Friday, February 26, 2010

Live Review - Tibet House Benefit @ Carnegie Hall

It was a night of peace, love and punk rock as religion, politics and action came together in the austere and dignified Carnegie Hall in a beautiful cause on a long winters night. The 20th annual Philip Glass curated Tibet House Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall boasted big acts like the Godfather and Godmother of punk Iggy Pop and Patti Smith to Regina Spektor and Gogol Bordello. Aside from the big names, it was an interesting array of people inside the legendary venue; from the stuffy uptown crowd who paid big bucks for their tickets to the hipster and yuppie crowds of the Village and Brooklyn all congregating together under one roof in the name of justice and music. Opening the night was a prayer and performance from Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery, who as in prayer made everyone reflect on the real reason we were gathering together, the idea that social change and justice needs to be given to the people of Tibet, that the peaceful plateau and location in China should be it's own sovereign nation.
While global acts such as Bajah from Sierra Leone, 15 year old Tenzil Kunsel of Tibet, Pierce Turner and the curator himself - world famous composer Philip Glass who entertain and enlighten the crowd for most of the evening, the biggest applause started coming from the big name heavy weights.
In a short three song set, Regina Spektor the Russian-American beauty with the voice of an angel, sat behind a grand piano and did what she did best - made every jaw in the room hit the floor. From singing in her native Russian to English and enchanting the crowd with her voice, playing and lyrics, Regina only left everyone begging for more. As soon as Spektor wrapped, Brooklyn global sensations Gogol Bordello walked on stage. Starting off in a unplugged acoustic set, it already was a weird vibe from the Balkan gypsy punks. When you see Gogol it is just 500% energy, nonstop. You would never expect them to pull off an unplugged style acoustic set, yet they did, but their surprise didn't last long. Indeed gone were the back up dancers, the sling shot around singer Eugene Huntz neck and the flamboyant pirate outfits, but by their last song they had all of Carnegie Hall forget where they were and had everyone clapping and on their feet! Even in the most lavish and sophisticated venues, Gogol Bordello will still be the most fun you have seeing any act at any time. True entertainers.
From classical to Afro-funk to Asian folk to electro to punk to folk, the night would end in true legendary punk rock fashion. Patti Smith and Iggy Pop. Smith and her band came on stage singing "Love Train," and had the crowd on their feet clapping and singing. The legendary female singer and poet looked as jolly and as joyful as she ever would, yet when need be she will turn into the raging angst driven female that has been driving her music and talent for years. The legend did not have anything to prove but just lets have fun for a night, and fun we as the audience did. I was so happy I finally had a chance to see Smith after all these years, yet just as her set winded down she introduced the man that is a one man wrecking ball - Iggy Pop. The Godfather of punk came on stage in a black shirt and black jeans and that didn't last very long. With Pop and Smith, still backed by her band and a string quartet, Pop opened with "Passenger," the haunting classic was on fire and so was he. Taking his shirt off and running on stage in true Iggy fashion, the man, who has been through hell and back still showed off he still had what it takes to rock harder than any person you will ever see. With security at Carnegie Hall just giving up on the crowd as they rushed the stage, Pop swung his mic stand like a helicopter over his head, tossed it to the floor and repeated the scenario as he led the crowd into the night. Closing with "I Want to be Your Dog," Iggy may have given a taste as to what he will do when finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month, nonetheless the fact that two legends shared the same stage, a memory no one in attendance will ever forget.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quick Spins

Another round of reviews...Take a look and check out these records!

Hot ChipOne Life Stand
Not the banging fist pumping and rump shaking records we have gotten to know from the London beat makers in the past, One Life Stand finds Hot Chip, as they put it “an end of the night record.” Starting off the with the heavy beats and sampling we have grown to love, the album feels more of an extension, a Part 2 if you will of their brilliant 2008 album Made in the Dark. By tracks 3 and 4 things slow down a bit, much like it would had you been coming home from a night of drinking and dancing. It is the band’s most introspective record and though soothing and calming and less danceable, Hot Chip still manage to show their fun side.

Bang Bang EcheSonic Death Cunt EP
This is thrashing electro at its finest! Think Does It Offend You, Yeah? and The Prodigy having a New Zealand love child. Fast and hard beats ala Justice cranked over song titles based on films and catch phrases. This act is one to catch at any festival because you know the party will be outrageous.

La StradaNew Home
I got to know La Strada pretty well last year, filming them for an afternoon at their Greenpoint, Brooklyn rehearsal space. They are an energetic and fun band to witness. Their style is a cross between Arcade Fire meets Gogol Bordello’s Balkan rhythms. New Home, the band’s debut capture’s the band’s talent, but lacks some of the live energy you would get from a concert. Still, a solid effort and a band to watch out for. Take a look at my interview with La Strada from December HERE.

Cloud Cult—Lost Songs from the Lost Years
It is hard to pinpoint what exactly is good about Cloud Cult or if this band has flaws. The thing is the music of Cloud Cult is the type of music we are all familiar with, it’s ambient, calming and soothing but still has a drive to it. The songs from the band’s latest, Lost Songs from the Lost Years could play as the soundtrack of your life. Even better then belong in a film soundtrack playing to a slice of characters lives and closing credits. It is an interesting sound and style that deserves to be listened to.

Massive AttackHeligoland
British ambient beat makers return with a star studded disc featuring members of TV on the Radio, Damn Albarn, Mazzy Star, Guy Garvey of Elbow and many others. The foundation to the record is typical Massive Attack, nothing new or groundbreaking, but a delight for any fan. The guests are really what make up the record both lyrically and creatively.

Fueled by passionate lyrics and strong vocals, New York’s Xylos are a band that will have the radio friendly pop crowd go nuts and something the indie kids will appreciate as well. However, in the case of the band they sound too much like Postal Service and it’s hard to overcome the idea that Ben Gibbard could be singing these songs.

Quick News

While on tour in South America, Coldplay's Chris Martin has stated he would like the band's follow up to the mega-successful Viva La Vida or Death and All of His Friends to be out by Christmas in an interview with The band has been recording in a converted church in London as opposed to a converted bakery where Viva was recorded.

That side project of Thom Yorke solo material finally has a name, Atoms for Peace, yes like the song off Yorke's Eraser record. the band that features longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Goodrich and Flea among others will go on the road this spring for a small tour. The band, who Yorke debuted in LA last December at that time known as The Eraser (the title of Yorke's solo debut) has been rehearsing and recording with Yorke while the singer has been recording the latest Radiohead record.

Deftones are set to release the follow up to 2006's Saturday Night Wrist in May. The band's latest Diamond Eyes will arrive May 25 and is the first Deftones record to not feature bassist Chi Cheng who is currently hospitalized after being involved in a serious accident in 2008. The latest single "Rocket Skates," is a free download on the band's site

After nine long years, Stone Temple Pilots will be releasing their first record of brand new material. The self-titled record will also be out the same day as Deftones Diamond Eyes, May 25. Take a look at the track listing below.

1. “Between The Lines”
2. “Take A Load Off”
3. “Huckleberry Crumble”
4. “Hickory Dichotomy”
5. “Dare If You Dare”
6. “Cinnamon”
7. “Hazy Daze”
8. “Bagman”
9. “Peacoat”
10. “Fast As I Can”
11. “First Kiss On Mars”
12. “Maver”


In their first album sans keyboardist, organist and accordion player Franz Nicolay, Brooklyn's finest, The Hold Steady will fire back May 2 with Heaven is Whenever. Singer Craig Finn describes the direction about the album on the band's website as “embracing suffering and finding reward in our everyday lives.” In a press release guitarist Tab Kubler states "I think this is a guitar heavy record. But I would NOT say this is a heavy guitar record. The main objective being not to make the same record as the one previous. I love Boys and Girls and Stay Positive. But they have a very similar feel and sound." Heaven is Whenever is the band's follow up to 2008's Stay Positive. Take a look at the tracklisting below.

1 The Sweet Part of the City
2 Soft in the Center
3 The Weekenders
4 The Smidge
5 Rock Problems
6 We Can Get Together
7 Hurricane J
8 Barely Breathing
9 Our Whole Lives
10 A Slight Discomfort


Here is your dose of fresh monthly jams to listen to..

- The Germs - "What We Do Is Secret"
- Wu-Tang Clan - "Bring the Rukus"
- Rolling Stones - "Sister Morphine"
- Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"
- Chapel Club - "All the Eastern Girls"
- Blur - "No Distance Left to Run"
- Spiritualized - "Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space"
- M83 - "Highway of Endless Dreams"
- Spoon - "Written in Reverse"
- Clipse - "There was a Murder"
- Far - "Pony" (Genuine Cover)
- Them Crooked Vultures - "Warsaw or the Last Breath you Take"
- Hot Chip - "One Life Stand"
- The Bravery - "White Knuckles, Red Hands"
- Screaming Females - "Mothership"
- Royal Chains - "Ink"
- Mars Volta - "Cotopaxi"
- The Stooges - "TV Eye"
- Richard Ashcroft - "The Journey"
- Broken Bells - "The High Road"

Sunday, February 21, 2010


When you go to a concert and see a band you always want the energy from the crowd and most importantly the band to be very high. When you see a guy like Nick Oliveri the energy level goes through the roof and into orbit. Oliveri, best known as the former bassist for Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss, left Queens in the mid 2000's and has been doing things his way ever since. From jamming out with famous friends like Slash and Dave Grohl to forming new acts with his old mates in The Dwarves and recently you can catch Nick on a solo acoustic tour playing material from his entire catalogue. Just a Nick started his tour I had the chance to speak to the man behind the mad man stage antics and one of the best bassist's and musicians around these days. We discussed his tour, who he has played with, and how he feels about former Queens of the Stone Age member Josh Homme playing with his pal Dave Grohl in Them Crooked Vultures. Take a look at my interview with Nick Oliveri below..

How has the solo tour been coming along?

NO: Tour has been cold , but good. I have a cold.

You play your solo shows under the name Rex Everything pseudonym, or Pierre Pressure. Where did these names come from?

NO: I play under Nick Oliveri acoustic. Those names were given to me by The Dwarves.

Slash’s solo record is set to come out this year, finally, you contributed to it. What can you tell us about it? What was it like playing with him?

NO: Slash was awesome to work with. He was more than cool and very kind. It was killer working with Eric Valentine again as well. I got to work with one of the greats.

You have played with various bands and various musicians, who has been your all time favorite to play with?

NO: Hands down its Dave Grohl.

Is there anybody you wish you could jam with that you have not already?

NO: Yeah, but their all dead.

From Kyuss to Queens of the Stone Age to Mondo Generator and The Dwarves, we have seen you in many great bands. Will you ever revisit or reunite with these bands in the future?

NO: I just did a new Dwarves record and another Mondo Generator record.I also spent a couple of very chilly weeks in Oslo,Norway recording with my new band that I am super excited about.We dont have a name yet but its Me and the Turbo Negro dudes and its gonna blow your head off ! All of these thing are gonna come out this year so it gonna be a busy 2010 for me and I could'nt be happier about it.

Recently former QOTSA member Josh Homme formed the band Them Crooked Vultures with John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl. Is there a lineup you have in mind that you would like to play with that could top that one?

NO: I'm not in competition or trying to top anyone's anything. My new band kicks ass ,period. And Dave plays on a track on the new album as well. Its all good brother.

You formed a band with Twiggy Ramirez, Casey Chaos and Shannon Larkin called The Headband, though material was recorded it was never released. Will it ever see the light of day or what that something for just you guys to do and see what would happen?

NO: It was a good night and a shitty recording on a tape that I have somewhere. We have not got together since 1999.

You were an outspoken critic (and rightfully so) of Creed and Staind. What bands do you despise these days?

NO: Still Creed and Staind.

What bands do you like these days?

NO: Trash Talk from No.Cal. Extortion from Perth, Australia and Hy-Test from Sydney, Australia

Nick solo acoustic in 2006 (above) / Queens of the Stone Age "Go with the Flow" (below)

Thanks to Nick, special thanks to Clint Weiler for the interview!


There has always been great music from Great Britain, always. However, the influx of great Brit bands we have been getting the past few years, each act has been outdoing the next over and over again. England's Chapel Club is one of those next shining acts that is set to break big. Already a massive band in the UK and one of NME magazine's favorite new acts, Chapel Club combine dark sounds with a lyrical flair that will having you singing their songs for hours on end. I had the opportunity to speak with Chapel Club's front man, Lewis Bowman in one of his first American interviews. Lewis and I discussed the bands sound, influences and when they will finally be arriving in the US. Take a look at my interview below..

Given your sound and style, there have been a plethora of bands with moody, atmospheric tones to come out of the UK this past decade. Acts like The xx, Glasvegas, Editors. How do Chapel Club break away from that?

LB: Mood (rather than moodiness) and atmosphere (rather than atmospherics) are definitely important to what we’re doing right now as a band… but I think it takes more than a few surface similarities to warrant viewing something as a scene, and I don’t see that there’s anything solid there that we need to break away from. People just haven’t had a chance to hear all the songs yet. It’s hard to get the measure of a band based on two or three tracks.

Hopefully when people see us live they’ll realise that we’re not really limited to the whole black leather and lamentations thing. Besides, there’s more light than darkness in most of our songs, I think.

You have been compared to Joy Division with every write up about the band, yet it has been noted that you are not fans. Does the comparison get frustrating after a while?

LB: I don’t know who noted that? We might have said that we don’t want to feel consciously influenced by them – even that we’re trying to avoid their influence in places – but that’s only because what they did was so singular and powerful that even the slightest hint of influence can seem like a shitty imitation. There are too many bands in Britain trying to rip off Disorder already. I guess it’s a pretty lazy comparison though, or a hasty one – but I don’t think it will last long. When more of our music is out there, hopefully the descriptions will become a bit more imaginative and accurate.

Who are your influences?

LB: Well, there are some bands and artists we all love and agree on – Deerhunter, New Order, Tom Waits, YYYs, Liars, Sonic Youth etc. But there are others that we don’t. Our influences are probably mostly unconscious, we don’t have a game plan in that sense – we don’t aim to fit into a certain bracket or sound like a certain band. We just play and play and play and keep the stuff that moves us and forget the stuff that doesn’t.

To be honest, inspiration is as likely to come from films or books or paintings as it is from music. The film Aguirre, by Werner Herzog, and the poem The Empty Church, by R.S. Thomas, have influenced the lyrics and mood of the songs so far (to me at least) more than any particular band…

How would you properly describe your sound to someone that has never heard of you before?

LB: That’s tough… Lean, loud, delicate, dramatic, hopefully beautiful. ‘Intense’ is a word that comes up a lot in response to the live shows.

Who came up with your tagline “God builds a church, the Devil builds a chapel,” because it is brilliant?

LB: Ha, not me. That’s an old adage used and re-used in one form or another by a lot of preachers and religious thinkers throughout history. The version I put on our MySpace page is actually from Tom Waits’ Misery is the River of the World.

After forming in 2008, in just a year the band is starting to generate buzz, when it takes most bands a few years. How do you explain your scenario?

LB: Focus and luck, I guess. We stayed away from the live circuit until we had written a pretty good clutch of songs and rehearsed them to the point where playing them felt completely natural to us. So now, you know, not to sound immodest but… we’re pretty tight.

NME Magazine was where I first caught attention of you, the magazine wrote “If this band don't get massive in the next 12 months, expect to read a news footnote about a major record label announcing significant canteen/security staffing cut-backs by this time next year.” How do you respond to such high remarks?

LB: I never even saw that, when did they write that? That’s weird. I take it they mean that if we don’t make it big, some label will have spunked all its cash on us and will go into the red as a result? With respect (and gratitude for the implied compliment, I guess), that’s not really the case! We aren’t the kind of band to sign a mega-money deal. We want to make music for a long time to come, and that means having a label that will support us even in trying times. We don’t know who or how many people will like what we do. Whatever deal we get, it won’t be making us rich because we don’t want that kind of pressure.

Being a London band, how has the city influenced your music?

LB: If I’m honest, I don’t know that London has influenced us that much. I’ve lived in London all my life, I barely notice her. I guess London’s music scene can be very short-sighted and trend-obsessed, which served as a kind of spur to action when we started the band. We wanted to do something more intelligent and interesting, something that would last.

Being a British band, is it still a big deal to make it big in the US?

LB: Yeah of course, most of the music we listen to comes from the US – it seems to me that America generates more artists with long-term ambition and integrity and the confidence to make intelligent music. In the UK, a lot of indie bands seem to be more interested in guest-lists and the gutter press.

Also, my brother lives in Iowa, so we need to do well enough out there that we can play the Quad Cities and he can finally see us live.

When can we expect you in the US?

LB: In the Spring perhaps? It’s all still to be arranged but we’ll definitely be coming over, hopefully putting on our own shows in some offbeat places. It’ll all be on the MySpace as soon as we know more…

Chapel Club - O Maybe I

Chapel Club MySpace Music Videos

Thanks to Lewis and special thanks to Stephen Taverner for the interview!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Live Review - Editors at Terminal 5

"New York, it has been too long," as soon as Editors singer Tom Smith arrived on stage he addressed the crowd and was ready to play a welcomed comeback to the city that never sleeps. Opening with "In This Light and On This Evening," the title track from the band's latest record, the crowd and band were both focused on the music and what was to come. From the moody opener, things kicked up with "An End Has a Start," the pulse pounding title track to the band's sophomore release and a guarantee party starter. Editors have been on tour in North America for the first time in two years, after a string of dates here this past month, things are winding down for the British band and the lads seemed to be nervous and excited about being back in New York. New York City has welcomed the Editors with open arms since before the release of the band's 2005 debut, The Back Room.
Now, three albums in and switching the craft of their dance friendly rock and roll to a much more moody synth meets club vibe, the new songs and old songs worked really well in the order of the set list. Drummer Edward Lay is simply an animal behind his kit, guitarist Chris Urbanowicz would constantly switch off between his guitar and multiple keyboards and Russell Leech laid thick grooves with bass playing. Yet, it is singer Tom Smith everyone has their eyes locked on. Could it be his dapper mod clothing? Or his handsome good looks? Or the fact that the guy writes really great songs that take you places emotionally and physically. I am going with all of the above. Smith would roam around on stage like a rabid dog, curling his body like an ocean wave and belting out his words to the crowd. On stage Smith is a cross between Chris Martin on cocaine and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan (who was also on cocaine and other things once). It is a true show in the front man alone. Each song had the crowd engaged, the highest applause would come during "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors," and the Euro-club favorite track "Papillon." Word of mouth after the show, this seemed to be a sub par Editors concert. I respectfully disagree, as the band is getting older they are evolving in sound and style, at its core Editors are still a top live ticket. If I was ever in a band, I would want to be in a band like Editors.

Opening the show were two New York natives, The Antlers and The Dig. The Antlers, whose debut Hospice, has gained them much critical success, a concept record about losing a loved one to cancer. The Antlers live performance is just as stark, complex and captivating as their record, in fact they sound just like the album in concert. I am looking forward to seeing them again open for The National at Radio City in June. The first band up, The Dig was a band I was unfamiliar with, yet now I am totally intrigued to their music. They are an ambient band with pounding drums, think Air meets the moody side of Editors. A great night and I just hope it does not take another two years to see Editors again.

Quick News

For the first time in over 15 years, original Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder joined his old band at a special concert in London at Royal Albert Hall for a concert benefiting Teenage Cancer Trust. For any DM fan, this is a truely special occasion and for those in attendance, a historical moment in the band's four decade long career.

Legendary British punk band The Fall is set to release their latest record, Our Future - Your Clutter. This is the band's 28th, yes you read that correctly, 28th album. It is set to come out on April 26.

Take a look at the Sonic the Hedgehog inspired cover for Brooklyn psychedelic rockers MGMT's latest, Congratulations, then take some LSD.

Fanfarlo Live on Letterman

Pay close attention to this band Fanfarlo, trust me they are going to be big. The British Buzz Band made their American TV debut last week on Letterman. Take a look!

Wu Massacre Cover and Tracklisting

For members of the Wu-Tang Clan, most of the solo efforts of the great hip-hop group have fallen flat with few exceptions of Ghostface, Method Man, RZA and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. Wu has always been known that the sum is greater than it's parts...until now. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Method Man are teaming up for Wu Massacre. The trio's debut will drop at the end of March, take a look at the cover and tracklisting below. This is going to be the one of the best hip-hop records of the year.

01. Criminology 2.5

02. Meth vs. Chef

03. Ya Moms (Skit)

04. Smooth Sailing (Remix feat. Solomon Childs)

05. Our Dreams

06. Gunshowers (feat. Inspectah Deck & Cappadonna)

07. Dangerous

08. Pimpin’ Chipp

09. How To Pay Rent (Skit feat. Tracy Morgan)

10. Miranda

11. Youngtown Heist (feat. Trife)

12. Break Breaka (It’s That Wu Shit)

13. Made Men (feat. Cappadonna) (Bonus Track)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Live Review - Soundtrack of Our Lives @ Irving Plaza

When you boast fans from everyone like Liam and Noel Gallagher to David Letterman, your chances of success around the world are pretty high. For Swedish band The Soundtrack of Our Lives (TSoOL), success around the world has happened since the release of their 2001 debut, Behind the Music. I have been a massive fan of this band since that release, yet I have never been able to catch the band live...until now. The Soundtrack of Our Lives are on another run of American tour dates in support of last year's release, Communion. In a stop at New York City's Irving Plaza, TSoOL proved why they are one of the most talked about live acts the world over.

Arriving on stage dressed like dapper gents that just stepped off the runway's of Fashion Week, also going on at the same time as the band is in town, the six piece band brought forth a combination of mellow music and heavy rock and roll. Singer Ebbot Lundberg, dressed in a long black tunic and draped in a gold and red scarf, looked like music's Messiah, stretching his arms out singing the first few chords to the opening number, "Pictures of You." From a few mellow and melodic songs, the band then cranked in high energy 30 minutes in with a cover of the late Nick Drake's "Fly," then crashing into crowd favorites from Origins Vol 1, the band's hardest album to date. Songs like "Big Time," "Believe I've Found," and "Heading for a Breakdown," were all stretched out in epic rock and roll jams. Guitarist Ian Person and Keyboardist Martin Hederos are two balls of energy, pounding on their instruments and really getting into what they are doing. As the crowd got into the energy of the band, the band fed off the energy of the crowd. Fan favorites like "Sister Surround," and "Babel On," would get the highest applause, yet each song was better than the next.

Opening the show was LA buzz band Nico Vega. Nico Vega can best be described as the West Coast's answer to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, the trio is a great dirty rock and roll force. Singer Aja Volkman is much more seductive and sexier Karen O and at points I was not sure if I was to fall in love with her or be deathly afraid. Nico Vega are a band to keep an eye out for, as they stormed the New York crowd, everyone became a fan.

Special thanks to Tierney Stout and Tell All Your Friends.
More Photo's can be found on the "With This I Think I'm Officially A Yuppie" Facebook page. A link is at the bottom of this site!

Editors on Kimmel

While on their first US tour in two years, Editors hit up California last week and made a stop in LA to play a few shows and make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Take a look as the band blows everyone away with amazing versions of "Papillion" and "Bricks and Mortar" respectively. I will be catching Editors as they make their way to NYC this weekend, stay tuned for a live review!


The most over looked band of the 90's is back! Sacramento, California's Far - the band that has influenced everyone on the West Coast from Deftones to Linkin Park to Incubus and countless others is back! Jonah Mantranga and the boys of Far will release At Night We May Live, the bands first record in over a decade! At Night We May Live which was produced by Far guitarist Shaun Lopez at his studio's, will hit stores on May 18. Matranga posted on the band's website,, that “All I know is that I’m really proud of the record, and I think it stands with anything we’ve made. Really, that’s all I cared about as we were making it.”

The band, whose last record, Water and Solutions was released in 1997 and then re-released in 2004 with bonus DVD and liner notes. Far hit the road this past fall to test drive the audiences and see how things would go, I was able to catch them at their very first performance in New York City in over a decade at Bowery Ballroom opening for Thursday. Take a look at my review HERE.

The Soft Pack Live on Letterman

California surf rockers The Soft Pack were on Late Show a little over a week ago to promote their self-titled debut. Take a look at the band rock out and stay tuned as I have something special coming up with Soft Pack in the future!

The Heavy Live on Letterman

British funk inspired rock act The Heavy hit up Letterman a few weeks ago of a brilliant performance of their single "How do you like me now?" Dave liked them so much he asked the band to do an encore on the spot! Take a look!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Heartless Bastards INTV!

Rock and Roll has always been a male dominated genre. Many female acts have broken through and made a big impact, acts like Hole, The Donna's and The Lunachicks to name a few. Other acts have had male backing and female's fronting - Joan Jett, Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics, No Doubt and of course, Ohio's Heartless Bastards. The band, fronted by charismatic and hard rocking Erika Wennerstrom has been a critic favorite for years and have been winning over audiences left and right with every show. From opening for acts like Wolfmother and Gaslight Anthem to hitting the festival circuit to their own headlining club gigs, Heartless Bastards have been the road dogs of rock for years. Last year they released the critically acclaimed album, The Mountain and as the band preps to hit the road on the other side of the Atlantic in Europe this year, I had the opportunity to speak to The Bastards main woman, Erika Wennermore. Take a look at my interview with Erika as we discussed the formation of the band, touring and being a strong female on stage and in studio.

Just after the band started out, you had received some pretty high acclaim and help from The Black Keys. Propelling you into the spotlight and big stages, how bizarre was it to go from dive bars to big stages?

EW: Well honestly it wasn’t exactly overnight. We’ve been at it since 2003, and I would say we’re just now headlining some big stages. It’s been a very gradual process, which is fine by me. I feel it’s helped me maintain a grounded perspective about the whole thing. I’m very grateful for the success of this album, and the progress of the band since it’s release back in February.

Erika has been the only constant member of the band from its conception. Has the revolving door of Heartless Bastards changed your music?

EW: I’ve always written on my own. I feel most comfortable working the songs out before I present them to anybody. Nothing about the writing process has really changed.

Unlike most female fronted acts these days, you have a pair of cojones much like Joan Jett and Courtney Love. Is it hard making a way in a male dominated genre, even with a strong powerful woman?

EW: There may happen to be more male musicians out there in the rock and roll genre, but I don’t see this as some kind of glass ceiling effect. It’s just the way it is. Maybe more parents refer their little girls to play the flute, and clarinet in school instead of instruments like drums and guitar. I’ve never felt discriminated in any way because I was a female in this business. I don’t even see myself different, or special in anyway, and I think if I did, I’d be much more likely to ostracize myself from fellow male musicians. If you want to be treated equal don’t act like your special.

Your latest record, The Mountain, was released earlier this year. What does the title signify? Are your climbing a metaphorical mountain?

EW: The song The Mountain is about the greed of large companies that don’t seem to have limits on how much they want to increase profits despite some of the negative effects they have on their community. It’s been a domino effect of jobs being shipped over seas. The middle class is slowly being eliminated. It seems that if jobs keep leaving then nobody can afford to buy anything over here. The same companies that are trying to cut costs end up selling less products because less and less people have jobs here. They are ultimately destroying themselves. Then there a business’ like Walmart that will put a whole small town of independently owned shops out business. I could really go on for a while about this.

As far as The Mountain for an album title I just thought it sounded catchy, and I guess everything I’ve done has been sort of an uphill climb.

What was it like working with Spoon’s main producer, Mike McCarthy? Would you work with him again?

EW: I have been a big fan of McCarthy’s work, and was extremely flattered that he was interested in working with me. It was a big learning experience. As far as the question of would I work with him again is, sure, but for the next album I haven’t crossed that bridge yet.

From the get go, Heartless Bastards have been a critical favorite and you have always released solid and consecutively strong albums. Do you ever fear that this may slip and you may lose their attention?

EW: I am grateful for the positive response the band has received, but If I spent my time trying to write songs to please other people I would be miserable. I write songs that I’m into, and just hope people respond. I don’t think it’s good to measure your success on how many people buy your albums anyway. Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” was considered a commercial failure back when he put it out, and now with time, it has been considered one of his strongest works.

I have seen you perform twice. Once opening for Gaslight Anthem and then at Lollapalooza 2009. What I always found interested at your sets is your ability to engage strangers who have never herd of you before. Is it weird playing your music in front of fresh faces and ears that never listened before?

EW: I love playing in front of new people. When we headline we generally have the full support of our audience so it can be a bit challenging to get in front of an audience that have their arms crossed and are blank faced. That is just how it is when you open though. You have to remind yourself that a lot of the audience has never heard you before and they’re trying to figure out what to think of you. We win some over, and some we don’t.

What was it like being on the road with Gaslight Anthem? Was it a bit odd opening for guys in their mid-twenties with a less amount of records than your band?

EW: They’re a bit older than you think. We’re really not very far off in age. They’re in there late 20’s and early 30’s. Was it odd opening for a band with less records than us? Not really. That’s bound to happen sometimes. It’s not like I’m any less proud of the things I’ve done. It’s not healthy for me to sit around comparing my success and achievements to other bands and people. Also those guys were in bands for years before. Gaslight anthem may be a new band, but it’s not like they picked up their instruments 2 years ago.

You are currently on the road with Wolfmother. What have those shows been like? How is this experience?

EW: The Wolfmother tour has been great. They really put on a great show. We got along really well with them too. I think the audience was really receptive to us also. The opening band was The New No.2 which is Dhani Harrisons band. He’s George Harrison from the Beatles son. He recently helped develop The Beatles Rock Band game, and when I got home from tour I ended up playing it one night with friends and I thought of him a lot when I was playing it, and how amazing his fathers songs were.

What does 2010 hold for Heartless Bastards?

EW I think we have a European tour on the horizon. We are going to do a headline tour of the US in April and May, and are gonna work on finishing a follow up to The Mountian.

Video for "All this Time" (TOP) / Heartless Bastards Live on Fallon January 2010 (Below)

Thanks to Erika, special thanks to Nicole Orbe.

EXCLUSIVE! J. Tillman of Fleet Foxes INTV!

Long before joining the acclaimed lo-fi act Fleet Foxes, drummer Josh Tillman has been a solo act for many years. Like his band, he writes songs about nature and sounds like it was recorded in a house in the middle of nowhere. Among touring and recording with Fleet Foxes last year Tillman released his latest solo effort, A Year in the Kingdom. I had the opportunity to speak with Tillman about his solo work and I found the musician as mundane as his music. Take a look at my interview with J. Tillman as we discussed his solo work and touring with the band and as a solo artist.

Off the bat, A Year in the Kingdom sounds very stripped and bare, yet lyrically very dense and heavy. Did you choose for the music arrangements to be minimal in order for the listener to focus on the lyrics?

JT: I chose minimal arrangements because I like minimal music.

What does A Year in the Kingdom mean? Is it heaven? A Woman? Music?

JT: It pertains to the elasticity of memory.

After the success that Fleet Foxes has been receiving, was it difficult making the transition to work on solo material? Or was it a necessity to do?

JT: I never transitioned from one to the other.

You have released a plethora of solo material, how does Year in the Kingdom differ from your other releases?

JT: The songs, album art, etc.

The cover art for A Year in the Kingdom is very interesting. Who came up with the concept?

: Mario Hugo.

You joined Fleet Foxes in 2008 after the band had already formed. How did you get involved with those guys? Was it weird being the new guy in the band?

JT: I've been friends with them for a while, you'd have to ask them why they asked me to join.

Do any of the members of Fleet Foxes guest on the record? Did they lend any encouragement or ideas?

JT: Casey played piano on a couple songs.

2009 was a tremendous year for Fleet Foxes, playing all the major festivals, opening for Neil Young at Hard Rock Calling. Is it weird going from the major stages with the band to playing small clubs and theaters as a solo artist?

JT: No, I've been doing that for years.

What does 2010 have in store for J. Tillman?

JT: I have no idea.

J. Tillman "Firstborn" Music Video (Top) / Fleet Foxes "White Winter Hymnal" (Below)

Thanks to Grace Jones for the interview.

Yeasayer on Fallon

Brooklyn psychedelic rockers Yeasayer lit up Jimmy Fallon last week! Take a look!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quick News

The Gaslight Anthem have given details about their third record. The Jersey punks latest, American Slang will arrive in June, singer Brian Fallon told “For the last record we looked really into it and we asked ‘What are our influences and how do we jam them in?’ And on this one, we’re writing songs that we feel are relevant to us.” American Slang is the follow up to the band's breakthrough 2008 release The '59 Sound.

The Strokes are aiming for a September release on their fourth record, the follow up to 2006's First Impression of Earth. Drummer Fab Moretti told BBC "we're just running around like kids in a candy shop." The band has been recording in New York City with producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, U2).

We Are Scientists, who have been rather quiet the past few years, announced their latest record Barbara will arrive in June. The first single "Rules," will hit airwaves in April. We Are Scientists are now joined by former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows.

Kaiser Chiefs had to get really bored in ordered to get inspired. Interesting take on creating art, but who am I to judge. After a few months off the road, energetic front man Ricky Wilson told BBC "Then I got really bored, then mind-numbingly bored and that's when you start thinking about the fact you want to get up and do something again." He then went on to say "I haven't felt this creative since we first started." The band's last record, Off with Their Heads was released in 2008, no word on when the band's latest will be released.

MGMT have given the track listing to their forthcoming record, Congratulations. The album is due out in April, take a look at the track listing below..

'It's Working'
'Song for Dan Treacy'
'Someone's Missing'
'Flash Delirium'
'I Found a Whistle'
'Siberian Breaks'
'Brian Eno'
'Lady Dada's Nightmare'

Live Pix - Them Crooked Vultures @ Roseland

Here are photo's of the 2/8/10 Them Crooked Vultures concert at Roseland. Review is in previous post. These pictures were taken by THE CREATURE.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Live Review - Them Crooked Vultures @ Roseland

This review could be summed up in one word - unbelievable. Simply, unbelievable. It is easy to put what I witnessed last night at Roseland into words, but the experience and pleasure cannot be described. Arriving sharply on stage at 9pm, the super group Them Crooked Vultures struck their first note seconds onto arriving and didn't let up for nearly two hours. Opening with "No One Loves Me, and Neither Do I" then getting into "Dead End Friends" the band hit hard and jammed in interludes of each song extending them longer than what was on their debut, which was released in November. It is one thing to see a rock and roll band live, it is another to witness legends in the making. Them Crooked Vultures features Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme on lead vocal and guitar duties, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on bass, piano, guitar, mandolin and plenty of other instruments, and everyone's favorite Dave Grohl on drums with assistance of Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Alain Johannas as their special guest on the road. This is not a normal band by any means, the talent that is exuded from these lads has been unforeseen. Them Crooked Vultures are not only the loudest act I have witnessed, but the most musically talented as well. Any band that can get John Paul Jones on stage with them, you know is something special, watching him play is not only awe inspiring, it is an honor and privilege. Watching Jones play off of Dave Grohl, the two have established themselves as one of the greatest rhythm sections ever, even just being in existence for less than a year. The look on Josh Homme's face all night resembled that of someone asking him to pinch him if what he was doing was real.
Playing their debut in its entirety, including many moments of impromptu jam sessions, Homme would joke in between the long songs about his band mates. Referring to Jones as "Zeppelin," and how Grohl will have sex with everyone in the crowd as well as nursing a hangover that was caused by him drinking Jager till 5:30 AM that morning, these guys look like they are having the times of their lives. The fun they have together as a band is displayed in their power, which again, with a line up like this is expected, and they rose far above all expectations. What was unexpected was that a few fresh new Vultures songs were played, but no covers. Not a single cover from any of the bands these guys have played with, which for the better proves they can stand out on their own. The follow up to their debut will be out this summer, and they will easily be an act that will be hard to catch. Them Crooked Vultures are how I like my rock and roll - loud, fast and dirty.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Semi Precious Weapons INTV!

Freakishly flamboyant, amazingly entertaining, New York City's Semi Precious Weapons have been gigging around their home city for years, within the past year or so they have risen from tiny Lower East Side clubs and onto main stages and into the eyes and ears of new fans around the world. 2009 was a major year and landmark for the band as they headlined celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's Perez Presents tour, opened for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball World Tour and found time to even record a new record. As the band just gets off the road with Gaga and sets to release their latest You Love You, I had the opportunity to speak with the hilarious, charming and insanely fun front man Justin Tranter. Justin and I discussed what is in store for the band in 2010, the new record, life on the road and of course that rumored collaboration with country bumpkin Kellie Pickler that he confirms and puts to the test. Take a look at my interview with Justin below...

2009 has been a tremendous year for the band, how do you plan to top it in 2010?

JT: 2009 has been gorgeous! 2010 will be even more magical. We plan on doing that by having our major label debut come out, touring the WORLD with GaGa, wearing nothing but the color nude, and being even filthier.

When will the band begin recording the follow up "We Love You?"

JT: We just finished recording our new record "You Love You". We bought ourselves out of our Indie deal, and "We Love You" is going to disappear. Because "You Love You" is a lot more of what we sound like now after 200 more shows and a new guitar player. Jack Joseph Puig produced "You Love You" with us, and we couldn't be prouder of it.

You just did the Perez Hilton Tour this fall, how was that experience? What was it like being on the road with all of those artists?

JT: The Perez tour was fucking fabulous. We went from opener, to support, to co-headliner. It was like a teen movie montage. Ha! Being with LadyHawke for a month was beyond awesome. We miss her very much.

You were also picked to open for Lady Gaga on her much anticipated Monster Ball Tour. Is there any inside secrets you can give us on what to expect from her?

JT: Its been more than I could ever dream of, I mean, 10,000 people at every Canadian show! Playing the Wang Center in Boston, and I use to sing covers at a piano bar right across the street for tips while I was in college. Amazing.

You were voted Village Voice best NYC band in the current readers poll. How much do you appreciate this title from your hometown fans?

JT: We appreciate it VERY much. We love NYC, and most of NYC loves us. I think. Hahaha!

The sound and style of the band is so unique, but also reminiscent to another NYC band, The Scissor Sisters. Are they influences of yours? Would you ever consider working with them?

JT: The Scissors are wonderful, but they make dance pop, and we make rockNroll. But we do all dress well aka like crazy people, so I think that's where the comparison comes from. I'd love to work with them one day.

Recently it has been reported that Justin will work with Kellie Pickler. How did this relationship come about? Will Kellie be dabbling into glam? Will you dabble into country?

JT: I am a HUGE country fan. Kasey Chambers, Lucinda Williams, and Buddy Miller are some of my favorite songwriters of any genre. I met the incredibly sexy Ms Pickler backstage at fashion week, and we became fast friends. After her Madison Square Garden show with Taylor Swift we ended up writing a song in bathroom at 3am sparkling on champagne. Its was stunning.

You have made a big impact across the pond in the UK. How do the UK fans differ from US fans?

JT: We only played a week of shows in the UK, but by the last show it was sold out. We can't wait to get back there in 2010. We have a lot more work to do over there. Well we have a lot more work to do everywhere actually!

From Perez to Kate Moss to The Sounds to Lady Gaga, your celebrity fan base has grown in such big ways. Does it mean alot to you to have celeb fans as opposed to regular fans coming to shows and buying the records and merch? Or is it just two levels of fandom?

JT: Well, anyone loving our music is great. Celebs loving our music helps spread the word through press and is REALLY flattering, but fans and friends loving our music is what means the most.

There is so much attitude in your lyrics, sound and live shows, yet it stems from a fun place. Do you take yourself seriously? Or just having fun living the dream?

JT: We take our music very seriously. We all went to music school, we have all been playing since we were kids, and we always try to learn new shit. But obviously there is humor in my lyrics. And obviously the point of our shows and music is to have fun and get people laid. So I guess you could say we take playing music, having fun, and getting people laid VERY seriously!

Special thanks to Justin, Debbie Pressman and the Girlie PR team for this interview!

Live Review - Moby @ St. Anne's Warehouse

Just underneath the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge and on a very cold night, as the city was preparing for what they were calling "Snowmageddon," the heat cranked up and energy was alive at a private concert at the small St. Anne's Warehouse in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. New York City hit and beat maker, the multi talented and eclectic Moby gave a performance for the ages showcasing his talents, style and technique. In a taping for the PBS series Soundstage, Moby pulled out his bag of tricks and broke into a great two hour long set. Coming on stage with his guitar strapped on, Moby and his seven piece band sounded pitch perfect. Within the first 30 minutes, the famous band musician did not sing much he let that duty go to his amazing and showstopping backup singer Inyang Bassey, a woman who is as voluptuous as Jennifer Hudson but has the voice and soul of Billie Holiday. She was simply breathtaking to watch and listen to. Yet, once Moby got onto his vocal duty, the hits kept coming. Moby broke up his set into sections, in the first 30 minutes it was guitar oriented rock and roll, then within the second part of first hour he broke into an acoustic set spanning covers from Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin to Nirvana and a few fresh re images of his own work. Yet, once the second hour came, it was hit after hit after hit. From "Porcelain," to "Body Rock," to "South Side," to "We are Made of Stars," I forgot how vast his catalogue actually went. He even got into his old school ways and did live mixing and electronic work on stage with his band.
As the small crowd of invite only guests got into it, we all realized there was one major problem - This was a seated venue! The idea that it took place in a Warehouse sounded like a great idea at first, lots of space to pack people in and move around, yet unfortunately with chairs bolted to the ground, it proved to be a challenge to get into the dance friendly set. However, his fans managed. In between songs Moby would discuss his love of cover bands, give out weird trivia questions and talk about his upbringing, he is a nerd through and through, but you have to love him. Insecure, introverted at times when he is just speaking to the crowd, yet once the music kicks in Moby is a changed man, alive with the glory of sound. As his set winded down, playing disco tracks off his brilliant 2007 release Last Night, the generators inside St. Anne's died and all the lights went out in the house. After closing the show in partial darkness and back up lights, Moby in true showman fashion came back on stage for a 20 minute encore and drove the set home.
Moby may not be the radio friendly artist that we have seen and known at the top of last decade, yet he is comfortable doing what he does and still one of the world's premiere entertainers.

Jonsi / Black Francis Covers & Tracklistings

This year is going to be packed with amazing releases, true story. As Sigur Ros is on indefinate hiatus, following a report last week, front man Jonsi is set to release his solo effort, Go in April. Take a look at the cover and track listing below.

1."Go Do"
2."Animal Arithmetic"
4."Boy Lilikoi"
5."Sinking Friendships"
7."Around Us"
8."Grow Till Tall"

Another one of the years most talked about releases comes from music legend and Pixies front man Frank Black aka Black Francis. His latest solo effort NONSTOPEROTIK, will be out March 30. Take a look at the cover and track listing below.

1. Lake of Sin
2. O My Tidy Sum
3. Rabbits
4. Wheels
5. Dead Man’s Curve
6. Corrina
7. Six Legged Man
8. Wild Son
9. When I Go Down On You
10. Nonstoperotik
11. Cinema Star

The Bravery on Kimmel!

The Bravery hit up Jimmy Kimmel Live this week and gave the city of LA a free concert as well. Closing down a few streets, The Bravery performed the songs "Hatefuck," and "Slow Poison," off their latest record, Stir the Blood. "Hatefuck," of course was edited and changed to "Hateful."
Take a look!

Quick News

As I said during my album reviews, Surf-punk is going to make a big splash this year, another band I have covered before is going to further that hypothosis. New York City's The Postelle's is set to do a spring tour with Portland's Hockey. This is going to be one hell of a fun tour! The Postelle's are currently working on their debut, which has been produced by Strokes member Albert Hammond Jr. Take a look at my interview with The Postelle's from June HERE.

Speaking of The Strokes, the legendary New York City band is currently working on their latest album!!! This comes after a few years of hiatus, The Strokes are working with producer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, U2, Bjork) in New York.

Just after being tapped as one of 2009's best live acts, Them Crooked Vultures are set to release the follow up to their self titled debut this summer. The band, who are currently out on the road (stay tuned for a review this week, I am catching them at Roseland on Monday), have been jamming away pounding out new material for the summer release.

Another fast follow up will come from Jack White's Dead Weather. Recorded over two weeks in December, the band is set to release their latest, a follow up to last years debut Horehound, in April. White is currently mixing the record now.

Still having beef after all these years, former Incubus DJ Gavin Koppel aka Kid Lyfe, was ordered to give up fire arms and was slapped with a restraining order in California this week after he threatened current Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore. The incident, which happened December 28 occurred when Koppel harassed Kilmore about a previous restraining order, according to TMZ Koppel said to Kilmore "You will get killed if you don't lift that order... people get killed in the street for that." Kilmore then reported the incident to authorities and the restraining order was just granted.

Hot Chip w/ The Roots on Fallon!

My generations Devo, that is what I am calling Hot Chip. I believe I have said it before, but just in case I am saying it again. Hot Chip along with The Roots played the title track off their fresh new masterpiece One Life Stand on Jimmy Fallon this week. Take a look!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick Spins

I promised many changes in 2010, one of them was more album reviews. You will be getting album reviews twice a month, take a look at round one.

The Austin indie band fires back in a big way returning to form and making a comeback since 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga. Transference is a perfectly produced album that the more you listen to it, you find out something new each time and it keeps getting better and better. From cleaver lyrics to great musical qualities, Spoon show why after all these years they are bigger and better than ever.

Bouncing SoulsTales of the Boardwalk
In 2009 Jersey punkers Bouncing Souls celebrated their triumphant 20th anniversary. As a gift to fans, the band on the first of each month released a song to celebrate the band’s two decades making music their way. In celebration of that effort, the band has packed this compilation of songs into one record. The songs are typical Bouncing Souls goodness and its nice to see those the band has influenced from Dave Hause of Loved Ones to Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem contributes vocals to some of the songs. A great compilation and one for ever Souls fan to go along with the collection of great material this band has given us through the years.

Surfer BloodAstro Coast
If the Beach Boys did not take hallucinogens during their hay-day and did heroin instead, they would sound like Florida’s Surfer Blood. I have no idea what this band does in their downtime and I am not saying they are drug users, but that is the best way to describe this bands catchy and thrashing sound. Surfer Blood are drawing inspiration from everyone from Beach Boys to The Strokes, and are a band to watch out for this year. Combining fuzzy guitars, catchy and cleaver hooks, this Florida band is one not to be missed. Astro Coast is a solid debut that will see this band rise like the tide.

The Soft Pack
I am making a prediction now, 2010 will be the year that surf-punk makes a big comeback. With acts like Vampire Weekend, Surfer Blood and California’s The Soft Pack, this indie style will come back in a big way this year, and these are only bands that we know of. The Soft Pack, formally The Muslims, is fun and catchy on their debut linking sounds from great Cali bands like Weezer and Rooney and bridging that preppy fun in the sun sound with distortion ala Spoon. It takes everything one would love about the Pacific Coast and jams it into a short yet succinct album.

Chew LipsUnicorns
If Karen O fronted Air and it was produced by the members of Hot Chip, it would sound like Chew Lips, I also think I just thought of a great super group. This UK electro band has been making waves back in their native land and are set to take the US by storm this year with their debut, Unicorns. Singer Tigs vocals are so seductive you are not sure if she would be a femme fetal or the perfect lover.

Screaming FemalesSingles
This New Jersey DIY band has been making big waves the past 12 months. From opening to everyone from Bouncing Souls to Arctic Monkeys to Dead Weather, Screaming Females have been doing everything on their own and are now having the light caste on them. This young band has such a raw energy and great style of playing that they are a live act not to be missed. Their latest EP Singles is a compilation of old songs as the band begins to work on new material. It is a nice collection that displays the bands raw power yet lacks the bands live energy.

Motion City SoundtrackMy Dinosaur Life
When Motion City Soundtrack busted onto the scene in 2003 they were a pop-punk/emo band that sounded like no one else, they were fresh and original. They had cleaver lyrics, ultra catchy hooks and 80’s style synths laid over punk rhythm and style. Now with the scene pretty much dead, Motion City Soundtrack is starting to sound like the peers who fronted that genre and further from themselves. Maybe that is why the title of their latest is called, My Dinosaur Life, the scene is extinct like the former roamers of the Earth. Still the album finds moments of typical MCS style that we have loved over the years; fast hooks, jumping rhythms and most of all, singer Jean Pierre’s voice still remains one of the most original and distinct in all of music. Unfortunately the sound is not as fresh as they once were.