Sunday, November 29, 2009
2009 The Albums - League of Their Own
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
...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
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!
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
EXCLUSIVE! The Bravery INTV!!
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
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...
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 http://www.jmarr.com/. Thank you Mr. Marr, take a look at my review HERE.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
3 Year Anniversary
You may have already noticed a big change, the address to the site is no longer http://www.salvatorebono.blogspot.com/ - it is now http://www.officiallyayuppie.com/. If you use the old link, no worries it will still direct you to the right place.
In the three years this site has been active, I have a ton of people to thank so please bare with me. The following people have showed support, helped me in the process of getting interviews, sent me music. So Thank You to:
Henry Rollins, Johnny Marr, Franz Nicolay, John Baldwin Gourley of Portugal The Man, Royal Chains, La Roux, Little Boots, My Brightest Diamond, Patience Hodgson of The Grates, Adam Thompson of We Were Promised Jetpacks, Leah Marchesano, The Creature, Manny Valdivia, Jenna Campagna, Brady Brock, Caroline Borolla, Julie Arkenstone, Rosario Pellerito, Rich D Smoov, Tom Jaycox, Paul Boyd, Jennifer Corley, PJ Seivering, Jay Drizz, Logo, Valentine Lysikatos, Jennifer Crocker, Steve Lent, Phil Testa, Greg Pace, Kismet Films, Eric Grodeck, Scott Rossman, Le-La Cloutier, Bryan Kehn, Elliot Jacobson, Sarah Rubenstein, Tony Beard, MoneyPenny, Tyler Horvath, Debbie Pressman, Felice Ecker, Kevin Harry, Colum Ward, Rob Nieto, Matt Dufour, Catherine McNelly,Canada's Edmonton Journal, Absolutepunk.net, Idancetolaroux, Cliff Sarcona and Daniel Nigro of As Tall As Lions, Mark Palgy from VHS or Beta, Steven Chen of Airborne Toxic Event, Pete Galli, Adam Lucaus from Vonrenzo, Alison Prouty, Dan Haggis of The Wombats, Simon Bobbett, David Dargah of The Postelles, Daren Baber, EMI, Steve Pedulla of Thursday, Jon Langford of Your Vegas, Nathan Bayley of Blue Knives, Paper and Sand, Coldplaying.com, thevervelive.blogspot.com, Brooklyn Vegan, The Editors, Jonny Cragg of Spacehog, Glasvegas, La Strada, Arthur Kremer of Stellastarr*, Steph Pensa, Val Pensa, Nicole Garvey, Violent SoHo, Universal Music, Sony Music, Ian Mackaye, Girlie PR, Tell All Your Friends PR, Mpumi Mcata of BLK JKS, Jerm Reynolds of Hockey, Doug Wimbish of Living Colour, Keving Calabro, Amanda Palmer, Mike Zakarin of The Bravery, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Sharon Timure, Heather Losik, Living Things and most importantly…
Without you I wouldn't be where I am today. So thank you and I promise that what I have lined up for next year will be even bigger and better! Please stick with me!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
STOOGES TOGETHER AGAIN!
At over 60 years old, Iggy and the Stooges still got it! Reunited for the first time in over 30 years, Iggy and the boys played their first gig with guitarist James Williamson. Take a look at the legendary punkers doing "Search and Destroy," at Brazil's Planeta Terra Festival earlier this month.
Williamson, who recently rejoined his former band, is replacing Stooges guitarist, Ron Asheton, who passed away earlier this year.
- Hockey - "Work"
- Pearl Jam - "Unthought Known"
- Muse - "Undisclosed Desires"
- Doves - "Black and White Town"
- The Hold Steady - "Certain Songs"
- 7 Seconds - "Here's Your Warning"
- Thom Yorke - "Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses"
- Portugal the Man - "Do You"
- Funeral For a Friend - "All the Rage"
- Editors - "Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool"
- Blue Knives - "Charges"
- Yoko Ono - "Waiting on the D Train"
- Elbow - "The Fix"
- U2 - "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)"
- Elton John - "Made in England"
- Julian Casablancas - "11th Dimension"
- Bravery - "Hatefuck"
- Fugazi - "Waiting Room"
- Franz Nicolay - "This World is an Open Door"
- Vampire Weekend - "Horchata"
Hot Chip Track Listing
Thieves In The Night
Hand Me Down Your Love
I Feel Better
One Life Stand
We Have Love
Take It In
Sunday, November 15, 2009
EXCLUSIVE! As Tall As Lions INTV!
With the record finally out, and the trials and tribulations that occurred when creating it. Do you feel any vindication now after it is released and the response has been positive all around?
Dan: Yes, it feels great having the record finished and actually be able to share it with everyone. The nervousness of 'what is the reaction going to be' has settled down.
With all that went on making “You Cant Take It With You,” did you ever feel like giving up?
Dan: Of course, there were several times during the writing and recording of the record that we felt like giving up. We took a long time to make our self-titled record so when it came down to making 'You Can't Take It With You' we felt like we had learned a great deal from that process of the previous work and that it would be much easier to make this record. Which wasn't the case. After our second producer fell through was probably the worst. We had spent most of our budget already and realized that we had 5 weeks to record and mix an entire record. The thought of giving up was on our minds for a few days.
“You Cant Take It With You” has a certain psychedelic element to it. What were your biggest influences while recording the record?
Dan: I think the main influences for this record are varied from member to member. One thing that influenced the making of this record was all of us seeing a performance piece in Manhattan called Fuerza Bruta. The soundtrack, enhanced by all the visuals of the piece made us want to make a more percussive record.
Just before the record came out you headlined a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom. What was that experience like?
Dan: Amazing, our New York shows are always an incredible experience especially since it's where we are from and we play there less and less each year it seems. It's always special for us to share what we do with our friends and family. New York shows are always my favorite and least favorite for that reason.
Headling a small summer tour, and now hitting the road with MuteMath, will it be a little awkward not being the top billing?
Dan: No, I love being the opening band on shows. You get to make your first impression on so many people. I find excitement in that.
Are you fans of Mutemath? Excited about going out supporting them?
Dan: Yes, we are fans of Mutemath. And really happy to be on the tour. We can tell we share similar fans as theirs and think it's going to allow many people who would potentially really like our band actually hear us.
Word on the street is that you will be going to the UK this December. Have you toured there before? What is it like going over there as an American band and showing the Brits what you have? What are my British readers in store for?
Dan: It'll be our first trip over there. This is probably the thing we are most excited about at the moment. We've been trying to tour over there for several years now, and have been offered a few tours over there in the past, but for one reason or another haven't been able to make it work.
The band is very popular in Australia and it has become one of your favorite places to play. Will the Lions go back down under any point soon?
Dan: We hope to in 2010 at some point. 2009 is all booked up. Heh.
With 2009 coming to a close, what can fans expect from As Tall As Lions in 2010?
Dan: A headlining tour, more trips overseas, and a live DVD.
You Cant Take It With You Album Trailer (Above) / "Stab City," live from Highline Ballroom 2007 (Below)
To read my first Interview with As Tall As Lions click HERE
Special thanks to Dan and Caroline Borolla for the interview!
Live Review - Metallica @ MSG
Opening with "That Was Just Your Life," from the band's latest Death Magnetic, the energy exerted from the crowd and onto Metallica and vice-versa never let up all night. The pit around the stage looked like a California Earthquake on how the crowd was erupting to see their hero's. The stage which was a rectangle set in the center of the arena, had mic's around the perimeter and drummer Lars Ulrich perched in the center. Ulrich would become my favorite part of the show, watching him jump from his drum riser and spit into the audience, throwing his arms in the air, he looked like Russel Crowe in Gladiator, instead of throwing swords it was his drumsticks, I was just waiting for him to scream "Are You Not Entertained?" at the top of his lungs. With singer James Hetfield running around from mic to mic, guitarist Kirk Hammet shredding his axe like a wolverine and Trujillo creepy-crawling on stage like a rabid gorilla, Metallica made their performance interactive and engaging. Backed by a laser light show that would rival most European discotheques and a lighting grid made from caskets reminiscent of the cover of Death Magnetic, Metallica were not just putting on a concert and performance, they were ready for a spectacle. Not to mention the pyro that famously wounded Hetfield in the early 90's was all there, setting the stage ablaze and creating a full on war zone. Seeing the band twice before at Giants Stadium, last night was the most engaging and fun I have seen the metal vets have. It was an interesting set list, playing a majority of songs from Death Magnetic, which many like "The Day That Never Comes," "All Nightmare Long," and "The End of the Line," sound much better live. While the show concentrated mainly on the new, the songs fit in well with the classics's, songs like "One," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "Master of Puppets," were show stopping favorites. What was noticeably absent was modern classics like "Fuel," "Memory Remains," and I have to say, it would have been kind of fun to hear "St. Anger," granted the album was a disappointment, that song is great.
After the band's two hour set, I have come to realize seeing Metallica is not like seeing most bands. Seeing Metallica is like seeing a good summer blockbuster at the movies. A good blockbuster in the vein of those directed by Steven Spielberg or JJ Abrams not the cheesy ones directed by Roland Emmerich. It is quite the experience watching them and seeing that after all these years they have enough gas to keep their engine running, and that their audience is a mix of father and sons and buddies going out to fuel the band's fire.
Metallica Set List 11/14/09 Madison Square Garden
That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Holier Than Thou
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
Turn The Page
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Fight Fire With Fire
Nothing Else Matters
Seek and Destroy
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Live Review - The Cribs @ Bowery Ballroom
Opening the show was former Detroit buzz band, The Von Bondies. Known to most as "that band that sings that song from Rescue Me," I am still wrestling with whether I liked them or not. They seemed to have fun on stage, but sounded like shit. It was also a weird situation watching a band, who not too long ago, were headling Bowery Ballroom gigs, are now openers. If anything, they are good enough to just be an opening act. Even that song from Rescue Me, the band's biggest single "C'mon, C'mon," didn't get as much applause as it should have. People were dancing, but not many were really into it. Then again, opening for The Cribs maybe one of the toughest gigs in music these days....
The Cribs on Letterman
The Cribs with Johnny Marr hit up Letterman this week and blew the roof off the Ed Sullivan Theater just before blowing the roof off their first night at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Take a look!
The Who have been tapped to play next year's Super Bowl Half Time Show. Pete Townshed and Rodger Daultry will reign over the big game at the end of January.
Legendary UK punkers The Fall are set to release their entire back catalogue soon. The Beggers Group will begin with the reissue of This Nations Saving Grace, the band's 1985 album and each reissue will feature new notes and various recordings of each song. No release date has been set.
The xx, who broke out big in the US last month at CMJ has already lost a member. Instrumentalist Baria Qureshi has left the band permanently after not playing a few gigs due to "exhaustion." The UK act is now a trio and are set to go forth without her. I was able to see what is now the "original," line up last month at CMJ and it seemed Baria did not want to be playing and looked bored up on stage. Glad to hear the band is not breaking up.
Electro freak Dan Deacon has been hospitalized and has had to cancel a string of shows in the US. Deacon, who famously rolls around on stage and abuses himself during his live sets, was rushed to the hospital this week with Acute Sciatica.
Want some free music?!? Well former Clash member Mick Jones' band Carbon / Silicon is giving their new record away for free on the bands website! Head on over to http://www.carbonsiliconinc.com/ for a free download of the album with liner notes and cover art!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
On the Road with Elliot Vol 2
There will be more to come in coming weeks with Elliot, so stay tuned!
Green Day are set to make their way down The Great White Way. The musical version of American Idiot, based off the band's mega successful 2004 album of the same name, will be making its way to Broadway in 2010. American Idiot the musical has currently been doing a successful run in LA since August.
This news blew my mind...Alan Moore, the man behind Watchman, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and known recluse will be working with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz! Albarn and his animated outfit are getting help from Moore in terms of writing an opera for the singer. Albarn and Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett teamed up for an opera in 2007 with Monkey: Journey to the West, it is looking like they want to recreate the magic with Moore on board.
Before they were in The Hold Steady, singer Craig Finn and guitarist Tab Kubler were in Minneapolis band Lifter Puller from 1994-2000, Finn sang with the same energy and ferociousness he does today and played guitar, while Kubler had a different axe, he served as bassist. Come next month, music label the Orchid will re-release all of Lifter Puller's back catalogue. For those that have never herd of Lifter Puller, they were The Hold Steady meets Pavement rather than what The Hold Steady are today, Thin Lizzy meets Springsteen.
Yoko Ono on Fallon
The brilliant Yoko Ono came to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week with help from her son, Sean Lennon and long time family friend Mark Ronson (who looks eerily like Paul McCartney during the Sgt. Pepper period, especially with the violin bass) to perform "Waiting on the D Train." Take a look!
Magnetic Fields Cover & Tracklisting
01 You Must Be Out of Your Mind
03 We Are Having a Hootenanny
04 I Don't Know What to Say
05 The Dolls' Tea Party
06 Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree
07 Walk a Lonely Road
08 Always Already Gone
09 Seduced and Abandoned
10 Better Things
11 Painted Flower
12 The Dada Polka
13 From a Sinking Boat
Sunday, November 8, 2009
EXCLUSIVE! Living Colour INTV!
After six years, New York City funk rockers Living Colour are back! The band, who released their latest record, The Chair in the Doorway in September are experiencing a rebirth and return to form. Living Colour shot to fame in the late 80's bringing their funk, soul and hard rock elements to music. From out of the doors of CBGB's and into radio's around the world with the breakthrough song and video "Cult of Personality" the band would later become pioneers on the inaugural line up to Perry Farrel's Lollapalooza festival in 1991 and the alternative music movement in the early 90's. As Living Colour experiences much critical acclaim again with The Chair in the Doorway, a record that sees the band return to their roots and aggressive social nature, I had the chance to speak with bassist Doug Wimbish as we discussed the bands new album, beginnings and what the world outside is like in their eyes. Take a look at my interview with Doug below.
Off the bat I must say it is refreshing to have you back. In these turbulent times, we need a band like yours. How does it feel to be back with a new album?
Doug: Feels great. We worked on this together and I was able to use some of my resources to get this together. Its a great feeling when you do things right from the start as we did with this record.
What can fans expect from the new record?
Doug: LOVE AND HAPPINESS!!! Its a great record that connects the dots from past, present and future.
The last time you guys recorded was in 2003. What took so long to finally get everyone in the studio for a new album?
Doug: We had to all get on the same page to understand what this thing called LIVING COLOUR is all about. Scheduling was key as we all found other outlets to plug into. We needed to prioritize our schedules and get serious about this record and we did. I tip my hat to my band mates for allowing this to happen !!
The title of your latest record is called “The Chair in the Doorway.” What does this signify?
Doug: How can one get around self in order to move forward. Also, this record bought us together as a band.
The cover of “The Chair in the Doorway” is very interesting. It depicts a man sitting in a lounge chair staring at TV Color Bars. Are you alluding to the fact that we watch way to much TV?
Doug: No. Its just looks kool. It's not that deep to me but if you look at it long enough, it can start to play on the brain!!!!
Was there ever any apprehension about going back into the studio to work on new music and see how people would respond to it?
Doug: No not really. I organized all the studio recordings and i know how Vernon, Will and Corey work. I tried to keep everyone comfortable. And I figured out the right combination to unlock any negative vibes and turn them into positive results.
As one of the pioneers of the alternative movement of the 80’s. How do you feel about music today?
Doug: Its getting there. There are a lot of great bands out there. A lot have taken past elements and re styled them. I'm not sure about the shelf life of some bands but I respect any band for dealing with the wolfs of the music industry and there new found friend called EGO!!!!!
With your sound being so unique, who were some of your influences when starting out?
Doug: My Mom. She influenced me!!!! Jimi, Sly, P-Funk, Santana, The Stones, Jeff Beck, Bootsy, Miles and you.
When you were starting out, you had an outlet like CBGB’s to showcase your music and new sound. Now that CB’s is gone and everything on the Internet, do you think we need venue’s such as CBGB’s for bands to be noticed and a place where new sound’s can be discovered?
Doug: YES, it's very important to have a place for guitar hero contestants do do there thing and exercise human interaction !!!!!
As one of the first all African-American hard rock bands that helped pave the way for acts like Bad Brains, TV on the Radio and South Africa’s BLK JKS. What do you feel about the fruits of your labor?
Doug: It was BAD BRAINS that paved the way. The Bar-Kays and Funkadelic were very early DNA samples for us to draw. We are a part of this in our time frame.
Also, with so few all African-American rock acts, why do you think there is a lack of this in the genre?
Doug: Because no one whats to take time to learn how to play and instrument .
Social and Political issues have always been at the forefront of Living Colour, we saw and heard this in full force with your biggest single, “Cult of Personality.” Do you think that song’s meaning and power are still needed today?
Doug: Its like the moon, here to beam reality and turn the tides. The song is a history lesson with a groove!!
On the same topic, how would you describe the world we live in today?
Doug: When we put the pieces of this planet back together from all those who think they own it, we can have this conversation!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Living Colour performing "Behind the Sun" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Above) / Video for "Cult of Personality" (Below)
Special thanks to Doug and Kevin Calabro for the interview. The Chair in the Doorway is out now!
U2 & Jay-Z Tear Down the Wall
For the MTV Europe Music Awards this week, the channel celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall with a free concert from the biggest band on the planet - U2. Yet, the Irish rockers had a few tricks up their sleeves, bringing out Jay-Z to freestyle over "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
Paying No Mind to Nevermind
By Bill Reese
Assuming we live in a universe without forgone conclusions, if I listened to Nirvana’s Nevermind for the first time today, I wouldn't like it.
Now, before the torches are lit and mobs are assembled, I should make a few points perfectly clear. Nevermind—more specifically “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—changed my life irrevocably. It is like B.C. and A.D. There is my life as a fan of music before “SLTS” and then there is life after it. As a nine year old boy, that was the first song that was undeniably “mine,” for my love for it was based not off the fact that my parents approved of it or played it on repeat, but because I connected with its wild, irrepressible energy—even if I had no idea what the song was really about, who Kurt Cobain was, or why that song had connected with the older cousins who introduced me to it.
“SLTS” was the last major pop song that unquestionably changed popular music, opening up the doors to a new wave of grunge, punk and alternative—but more importantly—it was the song that opened the door for me, to leave the world of music I knew from my parents stereo and discover the things that I liked, that I wanted to listen to, that connected with me, regardless of whether my parents hated or liked it.
But the crux of my thesis is not whether or not “SLTS” and likewise Nevermind opened that door—the more important issue is what I discovered once I walked inside. Inside that Pandora’s box was a burgeoning music scene emanating from Seattle and California. I started with Nirvana’s Nevermind first, sometime in the late spring of 1994, and In Utero later that summer. In the time between I hadn’t really heard about Kurt Cobain’s suicide, and was spared the emotional trauma of having one of my first heroes snuffed out by his addictions and depression.
It is fitting that I began my musical education with those records because they both represent diverse schools of thought on production and songwriting, and more importantly, they are the foundation on which my musical tastes lie.
I immediately fell in love with Nevermind, but falling in love the first time is easy, because you have no idea what it means, only that it feels so good. Nevermind’s was a success not just because Cobain and Novasellic had acquired Dave Grohl from Virginia and had composed an album of lovesick anthems. Their major success was finding DGC and producer Butch Vig. It was Vig who played the role of George Martin for Nirvana, because he captured their energy and found a way to streamline it into the left and right channels and sanded down the rough edges that jut out on Nirvana’s 1989 debut Bleach.
What Vig did to Nirvana with Nevermind has been his calling card throughout his career. He is the master of taking rough bands and polishing them into a shimmery shine. Look at his work on 2007’s New Wave by Florida hardcorers Against Me. New Wave is a perfect comparison to Nevermind, mostly because the backstory is the same. Small band from deep in the American nowhere with a dedicated, scene-insulated fanbase finds producer with a knack for popping up the unpoppable. New Wave is a pop-rocks and coke combination of visceral, political, powerful lyrics delivered in the cuddly, non-threatening packaging of rock bubblegum. Tightly compressed guitars, razor sharp hooks, handclaps and ba-ba-bada-ba harmonies. You sing along even though you don’t know what the song’s about.
Cobain—who despite his genius and God status—was an absolute hypocrite when it came to how he felt about stardom and fame. He wore shirts that read “Corporate Rock Still Sucks” … on the cover of Rolling Stone, the bathroom reading for the rock and roll establishment. They were the kind of punks who came into the country club and said, “We don’t need your fucking money!” but stayed long enough to have a couple beers, play a round of golf and fraternize with the caddy girls. I keep waiting to see one of those Direct TV commercials where Cobain is singing “Teen Spirit,” then looks off camera and says “You know what’s stupid and contagious? Switching to Cable…”
It was partially the dissatisfaction with Nevermind—not the fact that it was a brilliantly produced, brilliantly written, brilliantly marketed, brilliantly illustrated album… but because some of the old fans back in Aberdeen and Olympia didn’t like how corporate they had become—that drove Cobain to seek the tutelage of Steve Albini to produce their third studio album, In Utero. It was a complete 180, leaving the comfortable world of commercial rock and roll and getting into bed with a producer who stood for everything Nevermind was not. Switching from Vig to Albini was like switching from Michaelangeo to Jackson Pollock, both are geniuses in their own right, but their approaches are completely different.
After Geffen heard the first draft of In Utero they refused to release it, and rightfully so. The supposed “original mixes” that have leaked scare me now in 2009, and they probably made the executives at Geffen gasp when they heard the raw, disjointed, distorted mix blast out of their speakers. They probably called it “unlistenable,” and the disembodied voice of Albini most likely replied “No Shit.” Cobain stood his ground, but eventually caved. There was big money to be made. They let Scott Litt—who had just finished R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People—remix the singles “Heart Shaped Box,” “All Apologies” and “Pennyroyal Tea” (which was never officially released due to Cobain’s suicide.)
But Albini’s brush strokes, and his spirit, lived on in In Utero no matter how much gloss they put over the singles. In Utero is still my favorite album for the exact opposite reason that I loved Nevermind as a kid. It is a filthy, disgusting record that shrieks, moans, feeds back, is out of tune, and all of it is on purpose. In Utero was the most punk thing Nirvana ever did—and despite the fact that it had fewer hits, sold fewer albums, is second banana, if not third bananna to Nirvana’s other records—it is their masterpiece.
My taste in music leans more towards records that are raw—like In Utero—than overproduced epics like Nevermind. When Butch Vig overproduced Green Day’s slick epic-pop 21st Century Breakdown I cringed thinking that he’d once again polished a band down so much that he’d rounded off the corners that made them stick out.
Would I like Nevermind today? I don’t think I would. Not as much as I did when I was nine. Good pop music is always enjoyable, but just because I think Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” is a gem of pop songwriting doesn’t mean listen to it. I would chastise Nirvana for abandoning their early grunge roots and cleaning up their act to sell more records. I’d say “Drain You” is a much better song than “SLTS.” Maybe they might put “Lithium” in an iPod commercial and I’d get sick of it, or put “In Bloom” in a Home Depot commercial and I’d get sick of it. Maybe they’d be on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing hipster jeans and hoodies. Maybe they would be a flavor of the month and forgotten by next spring.
But if I heard In Utero for the first time, having the same musical tastes I have now, but without ever knowing that record, I’d say to myself, “Oh my God, this is record I’ve been waiting for my whole life…”
Bill Reese is an editor with Playbill, but has written about music for Skope, Prefix, Good Times, and The Purchase Independent. Bill is also a contributing writer this site. He still has a poster of Cobain on the back of his bedroom door in Astoria, Queens, New York.
Bravery on Conan
The Bravery hit up Conan last week as the band is currently on tour in the West Coast just before their new album, Stir the Blood hits stores on December 1. Take a look at the band in the clip above and STAY TUNED AS I HAVE SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL WITH THE BRAVERY COMING UP IN A FEW WEEKS!!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Swell Season on Conan
Glen and Marketa are back! Oscar's favorite couple hit up Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last week to promote their latest, Strict Joy. Take a look above.
Hot Chip have given some details about their new album. The currently untitled follow up to 2008's Made in the Dark, will come out in February. The band has given some details on their site, such as they are putting the finishing touches on it now and will hit the road for a massive world tour. Only UK dates have been announced thus far, however, they have told us US fans to wait patiently as more details will emerge in the coming weeks.
Why can't Bloc Party just grow a set a say they are broken up? Not for nothing, this hiatus they are going on seems to be more of a breakup than I have ever seen. I guess the idea of hiatus sounds better, but just coming off the news that drummer Matt Tong will not return to the band after this so called hiatus. News just broke that front man Kele Okereke is set to record a solo album. Producer Hudson Mohawke has told BBC 1 Radio that he is going to work with Okereke in the future and that Okereke is working with members of Spank Rock for his solo debut.
Iggy Pop has announced that he and The Stooges are currently rehearsing for a full 2010 tour! Iggy, who just picked up the "Living Legend" award at Marshall's London Music Awards this week, gave the news there. Original Stooges guitarist James Williamson will fill in for the late Ron Asheton, who passed away earlier this year. Iggy also a man of much wisdom, gave this great quote when he accepted his award from Pete Townshed "Alright, you know, thank you to everybody who has strong feelings about music so that when you hear something you don't like you wanna f**king kill somebody and when you hear something you like you wanna f**k everybody."
In non music news, but another topic I do love and something very awesome none-the-less; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have been tapped to cohost the Oscars next year. I shall reveal my list for the 10 Best Films of 2009 and Oscar picks in February just before the awards.
Lisa Hannigan Covers Depeche Mode!
Motion City Soundtrack Cover & Tracklisting
1. Worker Bee
2. A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)
3. Her Words Destroyed My Planet
6. History Lesson
7. Stand Too Close
8. Pulp Fiction
11. Skin And Bones
12. The Weakends
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Rising Artist EXCLUSIVE Hockey INTV!
Thanks to Jeremy Reynolds for the interview. Special thanks to Darren Baber and Bryan Kehn for all of your help. Extra special thanks to Manny Valdivia and Jenna Campagna for their post production work.
Mastodon on Fallon
Just before Halloween, Jimmy Fallon scared the shit of his audience with a heavy and fantastic performance from Mastodon. Take a look.
02 Vanity Kills
04. The Black Roses
05. Little Sister
07. Reste Avec Moi
08. I Would Send You Roses
09. Like A Full Moon
10. Begging Bowl Blues
Texas band Spoon will release their seventh record Transference in January. Take a look at the track listing below..
01 Before Destruction
02 Is Love Forever?
03 The Mystery Zone
04 Who Makes Your Money
05 Written in Reverse
06 I Saw the Light
07 Trouble Comes Running
08 Goodnight Laura
09 Out Go the Lights
10 Got Nuffin
11 Nobody Gets Me But You
Welsh band Los Campesinos! are set to follow up 2008's We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed with their new record Romance is Boring. The album, which comes out the same day as Spoon's, January 26. Take a look at the track listing below..
01 In Medias Res
02 There Are Listed Buildings
03 Romance Is Boring
04 We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)
05 Plan A
07 Straight in at 101
08 Who Fell Asleep In
09 I Warned You: Do Not Make an Enemy of Me
10 Heart Swells/100-1
11 I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know
12 A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters From Me to Charlotte
13 The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future
14 This Is a Flag. There Is No Wind.
15 Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State
Florence and the Machine on Letterman
UK songstress Florence and the Machine came onto Letterman like a breath of fresh air last week. Take a look at the acclaimed British band playing "Kiss with a Fist," off their debut Lungs.
Just after his brother announced his solo plans for the new year, Oasis front man Liam Gallagher is also saying he will continue to go forward in music. However, Liam will form a new band and make it not a solo project, but a totally new act. No word yet on who he is playing with.
Jack White's Dead Weather will record the follow up to their debut Horehound in December.
To celebrate 25 years of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a two night bash just went off at Madison Square Garden and it seemed to be the concert event of the decade. With night one featuring Bruce Springsteen and special guest Billy Joel and Darlene Love as the headline. It also had, what could be, the final performance of Simon and Garfunkle. Night two was highlighted with sets from Lou Reed, Metallica being joined by Ozzy Osborn and U2 bringing out Black Eyed Peas, Springsteen and Mick Jagger. This concert will air on HBO later this month.
Julian Casablancas on Conan
Strokes front man Julian Casablancas, who just released his solo debut, Phrazes for the Young, hit up Conan last week to perform the single "11th Dimension." Take a look at Casablancas stroking solo on stage.
Movie of the Month - Divorce, Italian Style
Wolfmother on Conan
Aussie heavy rockers Wolfmother hit the deck on Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien this week in support of their latest effort, Cosmic Egg. Take a look at the band, now a quartet, rock Conan's audience.