Monday, December 28, 2009

Live Review - As Tall As Lions @ Westbury

Fresh after coming back from their first trip to the UK, Long Island's As Tall As Lions played their annual holiday showcase at Westbury Theater on the band's home turf. What was a homecoming show turned into a real gift as the Lions roared into one of the greatest sets I have ever seen them do. Westbury theater is a venue on Long Island common with old time acts that your Grandparents would see or comedians dropping by to do intimate sets in a venue set with a small stage in the round, famous for it rotating and give the audience a 360o view of the artist. The stage was set to stationary as were the hearts, jaws and attention of each audience member from the get go. Coming out to a bizarre instrumental track that would have made Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood proud, from the moment As Tall As Lions came on stage I knew it was going to be a special night. The band, who has been on the road since the summer, seemed much more confident then when I saw them just 6 months ago at a fantastic sold out Bowery Ballroom before their latest and one of the years best, You Cant Take it With You was released. For instance the single "Circles," the bombastic opening song from their latest, sounded better than ever, with bassist Julio Tavarez along with multi-instrumentalists Duncan Tootill and Rob Parr playing additional floor tom-tom drums along with set drummer Cliff Sarcona, it added an unpredicted energy and drive to the song and would showcase what would come later on. The hypnotic single pulsed like the heart beats of every audience member as we were only two songs in. Watching singer Daniel Nigro take his mouth away from the mic and scream the words and emotion into the faces of his band mates and seeing guitarist Saen Fitzgerald playing his guitar with a bottle Yuengling as a pic, from effects to lights to emotional intensity, their 60 minute set was the best gift I got this Christmas, hand delivered by the band themselves. I could have not asked for a better night and this being my fifth time seeing them and as they keep getting better and better, I cannot wait to see and hear what the next decade brings this band, whatever success they may get, they deserve more than any other band out there today.

As Tall As Lions 12/27/2009 Westbury Theater Setlist

Be Here Now
Go Easy
Is This Tomorrow?
Into the Flood
A Soft Hum
Ghosts of York
In Case of Rapture
Milk and Honey
Stab City

Saturday, December 26, 2009


If you took the fun of Coney Island's side show and mixed it with a Broadway production you would get the music of Amanda Palmer. Palmer, who is also known as one half of the critically praised Dresden Dolls, started making waves as a solo act last year, releasing the album Who Killed Amanda Palmer? As the Dolls are on hiatus Amanda has collaborated with everyone from Ben Folds to Hold Steady's Franz Nicolay and this New Year's Eve she will be in Boston celebrating the ball dropping with the Boston Pops. If you are in the area and still lacking in plans, I highly suggest you go to that concert because, lets face it, it will be the most fun you will have in New England this time of year. I had the opportunity to speak to Amanda as we discussed everything from her solo record, to a possible Dresden Dolls reunion, to collaborations and to what it was like being on the road as a support act for Nine Inch Nails. Take a look at my interview with Amanda Palmer below..

Your style is so unique and fruitful. You combine so many different genres, who are some of your biggest influences?

Oh, everything from the music I grew up (Beach Boys and Beatles) to the things I'm listening to now (like Tegan and Sara). I've always loved messy art and minimal art - if it's touched me it's influenced me. And if it hasn't, it probably has too. I love feeling angry at art, sometimes, it makes me want to make good things.

Theater has always played a major role in your live sets and music. Why is this?

I come from theater and think in theater. I hate that theater has gone so far down the drain that many people cannot the amazing possibilities within it. I am always trying to remind people that theater is not bullshit, even though so much of it has wound up in the garbage.

What was it like working with Ben Folds for your solo record?

It was great. We really connected even though we're very different.

What do you prefer more, going solo or working with Dresden Dolls?

It's apples and oranges. I love traveling alone and unencumbered. But I love playing on stage with Brian. It's a complicated situation when your playing partner also has to be your all-day partner.

Are the Dresden Dolls done for good? Or taking a break.

I'd love to tour again sometime in the future. We're very busy with our own projects right now.

You had the opportunity with Dresden Dolls to open for Nine Inch Nails. Was it a shock to hear Trent will stop touring?

I don't buy it. He'll come back just like Cher.

What was it like being on the road with NIN?

It was very educational, Trent runs his tours with military precision.

Personally, I am a huge fan of Hold Steady and member Franz Nicolay. I know he has worked with the Dresden Dolls, have you ever considered doing solo material with him? I think you guys would make great music together!

Hell yeah! He may come join me onstage in my upcoming Brookyn show! You should come!

Sexuality and being provocative have always been a staple in your style and sound, explain why this is?

I don't know. Being sexy and also being taken seriously are very hard to balance, and I love a challenge.

Controversy has seemed to surround some of your work. The UK took ill will to your song and video “Oasis.” How did you respond to this controversy? Did Oasis the band ever mention anything?

I responded by speaking honestly about how I felt on my blog. Sometimes people are just afraid of humor, and I think this was one of those times.
I don't know if Oasis ever caught wind of it, I assume they did. I met them once in a backstage dressing room at a festival and they got my crew stoned. They were nice. One of them got angry that I didn't know who he was (I didn't, at the time).

Burning Question: Who Killed Amanda Palmer? And Why?

You did. You'll have to tell me

Amanda Palmer video for "Oasis" (Above) / Dresden Dolls video for "Coin Operated Boy," (Below)

Special thanks to Amanda and Ken Phillips for the Interview!

Another Look at 2009

As the year winds down and every music aficionado comes out with their "Best Of" list before the new year, myself included of course, each list is never the same. Just after I posted my 10 Best of 2009 list, I got ridiculed, criticized and rarely praised. However, I cannot take offense to anything, that is how I looked at the year, as lame or as commercial it may have been. Much how I cannot change the lists of the following people, I feel each in their own right have some of the best ears and best taste of anyone I know. Take another look at 2009.

A very close friend and heavy contributor to this site since day one. Bill Reese is currently an editor at Playbill, a musician and former writer for Good Times Magazine. Take a look at Bill Reese's Top 10.

10. Mean Everything to Nothing, by Manchester Orchestra
9. I and Love and You, by The Avett Brothers
8. The Hazards of Love, by The Decemberists
7. Phrazes for the Young, by Julian Casablancas
6. Manners, by Passion Pit
5. Hometowns, by The Rural Alberta Advantage
4. Backspacer, by Pearl Jam
3. My Maudlin Career, by Camera Obscura
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, by Phoenix
1. The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe, by Illinois

Leah Marchesano is one of my favorite people I have met this past year. A fellow blogger for the website Turn Up the Sound and manager of The Royal Chains. Leah has fantastic taste, after all we did meet at a Glasvegas concert.

1. Primary Colours-The Horrors
2.Humbug-Arctic Monkeys
3.Fruit-The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
4.Ignore The Ignorant-The Cribs
5.Fortress Round My Heart-Ida Maria
6.The Resistance-Muse
7.Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix-Phoenix
8.Lungs-Florence and the Machine
9.Summer Of Hate-Crocodiles

Special note: 'I wanted to thank The Royal Chains, Adam Roddick and Dan Lawley, for giving me the best 2009 I could ever ask for. I love you more than you will ever know! I also want to thank Sal Bono for always asking my opinion and helping me whenever I need it, you are my #1 blogger buddy! 2010 will be big, let's greet it with peace and love.'

Jason Driscoll aka Jay Drizz will sometimes get on stage and sing with Therefore I am and can rock a Reno 911 outfit better than most of the cast members. Jay and I used to work at WQAQ at Quinnipiac University all through college. He has the most diverse ear than anyone I know and his list proves it.

1-Converge Axe To Fall
2-Mastodon Crack The Skye
3-Therefore I Am The Sound Of Human Lives
4-Every Time I Die New Junk Aesthetic
5-Cage Depart From Me
6-Gallows Grey Britain
7-Thursday Common Existence
8-Thrice Beggars
9-John Mayer Battle Studies
10-Kid Cudi Man on the Moon::The End of Day

My favorite DJ in New York City is one that most have never herd and yet those that have, praise him like a hero. Rich D Smoov has been cranking out beats since the 80's and has done everything from sing in hardcore acts to get a party started at any hour of the day.

1.Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information
2.Mos Def: The Ecstatic
3.Mastodon: Cracke The Sky
4.Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus
5.Doom: Born Like This
6.The Gaslamp Killer: My Troubled Mind ep /all killer
7.Raekwon the Chef: Only Built for Cuban Links vol 2
8.Krallice: Dimensional Bleed Through
9.Baroness: The Blue Record
10.Hatebreed: For the Lions

Last but certainly never least, one of my musical companions for years and someone who has witnessed some of the best and worst live acts along side me. Logo, like Jay Drizz has been working in music since our days at QAQ.

The Thermals-Now We Can See
Jay-Z- The Blueprint 3
U2-No Line on the Horizon
The Decemberists-The Hazards of Love
(500)Days of Summer Soundtrack
The Hold Steady
- A Positive Rage
Two Tounges
Say Anything

N.A.S.A.- The Spirit of Apollo

Quick News

Right after former Verve front man Richard Ashcroft released his single "The Following," hip-hop producer NO ID has confirmed he is working with Ashcroft on his latest solo record, a follow up to 2006's Keys to the World. NO ID, who recently worked with Jay-Z on Blueprint 3, told "He heard 'DOA' and heard an interview where I talked about how producers destroy albums just for the sales and he said he liked how I thought. So we went in and recorded between 20-30 songs." No word yet on when the record will come out, but this is one I will have my eye on next year.

Radiohead are set to go back into the studio next month and continue work with producer Nigel Goodrich on the follow up to 2007's In Rainbows. Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien posted on the band's blog,,“The vibe in the camp is fantastic at present, and we head off into the studio in January to continue on from the work we started last Summer. I am so genuinely excited about what we’re doing, but for obvious reasons I can’t divulge anything more,10 years ago we were all collectively (that’s the band) in the land of Kid A, and although hugely proud of that record, it wasn’t a fun place to be. What’s reassuring now, is that we are most definitely a different band, which should therefore mean that the music is different too and that is the aim of the game.” No word yet on if it will be a digital tip jar like In Rainbows or if it will even come out in 2010.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page vows to return to the stage in 2010 - with or without a band. Page told Sky News “I’ve got the music waiting, and that’s what I’ll be doing. It’s been two years since the 02, so it’s time to do that.” Though no word on what Page really wants to do, but I am sure Dave Grohl and Josh Homme wouldn't mind having two Zeppelin masters in Them Crooked Vultures, after all John Paul Jones is the oldest member of that band.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Tracklisting

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are set to return next year with their latest record, Beat the Devil's Tattoo. It arrives in Europe on March 8, and in the US the following day. Take a look at the track listing below..

'Beat The Devil's Tattoo'
'Conscience Killer'
'Bad Blood'
'War Machine'
'Sweet Feeling'
'Mama Taught Me Better'
'River Styx'
'The Toll'
'Shadow's Keeper'
'Long Way Down'

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Outspoken, energetic and influential. Ian MacKaye is still going strong after all these years. The former singer of the highly praised hardcore band Minor Threat and singer/guitarist for the acclaimed post-hardcore act Fugazi, MacKaye has managed to swear off major labels and do things DIY from day one. Never swaying into the music industry for profit and only for pure enjoyment and the idea of just getting art and music to as many people as possible, MacKaye launched his independent label Dischord Records 29 years ago and as they emerge on their third decade they are still going strong. Aside from running a label, Ian is still making music today with his latest band, The Evens. I had the opportunity to speak to Ian, we discussed his label, the vinyl revolution, his massive body of work, and the Straight Edge movement. Take a listen to my interview with Ian MacKaye below..

Fugazi "Long Division" (Above) / Minor Threat "In My Eyes" (Below)

The Evens live in Chile (Below)

Thanks to Ian for the interview. Special thanks to Jenna Campagna and Manny Valdivia for their assistance!

New Richard Ashcroft!

Former Verve singer Richard Ashcroft as remained very low since the bands fallout (again) this past summer. On Friday the singer reemerged with a new track called "The Journey." The song is based off a short film of the same name about female sex trafficing across the world. Take a look at Ashcroft's song and video for the film below..

To view the short film The Journey head over here to The Guardian UK's website.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


December gets two playlists, a special holiday edition and a regular list of tracks to enjoy for the end of the month.

Bjork - "Unravel"
Bruce Springsteen - "Darkness on the Edge of Town"
David Bowie - "Moonage Daydream"
Passengers - "Your Blue Room"
Hockey - "Too Fake"
Flaming Lips - "Do You Realize?"
Big Pink - "Domino's"
Swell Season - "Low Rising"
The xx - "Heart Skipped a Beat"
Portishead - "Nylon Smile"
Bad Lieutenant - "Head into Tomorrow"
Pet Shop Boys - "It's a Sin"
Them Crooked Vultures - "White Fang"
Far - "Love, American Style"
Echo and the Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"
Tripwires - "In Times of Trouble"
Blue Knives - "Charges"
J. Tillman - "A Year in the Kingdom"
Nirvana - "Drain You"

A Snoop Dogg Christmas

Snoop Dogg dropped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week to shed some holiday cheer and read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Just take a look and be prepared to chuckle.

Quick News

This year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally include Iggy and the Stooges!! Iggy and the boys will be joined by ABBA, Genesis, Big Bad Jimmy Cliff and The Hollies for the class of 2010. The ceremony takes place in March at New York's Waldorf Astoria.

No one on Earth would have ever though this would come out of Johnny Rotten's mouth "I'm sorry, God, for the day I brought Sid into the band," Rotten told UK Newspaper The Independent. "He felt so isolated, poor old Sid, because he wasn't the sharpest knife on the block." Rotten was discussing bring Sid Vicious into The Sex Pistols and how Sid became a changed man as soon as he started the band. Rotten is about to hit the road with Public Image Ltd.

Oasis (sans-Noel Gallagher) are planning a July release for their first Non-Noel disc. Liam Gallagher told Virgin Radio Italia that "We've already done about three songs and they're fucking sounding amazing." He also explained that the band are not taking a new direction and it will still have the same Oasis flair and style, also after much legal advice Liam is not going to call the band Oasis, the group is still currently searching for a new name.

After days of speculation guitarist John Frusciante has left Red Hot Chili Peppers. Frusciante writes on his website "When I quit the band, over a year ago, we were on an indefinite hiatus. There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy and that goes both ways. To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction." Frusciante will now concentrate on working on solo material.

The xx on Carson Daly

First off, who knew Last Call with Carson Daly was still on air? Second, British Buzz band The xx made their US TV debut last week on Daly's late night show. Take a look as Carson goes back to his KROQ/MTV days and intro's the band with a mini-bio.


Over the Internet the past few months a cryptic band and mysterious info has been leaking out about the sessions between Danger Mouse and The Shins' James Mercer. The project entitled Broken Bells, is set to make their debut release, The High Road on March 9, here is the cover below...I really cannot wait to hear what this is going to sound like, another great record to look forward to in 2010!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 The Albums - Top 10

Another year over, another new beginning. Here is a look at my picks for the 10 Best Albums of 2009. In many ways this year seemed to be very lackluster in music, especially in comparison to last year where so many fantastic records came out and I didn't have enough room or spots for some of them. This year however, was a bit challenging in finding something very good, here is a look back at the year that way.

In Short Form:
10 - Portugal The Man - Satanic Satanist
9 - Editors - In This Light and On This Evening
8 - U2 - No Line on the Horizon
7 - Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
6 - Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
5 - Pearl Jam - Backspacer
4 - Muse - The Resistance
3 - Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
2 - As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It With You
1 - Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

Now with Explanations:

10 - Portugal The Man - Satanic Satanist

This Alaskan via Oregon band has completely blown my mind this past year. A band with a devoted following and an act so fresh they deserve as much attention as they can get. The Satanic Satanist is a record that breeds new life into the term "art rock," a psychedelic rock trip that will leave you only wanting more.

Key Tracks: People Say, Guns and Dogs

9 - Editors - In This Light and On This Evening

Dropping guitars and pianos and picking up keyboards and synthesizers, England's Editors took a risk on the sound and style that has made them popular the world over, however, still managed to bring one of the years best to the table. A fantastic record inspired by sci-fi films like Blade Runner and the city of London, singer Tom Smith is at the top of his songwriting form. Editors prove you can dance in the darkness. While it maybe a dark record, but it is damn beautiful.

Key Tracks: Bricks and Mortar, Walk the Fleet Road

8 - U2 - No Line on the Horizon

The biggest band in the world decided to prove their worth this past year with the biggest and most expensive music tour in the history of Rock N Roll. Yet they decided to it with one of their most somber sounding albums. No Line on the Horizon marks a sonic path for the legendary Irish rockers, some calling it their best since Achtung Baby, while others have trashed it. I find myself in the middle, musically it is the best they have been in over a decade, lyrically it tends to fall short, but Bono is still a master storyteller.

Key Tracks: No Line on the Horizon, Ceders of Lebanon

7- Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe

Three decade in and they still got it, in every sense of the word. Sounds of the Universe brings the classic Depeche Mode dark circus to your ears but still manages to find a way to make it sound very catchy. The fact that they are still making quality music after all these years and while their peers that emerged within the new wave sound along side them have sidelined, Depeche Mode will march on into their fourth decade triumphantly.

Key Tracks: Come back, Jezebel

6 - Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

Sometimes an artist has to go through utter devastation to provide their best work. Dave Matthews Band had to do just that to make their best record of this decade. After the passing of founding member and multi-instrumentalist Leroi Moore last summer, Dave and the boys sattled up to create a fine record in their fallen brothers name. After 2005 I had given up on this band and was just not impressed with anything they were doing, then this album came along and blew me away, certainly one to check out even if you are not one of their hard core devoted fans.

Key Tracks: Why I Am, Time Bomb

5 - Pearl Jam - Backspacer

Two back to back brilliant Pearl Jam records after the hay-day of grunge was never expected. Yet, the band rolled on to do it, Backspacer is the bands best record since Yield, even surpassing their 2006 self titled album that showed them return to form. Backspacer is part punk, part folk, all Pearl Jam. A rock and roll tour-de-force that shows the band doing what they do best, being themselves.

Key Tracks: Got Some, Unthought Known

4 - Muse - The Resistance

Muse hate politics and politicians, that is why they have always done things their way and why they will never back down to anyone. The Resistance is a sonic opera that combines the symphonic rock of Queen mixed with the emotion and experimental sounds of Radiohead. The Resistance is a record that has placed the world's loudest band into the world's stage and are ready to conquer it by storm.

Key Tracks: Undisclosed Desires, Guiding Light

3 - Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Their was no escaping these Frenchmen this year, not at all. This album was the soundtrack to my summer and every one's summer the world over. You would hear this being played out of car stereos, beaches, clubs, down the street and at house parties. The catchiest record of the year and an album that had you tapping your foot from start to finish. Already established in Europe and within the American indie scene, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix brought Phoenix into the mainstream, especially with a little help from the track "1901."

Key Tracks: Lisztomania, Rome

2 - As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It With You
What a beautiful album and what an achievement. Struggling to make this album sound as sonically perfect as they wanted to, firing two producers and they finding one in the nick of time to finish the job. As Tall As Lions have a lot to be proud of, You Can't Take It With You is one hell of a record.

Key Tracks: Duermete, In Case of Rapture

1 - Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
A pop-punk opera like their groundbreaking American Idiot, but a tad different. Instead of taking on the government and suburban life, Green Day take on the relationship of two characters and tell a story of love and loss in the modern era. Produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana, Garbage), he found a way to take the band out of area's and had their sound fill stadiums. 21st Century Breakdown is a very long album, but one that needs to be praised and very deserving of the top seed.

Key Tracks: Before the Lobotomy, The Static Age

So that was the year in review, now we look forward into 2010 and see what the next year and decade bring us.

On The Road W/ Elliot Vol 3

A Day in the Life - Elliot Jacobson

From September to November, I toured across the country and into Canada with the Ingrid Michaelson band on a bus with 12 bunks, a
kitchen, bathroom and two lounges. We played 47 shows, most of which were sold out in advance. We rarely took days off. We woke up in a different city almost every day. We worked hard and played hard. Here is a day in the life of the Ingrid Michaelson band.

10am - On average, this is the time when the first person would emerge from the bunks. Typically, this would be either Allie Moss, (acoustic guitar player/back up vocalist), or David Mann, (tour manager and front of house sound guy). Most days, the bus would be parked at a
hotel in the city we were playing at that day. Although we slept on
the bus, we would share one hotel room from that hotel in the morning
(called a "day room") so that we could shower, workout in the gym,
freshen up, and do laundry, if there was enough time. One by one,
everyone would eventually get up and we would take turns using the day
room (unless we had a lot of fun the night before, then some would opt
to sleep until we arrived to the venue). Most if us would hunt for
coffee and maybe food. Starbucks is always our first choice on the
road because we can always count on their consistency. We don't like
to compromise our caffeine.

1:30pm - At about this time each day, the bus would leave the Hotel
and drive to the venue. Sometimes the venue would be just across the
street. Sometimes the venue would be 30 minutes away. David would
usually take this time to try and wake up the last of us. While the
bus would be moving, the front lounge of the bus would become crowded
with Bess Rogers (electric guitar player/backup vocalist), Allie,
Lauren Glucksman (our merch girl), David, Dan Romer (keyboards, percussion, vocals etc.) Chris Kuffner (bass guitar and backup vocals), the openers, and anyone else riding with us. Lap tops were open, conversation and coffee would brew, as we looked out the bus
windows to see what little of the city we could.

2pm - The bus would pull up near the venue and our tour manager would unlock the trailer for load in. Most venues had a small crew on hand to help us move all of the grear. Merchandise came off first, then our equipment. Our young bus driver from Mississippi, Mick, would get a car to pick him up and take him to the hotel to sleep in his own room for the day. (We created a Twitter for him and posted some of his funny quotes throughout the tour at Unless we weren't unable to find coffee and/or eat some breakfast before load in, we would begin setting up our gear as soon as we
finished loading it all into the venue. Once we set up, the sound crew at the venue, with David, would begin setting up all of the microphones and checking cables, etc.

3pm - More often than not, at least three of us failed to find food
before load in, so another food hunt would take place. We all prefer to eat breakfast style food when we wake up, even if it was at 3pm. So that's what we would look for first. Sometimes we would be successful in finding breakfast food, sometimes we would eat Vietnamese or Thai instead. After eating, most of us would explore the shops or sights around the venue. Because we were on the clock and on foot, this wasn't always easy. We might be able to find some cool vintage clothing stores, cute coffee shops, or some touristy stuff.

4:30pm or 5pm - Soundcheck begins. Or so we thought. Typically, we
found that soundcheck was pushed back so that David could prevent some potential sound issues before we invaded the stage. We killed time by napping, checking Email or Twitter, updating websites, calling home. Also, if we had missed our chance to shower in the morning, lucky for us, most venues on the tour had full private showers and bathrooms for artists. Some of us would shower right about now, or after soundcheck.

6pm - Sound check starts for realizes. Sound check would start with me hitting all the drums, then playing some fat beats so that David could get some good sounds in the house. Then, Chris would play is bass, and then we would play together, usually something like Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison or a really obnoxious (but fun!) busy funk improvisation. Then we would begin to go around and check all the instruments and voices for our monitor levels and the house levels. Dan liked to check his voice by singing (yes, with a melody) the legendary hip hop song "The Humpty Dance." Allie liked to check her voice with "Day Man" from
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. We played "Locked Up" from verse two, "Soldier" from the beginning of the double chorus at the end, and
"Mountain and Sea" where the band kicks in.

7:30 - The opener(s) sound checks. For the first part of the tour, it was Greg Holden. Then it was Greg Holden and Johnnny Marnell. Then it was Matthew Perryman Jones. Then it was Greg Laswell and Greg Holden. For Greg Holden's set, Allie, Bess, and Dan would join him for his song "Bar On A", so they would soundcheck this song with him. Similarly, Allie would sing back ups on Matthew's "Save You". Dan,
Chris, Bess and myself would play with Greg Laswell on "What a Day."Once we were done checking, we would find dinner. Sometimes the venue location or the whether made this difficult. In Houston, for example, it was so hot we could barely move, let alone walk around and look for anything. I was picked up by old friends and went to Ninfa's (about a 20 minuite drive from the venue). Many of the venues had catering or some sort of in house cooking (House of Blues, for example). We were usually successful in finding some great grub without looking to hard, thanks to our iPhones and Blackberrys. America is full of great food!

8pm - Doors opened and David would play Tom Petty's Wildflowers album in the house. He played this almost every single show. Backstage, our rider consisted of cheddar cheese, whole wheat crackers, chips and salsa, whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, various fruit, veggie platter, hummus, whole wheat pita, various hot teas, local beer, Jameson Whiskey, White and Red Wine, and water. We would break into the alcohol a little bit before the show, and snack on the food periodically throughout the night. Some venues were a little more generous with the rider, offering us additional food. We tried to stay on the healthy side.

8:40pm - The opener took the stage.

9pm - Our pre show ritual would usually begin. Gathered in the green
room, we would stand in a circle and improvise some movements and sound. It's something to be seen and heard, not described. All I can say is that it was different every time and helped us come together, laugh, and get in the right mindset for the show. I think there's a video our there with a few seconds of a "ritual" on my MySpace page.

9:15pm - We took the stage and performed. This happened 47 times on
our last tour. Our set list included mostly songs from the new album, and a few favorites from Girls and Boys. A highlight of the show was when we all gathered around Ingrid's mic and sang "You and I" from the Be Ok EP. Before the song started the song, we showcased our Man Squad and Vag Force theme songs and competed for the audience's support.(Because there were three guys and three girls in the band for this tour, we naturally broke off into two opposing teams and gave ourselves these powerful names.) We're big on audience participation, so there were always parts in the songs for singing along and clapping. For our encore, we performed a variation on the song "Maybe" making it about our love of Mexican food. I'm sure there's plenty of YouTube clips out there of this. Then we did a bluegrass version of "Far Away" complete with Dan on accordion, and Chris on mandolin.

11pm - Right after the show we came straight backstage and take 10
minutes or so to talk about the performance and relax with some more snacking, wine, and beer. Before we broke down our gear, we tried to come out and talk to fans, sign a few autographs and pose for pictures. It wasn't uncommon for fans to bring us baked goods and other edible gifts. Some fans are incredibly creative. Depending on
the city, we might have guests in town who came to see the show. This was often family, old friends or other musicians and artists. After we broke down our gear, packed it up in the road cased and loaded out of the venue, with help from the venue's crew members. We would scramble to a bar or restaurant nearby to hang with our guests. LA is always the best time, because we have the most mutual friends there. This year, we stayed there for a few days, playing two sold out nights at
the Troubadour.

2am - Bus call. This means everyone needed to be on the bus before 2am so we could pull away at 2am sharp. The bus would usually stay at the venue after the show until this time. Before bus call, the venue would help us take the rest of our rider to the bus to save for later.

2:30am - We had a fairly large plasma screen TV in the front lounge of the bus and around this time, we would use it to relax and watch LOST DVDs, movies like Team America and Airplane, Christmas movies like Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Every bunk had a mini fold down screen so that we could also watch from our bunks if we wanted. Some of us would begin uploading pictures on our laptops, editing tour videos, and chatting with friends on G Chat or iChat.

5:00am - Unless it was a particularly crazy night, everyone was
usually in their bunks and finally asleep as the bus drove through the night to the next city...

Dan Romer, Matthew Perryman Jones, Elliot Jacobson, Chris Kuffner (aka Man Squad) in fornt of our bus.

Allie Moss, Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers (aka Vag Force) in front of our bus

Photo's by Deborah Lopez,

Follow Elliot on Twitter

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Live Review - Arctic Monkeys @ Terminal 5

It was the coldest night of the year thus far in New York City and seeing a band called Arctic Monkeys, may have been the only real reason to go out last night. In the second of two sold out concerts at Terminal 5 in Hell's Kitchen, the British pub-punkers turned up the heat and the hits at the New York venue. Being a big fan of this band, it has been interesting to see them evolve in so many ways; musically, commercially and sonically. This is band that conquered the Internet before they even had a record deal, they had one of the fastest selling debuts in UK history, singer Alex Turner was looked at as a God before he was even 20, yet, with their latest effort Humbug, they decided to alienate everything they knew and had and see who would stick around. Apparently, I am not the only one still paying attention to these lads. This was the second time I had seen them this year, prior to this show was at Lollapalooza in the blistering heat when they really stuck to playing Humbug and their singles, the only catch was Humbug was not even out yet. Four months after the release of Humbug, the Arctic Monkeys have managed to find a way to work the new in with the old in seamless perfection. Their is an aura about this band that will carry them forever, Alex Turner has a bravado about himself that creates him to be the perfect front man, let alone of the best songwriters to emerge this decade. The band though they do not do much aside from just play still can transform the audience into an all out free for all romper room. The highlight of any Monkeys set is watching drummer Matt Helders pound on his set, perched atop a kit that read "Agile Beast," the man is a ferocious drummer and the true backbone of the band. Finding the balance of tossing in new somber songs like "My Propeller," "Cornerstone," "Crying Lighting," with classic foot stomping gems like "Brianstorm," "Sketchead" and the show stopping "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor." Alex and Co. managed to sneak in a cover here and there, covering songs like Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand," yet sounding nothing like the original, Rod Stewarts "If You Want My Body," and the great Christmas song from Wham! "Last Christmas," which featured Matt Helders on vocals. A great set and a great night, yet the only issue is that with a 80 minute set, I just wished they played longer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jawbox on Fallon!

On stage for the first time in 12 years, DC's Jawbox took to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday and proved they still got it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rising Artist EXCLUSIVE! La Strada INTV!

In an episode of HBO's Bored to Death, Ted Danson's character explains to Jason Schwartzman that "Brooklyn, it's the new Manhattan." That quote could not be more true from how that borough has gained so much attention this decade. In the 70's and 80's band's coming out of New York City were generally from the Lower East Side of Manhattan or West Village. Now they are across the East River and coming out in droves. One of those band's is the Balkan inspired La Strada. An act who coincidentally has had their music appear on Bored to Death, but is also an act gaining much attention with their unique style and sound. Think the gypsy sound of Gogol Bordello meets the folk aspects of Arcade Fire with La Strada's own blend of unique fusion. They are the perfect act to be listening to when in a cafe, bookstore or just unwinding with a glass of red. I had the opportunity to bring a small film crew and hang out with the band this past fall in their rehearsal space in Green Point. After watching the band do their magic, we sat down and discussed the band's beginnings, future and everything in between. Watch my interview with La Strada below..

Special Thanks to La Strada, Rosario Pellerito, Manny Valdivia, Greg Pace and Kismet Films.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Live Review - Rebecca Hart & The Sexy Children @ Joe's Pub

When you go to a concert you always expected to be wowed and lifted out of your seat, at least I do. Sometimes it is the production that does it, sometimes it is because your favorite song is being played by your favorite act, whatever it maybe, you as the fan, expect it to happen. Never do you go to a small show with a unknown artist and expect it to happen. However, the magic needs to start somewhere. Rebecca Hart and The Sexy Children took the stage Friday night at Joe's Pub in Astor Place only to have the jaws of each person in attendance hit the floor. Rebecca a performance artist, actress and musical powerhouse, has more fortitude than most male singers. Her voice is a combination between Tori Amos and Bruce Springsteen, her lyrics are about love and life with a spin of comedy that only Woody Allen could write. Yet, the gorgeous Rebecca is so talented and powerful, you will instantly fall in love with what she is doing and saying. Only playing for 45 minutes, in a set that featured mainly originals and a Ray Charles cover, looking in Rebecca and her Sexy Children may seem like an average bar band, after witnessing what she has to offer, she proves otherwise. Rebecca is one to keep an eye out for.

Quick News

NEW ARCADE FIRE ALBUM IN MAY!! I realize that is such an inappropriate way to start off a topic, but it is quick and to the point. The Canadian band is set to release their third album this May, no word on a title, but stay tuned as more information rolls in.

Ailing Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, is on his road to recovery after being diagnosed with Cancer this past summer. MCA tells "I'm feeling fine now, after the surgery," he also mentioned that the band is prepping the delayed release of Hot Sauce Committee Pt 1, a tour and a possible appearance at Coachella.

Kanye West will release his VH1 Storytellers performance on CD/DVD. An edited version of the performance was aired, an uncut version in which West slams his idol, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, will appear on the DVD. The album will be released next month.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Live Review - Phoenix @ PC Richards Theater

In was the hottest and hardest ticket in town for one of the hardest working and hottest bands of the year. France's Phoenix performed a very intimate set at the PC Richards Theater in TriBeCa last night. In front of industry people, models, radio contest winners and friends of the band, everyone crammed in a room no bigger than your living room to enjoy one of 2009's breakout band. Playing a brief 30 minute set, Phoenix killed it from the second they hit the stage. Opening with the bombastic "Lisztomania" the lead track from their acclaimed Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the energy from this band would not let up. They sounded beyond perfect, drummer Thomas Hedlund is something to watch, standing up and playing his kit and dancing around without missing a beat. Singer Thomas Mars may not do much, but his band moves around so much that he does not have to. Mars constantly thanked the audience for coming out and seems to be very thrilled the band has broken so big in America, giving the idea that the French may not really hate us. The highlight of the brief set was their "cover," if you will, of Air's "Playground of Love," from Virgin Suicides, a song Phoenix wrote for their fellow Frenchmen. Yet, the band still got their biggest cheers, of course, from the set closing "1901." I did indeed get hooked up with a pass for the show, but Phoenix is a band that is worth every penny to catch over and over again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Playlist Vol 3

The radio has been playing Christmas Music since October, but it is all the washed up Pop garbage that gets tired after the three listens and you remember why these songs are only good once a year. Well, here is a list, my third annual installment of Holiday tunes that will not make you tired and put you in the spirit of the season.

Julian Casablancas - "I Wish it Was Christmas Today"
The Killers - "Happy Birthday Guadalupe!"
My Brightest Diamond - "Nature Boy"
The Hives and Cindy Lauper - "Christmas Duel"
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "Little Drummer Boy"
Glasvegas - "Please Come Home"
My Chemical Romance - "All I Want for Christmas"
Blitzen Tripper - "Christmas is Comming Soon"
Paul McCartney - "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time"
David Ford - "Have Yourself a Bitter Little Christmas"
Jimmy Eat World "12.23.95"
Jimmy Eat World - "Christmas Card"
The Raveonettes - "Come on Santa"
Robbers on High Street - "Season's Greetings"
Decemberists - "Please Daddy (Dont Get Drunk This Christmas)"
Sufjan Stevens - "Come on! Lets Boogy to the Elf Dance"
Glasvegas - "Silent Night"
Sufjan Stevens - "Good King Wencelas"
Weezer - "O Come O Ye Faithful"
The Pogues - "Fairytale of New York"
Your Vegas - "Christmas and Me are Through"
A Fine Frenzy - "Redribbon Foxes"
Bob Dylan - "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"

For Holiday Playlist 2.0 Click HERE
For Holiday Playlist Vol 1 Clock HERE

Movie of the Month - Persepolis

Most autobiographies are never this clever. Most bio-films are never this good. Persepolis is the 2007 animated bio picture based on the graphic novel and autobiography of Marjane Satrapi. Marjane's saga is told in such a way that will leave you in awe. The story of Satrapi is one of power and defiance. A controversial coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, about a girl finding herself wanting Western culture while questioning her strict religion. As a teenager Satrapi was a misfit, refusing to wear typical Muslim attire for women and embracing heavy metal, punk rock and Michael Jackson. Profoundly disillusioned, Satrapi rejects her religious aspirations before God and tries with her family to fit into the reality of the intolerant regime that has suppressed its people of many luxuries and what we take for granted. We see Satrapi leave Iran for school in Europe where she encounters boys, sexuality and drugs and finding her place in the world. The film is told in French, Persian and English and showcases the world around us. Nominated in 2008 for Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards and the winner of 2007 Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, Persepolis is a film that will find the inner misfit and punk and all of us.

Underrated Classic - Oasis "The Masterplan"

You know you are a great band when your B-Sides record sells millions of copies worldwide and the album is brilliant from start to finish. For Oasis, The Masterplan proved this. Taking B-Side songs from their first three albums; Definitely Maybe, (What's The Story) Morning Glory and Be Here Now, the songs were originally released on expensive European imports. The band decided to capitalize and release the record in US and Japan, however, the record proved to be such a success in both markets they put it out worldwide. The Masterplan boasts songs that were staples of the band's live sets, tracks like "Acquiesce," "The Swamp Song," and their cover of The Beatles "I Am the Walrus." What the record really displays is Noel Gallagher's brilliant songwriting ability and way of putting words together. Songs like "Half the World Away," "Talk Tonight," "The Masterplan," and "Rockin' Chair," are the perfect pop tunes. The Masterplan is a record that was made for fans, but could easily be mistaken for some of the band's best work. This past August it was released, with the entire Oasis back catalogue on vinyl, I suggest you take a listen.

Blur Reunion Documentary

Last year Blur reunited and decided to capture all of the special moments from their summer on film. From the band gigging again from the first time in a six years to headlining Glastonbury and Hyde Park. Take a look at the trailer for the band's documentary No Distance Left to Run.

Quick News

Since Noel Gallagher left Oasis, his brother Liam and band mates Andy Bell, Gem Archer and Chris Sharrock are still going to go out an record as a band. However, they may still call themselves Oasis. Liam told England's Evening Standard "We're not using it at the moment, but if we don't come up with something else by the time we're ready to release the album it'll be Oasis. I'm not going to call myself something ridiculous just for the sake of it." Liam and mates are looking to get into the studio after Christmas and hit the road at some point in 2010.

Blur front man Damon Albarn is such a busy man. He has named the upcoming Gorrilaz album Plastic Beach and it will be due in 2010. As previously reported he is penning an opera with graphic novelist Alan Moore. He is also working on a record with Flea and The Good, The Bad and The Queen member Tony Allen and is also looking to prep another The Good, The Bad and The Queen album. Yet, still no word is Blur will tour again in 2010.

Smiths/Modest Mouse/Cribs guitarist (friend and fan of this site I might add) Johnny Marr is penning his first film score. He is scoring the upcoming Antonio Bandaras film The Big Bang, which also stars Snoop Dogg.

After the holidays La Roux will set off to France to record some material for the follow up to their debut follow up. In January La Roux is set to kick off the Gold World Tour.

As previously reported The Flaming Lips are set to cover Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for a covers album. Now the band plans to bring that experience live at their annual New Year's Eve concert in their native Oklahoma.

Trent Reznor was not kidding when he said his "Wave Goodbye Tour" would be Nine Inch Nails' last live waltz. The legendary front man has put all of the band's touring gear up on ebay.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2009 The Albums - League of Their Own

This is probably my favorite superlative to give out at the end of each year. It is given to the artist who is the most forward thinking, open minded, revolutionary musician out there today. Their accomplishments in the past 12 months have either resurrected a sound, broke down walls and created new frontiers or have totally reinvented a genre all together. In the past winners have included:

2000- Radiohead - Kid A
2001- The Strokes - Is This It?
2002- NERD - In Search of...
2003- The White Stripes - Elephant
2004- The Killers - Hot Fuss
2005- The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute
2006- TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
2007- Kanye West - Graduation
2008- Santogold

...and now to add to my growing list of revolutionary acts is a band from the south that in no means in a southern band. A band that has made metal and hard rock something much more technical and precise. An act who can tell a story, cross genre's and make you fear for your life at the same time. The recipient of the 2009 League of Their Own is:

Mastodon - Crack the Skye

This has been a long time coming for Mastodon and their legion of devoted fans. Bursting onto the music scene with their debut Leviathan in 2004. A record that saw them create a musical score to Moby Dick, then following it up with 2006's aggressive Blood Mountain. This year's release, Crack the Skye is an achievement from such an act not herd since the hay day of loud rock. Crack the Skye is a record that is supposed to sound like an out of body experience and take you through the journey's of time travel and wormholes. A record that mixes metal, prog, classical, hard rock and at some points blues and jazz. Mastodon are technical masters and have created a record so original and fresh, it just makes me thrilled we are living in a time when they are being so creative.
Key Tracks: Divinations, The Czar: Usurper / Escape / Martyr / Spiral

Top 10 Albums of 2009 Coming in Two Weeks!! Stay Tuned!

Live Review - Brand New @ Nassau

I was extremely sceptical going to this concert and I never really feel that way before a show. I already had a bias towards the night, from the venue to the sceansters to the headlining band. Yet I still went to continue my Thanksgiving hangover through the weekend. It was a lineup that would have had every emo kid in circa 2003-2005 cream their pants, Long Island hero's Brand New with special guests Glassjaw, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine. With Glassjaw on an arena stage and Manchester Orchestra on the bill, I had to go just to check out those two acts alone. However, knowing that tired old Nassau Coliseum is the worst venue to ever see a concert due to the acoustics in the building being absolute garbage, and hoping that I would not be the oldest person in attendance that was not working the show, and being disappointed time and time again from live performance's of Brand New, it was very odd walking in.
Arriving at 6:30 I missed Kevin Devine, who I have seen dozens of time, so it was no real loss, however I got there just in time for a band I have truly fallen in love with, Georgia's Manchester Orchestra. Knowing what to expect after seeing them at Lollapalooza this summer, Manchester Orchestra did not disappoint, they were fantastic. Loud, aggressive, comforting at times and impressed a crowd in which many had no idea who they were. They tested the acoustics in Nassau and sounded on point. From the lead single "I've Got Friends," into the showstopping "Shake it Out," Manchester Orchestra proved it doesn't matter if they are the opener or headliner, or how big the area is that they are playing, they are going to make you aware of their presence on stage. I promise you will become a fan at the end of their set.
After Manchester Orchestra's riveting set, Thrice came on. Thrice was one of those bands that I never really paid much attention to, however, they still continue to have a legion of fans and the crowd seemed to be really into them. I thought they were fine, good enough, nothing to brag over, but I am sure a real fan would disagree and say "they were great."
After Thrice, it was the Long Island emo-core legends Glassjaw who were up. For me this was the selling point on the ticket. On stage backed by a screen showing a green Cuban flag, the band set up their stage as if it was a rehearsal. With bassist Manny Carerro having his back to the audience the whole time, the drum kit point to the side and singer Daryl Palumbo placed in front of it. The only person facing the audience during their rampaging 30 minute set was guitarist Justin Beck. From the second they came on stage, it was like a whip cracking in front of you. Glassjaw, as always, delivered. Seeing them only in clubs before hand and now in a arena, Glassjaw lit a fire and raised a bar that I would have pitied any band to go on after them. Singer Daryl Palumbo is a freak of nature, jostling and crawling on stage like rabid dog, at points his voice will sound like a cat being skinned, then will sound like the devil calling for you and shifting to moody, emotional lost soul. With only two albums out a various EP's, the band managed to sneak in a few new songs like they have done the past seven years since the release of Warship and Tribute. No word on a new album, but one thing is for sure, I will pay any amount of money to see these lads again. Proving it doesn't matter the venue nor the material, Glassjaw is set to blow your mind.
After all those openers, it was finally time for the hometown throw down to continue with main act Brand New. Brand New, who just released their fourth record Daisy in September, have been on tour all fall supporting the album and this is one of the final dates before they flock over to the UK with Glassjaw for a small tour of very large venues. What was interesting off the bat was how many people were on stage for Brand New to aid the main men in their performance. An additional guitarist and drummer were brought on to drive the pulse home to the fans. A very interesting set that featured a few songs from Daisy, but seven from the band's 2006 release The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. The crowd did get "Sic Transit Gloria (Glory Fades)" and "Ok I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" from Deja Entendu. What was the highlight of the night came during "Ok I Believe You," when all of the Coliseum chanted the lyrics louder than the band and the swell of chorus' brought on by the crowd invigorated everyone. Yet most of the set was very somber and mellow, sure they sounded as good as they could in such a bad venue, but at points it seemed to drag then pick up then drag again. Over the past few years I have developed such a vendetta against singer Jesse Lacey, with his want-to-be Morrissey meets Kurt Cobain antics, and his disposition on stage, I really stopped paying attention to this band that I once really cared about. However, I must say this particular night at Nassau, it was a humbled Lacey we got on stage, maybe things have changed and he is shaping up. Just before closing the set with "seventy seven times seven", Lacey thanked all the acts and mentioned that "no matter where we are the world and what we have done, it all started right here on Long Island." It was a solid performance from the hometown hero's, nothing mind blowing, but a night that made them feel like Kings.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blackstar on Fallon!

Jimmy Fallon had a great week, had the Pixies on, was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade with The Roots and oh yeah, had one of the best hip-hop duo's ever on his show - Mos Def and Talib Kweli aka BLACKSTAR! Take a look at the clip above of Blackstar performing with The Roots and Dirty Projectors!

Quick News

U2 are set to perform their first festival gig in over 25 years. U2 are slated to perform the first night of the greatest festival on the planet, England's Glastonbury Festival in June! Glastonbury is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and are pulling out all the stops. Other rumored headliners are Rolling Stones and Muse.

The hiatus maybe all but over for The Strokes. According to Julian Casablancas and Nikolai Fraiture Nikolai tweeted "While the guys are in LA, I went to scout some studios in NYC with Ryan (Gentles - The Strokes manager) today for what looks like Jan recording!!! mood = f***ing excited." Casablancas told Pitchfork that We're supposed to get back together in January but don't hold me to that." We shall see what happens, hopefully they go in the direction of what Julian just achieved on his solo debut, Phrases for the Young, it is incredible.

Massive Attack have announced the track listing to their forthcoming record, Heligoland. The album features members of Elbow, TV on the Radio, Damon Albarn and many others. Take a look at the track listing for Heligoland below. The record arrives Feb 8.

Pray For Rain - featuring Tunde Adebimpe
Babel – featuring Martina Topley-Bird
Splitting The Atom – featuring Robert del Naja/Grant Marshall/Horace Andy
Girl I Love You – featuring Horace Andy
Psyche – featuring Martina Topley-Bird
Flat Of The Blade – featuring Guy Garvey
Paradise Circus – featuring Hope Sandoval
Rush Minute – featuring Robert del Naja
Saturday Come Slow – featuring Damon Albarn
Atlas Air – featuring Robert del Naja

Pixies on Fallon!

In support of playing their monumental album Doolittle, The Pixies are on the road playing the classic record in its entirety. During their four performance stay in New York City, Pixies dropped by Jimmy Fallon to jam with The Roots! Take a look!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The New York City electro rockers are back! One of the pioneering bands to bring back the new wave - electro rave earlier this decade, The Bravery return on December 1 with their brand new album, Stir the Blood. The band's latest record hears them returning to the dirty, unapologetic crass that fans herd off their debut in 2004. In preparation for the album, the band has been touring the US all fall with Living Things and The Dusty's. While on the road, I had the honor of speaking with guitarist Michael Zakarin. Michael and I discussed the band's latest record, being on the road and the band's beginnings practically hustling their music on the Lower East Side. Take a listen to my interview with Michael below..

New Video for "Sugar Pill" Directed by Bassist Mike Hindirt (Above) / UK Version of "Unconditional" Video (Below)

Special thanks to Michael, Pete Galli, Sharon Timure. Extra special thanks to Jenna Campagna and Manny Valdivia.

The Bravery's Stir The Blood is Out December 1!

2009 The Albums - Honorable Mentions

So here it begins, the end of the year superlatives for what was the best albums (in my humble opinion of course) that defined 2009. Here is the first of three lists, we begin with my HONORABLE MENTIONS category, next week will feature my coveted LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and followed by TOP 10. So here were records that were very good and solid but didn't crack the Top 10, however, are worthy of mention. As always it is broken up into a quick list and then with explanations.

2009 Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order) Short Form:

- Morrissey - Years of Refusal
- Grizzly Bear - Veckatimist
- The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Communion
- Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
- Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
- Thursday - Common Existence

Now with Explanations:

Morrissey - Years of Refusal
A pure tour de force from the former Smiths front man and legendary singer. Morrissey has always put out quality since beginning his solo career, yet Years of Refusal maybe his best work in years. A pure no apologizes and sarcastic record that, like much of Morrissey's work, is an introspective look into the complex singer. However, as age looms over the singer, this album shows he has no signs of stopping.
Key Tracks: Something is Squeezing my Skull, It's Not Your Birthday Anymore

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Boasting fans from Trent Reznor to Jay-Z, Veckatimest was 2009's most talked about record from one of the most talked about band's of the year. A very well crafted, layered and assembled record. It is symphonic indie rock with dense lyrics and a record that will have you saying, "wow."
Key Tracks: Two Weeks, Foreground

The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Communion
The first TSoOL record to arrive in North America in over 5 years. A double album! Yes, a double record and in a age when most bands are putting out short single records, these Icelandic art rockers put out enough material to last a few years and apologize for the gap between their albums. However, as much is thrown onto this record, in some area's it does fall short, had it been one concise album, it would have definitely cracked the Top 5 of the year.
Key Tracks: The Ego Illusion, Everything Beautiful Must Die

Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Oh Lily, what would we do without you. Defining the sophomore slump, Allen fires back with a record that is far superior than her debut. A record that throws a middle finger to the record industry, celebrity and critics, over electronic beats. This spunky Brit brought attitude and conversation to the table with this album.
Key Tracks: The Fear, Fuck You

Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
What a record, what a band. I was introduced to these guys at Lollapalooze this summer and was blown away. This is the band's second record of heavy lyrics, religious imagery and anger brought over heavy rock and roll and electric blips. This Georgia band is not a southern rock band by any means, and do not want to be labeled as one. Listen to this album and you will be hooked.
Key Tracks: Shake it Out, The River

Thursday - Common Existence
Back to the loud, pulse pounding core of what put this New Jersey band on the map. The legendary Thursday made a record that will pop your ear drums and jumping around for the duration of the album. Common Existence is a return to form for these vets and show it will take a force of nature to have them stop.
Key Tracks: Friends in the Armed Forces, You Were the Cancer

So this was list number one, stay tuned next week for: League of Their Own.

Swell Season and Jason Segal!

This is hilarious and brilliant on so many levels. Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man star Jason Segal dropped by the Swell Season's recent concert in LA to perform along side the Oscar winning folk duo. Check out the video above to see why Segal joined up with Glen and Marketa, it is brilliant...

Quick News

Good News - Arctic Monkeys are planning their next record. Bad News - Fans are going to have to wait to hear it. That is right, Monkey's drummer Matt Helders told BBC6 last week "We're already talking about when we can record again, but I still enjoy being on tour as well." In related news, in a recent interview with NME, singer Alex Turner expressed they would like to work with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) again. Homme produced the band's latest, Humbug.

Though fans may have to wait for new Arctic Monkeys, one band you will not have to wait for is Dead Weather. Jack White has confirmed a new album will be out next year.

Stone Temple Pilots have cancelled the remaining dates of their fall tour to finish out the recording of their latest record. This will be STP's first album of new material since 2001's Shangri-La-De-Da.

From one Queen to another. Lady Gaga is set to perform for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in London at this year's Royal Variety Performance. Along with Gaga; Mika, Alexandra Burke, Michael Buble and Bette Midler are slated to perform.

Every once in a while I need to pat myself on the back. This new brought such a smile to my face and excitement, as I learned Johnny Marr, one of my favorite guitarists of all time, took notice to my review of him and The Cribs at Bowery Ballroom and posted it on his site Thank you Mr. Marr, take a look at my review HERE.