Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is the trailer / opening sequence to the new Beatles Rock Band video game. It is simply stunning and if you are a Beatles freak like myself, it is a jaw dropper!

Live Pix - Green Day @ MSG

Here are pictures from Green Day at Madison Square Garden on 7/27/09. Photo's were taken by The Creature, a live review of the show can be found just a few posts below. More photo's from this event can be found on "With This I Think I'm Officially A Yuppie" Facebook page, a link to which is at the bottom of this page.

Quick News

I am not sure what to make of this, but all I can say is SAY IT AIN'T SO!!! Bloc Party may never record another record again!?! As I said, not sure what to make of it, front man Kele Okereke told Triple J backstage at Australia's Splendor in the Grass 2009 that "We don't know what the future holds," he said. "It's weird, we're out of contract now so... we might take a year off, we might take three years off.... we might never make a record again or we might head straight back in and do a record. We'll see how we feel come the end of this touring cycle." Maybe (wishful thinking) it means they wont make another record but still record music considering the band's latest single "One More Chance" is out next month and is a one off track not featured on any Bloc Party album.

Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme has told GQ why he chose to produce Arctic Monkey's latest disc Humbug. Homme says "I was sucked in at first by the lyrics. Alex sounded like a rare poet playing music – he has a special gift for the gab." Homme then went on to say that this record may alienate some Monkey's fans because "This is the record where they get weird, grow up and trip out." Humbug is out at the end of next month.

The first band signed to Kings of Leon new label imprint, The Feature's have released their record Some Kind of Salvation in the US. In other Kings of Leon news, the band's latest effort Only by the Night has officially gone platinum in their own country, this is the first record of the Kings that has done that in the US.

Silversun Pickups on Letterman

California's Silversun Pickups hit up Letterman this week to perform "Panic Switch" off the band's latest Swoon. Take a look!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Live Review - Green Day @ MSG

It has been seven years since I last saw Green Day. In that seven years the world and music around the band has changed drastically, the last time I saw them they were playing Jones Beach with Blink 182 and Saves the Day on the Pop Disaster Tour of 2002. Now, seven years later, they stand alone in the first of two sold out concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden. As pop punks from California, Green Day have morphed into a social and political musical powerhouse, the world and issues facing it have changed this band for the better. Taking their message of religious hypocrisy, political and social awareness, anti-war stance, the band marched into form last night and exploded like a cannon ball into an unsuspecting crowd. Combining the best of the punk band's that paved the way for them, Green Day's combination of the volume of The Ramones with the consciousness of The Clash and theatrics and intricate sound of The Who make them apt pupil's learning from their teachers. Opening with "21st Century Breakdown," and "Know your Enemy," they marched through a close to three hour set of non stop hits and non stop energy. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong would run into the crowd, or take super soakers and T-Shirt cannons and wale them into the crowd, while drummer Tre Cool would run around on stage like a clown when given the opportunity. While they are a great band that are now singing serious songs, they still know how to have fun, because first and for most Green Day are entertainers. They make the fans feel welcome and make them feel like they get their monies worth and in this economy that goes a very long way. It was hit after hit durring the band's tour de force set, rampaging mostly through their last two albums 21 Century Breakdown, American Idiot and their 1994 breakthrough Dookie, they found room for other big hits like "Brain Stew / Jaded", "Minority" and obscure fan favorites like "2,000 Light Years Away."
What I remembered from the first Green Day concert I saw those seven years ago was the band's ability to connect to their audience by inviting fans to come on stage and sing a few bars, to strum a few chords. They did it again last night but in a much bigger fashion, nervous fan after anxious fan would be invited up to do the same, yet the highlight of this was a teenage girl named Stephanie who arrived on stage to play the 13 1/2 minute "Jesus of Suberbia" on guitar. In an age when video games are substituting for garage bands, it was refreshing to see a teenager grabbing an axe and knowing what to play. One of the single most memorable experiences I ever witnessed, I was so proud of this young girl for playing the song note by note and I had no idea who she was. Yet, that is what the band does, a band of outsiders who are now one of the biggest bands in the world make each audience member and fan feel welcome into their arms.
Opening for Green Day were England's Kaiser Chiefs, a band that cracked it big a few years ago with the single "I Predict a Riot," were the perfect opener for the California Kings they were supporting. Playing only for 30 minutes I wished they were on longer, a band that has so many songs that are easily recognizable it is a shock they are not as big here in the US as they are in their native land. The Kaiser Chiefs were terrific only adding to an already magnificent bill.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quick News

Just a few days after the Yeah Yeah Yeah's replaced the Beastie Boys at Lollapalooza, the spot vacated by the Brooklyn rappers at All Points West this coming week is now filled by another Brooklyn rapper...JAY-Z! That's right, HOV will make his US festival debut in his own backyard on July 31 in Jersey City.

Another Lollapalooza headliner maybe in jeopardy of pulling out of this years festival as well, Jane's Addiction has been forced to cancel the Australian leg of their reunion tour due to drummer Steven Perkins getting an infection in his elbow. The Australian leg of the tour was supposed to kick of this past week starting on July 25. Lollapalooza creator and Jane's front man Perry Farrell stated “I know how excited we were to come play in Australia, and how long the fans there have waited for this. I want everyone Down Under to know that we will come back as soon as we can." Keep it hear for more info on what will happen to the band at the Chicago festival.

Since reforming this summer for a series of festival headlining gigs and a few solo ventures, Blur have no plans at the moment to do anything else with their reunion after the summer. Blur bassist Alex James told UK's The Guardian newspaper "That was what we said we'd do and we did it and it was great. It hasn't been mentioned the idea of doing anything else but hey, it was great." Prior to this the band said they were tooling around new material and hoped to come to the US. Time will tell now what they choose to do, all I can wish for is that they do make it across the pond!

Editors front man Tom Smith has lashed out at critics on the band's website saying he is bored of people asking why his band is "dark." Smith wrote "I am so fucking bored of people asking us why we're so 'dark' [...] or worse questioning our integrity for being this way. This is how we do it, it excites us to express ourselves like this, to be honest we don't even understand what the alternative is and the alternatives we can imagine are too boring for us to even consider." Smith then went on to explain how the Editors material must be this way by stating "dark is interesting, dark is exciting, dark can be funny, there’s real life in the dark, real life IS dark, when an album feels like this the fragments of hope and love that do occasionally shine through shine through ten times brighter than they would normally do so." The band's latest effort In This Light and on This Evening is slated to come out this September, meanwhile the record itself has been influenced by the dark and dreariness of London and sci-fi films such as Blade Runner. This is one of the most anticipated releases for me this year, whatever sound or how light, dark, heavy it maybe, The Editors never disappoint!

La Roux on Kimmel!

My March pick for Rising Artist, UK electro songstress La Roux made her American TV debut this past week on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Check her out performing "Bulletproof" off her stellar debut that will be making its way Stateside in September!


Here is what I have been blaring this hot month of July....

- Jane's Addiction - "Summertime Rolls"
- Rise Against - "Hero of War"
- Phoenix - "1901"
- A Camp - "The Crowning"
- Grizzly Bear - "Dory"
- The Sounds - "Dorchester Hotel"
- The Fall - "Oh! Brother!"
- Pulp - "Bar Italia"
- Last Shadow Puppets - "My Mistakes Were Made For You"
- Jay -Z - "DOA"
- Little Boots - "Stuck on Repeat"
- As Tall As Lions - "Circles"
- Blur - "Coffee and TV"
- Mars Volta - "Teflon"
- Happy Mondays - "Hallelujah"
- Michael Jackson - "They Don't Care About Us"
- Chris Cornell - "Billie Jean"
- Arcade Fire - "Surf City Eastern Bloc"
- Oasis - "These Swollen Hands"
- Dead Weather - "Hang You From the Heavens"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick News

In the headlining spot vacated by Beastie Boys at this years Lollapalooza festival, organizers have replaced the legendary Brooklyn rappers with another Brooklyn act....Yeah Yeah Yeah's will go against Tool on night two of the three day Chicago music festival.

Just a week ago I reported that Chris Cornell and the rest of the members of Soundgarden may get back for a reunion. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil shed some more light, sort of, to the idea by saying "People would have to want to. I think more importantly, tending to the merchandising catalog is something that would be satisfying for the band members and for the fans. I never say never ... but I'm not losing too much sleep over it, either." To read Thayil's full interview about the band, a new B-Sides box set that is on its way and the reunion click HERE

Conor Oberst also spoke to Rolling Stone recently about how he is looking to drop his Bright Eyes alter ego. Oberst tells the magazine, "It does feel like it needs to stop at some point. I'd like to clean it up, lock the door, say goodbye." Rumor has it that he is working on his final Bright Eyes record and will continue on after as just plain old Conor Oberst.

Monday, July 20, 2009


At a little past noon (New York time) today, Beastie Boys members MCA aka Adam Yauch and AdRock aka Adam Horowitz presented a sad and shocking video stating that MCA has been diagnosed with cancer. His cancer is in the Parotid part of his neck and is very treatable and luckily not affect his voice. Due to this the Beastie Boys are forced to cancel all appearances including next week's All Points West festival in Jersey City, Lollapalooza the week after in Chicago and Austin City Limits in September. Also, the band's latest disc Hot Sauce Committee Part I which was slated for September 15 has been pushed back indefinitely. Take a look at the video and press statement below from Yauch and the bands label EMI...

"I just need to take a little time to get this in check, and then we'll release the record and play some shows. It's a pain in the neck (sorry had to say it) because I was really looking forward to playing these shows, but the doctors have made it clear that this is not the kind of thing that can be put aside to deal with later."’ - Adam Yauch

“Our thoughts, love and prayers are with Adam Yauch, his family and the Beastie Boys. The most important thing is to allow Adam to focus on staying healthy. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.” - EMI

My heart and thoughts are with MCA, Mike D, AdRock, Mix Master Mike and Yauch's family at this time. Get well soon and come back swinging bigger and better than before!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Stop whatever you are doing and go see this film! What Saving Private Ryan does to World War II films, The Hurt Locker does to the Iraq War. Thus far, it is the best film of the year!

Sir Paul on Letterman

45 years after a little band from Liverpool you may have herd of call The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show, Sir Paul McCartney stopped New York traffic this past Wednesday for a free concert in preparation for his big weekend in Queens at Citi Field. Playing on the Letterman marquee, take a look at what Paul gave New York and recreated Beatlemania!

Julian Casablancas Strokes it Alone

As The Strokes are on hiatus one week, back in the studio the next. It is so hard to keep track with their side endeavours. So to add to the growing number of side projects, Strokes singer Julian Casablancas is set to release a solo record this fall. The album entitled Phrazes for the Young, was produced by Jason Lader, who has previously worked with Jay-Z and Coldplay. Casablancas is set to tour with this record also come the fall, thus most likely pushing new Strokes sessions back...again.

While Casablancas readies his work, here is a breakdown of what some of the other members of his legendary New York band have done / been up to.

Albert Hammond Jr. (guitar) - Two solo albums and produced rising New York band The Postelles.

Nikolai Fraiture (bass) - One solo record with the band Nickel Eye.

Fabrizio Moretti (drums) - Playing with the band Little Joy

Grizzly Bear on Letterman

One of my favorite albums of the year has been Brooklyn based band Grizzly Bear's latest Veckatimest, one to definitely check out if you have not. The band hit up Letterman this week to perform the song "Ready, Able" and were backed by a small chamber orchestra. Take a look!


Every once in a while I need to pat myself on the back, especially as an independent music blogger swimming in the pool of blogs from around the world. "With This I Think I'm Officially A Yuppie," was quoted just a couple weeks ago in Canada's Edmonton Journal! The Journal was doing a write up on The Hold Steady and they quoted a few lines from my review of the band at Bowery Ballroom! Take a look at the article HERE!

Wilco and Feist on Letterman


David Letterman had a busy week of memorable performances at the Ed Sullivan Theater this week. Here is Wilco with special guest Feist rocking out from The Late Show on Tuesday night.

Pearl Jam Tracklisting

Pearl Jam have unleashed the track listing to their forthcoming album, Backspacer. The album is due out in September via the bands website, Target stores, online retailers and independent record shops. Take a look at the track listing for Backspacer below..

1. “Gonna See My Friend”
2. “Got Some”
3. “The Fixer”
4. “Johnny Guitar”
5. “Just Breathe”
6. “Amongst The Waves”
7. “Unthought Known”
8. “Supersonic”
9. “Speed Of Sound”
10. “Force Of Nature”
11. “The End”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

EXCLUSIVE! My Brightest Diamond INTV!!!!

She is mysterious, clever and undoubtedly talented. She is Shara Worden, better known as My Brightest Diamond. A musical prodigy from Michigan who has been traveling her whole life to find the success and attention she is rightfully getting these days. One of the most talked about artists in the indie scene, Shara has music and performance in her veins, growing up in the house of well known traveling musicians, her roots and life lie deep in her sound. I had the opportunity to speak to Shara about her influences, colleagues and contributions to music today. Check out my interview below with My Brightest Diamond's main woman and a shining star in music today.

1)You are originally from Michigan, started off as a musician in Texas then moved to New York City. Did the change in atmosphere and lifestyles have an effect on your music and you as a person?
I have lived in nine different states actually and just moved back to Michigan, so I’m not sure if I should count that state multiple times… I have nomad genes I guess. I think all that moving around has given me really eclectic tastes in music. I like lots of different styles and sometimes it makes it hard for me to focus I think.
2) Your style is so unique and fruitful. You combine so many different genres, who are some of your biggest influences?
Prince, Portishead, Pierre Boulez, Edith Piaf, PJ Harvey, Dirty Projectors…
3) You have worked many time with Sufjan Stevens. What is it like to be making music with someone as creative as him?
I toured with Sufjan for many years and sang on Illinois and in that capacity it was really like working with a composer and serving his vision. I think that time for me was about learning to become more confident in performance.
4) 2009 has been a quiet year for you. What are you up to? When can we expect a new record?
I guess it’s been quiet for My Brightest Diamond, but it still feels kind of hectic. I left New York and moved to Detroit and have been touring in The Decemberists. I’m working with Bryce and Aaron Dessner [of The National] on a piece called “The Long Count” which will be performed at Krannert in Champagne, Illinois on September 11th and also at BAM on October 28, 30 and 31.
5) Recently you lent your music to Dark Was The Night. Why do you feel it was important to be apart of this compilation?
I was really happy to add “Feelin’ Good” to that compilation because I’d been looking for a home for that recording and no better home could be found than to support RedHot, which is an amazing organization that has put out 14 albums in order to raise awareness and funds for AIDS. We performed the Dark Was The Night event at Radio City Music Hall earlier this spring and it was a really special evening for me. The collaborations that happened with all the artists in the rehearsal process was so beautiful. It was a really clarifying for me, because you realize that the media and our culture do so much to turn everything into a competition and music is not about competition. Music is about dropping our ego boundaries and realizing that we are connected to each other. It exists to facilitate that oneness and that was very much the theme the whole event.
6) It is my understanding that you studied composition under the great Padma Newsome. What did you learn and take away from him?
Padma made me think about rhythm and color and voicings in new ways. There was so much I didn’t know- even the ranges of the instruments were new information to me. We listened to a lot of orchestral music that I had never heard and that was really exciting too, studying the scores of Dvorak, Ligeti or Boulez. As a vocalist I was not familiar with those guys, so he tipped my toes into a new pond.
7) Theater has always played a major role in your live sets. Why is this?
There is not much narrative on the whole, but I do like to dress up and we have had puppets, balloons and circus toys on occasion. I like the visual element inherent in music and the ability of spectacle to make its subject larger. It’s like using a magnifying glass.
8) You have cited one of my favorite film directors of all time, Jean Pierre Jeunet as an inspiration to your last record, "A Thousand Sharks Teeth." What is it about Juenet's work that inspired the music?
I love his sense of humor, the color of the films, the beauty he finds in strangeness. I wanted Shark’s Teeth to look something like the darkness of “City of Lost Children” because it has that sci-fi element as well as the bizarre and the grit. I thought more bassoons and marimbas would do the trick.
9) You have played with so many great artists, those mentioned in this interview and more from The National to The Decemberists. Is there anyone left that you are still dying to work with?
I recently sang on a new record that David Byrne is making and that was sort of a dream. I have a record coming up with a classical composer Sarah Kirkland Snider which will be an adventure in the space between the worlds of classical and rock music. Other than those upcoming records however, I really want to be at home for a while and write new songs. I’ve been touring so much that I think I’ve written two or three songs in two years so I’m kind of twitching to make my own music soon.

My Brightest Diamond video for "Inside a Boy" (Above)/ MBD Live at Vinyl in 2007 (Below)

Special thanks again to Shara for this interview!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It Might Get Loud

Three Guitar Gods. One Big Picture. Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge team up for a film from director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) that will sure to have a crowd screaming as if they were in a rock show. It Might Get Loud is a behind the scenes look and intimate portrait into the three legendary guitar players, their styles and jamming together. The film arrives next month to selected cities, check out the trailer below...


After a long and quiet absence, Long Island pop punk hero's Patent Pending are back with new material! The band is set to release the EP, Attack of the Awesome on July 25. That same day they will be holding a record release party and DVD shoot at Long Island's Crazy Donkey. To hear new songs and get more info go to the bands myspace page at

Quick News

Pearl Jam have announced details about their forthcoming album, Backspacer. The album will be out September 20 available online, and Target chain stores. The first single from the record, "The Fixer" is set to hit radio soon. Pearl Jam debuted a new Backspacer tune, "Got Some," on the very first episode of Conan O'Brien taking over The Tonight Show earlier this summer.

It seems a Soundgarden reunion may happen, well sort of. Former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell spoke to The Washington Post recently about getting back with his old band mates. Cornell told The Post “You never know.” The famed singer and solo artist seems to be very open to the idea after his former band mates did an impromptu reunion sans Cornell last March in Seattle. Cornell then explained to Rolling Stone “I never wanted to be one of those people who tries to predict the future. I don’t want to know what I will be doing two years, five years from now. I want to be open to anything, but nothing has changed in terms of our attitude toward it. It takes somebody to really stand up and say, ‘We should do this, we have to go do this, let’s go do this,’ and so far, no one has raised their hand to do that. Still, it’s not impossible.”

Also speaking to Rolling Stone recently was Incubus front man Brandon Boyd. Boyd gives a great article about the band prepping for a small summer tour and putting together the band's new "Best Of" set Monuments and Melodies. Take a look at the article HERE.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

VINTAGE CLIP! Bjork @ Glastonbury '94

Just a couple weeks ago Bjork released Voltanic, a CD / DVD set of her magnificent 2007 tour in support of Volta. Take a look at the clip above at one of Bjork's first big solo performances at the annual and greatest music festival Glastonbury back from 1994! Here she is performing the lead single off her first solo record, Debut "Human Behavior."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quick News

So maybe this past summers NIN/JA tour was not the Goodbye curtain call Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails was looking for. What was supposed to be the band's farewell tour in the US will now make another run at the end of the summer, closing out the way Trent wants. Playing only four cities; New York, LA, Chicago and Toronto. Reznor writes on the band's website "They will be informal affairs in medium to small venues with longer set-lists, possible special guests, cool openers and other surprises. Upon reflection, the NIN/JA tour felt like we had to rush through sets due to a limited allotted set length and many shows were in daylight - it just didn't feel right to end NIN that way. An offer to headline V-Fest in Toronto (being announced soon) set the idea in motion to play some FUN shows to end this up with. If we can get it together we'll film these shows, too." Keep your eyes locked to for when these tickets go on sale, this really seems to be it.

New York City rockers The Bravery have come out of hiding. Last week the band gave an update via their website about the new record, "Our long silence has been due to the fact that we’ve been living in an abandoned church in the woods of upstate NY, recording our 3rd album. It’s almost finished; we can’t yet tell you exactly when it will be coming out—when it’s done it’s done. But it won’t be long. The album is being co-produced by Sam and John ‘Rodeo’ Hill; John’s previous work includes the Santogold album and a wide variety of artists including the Maccabees, Amazing Baby, and Shakira." In the meantime the band will hit the road with Green Day to test drive new tracks and get out of hibernation for a bit later on this summer. This will be the band's first album of new material since 2007's The Sun and the Moon.

French band Air have announced the track listing to their new record, Love 2. The album, which is due this fall, is the band's first since 2007's Pocket Symphony. Take a look at the track listing below...
‘Do The Joy’
‘So Light Is Her Footfall’
‘Be A Bee’
‘Missing The Light Of The Day’
‘Tropical Disease’
‘Heaven's Light’
‘Night Hunter’
‘Sing Sang Sung’
‘Eat My Beat’
‘You Can Tell It To Everybody’
‘African Velvet’

Monday, July 6, 2009

Album Updates

After an explosive 2008 it has been a quiet year for rapper Lupe Fiasco, my impression was that the Chicago emcee was working on his swan song, the triple album LUPE.N.D. However, today Lupe has dropped the ball he is giving us another acronym titled record due later this year, he will give is L.A.S.E.R.S. sometime this fall. The single "Shining Down," is due out soon and features Fiasco's friend and backing vocalist Mathew Santos, the voice behind the "Superstar," hook. Take a look at the trailer for L.A.S.E.R.S below

Riceboy Sleeps, the side project of Sigur Ros front man Jonsi Birgisson and his boyfriend Alex Somers have shown off the cover to their new record and were nice enough to post the band's single "Boy 1904" as a free download on their site. Take a look at the cover below, to download the track head on over to

Brooklyn's finest Beastie Boys have also shown off the cover to their latest record, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1. The album comes out in September, take a look at the cover below.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sonic Youth on Letterman

Legendary New York City post-punkers Sonic Youth rocked The Late Show with David Letterman just a month ago. Check out the clip above of the band playing "Sacred Trickster," off their latest The Eternal.

Muse Tracklisting

Big British rockers Muse have unleashed the track listing to their forthcoming album, The Resistance. The bands fifth record was recorded in Italy and is Muse's first record of new material since 2006's explosive Black Holes and Revelations. The Resistance is due out September 14 in the UK and the following day for the rest of the world. Take a look at the track listing below, it even features an three part symphony, very excited for this one!
'Undisclosed Desires'
'United States Of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)'
'Guiding Light'
'Unnatural Selection'
'MK Ultra'
'I Belong To You (+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix)'
'Exogenesis: Symphony Part I (Overture)'
'Exogenesis: Symphony Part II (Cross Pollination)'
'Exogenesis Part III (Redemption)'

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jackson Final Rehearsal

CNN has gotten the exclusive footage of The King of Pop's final rehearsal before his untimely death last week. The clip of Michael Jackson, his band and back up dancer's rehearsing one of my favorite Jackon songs "They Don't Care About Us," and what seems to be a segway into "Jam." The clip was shot at LA's Staples Center on June 23, two days before his passing.

Rising Artist - The Nightmare River Band

From the ashes of the Fire Flies break up last summer, we have gotten some incredible bands that have risen from the split. New York's Paper and Sand have been one and The Nightmare River Band have been the other. The Nightmare River band features former Fire Flies drummer Seth Faulk and former Fire Flies guitarist Adam Krahula fronting this band. The groups sound is a cross between blue grass and punk, an odd combo I know, but it works, think Langehorn Slim meets Gogol Bordello. The music is fast and fun and the perfect drinking songs for a long weekend. The Nightmare River Band's debut Call the Cops is out now and they are on tour all summer, a major suggestion is CHECK THEM OUT!

Movie of the Month-The Beach

I simply love this film. No other way to start off this article than that, The Beach is one of my favorite films of all time. The 2000 film from Danny Boyle starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton was undoubtedly a box off bomb and threw both the director and the lead actor on Hollywood's back burner. Yet, I think The Beach is one of the most overlooked and under the radar films in recent memory. Based off the novel by Alex Garland, we follow a traveler named Richard (an American in the film, a Brit in the book) to Thailand. Richard is looking for the ultimate adventure and more out of life than just being a tourist around the world, in many ways Richard reminds me of an international Sal Paradise from Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Seeking the great unknown and a bigger destination, Richard stumbles across a map to a forgotten beach that is to be the ultimate paradise. He links up with a French couple and embarks on a soul searching mission and the biggest adventure of his life. The film is a visual stunner, Danny Boyle knows how to make a film and knows how to make it look like moving art across a screen and not just some flashy images. Packed with Boyle's trademark style and Leo's fine acting, the film was budgeted at $50 Million and only grossed $39 Million in the US and $144 Million world wide. The film was also a turning point in Boyle's career as he and long time acting companion Ewan McGreggor, who wished to be the lead in the film, was pushed back as Boyle picked DiCaprio instead. Whatever the case maybe, it is a great film to explore and greater than the film is its soundtrack. Backed by the music of Moby, UNKLE, Blur, Asian Dub Foundation, New Order and many others, The Beach has it all.

Underated Classic-Metallica "Load"

I have come to notice that when some albums are released they are praised by fans and critics, shoot to the top of the charts, propel an artist and then years later panned as rubbish or forgotten. Metallica's Load is one of those albums. Released five years after their biggest smash, 1991's Metallica (Black album), 1996's Load was a musical departure for the California metal heads but still had their edge, even though some fans and critics today say with this record they may have lost it. The album came out at a time when Metallica were poised for the ultimate comeback. The road to ruin had been left behind them and Load marked a new chapter in the band's attitude, sound and style. Ridiculed for having cut their hair and wearing Cuban pimp suits on the albums back cover, the band was just simply exploring new territory. In a 1996 interview with Pretty Hate Machine, drummer Lars Ulrich said "This album and what we're doing with it - that, to me, is what Metallica are all about: exploring different things. The minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and fucking die." The sound was not as heavy as previous Metallica records, Ulrich abandoned the bands signature double bass sound and slowed the tempo down just a bit, but the band still brought the intensity. Guitarist Kirk Hammet and singer guitarist James Hetfield adopted a blues style guitar playing and Hetfields lyrics became more personal and reflective than ever before. Also unlike previous records, the band's art choice was much different, instead of dark images or images of death, torture and destruction, the band took a "creative approach," you would say to the cover and booklet. Featuring a painting of bloody seamen on the cover from artist Andres Serrano and photos by my favorite photographer, Anton Corbijn, it was a more stylized approach to the band's overall image and package. Load would go on to be a mega success for the band and their longest studio record to date clocking in at almost 79 minutes, fans and critics today have panned it as the album that Metallica went soft or do not have an edge. I personally think not, in fact they adopted a new edge by doing this and showed how unafraid they are to step into new territory, a great album and one to pick up again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Live Review - As Tall As Lions @ Bowery

It was a sort of homecoming for Long Island's As Tall As Lions, the band played a one off, headlining show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom last night and made every jaw drop to the ground. It was a packed stage, full of gear, lights, extra musicians and a small choir known as "the hotties," As Tall As Lions roared from the first note to the last for over an hour. Walking on stage, singer Daniel Nigro looked pensive but poised as his band tested new songs from their forthcoming You Can't Take it With You, due in August. Opening with the new single "Circles," Nigro and Co., had the crowd in awe, with hands clapping and arms in the air, the fans couldnt wait to hear more new cuts. It has been a little while since fans got a taste of new Lions tunes, the bands acclaimed 2006 self titled record got them world wide attention, and the 2007 EP Into the Flood was a tease of some new material to hold everyone over. Playing a good amount of new songs, you can tell the band was unsure how the crowd would receive them, but the fans kept screaming for more. The new material sound much more experimental and ambitious than anything they have done before and live it sounded on point and perfect, only leading to high expectations as to what they will sound like on disc.
They also hit deep into their catalogue with songs from their debut, Lafcadio and the self titled. The Lions also touched on crowd favorites such as "Stab City," and "Ghost of Yorke," what was noticeably absent from the bands set list was their breakthrough single "Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)" and the show stopping "Break Blossom." Yet, with so many fantastic songs, they may have been forgotten but not missed. Having seen As Tall As Lions four times now, the true highlight of any Lions show is their performance. The band is a group of perfectionists, Nigro's voice is just pitch perfect, guitarist Sean Fitzgerald has a style that would rival The Edge, yet the most fun is watching bassist Julio Tavarez and drummer Cliff Sarcona play off each other and keeping the rhythm so tight and engaging. Watching Taverez play his bass is like watching feeding time at the zoo, he is an animal on his axe and bringing his Latin fury to the instrument and moving on stage like Michael Jackson, he is a show all in his own.
A great night and a great preview of what is to come with You Can't Take It With You in August, and if the record sounds anything like some of it did last night, As Tall As Lions may have made one of the best albums of the year.

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