a stage decorated with plant life and stuffed animals. Aside from each wonderful song sounding incredible on its own, the very little time they take between each song keeps the momentum going as well as perplexes me how they barely take a breather. Just when you're trying to finish processing how good one song is, the next one, whether it's from Z or It Still Moves or a random gem from frontperson Jim James' early recordings. Before the concert actually starts, there's some irrelevant wierd stuff going on with a party circa 1900 involving people and animals which flows into the concert. It makes Okonokos a little more surreal than your average concert recording. -Kenyon

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band played at the local venue here and I missed it. I'm a fool! I've seen him a few times at the now defunct local bar, both solo and in the band Miracle of 86, and I could tell right away, especially solo, that Kevin was the real deal, a passionate singer. (see my review of his 2003 record at allmusic!) In this song with the Goddamn Band, my impulse comparison is a cross between Dashboard Confessional and John Mayer, but that hardly does justice. here's the live-ish video for "Me and My Friends" off Put Your Ghost to Rest out now on....Capitol!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

one big holiday.
My Morning Jacket/the Slip at Roseland. 11.30.06
all photos © 2006 Kenyon Hopkin. Shannon has a full review HERE.

slip inside this house. one of the best most appropriate openers ever.

after that curtain/sheet came down, mmj was like wow.

best looking photo. though the top half of drummer's hair looks like a face.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fast Food Nation (2006) **1/2

As a statement, Fast Food Nation should get its message across to the unconverted. As a film, it started to drag when, of all people, Bruce Willis is discussing the quality of hamburgers with star Greg Kinnear and when Ethan Hawke is talking about suburban life. The problem with the story--derived from the book, which is essential reading in more detail--is that there is too much uncompelling time spent on the lives of the characters and not enough on the issues with the fast food industry. In one of the three plots, which would work better if they intertwined more, immigrants from Mexico walk a great distance to cross the border and get jobs. Yes, it's a long, long journey. It's not fun. I get it. But we don't need to see more than a half minute of them walking and getting picked up in a van. In the second story about a girl working at the restaurant, there's an attempt to get to know her, her mother and uncle Ethan Hawke. This only stalls the issues. In the third story, there's a lot more that could have been explored than the idea that there's literally crap in the hamburgers. The immigrant workers' story is the only one that gets intense, whether you agree with Mexicans coming here or not. And at the end of Fast Food Nation, when we finally see how the cows are killed, mutilated and broken down in pieces for Americans to put in their mouths, there comes to mind the idea that, well, some suckers are doing this horrible job every day. And, according to the film, desperate abused illegal aliens are the ones doing it. It's only a small part of what's wrong with the fast food industry as well as the country's culture. If the slightly entertaining and minorly thought-provoking Fast Food Nation can prevent a handful of people from eating animals or even take action, then congrats to director Linklater. Otherwise, the cows are still screwed. PS. note the My Morning Jacket poster towards the end. PS. there's a lot of cameos here, so expect people in the theater to be declare out loud, "Bruce Willis!" or "Avril Lavigne!". shut up. -Kenyon

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Gingerdead Man (2005) * (no stars if you dislike murderous talking Gingerbread men).

Grade Z dumbness that is so pitifully acted and scripted that it's a laughable goody. So low-budget that the whole movie takes place in a bakery. It is all in the bakery because the Gingerdead Man booby-trapped all the exits! At 70 minutes (nearly 10 minutes of that is the credits) you really can't even call this is movie. The trailer is all that needed to be made, though there's a scene near the end that's pretty twisted. And yes, that's Gary Busey. Who knows what compelled him to do this.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Doleful Lions: Song Cyclops Volume Two (Parasol)
release: October 17, 2006
styles: lo-fi indie pop happiness
similar: Apples in Stereo, Sean Na Na, Of Montreal
rating: ****1/2

Mostly recorded in 1999, this companion album (22 songs in all!) to Volume One is like '60s bubbleyum pop filtered though psychedelic bedroom recordings. Although cleaner production could make Song Cyclops sound fuller and not as treble-y, it has oodles of charm and sweetness. It's packed with harmonies from main person Jonathan Scott, who covers the Crystals AND the Misfits. The best (sorta) new music i've heard all day. -Kenyon

Soft Complex: Barcelona + (Silverthree Sound)
release: October 17, 2006
styles: darkish indie rock
similar: stellastarr, the Stills
rating: *

This debut from members of Phaser, Burning Airlines and Engine Down cashes in on dark 80s-inspired rock that goes through the motions. with a cello. it's ok. just okay. 3 regular songs and five remixes of those songs. one of the remixes is all electronic with someone rapping. what the hell? -Kenyon

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Maps: Start Something EP (Last Space)
release: nowish
styles: spacey indie electronic
rating: ****

Taking the mellow vocals, keyboard and guitar set forth by Spiritualized and the best electronic elements from people such as To Rococo Rot and Four Tet, one-person band Maps hits all the right coordinates on this sparkling, multi-layered work. -Kenyon

Friday, November 24, 2006

Depeche Mode: Songs of Faith and Devotion 2-disc reissue (Rhino/Mute/Reprise)
original release: 1993, reissue release: October 3, 2006
rating- CD: ** DVD: ****

The pressure was on for Depeche Mode after the hugely successful Violator. With the opening abrasive noise and guitar of "I Feel You," many of us were like, what the fudge is THIS crap? Dave Gahan had grown his hair real long, the band (at least in the video) was playing live instruments and Dave Gahan was just BELTING out the vocals. It took a lot of getting used to. Years later the song can hold up well in concert and does have a certain power. "Walking in My Shoes" was more Violator-like, and the best song on an album from a band that had lost its footing on their direction and songwriting. On "Condemnation" and "Mercy in You" Gahan's vocals had never sounded this unfocused (blame the heroin), while the Martin Gore-sung track "Judas" is nice to hear, but would never be one of their best. What could have been an epic about love and religion is nearly a complete day off for DM. The DVD includes the album in 5.1 Stereo, remixes/non-album tracks and the short film doc. The latter, which is far more interesting than the album itself, explains via interviews with the band and producers why Faith and Devotion was such a wreck and why Alan Wilder quit following the tour. DM as a whole was close to falling apart for good, and they deserve congradulations for getting through this dismal period. -Kenyon

Saturday, November 18, 2006

classic vintage video.
Front 242 "Tragedy >>for you<<" (1991)

auto parts bad, vegetables good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brookside: Tonight, Long Island (Panic)
release: September 26, 2006
styles: Emo, punk-pop
similar: Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, All American Rejects, the Movielife
rating: ***

These bands are a dime a dozen these days, but let's give credit to Brookside (not to be confused with another Long Island pop-punk emo band Bayside) because they HAVE at least been around since 2001, and, even though it's much of the old cliche lyrics about leaving suburbia and relationships and riffs we've all heard before, the band is professional, tight, and slightly above average quality of any other similar band listed on a 17-year-old girl's list of music in their myspace profile. -Kenyon

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Music Lovers: Guide for Young People (Le Grand Magistery)
release: September 5, 2006
styles: sorta chamber pop indie rock
similar: Stars, the Blood Group, Tindersticks
rating: *

Margaret Cho's "favorite band"? Gee. That doesn't say much for Cho. She's not all that anyway. Le Grand Magistery has always been a respectable indie label, with a roster including Momus and Mascott among others. The Music Lovers, whose brilliant name suggests this could be the ultimate indie rock experience, isn't able to deliver anything near that level. The baritone vocals are unnatural and uneven, while the music, a conglomeration of Brit pop and cabaret, is all tangled in mundane arrangements. Whatever heartbroken or romantic things they want to share are lost. -Kenyon

Monday, November 13, 2006

Latterman (Deep Elm records) at Masonic Temple in Smithtown last nite.

form a band, start a zine. proven diy long island veterans. third excellent record out now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

65daysofstatic: One Time for All Time (Monotreme)
release: October 17, 2006
styles: Instrumental Post-Glitch Rock
similar: Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed!
rating: ****

Numbers in band names are never a good idea. Mixing electronics with live drums and post-hardcore guitars, however, has proven to be a smart move for England's 65daysofstatic. When you lay off the vocals and focus on the instrumentation instead, this is the kind of precise, dramatic rock that can result. -Kenyon
Daylight's for the Birds: Trouble Everywhere (This Generation Tapes)
released: October 31, 2006

styles: Dream pop, indie rock
similar: Pale Saints, Mahogany, the Brother Kite, Saloon, Russian Futurists, Mira
rating: **1/2

Ex-members of NYC band On!Air!Library! move into the airspace with dreamy dreamy noise and feathery vocals not like hazy Slowdive style but more like gentle Pale Saints or Mahogany. The album opens wonderfully, then loses momentum with too many unsatisfying slower-tempo songs that get lost in a thick fog of pretty voices and guitar effects. -Kenyon

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Danava: s/t (Kemado)
release: October 31, 2006
styles: Over the top, self-absorbed prog-rock
similar: Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Wolfmother, The Sword
rating: **

Danava (pronounced DON-UH-VUH) is like a drugged-out prog sorcery version of the Darkness. They're a throwback to big-sounding experimental bands from the vintage days, with sludgy guitars, weird sounds, complex drums and non-comprehendable falsetto vocals. They play long, long rock symphonies (track two of the five here is 12 minutes) where you wonder just how each band member remembers what to play when. The funny thing about Danava is that they're from Portland, Oregon, where, for some at least, the image of light-hearted indie pop bands comes to mind. It just goes to show how Danava really don't care about what's going on around them and really are doing their own thing. This, by far, isn't for everyone, but will appeal to a select chosen few who play in their own metal-prog band or just like to shred on air guitar. -Kenyon

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fast Food Nation out November 17, soundtrack includes music from Spoon, Friends of Dean Martinez. film features Bruce Willis, Patricia Arquette, Greg Kinnear, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, Avril Lavigne, among other.

Directed by Richard Linklater and based on the book by Eric Schlosser that exposes the dangers of the fast food industry, FFN aims to "expose its scathing impact on not only our diet, but also our landscape, economy, workforce, and culture." This at the very least one-ups Supersize Me, thank goodness. Looking at the trailer, it's not a documentary but an actual movie with drama, humor and icky hamburgers. webby site.

The Cult, likely the least known artist to ever be profiled on VH-1 Behind the Music, confirmed dates for 3-week US tour October 27--November 13.........Saw III was like whoa on the gore......CMJ? what's THAT?!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Classic vintage video.
Ned's Atomic Dustbin- "Happy" (1991)

It wasn't a gimmick, but having two bass players was always the first thing we thought of when the name Ned's Atomic Dustbin was mentioned. Some may recall their most successful U.S. song "Grey Cell Green" from the superfantastic God Fodder. "Happy," also from the debut album, came first and it's very very 1991.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

girl you know it's NEW.

Beck- "Cell Phone's Dead" [video]. from The Information, released October 3. didn't Beck just HAVE a record out? he did, but that was like, a YEAR ago. this is what we call a "breakthrough video".
Christopher Willits -"Yellow Spring" from Surf Boundaries (Ghostly, released October 17) mushy oatmeal soft post-rock. and he's playing CMJ of course like everyone else.
Darkel- one of the guys from "French band" Air. (Astralwerks, released September) ambient electronic with a fondness for soft pop. so yea, not much different than Air.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

CMJ....i am so not there. i am so going to bed.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Girl you know it's so new.

Eddie Vedder: "Goodbye". Never before released solo track from Eddie Vedder on...ukelele? From the soundtrack to A Brokedown Melody, a film about surfing out on Brushfire, November 14. listen HERE or HERE.
Riding Paper Airplanes: "Homecoming Weekend in a Small Town" (New Wine) record released September 19, 2006. many positives for this solo project from John Wu. he's based in Seattle, WA, the name he goes under rules, and he applies the familiar warm synth we all love. this track is to 2006 like Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town" was to 1986.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mahogany: Connectivity! (Darla)
release: October 30, 2006
styles: Ethereal Ambient Pop
similar: Pale Saints, Lush, early Sigur Ros, Flowchart, Serena Maneesh
rating: ****

That exclamation point at the end of the title to Mahogany's long, LONG, awaited follow-up to its debut deserves to be there. Although Memory Column, a compilation of EPs and singles, held many of us over for a little while, it is Connectivity! that is a pleasure to finally experience as well as to compare to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, if only for taking so long to record. There hasn't been any earth-shattering changes in Mahogany's sound, which is just fine. All the familiar elements are here: delicate male-female vocals, twinkly guitar and synth-electro percussion. What's most welcoming, however, is a slight departure into a frolicking, almost folk-electro-rock piece that could be Belle & Sebastian backed by, um, Mahogany. La la love it. A second disc includes three remixes (one with Robin Guthrie!) and three videos. Goody. -Kenyon
girl you know it's NEW.

the Horrors. EP out today. garage-punk-goth-noise-rock n roll.

today is my birthday. and on MY BIRTHDAY it's a pretty terrible day for record releases. so far it looks like the best thing out today is the Horrors. aside from the Blow (K records) just look at what we've got:

My Chemical Romance - please, enough promotion for this already
Brooke Hogan - daughter of Hulk Hogan. no really.
Skid Row - no really. so serial. but without Sebastian Bach. those idiots!
Winger - also serial.

damn, thank goodness for some terrifying, abrasive garage rock people from the UK.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Your Black Star at Masonic Temple, Smithtown October 22. They're from Louisville, Kentucky, so naturally they know My Morning Jacket. In fact they went to high school with Jim James. These guys don't have Southern accents though. We agreed that was just a stereotype. I agree with myself that the bass and some of the guitar pedals rock like Swervedriver.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Klaxons: Xan Valleys EP (Modular)
release: October 17, 2006
styles: rock n rave
rating: **

A dance rock band from the UK that encourages use of glowsticks at shows. Maybe this will work in the UK but glowsticks haven't been out of fashion long enough for a comeback. The only track of the six that deserves a spot in a DJ's set is the remix of "Gravity's Rainbow", though it's an additional copy of Daft Punk. Given they want to "invent a genre that was shorter-lived than electroclash," the Klaxons are a very British party band that is too aware of where its from and where it wants to go and so set on a masterplan that it could kill the whole party by midnight. Snore. -Kenyon

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

girl you know it's NEW

…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: "Wasted State of Mind". record out November 14, 2006. ASX or RAM. rock it.
Faces on Film: "Famous Last Words"
Built to Spill meets the Gandharvas with a wack marching band. oh you never heard of Gandharvas? whoops, sorry!
TV on the Radio: "Province"
"just like autumn leaves we're in for change"...lyrics...not bad. TV on the Radio has been one of the more overrated buzzy bands the last few years. when i saw them open for interpol i didn't think it was a big deal. "Province" has got soul, sensitivity and...David Bowie. yes, David Bowie.

speaking of Bowie, he will be voicing a character on Spongebob. there has got to be a humorous blurb to write here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ima Robot: Monument to the Masses (Virgin)
release: September 12, 2006
styles: hand clappy electro dance rock
similar: Public Image Limited, Hot Hot Heat, the Futureheads, the Bravery. rating: ****

According to the press release, record labels who originally took interest in the fun, peppy Ima Robot didn't know what to do with them. It's unexpected that Virgin is still holding on to them, given that they don't sell anywhere near a million records. Ima Robot, after rocking people's socks off while touring with the Raveonettes, seemed destined to move to a small indie label despite a debut with more energy than most of Virgin's current roster. The band--who have since modified its line-up--were quiet long enough to think they were now waiting tables at the local hipster restaurant. So it's with happy happy joy that the Los Angeles group finally got around to releasing another record with dance-party written all over it. Although "Creeps Me Out" is the first single, opener "Disconnect" is as lively and memorable as the debut record's "Alive." Even though some of Monument to the Masses (not to be confused with Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses) contains just a couple lyrical themes we've heard enough times, Ima Robot has so much punky spunk that it never ever is an issue. After the slower, romancing "Lovers in Captivity," Monument proves to be a worthwhile sophomore effort that is able to replicate the excitement of the debut. Let's hope Virgin records is good to them. -Kenyon

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Depeche Mode: Touring the Angel- Live in Milan (Sire/Reprise)
release: September 26, 2006
rating: ****

It was around 1993-4 that Depeche Mode went through some major changes- Alan Wilder left the band after Songs of Faith and Devotion, Dave Gahan was dealing with personal issues (drugs), Martin Gore picked up guitar and they brought in live drums. Andy Fletcher was...well, you know. While Depeche Mode 101 was the group's defining concert moment, Touring the Angel captures the band comfortably adjusted to the changes from years ago, as well as proving them to still be a significant veteran artist that can fill an arena (in Milan I'm sure they are more appreciated than the US by more people). With a stage lighted mostly with deep, darkish muted (hey, first time i'm using that word) reds, blues and greens, the three original members, along with a live drummer and additional keyboard player, made the right choices for the setlist. I wouldn't want to know the setlist before a concert even if it's a dvd, so I'm not going to spoil anything. Let's just say that the first half, while it features a few of their best songs, is worth the wait to get to the second half, which is full of non-stop hits. This includes a couple of surprise, lesser-known songs sung by Martin Gore, who isn't the best performer due to his weird, unexciting hand movements, but has a beautiful voice to make up for it. Having seen them on this tour nearly a year ago, I felt a little disconnected from the show, but that was probably because my seat was so far away. I started feeling the same way when this video started (mainly because of the editing and effects) but because of their original sound and fantastic songs, it wasn't too long until DM reminded me why I liked them so much in the first place and why they are one of the best and most longlasting bands to come out of the new wave era. -Kenyon

and now for those like me yearning for the Mode's heyday, here's "Everything Counts" from 101 (1988).

Friday, October 06, 2006

classic vintage video.
Juliana Hatfield- "Everybody Loves Me But You" (1992)

How could you not have a crush on Juliana Hatfield. Especially after she was in the Christmas episode of My So-Called Life. The person she's singing about doesn't have a crush on her or love her. Perhaps we should meet and greet this individual.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

we make ritual noise. Covenant and lots more at Third Ward in Brooklyn, 9.30.06.

Covenant- Swedish EBM band. not metal, not a movie

all night three-plus rooms of underground club type things in the middle of an industrial-storage-Judgement Night-type area in Brooklyn. Aside from some technical issues in rooms 2 and 3 and the three flights of tedious stairs, the night appeared to be succesful. 10-2 was solid as Shannon got the dance party started in room 3 and Rotersand lead off in the big "main chamber." I spun 11-12 to a very receptive and knowledgeable crowd, who actually danced to Gary Numan "Are Friends Electric", Interpol "PDA" and Merge "Lost in Eternity." I had missed Imperative Reaction (another Metropolis band) while DJing, but got to see most of Covenant's set, which included Call the Ships to Port, Dead Stars, Ritual Noise, Stalker. After the trio's main set I finally got to see in person what bands do before they come back for an encore. Not much, they chill for a minute and wipe their head with a towel. -Kenyon

Rotersand- exterminate, annihilate, destroy.

Kenyon- dance, dance, dance

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sprites: Modern Gameplay (Darla)
release: September 18, 2006
styles: Cutey indie pop inspired by 1980s culture
similar: Barcelona, March records, Small Sins, Tullycraft, Papas Fritas
rating: ***1/2

Like Sprite soda, Sprites are bubbly. Oh good one! high five! But seriously, folks, this is some sweet innocent indie pop with bops of electronics from ex-members of Barcelona. Except for the song about blogs, called "I Started a Blog Nobody Read." A lot of us can identify with this, it hits close to home. It's real sad when no one reads your blog. Going through the rest of Modern Gameplay, it's apparent that Sprites are more about the '80s than anything else. The best thing is that it's not obvious, they don't talk about cliche things like hairstyles and clothing. The title track refers to video game systems back in the day and "Me and the SYSOP" is about system operators and BBSs. I can identify with that too. -Kenyon

Chris Van Cott: Happy Again (self-release. local!)
styles: happy posi singer songy lite rock
rating: ***

Chris Van Cott doesn't want to grow up (good!). On the record's cover, he's on a swing, looking back and smiling. He could have written today that fan letter he has to Michael Jackson on the back of the cover. His third solo record is just as solid as the other two and full of fun-in-the-sun acoustic-based slices of his life. Whether uptempo or ballady, Van Cott knows what he's doing. If the countries at war would just look to the music of CVC, there'd be peace! -Kenyon

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heller Mason: Minimalist & Anchored (Silber)
released: September 2006
styles: country slowly indie rock
similar: Mark Kozelek, Band of Horses, Beachwood Sparks, Pale Horse and Rider
rating: ****

The vocals of Heller Mason's main person, Todd Vandenberg, are tearjerkingly soft and weepy. It leads the way for M & A's thoughtful country-esque slowcore, which measures up to similar artists any day. The cello, piano and trumpet that is scattered over the record fleshes out the mature lyrics and comforting acoustic guitar. Apt for campfires at 1am, or quiet mornings in your kitchen in the country at 5am. -Kenyon

Black Happy Day: In the Garden of Ghostflowers (Silber)
release: September 2006
styles: experimental
similar: Handsome Family, the Liars' They Were Wrong
rating: * 1/2

One of the stranger records of the year. Black Happy Day--members of Stone Breath and dream-gothics Lycia, go from vocal exercises to a medievel version of Beat Happening within the first few minutes, burning with self-indulgence. The third track, called (gasp!) "Whore," features disembodied vocals atop sounds delivered straight from an old sci-fi film, while wierd ones such as "A Lyke Wake Dirge" are just a mystery, with an Asian-music banjo and the many vocal efforts of unusual baritone Timothy Renner. A challenge and a half. -Kenyon

Robin Guthrie: Everlasting EP (Darla)
release: September 18, 2006
styles: instrumental ethereal
similar: early Cocteau Twins, later Slowdive
rating: ****

You can yearn for the Cocteau Twins getting back together or you can immerse yourself in the lastest from visionary member Robin Guthrie, who, on this supplement to his LP released earlier this year, provides us with another work of sheer beauty. His trademark guitars shimmer, sparkle and fade. Dreamy swirlyness is all over the place. -Kenyon

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

girl you know it's new.

Scissor Sisters: "I Don't Feel Like Dancing". awesomely awesome Bee-Gees-esque. record out today. date in New York sold out. son of a bitch.
Okkervil River: "The President's Dead" (single out in December on Jagjaguwar) I've seen the name Okkervil River many times. And I always want to pronounce it "Overkill River." Not that I think the music is overkill, but because I don't read good. In fact I have never heard the their music, until now. this is a song about a President being dead. new york dates with the nite: October 14, 15 - Bowery Ballroom.
Goes Cube - guys, change that press photo on myspace and make yourselves look tougher! Goes Cube song number 30 kicked my ass twice and stepped on my foot and then i saw the video for song 26 with the flying fish and i was all like WHOA! new york dates with the nite:

9/26 with You Say Party We Say Die and The Blow at Sin-e
10/16 with Valient Thorr and The Giraffes at Trash
11/2 CMJ, The Delancey
Hedley- pop-punk band released this junk today on Capitol. oh, those major labels. can you even take this band seriously? oh i better relax, i mean, i shouldn't take them or myself too seriously. it's all about having fun, you know!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Classic vintage video
Simple Minds: "Alive and Kicking" (1985)

Thanks to "Don't You Forget About Me" (also a pristine video in its own right), other hits by Simple Minds are largely forgotten. The positive-minded "Alive and Kicking" is next in line of their hits, and features some pristine (my new favorite word, sorry) landscape. You can't go wrong with waterfalls either. Only thing is the bassist standing on the edge of cliff makes me nervous. At the end, they're stuck on an island.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Professor Murder: Professor Murder Rides the Subway EP (Kanine)
release: July 25, 2006
style: funkie anti-post punk
similar: LCD Soundsystem, !!!, The Rapture
rating: ***1/2

Other reviews can mention the cowbells. The real highlight is that there's no guitars. Professor Murder of NYC (of course!) is so fantastic with the multitudes of percussion, funk bassy bass and a little synth that the guitars aren't missed. Dance, dance dance. -Kenyon

Planes Mistaken for Stars: Mercy (Abacus)
release: October 3, 2006
styles: loud rock
rating: **1/2

PMFS was smart moving to Denver. Aside from never having to drive across the country to tour, they got out of their frustrating suburban town. The angst from that town stays with them. A pounding of hardcore, post-hardcore, metal and emo, Mercy was at first an engima, in part due to the scruffy, unintelligible vocals. By track number six, something pulled me in. The music still doesn't make any sense to me--the vocals, the riff-roaring guitars, and the unidentified song structure all have something off-kilter about them. But there is something here, if you search. -Kenyon

Tim Williams: Merchant Heart EP (Dovecote)
release: September 22, 2006
styles: Soft Indie Rock
rating: ***

"Out There," the last song on this quiet EP, is a demo recording that most everyone can identify with. "We run to wait in line and drink to pass the time...we sit in cubicles and wait for dust to fall we try to make our lives worthwhile" and so on. The spacious guitars and keyboard and Tim Williams' softy vocals provide shelter from the storm. -Kenyon

Katamine: Lag (Tinstar Creative Pool)
release: ???
styles: acoustic singer-songy
rating: *1/2

The sparse instrumentation (mostly acoustic guitar, which starts to feel repetitive) carries this record, while the vocals feel sleepy and held back. What is this? We need more passion here. Or something. -Kenyon

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Brother Kite: Waiting for the Time to be Right (Clairecords)
release: September 12, 2006
styles: dreampop with some Pet Sounds
similar: Dirty on Purpose, Fleet Foxes, Brian Wilson, High Water Marks
rating: ****

I don't know if vocalist Patrick Boutwell is making a conscious effort to sound like Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson or he just naturally sounds that way. Either way, he's doing a fantastic job of it, while re-inventing the Brother Kite's ethereal rock. Waiting for the Time to be Right is a big step up in production and songwriting for the Rhode Island band, who on the debut were satisfactory as one of many early 90s shoegaze emulators. It's scary sometimes how much the vocals resemble Brian Wilson. The solid guitars and prominent percussion, however, keep the uplifting songs anchored in atmospheric modern pop. A few selections, such as "Hold Me Down," is less Beach Boys and more driving indie rock. Waiting remains consistent even through the eleventh track, which is bursting like a neo-psychedelic firework. -Kenyon

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pretenders getting acknowledged on VH1 Classics Decades Rock Live, broadcast October 20. includes guests Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Kings of Leon (blech?) & Incubus (blech). Incubus and The Pretenders duet on "Message of Love." noooooooo! hold on i'm not done yet....nooooooooooooo! what i want to know is what members of the Pretenders will be there aside from Chrissie Hynde. werd.
Built to Spill . all you people like Built to Spill. there's nothing bad to say about Built to Spill.

Oct 3 Warsaw Brooklyn, NY
Oct 4 Irving Plaza New York, NY
Oct 5 Irving Plaza New York, NY
Oct 6 Irving Plaza New York, NY
for the 3 fans of the Black Crowes who read this blog: now on tour, two members suddenly departed, new record due in 2007. "She Talks to Angels" still a great song.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

kenyon will be in room 3.
the last few seconds of this video making fun of commercial radio is the most funniest.

Stereogum has the same blog ad as advance copy. werrrrrrrrd.
girl you know it's new.

Starsailor- "In the Crossfire". record out august 22.

Tokyo Police Club- "Nature of the Experiment". record out October 10 on Paper Bag. killer guitar and bass action. dates with Enon and Art Brut.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

concertos in autumn are really hot. just a sampling.

CM Schmay Oct 31-Nov 4
The Flaming Lips. where the wild things are.
Dead Kennedys playing CBGB...without Jello Biafra. LAME. hey, anything's better than the New Cars.
Nitzer Ebb. join in the chant. like at the club back in the day.
Def Leppard and Journey added dates to their long tour. due to overwhelming demand!!

who's opening?

Mika Miko (kill rock stars) opening for the Gossip/Erase Errata
Monsters Are Waiting opening for She Wants Revenge/Pretty Girls Make Graves


Friday, September 08, 2006

Classic vintage video.
Fleetwood Mac- "Hold Me"
Because it came out in 1982 and fit right in with videos from the Police and Duran Duran, there was no indication for first-time listeners that Fleetwood Mac was already a veteran classic rock / soft pop band. With luscious harmonies and tickly piano, "Hold Me" was nearly new wave and became a staples of the early video era with its use of mirrors and desert sand.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

girl you know it's new. video.

Kooks: "Eddie's Gun" from Inside In/Inside Out, October 3 on Astralwerks. very British rock n roll. song too short. October dates in New York already sold out! quite the buzz band.
Kasabian: "Empire". record out now. big-budget, expensive-looking art direction (quicktime) (windows media)
Mountain Con: "The Silver Age". band I just heard of today.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Latterman: ...We Are Still Alive (Deep Elm)
release: August 22, 2006
styles: Positive Punk
similar: Against Me!, Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music
rating: ****

For a while, it seemed like Latterman wouldn't ever be able to continue the momentum from the first full-length. It was probably the best record released from a Long Island band in 2002, and after a hiatus it looked like the local band wouldn't get the recognition deserved. Since reconvening, Latterman has never sounded better on ...We are Still Alive or on the second album released only a year ago. Now on respected label Deep Elm (as of this typing, Latterman is on the website's splashy page), their irresistable anthemic do-or-die posi-shout-along-punk can reach hundreds more disaffected youth who just want to have a good time. -Kenyon

Some Action: The Band that Sucked the Life out of Rock n Roll and Killed itself in the Process (Gigantic)
release: October 3, 2006 (the future!)
styles: garage rock 'n' roll punk
similar: the Stooges, L.E.S Stitches,
rating: ***

Wild, unruly old school rock n roll from New York City that knows its place in music. The "ballad" is a nice break from the other standard punk punches here. Might be more fun live. -Kenyon

The Shut-Ups: The Stud Album (Fraudulent)
release: ????
styles: Pop-Rock
similar: Barenaked Ladies, Blotto
rating: *

On the surface the Stud Album is plain, friendly pop/rock from some regular guys. Below surface, it's condescending (hence the frontman's name, Don Condescending) and not very good at being suggestive. "But I'm a Sexxor and I'm gonna get my way now. Cuz nothing wets her like naivete, she smells her prey." Let's assume the Shut-Ups have a tongue in a cheek. ps how'd you get my address? -Kenyon

Sunday, September 03, 2006

recently viewed.

House of Wax (2005) Cringe-inducing gore and violence, above-average special effects for a horror film. You first have to sit through the quiet, stagnant first half before the action begins. worth $7

Skeleton Key (2005) Voodoo? Hoodoo. Curiosity will get you into major trouble down South. Takes a little thinking to put the pieces together once you get to the surprise twist ending, which is not a happy ending for the lead character. worth $6

Near Dark (1987) There are numerous factors that make Near Dark unlike other vampire films. One is that the word "vampire" is never used. worth $8

Date Movie (2006) Hopefully this wasn't complete career suicide for Alyson Hannigan. She's way too good for this huge pile of trash. Congrats if you can sit through the whole thing. The jokes (if you can call them that) must have been written by a third-grader. Date Movie's (if you can call it a movie) only value is that it's evidence of just how bad Hollywood comedies have sunk. Also, I think we can all agree that anyone else can do a better impression of Napoleon Dynamite. God help us. worth $0

The Hills Have Eyes (unrated version, 2006) One of the few remakes that surpass the original. Freaks for gore won't be disappointed after getting through the uneventful first half. Intense. worth $9

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) The problem is that the mutants are not mysterious and don't look or behave like mutants. $3

Hide and Seek (2005) The surprise twist ending isn't all that obvious. A few loose ends that never tie together prevent this psychological thriller from being complete, which is probably why it got a lot of bad reviews. worth $5
yes, this DOES suck. what internet stations are similar to woxy (particularly the vintage music) that don't have pop-up ads and commercials? i need a new station for when i'm at work.

Friday, September 01, 2006

TRS-80: Mystery Crash (One Cell)
release: August 1, 2006
styles: Cool electronic
similar: Decomposure, Ratatat, ISAN

rating: ****

TRS-80--named after an early computer--formed around 1997, when big beat was big. By the following year, they got a gig with Death in Vegas. And like Death in Vegas, it's refreshing to hear that this Chicago trio has gone on to explore an atmospheric, darker percussion-driven side of electronic. Mystery Crash is one of the few electronic records this year so far that doesn't feel like someone randomly pressing buttons. It has a consistent, urgent mood made possible by non-intrusive beats and dazzling synth. One such example is the Orb-influenced "I Have Friends," which has a female speaking role reminiscent of the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds." Aside from this record, TRS-80 has a whole resume of accomplishments ranging from music in television ads to a date with Sisters of Mercy. Easily one of Chicago's best kept secrets. -Kenyon

Thursday, August 31, 2006

think locally

FISHBONE at Crazy Donkey, Farmingdale. September 27. Fishbone is significant to me for a variety of reasons. 1- I had their self-titled record from 1985, on cassette. In art class in 7th grade, this kid grabbed the tape from me and put it in the classroom's player. And played the end of "Lyin Ass Bitch." Listen to it if you don't know what I'm talking about. We got in trouble. 2- Fishbone (with Primus) was the show where I first crowd-surfed. Damn what a rush. And it was during their heyday. (side note- going to shows in the early 90s was a fantastic era for crowd-surfing, it's not the same anymore). 3- I interviewed bassist Norwood via phone live on my radio show and he said "c*ck." 4- All of that happened without Fishbone ever being one of my favorite bands.
on September 30, Kenyon is DJing with a ton of other people in Brooklyn at some big 4-room all-night show/party. the main attraction is EBM group Covenant. more details to come.

Blogs vs mainstream critics and some other mumbo jumbo in this guy's article.
myspace may or may not get its own magazine. this may or may not be news. first sentence in article is stupid. and, what's a magazine?

MTV facing competition. boo hoo.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

girl you know it's new.

Lemonheads- "No Backbone" . no kidding. record out September 26 on Vagrant. It's Evan Dando and...let's not think about it. It sounds like the Lemonheads, that's all that matters.

Trainwreck Riders- "Christmas Time Blues". record out August 22. Christmas in the summer rules. folk-country-indie.
Zero 7- "Futures" (Rub n Tug Remix). released in June. now on tour. electronic-ambient-pop.

Monday, August 28, 2006

satisfactory line-up saturday nite at the SMT. missed the first and last bands, my bad. Deck of Jack features Jim Shearer, VJ on MTV2. He was wearing an Arctic Monkeys shirt. I was surprised he remembered me from when Deck of Jack played on Long Island like 2 years ago. And I could not forget them. It was Christmas time and they were rapping. They still rap, but they do more rocking now. Milagro--ex-members of local screamo Aescyhlus (sp?)--played its third show and tore sh*t up without a drummer.

Mr. Shearer abusing guitar.

press the buttons!

sick shot, except needs cropping on right.

Friday, August 25, 2006

quick fix.

LEN: "Steal My Sunshine" (1999)
After the first time I heard this confectionary infectious piece of hip-hop-pop, it was obvious this would be a defining summertime hit. The song and group, however, had something about it that immediately suggested a one hit wonder. LEN was real quiet ever since, although they did release something in 2005. So I've read.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It ain't like that anymore.

Alice in Chains full US tour begins late September. dates in New York early November. No Layne Staley=waste of time. Mo Money- two CD, 28-track collection out September 5.
Depeche Mode: Touring the Angel- Live in Milan. Double DVD and CD set, out September 26. This is something I want, Mr and Ms. Publicist.
Secret Machines fall US tour will be an in-the-round set-up. bloppity-blop-blop. And I thought only U2 could do this. Secret Machines rule.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

girl you know it's new. we've never heard of these people. so clicky on magic words.

Simon Dawes: song one, song two from Carnivore (Record Collection) September 12. A band, not one guy. on tour with Band of Horsies.

Annuals: songage from Be He Me (Ace Fu) autumn. touring with Art Brut, Tapes N Tapes. features crickets and strings and things just before they rock it.

Page France: happy soft song with xylophone from Hello Dear Wing (Suicide Squeeze) September 12

Cities: mix by Ladytron from EP (Yep Roc) October 3.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kasabian's entire sophomore record, out September 12, can be heard at their myspace page. They must be huge in the UK--they have over 22,000 friends. This album isn't as blatant about ripping off the original Madchester bands, though you can certainly here some Happy Mondays in there as well as some Chemical Brothers meets Oasis.

Jeff Hanson wowed me with his first record, while his second record, as good as he is, was missing some sparks. His next one on Kill Rock Stars, due in early 2007, will have more people comparing him to an angelic Elliott Smith while I will be looking for that initial wowness. He's on tour in September, which includes September 11 in New York.

As if Stereolab doesn't have enough releases already, Rhino is putting out a Stereolab anthology, Serene Velocity, August 29. although it seems skimpy with only 16 tracks. includes songs released as seven-inch singles and songs recorded between 1993 and 2004 that were on Stereolab's seven (!) Elektra studio albums. Stereolab ring tones! because i don't even have a cell phone! Text Stereo to 74466*

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Over the Atlantic: Junica (Carpark)
release: September 2006
styles: Sweet Indie Electronic
similar: Postal Service, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Brittle Stars
rating: ***1/2

After listening to "History Never Repeats" from Split Enz 100 times, it's time to move on to another, more contemporary band from New Zealand. Over the Atlantic are duo Bevan Smith and Nik Brinkman, who have put together a breezy debut of innocent, harmonizing vocals, soft little Casio-style percussion and when needed, guitar. It's very indie electronic, but with a song titled "Kevin Shields," we'll guess that Over the Atlantic felt a small influence from My Bloody Valentine. "Honest Words" is a big winner on Junica, in which the cute vocals jump around ringing guitar and happy synth. The best thing I've heard from New Zealand since, you know, Split Enz. -Kenyon

Monday, August 14, 2006

girl you know it's new. via webby sites.

Killers 10.03.06

Ima Robot 9.12.06

Friday, August 11, 2006

Girl you know it's new. click on the magic words.

Freescha: Head Warlock Double Stare (out September 19 on Attacknine Records) experimental, avant-garde sci-fi fantasy disembodiness. Moby loves them. And they love Moby.
Your Black Star: "Oh Jesus" (full record out October 17 on Wonka Vision)ex-Elliott (non-screamy on Revelation records). similar: Hum, Swervedriver.
Sandi Thom: "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker" (record out August 29 on RCA)i wish your lyrics weren't so obvious. someone at RCA liked her webcasts from her flat in London. blop. similar: Katherine McPhee, KT Tunstall.
Oxygen Ponies: clips from s/t release out August 8. band name could be worse i guess. sim: Lambchop, East River Pipe, Ryan Adams. someone have a witty comment please?

oh wow look how diverse i am! now i can make a profile on myspace and say "i listen to everything. except rap and country."


girl you know it's new. two videos from peoples with funny names.

Kaki King - "Yellowcake" (record out August 8 on Velour) mystical. sim: Tegan and Sara, Joanna Newsom. Windows. Real. Quicktime.
Landon Pigg - "Can't Let Go" (out July 25 on RCA) non-mystical. more like, look at me see how cute i am. ram. asx. mov.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The first hour of MTV. and second.

First, thanks a lot VH1 Classic for not doing it right. After about 20 minutes of build up with the Apollo rocket countdown, they aired the videos and only tiny clips of the VJs and no original commercials. Gotta pay the bills in 2006, not the ones in 1981 I guess. Instead of Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter et al, we got a girl giving us tidbits and some comments from artists. Fortunately, there's a section at mtv.com that has the entire hour in its original form, divided up by segments. At the moment.

The videos: we finally found out that the second video aired was Pat Benatar "You Better Run". The third was Rod Stewart. Both of them ended up having another video in the SECOND hour, Rod Stewart had a third going into the third hour, and the Pretenders had THREE as well ("Brass in Pocket", "Tattooed Love Boys", "Message of Love"). Lucky for them, their second record came out just two weeks after MTV's debut. As MTV was so new, half the videos are taken from concerts. This I very much remember from the early days, which explains Bruce Springsteen's 10-minute "Rosalita". Many of the videos are from artists that were never to be heard from again. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, anyone? cue chirping crickets. So, some of the songs actually sucked, as the station needed to fill time with whatever was available. One of the more enlightening videos was the last one of hour one: Split Enz "History Never Repeats". In addition to its title begging for a comment in relation to MTV, it proves that the band had another great song besides "I Got You." Now, to the video, which is hella more interesting than "I Got You". Sadly the picture quality is shitty.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hello Stranger: s/t (Aeronaut Records/Four Square Death Match)
release: August 8, 2006
styles: Light-hearted pop/rock
similar: Nina Gordon, Garbage, Persephone's Bees
rating: **

I don't get this band. They're on this little label, yet sound as polished as Avril Lavigne. Their press photo suggests something adventurous and the album cover suggests something either glammy, mystical or electronic or a combination of those. And they toured with roots rockers Kings of Leon? What's going on!? It's poppy rock pop, and even though it's not horrible, it's making me think of Save Ferris or the Cranberries. I'm just saying. The synthesizer saves them from being a big turkey, that and the fact that they turned down major labels and didn't sell out. If not for those things, I'd have to say that Hello Stranger is as cliche as when its name is spoken in teen television dramas. You know what I mean, like when a character randomly runs into another somewhere and they're all like "hello stranger." For real though, Hello Stranger is a clever band name. -Kenyon