Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quick Spins

The RootsHow I Got Over***
By Matt Warford
Don’t get it confused; I never thought that Black Thought would be relegated to becoming a 2010 Kevin Eubanks. That said, I was a bit puzzled to see that the greatest (and most “Legendary”) Hip-Hop band of all time had decided to provide musical accompaniment for a third tier Night Show. Understandably, I was apprehensive aboutwhat this meant for future albums. With standout tracks like “Dear God 2.0” (a re-worked Monsters of Folk song), “The Day” and “Walk Alone”, How I Got Over leaves no questions about The Roots dedication to their craft. Equal parts pessimism and optimism, the album is their best effort since Things Fall Apart over a decade ago.

Marina and the DiamondsTheFamily Jewels
A Greek-Brit, Marina is full of spunk and sass and oozing with creativity. Marina is as crass as Lily Allen, as catchy as La Roux and holds the attitude of Liam Gallagher. She is not an easy person to speak with or deal with (I recently chatted with Marina, stay tuned for that interview), but The Family Jewels is grand debut. Leaving my personal feeling about her aside, this girl made a solid record. The album finds Marina attacking fame, Hollywood and the rest of America. It amazes me she makes these attacks since she is signed to a major label and is benefiting from it, she is a terrible punk. Maybe she is bitter since she has not conquered the other side of the pond yet, whether or not if she does, she proves her worth on The Family Jewels.

The came and they went and are back. In 2004 UK’s 22-20’s broke onto the scene as a great garage blues band and just as they were about to rise into something larger than tiny rock clubs, they called it quits. Shake/Shiver/Moan finds the band back in action after a four-year hiatus and I am glad to say they are back. Catchy garage rock, which may not be groundbreaking it is hip and fun as hell to listen to.

The Chemical BrothersFurther
Back with more of those block rockin’ beats, The Chemical Brothers return. On the electro pioneers seventh studio disc, it finds Ed and Tim venturing off into the great abyss. For the first time ever, The Chemical Brothers have a studio album with no guests whatsoever from start to finish and create an electronic odyssey into wandering territory. Longtime fans of the duo will be amazed with what they have done, casual fans may dismiss it, but there is no argument, they are still ahead of the curve and push things further.

The Postelles
The long awaited debut from one of New York’s buzz bands has finally arrived. The Postelles self-titled debut has been two years in the making, produced by Albert Hammond of the Strokes, The Postelles channel their mentors garage influences and cross it with surf pop and doo-wop for a fun listen. The perfect disc to blast on the beach or on the way to a BBQ or crammed in a subway in the boiling heat, The Postelles have created the soundtrack to your summer.

The latest release from the Australian surf rock duo finds them leaving their native land and settling in New York City for some inspiration and working with some heavy hitters. Singing to Universal Music and having David Kahne (Sublime, The Strokes) producing their latest finds these beach boys much more polished and refined. Tamarama is another nice companion for your iPod on the beach this summer.

Henry Clay PeopleSomewhere on the Golden Coast
With a name as bizarre as Henry Clay People one would expect them to play very bizarre music, however, these West Coasters know how to have fun and bring the noise. With wall-to-wall fuzzy guitars and pounding drums, Henry Clay People have been making a name for themselves on the road all year and try to capture their energy on disc. Certainly a band to not sleep on and will be the next big buzz band.

David Karsten Daniels & Fight The Big Bull - I Mean To Live Here Still
A psychedelic jazz-fusion of collaboration between San Fransisco’s David Karsten Daniels and Virginia’s Fight the Big Bull is as crazy as Miles Davis Bitches Brew. It is an interesting array of musical qualities and musicianship that should be explored. The combinations of these acts are venturing into new territory and though it maybe hard to put my finger on exactly what they are doing, it is worth a listen.

Boyce Avenue - All That We Have Left
Taking notes from contemporaries such as Coldplay, Snow Patrol and showing off their heavy U2-style influence, Boyce Avenue are radio friendly rock that one cannot really complain about. Nothing extremely ground breaking but will spread like wildfire across pop radio. All That We Have Left is a polished and clean effort that will spark much interest in those searching for something safe and new to listen to.

UffieSex Dreams and Denim Jeans
Every major record label needs their female act or their “It” girl. Bad Boy had Lil Kim, Interscope has Lady Gaga and the list goes on and on. France electro power house Ed Banger who are home to the likes of Justice, Busy P, SebastiAn and countless others have been producing amazing French artists for the better part of a decade. Uffie is their “it” girl and unfortunately for them, she just does not have “it.” Her music reminds me of Lady Sovereign rapping over electro beats, too bad Ed Banger could not have a La Roux or Marina and the Diamonds on their hands, which is what I am sure what they were going for. What they do have going and what Uffie does have is a look that screams sexy, so she will catch the attention of the crowd just by walking on stage without having to do anything. Uffie’s debut just finds her trying to hard to fit in with the boys and stand out with overtly sexual overtones and sad attempts at raunchy lyrics, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans just falls short for this Parisian sexpot.

***Matt Warford is a contributing writer to With This I Think I'm Officially A Yuppie.

Quick News

Killers front man Brandon Flowers spoke with Rolling Stone about his solo disc Flamingo, which is due is September. Flowers expresses "These songs have an isolation to them that Killers records don't have. It's a little less keyboard, and a little more acoustic, so I started thinking about other people we could bring in. So I shot for the stars, and we got Daniel Lanois." Flowers has been writing these songs for the past seven years and reflect his Vegas/Americana roots as well as growing up a Mormon out west.

Blink 182 are set to begin working on their first new record in seven years this fall. After months of rumors, the band will enter the studio after their summer tour is done.

Kanye West will release his latest, Good Ass Job on September 7, almost three years to the day that Graduation was released. This will be West's first album of new material since 2008's 808's and Heartbreak.

Incubus front man Brandon Boyd announced his will release his first solo album, The Wild Trapeze on July 6.

Tokyo Police Club on Letterman

Canada's Tokyo Police Club hit up Letterman on Monday, take a look as they play their new single "Wait Up."

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Picture this scenario, you are an artist, making your art and doing your thing, struggling a bit for attention. You are invited to a party by friend and fate comes knocking at your door, no you do not meet a soul mate or lover, you meet your future. For LA's The Rescues that is just how it happened. A collection of solo artists from the West Coast who in their own right were doing fine but knew deep down inside they could be doing better, after meeting at a party by a mutual friend they started jamming and the rest is history. Mixing folk, alt-country and southern rock, The Rescues were LA's best kept secret until now. Selling out venues across the West Coast, the band just embarked on their first tour and things have been going steady for the band. They are set to release their debut, Let Loose the Horses on Universal and will be appearing at this summer's Lilith Fair festival. I had the opportunity to speak with the whole band as they were on the road (no worries, they pulled over to talk and did not violate any calling while driving laws) and we chatted about the bands story, start and how things are working out. An interesting band with such a great disposition, The Rescues are not a band to sleep on and this interview will prove why.

Video for "Let Loose the Horses"

Glastonbury at 40!

The world's greatest music festival, Glastonbury in England is well underway and some amazing events have all ready popped off for the festivals 40th anniversay. Gorillaz who stepped in for U2, who were forced to cancel due to Bono's emergency back surgery, pulled out all the stops as Paul Simonon and Mick Jones from The Clash are now in the band's touring line up and special guests Lou Reed, Mark E Smith, Snoop Dogg and Bobby Womack all joined Damon Albarn's animated band. Yet, that was not the only suprise of the weekend, as Radiohead performed a special surprise acoustic set! Kylie Minogue joined Scissor Sisters, Shakira covered The xx and the grand daddy of them all Edge joined Muse for a epic rendition of "Where the Streets Have No Name." Take a look and a look back at other Glasto performances through the years:

A look back at Glasto's past:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Live Review - Good Old War @ Maxwell's

"So who wants to get dirty!?" said Good Old War singer Keith Goodwin to a packed crowd of twenty-somethings in the heart of Hoboken. It was a hot and sweaty night as 200 people crammed into the tiny and intimate Maxwell's just outside New York City. The legendary venue always boasts artists on the rise and it is certainly the right place to see many bands that are right on the cusp of exploding into something pretty big, Good Old War is one of those acts. The Philly grass roots band is a cross between Dispatch style and sound meets the catchy aspects of Vampire Weekend. Their legion of devoted fans is something to be admired as they have only been around for just over two years. The tiny club went into an all out sing-a-long as fans waved to and fro and sang the lyrics to each song the band had. Good Old War are a professional bonfire sing-a-long band that just have so much fun and passion in what they do and their fans appreciate their honesty. One of their biggest fans, Anthony Green of Circa Survive showed off his love for the band and made a surprise visit on stage to sing "Weak Man," a song he has with the band and stuck around for a few more songs. As the crowd just went absolutely nuts to have Green on stage with their band, it escalated the excitement of the night. After an hour long set Good Old War, waved goodbye not just to the fans but to headlining tiny clubs like this, next stop - somewhere bigger.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quick News

The only way to start off this post is by this: NEW. RADIOHEAD. THIS. YEAR! In an interview with BBC6 Music, guitarist Ed O'Brien said that the latest record from the Oxford band will be finished in "a matter of weeks." Though a release date is unknown, the follow up to 2007's In Rainbows is also said to be the bands "best yet." Ed went onto say "We're in the heart of the record. It's genuinely exciting. It's very different from what we did last time. It’s really nice to be doing this. It's so good to be making music with the band that you feel is still as good as it's ever been. Ideally, it would be great if it came out sometime this year. It has got to. I hope so. We’re at the finishing line. When you're making a record, a film, writing a book for ages and ages you think the finishing line is miles away. Now it feels it's in touching distance. But of course, it being a creative process, at the last bit also, you have bursts of energy, you achieve a lot of things in a small period of time and then you’re nearly there… it might slow down. But yeah, hopefully it will be a matter of weeks." Also, no word on how the band will put it out, possibly as they did with the pay-as-you want In Rainbows.

Depeche Mode's back catalouge is set to be a musical which will open in Malta early next year called "Playing the Angel," after their brilliant 2005 album. Playwright Aaron Buckle told The Times of Malta "Depeche Mode are not ABBA or Queen. The story can't be a happy one. It is a story of two boys growing up, coming of age and discovering love. They are abused, used, taken advantage of. It's their sad way of discovering life."

Bush is back! No not the President, but the band...remember Gavin Rossdale's old grunge outfit?! Yep, they are returning for the first time in nine years. Rossdale dropped by famed LA rock radio station, KROQ and played the band's first new track "Afterlife," and that their new record, Everything Always Now will be out in October. This is Bush's first album of new material since 2001's Golden State.

Last year a collaboration between Bjork and Dirty Projectors happened to benefit the New York charity Housing Works. Now the two artists are coming together for the Mount Wittenberg Orca EP, a charity in which all proceeds will go to. The album will be available next week on the site, Take a look at the track listing below:
'On And Ever Onward'
'When The World Comes To An End'
'Beautiful Mother'
'Sharing Orb'
'No Embrace'
'All We Are'

U2 & Soweto Gospel Choir - "Magnificent" World Cup Remix

ESPN has been doing a phenomenal job covering the 2010 World Cup, and the fact that they are remixing U2 tracks with African artists is just icing on the cake. Take a look at the video for "Magnificent," featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir.


Here is a playlist of jams to enjoy when heading to the beach this weekend or just taking in the sun OR better yet - getting ready for more World Cup soccer!

- Gogol Bordello - "Pala Tute"
- Arrested Development - "People Everyday"
- The Clash - "Rudy Can't Fail"
- Weezer - "Surf Wax America"
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - "By the Way"
- Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack - "Cloud of Unknowing"
- Broken Bells - "Vaporize"
- Violent Soho - "Son of Sam"
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "By the Skin of my Yellow Teeth"
- Surfer Blood - "Floating Vibes"
- The National - "Terrible Love"
- The Soft Pack - "Mexico"
- Strange Death of Liberal England - "Flagships"
- The Dig - "Look Inside"
- Marina and the Diamonds - "I'm Not a Robot"
- Lena Mayer - "Satellite"
- Band of Horses - "Factory"
- Gaslight Anthem - "American Slang"
- The Hold Steady - "Hurricane J"
- Deftones - "Diamond Eyes"


My favorite Chicago DJ's Moneypenny have unleashed three free songs for your listening pleasure! Take a listen and snag the tracks above. For more info on Moneypenny, take a look at my interview with the ladies from 2009 HERE.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


For a rock and roll band to hail from Sweden and break internationally it must be a harder task than from any other country. Why, you may ask? Well for starters there is no concrete music scene and everyone expects a Abba sound-a-like. Admit it, it is true. Yet for some bands like Soundtrack of Our Lives and The Mary Onettes, breaking through the crowd and making a name for themselves and country is a task that has to be admired. Starting off as a synth-pop band, The Mary Onettes shifted styles and sounds to be a much more layered and textured music outfit. Their debut, Islands, was released last year and since then they have been on the road supporting their efforts across the globe. With each new place and frontier they visit, they gather attention and fans, as they should. I had the opportunity to speak with singer Philip Ekström as we discussed the bands rise, influences and his humble way of gaining attention around the world. Take a look at my interview with Philip below.

Hailing from Sweden, what kind of impact has your country had on your music?

Probably a lot. Pop music has always been an important thing in Sweden; a huge par of the Swedish popular culture. I mean we have a lot of successful bands coming out of Sweden so if you wanna play pop music you have to put a lot of spirit into it and compete with the others doing it so well.

Since you sing in English, do you feel like you are abandoning your roots not singing in your native language?

Not really. I've tried to write music in Swedish but feel that I’ve never done it good. So much easier to express emotions in English. Easier to put down in words what you feel, and it's much easier finding the words for the quite abstract thoughts and feelings you have. I guess it just sounds better to.

The band was birthed around a love of acts like The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Stone Roses. What impact did those bands have on your style and sound?

I would say that the sound of the 80's had a huge impact on us. I love the epic and the nearly bizarre production some had. I mean what's the point of drown everything in huge reverbs? I don't know, but I just love it. And almost every band or artist was produced in the same way in the 80s.Some was really bad produced but some made it really beautiful and timeless.
And of course some of the bands really inspire us! They probably made us realize what kind of music we wanted to do. But I find it very important that the music I write is totally unique. I never try to steal a melody or copy a song. We just have the same sound as all the bands we are compared with. Quite simple!

A decade into forming this band, is there anything you would like to say to yourself 10 years ago about what you know now in regard to playing style, live shows and industry?

Not really. I think our process as a band has been really healthy despite all the ups and downs. And we've gone thru bad and good things together you know. It's really like a relationship in many ways. And to be honest I haven't realized until now what important mission we have, and that we have so much more to give. Feels like we are just about to begin our musical journey in a strange way.

When it comes to the industry we know how it works and we know what decisions that will harm us and vice versa.

Live shows will always be important to us as well. We don't work as many other bands that goes into the studio and record and then play live. The only time we're working together as an organic piece is when we're playing live. And it can be quite chaotic and intense ; )

The Mary Onettes and major labels seem to go like oil and water; did it ever come to a point of pure frustration that you wanted to give up?

Not one single time. We only do what's best for the band.

Not many acts break big in the US from Sweden aside from Soundtrack of Our Lives. Do you ever feel intimidated by how American audiences will respond to your music?

No I don't think so. The people who shows up at our gigs in the US are people that want to hear us. They are really nice I think. I think it's better to have a crowd of 60 people that really want to hear you than 600 people that is hearing you for the first time. Maybe that scenario would be intimidating.

Is making it in America still a big deal for foreign bands?

I don't know. I guess a lot of bands dream of it. I never dare to think such things. I’m a bit scared of the word "making it". I was really surprised when I realized people in the US was buying our album. I remember when we had sold 3 000 albums on iTunes. I was thinking: 3,000 Americans or more have actually bought this record. Why ? … I’m always a bit skeptical. ; )

You released Islands last year, a deeply personal record. Do you feel any vindication now that the record is out?

I don't think I need to feel that way. That album was an important thing for me. Music is my way of telling stories. It's like a little diary. A reflection of the last two years in my life. I’m not a big talker so I just make albums instead. And I don't make music to achieve vindication. I do it cause I just don't know any better way to express myself. And I’m very glad people like it!

You went from being very dance driven synth pop on your debut, to very layered, textured and complex on Islands. What caused the transition and progression in sound?

I guess the sound came with the songs. Along the process we realized that we didn't want to change the sound too much from how it sounded on the demos. The demos was really layered and a bit messy, but we liked it. We just had one idea, that was to make the album as epic as the lyrics was. We wanted the music to fit together with the lyrics and carry them all the way. Not necessarily that the instrumentation of the songs had to be sad like the lyrics. Sometimes the music almost works against the lyrics in a beautiful way.

Videos for "Puzzles" and "Explosions"

Live Review - Addie Brownlee @ Living Room

Fame is a funny thing, it sometimes makes me wonder why some people are famous and popular when there are people out there that should be. One of those people is Alt-country/folk singer Addie Brownlee. For those that know me, know I loathe country music, for me it is nails on a chalkboard, however, when you add a certain spin on it and not make it pure country and let it be much more creative, it holds me down.
Taking the stage last night to a packed Living Room in the heart of New York's infamous downtown music scene, Addie and her four piece band displayed every type of emotion possible, as did the crowd. As Addie began in a alt-country ho-down, the Tennessee via New York songstress proved her worth. After all, it was special night for Addie, it was the release party to her new EP. Addie who has played with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Doveman and others is no stranger to attention but to have the spotlight on her without the backing of famous names would normally be a bit daunting, yet she proved otherwise. Whether it was excitement or nerves or a combo of both, some lyrics were forgotten but the show went on and had everyone in the room rejoicing for a new female voice in music - in a genre of any kind. Displaying so much raw emotion, you could see the eyes of her band well up and turn red and as I looked around the room, that sentiment was echoed across in the audience. Power like that over people is not taught or bought, it is embedded in ones soul.
Addie is one of these rising stars that needs more attention than she already has, with a nice following already in New York, I expect more to come.

Broken Bells on Kimmel

Broken Bells hit up Jimmy Kimmel Live last week to perform "The High Road" and "The Ghost Inside," take a look at James Mercer and Danger Mouse at work!

Quick News

Since the departure of drummer Caroline McKayas in March, Glasvegas have remained mum about the recording of their follow up to their brilliant 2008 debut. Now, after months of silence, singer James Allen has spoken to England's Daily Record to say "It's like comparing a photo of a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old. "It's gone from Disney to Levi's. I'm totally euphoric about it." As the band's sound may have grown up, they are starting to record the record after spending 2010 demoing in LA. No word yet on a replacement drummer for Caroline, but rumor has it Rick Rubin has been filling in on drum parts.

In an interview with Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe, Brandon Flowers explained the creation of his solo debut was a lonely, despite having drummer Ronnie Vannucci working on the record with him. Flowers says "Without the union and The Killers and that way of doing things and friendship. I had fun making the record but that brotherhood didn't exist. At times it was a little bit lonely." Flowers also went on to explain that the band will be following up Day & Age and are not breaking up, just taking time off from each other.

Interpol will release their self titled four LP on September 14 in UK and Europe and the following day in the US.

Since shunning the limelight for a bit, Ryan Adams is back in a message to fans via Facebook, that new material is on the way. After going through his archives, he will be releasing a slew of unreleased material such as a double album he did with The Cardinals entitled III/IV and Blackhole (a Cardinal less record). Also to be released will be his Sci-Fi metal concept record Orion and Ryan has confirmed he has written 11 new songs since the passing of Ronnie James Dio.

Taking to Twitter on Friday Arcade Fire unleashed the massive 16 song track listing to their forthcoming The Suburbs. Take a look at the track listing below..

'The Suburbs'
'Ready to Start'
'Modern Man'
'Empty Room'
'City With No Children'
'Half Light I'
'Half Light II (No Celebration)'
'Suburban War'
'Month of May'
'Wasted Hours'
'Deep Blue'
'We Used to Wait'
'Sprawl I (Flatland)'
'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)'
'The Suburbs (continued)'

Airborne Toxic Event - "Neda"

Last year the world watched as a young Iranian non-violent protester took to the streets of Tehran and spoke out against her unjust government. Her name was Neda, the world watched as she was shot dead and captured to be put on Youtube for the world to see the birth of a new Iran. A year later, LA band Airborne Toxic Event remembers Neda with this powerful song and video. Take a look.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quick Spins

Gaslight AnthemAmerican Slang
More Gaslight, less anthem. The New Jersey punks return with their third album, clearly their most polished to date and finds the band stepping out of the shadows of the acts that have inspired them; Springsteen, Social Distortion, Bouncing Souls, Woody Guthry and The Clash and into a light of their own. American Slang runs just about a half hour and not as long as its predecessor, The ’59 Sound. Musically it is solid and Brian Fallon is still a master songwriter and like his contemporary Craig Finn, have a way of telling your life story through their words. New listeners will eat this album up, but devotees to the band, such as myself, will enjoy it immensely but still leaves you a bit hungry. American Slang is a must listen for anyone of any age who is still searching in the great yonder for something more.

Band of HorsesInfinite Arms
I never paid much attention to Band of Horses, or I should say, I never paid them the amount of attention they deserve. After witnessing one of the most beautiful live performances of the year when the band opened for Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden, I was instantly hooked. Infinite Arms is one of the most beautiful and lush records of the year and of the most striking pieces of modern musical work I have ever herd. It is a alt-country with ambient and indie thrown in, basically it something for everybody.

Black KeysBrothers
The modern Blues Brothers are back! Indie rocks favorite duo returns with a disc of old tricks but new ways to shell them out. After working with Danger Mouse on their last record, the Black Keys decided to record Brothers on their own and took the lessons from Mouse and adapted them into their own style. A great groovy blues rock record and one to indulge in.

Nas and Damien MarleyDistant Relatives
This was a record that I was most curious about this year. For me Nas is still a great rapper, though he has not put out his best material since 2002’s Nasir Jones, but that doesn’t mean he forgot how to raise hell. Combining his lyrical delivery and attack with Bob Marley’s son Damien, Distant Relatives is a must listen for any hip-hop fan.

Reflection Eternal – Revolutions Per Minute
Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are back! 10 long years since their debut, Train of Thought, the DJ/Emcee duo return with an album as classic as their debut. Both acts have been very successful on their own and a full reunion record was what fans have always wanted. Though, they gave us a great mixtape in 2003, The RE:Union, it still was not satisfying enough. Revolutions Per Minute quenches the thirst we all longed for from these two. Now if only Talib and Mos Def can get back together to do Black Star.

How to Destroy Angels – EP
Six songs from Trent Reznor’s new band is enough to give you a taste of what is to come. Think of it in terms of entering a dark chamber of the unknown, with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig on vocals. Think of it as Beth Gibbons of Portishead fronting Downward Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails.

Stephen EgertonThe Seven Degrees of Steven Egerton
Descendents and ALL guitarist does a punk Santana and enlists some friends and heavy hitters for solo debut. Stephen Egerton’s guitar work has been extremely influential in the punk scene since the 1980’s, and finding just a bit of downtime with both of his bands of hiatus and encouraged by his wife, Stephen’s solo debut is what you would expect from the axeman. Calling on Tim McIlrath from Rise Against, Milo Aukerman of Descendents, Chris DeMakes from Less Than Jake, Mike Herrera of MxPx, Scott Reynolds and Chad Price of All, Joey Cape from Lagwagon to contribute lyrics and vocals. Seven Degrees of Steven Egerton is a must listen for any punk fan.

Live Review - The National @ Radio City

Three years ago a band with a stark sound and style took the stage at United Palace Theater and opened for Arcade Fire. I had no idea who they were, contributing writer Bill Reese and I got last minute tickets to see our favorite Canadian band in action and we could care less who opened for them. As this band played, we got hooked and engaged and so surprised on how good they were, the singer before belting out into their final song said "Hi, we are The National, thanks for listening." We got the name and that was it - instant fans.
Since then I have covered that band from their triumphant opening of Terminal 5 to opening for REM and Modest Mouse to Lollapalooza 2008. Seeing them in every size crowd, venue and audience one could in a handful of years. Radio City was the one venue, since seeing them at United Palace, I felt would really represent them once they struck it big. Low and behold after non-stop touring and recording, the Ohio via Brooklyn boys did it - and sold out the place too!

As they arrived on stage, the five members of The National accompanied by two brass players and backing keyboardist/violinist, you could only see these tall, stick figure like silhouettes walk across the stage to take their places as they were backlit by a bright red screen. Opening with "Mistaken for Strangers," The National seemed very nervous, tense, excited and above all overzealous to be playing the legendary New York venue.

With their latest album, High Violet, debuting in the top 10 of the Billboard charts, a few years ago no one know would have though a band with such dark sound and stark style would really get this far. After all, they are not radio singles or listener friendly bands, like a fine wine an acquired taste. However, defining all logic, they did it and broke down every barrier to sound not only perfect but put on one hell of a show. As the pounding drums to "Bloodbuzz Ohio" came on, singer Matt Berninger jumped into the crowd and literally lifted people out of their seats, a telling sign of what was to come. With a setlist that included a nice mix of songs from their last three records; Alligator, Boxer and High Violet, The National broke out many surprises through the night. Backed on many songs by a small chamber orchestra and having longtime friends of the band Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent herself Annie Clark guest on a few songs, the momentum of the night kept getting higher and higher. As Berninger would wonder around stage as if he was lost in his own party, the sets of brothers Dessner and Devendorf showed off their musical ambitions and skills to the excited crowd. The night was capped off when during the show stopping "Mr. November," Berninger would take, what must have been a 500ft XLR cable on his mic, across the sides of Radio City and walk up to the second floor mezzanine and walk across to come back down again and sing/scream into the crowd. As they closed with "Terrible Love," The National just raised the benchmark of themselves in New York City.

Opening the night was Brooklyn indie favorites, The Antlers. A band I had the opportunity to speak with earlier this year and see when they came around to open for Editors at Terminal 5. This time, things were much more different, more people know about The Antlers and most of all this was Radio City. This was not the same three piece band I saw in February, this was a band that hired other musicians to help carry out their sound and fill the room. Not only did they achieve it in such high standards, they excelled out of this orbit. Simply stunning and amazing arraignments of their songs from their debut Hospice, The Antlers even squeezed in a new song into their 45 minute set. As what happened to The National that night at United Palace some years ago, I believe the torch has been handed over to The Antlers and this is a band to not keep an eye out for, but to watch as they grow into something very big.

The National 6/16/10 Radio City Music Hall Setlist:
Mistaken for Strangers
Anyone's Ghost
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Secret Meeting
Slow Show
Squalor Victoria
Vanderlye Crybaby Geeks
Afraid of Everyone
Little Faith
Conversation 16
Apartment Story
Daughters of the Soho Riots
Fake Empire
Mr. November
Terrible Love

Gaslight Anthem on Fallon!

Gaslight Anthem brought the fire and the fury to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night! Take a look at the band performing "Boxer," off their latest American Slang and the Pearl Jam favorite, "State of Love and Trust!"

Klaxons Cover & Tracklisting

UK's favorite art rockers The Klaxons are back! releasing Surfing the Void in August, the band has shown what the cover and track listing to the forthcoming and highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 Mercury Prize winning, Myths of the Near Future.

01 Echoes
02 The Same Space
03 Surfing the Void
04 Valley of the Calm Trees
05 Venusia
06 Extra Astronomical
07 Twin Flames
08 Flashover
09 Future Memories
10 Cypherspeed

Devo on Letterman!

After releasing their first new album in 20 years, Devo celebrated (and kicked ass) on Letterman! Take a look, they still got and are still weird!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


There are people who have talent inside them and need to work hard to get it out and express it. Then there are others who are naturally gifted and it is given to them. For Ebony Thomas aka Ebony Bones, the British singer songwriter has been crafting her own music for years without ever picking up a guide book or getting a lesson. She feels it and expresses it. One of the most talked about new artists of 2009, Ebony Bones has gone from catching the attention of BBC DJ Zane Lowe to performing at Glastonbury and selling out clubs around the world. Combining Off-Broadway theatrics with Brazilian flair and African drums and straight British attitude, Ebony Bones is one musician that is serious about what she does but knows how to have fun with it. I had the chance to speak with Ebony and we discussed her influences, rise and personality. Take a look at my interview with Ebony Bones below.

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

London has always been a melting pot of cultures and eccentricities, rainy days and grey skies all of which I am heavily influenced by ..

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

I like imagination -- and the way I think things could be, had been, or should be , better than reality. Imagination can transform all sorts of personal insanity into elements of self-invention.

You combine punk DIY aesthetics and Glam all at the same time. Interesting combination that you make work so well, how did you decide to blend the two together?

I come from the home-grown punk ethic, where it doesn't matter if you can't play a note, it's how you communicate. I was never interested in making pretty music or looking cute, I dreamt of something greater.

Describe your sound for someone who has never herd you before?

Tastes like chicken..

You have been a buzz artist for a while, being played on heavy rotation on Zane Lowe’s show in UK to selling out shows in the US before even having a record, to opening for the Slits and playing Glastonbury. How do you respond to the overwhelming attention?

Its been such a train ride of option and interaction. Doors have been opened and experiences I will never forget. From performing live to 60,000 in Japan, singing on stage with Damon Albarn, to French Vogue photo shoots, so much opportunity. I’ve learned so much as a human being, a creative person, a business person and a spirit.

In your press release I saw this statement you made and I laughed, “I am Cleopatra reincarnated, in search of a KFC.” What exactly does this mean?

Its a cheap joke, Im full of them

Hailing from South London, the area is known to be a bit dodgy, has that neighborhood had an influence on your music?

Smooth seas dont make skillful sailors

What does the title, “Bone of my Bones,” suggest?

Bone Of My Bones is taken from Genesis - (the book not the band). This debut like the book, marks my beginning. The track itself on the album is an instrumental, after all God gave us all music so we might pray without words..

Some of your song titles, "In G.O.D We Trust (Gold, Oil & Drugs)", “Story Of St.Ockwell" and “W.A.R.R.I.O.R.” have political connotations to them. What do you think of politicians and do you think they will ever listen to their people?

Just like poetry, my music does not state anything.. It merely suggests.

I ask this question to many British acts, is it still a big deal for a singer or band from the UK to make it in America?

Its important for an artist to have their music heard by as many humans as possible. But its a far greater achievement for an artist to have a career - in a time when many are only promised a moment.

Ebony Bones performing in Miami 2009, covering The Stooges "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

Coldplay the Slashers...

While Ash were on tour supporting Coldplay in 2002, the Northern Irish electro-rock band decided to make a slaher film with their friends in Coldplay. For years there have been rumors that the film was never shot or that it will never be released. Eight years later, Ash have decided to unearth some of the clips for their latest music video "Binary." Take a look at the video with Coldplay below..

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The World Awaits!

For those that have been tracking the site since its conception, it started off as a mix of music, film and soccer. It was not until two years ago when it became a full on music site, however, with the greatest event on the planet arriving this weekend - I could not resist posting this. A nice video mix of past Cups to the music of K'Naan's Summer 2010 jam "Wavin Flag."

Be sure to keep checking my World Cup correspondence to the website!

Quick News

Sad news to report over the weekend, the body of former Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable was found dead at his home in Wales. According to officials, it could take weeks before the cause of death will be know. Cable was a founding member of 'Phonics and played with the band until 2003. He will be missed, our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and former band mates.

Longtime U2 producer and musician Daniel Lanois is in intensive care after being involved in a major motorcycle accident in Los Angeles. No further details have emerged about his condition, which was announced on Monday. This comes just weeks after Bono has been recovering from spinal surgery.

This is amazing news! Rage Against the Machine have told NME magazine that they might record a new record. When asked about new material, front man Zach De La Rocha said "It is a genuine possibility." The band recently played a free concert in London to thank the UK fans for making their track "Killing in the Name Of" a #1 smash this past Christmas and beating Simon Cowell's X-Factor winner to the top of the charts. The song was orchestrated by a Facebook user in the UK who did not want to see another winner of the Cowell produced show succeed to the top of the charts. Along side RATM were Gogol Bordello, Gallows and Roots Manuevia who also performed at the event.

Richard Ashcroft's United Nations of Sound have announced the track listing to their debut record. The self titled project from the former Verve front man was supposed to be released this month but is now being pushed to July. Take a look a the track listing below:

'Are You Ready?'
'Born Again'
'This Thing Called Life'
'Good Loving'
'How Deep Is Your Man'
'She Brings Me The Music'
'Royal Highness'
'Life Can Be So Beautiful'
'Let My Soul Rest'

Circa Survive on Fallon

Circa Survive brought their intensity to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and lets just say, every jaw hit the floor!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Since the dawn of modern music, artists have been flocking to New York City in droves from other parts of the US and the world to gain attention and make it. Over the past 10 years it seems that every musician from every corner of the world has arrived in New York and settled in Brooklyn all to make a name for themselves. Hell at this point, why not! Brooklyn is a hot bed of new music and has the spotlight on it right now. Yet, instead of just wanting to be labeled another "Brooklyn band," the boys in Asa Ransom arrived from Indiana to New York a few years ago and settled right in Queens. Leaving behind a strict upbringing, their working class families and looking into the unknown abyss of the music world. Asa Ransom has no desire to stop and look back to turn around. Since arriving in New York, Asa Ransom has toured constantly, released two EP's and caught the attention of BBC, Brooklyn Vegan, FEARLESS MUSIC, NME and now the Yuppie. The bands style is infectious dance rock with a dramatic blues edge to it. I had the opportunity to speak with Asa Ransom front man Jacob Bills as we discussed the bands music, acclaim and what happens next. Take a look at my interview with Jacob below.

Where does the name of the band come from?

JB: Sounds.

Off the band your style and sound is so unique, who are some of your influences?

JB: Off the top of a mind:
fela kuti, mahmoud ahmed, ganesh, t.s. eliot, darkness is good, kate bush, intimations of the east and future, steve reich, david bowie, noise and silence, invisible cities, al green, esg, sandinista, oskar schlemmer, strobe light honey, brian eno, afrika bambata, angels and demons at play, sanctuary & naima, lee scratch, linval thompson, kraftwerk, howlin' wolf, ida cox, anne sexton, rabindranath tagore, shostakovich, satyagraha, terry riley, re and not re, tony duquette, anna ahkmatova, gitanjali, les fleurs du mal,

You guys met in College in Indiana, what brought you to New York City?

JB: The Indiana thing is misleading. Three of us met there...but we formed in NYC after individually living in New York for sometime. We all moved here in the pursuit of living our lives. Looking to remove social and creative conventions.

Was there ever a “what if this doesn’t work” moment with the band in NYC? Did that never even cross your minds and you just kept plugging along?

JB: There are fears and doubts in all genuine endeavors, but this is our blood. Insecurities are something to reflect on, get through and find greater perspective from.

Each of you have very strict upbringings in Indiana, what kind of liberation did you have coming to New York? Were your minds completely blown as soon as you arrived?

JB: Again, the Indiana thing is misleading. Two of us grew up in Indiana...and even then it was for only part of their lives. Liberation, or that opening up of ones self, has always been our personal goals. Finding ways to fully extend our creative and emotional selves. To be less cautious of joy, sorrow and the unknown. Finding freedom and breathe in compassion. i think moving to New York is one of many ways to challenge your surroundings in order to further challenge yourself. Choosing to live and exist with disorder as opposed to blocking it out as many try to do. It was often overwhelming.

You did a tour last fall that took you across the country and in a month long residency in LA. Did the change of atmosphere from New York to LA have an impact on you?

JB: It certainly did. LA is much less compact. People are much less cautious, though it can be put on. There is less of a weight of history, it is less critical. It is much more open to the new, though that often waters it down. You can walk out side and pick an orange or avocado on your way to meet a friend. In New York you're lucky to find fruit that carries a scent. LA is thick with physical phenomena that it has been adorned with.

After each show your live performances gain you more fans, you have hit BBC, Fox’s FEARLESS music and been blasted all over the radio. How does this make you feel?

JB: Like there is a lot of work to do. We celebrate our successes, but we all carry the knowledge and the charge that the long journey is always ahead of us.

Do you consider yourself a buzz band?

JB: That is a really strange question. we are five people who have devoted our lives to each other in order to pursue creative and personal growth together. We share everything in our lives and really struggle for each other and for what we're pursuing. a word like buzz band is in another world than we are. It’s not relevant to us because we are a real living and breathing thing. We are always growing and pushing.

Are their plans for a full length debut in the works?

JB: Right now we're writing and working on a new recording. It will most likely be a new ep, but we're digging into volumes of we'll see how it shows it face. Music is a way of life, the album is an art form of it's own. There is so much to learn and pursue.

What is next for Asa Ransom?

JB: Nothing short of everything.

Special thanks to Asa Ransom and Leah Marchesano for the interview!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yuppie Around the World

As mentioned before, Officially A Yuppie owner and Editor in Chief, Salvatore Bono was selected to be featured in Oasis' forthing record, Time Flies. Sal's words and quotes will be in the liner notes on the record, but also in the ad campain for the album.

Take a look at this one sheet, below, featuring Sal's quote "Oasis was the first band my parents hated and I loved," which was featured in the July issue of MoJo magazine. Be on the look out for other ads featuring Sal as the main quote, and be sure to pick up Time Flies when it arrives on June 14/15.

Worlds Collide!

So original, so fun. Adidas + Star Wars + Beckham/ Beckenbaur /Daft Punk /Noel Gallagher/ Ian Brown / Snoop & others= Genuis

Vampire Weekend on Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Vampire Weekend - Holiday
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Stephen Colbert has really been stepping up his game with musical guests this season. Here are Vampire Weekend playing the fun summer hit "Holiday," from their latest, Contra.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quick Spins

Janelle MonaeThe Archandroid
By Jared Ziedman***
It is very easy to call Monae’s major label debut ambitious, but the truth is that the word ambitious has transformed itself by musical definition to meaning “well it sounds original, but the album still sucks.” The Archandroid is ambitious, but the ambition is a profound success. In the 70 minute, 18 track concept record, Monae sings about what every major R&B singer sings about…A futuristic society of robots that struggles to transcend their robot class system. Despite the nature of many of the songs, the aim of her lyrics sticks on the first listen. Her single is “Tightrope,” which is about keeping a strong balance in life and never getting “too high or too low.” Ironically enough, this album hits every extreme possible. There are slow songs, there are fast songs, and there are even two instrumental overtures that Monae herself composed. In fact, at first listen, it may almost seem like it is too much. But Monae herself seemed prepared for that. In ever y sit down interview she has done, Monae has urged listeners to take in the entire album in one sitting, articulating that this was designed to be a cinematic experience. If you take her advice, you will be completely hooked by the third listen. In a genre where acts wear their influences on their sleeves, Monae does the same, except she does it better. When it’s all said and done, this album may stand as a testament to the 24 year old Monae, who has a great shot at going down as Bad Boy’s most important discovery since the Notorious BIG.

FarAt Night We Live
The last time this band recorded was in 1998. So much has happened in the world in the past 12 years that it would take forever to write about, since the fall of Far, the members of the band have gone on to perform various tasks within the music industry. Most notable, singer Jonah Matranga became one of the most inspirational voices of the post punk movement with his solo act onelinedrawing to his band Gratitude to writing and recording with acts like Thursday, Deftones, Lupe Fiasco, Fort Minor and many others. Guitarist Shaun Lopez became a producer and owner of a recording studio in California. Yet, for years since the disappearance of Far, a cult like fan base emerged and wanted more. In 2008, 10 years after their break up, Far regrouped and after gigging around, they are back and better than ever. Testing things out on the road to see if a record would be worth it, At Night we Live has been delivered. What as record it is! Worth the 12 year wait, Far fires back and better than ever. A record that is part rebuttal to critics and nay-sayers, part hopeful and like most of Jonah’s work vulnerable and inspirational. In many ways, At Night We Live is a tribute to their long time friend, Deftones bassist Chi Chang who has been in coma after suffering a massive car accident in fall of 2008. At Night We Live is Far’s finest hour and as a fan and critic, I hope the clock continues to tick, because records like this are gift.
DeftonesDiamond Eyes
Some say that you must go through something very traumatic as an artist to create your best work. For Deftones, the absence of Chi Chang on bass and having their brother laid up in a hospital has been all the influence they need to create their best album in a decade. Original recordings for a new Deftones record with Chi were put on hold after his accident. The album, which was to be called Eros, was put on hold and the band decided to reemerge and record a new record, Diamond Eyes, now with former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega. The last time Deftones were this good, rap-metal as massive and the music world was upside down, then they delivered White Pony. White Pony was completely fresh, new and something very different. Diamond Eyes does exactly the same and is the White Pony for a new era and decade of these SoCal legends. Rewriting their own book and breathing new life into the band, Deftones have come back a very strong band in the face of adversary and fear and are looking at it dead in the eye and are unwilling to leave.

Stone Temple Pilots
It has always been a long hard road out of hell for Stone Temple Pilots. Since their conception they were written off as a grunge rip-off; singer Scott Weiland has battle addiction since being in the limelight, famous feuds and fights within the band tore them apart and left them and fans hanging with one of the worst albums ever – 2002’s Shangri La-Di-Da. Eight years after all has been said and done, and much like Far, they regrouped in 2008, road tested themselves to see if a reunion and new record would be fesable. Indeed it has, granted Weiland is still not 100% with his addictions, the singer has kicked hard drugs and has now moved to booze and prescription pills, yet it will not stop STP from flying high. The mark they may have missed at the height of their career is ready to be hit. The band’s latest self-titled release is a throwback to classic rock in sound and style, think David Bowie fronting Bad Company. It is a very solid return and a fresh chapter in this band’s rocky career.

FoalsTotal Life Forever
This five piece English band has been gaining much attention across the pond and is more than ready to make a big splash here in the US. Foals bring a fun funky dance vibe to indie rock and will not stop at making your ass shake across the floor. Total Life Forever is just pure fun and enjoyment and a record that is a must to listen to.

The TweesLessons to Connect EP
This New York band is ready for you to listen. Heavly influenced by The Strokes and creating sounds in the legendary New York bands backyard, The Twees are pure fun. Their EP Lessions to Connect was released last summer and is now being re-released as a free download with two new songs “Unfair Lession,” and “Hepburn Shades.” This EP and band are ready to make the sounds of your summer.

Peggy Sue- Fossils and Other Phantoms
Cheeky folk rock in the vein of acts like Dresden Dolls and The Pierces, the English duo Peggy Sue brings their charisma on their debut. Fossils and Other Phantoms is a pleasant record that fits in after a long day and someone that needs to unwind. As the band begins to steam roll across the US on a massive tour, Peggy Sue are hoping to grab your attention, Fossils and Other Phantoms is their ticket.

Dead Weather Sea of Cowards
Call it Horehound part two. Jack White and Co. return after a blitzkrieg recording session this past December. Bringing back the same antics and noise that was on their debut. Nothing too new, other than that Jack White sings a bit more on lead vocals and front woman Alison Mosshart takes a bit of a step back. Sea of Cowards is dirty rock, but nothing groundbreaking.

Sage FrancisLi(f)e
The socially conscious rapper from Providence returns, but not as triumphant as fans would hope. Li(f)e which boats cover art from Shepard Fairly, the street artist who famously made Obama’s “Hope” posters during the Presidents historic campaign, does not resonate as colorful as it should. Sage, who still has much to talk about, falls a bit flat on this one.

KeaneNight Train
Here is my advice to Keane – PICK A DAMN SOUND! The English band which emerged in 2004 as a trio with the breathtaking debut, Hopes and Fears, have mananged to change styles on every record and still cannot find anything that sticks. On their sophomore record, Under the Iron Sea, the Coldplay inspired band went on to sound like Achtung Baby era U2. Their third album Perfect Symitry had them sounding like Duran Duran and now Night Train. The band now tries to blend hip-hop and electronica and fails. Keane, I know you are talented lads, I loved your first record, I am not saying to keep making that over and over, but please, find something that fits. None of this is working for you.

***Review was written by contributing writer Jared Ziedman. Jared is the Owner and Editor in Chief of sports website, www.takeoverthegame. A site that Officially A Yuppie owner/Editor in Chief Sal Bono contributes to.

Stone Temple Pilots on Letterman

Stone Temple Pilots made their TV return to Letterman at the end of last month to perform "Between the Lines," off their latest self-titled release. Take a look at the boys back in action!

Underrated Classic -Pink Floyd "Piper at the Gates of Dawn"

In many ways I wish I was around when this record arrived in 1967. I question whether I would have enjoyed it as much as I do now, yet, it would be a known fact that after listening to it back then, the whole music world was set to change...forever. The debut of Pink Floyd came with Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the only record which boasted the late Syd Barrett as the leader of the band. Though, Syd may have gone AWOL after the release of Piper, his impact and influence remained through the duration of the band. One of the first psychedelic rock records, unlike most Floyd records that play out like a story, this unfolds as a cosmic trip about outer space, gnomes, forests and fairytales. A drug fueled trip to the unknown, Piper at the Gates of Dawn was an instant classic upon its release and brought Pink Floyd right to the center of the psychedelic movement of the late 1960's. After its release, Barrett departed from the band, which resulted in David Gilmore and Roger Waters in a power struggle for leadership of the band till the very end. Piper at the Gates of Dawn may not be one of the most recognizable records in the Floyd catalogue, but truly one of their finest efforts, a record that was released 40 years ago and light years ahead of its time.

United Nations of Sound

Since the fall of The Verve, Richard Ashcroft has been working very hard at laying his grooves on thick. He has come together with United Nations of Sound and are set to release their debut next week in Europe, though the record will not be available in North America until later in the year, take a look at a taste of what Ashcroft has been making.

Movie of the Month - Death at a Funeral

Leave it up to the Brits to create one of the most hilarious comedies of the last 10 years. The Frank Oz directed Death at a Funeral, not to be confused with this year's Chris Rock American adaptation, arrived with very little fan fair and for those that saw it, needless to say laughed their asses off. When the Patriarch of a upper middle class British family dies, his dysfunctional family and a few surprise guests come together to celebrate his life, his loves and discover a few skeletons in his closet. As far fetched as things may get at this particular funeral it never looses the pace of humor and story. A very funny film that features a slew of great British actors such as Matthew Macfadyen, Ewen Bremner, Keeley Hawes, Andy Nyman and others. Death at a Funeral is a must see for any mood you are in.