Thursday, January 31, 2008

classic vintage video.
Pseudo Echo- "Listening" (1983)

Monday, January 28, 2008

WWE Royal Rumble at Madison Square Garden January 27, 2008.
surprise appearances: John Cena, Mick Foley, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka.

clicky on photos to see bigger.


"nature boy" Ric Flair still not retiring.

Chris Jericho getting revenge on JBL.

Edge about to retain his championship against Rey Mysterio.

Jeff Hardy down after getting RKO'd by Orton.

Undertaker and HBK starting the rumble match.

John Cena, last man to enter the Rumble, shocking Batista, Triple H and everyone else.

John Schmena wins the royal rumble match.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Shapes [New York, New York] - Jagged garage pop akin to Be Your Own Pet and Art Brut, the Shapes' tight 3 to 4-minute blasts of fresh rock n' roll have earned the band opening spots with the Bravery and Jill from Lucious Jackson at NY venues such as Mercury Lounge, Knitting Factory and Southpaw. "I wanna watch you like a television" is one of several smarty lines from "Dreaming of an M16," which is one of many examples of the Shapes' dueling guy/girl vocals. The spot-on continous harmonies, monster bass lines and high energy keep this dance-rock party going. [rating: ***1/2]

The Metapuffs- [Chicago] - "Hey there you girl/why don't you do more to please your man. you know it girl/i wanted to quit ya/but i can't..no i can't." You can't make this stuff up. These Metapuffs are not convincing. In fact it's irritating. Like an extremely horrible version of Sonic Youth. i do believe the Metapuffs are stuck in a low-budget 1980s movie. Don't try so hard people, this doesn't sound natural. "Either blessed or cursed with the inability to not write songs" they say in the bio (choose your own response). Did you see/hear Stewie in Family Guy singing "Lost in Your Eyes" by Debbie Gibson? That's what this is like. But worse. "Retro-futro" my Native American ass. i'm 1/4 native american, you have no idea what my people have been through. [rating: *] -Kenyon

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

classic vintage video.
Simply Red- "Holding Back the Years" (1985)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Say Hi: The Wishes and the Glitch (Euphobia)
release: February 5, 2008
style: indie rock, indie electronic
[rating: ***1/2]
The fifth record from Eric Elbogen's Say Hi (previously Say Hi to Your Mom) is the most serious and reflective rock he's made. I'm not just saying that to be cliche. The Wishes was a result of a relocation from Brooklyn to Seattle and that's obvious with opener "Northwestern Girls." THe Wishes is mad serious and heartfelt and dare i say dark. Overall a maturing in Elbogen's songwriting and recording while widening the scope of Say Hi's ability. -Kenyon


The Billie Burke Estate: Let Your Heart Break (self-release)
release: January 15, 2008
style: singer-songwriter disguised as band
[rating: **1/2] Andy Liotta, who is responsible for everything but drums on Let Your Heart Break, has history from back in the day playing in unknown bands that opened for very well known bands: Green Day (!), Primus (!) and Counting Crows (eh). His second album under the BBE name is story-telling ("99 liberty lane"), positive with the misleading titled "Everybody's gonna die" and corny "perky muscle girl." A comparison to Ben Folds no doubt is in play due to Liotta's vocals and piano. you know what though? with all the multi-tracking and few instrumental breaks, i am convinced that he loves to hear his own voice. -Kenyon
Family Lumber [Long Island/Brooklyn] - main person Mike Tietjen's recordings include a contribution from Mark Pirro of the Polyphonic Spree. Now i'm mad jealous. i HEART the P-Spree. the unplugged indie rock of lumber resides in layers of acoustic guitar that can trace its footsteps from hayden to folk implosion to kevin devine. -Kenyon

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

into the future->>>

Colour Revolt [Mississippi] - Scruffy Southern noise-rock, offset only by the gentle and deep-thinking "Mattresses Underwater." "Blood in Your Mouth" features the best use of harmonica in a rock song so far this year. A big shock that they've been under the radar, considering they've toured with Dinosaur Jr., Brand New (!?), Black Lips and Explosions In the Sky. Plunder, Beg and Curse out April 1, 2008 on Fat Possum.

Dirty on Purpose [Brooklyn] - video for new song "Audience in the Room" HERE. From the Like Bees EP out January 15 on North Street records.

Foxy Shazam [Cincinnati, Ohio] - A unique band with unique facial hair, their over-the-top masquerading rock is like Faith no More going fast forward. Video for "A Dangerous Man" HERE. From "Introducing" out January 22 on New Weathermen/Ferret. -Kenyon

Monday, January 14, 2008

Graveyard: s/t (Tee Pee)
release: February 19, 2008
style: psychedelic stoner blues rock
[rating: ****] Not since the '70s has '70s psychedelic stoner rock been this real. Forming not even a couple years ago, the Swedish Graveyard already has perfected its formula via monster riffage reminiscent of Black Sabbath, gruffy vocals and appropriate titles such as "Submarine Blues" and "Evil Ways" (not to be confused with any other "Evil Ways.") They got long hair too. "Blue Soul" is a 6-minute self-examining narative driven by overcast lines including "you ain't worth much when your blood is cold." Later on in the band's debut is the statement "living and dying is easy as time fades away/The people of tomorrow are the children of today/It can't be denied." Damn, these guys are cool. -Kenyon

Saturday, January 12, 2008

classic vintage video.
Material Issue- "Valerie Loves Me" (1991)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

loops, OMD and African drumming.
this is the way of the Dodos.

by Kenyon Hopkin

Following a tour in 2007 with labelmates Les Savy Fav, San Francisco duo the Dodos--named for the poor extinct flightless bird--are getting ready to support their second record, "Visiter" [sic], out March 18, 2008 through Frenchkiss. Originally a solo venture for Meric Long (who went under the name Dodobird) the Dodos harbor some of the most intriguing low-key post-Elephant 6 music this side of the equator. Long added Logan Kroeber for percussion so he wouldn't get lonely on tour and not have to play all the instruments. Dodos forever. [Kenyon knows how to write a feature story but doesn't have that kind of time. So the ever-popular Q & A it is.]

AC: OMD? Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark? You only have OMD listed as an influence on your profile? why? If that is true, that rules. You love them?
Meric: They're kinda my favorite band of all time, though I wouldn't say they were the only influence, just the first and longest. Seemed easier to uh.....streamline, ya know?

AC: You're into West African Ewe drumming. Tell me about that please! And then country blues. You've sewn it together so well. How are you doing that?
Meric: In school I had this grandiose idea to try and write a paper on the history of popular music, starting with its origins in West African drumming. So I went and began studying with this Ewe drum master from Cal Arts in Ventura. It was easily the most difficult music I'd ever played or tried to understand and it totally restructured the way my brain heard rhythm. At the same time I was playing in a Balinese Gamelan ensemble and I was getting turned on to country blues fingerpicking through a friend from Charlottesville, Virginia. The paper ended up sucking, but I had my mind blown by all of the similarities and influences between these various types of music I was getting into.

AC: So you were solo for a while. When and why did you decide to add another guy?
Meric: Well the other guy's name is Logan, and we started playing together in February of 2006. I always wanted to have another bandmate being that it's not much fun touring by yourself. I never intended to do the solo thing, but I wasn't really motivated to go try and find the right people to put together a band so I figured if I played out enough maybe the right person will come to me.

AC: Why the name Dodos? Was that the only animal not taken yet?
Meric: ha. yes, that is why.

AC: How'd you hook up with Frenchkiss?
Meric: Syd Butler babynapped us at the Mercury Lounge in New York and made an offer.

AC: How do you guys make a full sound live with two people? You have other people on stage or you use loops?
Meric: I loop my vocals sometimes, use a lot of open chords, make sure the drums are boomin.

AC: You recorded the drums and guitar live at the same time and it sounds great. How are you doing that?
Meric: We wanted the record to sound live, so we recorded the drums and guitar at the same time but in two seperate rooms so we could still isolate the sound of each instrument and capture as much naturally as we possible could. There were small windows in each room so we could still see each other. I had this triangular line sight between me, Logan and John our engineer so that I could communicate to both of them in separate rooms, but only if I kept my head in one position and opened my eyes real wide. Type Foundry in Portland where we recorded has these amazing rooms that sound alive and really verby. There's no carpet so the sound just bounces away and there's a lot space to fill, which I think helps each instrument sound big and full.

AC: You have sweet gigs lined up- Union Pool in Brooklyn, Noise Pop, SXSW and Coachella-- are you f-ing psyched?!
Meric: We are f-ing psyched. I'm really excited for SXSW, it was our first time last year and I feel like I'll be better prepared this time to navigate through the craziness. For Coachella we're becoming a subsidiary of Akron/Family, so it's not a Dodos show. But it'll be super fun.

further reading:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

short reviews

Olympic Lifts [Ireland] - Oh man i miss this carefree spirit. Thank you Olympic Lifts for doing the Pop Will Eat Itself/Carter USM/Stereo MCs early '90s thing. I count on the Lifts to be a good time live. Check the line-up: Bigshow (electric guitar/keys), Boma (MC/percussion), Pylon (MC), Icerink (bass) and Rock Suitcase (beats). Werd.

Westside Daredevils - [Tennessee] - The colorful "Darling Currency" has the jangle of the Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub and sure enough the Fanclub is one of this band's influences. Goody! Westside was formed "with the ambition of postponing adulthood indefinitely." THANK YOU, stay young.
Lawrence Blatt [San Francisco] - Once in a while it's nice to hear acoustic guitar picking rooted in classical theory. Blatt's guitars are custom made with specific materials and taking months to finish. To the classically trained ear it's a unique tone. To ears that listen to guitar-drenched feedback it's a completely different way of life.
Daphne Darling [Toronto] - polished teen-pop ala Kelly Clarkson. Darling loves "Tenderness" by General Public and so do i. Potential guilty pleasure here. bop.
This Door to Remain Closed During Work Hours [Alaska] - instrumental post-rock not intense enough to be compared to, say, explosions in the sky. the metal riffs come in unneccesarily without warning and then a brief vocal stream comes in which negates the buildup and intensity. the fact that it's from alaska saves door to remain from being called too self-involved. alaska is cool, please stop the ice from melting.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Robyn [Sweden] - not to be confused with any other artist named Robyn, as there are a bunch. this Robyn traverses pop, teenie-pop, hip-hop, electronic dance. look at her haircut, so my style back in the day. if i was 18 i would have such a crush on this girl. EP out January 29, 2008. at Highline Ballroom in New York February 5. -Kenyon

Christopher Barnes [Boston] - The delicate, enchanting vocals of Barnes is what makes these pieces gold coins. Using only low-key piano and hushed vocals, you better not be talking or playing with your cell phone at his shows. There will be hell to pay. Possible blood shed. Although mainly piano, "Closing" has a very light synthetic percussion, while vocals (enhanced by female back-up) will stand the test of time. Too lilting for its own good. -Kenyon
the five-day Tomorrow Never Knows is going down in Chicago January 16-January 20 and includes John Vanderslice, Bobby Conn, The Walkmen, White Rabbits. tickets at Schubas.com.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

classic vintage video.
Roger Daltrey- "Free Me" (1980)