Thursday, June 29, 2006

Every little thing that you say or do.
Madonna at Madison Square Garden, NYC. June 28, 2006
photos by Kenyon from section 424.

If her previous record was shit, Madonna's 2005 release Confessions on a Dancefloor is THE shit. Like the flowing trance-based tracks on Confessions, the event--Madonna's first date in New York City on this tour--was a non-stop run of glittery disco-electro dance that featured a whirlwind of lights, dancefloors with lights, dancefloors with trap doors, dancers doing headspins and gliding on rollerblades, and moving stage floors. Just when you thought the visuals at U2 and Nine Inch Nails had blown your mind, Madonna takes it one step further, without looking back at much of her past if only to modify it. When she did treat us to classic hits ("Like a Virgin" and "Lucky Star"), it was in an updated fashion that would fit in with the rest of her latest style. The new, more uptempo songs from Confessions were just as exciting as "Ray of Light" or "Music," the latter of which was mashed-up with "Disco Inferno." After an unbelievable 2 hours with no real breaks for an encore (although Madonna did get breathers while the visuals on screens took over or other people danced or sang), "Lucky Star" segued into "Hung Up" for a strong finish that had everyone singing about time moving slowly. Yea, she was on a cross for "Live to Tell." Calm down.

set list included: Confessions on a Dancefloor, Like a Virgin, Live to Tell, Ray of Light, Music, Lucky Star, La Isla Bonita

crowd report: we had a wave going just before showtime, hell yea! gay guy next to me says to his friend- "oh i have to call Francesco during "Sorry." blech. girl in front of me was friendly. Overall the usual but not bad, and definitely the most enthusiastic crowd at MSG i can remember, with the wave and all.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Joe Jack Talcum of the Dead Milkmen at the Cinema in Huntington Sunday nite. He actually played "Punk Rock Girl" and enlightened me with other Milkmen hits that i've missed out on. Local shows don't get much cooler than this.

then we jumped up on the table and shouted 'anarchy'!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Classic vintage video.
White Lion- "Wait" (1987)

There's way too many videos from pop-hair-metal bands from which to choose. And trust me, this won't be the first one on this blog. The criminally forgotten White Lion makes the cut because of fancy guitar solos (most notably in the cover of "Radar Love"), meaningful songs that weren't about partying, and hitting the top of MTV's top 20 video countdown. Despite those things, and because the 1989 follow-up came just before the grunge revolution, the band wasn't as long-lasting or popular as Def Leppard, Bon Jovi or Poison. "Wait" was White Lion's first hit single, and it's a stellar one. It's about wanting another chance. No...NEEDING. and needing is a responsibility.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dirty on Purpose: Hallelujah Sirens (North Street)
release: June 27, 2006
similar: Yo La Tengo, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors, Appleseed Cast, Pale Saints styles: Indie Rock, Dream Pop
rating: ****

Dirty on Purpose first hit the spot with the darling Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow EP which easily measured up to early 90s shoegazers the Pale Saints. The release of the long-awaited Hallelujah Sirens is the band's big starting point for the summer and with the girlish-boyish vocals and tranquil chiming guitars, it's a dreamy record that holds a lot of brilliance and only slightly comes up short of being the classic that the EP hinted at. Even so, it's still a solid debut full-length with lots to explore and appreciate, and smartly expands on the ideas of Sleep Late. The songs reverberate with quiet harmonies, pink noise guitar washes and an underlying mysticism. Hallelujah! -Kenyon

Various Artists: GU10 (Global Underground)
release: June 20, 2006
styles: dance, electronic, DJ, house

If you're gonna listen to dance mixes like this, make sure not to listen to it through a player that doesn't allow tracks to freely flow from one to the next. When there's a pause (like the dumb player i'm using now), it defeats the purpose of these mixes. you gotta hear those beats matching. I may use this hook again for another review if i can't think of anything. This three-disc set celebrates Global Underground's 10 years in action, and features an abundance of its electronic euphoria since its inception. The first two cds compile tracks from the back catalog, most of which only those familar with the genres will know. Aside from Underworld, Fatboy Slim, Felix da Housecat and a few more, i've never heard of these people. I don't think they've heard of me either. oh! good one! The third cd is mostly house tracks from the early 90s. I'm glad to say i was listening to dream and Brit pop at the time. -Kenyon

Monday, June 19, 2006

i was up above it. now i'm down in it. or, bite the hand of person who taps you on the back and wants you to sit down because you're blocking his view even though almost everyone in the venue is standing.
nine inch nails/bauhaus/peaches at jones beach theater. june 17, 2006. photos by kenyon.

nin set: somewhat damaged, you know what you are?, sin, terrible lie, march of the pigs, the frail/the wretched, closer, burn, gave up, help me i am in hell, non-entity, only, wish, la mer, into the void, the big come down, dead souls, suck, get down make love, down in it, hurt, the hand that feeds, head like a hole.

nine inch nails was the first band i ever saw in a small venue in new york city. it was also before trent reznor and co. were able to fill a venue the size of jones beach, and before the industrial-rock of the breakthrough second album, the downward spiral, began crossing over to an impossibly diverse range of people, many of which have never heard of, oh let's say, bauhaus. having a record make an impact on you as a teenager and then seeing an artist get to such a popularity is a bitter pill to swallow. and i'm bitter. with this show, i've come full circle. and what a show. i'm sure it's the best thing that jones beach will have this year, given the lighting and combination of artists--one of the most exciting live rock acts, the founding goth band and an attention-grabber oozing with sex sex sex. that last one, known as peaches, is a naughty girl, singing about sucking on titties and f*cking the pain away. she's an entertainer too, and was confident enough to walk down into the crowd. [ps, peaches would be great to photograph close up, but didn't get photos due to it being light out still and me being too far from stage]. for a band that put out it's first record in 1980, bauhaus seemed as relevant as ever, and after this, i will need to try try again to adapt to something besides "third uncle" and "bela lugosi's dead," the latter of which with they finished.

bauhaus had some nice lights, but it was nothing compared to nine inches. in fact it's worth going to see nin just for the lights and effects. along with just about every well-known song and single played, it was a rather complete gig, ranging from newer arm-raising songs "you know what you are?" and "the hand that feeds" to old favorites "hurt," "sin" and "head like a hole." a neat surprise was the joy division cover of "dead souls." overall, the band kicked some serious ass, and i especially like it when the guys up front (i counted 5 people in band all together) run around in circles and throw sh*t.

crowd report: not too bad, music was loud enough to barely hear talking, even from as far back as we were. although i had to avoid a fight with the jerk behind me who didn't like me standing during nin. after some time in the front of the section, i realized sitting down [dude, hello? this is a f*cking hard rocking rock band] was the best route for photos anyway. during nin's "hurt" someone yelled out "we hurt too!". and many of us laughed.


Friday, June 16, 2006

new music/mp3/video in the houuuuussseeee.

Razorlight- "In the Morning" (from upcoming record due this summer) dudes, your name is very post-grunge. ok cool, so, British post-dance rock. let's do it.

Snow Patrol- "Chasing Cars." [real player] [windows] (from the record Eyes Open, out may 9) I remember when Snow Patrol was just some random indie rock band on the respected Jeepster label and now they're like big epic melancholy rock on a major label. fudge

Evermore- "It's Too Late" (from the record Dreams, out may 23) Evermore is HUGE in Australia. come on! how could you not know that?! style similar to Keane, band name similar to Nevermore.

Boy Eats Drum Machine- various streaming tracks. BEDM is little in Portland Oregon. usually indie-electronic-turntablism like this is set aside for vocals that are real cutesy. this guy's vocals are a little throaty, but the chorus hook for "let's get lost sometime" is pretty spectacular.
Hey check it out, I'm not at the club tonite. I'm resting up for Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus and Peaches at Jones Beach tomorrow nite. I hear the Nikon/Tommy Hilfiger/Maxwell House Coffee Theatre is pretty strict about cameras.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Can I get a "hell yea!" to bicycles and basketball on a Monday night!? Jason Anderson (K Records) in a garage in Northport, Long Island last night.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Depeche Mode: Speak & Spell [Deluxe Double Edition] (Reprise/Sire/Mute/Rhino)
release: originally 1981, reissued June 6, 2006
styles: Synth Pop, New Romantic
similar: OMD, Soft Cell, Erasure, Human League
rating: ****

The Depeche Mode on Speak & Spell, the band's debut album, was a very different Depeche Mode. Casual listeners of the band's later work (Music for the Masses, Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion) will never suspect that the bouncy upbeat synth pop came from the same artist. In a way, it didn't, given that early member Vince Clarke was the primary songwriter. Add to that Dave Gahan's still-boyish vocals and the difference is evident. Although its direction didn't fully shift for a couple more albums, Speak & Spell remains Depeche Mode's fresh, bright-eyed entry into the world. "Just Can't Get Enough" is of course the best known track here, but allow that to be the starting point here, even if it is the catchiest. "New Life" and "What's Your Name?" are rich with harmonies and romance, "Dreaming of Me" is one of the prettiest songs they've ever done and "Puppets" isn't much different from a lot of today's electro. Gahan's vocals have some trouble on "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "Nodisco" includes the lyrics "move me disco, baby don't you let go" but considering what was around in 1981, there's little reason to complain. The serious fan will be more excited about the DVD, which features rare b-sides and an insightful 30-minute film about the beginnings of the band and the recording of Speak & Spell via interviews with band members, producers and other key players. The best of course is the early live footage when they wore biker hats. -Kenyon says go!

note: deluxe editions of Music for the Masses and Violator also reissued June 6.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Cosmopolitans: Wild Moose Party (Dionysus)
release: Springish
styles: New Wave, Post-Punk
rating: ***1/2

Do you ever want to drop acid and travel in your mind back to a better time, probably before you were even born, when musicians weren’t ashamed to let loose and make cool-looking fools out of themselves? If so, then perhaps you should break out your best flip-wig and give the Cosmopolitan’s Wild Moose Party a spin.The album doesn’t contain any new music, but it might sound new to you if you weren’t hip enough to swing with the NYC new wave crowd in 1980. the cosmopolitans, two downright groovy chicks named Jamie K. Sims and Nel Moore, started as a North Carolina based experimental dance troop and turned into an awesome party band in which the girls sang, played keyboards and harmonica, hand clapped, baton twirled, and danced their asses off in front of a slew of different drummers.The girls' sound has an obvious B-52’s wild side, but is backed with a cutesy tongue in cheek feminist attitude (think Thee Headcoatees and/or the Slits). the compilation is genuinely old school, collecting studio sessions as well as live performances, including their best known single, "(How to Keep Your) Husband Happy", (inspired by the notorious Debbie Drake fitness album with the same name), and my personal favorite, "Chevy Baby", a weirdly voiced tale of a New York Post "true" story of a couple who trades in their baby for a chevy. hey, sounds like a good deal to me. -Shannon K Ronan

Friday, June 09, 2006

Classic vintage video.
Pete Shelley- "Homosapien"(1981)

Pete Shelley's one hit without his band the Buzzcocks was a fantastic bridging of punk and synth pop. Here he's more like an angry Gary Numan than anything else, and along with the typical early '80s visuals, the video for "Homosapien" is a definite classic.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

blah blah blah Siren Fest blah blah blah additions to line-up blah blah

Scissor Sisters (mostly guys..I think)
Rogers Sisters (ok, yea those are girls)
Man Man (yea, that's guys)
Serena-Maneesh (a band not a girl)
Deadboy and the Elephantmen

noticing a weird trend here

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

new wave rave

Couch: Figur 5 (Morr Music)
release: June 13, 2006
styles: Post-Rock, Experimental

similar: Fridge, Appliance, other artists on Morr Music
rating: ***

Couch's music is much better than its name. One of many post-rock artists to come out of Germany, the band is just as skilled with the rock as it is with the electronics. On fifth outing Figur 5, they demonstrate this by exploring each method, sometimes separately, other times combining guitars with synth-bass and electronic percussion. What's nice about Figur 5 is that the tracks never sound like an improvised entanglement that goes on forever but instead a set of tight, well-configured designs. Plus it's on Morr Music, so..duh! -Kenyon

Monday, June 05, 2006

Primal Scream- "Country Girl" (new record, Riot City Blues--which of course is the perfect title--out today in UK, out soon in USA)
rating: ****

Jesus. After the two progressively aggressive electronic terror rock records, Primal Scream has written something that is actually considered pop music. It's a rewarding shift, as the band combines its gospel-house phase with an upbeat sing-along. And it's killer. Shit. -Kenyon

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Manual: Bajamar (Darla)
release: May 15, 2006
styles: Meditative Ambient
rating: ****

It's only been a year since Jonas Munk Jensen's last release under the name Manual, and already he's made some of the most atmospheric, beautiful instrumental pieces heard in 2006. Most of Bajamar's bliss originates from processed guitars, which you'll never notice given the smoothness of the tones. And Jensen is so good with integrating a rainstorm, synth-voice and the obligatory ocean waves that there's hardly a sense that we've heard this type of minimalism before. -Kenyon
Shannon has video of Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket from Thursday night.

As if They Might Be Giants didn't have enough songs already, they wrote a bunch of songs on tour specifically for each venue they played. the Venue Songs DVD includes 11 videos for select songs. I recommend skipping over the guy from Comedy Central. available only at their website and shows.

I was selling my vintage IG-88 Star Wars action figure on eBay and found THIS. Check the photo of him mowing the lawn. A bounty hunter has been domesticated!

Momz-in-da Hood is cheesy and tacky as expected. I was disappointed that they don't rap. They just dance. And for this they get to be on NBC. Whoopee.

Oh Henrietta, Pitchfork reported that Tracy + the Plastics "broke up," although there is nothing on the official website about this. (quotations because it's really only one person).

Sonic Youth and Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing two shows together August 11, 12 at park pool in Brooklyn. Crowd will be in empty pool, most kids there to see YYYs won't know much about this Sonic Youth band.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Asobi Seksu: Citrus (Friendly Fire)
release: May 30, 2006
styles: Noise-Pop with Japanese vocals
rating: ***

The critics writing reviews for Citrus will gush that there's once again soft female vocals that alternate with English and Japanese. They'll mention that Asobi Seksu's guitars have a strong influence from My Bloody Valentine. In fact, if they've heard the terms "dream pop" or "shoegaze", even though they never really listened to anyone other than MBV, they will use those terms, even though this is more like noise-pop ("Pink Cloud Tracing Paper" and the end of "Red Sea" are blatantly MBV replicas, I'm sure the band knows this). They'll definitely say that they're part of the New York City scene. And they will translate the band's name to English. What they might do by mistake is assume that Asobi Seksu is one person, as a result of the band putting an image of the girl vocalist on the cover and all over everything else. That about encompasses the reviews. Except for Pitchfork, which will get into all sorts of details that you won't even have time to read. -Kenyon


Radioinactive: Soundtrack to a Book (Stranger Touch)
release: May 16, 2006
styles: Hip-Hop, the kind that doesn't take itself seriously
rating: **

The press release for Radioinactive is trying to confuse me with circular logic: "Soundtrack to a Book is your favorite album's favorite album" and "Soundtrack to a Book is not a soundtrack or a book." Okay? Basically, this entire affair is perplexing. Radioinactive--who resembles a less bad-ass Everlast, less bad-ass only because in the press photo he's holding a robot--is one dude, who in one of these dance-electro-hip-hop tracks, refers to himself as "Radio." For a lot of his third album, it'd be great to know what he's expressing over the beats, neat sound effects and sampling. Because even though he gets props for rapping really quick, sorta like Barenaked Ladies, there are few things of which to make sense. -Kenyon