Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another Legendary Venue Closes

Since the fall of New Yorks Punk Mecca CBGB's in October, more legendary venues are closing. The latest-London's historic Hammersmith Palias, made famous by the Clash track "White Man in Hammersmith Palias" will shut its doors April 1, to make way for an office building. England Supergroup The Good, The Bad and The Queen will be playing one of the venues last shows.

The Machine Rages on!

The rumors are true!!! Rage Against the Machine will be doing just more than one show this year and could lead to other opportunities. The band is confirmed to play this years "Rock the Bells" festival in San Fransisco and making its debut in New York in August. Rage will co-headline the festival with none other than Shaolins WU-TANG CLAN! The last time Rage and Wu toured together was in support of Evil Empire in 1996-1997. The rest of the lineup will be announced soon, as well as ticket info.

In other related news, former Audioslave front man Chris Cornell has confirmed a summer tour in support of his sophomore solo disc entitled Carry On. For his solo trek, Cornell will be playing career spanning tracks from his days in Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, and Audioslave. His goal is to play every song he has ever written at least once, much like what Springsteen had done on the "Devils and Dust Tour" in 2005. Carry On hits stores in early May.

Live Review- UTIOG at Knitting Factory

As is a Live Review of Under The Influence of Giants at the Knitting Factory. Click on the link below and scroll down just a bit. The review is written by Bill Reese and photos by yours truly.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Scorsese 101

Its been 38 years in the making for this years best director, Martin Scorsese and my favorite director of motion pictures of all time, to get what is rightfully his, that golden statue nicknamed Oscar. For anyone that knows me, knows I am proud to be an Italian-American from New York, after last nights Oscars I am even prouder. For many The Departed is the first Scorsese film they have seen, or maybe they have seen Goodfellas and/or Casino, his bigger films from the last 20 years. Myself, who one day hopes to achieve an eighth of the success of what Scorsese has achieved in his four decade career, has grown up on his films. Much like Marty himself, I grew up with films and stories of my heritage, I learned to read by reading film titles in the video store my mother owned as a child, I knew directors and casts of movies before I even knew how to write full sentences. Growing up behind the counter of a video store had an impression on me, but the one impression I would always have would be posters of Scorsese's films, Goodfellas, the flashy suites worn by the lead characters with a dead body laying below them, Mean Streets with an animated New York skyline with a gun representing a building in Little Italy. While it was his films and style that always intrigued me, it has only been the last four years where I have not only studied his way of film making, but have become totally engrossed with the type of person his is. His films focus on the anti-hero, characters who are put into situations who are forced to create a positive, or a character who is so selfish and so megalomaniacal, it will only lead to their own demise. For those who have really enjoyed The Departed, and by all means I applaud you, here are ten films that will take you into the world of Martin Scorsese and will define the fact that his is much more than a brilliant director, but a walking encyclopedia.

The Main Course, five basic films to get into his style's and motifs:
1) Raging Bull (1980), the first film Scorsese was nominated for best director. This is a true master piece and the best film he has ever done. In fact, Scorsese didn't even want to do this, Robert DeNiro pushed to get this film made. Its the first film that features the trio of Scorsese, DeNiro and Joe Pesci.

2)Goodfellas (1991) Talk to anyone in the film industry and they will tell you films like this are rare, because this is a truly flawless movie.

3)Mean Streets (1973) One of Scorsese's first films, the semi-autobiographical crime drama stars a very young Harvey Kietel and Robert DeNiro in his breakout role.

4)Taxi Driver (1976) The film that made DeNiro and Scorsese a household name. DeNiro stars as a Holden Caulfield-esque cab driver who tries to save the life of a young prostitute played by Jodie Foster.

5) Gangs of New York (2002) A film of epic proportions. The first time Marty and Leonardo DiCaprio team up in what will become one of the best film making teams in the business. Daniel Day-Lewis gives hands down one of the best performances of film history.

Once you master those, here are deeper cuts:

1) The Aviator (2004) The second pairing of DiCaprio and Scorsese, in a back to old time Hollywood basics film of grand proportions.

2) The Last Tempation of Christ (1988) Fans of Donnie Darko will know this film, due to its parallels to Jake Gyllehals famous character. However, before The Da Vinci Code, Scorsese scored up controversy in the Catholic Church with his look at Christ's final hours before being Crucified.

3) The Age of Innocence (1993) One of his first period pieces about love and lust in 19th century New York.

4) My Voyage to Italy (1999) If there is one thing you should know before watching a Martin Scorsese documentary, they all clock in over three hours. However, the time is well spent, it is the cheapest film school you will ever go to. With this, Scorsese takes us through, one of my favorite genres, Italian Neo-Realism. Neo-Realism, evolved after World War II in Rome and Southern Italy, and they were mostly unscripted films about life and struggle in a worn torn, post fascist society. These films paved the way for what we now know as the documentary.

5) The King of Comedy (1983) DeNiro plays a stand up comic who feels that the only way to gain attention and popularity is to be billed with his favorite comedian. Therefore he goes on a never ending hunt into stalking the popular comic to try and gain notoriety.

These are Martin Scorsese at his finest. I hope you enjoy these films as much as I have.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Road to the Oscars

For many of you that know me, know I have a background in film as well as music. So with the Oscars coming up this weekend, here is a list of my 10 favorite films of 2006, as well as my picks as to who I think should win the "Big 8" at the awards.

My picks for the 10 best films of 2006:
1. The Departed
2. The Queen
3. Casino Royale
4. Babel
5. Half Nelson
6. Children of Men
7. The Illusionist
8. Once in a Lifetime
9. Little Miss Sunshine
10. Blood Diamond

My picks for the "Big 8" at this years Oscars:

Best Picture:
The Departed

Best Director:
Martin Scorsese

Best Actor:
Forest Whitiker

Best Actress:
Helen Mirren

Best Supporting Actor:
Alan Arkin, however, it looks like its all leading to Eddie Murphy

Best Supporting Actress:
Rinko Kikuchi, however, it looks like its all leading to Jennifer Hudson

Best Original Screenplay:
Little Miss Sunshine, as great as this script was, I believe Half Nelson was totally overlooked in this catagory.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Departed

As far as Cinematography goes, my pick goes to Emmanuel Lubezki for Children of Men.

We shall see what happens this Sunday, and hopefully Scorsese finally gets what he deserves.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Augustana-Live on Letterman

Augustana peforming a great version of what I think is the best song on Pop radio at the moment, "Boston" on "The Late Show with David Letterman," from earlier this year.

Battle of the Brits

Its a full on war of worlds between two of England's most respected singers; Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. The clash had started when about a month ago, Gallagher said in a interview that Yorke wants to"sing the news" instead of playing classic Radiohead tracks. Noel then went on to say "No matter how much you sit their twiddling, going, 'We're all doomed. I never went to fucking university. I don't know what a paint brush is; I never went to art school." Yorke fired back via the bands website by stating "I did. It taught me to respect other artists."
This, the second attack on a UK singer, when just weeks ago Gallagher took a stab at Bono and his charity work . Correct me if I am wrong but didn't Oasis open for U2 on the Popmart tour? Yeah they did. Didn't Bono and Liam tongue kiss back stage once after a gig? Yeah they did. Also, didn't Noel and Bono share the January cover of England's Q magazine? Yeah they did. So why all the hostility Noel? Noel himself doesn't even have an answer for that. In the past it has always been younger brother Liam cracking at other bands and the recent out of character outbursts by Noel are catching many, including Oasis fans like myself, by surprise.

For more updates on the Gallagher vs. the world fight I will keep you updated.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Audioslave-Came and Went

Chris Cornell has officially called it quites for Audioslave. After months of speculation following the bands latest and final release Revelations in September 2006, backed by no major tour and press, Audioslave the band featuring Cornell and ex members of Rage Against the Machine has come to an end. This announced just weeks after Rage decided to reunite with former front man Zach De La Rocha at this years Coachella festival in Death Vally, California. I had the opportunity to see Audioslave perform at Lollapalooza 2003 and I must say with the combo of RATM and Cornell they were destined to become this generations Led Zeppelin. Cornell's power vocals, Tom Morello's spacey guitars and backed by the best rhythm section in the business today Tim C and Brad Wilk, Audioslave proved to be much more than a super group. But after releasing two mediocre follow ups after their debut, their machine has come to an end. Cornell has been hard at work on his solo follow up to 1998's Euphoria Morning . His yet untitled sophomore solo disc will be out May 1, no word if any of his former band members will be collaborating on it.

For more on the RATM reunion...check out my Jan 2007 post "Rage to Reunite."


This is a milestone for Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor, it has taken him less than five years to produce and create a record for the legendary industrial rock band. NIN's latest effort entitled Year Zero will be out April 17, however you can preview the latest single "Survivalism" on the bands Myspace page. Trent had this to say about the new record, via the bands website "Is it possible I am actually finished writing and recording a new nine inch nails record? Apparently so. We begin mixing in January! Juggling fifteen all-new tracks around. Testing sequences. No leftovers from "with teeth". Highly conceptual. Quite noisy. Fucking cool." Hopefully the record will be something each fan can really sink their teeth into and really enjoy. Reznor, known for being the music perfectionist, hopefully has not rushed the latest Halo, this is defiantly for the fans to decide. Below are the track listings for Year Zero:
01 hyperpower!
02 the beginning of the end
03 survivalism
04 the good soldier
05 vessel
06 me, i'm not
07 capital g
08 my violent heart
09 the warning
10 god given
11 meet your master
12 the greater good
13 the great destroyer
14 another version of the truth
15 in this twilight
16 zero-sum

To hear the latest single "Survivalism" click hear
For more on the Band and the new album check out

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sounds From the Underground

With many bands today self producing and promoting via Pure Volume, Myspace and national showcases music distributing today has taken on a more D.I.Y. ethic(Do It Yourself for all of you pop radio personnel). DIY was a lifestyle made famous by many hardcore and punk bands in the 80's, bands like Black Flag, Mike Watt and the Minute Men and the Bouncing Souls brought this style of playing and creating music to the fore front. It was the idea of "Fuck MTV" and corporate radio, if we are going to get our sound across we are going to do it on our own and with the help of college radio. After photographing a recent performance of LA's Under the Influence of Giants at the Knitting Factory in New York City, it was the opening act that really got the crowds and my attention right away. The East Village act known as The Spies, are one of the many bands today displaying that DIY ethic and lifestyle. After their set, members of the band jumped into the crowd to get people to sign up for their mailing list and let them know about their various websites. The Spies, a band that sounds much like a cross between Bloc Party and The Strokes gave a funky new wave approach to something that used to be a purely hardcore or punk scene. Its word of mouth that used to get attention to certain bands, its how The Ramones used to pack CBGB'S every night. But today with some many outlets and so many sounds it is becoming a tad easier for bands to break into this struggling industry. Below are a list of some of the best bands you may or may not have herd that are practicing this DIY lifestyle today.

-Patent Pending - The fun punk band from Long Island has damn near perfected how today's outlets can get you recognized. With riling majorly on sites like Myspace and youtube and of course the bands actual website the Long Island quartet are proving with enough heart and soul and of course an abundance of creativity you can live your dream.

-The Fire Flies - The Best Band You Never Herd (period!). Fronted by the musical genius of Dan Romer, a trained Gospel singer, this David Bowie/Flaming Lips inspired band will move you in ways you never thought possible. Check them out at

-Paper and Sand - The Sister band to The Fire Flies, and equally as brilliant .

- The Spies - Take a look to what the band has got to offer at . I guarantee you will be dancing in your seat.

- Ra Ra Riot - A band from Syracuse University now making a name for themselves in NYC. A rock band with a cello is the best way to put it.

For More info on these bands, obviously click on the link above but go to shows and see them live. Sometimes the recordings dont do them justice, its all about the live set.

A live review from Good Times Magazine by Bill Reese will be up soon about the UTIOG show.

Also, for more on the history of DIY check out the book Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azarrad.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

WQAQ Presents...

My old stomping ground and a radio station that I hold near and dear, WQAQ, has officially announced its acts for their annual Spring Concert. The concert takes place March 24 at Quinnipiac University and will feature The Receiving End of Sirens, Brazil and Men-Women-and Children. Tickets are $5 and for more info head over to .

In the past QAQ has had an amazing platform of artists come play for them, last years concert featured buzz bands Say Anything, A Wilhelm Scream and Patent Pending and was the first show QAQ had sell out since 1985 and the band to do it out then was The Ramones. As I said, amazing platform of artists. In 2005 I was in charge of booking the prestigious concert, I got what seemed to be Jerseys punk finest; The Bouncing Souls with special guests The Explosion, The Loved Ones and Let it Burn. This year I promise will not disappoint, spread the word around and go to the show!

Other spring concert acts have been:
-Murder By Death
-Bear Vs. Shark

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tell All Your Friends

Pass the word along about my blog to any friend, family member, or coworker that likes music news, reviews, pix, videos ...oh you know whats on here!

Just copy and paste this link:

Live Review - Thursday at Crazy Donkey

As mentioned in a previous post "Thursday-Live Pix" here is the live review from Good Times Magazine written by my good friend Bill Reese as well as Photos done by yours truly.

Check it all out at :

Monday, February 12, 2007

Buy NOW!

If Rolling Stone and MySpace can do it....So can I...every couple weeks I will post Three albums that you will definitely not be sorry for picking up and will most certainly get your hard earned cash worth. As well as that, I will be posting records I am currently spinning in my own personal rotation aside from the records to go an pick up. So as for now...

-Bloc Party- A Weekend in the City
-The Shins- Wincing the Night Away
-The Good, The Bad, and The Queen

Currently Spinning:
-David Bowie-Heathen
-Thom Yorke- The Eraser
-William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - The Soundtrack
-Sigor Ros - ( )
- Depeche Mode - Ultra

The Police Raid Grammys

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are The Police and WE ARE BACK!" the words every fan of the legendary 80's band always hoped to hear and finally did this past Sunday night at the 49th annual Grammy Awards. Sting and Co. opened the awards ceremony with a great version of their first hit single "Roxannae." It looked as if they had never even departed from each other for over 20 years, drummer Stuart Copeland had a smile on his face as if he was an eight year old child on Christmas morning eagerly awaiting that one gift he had asked his parents or Santa for. Copeland indeed get his gift and the band that launched what we know as Alternative will be hitting the road this summer on a full out tour making stops in Vegas, New York, Boston as well as a headlining slot at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. For more info on The Police reunion see my Jan 2007 post "The Police, back on Patrol?!" Below is a video, just in case you missed it from their Grammy performance.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Above: U2 entering Johanesburg Stadium in South Africa opening with "Discotheque" for the last POPMart concert. Circa 1998.

Below: U2 performing "Last Night On Earth," from Johanessburg stadium. Take a look at the massive stage and the worlds largest TV.

Underrated Classic - U2 "Pop"

For this months Underrated Classic, we will look at U2's 1997 effort Pop. Recorded entirely in South Beach, Miami, Florida the Irish legends brought along Producers Flood and Brian Eno, who also produced the bands Achtung Baby and Zooropa records. Upon its release Pop was looked at as the bands worst record, critics and fans seem to dismantle the album as a terrible or unlistenable achievement. But for what it is worth, I don't think anyone seem to give it a chance. It is a record that produced one of the biggest tours of all time, and a tour in which still to this day I would give anything to have seen, which was the POPMART tour. For many fans and critics this was U2's way of going over the top and a reason to tour with the largest stadium size setting in music history. For what it is worth, Pop is not a terrible record, it is not the bands worse and it most certainly is not an excuse for anything. U2 being one of the greatest bands of all time and one of my favorites since I was born (and that's no lie), this record was misunderstood. What the band was listening to at the time was a lot of German Industrial music, bands like KMFDM and Atari Teenage Riot as well as a lot of 80's and European electronica, Depeche Mode and New Order. What U2 wanted to do was take a page out of Depeche Modes book and create a bluesy, electro record, and stripped down that's what Pop is. It is a blues album and it is proven in tracks like "Staring at the Sun," "If God Will Send His Angels," and "Last Night on Earth." These are blues tracks with electronic synth to add to the overall feeling of the mood and motif of the record. The albums lead off single "Discotheque" was a play at 70's disco and European music that was storming the clubs or discotheques at that time. It even had the band playing inside a disco ball and dressing up like the Village People for the video. Its an album that pokes fun at decadence with lyrics like "If coke is a mystery Michael Jackson history. If beauty is truth. And surgery the fountain of youth..." from the track "The Playboy Mansion," it gets you realizing that this is just not a throw away record. Indeed it may not be as groundbreaking as The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree or Actung Baby, but its an album that should not be overlooked and due to its layers and complexity makes it an underrated classic.

Thursday - Live Pix

Last week I photographed The STHRSS Tour Featuring: Thursday, Murder By Death, Fear Before the March of Flames and Heavy Heavy Low Low for Good Times Magazine. The show took place at Long Islands Crazy Donkey. The Article, by my good friend Bill Reese will be up soon, but for now here are some pix yours truly took of Thursday and Murder by Death.

Above : Thursday's Geoff Rickley singing "Killbot 2000" With Murder By Death.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Live Review - Incubus Hammerstein Ballroom

Like a sucker punch to the jaw using all the powers of every comic book hero in history, Incubus took the stage Wednesday night at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC and commanded what had to have been one of the best performances of that band I have ever seen. This being my sixth time seeing the So-Cal rockers, and them getting better and better as musicians and performers proved they have really come full circle at one of New York's best sounding theaters. They walked on looking like five yuppies from the West Village and opened up with the moody and melodic "Quicksand," off their latest disc Light Grenades and then immediately broke into the hard hitting rock tune "A Kiss to Send Us Off," getting the crowds attention early on and never really letting go. During the middle of their set front man Brandon Boyd and guitarist Mike Ezinger did a few acoustic tracks including a very cool and stripped down version of "Redefine" from 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. then segueing into the acoustic version of "Pardon Me," and "Drive," off of 1999's Make Yourself. The band reached as many tracks as they could in their 90 minute set and defiantly pleased the crowd in what was sure a memorable concert experience. Opening for Incubus was fellow New York City Native Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes. Unlike his main band Hammond's side project sounds more like The Shins, Pavement and early David Bowie. Hammond came on stage and really sounded perfect and got the crowd really into his set, music and performance. Also, in case you were wondering fellow Strokes member and front man Julian Casablancas was on hand in his own private booth supporting his friend.

Here is Incubus full set list (thanks to

1/31/2007 - New York City, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
Setlist:Quicksand- A Kiss To Send Us Off -Wish You Were Here- Have You Ever -Anna Molly Paper Shoes -When it Comes- Redefine (Remix) -Pardon Me (Acoustic) -Drive (Acoustic) -Earth To Bella 1 -Under My Umbrella- Light Grenades- Diamonds and Coal -Sick Sad Little World Dig Encore: Pistola -Megalomaniac