Saturday, October 30, 2010


One of the most talked about and praised bands of the year has been Brooklyn via Florida band The Drums. The Drums broke out last year releasing a slew of EPs and like most American bands, got huge overseas before they even released their debut. In fact, they got so big in the UK, most people thought they were a British band. However, they are American lads that are making extremely fun pop-surf rock and are riding a great wave of success. However, earlier this month, their success was sidelined when founding member and guitarist Adam Kessler unexpectedly and abruptly left the group just as they were about to embark on a major tour with fellow indie darlings Surfer Blood. Our interview with the band had taken place just before Adam left the band and when I tried to reach the band to follow up and see how Adam's departure has effected them, the band's publicist said they had "no comment" on Adam leaving. As the band tries to push on without Adam, they can still look back and be very proud of what they have accomplished, their debut is one of the best records of the year and has been praised all around the world. Take a look at our interview with guitarist Jacob Graham as we discussed the band's beginnings, success, recording and where they are headed.

Do you feel any vindication now that your debut is done and released?

Yeah, sort of. I think a lot of people had some preconceived notions about what they thought it would be like, and you can't blame anyone for thinking whatever because our Summertime! EP was pretty thematic, but for a band to stick to a certain subject matter all the time would get old pretty quick.

What was it like recording your debut?

It was great. We did it all ourselves; produced, mixed, artwork, everything just in our bed room. Hopefully we'll always work that way.

Jonathan [Pierce - band's singer] produced the record, why didn’t you choose to go with a name producer instead of doing it on your own?

Because we think that when you're working with some one you hardly know in a place you've never been you can't really be yourself and make something as personal as it could be. Everyone works with producers these days and no one can understand our sound as well as we can.

Being a surf band from Brooklyn was it difficult being inspired by the beach while recording and living in a borough?

Well, the Summertime! EP was actually written in Florida and we don't really consider ourselves a surf band because, you know...

Where does the name The Drums come from?

Who can say? It just came to us in a vision and we thought it sounded really classic and timeless and simple so we stuck with it, or maybe it stuck with us.

You and Jonathan had been friends for a while and in electro bands together. What made them drop the synths and pick up guitars to start The Drums?

Jonny and I had been playing synthesizers since we were about 12 years old, so you just get to the point were there's nothing very exciting about them. To us guitars seemed really strange and exotic. But it really doesn't matter what sort of instrumentation you're using if you write the best songs you can.

Recently NME magazine called you “the best British Band from America,” how do you respond to such high acclaim? Are you inspired by Brit bands? If so, who?

Well I think we're a little reluctant to take on a title like that because we are Americans and we love America and lots of American music. There are a lot of British bands we love though: The Wake, Blueboy, Two Wounded Birds, The Ruling Class etc. Sweden has really had the market cornered on amazing pop music for a while though.

The Brits have really taken you with open arms, how do you feel about that? Do you feel upset that you are still pounding the pavement back here in the US while overseas you are fully embraced?

It's just timing I suppose. We got our first record deal in England so we ended up spending a lot of time there. We just recently got a record deal in America and we'll be touring here for the first time this fall. You just have to spend time in a place for people to know you exist.

Before you even had a record deal and just a handful of EP’s, the buzz that was generated around you was tremendous. Did that apply any pressure to you to live up to expectations?

No, because from the very beginning we were just making music that we loved and that's all we'll ever do. I guess it helped that we had half the album recorded by the time everything started happening so we just had to finish it up.

Some nay-sayers wrote you guys off as a cheeky “boy band,” because of your clean cut handsome appearance and you write effective pop music. Do comments like that bother you, especially hailing from Brooklyn where credit means everything?

There's not really anything you can say to people who think things like that. We've never cared about being credible, we're too busy making music.

It seems to be a trend now that Surf pop is coming back in a big way; with bands such as yourself, Soft Pack, Male Bonding, Surfer Blood. Do you think more bands will emerge with this style? Why do you think it is making such big waves again?

I have no idea. Maybe people feel restricted by all the conveniences of the modern world. I know I sure do. I think the trend is almost over though.

What is next for The Drums?

Just non stop touring and working on the next record. That's really all we have planned. We don't have any tricks up our sleeves, we just do what we do. Keep it simple, just like our songs.


We Are Giving Away A Signed 12" Limited Edition EP From CHAPEL CLUB!
All you have to do is this, very simple - "Like" us on Facebook and / or Follow us on Twitter (@yuppieblog) and we will randomly select one winner!

Subject Rules: This contest is only open to North America and UK residents only. One winner will be notified by us. Contest runs from 10/30 to Midnight 11/7.

A Perfect Circle on Kimmel

Before heading out on the road in what seems to be forever...A Perfect Circle stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform "Weak and Powerless." It is also the TV debut of the band's last line-up which includes former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha in the band. Take a look!


La Roux front man Elly Jackson is making a bold statement by saying "Synth music is over." The singer, who is best known for having hits like "Bulletproof" and "In for the Kill," tells "I don't want to make synth music for the rest of my fucking life. It was a time when I was into that, but whatever, it's done with, it's gone. The whole genre is so over. It was my thing and I'm bored with it. If I see anything more '80s-themed, I'm going to bust." La Roux, who are currently working on the follow up to their breakthrough 2009 self-titled debut, says "I want [the next album] to be more human, more open, warmer." We spoke to Elly last year and she told us about the band's folk roots, you can read that HERE.

Peter, Bjorn and John are set to release a pop-rock record in early 2011. Drummer John Erikkson told Spin magazine "We originally planned to make a punk rock album. But listening to it now it's definitely a pop rock album. But it sounds more punk rock when we play the songs live!" This will be the band's sixth record and the follow up to last year's, Living Things.

Garbage are set to reunite! After a five year hiatus, Shirley Manson and the boys are working on their fifth record in hopes to have it out by next year. We told you earlier in the week that Garbage member and producer Butch Vig is currently working with Foo Fighters on producing their latest. This latest Garbage record will be the follow up to 2005's Bleed Like Me.

2011 is already shaping up to be a massive year for music and it just keeps getting better. The Go! Team have announced the title and track listing to their latest. The band's latest, Rolling Blackouts will be out January 31 in the UK and Feb 1 in America. Take a look at the track listing below.
'Secretary Song'
'Apollo Throwdown'
'Ready To Go Steady'
'Bust-Out Brigade'
'Buy Nothing Day'
'Super Triangle'
'Voice Yr Choice'
'Yosemite Theme'
'The Running Range'
'Lazy Poltergeist'
'Rolling Blackouts'
'Black Like 8 Track'

VINTAGE CLIP! Spirtiualized on Letterman

With all the new bands and new records arriving in droves this past year, we realized we have not done a VINTAGE CLIP post in a while.
We took to the net and found this gem from 2008! Spirtiualized live on Letterman promoting Songs in A&E.
After we saw the dates and when it ran, we realized that was the week we were covering All Points West Festival and missed the clip the first go around. Thanks to the beauty of the net, we found it and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick Spins

Elton John & Leon Russel – The Union
It is not often that Elton and Leon get mentioned here and that is about to change. 30 years after their original collaboration, one of Britain’s greatest voice’s rejoins one of America’s in a collaboration that was worththe three decade wait. Iwas caught by surprise on how good this record was given that Leon’s voice and look have aged him to become a portly Gandolf from Lord of the Rings and Elton has not released a studio album in almost five years, it is a bit weary. However, what I and everyotherlistener learned from this album is that you cannot doubt legends. Talent is talent and there is a reason why they are timeless. The Union is an amazing record filled with bluegrass, ballads and straight up old school rock and roll. Guys like this can teach the kids what good music really is, The Union is already a timeless masterpiece and it was just released.

The KlaxonsSurfing the Void
The British cosmo rockers return with a punch! After having to scrap an entire record because their label would not release it, the Mercury prize winning Klaxons went back into the lab to craft a fine piece of psychodelic rock. Though in some areas not as strong as their beloved debut, Myths of the Near Future, Surfing the Void finds the band progressing very nicely. Now the only thing we can wait on and have our fingerscrossed is that scrapped record to be released sometime soon as a B-Sides record. After all, they owe it to us for making us wait so long.

Bryan FerryOlympia
Former Roxy Music front man bring a slew of guest and friends for a fine album. Collaborating with David Gilmour, Flea, Mani of Primal Scream, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and hears him teaming up with most of Roxy Music for the first time in nearly 25 years. This is a dance rock record for the ages and one that is a compilation of new material from Ferry in over a decade. He does push the boundries a bit and it is debatable when it is good, for example his Tim Buckley cover of “Song to the Siren” may get lost in translation with its 22 musicians backing him up, however, it is all in good fun and that is what Olympia is – pure good fun. It also does not hurt to see Kate Moss on the cover either.

Swedish House Mafia Until One
The Euro DJ trio provide the world with one hell of a mixtape! Until One is compilation of remixes, originals and favorites from Swedish House Mafia. Featuring tracks from Daft Punk, Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Dave Guetta and other global heavy hitters. It is a record to toss on a party and not have to worry if anyone does not enjoy the music, because they will.

There has not been a singer to come fromLA with this much buzz since…..hmm….maybe never. LA is usually a spot for bands to break through, but solo artists – unless they play some sort of teenage pop are usually pushed to the side. That was the past and Glasser is the present, what a voice, what a writer, what a record. An impressive debut that matches the buzz and maybe one of America’s best exports because once the rest of the world catches onto her, she will be an inspiration for singers around the planet.

Fake ProblemsReal Ghost Caught on Tape
Hailing from the retirement community of Naples, Florida – Fake Problems are a band that are having a ton of fun and are about to explode. Much like fellow Florida rockers, Surfer Blood, Fake Problems play an infectious style of surf rock that is so catchy you will be begging for more. A super fun and enjoyable debut from a band that clearly is doing just that – having fun and enjoying what is happening to them.

I’m Not a GunSolace
The debut from the LA via Berlin ambient rockers John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto. A nice end of the day mix of songs that will awake the senses and bring forth something very calming and relaxing. This is not a high engery record by any means but a nice instrumental escape after a long hard day.

MT Desolation
The debut side project of Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quinn hears them playing at their best in years. Jamming along side with members of Mumford and Sons, The Killers, Noah and the Whale, MT Desolation is a project very similar to that of Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and REM’s Peter Buck, Tired Pony. A trip through Americana in under an hour, MT Desolation bares its folk, country and alt-country skin and strips down everything we have come to know from the duo behind the record. A solid debut and has me hoping there will be more.

Shy ChildLiquid Love
Hyper electronic New York duo Shy Child give us a release on their latest release. An enjoyable record to party to and something that I am sure gets even better in concert. Much like that other New York electronic duo, Javelin - Shy Child bring beats, quirky vocals and energy on Liquid Love.

Vanity Theft Anatomy EP
Finally a girl rock band that actually rocks! Vanity Theft hail from Ohio and look like they just got off a Parisian runway. These are ladies that can get heavy and loud when they need to and show that they can play just as hard as any other male rock band. This is the type of band that Courtney Love wishes she was in now and not whatever that incarnation Hole seems to be now. The only unfortunate thing about Vanity Theft is that this is only an EP and I can imagine what their full length debut will be like. As long as they stay as dirty and loud as they are on Anatomy, then it will be just fine.

Philip SelwayFamilial
Radiohead’s drummer goes from behind the kit and into center stage with a stripped down record that sounds nothing like his bread winning band – and that’s a good thing. Being the drummer in band that is constantly praised for your singer and guitarist must be a bit isolating and unthankful, yet Selway bares it all on Familial. It is a lo-fi quiet record that echos the sounds of Fleet Foxes and Bon Ivor. Though we wish Selway got a bit more bombastic on Familial, it is still worth a listen.

Kings of LeonCome Around Sundown
The biggest American rock band in the world just released the biggest disappointment of the year and the worst record of their career. For the Followill fraternity they could have gone one of two ways: 1) taken the route Incubus did after the massive success of Make Yourself, which was at create a record (Morning View) that could be not only a commercial success but keep you in the critics pocket and keep your fans happy, something that is not too far off from your sound yet still be daring. The other option, option 2) is go about it the way these Nashville natives did, which was just make a commercial album that is just so awful, it only gets worse with every listen. This is such a generic pop-rock record that it does not even sound like Kings of Leon, instead sounds like Nickelback. I know these guys could do better, instead they chose to fill their pockets and be safe. Note to the band: Rock and roll is not safe nor is it ever supposed to be safe. Every artist is allowed one pass at a crap record, let’s just hope this is the using their pass.

Die Antwoord - $O$
Well, Kings of Leon may have only made the worst record of their career, but they did not make the worst record of the year – South Africa’s Die Antwoord did. Die Antwoord which translated from Dutch-Afrikaans as “The Answer” is far from it, in fact just raises more questions as to why they are globally talked about. The much hyped and unusually praised hip-hop duo gets a letter I have never given out…until now..

Underworld on Fallon

Underworld give an epic performance on Fallon, take a look!

Quick News

After various attempts at calling themselves The Cars or The New Cars or The Cars of the 21st Century...The actual Cars featuring Ric Ocasek are hinting they will get back together for the first time in 23 years! The band posted a photo of all original members in the studio on the Cars Facebook page and Keyboardist Greg Hawks tells Boston Globe in response to the surprising photo, "I hate to be vague, but I really can't say." They are probably just working the kinks out, but a reunion from this band would be pretty interesting and welcomed.

In another reunion and MAJOR music news - DAVE GROHL IS WORKING WITH FORMER NIRVANA BASSIST KRIST NOVASELIC! The two have not worked together since the passing of Kurt Cobain in 1994. Grohl, who is recording in his California garage with Foo Fighters for their first album since 2008's Echo's, Silence, Patience and Grace. Grohl tells BBC1's Zane Lowe that "came in the other night and played bass on a song." While this is great news to Nirvana fans around the globe, what is even bigger is that the album is being produced by Butch Vig. The legendary Butch Vig that produced Nirvana's influential 1991 disc, Nevermind. Grohl says "The last month and a half we've been in my garage recording totally old school analogue with Butch Vig," he said. "This whole project has been really cool because I haven't made a record with Butch in 20 years, almost exactly 20 years." Grohl promises this latest Foo's record to be their "heaviest" yet! The album arrives sometime next year.

Sad news to report, legendary reggae singer Gregory Isaac's has passed away at the age of 59 after a long battle with lung cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.

Jay-Z and Kanye West were going to work together on what Kanye called a "mini-album," aka an EP, however this venture is now turning into a full on LP. No word as to when it will be released, though it is expected to arrive in 2011.

Beastie Boys have announced the track listing to their long awaited Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2. Die hard Beastie's fans will notice something odd, that the track listing is exactly the same as that as the much delayed and long awaited Hot Sauce Committee pt 1. In a press statement MCA Adam Yauch said "Strange but true, the final sequence for Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 works best with all its songs replaced by the 16 tracks we originally had lined up in pretty much the same order we had them in for Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1. So we've come full circle." Take a look at the track listing below, Hot Sauce 2 arrives March 2011.
1. Tadlock's Glasses
2. B-Boys in the Cut
3. Make Some Noise
4. Nonstop Disco Powerpack
5. OK
6. Too Many Rappers [ft. Nas]
7. Say It
8. The Bill Harper Collection
9. Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win [ft. Santigold]
10. Long Burn The Fire
11. Funky Donkey
12. Lee Majors Come Again
13. Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament
14. Pop Your Balloon
15. Crazy Ass Shit
16. Here's a Little Something For Ya

Kings of Leon on Letterman

Kings of Leon returned to Ed Sullivan Theater as they always do when they release a new record. Take a look, nice to see the fire is still with them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Stephen Egerton INTV!

Santana had his pop meets classic rock compilation with Supernatural, Tony Iommi had his metal meets well, more metal compilation on Iommi. Now Descendants and ALL guitarist Stephen Egerton has his punk on punk compilation with Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton. The record has the guitarist enlist some of his friends 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 and others for a straight up punk explosion. Egerton, who has been making music for 30 years now, is for the first time doing things on his own. We had a opportunity to speak to the guiarist about his latest record, collaborations and of course the possibility of ALL and The Descendants playing again in the near future. Take a look at our interview with Stephen below.

How did your solo record “The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton” come about and evolve?

I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2003, and opened my studio Armstrong Recording in 2004. During all this time I was writing music, and eventually I'd amassed so many songs that I felt like I should do something with them. I went ahead and recorded the music to a bunch of them. Unfortunately I'm not much of a lyricist, and an even worse singer, so my wife suggested I ask some friends to contribute the singing and lyrics. I have many very talented friends who were willing to give me a hand.

How do you think it holds up against your material from All and Descendents?

I like it as well or better than a good part of the music I've been involved with in the past. I wrote a lot of the vocal melodies on the record, which is something I didn't used to do a lot of, so this record represents growth for me, and for that I'm proud.

Do you feel it was liberating after all these years to finally make a solo record and make music on your own?

I've always thought it would be fun to take a crack at doing all the instruments myself. I love playing drums and bass as much as guitar. I really haven't wanted to do a solo record per se, but it was a matter of convenience in this case.. and very challenging.

Did you feel nervous putting your music out there by yourself without a band?

Not too much. I've played drums and bass as long as guitar, so I figured I could pull it off well enough to make a good record. I think the idea of having one guy doing the music and a bunch of different singers was kind of a fun departure from the way records are usually made.

You have so many great guests on “Seven Degrees,” how did you choose who to contribute vocals and lyrics to your work? Was it difficult finding the right people for the project to help bring the songs to life?

It took a while to work out. I'd already recorded the music before I knew who was going to be able or willing to help me. I spent a couple of months figuring out who of my friends would sound good on which song. Fortunately I have many talented friends, so I had a lot to choose from!

Will there be another solo record in the future?

I'm sure I'll do this again. Probably very soon. I had a blast making it.

Is there still anyone you would love to work with after all these years?

There are many people I'd love to do a song with. Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, John Lydon, Paul McCartney, Ryan Adams, Elvis Costello, Mikey Erg, Fiona Apple, Chris Cornell, Ginger Wildheart, Parry Gripp... the list could go on forever, and there are so many possibilities I hope to explore.

With your music you have managed to influence so many artists from all different genres. What would you say about music today?

I think there's always great music being made. Sometimes it's so far underground that most people never hear it, and sometimes it's right in front of us, but it's always there. When I encounter something new that moves me, it's just the most excellent feeling. Short of family, nothing in the world compares.

Do you ever feel jealous or angry, if not both, about how fast it is for someone to get recognized today, unlike when you started out starving for what you were doing?

I take those things in stride. For my part, I've managed to live the life I always dreamed of living. I've been so ridiculously lucky. I got to tour and make records with an amazing band for many, many years, and have been involved with so many great records as a producer/engineer. It's been a charmed life, and there's a long way to go from here. Many people have made more money, but that was never the object for me. It's about being involved in music that has the power to move someone. Other than that, as long as I'm staying afloat, I'm happy.

ALL made a brief comeback last year, will the band be getting back together again?

I'm sure we'll do more shows, and maybe more recordings at some point. It's harder now, because I live so far away from everyone else, and we haven't gotten into the modern way of passing songs back and forth. We're a very organic band, and are used to hashing out songs in a practice room over many months. Still I'm hopeful that we can do more.

Along the same lines, will The Descendents ever get back together after a long hiatus?

I like to think there are more shows in the Descendents' future. I'm not so sure about records, but I hope we have some more shows in us.

Where do you go from here?

I'm always moving forward. I've got a lot of music to do this year, and on into the future. I've got some instrumental songs I did by myself, and my instrumental band Slorder will likely do more this year too. The hard drives are filling up fast. Lots of great bands to record as well.

Quick News

Sad news to report, pioneering punk Ari Up of The Slits past away this week from cancer. Up was only 48. The news came on Thursday when her step-father, former Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten broke the news on his site. Her band mate, bassist Tessa Pollitt told NME that "Ari didn’t want me or the rest of the group to tell anyone that she was ill. We didn’t realise how ill she was. Out of respect for the family I don't really want to talk about it. It was cancer, that’s all I’ll say."

U2 are reportedly working with producer Danger Mouse for one of their upcoming releases. For their "club" sounding record, they will be working with the Gnarles Barkley beat maker.

Since late night TV host Conan O'Brien will be starting his new show, Conan next month on TBS, he has enlisted some heavy hitters as guests. For starters, Conan is getting his longtime friend and musical mastermind Jack White to sit down and chat for his first show. Also on the debut week, Conan will be enlisting Soundgarden to perform, this will be Soundgarden's first TV appearance in over 15 years!

Trent Reznor has been battling TVT records, his former label, for years for the right and releases of Nine Inch Nails 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine. After fighting for so long, Trent got what he wanted, Pretty Hate Machine is being reissued with new mixes and hails to be a greater listening experience. Trent wrote on "It’s been an interesting trip watching the fate of this record float from one set of hands to another (a long and depressing story) but it’s finally wound up in friendly territory, allowing us to polish it up a bit and present it to you now. We had fun revisiting this old friend, hope you enjoy." Pretty Hate Machine the reissue arrives on November 22.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chapel Club Invade New York at CMJ

Remember the scene in Cast Away when Tom Hanks tries to get off the island for the first time? Picture yourself as that character, you are in the middle of the sea and suddenly the atmosphere around you changes and in front of you is a massive wave, the wave comes crashing down with the force of an iron fist slamming you into the bottom of the ocean, then suddenly you swim back to the top and are carried back to shore. In every way possible that is the how the music of Chapel Club hits you. It builds to amazing and forceful heights, hits you in profound ways then carries you to where you need to be.
The London five piece have been all the buzz back in the UK, appearing on the NME Radar tour, Jools Holland and have been featured in every British music publication since they broke onto the scene late last year.
I have even had the honor of being the first American music writer to chat with the band earlier this year and have been waiting with baited breath to catch them live. Finally my wait was over as they made their US debut this week at CMJ. Playing five shows in three days, the band did not let the tolling experience take them down, as excitement seemed to be what kept them energized. I caught up with the band on the second to last day of the music marathon and was able to catch them twice that same day. Speaking with them before a party for Fader Magazine, I spoke with singer Lewis Bowman as he said “It has been a great experience, we played Arlene’s yesterday which was great and Littlefield which did not have so many people, but it happens. But it has been good, my voice is going a bit.” After we chatted, Lewis took the stage to soundcheck with his bandmates and surprised the crowd goers at the Fader party. They went on at 4:30 in the afternoon and as the crowd seemed to be feeling the effects of running around all week, the band lifted them up for a rousing performance. Stumbling with sound issues at first, Chapel Club brought their melodramatic music to life and the crowd seemed to respond with praise. Playing for only thirty minutes it was a quick set that had them showing off why they are becoming so popular back home. It is passionate and ethereal music that strikes a chord with everyone listening. In a set which included the singles; “O Maybe I,” “All the Eastern Girls,” “The Shore” and “Surfacing” it was a performance from a band that New Yorkers will keep on their radar. After the gig I spoke with guitarist Michael Hibbert about his CMJ experience, he said “it has been fun, different for us but fun.” Lewis Bowman went onto say about the gig “it was a good time, they seemed to enjoy us, see what happens tonight.” As the band did a quick photo shoot, they took their gear, packed in it their rented van and hauled off to Brooklyn for a soundcheck at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
After their earlier gig, Chapel Club were one of the headlining acts for a showcase at Music Hall that featured other British Buzz bands like Everything Everything, Blood Red Shoes, Johnny Flynn. This was a much later gig, as the band took the stage around quarter to midnight; I just walked into the venue as they started playing. The venue was much more packed than from what they had experienced that afternoon and seemed to dazzle those who were in attendance. Talking with some crowd goers, it sounded as if a majority of people were there for Everything Everything and more for Blood Red Shoes, most had no idea who Chapel Club were. That seemed to change after another short but sweet set from the lads. Chapel Club again only played for a half hour, but in that time they locked in the attention of those who were there and that is what CMJ is about. In the long list of great British bands to come play at CMJ over the years, a list that includes: The Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, Blur, Pulp, Coldplay, Muse and last year’s break out band The xx, Chapel Club have entered that category. They are a band that you will have to keep on your radar now and as they are set to release their debut in March, 2011 is going to be a big year for them. I for one can say that following them for almost a year now, it is going to be a pleasure watching them get bigger and to have seen them on their first trip to America, it is something I can hold in high regard.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Live Review - Two Door Cinema Club @ Webster Hall

The CMJ music marathon has hit New York City this week like the force of a thousand suns. Music lovers, writers, college radio personnel, promoters all descend on the city and hardly get any sleep as they take a whirlwind trip through the boroughs to catch the various bands trying to break on through to the music scene. The marathon began 30 years ago and has done wonders for the careers of artists like U2, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Q-Tip, Eminem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, Arcade Fire and various others. Each band competes for the crowd’s attention and notoriety while playing a plethora of gigs through the five days of the festival. This year it seems as if more bands and more events than ever before have been going on, so much so that no one knows where to split themselves first.
On the third night of the festival, Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club took the stage to a sold out Webster Hall and gave a performance that will put them in the league of the artists mentioned before, and that is no exaggeration. The band, who I have spoken to earlier this year, have gained much attention back home in the UK due to their live performances and critically praised debut, Tourist History. The band’s sound is a cross between Phoenix and early Bloc Party, fun dance-rock with a punch. As soon as they took the stage last night, the audience keyed up for a performance that they will be speaking about for a very long time. Just two songs in, singer Alex Trimble had mentioned “New York, this is amazing! I can feel the f*cking floor shake! Keep dancing!” While the band was in awe of the crowd, the crowd was in awe of the band. A barnstorming 60 minute set that was 60 minutes to last a lifetime. Playing a majority of Tourist History and including two brand new songs, Two Door Cinema have given one of the greatest performances to come from this festival in years! Bassist Kevin Baird noted at the end “This is the biggest and best show we have ever played in the States, this is only our second trip and to be here at this legendary venue, thank you so much!” They were humbled by the response on how intense and crazy the crowd received them. If there is going to be any break out band from CMJ this year, it is going to be Two Door Cinema Club and the next time they come back to New York, it will not be Webster Hall they play, it is going to be somewhere bigger and they are ready for it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Robyn Cover and Tracklisting

Swedish Pop sensation and the only good thing about pop music at the moment, Robyn just gave details about the final installment to her Body Talk Series. Body Talk Pt 3 will arrive on November 22! Take a look at the cover above and the track listing below. The only issue with the track listing is, fans of Robyn's will see that their are only five new songs on the 15 track play list. Five songs come from Body Talk pt 1, five from Body Talk pt 2 and 5 new jams. This will play like a greatest hits of the Body Talk series.

1. Fembot
2. Don´t fucking tell me what to do
3. Dancing on my own
4. Indestructible
5. Time Machine
6. Love kills
7. Hang with me
8. Call your girlfriend
9. None of dem
10. We dance to the beat
11. U should know better
12. Dance hall queen
13. Get myself together
14. In my eyes
15. Stars 4-ever

Quick News

Due to the 2012 Summer Olympic games taking place in London that year, the organizers behind Glastonbury have cancelled the festival for that year. The festival is set to resume in 2013.

While fans wait and wait for last years Beastie Boys Hot Sauce Committee Pt 1 album, they will be getting Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 in March of next year. The band said in a press statement "Although we regret to inform you that 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 1' will continue to be delayed indefinitely, 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 2' will be released on time as originally planned in Spring of 2011." Hot Sauce Committee Pt 1 was pushed back due to MCA Adam Yauch undergoing cancer treatment after being diagnosed last summer.

U2 are set to play South Africa for the first time in 13 years. The band's last visit to the country was in 1998 on the final leg of the Popmart tour. The band will play those gigs in early next year, just in time for their latest record, Songs of Ascent to arrive.

Former Rascals front man and Last Shadow Puppets singer, Miles Kane says that he and Alex Turner will definitely regroup for Last Shadow Puppets. Speaking to NME, Kane say "Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. After I've done this stuff, I guess. I've got a few things up my sleeve."

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has given some news on the band's latest Rick Rubin producer effort. Smith tells "I think we've tracked about 20 songs already, and there's a few more left to do. Then we'll whittle them down to make the best record." He went on to say that the band is hoping to have the record released in March, but cannot confirm that, he said it will be out "We're definitely hoping to have it out by next summer. It's been a long time in coming." This is the band's first record since the departure of guitarist John Fruscante last year. The band's guitar tech Josh Klinghoffer is taking over for Fruscante.

Kanye West has revealed the cover his label banned for his forthcoming, much anticipated new album, My Dark Twisted Fantasy.


As October windes down, here is a playlist to get you into the next month.

- Robyn - "In My Eyes"
- Nas and Damien Marley - "Tribes at War"
- The Roots - "Dear God 2.0"
- Reflection Eternal - "City Playgrounds"
- Black Keys - "Touch"
- The Drums - "Let's Go Surfing"
- Rolling Stones - "Tumbling Dice"
- 22-20's - "Oceans"
- Amanda Palmer - "Ideoteque" (Radiohead cover)
- Hurts - "Wonderful Life"
- Airborne Toxic Event - "Neda"
- Peggy Sue - "Watchmen"
- Mary Onettes - "Puzzles"
- Funeral Party - "New York City Moves the Sound of LA"
- Paloma Faith - "Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?"
- Street Dogs - "Rattle and Roll"
- Afrobeta - "Two Different Worlds"
- Devo - 'Fresh"
- KMFDM - "Juke Joint Jezabel"
- Atari Teenage Riot - "Activate!"
- Brandon Boyd - "Runaway Train"
- Two Door Cinema Club - "Something Good Can Work"
- Tired Pont Feat. Tom Smith - "The Good Book"

La Strada Splitting

Brooklyn Balkin-inspired rockers La Strada are calling it quits after three years together. The band which received massive acclaim at last year's CMJ festival in New York and at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this year are packing it in. The band said in a press statement:

Founder and lead singer James Craft said: "I've loved being in La Strada, but for now I need extended time away from the scene and want to work on something new." Devon Press, multi-instrumentalist and co-writer agreed saying, "this is probably one of the most amicable breakups in history and we all still love each other very much and will probably continue to work together in some capacity." The newest member to join the La Strada ranks, cellist Isaiah Gage said, "I'm so thankful that I got to not only play such great music in the short time I was in the band, but more importantly meet such great friends."

The band released one EP and their debut LP, New Home earlier this year. We spoke to the band last year, take a look as we spent a Sunday afternoon with La Strada at their Greenpoint, Brooklyn rehearsal space.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Starting off as a Jazz ensemble then being introduced to punk in 1977, the DC legends in Bad Brains were revolutionaries ahead of their time. Taking their name from a Ramones song, "Bad Brain," this DC band took the punk sound coming from New York and mixed it with the punk look coming from London and made it all their own. Being a pioneering band not just from DC, they were also the first all black punk band and one of the first all black rock bands. As the decade came to a close, Bad Brains took their bombastic style and cranked it up a notch and helped usher in a genre known as Hardcore. Influencing DC natives like Minor Threat, Henry Rollins, Iron Cross and Black Flag (pre- Rollins). As word spread about the band in the underground, they would begin to fuse their hardcore style and mix it with reggae and jazz and creating a sound and movement all their own. Bands like Beastie Boys, Living Colour, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, BLK JKS and so on all owe a great debt to Bad Brains and their influence, not just on music but as people. What Bad Brains did was never conform to a certain type of anything, they pioneered movements and tried new things and still were ahead of their game. Now on their fifth decade as a band, Bad Brains are going just as strong today as they always gave. I had the opportunity to speak with bassist Darryl Jenifer as we discussed the band's history, politics and influence. Take a look at my interview with Darryl below.

Aside from playing shows, what has Bad Brains been up to these days? Will we get another record soon?

The Brains are ever living, ever loving, ever faithful and ever sure, we will be this until the wheels fall off.

Though you were a hardcore band with Reggae roots, you took your name from a Ramones song. What did Punk rock mean to you when starting off and how did it spawn off into hardcore for you?

Punk Rock was the next level of creativity in the fact that you didn't have to be virtuosic to hold a place in a band, Hardcore is just the son of Punk Rock, we never were Hardcore.

Though there have been some bumps in the road, when you started Bad Brains did you expect that you would have gone on this long?

Yes I knew that Bad Brains was a life calling, I could feel it the music and movements of the group.

As one of the first all African-American hard rock bands that helped pave the way for acts like Living Colour, Fishbone, TV on the Radio and South Africa’s BLK JKS. What do you feel about the fruits of your labor?

This is the fruits of JAH labor Bad Brains is just a vehicle a vessel.

Also, with so few all African-American rock acts, why do you think there is a lack of this in the genre?

Black people like to dance, rock isn't really dance music...really.

Did you consider yourself influential as the scene was in its infancy?

If and when one is truly influential they can never know this before hand. Or after acclaim.

As a band from DC, you uprooted yourselves to New York after a band in your native city. Looking back, do you feel like it was a stab in the back from where you came from that they did that to you?

Bad Brains is of the world outer national of the cosmic.

Do you identify and consider yourself a New York band now? Or will you always be a DC act?

We are not a act, we originate from Washington DC, we are of the world.

One major New York band that took to your admiration was Beastie Boys and Adam Yauch produced your last record, Build a Nation. What was it like working with him?

Adam has been a fan and friend of the band for years, working together on Build A Nation was fun and games fa sho.

Adam has been battling cancer for a year, what message do you have to your friend?

Stand firm in JAH light and let JAH, JAH lead the way.

Adam is not the only musician to have produced for you, your 1983 record Rock for Light was produced by Ric Ocasek of the Cars. What was it like working with him? Was it a bit odd since your styles of music are so vastly different?

Although our styles were different our musical integrity was the same, Ric is like a big brother to me and uncle to Bad Brains.

With your music you have managed to influence so many artists from all different genres. What would you say about music today?

Music will always be a living force from it's beginnings in the jungles of Africa to the computer futuristic age of today and beyond, a undeniable force.

When I spoke to Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and Bouncing Souls, I asked them the same question. Do you ever feel jealous or angry, if not both, about how fast it is for someone to get recognized today, unlike when you started out starving for what you were doing?

Every mans burden is the heaviest, reward is not in money and fame.

Social and Political issues have always been at the forefront of Bad Brains. Do you think that your song’s meaning and power are still needed today?

There will always be a love in our music, love is the answer. Fire will burn Babylon.

On the same topic, how would you describe the world we live in today?

The world we live in today is JAH world JAH plan. We all must give thanks and praise and wait on JAH.

Chapel Club on Jools Holland!

A band we have been telling you about all year, is set to explode in a big way in the coming months. UK indie darlings Chapel Club made their TV debut this week on the legendary Later...With Jools Holland program. Take a look at the boys in action as they perform "Surfacing," and "All the Eastern Girls."

We spoke to Chapel Club in February just as things we launching for them, take a look at our interview with singer Lewis Bowman HERE!

Quick News

After years apart and leaving fans with the "what if?" factor, Duff McKagen joined Axl Rose on set at London's O2 Arena last week to perform a full set with his former band, Guns N Roses. Now of course, this sparks rumors that Duff is rejoining the band, but nothing can be confirmed at this time. Duff, who quit Jane's Addiction this year is back with Slash, Izzy and Matt Sorum retooling Velvet Revolver and was asked by Axl to join him at the London gig.

Speaking of reunions, Pink Floyd said that they would reunite for charity, much like they did in 2005 at the epic Live 8 concerts. Speaking to BBC news, drummer Nick Mason said "I think it would be a very nice way for a band to gently move towards retirement, by doing shows absolutely for charity rather than for more income." If they were to do this, it would be the first time they would perform together as a band after loosing founding member Richard Wright, who passed away in 2008.

REM have named their 15th studio album, the band's latest, Collapse into Now will be released in March of next year. The band reteamed with Jackknife Lee who produced their best record in 14 years, 2008's Accelerate.

Over 200 protesters gathered outside the New York offices of Atlantic Records on Friday to show support for Lupe Fiasco and demand that his much and over delayed LASERS record be released sooner. The label gave a date of March 8, 2011 - two years after it was supposed to be out to the public. Fans of Fiasco are not buying it and want it sooner. Lupe mentioned he had nothing to do with the organization of the event to but was glad fans showed support.

Disney has released a slick and amazing photo of Daft Punk's cameo in the much anticipated TRON: LEGACY film. Daft Punk are doing the soundtrack to the film, take a look at what they will look like -

Atomic Tom Find Opportunity from Defeat

When you are a struggling band, you have to make due with what you have. After getting all of their gear stolen before a music video shoot, the guys in New York's Atomic Tom did not let that stop them from chasing down exposure. Taking to the NYC subway's armed with nothing but their iPhones and killer apps, Atomic Tom have crafted a video so fresh, original and outstanding, OK Go will crawl back to their think tank screaming they did not think of this. This is no gimmick, this is real and will bring such a smile to your face. One of the greatest videos I have seen in a while.

Clare Maguire Coming to the US (sorta)!

There is something brewing in the waters of the UK that they are exporting some great female singers. Now I know it is not a genre or special category but you have to take notice when acts like Duffy, Adele, Florence and the Machine, Kate Nash, Paloma Faith and even the crazy and loved Amy Winehouse all have become international sensations. They are ushering in a new era of unforgettable vocals and talents and keeping the great in Britain.

Clare Maguire has been all the buzz back in the UK and will finally be gracing us here across the pond in 2011! After singing with Universal this month, Clare's debut will be released next year and my fingers are crossed for a tour. Her music is fierce and intense, yet tender when it needs to be and totally relatable to every listener, she takes us places we have all been. She is an incredible talent and one I have had on my radar all year. Take a listen to Clare and do not forget who she is, something is about to pop in a big way with her.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quick Spins

John Legend and The Roots: Wake Up!***
Soul wasn’t a genre of love; it was a movement of power. John Legend has apparently decided that too many young music listeners have forgotten that. Legend frequently cites his soul influences as singers who didn’t just talk love; but also war, hatred, poverty and hope. And in an album that could have just as easily been titled “please remember where this music came from,” John Legend and The Roots join forces to deliver the most important album of 2010.

You can call it a cover album, but you would be doing a terrible disservice. Legend and the Roots picked 14 soul classics from 14 of soul’s most important figures, and then did modern interpretations of them. Legend’s voice in this work is the best on any of his albums, and you will get chills when you hear him cover Marvin Gaye. But despite Legend’s remarkable performance, the Roots have just cemented themselves as the best funk/soul band of my generation. The rhythm section on this album is not just the best thing the Roots have done on record, but also the best recorded collection of soul instruments since most of the covered artists featured in this work were in their heyday. You are going to hear these songs and want to go learn about the artists that shaped the scene today; and in that respect Wake Up! is a very important gateway drug.

Mark Ronson and the Business International: Record Collection***
At one point in my life, I would have loved to define a “mash up,” as an original work of a savvy DJ with the original work of a lyricist or singer. And with Record Collection, Ronson and company may have reached into that point in my life and made my definition a reality. First and foremost, Ronson is a discjockey; but for him, that is not a limitation. Ronson defines himself not just by beats, but by the melodies thathe can make with them, so even when rap is involved, it’s more song than spoken word. Perhaps this was his inspiration for naming his album Record Collection, because the people that he got to appear on this album would indicate that there is much more of this movement to come. The three strongest songs on the record feature Q-Tip, Ghostface Killah, and D’Angelo (yes, THAT D’Angelo). The fact that all three of these songs could easily become dance club smashes shows me that the hip-hop and R&B circle is much more open to movement and melody.

Could this Album be better? Absolutely. But, Ronson started really toying with songs like this in his previous release, “Version.” Now, he has mastered something; the authentic mash up. Taking a homemade song, and literally having your pick of the world’s artists to make it come alive. A few songs slow it down, but you have to judge this album on its potential to bring in a new wave of synth and effect heavy rap. And there is a ton of potential here.

Maximum Balloon
The guitarist and musical mastermind behind TV on the Radio, David Sitek goes for art-rock gold on his solo debut. With help from David Byrne, TV band mates Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Sitek is at maximum height with Balloon. A great debut and fun listen and grand departure from what we are accustomed to hearing from the assemblyman.

GrindermanGrinderman II
Nick Cave and his hard-hitting band prove they are dirty old men on their second disc. A dark (well, it’s Nick Cave it’s not going to be butterflies and synth pop) rock record with brutal sexual overtones that will give some the creeps and some will snark along in amusement.

Orchestral Maneuvers in the DarkHistory of Modern
On their first album in 13 years, the British synth pop pioneers are back and it is a welcomed return. History of Modern is a return to form from a band that has been influencing new wave dance rockers for five decades now. Not many surprises in style and sound but it is so great to have them back, this is a nice token as to why. Whatever they do next however will need to show a progression.

An hour long electronic journey, Underworld have crafted one of their finest records in years. Barking, is the band’s first album in three years and needless to say it is a sonic trip to the unknown. Enlisting producers from all walks of electronic life – Paul Van Dyke, Dubfire and High Contrast, Barking is a record not to be missed by any electronic fan.

Robert PlantBand of Joy
The 62 year old singing legend can be making millions right now on a world tour with Led Zeppelin, instead he chooses to do things his way. In some aspect – are you going to be the guy to tell Plant no? Especially after taking home a few Grammy’s including “Album of the year” in 2009 with Alison Krause. Band of Joy is Plant taking his love of the Earth and fitting it into one record. It is full of Earth tones and colors that explain why he is still very successful on his own. However, Plant – a Zep reunion would be awesome! Just sayin…

Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz
He is a musical superstar and someone that should be way bigger than he is. Sufjan Stevens should be a household name and Age of Adz is a solid effort of more musical discovery from one of indie rocks favorite sons. Layered with so many musical complexities as Sufjan is known for, Adz furthers the proof that he is just as great as a composer as he is a songwriter.

New CollisionsThe Optimist
Fun pop-rock from Cambridge, Mass. that has asense of optimism while singing about decline. The debut from the New England band is as if Jarvis Cocker wrote songs for Blondie and maybe the next big indie rock band to come from Massachusets in a very long time. New Collisions are a band that sounds more Britpop than American indie (maybe that is why I love them, after all that is my favorite genre), this could be probable due to the fact that Zak Kahn of Britpop band The Sterns plays drums in New Collisions. This band is one to keep on your radar and The Optimist is the reason why.

Unicycle Loves YouMirror, Mirror
Jangley, quirky indie rock from a band that is theatrical as Dresden Dolls and as fun as vaudeville. Mirror, Mirror is a record inspired by sci-fi films and is a grand experiment in pop and how a band of musicians are willing to push the genre and stand out on their own.

Beats Antique – Blind Threshold
A fusion of global sounds and dance beats – think Gogol Bordello backed by anything coming from Mix Master Mike’s turntables, Blind Threshold is the latest release from a band that has been putting out releases non-stop since their formation in 2007. We covered this band at Lollapalooza this summer and they are something to witness, Blind Threshold is a fun record but the experience is laid out on stage.

Recently the band has been offered $10 million from a person who is not even a fan of the band to break up. The band’s live shows have been killer and they are known to be a premiere live act, however, records like Hurley make that offer hard to not take. This album makes you scratch your head and ask, “wasn’t this band awesome at one point?” Rivers Cuomo is a songwriter that went to Harvard yet he writes as if he still in middle school. Glad their live shows can save their career, because their recording career will not.

***Denotes that corresponding writer, Jared Ziedman wrote those reviews. Ziedman is a corresponding writer to and runs the sports website,

Kid A Grows Up

Kid A Grows Up - Radiohead’s Boldest Album Turns 10
By Bill Reese

I met Kid A on Sunday night, October 1, 2000. Matt Pinfield hosted 92.3 K-Rock’s new music program “120 Minutes,” and dedicated the first hour of that evening’s broadcast to Radiohead’s new album, Kid A in its entirety.

Normally, I would not have stayed up to listen, but once I heard the haunting keyboard licks at the beginning of “Everything In Its Right Place,” I just couldn’t turn it off. It was creepy, and—to 16 year old me—almost cheesy, like the music in the haunted house rides at Adventureland. I was captivated by Thom Yorke’s flickering vocals, which stuttered and skipped like a malfunctioning robot. The song had no verses, no choruses; it just built and built in one long crescendo. I had spent the first 16 years of my life worshiping guitar rock and now I was mesmerized by a song that featured none. I listened to the rest of the album in silence, then went to sleep and tried to comprehend the record that I had just heard. I bought it a week later, and it’s been one of my favorite records ever since.

It’s important to remember where we were as a musical people in October 2000. This was the year of N’Sync and Sisqo. We were a year removed from Woodstock ’99 and a year away from The White Stripes and The Strokes making two records that helped define the decade. Internet downloading was still a brand new concept and all of us cynically declared that Napster allowed us to test-drive new music, and that we would end up buying more CDs than we did before. George W. Bush was about to be “elected” president for the first time and he and Al Gore were debating on how best to use the United States’ record budget surplus. The 90s were over, but only because the calendar said that they were.

So in walked Radiohead, a band who had nearly self-destructed after crafting their 1997 opus OK Computer, a guitar-rock album for the new millennium. It may have been dark, moody guitar rock, but it was their own style and nobody else sounded as they did. They had been listening to way too much Terry Reilly, Paul Lansky, and these Icelanders no one outside of Reykjavík had ever heard of named Sigur Rós. They couldn’t be U2, an arena rock band that pounded out guitar anthems every night. All they had to do was play “Creep” and “Fake Plastic Trees” for 100 gigs a year and they would make money hand over fist. They could have done it, but it would have killed them. Reinvention—drastic, thorough, irreversible reinvention—was the only way they could continue as a band.

Johnny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien—arguably two of the best guitarists in rock at the time, and the only guys who weren’t thumping out chords on 7-stringers—had abandoned the instruments they’d mastered for keyboards and synthesizers. If they did pick up a guitar, they ran it through dozens of distortion pedals, loops and phasers. Thom Yorke—a vocal juggernaut—was hardly singing at all, repeating cryptic lyrics while producer Nigel Godrich spliced them up. Even drummer Phil Selway found himself passing up regular drumbeats for complex rhythms, or was replaced altogether by a drum machine. Radiohead were not the first band to reinvent themselves, hell, the Beatles did that for four consecutive records starting with Rubber Soul. But no band before Radiohead, and no band since Radiohead’s Kid A completely dismantled their sound, re-built it using different materials, and emerged with the kind of critical and commercial success as did the Oxford quintet.

Kid A was released on October 2, 2000 in the U.K. and a day later in the States, reaching #1 on both charts in its first week. Kid A was the first album in decades to top the U.S. charts without the benefit of a music video or a hit radio single. Kid A had no singles, and besides being played in its entirety on “120 Minutes” and occasional sightings of “Optimistic” in K-Rock’s late night rotation, Kid A was barely heard on modern rock radio—at a time when radio was still a relevant force in rock.

Without the video or the lead single, (The singles, they promised, would be on the following spring’s Amnesiac) the band was invited to play Saturday Night Live on October 14, 2000. I’ve described their two-song set as one of the unintentional defining moments of the 2000s decade to founder Sal Bono for years.

The band ripped through “The National Anthem,” accompanied by a 9-piece brass band that recreated the song’s spastic horn section with stunning precision. The band plays this song at most shows, but almost never with the horn section. They later played the album’s showstopper, “Idioteque,” complete with Thom Yorke having the equivalent of a grand mal seizure on stage, his head swiveling back and forth so fast that every other word was caught by the microphone. As the song ended, the SNL crowd looked like the audience from "Springtime For Hitler"—in shock, bewildered, some with offended ears.

This—whether Radiohead intended it or not—was one of the defining moments of the 2000s as a decade in music. Radiohead came out on that soundstage to present to the American public what they believed to be the music of the future. Big American surplus or not, they knew the future was dark, it was chaotic, it was filled with fear, uncertainty and woe. The music they played was simply too advanced for the SNL audience that night. Thom Yorke may as well have pulled a Marty McFly and taken the mic and said, “Maybe you guys aren’t ready for that… but your kids are gonna love it…”

The future Radiohead were offering was just too bleak for rock and roll listeners. No matter how good a record Kid A was, it just wasn’t the kind of music we were ready to rally around… at least not yet. Within a year, a new musical movement had begun that began to throw back to 70s retro rock sounds, with mod outfits and slick guitar riffs. Radiohead promised us the future and the rest of us decided that the past was a much more comforting place to be. In a matter of years, even Radiohead gave up on their own dark future. Discounting Amnesiac—which is essentially a B-sides record for Kid A, 2003’s Hail to the Thief—and 2007’s In Rainbows focused heavily on the three-headed guitar-dragon of O’Brien/Greenwood/Yorke.

Kid A is no Nevermind. It is not a revolutionary, groundbreaking record that inspired a generation of musicians. It’s barely a relevant record in today’s musical arena. After 10 years, it does, however, stand alone as one of the boldest musical statements in the recent history of rock and roll. It was released in an era where bands needed to sell records to make money. It was released during an era where major record labels still had clout, and Capitol Records believed in Radiohead enough to let them take the biggest chance of their career. It may not have ushered in an age of experimental, weird rock bands, but it solidified (and I argue created) the perception of Radiohead as a weird band. They were a moody band on OK Computer, Kid A made them weeeeeeeiiiiirrrrddddd. It may have not have inspired bands to start using synths, keys and samplers, but when a present-day guitar rock band starts to incorporate more electronic elements into their sound, no one bats an eye.

After 10 years, Kid A has taken a prominent, yet un-assuming role atop many critics Best-Of Lists for the recently expired decade—just the way the band want it. It may slip down those lists as time passes but not because it fails to pass the test of time. If anything, it’ll slip because Kid A has been the better predictor of the demise of Western Civilization, and perhaps we don’t yet possess the courage to acknowledge that fact.

Bill Reese is an infrequent contributor to and has previously written for Prefix, Skope, Good Times and The Purchase Independent. He occasionally listens to Kid A while working as an editor at Playbill.

Mark Ronson & Q-Tip on Letterman!

Mark Ronson brought the International Business and Q-Tip to Ed Sullivan theater to perform the dance smash, "Bang, Bang, Bang" take a look and don't be afraid to shake your ass.

Quick News

Robyn has announced that the single from her upcoming Body Talk pt 3, the final installment to this year's Body Talk series will be "Indestructible" and Body Talk pt 3 will be out at the end of November.

Cold War Kids are set to release their latest record, Mine is Your's on January 24. The record was produced by longtime Kings of Leon producer, Jaguar King.

Al Pacino has been tapped to play incarcerated and legendary record producer Phil Spector in an upcoming HBO bio-pic. I wonder if they will show Pacino working with The Ramones?

Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke will lend his vocals to Hercules and Love Affairs latest record, Blue Songs. Kele will be featured on the single "Step Up."

The Futureheads are having the hardest time working on their latest disc, why you may ask....It is because the record will be straight accapella, which means no instruments. The British rockers are trading their axes and drums for strict vocal duties and singer Barry Hyde tells that "There's only going to be four sounds heard on this album. Essentially, we're trying to make the most of what our voices can do and it's going to actually expand our abilities because we're going to have to work out ways to create different tones between us." The album will be out next year.

The xx on Kimmel

UK sensations The xx Hit up Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform "Crystalized," take a look!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Marina & the Diamonds INTV!

Lady Gaga has her "little monsters," Florence has her Machine and Marina has the diamonds. With a slew of talented, avant garde female fronted acts coming into music these days, their following has become cult like and unlike anything we have seen before. Marina and the Diamonds are no exception. This UK singer with a Mediterranean heritage has been turning heads in Europe for a few years now, though she hates to admit it (you will see in the interview). She has also been turning heads with her headline making statements and crass attitude, Marina is a rising star but speaks as if she is has the bravado of Liam and Noel Gallagher. I spoke with the woman in front of the Diamonds, who makes clever use of her birth name, Marina Diamandis and what started off as a regular interview, gets a bit heated. At points she gets insulted and stand off-ish. It is one of the more rather interesting interviews I have done and she clearly holds nothing back. For those that know Marina, she dishes out and corrects some facts that the rest of the music world has fabricated about her. Take a look!

You hail from UK but have a Greek background. Has your Greek culture influenced your music? Does the Mediterranean region of Europe inspire you while being in Britain?

I have been hugely influenced by Greek music, merely as background music in the my younger years. My dad would play a huge range of music from Romanian folk to Japanese and Russian pop, alongside more traditional Greek music.

You found your talent while attending an all-girls boarding school in Britain, what encouraged you to peruse this professionally?

I definitely didn't find my talent then. I was very un-talented until I was around 21 years old and began to find my sound. There was an English teacher there that kept banging on all the time about how obsessed she was with my voice- but she had never heard me sing. She predicted I would one day become famous.

Now that your debut is released. Do you feel vindication now that it is done?

It is never done. This is the start of a long, embroidered journey. I am so anxious to prove myself as an artist. I just look forward and to what I have yet to do.

The debut is called “The Family Jewels,” were does the title of the album come from, or what does it refer to?

For a while I joked that it was my way of controlling my fears of "people" think I was bollocks, by getting there first. The real reason behind the name was because it looked good, sounded good, was appropriate to the subject matters of the album and of problems in my life. It also captures the tongue and cheek humour which is essential when listening to the album.

Who were your biggest inspirations recording your debut?

Being without an idol and feeling like a totally lonely outsider. Like I was not liked. I am not tremendously influenced by other artists. People would love it if I said I were influenced by Kate Bush but I never will, because it's not truth.

You were working in LA with Benny Blanco (of Spank Rock), what is it like working with him?

He's a good kid but it definitely didn't work out for us. I wrote zilch in the two days we were together.

In just a few short years you have made such a big impact on British music. How do you feel about your success?

I don't feel like I have. I am very insulated and don't think like that. It takes a lot to make a true star.

Female singers have come out strong the past few years – MIA, Lady Gaga, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Florence, Little Boots, La Roux. How do you differ from those artists and stand apart on your own and not just another female fronted act?

By being bored to death by these questions and by admitting that I am bored to death by these questions. Not gonna sit there and churn out some clichéd answer of "oh yeah, I think they're all really sweet and we all exist in our own terms. Female is not a genre'. We all know, even journalists, that the root of this is basically rampant sexism.

You call your fans your diamonds and not your backing band. Do they have a name or is it all under the banner of Marina and we get to sing along as fans as the Diamonds?

My band are diamonds, as fans and people, but I employ them as backing musicians, so I suppose they are under my brand.

I ask this a lot to UK acts I speak with and you seem to be the perfect one to ask due to the fact that there are so many references to America in your music. Is it still a big deal for a British musician to make it big in America?

Yes. Slightly less so because in terms of sales, it's the not biggest territory any more. For me, it's a lot less about success and billboard charts and more about having a true affinity and fascination with American mentality. I love your country. The shows I played there were the most connected I've ever felt with an audience.

Marina video for "Mowgli's Road" (Above) / Marina performing "Hollywood" on Jools Holland (below)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Live Review - Gorillaz @ MSG

In order to start this review, I must begin by saying this, seeing Gorillaz was not a concert, it was an experience. As New Yorkers we know we are spoiled when it comes to the arts, everyone comes here at some point; everyone wants to show off his or her work in the city. For music, New York is Mecca, no doubt about it, in fact there is no reason to go into detail as to why everyone flocks and plays here, it just happens. What the audience at Madison Square Garden witnessed on Friday night was an event that even had them in wonder and surprise. Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewelitt brought their platinum selling global sensation Gorillaz for the first time to the world’s most famous arena and brought along a string of guests, musicians and delivered a full on multimedia performance for the ages. This is a gig that New Yorkers will be talking about for years to come.
What began as a joke a decade ago from Blur front man Albarn and British artist Hewlitt, who wanted to create the world’s first animated band that combined rock and roll, europop and hip-hop are now a world wide legitimate sensation. After three records and over 15 million albums sold, Gorillaz return to New York in support of their latest, Plastic Beach. Plastic Beach is a symphonic concept record about the animated characters in Gorllaz living on their own island with famous friends coming to visit. Though, in theory the concept sounds a bit silly, the record is brilliant and one of the years best. With a band and idea as big as this, they need to put on a show even bigger.
Playing underneath a large screen that would take the audience on a journey to and from Plastic Beach, each song was accompanied by a video and animation that Hewlitt would assemble for the show. Traveling with a chamber orchestra, brass ensemble, a caravan of back up singers and not to mention playing New York City for the first time together since 1983 - Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash – yes, THE CLASH as Albarn’s backing band, really what more can you ask for? If you Damon Albarn, you abide and keep giving the audience what they want (hey Damon if you are reading this, I want Blur to come back to New York – cool?). With a plethora of guests that included Mos Def, De La Soul, Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown, Miho Hatori of Chibo Matoo, legendary soul singer Bobby Womack, and legendary New Yorker – Lou Reed. Reed’s cameo would come with thunderous applause and cheers but Lou did not seem to care, in fact, he looked like he did not even want to be there and while it was amazing to see and have him on stage with Jones, Simonon, Albarn and others, it brought the mood of the show down, then again, the music marvel that Reed is, he is a constant killjoy (just as Susan Boyle). Yet, Albarn and Co. would pick it back up. This combination of visuals, musical style and talent, raw energy and power, it was just a two hour experience of wonderment for the audience. While Albarn looked as if he was in all of his glory, he has to say to himself every night on this tour “look at what I have done!” With the music of Gorillaz and their stage show, Albarn has proved himself he is not just a rock and roller but a full on musical mastermind. It was a bit shocking that this gig was not a sell out, because whoever missed this, missed a performance that whatever they see next will be extremely hard to top.
Opening the gig were the greatest party starters that Albarn could have asked for - NERD. Pharell Williams and Chad Hugo's genre bending band came back to New York and as always just delivered a fantastic set. With the band's latest, Nothing, arriving next month, NERD will be on the road and will be an act not to be missed. They truly are a fantastic live band and a great way to kick off any night.