Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Conchords Take Flight, Picking a Fite, Monkeys Sound Alright…Also, Battles, Beasties, Stripes, Tap and Amazing Videos

“New Zealand's 4th Most Popular Gangster Folk Group” is on the brink of things that are bigger than what they have previously been doing; something they hope they can say again this time next year, like they did last year. One of the better Alternative Comedic Satire Duo’s who play guitar and sing about the “issues” from New Zealand I have seen in years (Bret and Jermaine, names pronounced much like they read), Flight of The Conchords, building off the success of a run through the elite comedy fests, an HBO special and a BBC miniseries, are now currently filming a 12 part series to air on HBO starting this summer (June 17th), also scheduled is a new album for later in 2007; later in this post, more run on sentences
Don’t you want a little taste, to see what it tastes like?

Jermaine aka "Justice" is also in his feature debut, Eagle Vs. Shark, which has great potential:


The simpliset way to discribe Tim Fite’s sound is to imagine The Good ‘Ol Boys playing as Beck’s supporting band from his first two albums, singing Tom Waits meets Ween covers, who happen to have put out a hip hop album that sounds a lot like Eminem. Then take that and mash it up and pour whiskey on it. In other words it’s not easy to descirbe this New Yorker by way of Pennsylvania’s sound, and that’s what makes him so gosh darn intriguing.

Standout compositions and heartfelt lyrics make this oddball come to life, sounding like nothing else on the barren landscape of common pop music. “Heavens to Betsy, the man’s out to get me. He’s raisin my rent and takin my money. While the rich get rich, us poor don’t get shit. Except shit on by rich men, and shit on by women and shit on by everyone shitting.”-Away From the Snakes
After establishing himself as the next alternative folk star on his amazing debut Gone Ain’t Gone, Fite surprised fans and critics alike by releasing a flat out assualt on modern society and the hip hop culture by making a. . . hip hop album. Over the Counter Cuture, a COMPLETELY FREE ALBUM, is at times extremely clever, poignant and aggressive and always self aware. “I want you to buy my record, So I can sell out in 60seconds; At the Best Buy, I wanna be the best guy, You know that I’m better than the next guy; Even though we sound exactly alike, Is that Jadakiss or is that That Tim Fite?"- It's All Right Here.

Amazing videos from amazing bands. Director Vincent Moon captures bands out of the confines of studio or venue, takes them to Paris and puts them on the street… and in elevators. The series is called The Take Away Shows from La Blogotheque. The live films are shot with hand held camera and the final product is some of the best footage available. Highlights include: The Shins, Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, Tapes ‘N Tapes, Cold War Kids and Islands. There are several other Eurobands on there as well, but I am ignorant and never learned to speak a foreign language so I kinda miss out; better luck to you.

…another intimate look at great bands; Sophie Muller directed and Nigel Godrich produced From the Basement. These videos can be purchased on iTunes (White Stripes, Thom Yorke(Radiohead), Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid…Beck etc. to come.
From the Basement
More from Steve Reid… TAP THIS

Speaking of Euro’s, the UK’s Favourite Worst Band dropped their new album this week, will give it another whirl and start on a review, so far its pretty solid. For now here’s something to think about…

For fans of “math rock,” Battles are about to release their much aniticpated new album Mirrored. The band features an assembly of gents from various other projects of wide background, most notably John Stainer of Helmet. The beats are unreal, the vocals take some time and may never work for ya, regardless this one of the coolest videos out there.

White Stripes new single Icky Thump hits the stores and iTunes this week. There are three versions of the single, with different B-sides on vinyl 7”, white vinyl 7” and CD. The new album also titled Icky Thump is being bought by me on June 19th, you can also buy it then. There is also a new Raconteurs album in the making…my man crush of Jack White grows stronger with each passing day. '07 Tour dates: Canada and the US states they have yet to visit.

Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That, the award winning film of a Beastie Boys concert shot by 50 fans with handheld cameras airs until May 21st on Showtime; here’s the trailer . New album out in ’07 as well as a slew of fest appearances including instrumental only shows; which would be awesome to see. Info on the The Mix Up, going back to the Paul's Boutique/Check Your Head sound.

Spinal Tap To Save the Planet.

My EYES will have something to say again soon, so keep LISTENING

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Freaks, Geeks, Dwarfs, Confetti, Yoshimi, Lips ablaze and a Ninja Turtle


Having Nancy, the GPS with attitude as our co-pilot, my motley crew took off from the Queen City via 85N to this great state’s capital city to feast our eyes on the myriad of explosions in sound and sight known as The Flaming Lips. A brief stop at my new favorite convenient store (Sheetz) where sandwiches were ordered with kiosks and my partners in crime ogled the overwhelming selection of goods and treats offered (make yourself milkshakes, 12 pots of various coffees, hard boiled eggs and grapes etc.) we were fast on our way to industrial Raleigh, a real treat if you’ve never visited.

We arrived just as Nancy predicted at 7:08pm and were greeted to the neon pink and blue sign stating simply Rodeo Disco; we had arrived. Rodeo Disco is no ordinary venue and the Flaming Lips are no ordinary band. This part time music venue shares its walls as Raleigh’s finest Latino dance club, housing room for no more than 800. Fully decked out with raised wooden dance floor equipped with greasy Latino mirrors so’s that Paco can watch himself execute the Electric Salsa to perfection and drive the ladies loco. This place was legit. All the signage was in Spanish, the bar serves up the coldest Corona, Tecate and Modelo this side of the border and when the DJ from 90.7fm EL REY tackles the tables you best be ready to groove, groove like the freak you know you are. Just be sure not to wear your shorts, else you not be permitted Gringo!

The moment I saw the stage splattered with oranges, reds, greens and blues, balanced by walls of sound on each side and confetti cannons aimed towards the heavens I cursed myself for adhering to the rules and leaving the camera in the car. It was a rookie mistake and not one that will happen again. I will do my best to convey the on goings of the show and trust that the readers can use their own imagination to recreate these splendid images with their mind’s eye and some stolen pics.

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s Star Death and White Dwarfs!

We found a spot in the balcony, giving us ideal vantage and quick access to the bar. We were the envy of all other concertgoers. After an awkward hour of standing around watching a grown man dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and teenagers clad in ‘I don’t fit in at High School so this is my chance to show who I really am’ costumes and downing a few cold ones Star Death and White Dwarfs, from Lips home state of Oklahoma, finally took the stage.

Lead singer, Dennis Coyne (which I did not realize until now shares the same last name with lead Lip, Wayne Coyne…coincidence???) was decked out in a green jumpsuit and was ready to rock, but to everyone’s dismay he stood a near 6 foot in height, WTF?!?

The Dwarfs were nothing to write home about, but they did have a strong early Lips feel to them, which I’m sure Wayne and Co. relate with. The high note of their set was a drum-bass solo that came in the second to last song. The beat was heavy but fast with a techno feel. Kliph Scurlock (drummer for Lips, who could easily pass as Smokey from Lebowski) could be seen just offstage hitting note for note in the air with Dwarf kicks man. At close of the song the crowd gave a boisterous vote of approval and then kept the enthusiasm going as Kliph took the stage and manned the drums for the final song. There was a strong parent-child feel between these two bands as post set Kliph was busy giving pointers to the young drummer and the rest of the averagely heightened Dwarfs took down their equipment and set up for the main act.

Over the PA played a quirky song in which the chorus was ‘The Flaming Lips,’ the machines began to pump out white clouds while the crowd crew closer and “the room was filled with smoke and apprehension.”

Characters from the Cartoon Network hurriedly dispensed hand held light lasers to all in the audience and then with a burst of light and pouring down of confetti, giant balloons, search lights and lasers the Lips ripped into It Overtakes Me and the production was under way!

Zeppelin cover, automated bugle belting out taps, enveloping orange confetti, young girls in purple “alien” mini-skirts with search lights, 7 dancing Santa Clauses, Yoshimi and the Chiquita Banana in the crowd, iPods and cell phones taped to guitars, clips from appearances on the Jon Stewart Show, 90210 and a topless girl doing kung fu on the projection screen, Wayne wielding dual streamer loaded guns, swinging bulb lights around his head in halos, a singing Nun hand-puppet and giant foam hands…the Lips perform like no one else.

Wayne leads the way for this group as a true showman, entertaining with antidotes, jokes, and an overwhelming appreciation for the fans. When it came time to sing the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song Wayne went on a lengthy spiel about the Bush administration and then asked for audience participation to ring out the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ with all our might. The crowd was so engrossed by this point of the show that the response took the band off guard and Steven Drozd (percussion, bass, guitar, keys/synth) lost his place and had to start the song over. When the song commenced Wayne offered his blessing to the audience, bowed and thanked them for being such an active participant to the show and for being such loyal fans. You could see and hear the sincerity in his voice as he commended the legions for being supportive of each other and his band, which ‘gives them the courage to create and perform.’ It was just a feel good kinda night all around…and the crowd ate it up.

As the show heated up so did the temperature. The small venue was packed to the brim and the swelter of the crowd never allowed the swell of energy to settle. At the point in the show where Captain America leads the audience in a chant, he was unsure what to do as he told Wayne “I don’t think they need to be any more fired up.” To cool us off a bit Wayne used a leaf blower with giant balloon attached; growing and growing until bursting with the drum roll and mounds of confetti and streamers. Wayne then used the blower to cool off band mates and fans.

In homage to the support Wayne lead a sing along into A Spoonful Weighs a Ton, asking that at the end of the song that everyone turned to whoever it was that they had come with and tell them you love them. “Yelling as hard as they can, The doubters all were stunned, Heard louder than a gun, The sound they made was love”

Other highlights included Waiting for Superman (note Superman and Spiderman on stage), Do You Realize?, Fight Test, Free Radicals, W.A.N.D., Yoshimi Pt. 1, some of the older hard psychedelic material from later year they dedicated to the Dwarfs and of course She Don’t Use Jelly; which like Beck’s Loser and Radiohead’s Creep, has become a label they can’t erase so rather than fight it they embrace.

Mid point of the set the screen instructed the audience to “Point your lasers at Wayne in 10…9…8…7…when the clock ended every laser aimed at Wayne and the red beams illuminated the blurry smoke filled room and then Wayne retaliated with giant mirror, refracting the beams back on the audience. You just can’t make this stuff up folks.

Aside from being muy, muy caliente, no fake blood or globe trotting and a rather non existent presence from Michael Ivins (guitar and piano), who was decked out in skeleton costume, the band was on point and Kelph was “incendiary” on drums.

“Fuck, that’s good. I usually just dance around and not pay attention to the music, but I watched Kelph that time and he’s really fucking good.” –Wayne

Nothing is more satisfying for a fan than to see a band they love surpass all expectations and take the music to a level that puts it all in a new focus. I never dreamed all the nuances of the Lips sound would be duplicated in the live setting but they were, and some. As an overall production this show ranks among the best I have ever seen.

Justified. Satisfied. Mesmerized. Hypnotized.

When the two encores faded away and we left our casa musica I was left one thought…amazing.
SLIDESHOW: Lips at Rodeo

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bang Bang Banging their way along, The Whigs rock by not rocking so hard, The Wolf's Fur and tying up some loose ends

First I want to thank those that took the time to look at this and give me some feedback. I am pretty overwhelmed by how many of you not only visited but wrote me back with ideas and support. I appreciate that and I will do what I can to work in people’s thoughts.

Closing out the discussion on Imus, I received this article that summarizes best my thoughts on the situation.


Digging up a little info on some of the lesser known bands hitting the long dusty road and joining the party at a couple of the best festivals this summer (Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza) I caught a ride with a group I feel has big potential; Bang Bang Bang.

Drenched in southern gravy rock, this Tennessee crew is best served with a side of fried bacon and runny eggs…and a cold beer. The sound is simple and this kinda simple works. Digging up deep muddy roots of the Southern Rock Kings the Allman’s and Skynyrd, these long haired country boys come rockin’ by way of hard kicks a swift smack of late 90’s grunge to the face.

The lead vocals flirt with the sounds of Collective Soul’s Ed Roland, the girlsish yelp of Nathan Followill(Kings of Leon) and the steady rolling of Tom Petty. The rythyms, sticks, riffs and kicks drip heavy and slow with the sounds of The Black Crowes smothered in southern punk attitude, with a heap of Pearl Jam via the Clash guitars melting down.
Slop some up with your biscuit…

The Whigs...
New Whigs tunes hit the boards via My Old Kentucky Blog. They are in session MOKB-Radio so the sound is taken down to an acoustic set and I must say its stellar and the new track Like a Vibration has got me pumped about a new album. Also, The Whigs have been added to Bonnaroo as well.
Whig out...

The Whigs Like a Vibration
The Whigs Technology
The Whigs Nothing is Easy

Handsome Furs...
Turns out the other guy singing in Wolf Parade is his own breed of wolf, not so sheepishly clad. This lo-fi version of Wolf is very inorganic and deeply repetetive. Watch the creepiest and most indie video ever;
Snuggle up, handsome devil...

Handsome Furs The Hands of Me

Off to see the Flaming Lips tommorrow, full report of the mayhem to follow.
Keep the friends, family of the victims and the VT community in mind.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Friday, April 13, 2007

Nappy Headed Ho’s, Blaming Being Fat on a Gene & My First Week as a Blogger

Imus got the can, I got a new forum to share my rants without filling up your inbox and fat people got another excuse for being, well fat. These really are exciting times!

I am a huge advocate of Freedom of Speech and feel it’s a cornerstone to our way of life as Americans. I am not condoning Imus’ calling those lesbians “Nappy Headed Ho’s,” but it does bother me greatly that he has been fired for his remarks. After all, his profession is “Radio Host and Personality.” He is not an International News columnist for the Wall St. Journal nor is he a miscreant. The man works in the same profession as Howard Stern and John Boy and Billy and we act stunned when he says something off the cuff! I sympathize with Imus, as I too slam the hammer on the proverbial thumb on an almost weekly basis, but I do not feel the need to chastise and discredit myself just because I cannot keep my mouth shut sometimes. If he cannot express his thoughts, popular or otherwise, then what else do we stand to lose?

For the most part I hate Michael Moore, but I do respect what he does and I feel he best explains American society as a ‘Culture of Fear’. Lawyers and lobbyist (mostly drains on society) react in fear that others may be offended and that they must protect the fragility of the American conscience.

What kind of society do we live in where journalists can openly criticize student athletes as spoiled and hateful people only to find the accusations placed on these very men to have been done so under false pretense and the trial tossed out of court, yet not a single journalist is held accountable for his words? Now Imus ‘was let go’ for hurting people's feelings. Where I come from, accusing someone of rape is a little more serious than calling them a Nappy Headed Ho.

BREAKING NEWS: It’s a gene that makes you fat, not the Double Whopper with fries and a shake you had for lunch.

Scientists say they are making great strides in discovering that which makes people genetically irresponsible for not having any form of self-control when it comes to eating. Soon they hope to discover the genes that make people “go into debt,” “not take care of their kids,” and “be unable to keep a job.”

I promise to keep this blog interesting with a mix of music, media, things that amuse me and of course: personal commentary on whatever topic I so choose. I foresee my commitment to this to be much like everything I do in life; That is to update it quite a bit at first and then not as much, and then after a while kind of get into it again, putting some real effort into it and then just sort of forgetting about it for a while and then you know, maybe get back into it again.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ever Question Your Eggsistence?

Here is a short film created in part with the assistance of a good friend in NY (W. Simpson or Wallace S., not sure if he wants me to use his full name or not).

It is a submission for the Film Racing competition, which is a nationwide event that challenges creative minds and film makers alike to create under the time confines of 12hrs.

To learn more visit here.

Infinite Jest entry for the 2007 NYC Midnight Madness Film Race
This film was created between 12pm - 12am April 7th, 2007.
The Theme is: Fortune
The Special Element: An Egg
The Result: Eggceptional


It's rare that the making of a masterpiece is caught on film at all, let alone presented in a mini documentary. This really might end up being the most defining Pop song of our generation. You be the judge....

Pretty girl on the hood of a Cadilac, yeah....She’s broken down on freeway nine.
I take a look and her engine’s started, I leave her purring and I roll on by.... Bye bye
Free love on the free love freeway, The love is free and the freeway’s long...I got some hot love on the hot-love freeway,
I ain’t going home cos’ my baby’s gone
A little while later, see a senorita, She’s caught a flat trying to make it home, She says ‘Por favor, can you pump me up? ’I say ‘Muchos gracias, adios. Bye Bye.’
Free love on the freelove freeway, The love is free and the freeway’s long

I got some hot love on the hotlove highway, Ain't going home ‘cause my baby's gone.
Little while later I see a cowboy crying, ’Hey buddy, what can I do?’

He says ‘I lived a good life, had about a thousand women’
I said ‘Why the tears?’ he says ‘Cause none of them was you’

Free love on the free love freeway, where the love is free and the freeway is long...I got some hot love on the hot-love freeway I ain’t going home cos’ my baby’s gone


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

They gave me a present, I never expected


Having been stunned by the arrangements of one of the finest sophomore albums I have heard in Friend and Foe I jumped on this aptly named band and have been riding their rise to recognition by soaking up all I can lend my ears to. Friend and Foe, stands as one of the years best releases to date (according to this guy) with songs ranging from horn heavy, bass lining dark stories to the whistling, chorus and multi instrumental ballads of a band never afraid to throw their sound over the cliff and poise for the reverb of the crash below. Reigning from Portland, there must be something going on up there these days, Menomena take an intriguing approach to their music and the risk pays off.

Using a self designed computer program, the Oregon trio loop, layer, splice, tear apart and add on to hook after hook until they have composed a strong array of crescendos, crashes, melodies and just plan awesomeness…and then they throw in some lyrics and learn to actually play the stuff on their instruments. They have come a long way from their indie-dance pop of I Am the Fun Blame Monster! And they got there in a hurry.

Wet and Rusting, the first single from Friend and Foe, is the gentlest song on the album and one that did not catch my attention at first. On the EP the song is presented in LP form (note EP preceded Album, release delayed in US) and with now numerous listens it is a strong single, however it is the company that this track brought along that makes this EP more friend than foe.

Polo, feeds off the quirkiness of the group doing what few bands can do with a straight face…make a song where the chorus is, you guessed it: Marco?…Polo! Despite the silliness of the lyrics this is a well-performed song and it easily could have worked on hook laden F & F.

The standout on this EP is Gay A. The baritone sax, bells and percussion here are funky and amazing, lending itself to a more hip-hopper sound (perhaps their dream may one day come true of working with Kayne, watch video). The lyrics most resemble the soul searching and desperate reassurance of better to come heard throughout F & F: “All my pathetic and small life, I made big steps with small strides, To fight just what feels right; Then I have a vision, now I’m on a mission, to fix my condition, to fix me for good.”

The EP includes two distinct approaches to the single with a bare bones E.R. Don version with acoustic guitar and little accompaniment. This version shines a new light on the song and sounds like folk ballad more than an indie pop tune.

Menomena is headed in the right direction with these tunes and it seems evident they will live up to the hype.

Rating: 7.9

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shaky at First, Settles Smooth


This fivesome from Portland, with an apparent disposition to keeping their hands still, have put their nervous twitches to good use on their debut album; its their direction that could use some settling.

When the first few chords of Whale Sings drop, an exploration into the likes of art rock raised on the promises of Brit Pop is to be expected. However, just shy of a minute into the song the listener is introduced to the alt country strumming of guitar that stays out of place until the second have of the album. Although the album stumbles out of the gates, it does manage to hit its stride a few times in its sloppy start before taking off to a full gallop with closing sprint.

The Sleepless plays like a Destroyer song sung by the Pixies, and although not quite fulfilling its intention the track lends itself to where things are headed with its infectious hooks and instantly relatable lyrics.

The albums single, Why & How Come, is presented like a late Pavement tune, but falls well short of such company. The influence of such contemporaries as CYHSY is most evident on this track, a foray possibly best left alone for the already Shaky.

The next two tracks keep pace with the Indie Pop theme yet play shallow for me. Its at the divide of Another World Pt.1 to Another World Pt. 2 that the album takes shape and comes alive; or if you like hits that galloping stride. One would have to believe that it is the intention of this mid album split to present two sides to the bands sound. Given the choice, I’d take the later half.

Another World Pt. 2 pays immediate homage to Zeppelin circa the acoustical sounds of III with a hint of the Beatles' Norwegian Wood(This Bird Has Flown). In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s a straight rip off, but I love the classics, some I’ll let it slide.

I’m Alive gives us Nicholas Delffs at his most relaxed vocally yet most tense lyrically. “And I’m alive once, once again; When you take your knife off, off my skin,” is delivered in such a singsing pop manner it slices deep as it brings front a troubled emotional side hidden throughout most the album.

Whirling Wind belts out the bands best Bright Eyes/Ryan Adams impersonation while Hold It Up sounds like what the Strokes would crank out if they dug early Wilco.

The strongest song closes the album, Summer’s Life, and oddly yet fittingly is the most distant to the sounds of Whale Sings (no way this was done on purpose, that’d just be nuts). This gives us the most stripped down sound of the whole album while bringing us the most predominate percussion at the same time.

When this first go round for the boys from Oregon shakes itself out and comes to a rest the resounding echo is quite nice. The band’s MySpace page lists the group to “Sound Like: Organized Sound.” Although not completely untrue, it’s more the arrangement of the songs on the album that comes across as organized and not so much the true sound of the band itself. The Shaky Hands won’t make any top 10 lists but it will get plenty of time on my iPod.

Rating: 6.9


The Shaky Hands: Why & How Come

The Shaky Hands: Summer's Life

Crossing the Chatham Co. Line


Traditional bluegrass has a unique identity in American music. It speaks to us through folk tales of coal miners, moonshiners and country folk dancing in the mountain dusk of a hard days work. The arrangements center around a mandolin, fiddle, banjo, acoustic bass and the incorporation of guitar. The lack of percussion derives the fast snappy strumming and the use of acapella-style vocals to fill the void. In an essence bluegrass can be thought of as atmospheric music as it incorporates the physical placement and distance of the instruments from one another and the audience to create an ambiance and layering of sounds. When done right, it is completely immersing.

Semi circled around a single stand microphone CCL bowed, strummed and jangled through a stunning set. The welcome atmosphere of the Carolinas enveloped the players with homage on this homecoming and the Chatham boys returned this gratitude in the form of the North Carolina flag as the backdrop(which they boasted journeyed far and near on the most recent tour crossing many a county lines and even an ocean).

While the performers moved in and out of the mic creating bass, treble and harmony at ease the awareness the members have of one another becomes a predominant feature of the live experience. As a first timer I must say I was soon an admiring fan. Taking the main stage at the Neighborhood Theatre the boys from Marshville and Greenville drew for me an unexpected crowd. The adoring fans were for the most part 50+ in age, not exactly conducive to the freewilling beerdrinking crew I rolled in with. Despite the retirement home feel of a seated and well composed audience the music spoke loud enough to send a message to young and old; Chatham County have a sincere and impressive sound worthy of the ranks of the finest to play the genre.

Lead vocalist Dave Wilson picks the guitar and leads the group as the primary star and storyteller. The sound is at times tradional as it comes (Del McCroury) and at others a certain modern swagger arises and their New Grass stigma plays out (YMSB). Playing all original material the band takes pride and strength in sticking to the sounds of later year yet still students of the modern evolution of all music, not just the music of the hills.
Fresh off a run through Scanadivia and Amsterdam the boys shared tales from across the pond and introduced the songs in native Norwegian tongue with the help of John Teer’s (fiddle and Mandolin) newly acquired hobby.

Having no prior knowledge of the group, lest the reputation, I was unable to connect with the material to the fullest extent that I would have liked. Despite not knowing the songs I had no trouble keeping up and I will be certain to catch this act next time they strum through the area.

Dank voor lazing…