Rush Tix!

Tickets for the SLC show go on pre-sale in about 50 minutes. I’m hoping to get front row, but after reading over some of the issues people have had, I don’t know if it’ll even be possible to get tickets at all.

And the prices … what?! $150 for premium seats in some locations, $70 for the same seat in other locations. Why the disparity?! And what is with the state fair gigs? New York AND Minnesota?! That’s … sort of comical. Bands like REO Speedwagon and Styx play state fairs–not Rush. At least it’s not a state fair tour.

New Music Friday. Soon To Be Followed by New Music Saturday.

Another Friday, another trip to Graywhale. The things I learn from going there …

For example, tomorrow is Record Store Day. At Gray Whale, all used CDs are buy 2, get one free. WHAT?! WHAT!? Yah. My morning was going to be about getting ready for game 2 of the Sabres/Bruins series (hockey, for all you who are not “in the know”). That has changed. Since I own a Killer Whale card–a must for anyone within 50 miles of a Graywhale store–I get in at 9. An hour or so of perusing, cavorting, etc, then home for the game. That’s the order of the day.

So here’s the new list of what I picked up today.

  • The Juilana Theory – Love
  • The Juliana Theory – Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat
  • Evangelista – Hello, Voyager
  • DulceSky – Media Luna EP
  • Blue Bird
  • Coughs – Secret Passage
  • Colour Revolt
  • From Bubblegum to Sky – Nothing Sadder than Lonely Queen
  • Lois – Bet the Sky
  • Lois – Butterfly Kiss
  • Scout Niblett – I am
  • Bettie Serveert – Log 22
  • Cat on Form – Structure and Fear
  • Cantinero – Championship Boxing
  • Breaking Pangea – Cannon to a Whisper
  • !!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Me and Guiliani down by the School Yard

I have other stuff by some of these bands, but not many. I already have Bettie Serveert’s “Log 22,” but only in mp3s. I’m familiar with Scout Niblett’s work, so I’m glad to have found that CD. I’ve heard a few snippets of some Juliana Theory material and I’m familiar with their history, but I don’t have any of their stuff. Well, okay … NOW I do, but I didn’t. That’s my point.

The Breaking Pangea CD interests me on name alone. I’m listening to the Juliana Theory’s Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat at the moment. It’s a shame these guys broke up after making this CD.

Dulcesky is a local band. In fact, they’re playing tonight at the Woodshed in downtown Salt Lake. Wish I had known that earlier today.

Anyway, more tomorrow. Probably.

Review: Drop Side Nine – A Perfectly Orchestrated Breakdown.

So, the other day, I got a friend request on Facebook. I had no idea who this guy was, so I checked out his page. Turns out he’s a local musician. I sent him a message asking him how he found me, thinking he found this blog. In actuality, he found me on The Depot‘s Facebook page. I told him about this site, and he said, “Well, hey. I have some stuff. Wanna review it?” Downloaded it, listened to it, and … well, here it is.

Drop Side Nine is comprised of Scott Peterson and Brandon Larsen, life-long friends who grew up in the same small town, went their separate ways, and ended up doing exactly what they’ve always wanted – making music. The result is what we’re given in A Perfectly Orchestrated Breakdown.

The first thing I noticed was the sound quality. I like the garage recording sound. We’re not talking Garage Days Re-revisited, but there’s definitely an awesome vibe to the recording … like they’re seriously just having fun. Gives it a very raw, unaltered sound. Having said all that, I’m also extremely excited to see what some more professional recording and mixing can do for these guys. There is potential. Lots. And lots. And LOTS.

As for the instrumentation, I’m … wow. There are two guys, right? Just two? I mean, there’s synth, piano, guitars, strings (violins? cellos? maybe it’s synth … hard to tell), standard drums, drum loops … there’s a lot going on here. I’m guessing a lot of this is track layering. I can see the need of a full, 4 or 5 piece band to pull off this stuff live. Probably two guitarists, a keyboardist, bassist, and drummer. Obviously, some of the elements are already there.

Brandon has a kind of pre-trained James LaBrie-type voice going on that with some proper training could seriously take off. I like that it sounds completely unprocessed. I *hate* processed voices that sound great on a CD, but then you go see a band live, and come to find out, the singer really sucks. Such is not the case here. What you hear is what you’ll get live. Again, with a bit of vocal training, we could have the next Geoff Tate.

It’s fairly evident from lyrics that either Scott or Brandon (or, both?) have been through some painful experiences–the genesis for many of the songs on the CD. (from “Broken Down”) “Make this go away, turn a page–a brand new day. Now I’m so alive. I know this time that I’ll get it right. Broken down, I’ve begun to bleed.” (from “Take”) “I want you all to see it. I want you all to hear it, and this is what I’m screaming so maybe now you’ll feel it, and I will say it again: the walls are closing and, and I can’t take it no more.” (from Something New”) “I’ve awakened from my downward slide. I won’t be a victim anymore. Take a hard look at yourself cuz I’m coming out swinging. Ready to take your ugly world and turn it into something new–maybe a taste of the blues will help you secretly.” They’ve taken their experiences and turned them into this first offering.

Overall, there is serious potential for these guys. It’s obvious from Scott’s Facebook page that there’s already a growing interest. Now is the time to “get on board” and have the chance to say, “Hey … I knew them and saw them before YOU did!” If they keep plugging away (get it?! guitar and amp joke!), there’s no telling where they can go. We, the fortunate ones, get to watch the entire ride.

To Scott, who I know will read this, thanks for finding me. It’s been my privilege and pleasure to listen to your stuff. I’m serious … keep this up.

Feeding the Addiction: New Music Friday

I love it when I go to Graywhale and the guys start playing stuff they think I’d be interested in. That’s just awesome. Thanks!!

By that, I mean the new Scout Niblett CD that came out in January, Calcination of Scout Niblett. It sounded like new Joanna Newsom, but nothing I recognized. “No, man. This is Scout Niblett.” So she’s on my radar of things to watch out for.

Kyle also recommended Songs: Ohia’s last/Magnolia Electric Co.’s first CD, Magnolia Electric Co. He has pretty impeccable taste in music, so I just ordered it on Amazon.

Anyway, here’s today’s list.

  • HIM – Sworn Eyes (this is not to be confused with H.I.M.)
  • The Von Bondies – Pawn Shoppe Heart
  • The Standard – Albatross
  • Spiral Beach –  Ball
  • Nedelle – From the Lion’s Mouth
  • Julie Doiron – Heart and Crime
  • Freakwater – Old Paint
  • Moonraker – Peeg Vater
  • Endochine – Day Two
  • Morcheeba – The Antidote
  • Morcheeba – Charango

I’ve heard some of Morcheeba’s stuff, but that was mostly from the mid-90s, circa Who Can You Trust and  Big Calm. Very Tricky/Sneaker Pimps type stuff.

Anyway, I’m feeling way under the weather today, so I’m leaving this post as-is for now and going to try to rest. I have some other stuff to discuss, but that’ll probably be later this afternoon or tomorrow. 5 words: the return of the king. And no–I don’t mean the movie (which is fantastic, and now out on blu-ray, but I’ll wait until the extended edition is released before I buy the set).

Muse and Silversun Pickups Concert

Well, it’s 1:30, cold, windy. Doors don’t open for another 4.5 hours. There’s a girl in the group 2 down from me who knows *a lot* about the band. It’s always interesting to see the types of people who show up to a show.

I wonder how many people here even know who Silversun Pickups are. No one is talking about them.

There’s a guy walking around with a guitar. Haven’t heard him play it yet. Maybe he’s hoping to get it signed. That’d be pretty cool.

My wife took off about an hour and a half a go to find a blanket. Poor girl gets so cold so easily. It’d be nice if it were mid-June instead of April 5th.

7 minutes until the doors open. Let the mad rush begin.

SECOND ROW?! YOU’RE KIDDING!

These are some friends of ours.

Here are some pics of the crowd.

If you see yourself in the pic, feel free to point it out. 🙂

On to the reviews.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS

One word: damn.

I’ve seen some intense guitar playing before. Brian played out of his mind. Literally.  He looked like an acid trip on Gord Downie. Yes, you read that right. How he managed to keep his balance and not fall over is beyond me, but he did it.

As my wife put it, by the end of their relatively short set, Chris looked like he needed a break and a lot of water. As anyone who’s previously seen a SSPU show, this is no doubt due to the fact that he plays a very bombastic style of drumming. And he totally owns the kit.

The set list was mostly off of “Swoon.” No surprise there. Being that it’s their new CD and has been out for less than a year, I would suspect that they’d tour on the strength of the new offering. They opened the set with “Growing Old Is Getting Old.” They also played “There’s No Secrets This Year,” “Substitution,” “Future Foe Scenarios,” and “Lazy Eye.” I know I’m missing a couple, but those are the ones I remember.

It’s always great to see a crowd get into the opening band. A lot of the front row kept yelling, “WE LOVE YOU NIKKI!” Not a surprise. 🙂 It was great to have the chance to check them out.

M– USE

Two words: HOLY DAMN.

We were all taunted for a couple of minutes with the opening sequence video (displayed on what looked like 5-story square towers) of  of several sets of white shadows traipsing up some stairs. One shadow on each towers started to fall, after which the curtain that obfuscating the true intention of the towers fell around the band members, standing on elevated platforms.

Opening with the anthemic “Uprising” as was so highly anticipated, Matt came out in some futuristic silver suit with glow in the dark blue shades. The crowd went absolutely nuts. Being that we were about 3 rows from the front, right in front of Matt, we were quickly swept up in “the pit,” swaying back and forth on tidal waves of humanity and adrenaline. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last 7 months, you know the chorus: “They will not force us; they will stop degrading us. They will not control us; WE will be victorious!” Singing for all the world to hear, Bellamy belted out the lyrics while Dom smashed his drum kit into oblivion and Chris threw his back out of alignment with his unparalleled head whipping and thick, fat, grueling bass playing. I swear, that guy must have a chiropractor on retainer.

“Uprising” led to “Resistance,” the second single off the new CD. More from the platform. More psychotica from the pit. Let the mayhem ensue.

No rest for the weary. Muse treated us to “New Born,” the first track on Origin of Symmetry. One of my all-time favorites. At the end, they jumped into the middle/end part of “Micro Cuts”–another favorite of mine.

You can’t go to a Muse show and not hope to hear “Hysteria.” Tonight’s show was no let-down. The *only* disappointing factor to the song was the fact that my iphone picked up basically nothing but screaming and sound-popping, with few discernible notes in between. I was really hoping to get a better recording for my girls, who absolutely love singing along whenever they hear it. “I WANT IT NOW! GIVE ME …. YOUR SOUL!!” So frickin’ awesome watching them dance to that. Ha ha!

Dom and Chris jammed out while the crew set up Matt’s piano for “United States of Eurasia” and “Feeling Good,” with the “Take a Bow” intro thrown in before the latter as a teaser.

Far and away, my favorite of the night was “Undisclosed Desires.” Matt played his key-tar, and the lighting was unbelievable. All decked out in purples, blues and reds, when the chorus started, and the keyboard bass threw us all back about 10 feet.

The rest of the set was all too short. “Starlight,” “Unnatural Selection,” “Time is Running Out,” and “Plug In Baby” rounded out the main set. After the requisite lights-out screaming and demanding more, the band came back out and played part I of Exogenesis. My wife and sister in law were in utter awe. Well, okay … we all were. In the words of my wife, “I could sleep to this.” For those not familiar, Matt pulled out ALL the stops on this one. The orchestration is haunting, melancholy and beautiful, like the soundtrack to the death of a mother whose lived a full and rich life, leaving no regrets. That’s just my take. 🙂

It would be cruel and unusual not to play “Stockholm Syndrome.” There’s WAY too much energy in that song not to play it live. It’s a must. The band was as tight as they’ve ever been, ripping their way through the crowd-moving intro. I love the chorus to this song. It’s so un-nerving. “This is the last time I’ll abandon you, and this is the last time I’ll forget you. I wish I could …”

To end the show, the band played “Knights of Cydonia”–another anthem of freedom and the will to live life. “No one’s going to take me alive. The time has come to make things right. You and I must fight for our rights. You and I must fight to survive.” The crowd jumped and swayed as if we were back in 2007, when Muse opened with KoC.

Everyone left everything on the floor, in the stands, on the stage … there was not one person who didn’t give everything they had to offer for that show. With the exception of the girl who sat next to my sisters-in-law, who saw fit to sit through the entire show, arms folded. I’m not one to judge anyone for anything, so I will assume that she wasn’t feeling well and really just wanted to see the band. Who knows. I hope she’s okay–either emotionally or physically.

Everyone else had 0 left to give, but if the set had gone on another 2, 3 … 5 songs, we would have found the energy somewhere. That’s what you do at Muse shows.

In summary, both bands were unbelievably amazing, gracious, un-humanly intense. The crowd reciprocated the intensity in its own way–jumping up and down, creating tsunamis of human proportions … you could not have asked for a more energetic crowd. I even forgive the 6′ 5″ jerks who bragged about not having GA tix and got on the floor anyway, only to cut off my wife’s view with their selfishness.

If you haven’t seen Muse or SSUP yet, make it your concert-going priority. You can’t go through life wondering what it’s like and not know first-hand. Your musical life will not be complete.

As promised, here are some of the pics.

Muse/Silversun Pickups Concert Day

First off, sorry for the hiatus. I took the fam on an impromptu mini-vacation to St. George, UT for some R&R. We went “hiking” in Zions National Park on Saturday. With two little girls in tow, it’s hard to actually do REAL hiking, but they loved seeing all the cliffs and dirt, so it was fun for them walking around. Checked out Weeping Rock and the entrance to the narrows … nothing really strenuou. Definitely decided that we’re going to try to hike “the narrows” one of these days.

Now on to today. Muse and Silversun Pickups. I’m serious … this should be a double bill – not SsP opening for Muse. I guess they’re not “up there” yet. They will be though. They have the potential to go very, very far.

So my agenda for the day is like this:

11:00 am – drop off the girls at friends’ house.

12:00 pm – get to E-Center and see what there is to see

3:00 pm – dinner with friends at Applebees (gotta carb and protein up for the show)

4:00 – get in line for the show

6:00 – doors open, and so begins the mad dash for front row floor

7:00 – Silversun Pickups hit the stage

8:30-ish – Muse

I’m bringing my camera with a fresh set of lithium batteries, just in case I can sneak it in. I have my methods, which I won’t divulge here for obvious reasons.

I’ve checked out Muse’s setlist from previous shows. Nothing really stand-outish in the states, but in Asia, they’ve played “Dead Star” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” (cover, but really well done).

Okay, there is much for which I need to prepare, so more from the show!

Lest You Think I Was Kidding

See? New CD. Most excellent.

Sunday Morning …

Ed. note: “Sunday Morning” has now become Monday morning due to an unforeseen, unfortunate event yesterday morning that put the writer in a state of discontent for a vast majority of the day.

So today, I seemingly have a kidney infection. Nothing too out of control … for some reason, I get these with alarming frequency. And the pain absolutely sucks. Extremely sore lower back, excruciating joints and stuff … it’s probably the least fun anyone could have without actually dying. If any of you out there have had a kidney infection, you know what I mean.  Anyway, since I’m kind of penned up in the house for who knows how long, I thought I’d tackle the stack of new stuff I haven’t written about yet and get these imported into iTunes.

Oh. And I can’t sleep, which is the main reason I’m sitting here.

List.

  • Beak
  • Raveonettes – In and Out of Control
  • Vue – Vue
  • Lois – Strumpet
  • Corder0 – Lamb Lost in the City
  • Heather Duby
  • Heather Duby – Come across the River
  • Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
  • Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Out of Season
  • The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
  • Katherine Whalen’s Jazz Squad
  • Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
  • Plastiscines – LP 1
  • Flyleaf – Memento Mori
  • Von Iva – Girls on Film
  • The Music
  • The Music – Welcome to the North
  • Fang Island
  • Cloudland Canyon – Lie in Light
  • Golden Smog – ANother Fine Day
  • Elf Power – In A Cave

Over the course of the next week, I expect about another 10+ CDs to show up in the mail. Lots of ordering based upon recent purchases. Especially Cordero, Vue, Plastiscenes and The Music.

Of other note, we have tickets to the BNL show in Boise on May 21st. If any of you are going to be there, please let me know! We’d love to meet up with fellow fans.

Same for the Muse and Silversun Pickups show in Utah on April 5th (ONE WEEK TO GO!). Let me know if you’re going!

Barenaked Ladies – All in Good Time

When last we heard from our boys au naturale, they had put together a solid, eventual two-disc set that was both emotive and frolicking. With humourous bits on “… Are Me” such as “Bank Job” and “Bull in a China Shop,” and with such whimiscal, fanciful songs as “Everything had Changed,” we were treated to some fantastic music by a great band.

Then we were treated to an entire new CD in “… Are Men.” Kevin Hearn took the lead with “Serendipity” and “Another Spin,” while Steven page and Ed Robertson took the reigns on pretty much everything else.

In 2009, Steve and the band parted ways. Many among the faithful shuddered in fear for what the future of the band would hold.
Barenaked Ladies are back. To the faithful who endured the wait, wondering with baited breath what would become of the band, the payoff is … well, it’s fan-frickin’-tastic.

Fare thee well, Steven Page. We will miss you.

For the rest of us, please join me in ushering the new era and welcoming the revamped band to the limelight, which they richly deserve.

In Steve’s absence, Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn have stepped up to the plate with a force that I really think few doubted. Jim has two tracks and Kevin has 3 on the new, non-bonus track CD. If you’re one of the few who can find the bonus track disc,  you’ll be treated to 1 additional track from each Jim and Kevin.

See my earlier post regarding Kevin and Jim’s side project material. If you have any doubt that they have earned their right to pen at least a couple of Ladies tracks, please find a way to (legally) acquire their material. You won’t regret it.

Now for the CD review …

I could be wrong about this (but I’m probably not), but I’m willing to stake a dinner at Flemings for the entire band that the opening track, “You Run Away,” is a graceful tribute to the departure of Steve. Emotionally charged with lyrics like, “You turn and run away from me. I’ll give you something to cry about. One thing you should try out: hold a mirror shoulder high, when you’re older, look you in the eye.”

To say that it is blatently transparent is akin to saying something like “an elephant is large and gray.” You can actually hear the pain in Ed’s voice as he laments the loss of his long-time band mate and friend. Tremulous and shaky at times, traumatic and tortured, the band gives us a brief glimpse into the hell the band went through.

As the CD progresses, it’s evident that the band went to great lengths to maintain an air of familiarity so as not to alienate its original fan base, but at the same time they have taken on the daunting challenge of making a CD that’s different than anything they’ve done previously. With tracks like “Summertime” that has a rather heavy guitar riff (well, okay … heavy for them), though complimented with synth and keyboards from Kevin that help guide the fan back the the comfort of the old while experimenting with the new. Jim and Tyler provide some really fantastic back-up vocals. “So bundle up and hunker down. Here it comes again, just one more round. See you on the other side. Mercury falls, so how do we make it through the days? How do we not give in and bottom out? well you have to understand that soon enough you’ll wake  up from such a daze thanks to all the many ways we’re all pushing through for summertime.”

Track 3 is Kevin’s first song: “Another Heartbreak.” There’s something about his voice that is just so … different. Airy and light, moody and soothing, he navigates his way through they lyrics. “Now here you stand in front of me in all your complexity that I’ve mistaken for simplicty.” Again with the heavier guitars, but this time they’re in the background as Kevin pounds away on the keyboard.

“Four Seconds” is like nothing they’ve ever done.  It kind of reminds me of a creepy mix of “One Week” and “For You.” I can’t even keep up with the lyrics. “I’ve been away for years and a day. You’d be thinking I’d be lonely, but I’m not here to stay. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” The best part of this song is the prominent vocals of none other than Tyler Stewart. What a rare treat. “One Missississippi, two Missississippi, three Missississippi, Foooouurr …”

They played this song at their show at The Depot back in December. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn’t wait to hear it on the CD. That has not changed one bit. It’s just so funky. And DIFFERENT. This one has radio potential written all over it. It’s short, too: less than 3 minutes.

Jim gets the nod on track 5, “On the Lookout.” I love how this kind of has a 70s vibe to it. The use of strings completely makes the song. The other 3 band members take point on harmonizing. “This all will pass, just like us. Just like this thought. Don’t miss this; we’ve only got one shot.”

Like always, I don’t want to go through and review the entire CD. I just want to give you an idea of what you can expect when you play this for yourself. My personal opinion is that, if you like BNL in the past, this CD will amaze you. If you haven’t liked BNL in the past, well … I can’t help you there. This CD, on the other hand, can and will.

Dangerous Amazon One-Click

Yah … so, I got a copy of Barenaked Ladies’ new CD, All in Good Time. I’m not going to sugar-coat it; I actively went out and looked for it on various torrent sites. I don’t have a problem with this because I plan on getting it first thing Tuesday morning before I even come to work, unless crappy Walmart doesn’t have the bonus track disc, in which case I’ll look elsewhere later in the day. We’ll see.

Anyway, so I was listening to that CD this morning in the car (the review of which is forthcoming). It got me thinking about the other band members’ contributions to this CD. Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan both have other projects: Thin Buckle and Creeggan Brothers respectively. Both have multiple CDs to their credit aside from their joint offerings with the Ladies. I, being the music junkie that I am and thoroughly enjoying their scant songs over BNL’s previous releases, finally decided to get their solo stuff.

All of it. At once.

Curse you, one-click button. Curse you.

Granted, it took 7 or 8 times of gently touching that button (iPhone … not a lot of pressure needed at all), but you get my point. I ordered both of their back catalogs in their entirety, if Amazon’s listings are to be believed.

The really dangerous part is the fact that all this was accomplished between home and work, driving in traffic and construction. Dumb, yes … I know. Would I do it again? Probably. I’m a cautious driver (“says the guy buying stuff left and right while he’s barreling down the highway at 65+ MPH …”). I check my mirrors, I look around me, I keep my speed relatively in check … hey, not one accident in over 22 years of driving, so say what you want.

Anyway, just thought i’d

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