Tuesday, February 28, 2006

YouTube is under construction. And I'm bugging out. Therefore, see this crazy tripped-out video from the Sw!ms on Google video. Their thrilling Ride of the Blueberry Winter is out today on Prison Jazz records.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

advanced news:

Huge benefit show March 20 at Hammerstein Ballroom where you can be both cheered and booed for making comments about the USA in the Mid East. Line-up includes: Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Bright Eyes, Fischerspooner (who should be playing by themselves), Peaches, Devendra Banhart, Steve Earle (who I had to listen to one time in a car on the way to NYC).
My Morning Jacket nominated for Jammy awards because apparently they are a jam band.
Metropolis Records signed Gary Numan. It's about time. They also signed an indie rock band called Ken (!?).
Ex-Nitzer Ebb member Bon Harris (the one that didn't sing industrial-dance songs such as "Join in the Chant") is the frontman of a new band called Maven. There's some songs on myspace previewing an upcoming release. Now I know why the other guy in Nitzer Ebb sang.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- "Gold Lion". Record out in March.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Sw!ms: Ride of the Blueberry Winter (Prison Jazz)
release: February 28, 2006
rating: ***1/2

similar: Of Montreal, Dressy Bessy, SNMNMNM, Marbles

These guys are fun. Mad fun. Pennsylvania's Sw!ims has got a solid hold on a glorious blend of psychedelic indie pop by way of superific vocal harmonies, a Farfisa organ and a keen sense of arrangements. It's impossible to believe this band has members of noise band An Albatross. But they do. Fun times. -Kenyon

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Duly noted:

A collaboration between AOL (for which Kenyon has workd) and Blender (for which Kenyon has merely applied) began last week. Blender's March issue features a list of "50 Most Awesomely Dead Rock Stars." Real smooth, guys.
Albumart.org will be pretty handy.

Elefant is on tour right now with BRMC. Record out April 18.
The 2006 US Air Guitar regional competition begins March 2 at the Knitting Factory in New York, with competitions in at least 10 other cities. US Air Guitar Championship in June 2006. US Finalist will compete in Finland for Air Guitar World Championship. From there, they will compete in the Galaxy Championship.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Finally, someone is making fun of photos of people's cats on Myspace. Watch the video for the super rad song "Great Escape" by We Are Scientists, where three really is a crowd. I expect to be addicted to YouTube in about....10 minutes.

Whoa, how'd I miss this? The shocking photo of Boy George from a few months ago reveals that he likes the Misfits. Seriously, though, the scary thing is that he actually looked better with all that paint on his face.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Duly noted:

I finally just saw Abandon (2002), a would-be psychological thriller starring Katie Holmes. There's a quick scene where some college kids are partying and the music playing is "Tides of the Moon" by Mercury Rev. A small highlight in an otherwise dull film.

"Our House" by Madness has been torn to shreds in the latest commercial from Maxwell House.

"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow was ruined for Reese's.

First worst song of the year nomination goes to that collaboration with Santana and Steven Tyler. Neither deserve to be in bold.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's funny how hardcore, metal and punk barely get any props on the ultra-cool blogs. Must be that demographic thing with the angsty teenagers and all. Not that I listen to much of it, but hey, sometimes I do like to jump around, pounce on my bed and destroy hotel rooms. Last year's Everytime I Die record, for example, was really great for that, and these select and varied recent releases follow suit.

Small Arms Dealer: A Single Unifying Theory (Deep Elm)
release: February 7, 2006
rating: ***1/2

As I was reading through this Long Island band's info sheet, I started highlighting the one press quote. Then I realized that they were quoting ME. No kidding. It was from when I reviewed the local band's first EP for the Long Island Press. So, I may be sounding like Mick Jones sampling the Clash, but here it is: "These songs are wonderously fresh, as if it's the members' first band [ex-On the Might of Princes, Devil Himself, etc]. The lyrics, which have a foot in such disparate things as death and remaining positive, are thankfully not compromised or buried in guitar noise. Just reading the excerpts won't do justice to these punk-rock gems." So true, I agree. This full-length (on Deep Elm, rather impressive!), has more fantastic punk sing-alongs, uplifting lyrics and rocking riffs. Very few clean tracks with the "F" word, however, are gonna create a challenge for playing on my radio show. Whoops! -Kenyon


Enlow: The Recovery (Blood & Ink)
release: January 24, 2006
rating: **1/2

This Oklahoma hardcore band is probably really intense live. I can just picture them at hometown VFW hall shows swinging their guitars around and basically kicking ass. The Recovery has some wicked guitar riffs and chant-alongs. I can't say I haven't heard this all before, but their messages via song titles such as "Stand Up and Face Your Fears" and lyrics such as "We've come this far, we're not stopping now" have to count for something. -Kenyon


In Flames: Come Clarity (Ferret)
release: February 7, 2006
rating: ****

Well, I can't even believe I'm reviewing this right now. Veteran band In Flames is supposed to be melodic death metal from Sweden (melodic death metal? no way!). They may have been a lot more death metal on previous records, but this one is mostly void of it. And it's actually pretty impressive. Which means the time is right for In Flames to grab hold of a whole new crowd of kids. The campaign for this record is pretty huge, so it wouldn't surprise me if the band broke big. Hell, they even sent it to someone who doesn't otherwise cover metal. Oh..the music. Okay, I'll tell you this: old school metal guitar solos. If I had a metal show on the radio, I would totally play this. Every week. But it's more likely you'll hear this on FUSE's metal show on a Saturday night. -Kenyon

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

SIANspheric: RGB (Sonic Unyon)
release: February 21, 2006 (USA)

Retrospective CD: ****
Retrospective DVD: 1/2*

Canadian space-rock band SIANspheric, who released a small handful of records through various line-up changes within the past decade, isn't interesting enough for a retrospective that supposedly documents "petty in-fighting, drug-abuse, break-ups and cash-grab reunions." (Spacemen 3 they are not!) If they really are worthy of a Behind the Music-type feature, the footage of the band sure doesn't show it. In fact, it's difficult to figure out what in the world is even going on in the footage on the DVD. Here's a stab at it though: In the early days the band members, who are never identified, drive to some gigs, two of them get really high, they play some really shitty shows. Audience members are even quoted about it being so awful. Nothing happens 1997-1999 (the "black years"). The rest is some super boring live footage and interviews where the band members are again not identified and continue to act far less mysterious and cool than you were hoping for. The two pretentious short films have little to do with the band and there's only one music video here worth watching. Bummer.

The audio portion of RGB does a much better job representing the most compelling components of the band, like the buzzing that comes from its guitars and the heavy reverb on its vocals. The 15 tracks, including a few unreleased, are a satisfying introductory to the band. If the DVD hasn't already tainted the perception of SIANsperic, put on the CD, close your eyes or create your own simple visuals using a flashlight and some hand puppets. -Kenyon

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Stay up Late While on a Road to Nowhere. Or, remember that time i met David Byrne?

Rhino just reissued all eight proper albums from the Talking Heads. The latter four of them, including one of my personal favorites, Little Creatures, are out today. The remastered, repackaged and refurnished albums contain rare bonus tracks on the CD side. The DVD side features audio, video, lyrics and photos.

If you're not already hip to the Heads (oh and they called themselves that when without David Byrne), here's a streaming sampler.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dude, the third record from the Vines is out April 4 (holy jesus, it'll be Spring then!) Honestly, I thought they were finished as a band. Listen to the first single "Don't Listen to the Radio." Even though it's only two minutes just like their first hit "Get Free," it's still better than anything from their previous record. Oh yes. I did sit through the painful Winning Days in order to write a review. Pity me!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sigur Ros is on Conan O'Brien tonite.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Prodigy: Their Law- The Singles 1990-2005 (XL)
release: February 28, 2006

In 1997-98 the Prodigy were kicking serious ass (more so, of course, in the UK). The videos were dope, Fat of the Land was bursting with big-beating energy and its shows (two manic vocalists in front and two dudes programming the music in the back) was genius. This two-cd set captures all of that and then some. Only thing is, you gotta pretend that much of this is not semi-dated. Fatboy Slim, Crystal Method, Orbital and a few other '90s electronic dance artists are now suffering from a lack of evolution and changing trends. What (almost completely) saves the Prodigy from that fate is that their music was darker and more intense than Fatboy or Chemical Brothers. Hits "Breathe", "Firestarter" and "Smack My Bitch Up" all still hold up well and will get club kids on the dancefloor, but dizzying cuts like "Out of Space" and "Voodoo People" unavoidably belong to the rave/techno culture of the '90s, given the loopy looping vocals and ultra-high pitched orchestra hits. Still, this thorough collection, which includes remixes, live and a few unreleased tracks, is an essential page in electronic music history. -Kenyon

Notes: Comes with photo booklet. DVD of the same title, with videos and concert footage, will be released the same day. Select dates in the US include March 22 @Nokia Theatre, New York.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

the Grammy Awards for this Wednesday are wack.

Ministry was nominated for Best Metal performance for the song "The Great Satan," a typical Ministry mosh which is the only new song on a comp called Rantology that is lightyears from "Stigmata" and probably about George Bush.

Kraftwerk was nominated for best electronic/dance album for Minimum-Maximum. This is a LIVE album of songs they wrote over the PAST 30 YEARS.

Daft Punk was nominated in the same category and that record is totally wack up the gazoo.

The REST OF THIS is meaninglessness.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth (RCA)
release: January 3, 2006 (whoops!)
rating: *

Releasing a record on the first Tuesday of the year is practically unheard of. Mostly, labels are still putting out repackaged greatest hits albums or better yet, still on vacation. Furthermore, releasing around January 1 has now turned out to be just like what the movie industry does, throwing out the leftovers that they know won't be candidates for best of the year. This album proves it! And knowing that "Juicebox" is the first single from First Impressions of Earth is a good indication of what a mess this third album is. The Strokes were either really drunk or weren't interested in melodies or both. There are a few good spots here. Just a few. And they are few and far between. Very far. Julian Casablancas just might be singing about something more serious and introspective this time but the music isn't good enough to care. "Fear of Sleep," at least, is a small highlight and has slight emotional impact. It's a tiny climax on an otherwise lifeless album that is generally painful to hear. If anything, the Strokes made it a point to release the first big let down of the year. -Kenyon

March 3 and 4 in NYC. Sold out. Shout Out Louds and Adam Green (who put out his own excuse for a record one year ago) on various dates. at least the website looks pretty rad.
Village Voice Critics Poll is up. Find my top 10 albums and singles. Comments on the comments later.