Kings of Leon return at inaugural BottleRock music festival

BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival – Saturday
Napa Expo – Napa, CA

All photos by Dan DeSlover – Concert Capture

Kings of Leon - BottleRock Music Festival

As the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival moves into its final day on Sunday, the minimal logistic issues from the first couple days were virtually nonexistent on Saturday, May 11. With more than 30-thousand fans expected to pack the Napa Expo to see Kings of Leon return to the stage for the first time following their hiatus, it was he most attended day of the festival. The fun continues on Sunday with Zac Brown Band headlining the main stage.

Continue reading the rest of this review (and find more great photos) at The Examiner!

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In Photos: Long Doe at Soundset 2012

Long Doe
Shakopee, MN

Long Doe 5 Soundset 2012

Long Doe Records is from the Southside of Minneapolis the trio of BIG WIZ, Mike The Martyr and Tony Bones rocked Soundset playing solo material as well as group tracks.

Long Doe Soundset 2012

Long Doe 7 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 2 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 3 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 4 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 10 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 6 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 8 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 9 Soundset 2012

Long Doe 11 Soundset 2012

Counting Crows pack Chicago’s Riviera Theatre to capacity

Counting Crows
Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL

It’s hard to believe that the Counting Crows are approaching two decades since the 1993 debut release of their acclaimed “August and Everything After.” They are presently touring in support of their 2012 album of cover songs, “Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation).” The Sunday evening show at Chicago’s sold-out Riviera Theatre represented a solid mix between re-worked covers and Counting Crows classics.

Continue reading the rest of this review (and find more great photos) at The Examiner!

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Sullivan Street
Untitled (Love Song) (The Romany Rye cover)
I Wish I Was a Girl
St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream
Hospital (Coby Brown cover)
Black and Blue
Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
Start Again (Teenage Fanclub cover)
Recovering the Satellites
A Long December
Like Teenage Gravity (Kasey Anderson cover)
Mr. Jones
Return of the Grievous Angel (Gram Parsons cover)
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan cover)
Rain King
Holiday in Spain

Abbey Pub Listings 4.26.12

The Abbey Pub Logo

Round 2 Artist Announcement for the Stranger Danger Music Festival. Check out all show announcements for this week over at the Abbey Pub!

Sat. 6-23-12 & Sun. 6-24-12: Stranger Danger Music Festival 2012 Round 2 Artist Announcement:
Family Groove Company – Fareed Haque’s Math Games – Young General (live band) – Eumatik – Freek Johnson – Indigo Sun – Fifth World – Bonzo Terks – Shapes & Colors – Wook – Tonal Caravan.
Doors open 12 p.m. both Saturday & Sunday. A limited number of 2-Day Passes are on sale now for $30

Full Lineip includes: Strange Arrangement (2 nights) – Family Groove Company – DrFameus (Allen Aucoin of Disco Biscuits) – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Sexfist – Twin Cats – Ultraviolet Hippopotamus – Dopapod – Fareed Haque’s Math Games – Cosby Sweater – Spare Parts – Eumatik – Zmick – Old Shoe – Young General (live band) – My Boy Elroy (of Digital Tape Machine) – Sidewalk Chalk – Steez – Brainchild – Freek Johnson – Fresh Hops – Indigo Sun – Fifth World – Bonzo Terks – Shapes & Colors – Wook & Tonal Caravan


Thurs. 5-3-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Ryne Doughty & John Craigie -9pm, no cover


Sat. 5-20-12: The Party Starters 5th Anniversary Zumba Fitness Party.
Doors at 5:30pm / Show at 6pm. Tickets $15 in advance and $20 at the door.


Thurs. 4-26-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Fresh Hops -9pm. No Cover


Thurs. 4-26-12: Full Court Press 2

All Star Jam featuring members of Umphrey’s McGee, Digital Tape Machine, Strange Arrangement, Math Games, Family Groove Company, Kick the Cat, The Coop, Old Shoe, Groovatron & more! Chicago finest musicians team up again! This is an All Star Jam that is not to be missed
Doors at 8:30pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $10 in advance and $12 at the door


Fri. 4-27-12: Chi Town Get Down
Fifth World – Herbert Wiser – Indigo Sun – Plus DJ tweener sets by Kobrakai vs Ram Z
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $8 in advance and $10 at the door


The Great Whiskey Project – 9pm, no cover


Sat. 4-28-12:
The Coop (CD release show) and Roster McCabe – My Boy Elroy
Doors at 9:30pm / Show at 10:30pm. Tickets $10 in advance and $12 at the door


Longest Running Traditional Irish Session with Larry Nugent – 4pm, no cover


Tues. 5-1-12:
Eric Lambert and Friends. Doors at 9pm / Show at 10pm. Tickets $5 at the door


Open Mic Night -8:30pm, no cover


Wed. 5-2-12: Salsa Night!
Special evening with: DID. A performance ensemble that fuses multiple dance styles to create exciting and dynamic choreography. Dynamic, Imaginative, Dance
Brought to you by Denita Inez Dances
NO COVER. Doors are at 7:30, class begins at 8pm.
Enjoy 20% off your meal, $4 Corona & $4 house wines.


Thurs. 5-3-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Ryne Doughty & John Craigie -9pm, no cover


Thurs. 5-3-12:
Fareed Haque Moog Guitar & Guistar with Greg Fundis on drums; Alex Austin on bass. Jesse Clayton from the MacPodz is our guest keyboard player for 2012 – Bonzo Terks
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets in advance and $10 at the door


Tony, Aaron & Rebecca from The Tossers -9pm, no cover


Fri. 5-4-12:
Terrapin Flyer and Friends – Jaik Willis
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $12 in advance and $15 at the door


The Soda Jerks 9pm, no cover


Sat. 5-5-12: Flabby Hoffman Presents:
Lucid Ground – Arlum – Nu Bambu – Vanarays
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 at the door


Longest Running Traditional Irish Session with Larry Nugent – 4pm, no cover


Tues. 5-8-12:
Back from their European tour! Sexfist. Doors at 9pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $5 at the door.


Open Mic Night -8:30pm, no cover


Wed. 5-9-12: A special acoustic evening with
30db (Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee & Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band) with special guests Van Ghost (full band, unplugged)
Doors at 7:30pm / Show at 8:30pm. Tickets $18 in advance and $20 at the door.


Thurs. 5-10-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Fresh Hops -9pm. No Cover


Thurs. 5-10-12:
Pimps of Joytime and Juno What – Indigo Sun
Doors at 8:30pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $14 in advance and $16 at the door


Me & My Uncle -9pm, no cover


Fri. 5-11-12:
Rolling Jones – 3 In Counting – Big Dog Mercer
Doors at 8 pm / Show at 9 pm. Tickets $8 in advance and $10 at the door


Joe McShane -9pm, no cover


Sat. 5-12-12: Chi Town Get Down feat.
Genome – Herbert Wiser Band – Frau Troffea – Goose Doctor – Plus DJ tweener sets by Kobrakai vs Ram Z
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $8 in advance and $10 at the door


Longest Running Traditional Irish Session with Larry Nugent – 4pm, no cover


Tues. 5-15-12:
Sexfist. Doors at 9pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $5 at the door.


Tues. 5-15-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Open Mic Night -8:30pm, no cover


Wed. 5-16-12: Salsa Night!
4 Fantastic Events & DJ Frankie J present a great night of SALSA
NO COVER Wednesday’s at The Abbey W/ENRIQUE CALDERON
Doors are at 7:30, class begins at 8pm. Enjoy 20% off your meal, $4 Corona & $4 house wines


Thurs. 5-17-12:
Thinner Teed and Afternoon Moon with Drama Junkies
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $8 in advance and $10 at the door


Fri. 5-18-12:
Outernational and Graham Czech with Los Vicios De Papa – The Employees – DJ Puerko Pitzotl spins pre-show
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 at the door.


Reckless Records Residency -9pm, no cover


Sat. 5-19-12:
Reckless Life (Guns ‘n’ Roses Tribute)
Doors at 10pm / Show at 10:30pm. Tickets $5 in advance and $7 at the door.


Longest Running Traditional Irish Session with Larry Nugent – 4pm, no cover


Sat. 5-20-12: The Party Starters 5th Anniversary Zumba Fitness Party
Doors at 5:30pm / Show at 6pm. Tickets $15 in advance and $20 at the door


Tues. 5-22-12:
Sexfist. Doors at 9pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $5 at the door.


Tues. 5-22-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Open Mic Night -8:30pm, no cover


Wed. 5-23-12: Salsa Night!
4 Fantastic Events & DJ Frankie J present a great night of SALSA
NO COVER Wednesday’s at The Abbey W/ENRIQUE CALDERON
Doors are at 7:30, class begins at 8pm. Enjoy 20% off your meal, $4 Corona & $4 house wines


Thurs. 5-24-12:
Northern Magnolia – Sarah Holtschlag & the Crosscut.
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9 pm. Tickets $5 in advance and $8 at the door


The Great Whiskey Project -9pm, no cover


Longest Running Traditional Irish Session with Larry Nugent – 4pm, no cover


Tues. 5-29-12:
Sexfist. Doors at 9pm / Show at 9:30pm. Tickets $5 at the door


Tues. 5-29-12: IN THE GREEN ROOM PUB
Open Mic Night -8:30pm, no cover


Wed. 5-30-12: Salsa Night!
4 Fantastic Events & DJ Frankie J present a great night of SALSA
NO COVER Wednesday’s at The Abbey W/ENRIQUE CALDERON
Doors are at 7:30, class begins at 8pm. Enjoy 20% off your meal, $4 Corona & $4 house wines.


Tony, Aaron & Rebecca from The Tossers -9pm, no cover


Fri. 6-1-12 (early show):
School of Rock Evanston. School of Rock Highwood is proud to announce the line up will include the best selections from our Stevie Wonder show as well as our Rush and Frank Zappa show. Doors at 5pm / Show at 6pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 at the door. $5 for children under 18 (must be accompanied by an adult).
Call 847-433-ROCK for ticketing information.


Fri. 6-8-12:
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 at the door

Sat. 6-23-12 & Sun. 6-24-12: Stranger Danger Music Festival 2012
Strange Arrangement hosts the first annual Stranger Danger Festival. Two days of music will feature 25 bands on two stages, all happening in the greatest city in the world. Lineup includes: Strange Arrangement (2 nights) – Family Groove Company – DrFameus (Allen Aucoin of Disco Biscuits) – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Sexfist – Twin Cats – Ultraviolet Hippopotamus – Dopapod – Fareed Haque’s Math Games – Cosby Sweater – Spare Parts – Eumatik – Zmick – Old Shoe – Young General (live band) – My Boy Elroy (of Digital Tape Machine) – Sidewalk Chalk – Steez – Brainchild – Freek Johnson – Fresh Hops – Indigo Sun – Fifth World – Bonzo Terks – Shapes & Colors – Wook & Tonal Caravan
Doors open 12 p.m. both Saturday & Sunday. A limited number of 2-Day Passes are on sale now for $30


Fri. 7-13-12:
Maiden Chicago with Balls To The Wall
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $15 in advance and at the door


Fri. 9-14-12:
Great American Taxi
Doors at 8pm / Show at 9pm. Tickets $12 in advance and $14 at the door

Switchfoot finally perform in Madison

Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI

It took roughly a decade, but Switchfoot fans finally saw their band perform live in Madison, WI on Wednesday night. The crowd took advantage of the all-ages policy at the Majestic Theatre as attendees ranged from pre-teen kids to their parental chaperones, with a little bit of everything else in-between. Switchfoot are presently touring in support of their successful 2011 release, “Vice Verses.” The album debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 chart at #8 and the first single “Dark Horses” is one of their strongest tracks to date.

Continue reading the rest of this review (and find more great photos) at The Examiner!

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Oh! Gravity
Company Car
The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)
Where I Belong
The War Inside
Your Love Is A Song
Mess Of Me
Dark Horses
Meant To Live
Vice Verses
Dare You To Move

Majestic Theatre introduces Fun. to Madison

Majestic Theatre- Madison, WI

Photo by Dan DeSlover

Fun. is:
Nate Ruess – lead vocals
Andrew Dost – vocals, piano, guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, trumpet, flugelhorn, glockenspiel, drums, percussion, beach ball
Jack Antonoff – vocals, guitar, trumpet

Indie artist Fun. have taken the music world by storm. The band are in the midst of a major headline tour in support of their Billboard “Hot 100″ #1 album, Some Nights. The album features the Billboard #1 SingleWe Are Young,’ a song that has also been confirmed as the top-selling track through the first quarter of 2012, nearing 3 million sales to date. Their tour brought them to the sold-out Majestic Theatre in Madison, WI on April 11, 2012 for an evening of rock and roll complemented by their trademark quirky hooks and solid vocals.

Continue reading the rest of this review (and find more great photos) at The Examiner!

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One Foot
Walking the Dog
Why Am I the One?
All Alone
All the Pretty Girls
Carry On
The Gambler
Be Calm
At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)
We Are Young
Some Nights
All Alright
Take Your Time (Coming Home)

United Brad Stands

United We Stand
Razor & Tie
Release: 24 April 2012

Brad celebrates their 20th year as a band, and releases their 5th album this month. Brad began as the side project for members Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, Regan Hagar (Satchel and formerly a member of Malfunkshun), Shawn Smith (also a member of Pigeonhed and Satchel), and Jeremy Toback. Brad is a Seattle band from the 90s which includes one of the founding members of Pearl Jam, the fathers of the grunge sound, yet their music is more chill and psychedelic. For someone who can very rarely relax, I have trouble understanding these jams. If I still hit the hash pipe, it may help. Though I have to admit that Shawn Smith’s lead vocals are beautiful on “Make the Pain go away” the rest of the tracks leave me confused.. I just don’t get it. Although by the sounds of the jam session album the boys are so chilled out, I don’t think they care if I’m grooovin or not, because they sure are regardless. If you already like Brad, or the guys other full time bands give it a listen, you should love it as the sound seems consistent with previous works. Regardless, give “Make the Pain go away” a spin, it will (cliche enough) take some pain away, for sure.

Jon McLaughlin Makes Promises

Jon McLaughlin
Promising Promises
Razor & Tie
Release: 22 May 2012

In September of last year Jon McLaughlin released his album Forever if Ever. On May 22nd he will release an updated and remixed/remastered version of that album along with new artwork and packagin. Jon has also included three new singles for his fans. One of the new singles can be heard below, the album’s first single, “Summer Is Over” featuring Sara Bareilles is on sale now –Buy HERE and Listen HERE.

* Look out for the title track “I’ll follow you”, it’s enough to make most tough guys well up, myself included.

Dar Williams, the Other Folk Meat!

Dar Williams
In The Time of Gods
Razor & Tie
Release: 17 April 2012

Dar Williams has always been a household name growing up on the East Coast. She’s notably a talented singer songwriter whom I… never paid a single ounce of mind to, for no justifiable reason. I guess when I wanted folk music, I went to Ani DiFranco and never looked any further. I think that “go to” has happened to many of us, but tonight I listened to a Dar Williams album in it’s entirely, a few times actually.

First off I will admit this isn’t my first choice in music anymore, yet I found myself in a somber place in life tonight and the album greeted me with open arms. Dar writes beautiful songs. She has a beautiful voice and writes beautiful lyrics. If you listen to her music, I can’t imagine this album would be anything but a satisfying add to your collection of her albums. For a non listener such as myself, I am going to take away this stand out track: “I will free myself”. Next Tuesday when this album drops I ask you to listen carefully to this aforementioned track. I have played it about 10 times so far. Each time as soon as I hear the opening notes, chords, and vocals they force me to pause: and listen. Maybe it’s my situation, or maybe Dar has just been this good all along and this is what you miss when you focus on that one artist that’s gets you by with what you already know. Makes me grateful to always expand my focus.

Monica, New Life, Same Sound.

New Life
April 10, 2012

I will give credit where it’s due. When I was in 8th grade Monica’s first singles “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” and “Before You Walk out of My Life” were my jams. Then when Monica did that duet with Brandy talking about “The Boy is Mine” by that point I was a junior in high school and we all thought we were bad ass playing that song on each other’s answering machine’s. (If you were really cool your pager had an answering machine.) Monica could sing, she was cute with her overalls, and we related to her music. We were teenagers. We grew up. Unfortunately, her music did not.

Monica released her seventh studio album today, also you can now purchase vanilla ice cream at your local grochery store. Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Vanilla Ice Cream, that’s what Monica has become to me over the years. You see vanilla ice cream is fine, I mean who doesn’t like ice cream, it has all of the qualities there that should make it really good, hell it’s ice cream, and if you pair it with something like apple pie then it get’s better. Yet you would prefer something with Caramel running through it wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you prefer to listen to Mary J. Blidge? Doesn’t Monica sound better when you pair her with Brandy? Do you want to listen to another album of Monica’s where it’s all just FINE.If the answer is no, then you just go ahead and skip this album too.

Thanks to her first album and those songs I loved as a kid, Monica’s net worth is around the total of $15 Million US dollars. Tell me why she can’t buy a good song? The album is wonderfully produced, with all the production stars in today’s game that you know, or should, since they make all of today’s hits. Rico Love, Polow da Don,Salaam Remi, even damn Missy Elliott can’t save Monica from making 12 more filler tracks that you can easily live without. What’s the issue? Monica can sing her ass off, she is gorgeous as ever, the beats are decent, the production is good, yet the lyrics fail almost immediately being completely expected, or embarssing (“Log off your facebook it all belongs to me”). Most of the Album’s topics have been exhausted in pop music in the last ten years, even by Monica herself. If you are going to rehash topics of self empowerment, love, and growth you really have to have something bold to back it all up. What we needed was a drastic new sound that recreated Monica in a fresh new way, something with today’s sound vs. 1995. It feels like she keeps painstakingly trying to recreate her first few big hits, even going so far as to have another duet with Brandy, trying to force the magic to happen again. Those overalls, the mid 90’s, being 14 with two top 10 singles: Magic. Being 31 and not having a big hit since, 5 albums later? Time to call in the heavy hitters dear.. New Life? Next time you need a new sound.

Liam, Who?

Noel Gallaher
High Flying Birds
Released: 8 November 2011
Label: Sour Mash

The word in the UK makes music folks get mushy and gather flags to wave. They are the official poster boys of Glastonbury Music Festival and whilst there, after a few ciders, you too against all your good restraints will be swinging with your mate sobbing “you’reeeeee my wondderwalllllll”.

The Gallaher brothers didn’t have the insane appeal here in the US as they did in their homeland. Yeah we like them, yeah we know some songs, but once you have seen the boys over there you realize they are to England what Kylie is as Britian’s Madonna. The Gallaher brothers more importantly have this effect on each other though that has notoriously shaped the face of the band and again they are, no more. In the last years they have sued each other, cracked guitars over each other and smacked each other with chairs. All while one brother insisted that his niece came to be born from his brother’s wife cheating on him. All of this sounds like an American family Thanksgiving – or the making of a great punk album, but instead again, it was the end, and for real this time.

Noel went solo. Noel has written all of the Oasis songs you know that get stuck in your head anyway. Now, he has now made a ten track solo album that people in the UK are loving, and people in the states are ignoring. At the first few listens of the album, I wasn’t impressed. I obviously felt something was missing, and I wasn’t a big Oasis fan to begin with but still, it wasn’t reaching me. Then just before I finally penned this review I came across this beautiful visual and I fell in love with the songs after they were delivered to me in their correct form.

I now almost hate to say how much I love the songs, which you can almost hear the entire album in the above visual link. Above all I am ashamed at how much I am in love with the following cheesy line from the song “If I had a gun”..

“..Excuse me if I spoke too soon, my eyes have always followed you around the room
cause you’re the only god that I will ever need..”

May Noel help you find your mush as well and prove to you that his brother may be the rock star, but he has always been the soul behind the band.

Common – The Dream Killer

The Dreamer/The Believer
Released: December 20, 2011
Label: Warner Bros.
Stand Out Track: Ghetto Dreams

The follow up to Common’s 2008 record Universal Mind Control is here, released just before Christma$ for everyone’s stocking. While the album is lyrically better than Common’s latest works (Better than Finding Forever, Not better than 2005’s Be), it ultimately leaves me pissed off at Lonnie again.

Common is a racist. I’m a white chick who loves hip hop, and so things are not really working out for us. Common was one of the first brothers I had a lil’ crush on. Then I met him and he was a vile racist in person. He makes it really hard to love him and overlook these character flaws that make him the furthest thing from sexy..Why mention this? Because in 2012 this crap is still happening, by an open minded “conscious” rapper.

It’s nothing new, Common really came out the gate spitting this ignorant shit, it’s just gotten harder for me to swallow due to it’s consistency which overshadows his lyrical talents, and as a profoundly smart man, approaching 40 years old – it boggles my mind that he hasn’t grown out of this nasty circumstance. Afrocentric, cool, do you, but how you can tell me what is wrong, and what is and isn’t love?

Resurrection Album – “In My Own World (Check the Method)”
It’s a Jungle out there but I’m never Fever-in for them white hoes
I love black thighs, you sisters better realize

Be – “Real People”
This album is a complete gem, but then there is this:
“Black men walking wit white girls on they arms, I be mad at em as if I know they moms
Told to go beyond the surface, a person’s a person, When we lessen our women our condition seems to worsen.”

Common’s racist opposition to mixed race relations goes beyond a crude song lyric. He not only opposes the mixing of the races, he sees women outside his race as nothing more than objects of personal sexual gratification. From a 2005 interview:

COMMON: I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race but it’s almost like a stereotype that if you’ve got dreadlocks you go out with a white girl. just feel like, as black men, we do have to be aware that, yo, every time we step out with some woman it’s setting an example for our daughters and it’s also representing something for our mothers. If you can’t really love your own, how can you really love others?

TOUCH: So you don’t agree with mixed race relationships?
COMMON: I disagree with them. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s a problem.

TOUCH: Have you ever dated outside your race?
COMMON: Nah, not dated [giggles].

TOUCH: Have you slept with anybody outside your race?
COMMON: Yeah, I definitely have.

So white women are good enough to sleep with, only. Not to be seen in public with, not to procreate with, not to love. What karma is going to do to Common is this; His little pre-teen daughter is going to end up haphazardly loving a white boy and then he’s going to have to face this racism once and for all. True story, I know it because I live it as we speak. I am the better half of a wonderful 5 year and running interracial relationship. Common (the all judging father) would snear at me for this, and my racist family also drags their feet to accept it. Yet, while Common would judge me, and look down on my children, Common loves his Chicago brother Barack Obama – a man of mixed race himself. Common Sense, a living breathing contradiction.

Here we are in 2012.
What does Common have to say about it?
On the track “Gold”
“I write it and still get invited to white Christmases”

No Motherfucker. Not this cracker honkey’s Christmas. You are like, so, OMG uninvited.

The album is better then the radio hip hop trash, but still not Common’s best work. With each year that passes he get’s further and further away from the capability to reproduce classic hits like “I used to love H.E.R“, “Heat“, “The Light” etc etc. Personally I have grown tired of having to face disses about my race, and racial insults that hit home on every single Common album that at this point, I am officially retiring as a listener of his music, entirely. Music is an escape, and if you are providing as much tension and malcontent as a judgmental family member then you are obviously going to lose fans. LL Cool J talks about spending nights in “Trump Towers with a blue eyed blonde” and you don’t hear Jay-Z talking shit about anyone’s preferences, as much he calls people out, it’s still done in a mindful way not to step on people’s toes. This is called “how to achieve platinum status”.

A prime example:

From Jay-Z’s track “Moment of Clarity”
“Truthfully – I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, (But i did five Mil) I ain’t been rhymin like Common since. When your sense got that much in common And you been hustlin since, Your inception, Fuck perception, Go with what makes sense”

If you can read through the lines what Jay is saying, almost directly to our boy common is – you’re being too deep passing your “conscious” views onto the public, that shit doesn’t sell. Considering Jay is the cross culture accepted hip hop mogul and welcomed where no other rappers have gone before, Lonnie may want to take notes, give advice with less judging and preaching, or drink a can of STFU, once and for all.

Eleanor Friedberger whites out Le Poisson Rouge

On a crisp evening in New York City, Eleanor Friedberger, one half of the brother sister duo The Fiery Furnaces, graced the stage of Le Poisson Rouge, performing selections from her debut solo album, Last Summer, as well as new material. Eleanor opened with the first single “My Mistakes”, donning a full white suit and matching white Keds.  Who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day?

Eleanor peppered her show with new material “a song about falling in love”, “Stare at the Sun”  and the rocking “That Was When I Knew” for the encore.  Her lyrics present sharp narratives with decisive repetition.  It’s especially noticeable live when she chimes “Wrong, wrong, wrong” in the later newbie and even in “Inn of the Seventh Ray” where a broken promise rings over and over in her memories.  She even counted out 2-0-1-0 for “Glitter Gold Year”.

Behind her mint green electric guitar and manicured bangs a la Patti Smith, she was completely comfortable on stage, except a moment before kicking into “Roosevelt Island”. Eleanor had to hold up saying she was tipsy and blamed it on the suit.  Fashion is painful.  She took a mini breather and a sip of her Corona.  All good!

Eleanor was happy to play an early show because she was due to attend a wedding post-concert.  Maybe an explanation for the all white ensemble?  Drawing from her recent album she performed “Scenes from Bensonhurst”, “Early Earthquake” and ended the set with “I Won’t Fall Apart on You”.  The fans at the lip of the stage bopped “on and on and on” to the conclusive song.  Post show, Eleanor got behind the merch table.  Let’s hope she made it in time to that wedding or her white hotness would have been missed for the matrimonial bliss.

Anika = Music is Art, Art is Music

Released: November 15, 2010
Stones Throw Records

This is the third degree of separation table to introduce you to Anika:
Portishead –>
Geoff Barrow –>
Beak –>

Anika is a political journalist from Berlin and Bristol, England. Geoff Barrow is the musical mastermind behind all of the quirky Portishead sounds and the namesake of the band (his mum moved to the town in England). Beak was his post phead project. All of these things meshed together and in 12 days in one room, without any edits, this album came to be. The album is mostly covers including: Yoko Ono’s “Yang Yang”, “Terry” by Lynn Ripley, “End of the World” by Skeeter Davis, “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan, and “I Go to Sleep” by The Kinks. All of which are renewed by Anika’s sing/speak dark and unassuming politically injected voice. The cd released last year served as a new project for Geoff and Beak, and a new beginning for Anika as she dabbled outside of journalism. If you’re wondering if it sounds like PHead, it doesn’t. The smart quirky signature Geoff sounds are all over the record but this is more of a moody background record while intellectuals nosh on gouda cheese, rather than girl alone in bedroom with Beth delivering a message. Still, The album would impress any hipster with ears.

Although, a new chapter is evolving for Anika as she continues down this new musical chapter of her life. This year she released a 3 track EP which shows much evolution in self written lyrical content and an overall more cohesive musical package. It showcases music as art, which is something so rarely seen today. It sounds beautiful, therefore it looks beautiful, therefore it can be used in beautiful ways. It’s simplistic musical thing, come full circle, and how good music can be if we just don’t mess with it. Judge for yourself as Anika finishes up her tour at the following dates:

Sat 10/22/11 Los Angeles, CA EchoPlex
Tue 10/25/11 Austin, TX Emo’s
Wed 10/26/11 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Appearing at “Moogfest” (NC) / Moby Fri 10/28/11 Asheville, NC Downtown Asheville
Appearing at “Moogfest” (NC) Sat 10/29/11 Asheville, NC Downtown Asheville
Appearing at “St. Ghetto Festival” Sat 11/19/11 Bern, Switzerland Dampfzentrale

In Photos: Portishead in LA @ The Shrine

Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA

Portishead at Shine Auditorium

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images:

Celabrasion Indeed

Sleeper Agent
Sony Music
Released: OUT ON iTunes, physical release due September 27th, 2011.

Hipster Alert: GET THIS!

I sat by the pool in sunny southern California and I hit play. Most of the world is currently hanging onto the last days of summer. Summer.. Fun, lighthearted, simple, energetic, little did I know all of these things would soon describe Sleeper Agent’s debut album as well. From beginning to end I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this little beauty. Young kids from Kentucky jam out and make the most detail oriented – lyric obsessed music guru not ask any serious questions. There truly isn’t anything serious here, it’s just simple plain good fun music. Beautiful dual lead vocals will hold your hand as you squeeze tightly to the last days of sweet summer sweat, let this be your anthem, or you’ll be quite sorry.. As summer fades to fall I suspect you’ll hear their tunes already remixed and banging from cars still daring to have the windows down in cool temperatures. You have to go big when you need to split royalties six ways, yet in this instance I don’t think it will even mildly be an issue. Bravo KY, keep breeding rock stars.

Sleeper Agent celebrasion cover

Any Man in America Can Be a Tease

Blue October
Any Man In America
RED Distribution
Released: August 16th, 2011

Blue October Any Man in America

This Song, the first official one on the album is epic, thoughtful, beautiful, and the biggest tone setting tease I’ve ever heard from a record. The lead singer’s voice is the rusty love child of Glen Hansard of the frames and Peter Gabriel. The song titled “The feel again (stay)” is one of the most beautiful tracks I’ve heard in long a time. Lead Vocalist and Lyricist Justin Furstenfeld really lays his balls out on the track expressing his loss in regards to his divorce and custody of his daughter.

I was prepared to adore this cd at this point…

The lyrics went on to be simple and could have been seen as cheesy (especially on track 4 entitled “For the love”) but the backing music is so beautiful it often saves the tracks from themselves. I start to think that there are super rarely albums that are good beginning to end anymore. I think it’s often because bands are trying to please so many people’s musical palates by crossing genres on one album. Also I think bands are trying to prove their roots, or create the music they listen to, opposed to what their talented in making and ultimately it’s all too much. At track two – if the album stayed that way I would have loved it beginning to end but by track 5 it has gone far too pop and then by track six it makes an embarrassing failure attempting glam rock. Now at track 7 we’re going to rap? Justin has the rock genre down, while he may have been raised on hip hop, we believe you, we don’t need to hear it unless you’re a rapper through and through otherwise this just feels..awkward. You’re not Eminem, and by track 8 I am sick of hearing this grown man cry about his daughter. I don’t feel for him anymore, it’s just turned bad. Fast.

Blue October has beautiful sounding instruments that range all over the board, violins (in very unique ways), drums, bass, mandolins etc etc and Justin Furstenfeld has a poetically beautiful voice. If he gave me 10 tracks similar to “The feel again” I would be singing the praises, unfortunately, instead I feel like I just saw a mirage.

The Truth Is..

Theory of a Deadman
The Truth is..
Release date: July 12, 2011
Label: Roadrunner Records

Theory of a Deadman The Truth is..

It’s really hard to write an album review for “it’s ok” music. It’s very easy to toot a great album’s horn, or to pan an abysmal release but when the music is “well it’s just ok”..What does one say besides that?

I guess you know where I stand now on Theory of a Deadman’s newest release “The Truth is…” and the truth is, “It’s OK.” If you are a person who actually listens to lyrics then you will appreciate the two bit humor laced into every sentence on the record. Musically, I caught myself toe tapping more than a couple of times, so the beats are there. Then curiously there are a few country-ish songs to close out the record? It’s as if the band is asking “Well what about this, then?” in case you didn’t like the soft rock, or the progressive rock, do you fancy country? At this point I am puzzled as to where this music fits. The track “Easy to Love You” screams adult contemporary pop charts, then you have “Love is Hell” which is straight alternative rock, Then the best song on the album, “Gentleman” is a punkish anthem..These guys are all over the place. Focus Bros. A lot of this is very right, the lyrics are hysterical, (See Here) the music is all fine, and although their fourth studio album is the highest charting yet it’s still just not.. enough.

I guess that’s what Canadian music is? 90% cool? Just OK? Poor Canada. We did get Alanis out of it though..

Michael Jade’s No Outlet

Michael Jade
No Outlet

Michael Jade

I can honestly say that I got a fresh breath of musical air the day that I met Michael Jade. The music – like the man – is smart and fresh and will surely earn a space in our collective music consciousness before all is said and done. He is not the next anything; He is the first Michael Jade.

Less a traditional review – this is an opportunity for a music writer to share ideas in a less conventional form. This also seems to be the way Jade is approaching his music. Rather than go the way of the CD and other predictable venues – Jade is willing to give away his music and that is a gift that everyone should share.

The bright young multi-instrumentalist has taken his music to social networking with free downloads and videos. The multiple award winning songwriter is focused on introducing himself and his perfectly crafted songs to the public – like any good crack dealer. Get ’em hooked they’ll keep coming back for more.

“Chicago (featuring John Mayer)” is a national anthem for the 21st century Midwestern music lover. The song feels a little like a European waltz and a Chicago soul mash-up. The song comes across much like the city itself which is a mash up of European sensibilities bathed in deep, pure soul. That is Chicago – that is Jade.

Truth be told when I learned Jade plays all of his own instruments I feigned excitement and started heading toward the door. This is rarely a good thing.

Typically that is a huge red flag that informs the writer that either the music is going to be simple and just short of exiting – or that it is going to be an indulgent mess that is difficult to listen to.

Jade brings his energy and a passion to every instrument and never disappoints the listener. Whether it is a busy-bopper like “Drive Me Crazy” or a sweet serenade such as “What Was I Thinking” he knows when to put the notes into the open spaces and he knows – and this is paramount importance – he knows when to get out of the way and let the song dictate what he is playing.

I learned a lot from my time with Jade and from my continued listening to his music. I learned that passion is not dead and pop music has a new star in its constellation. I also learned to never underestimate a guy in a hoodie.

Find Michael Jade on Facebook and listen to his music. He’ll inspire and entertain you. If you aren’t careful he might even motivate you to pull your guitar our and start building calluses all over again.

Stand Out Tracks

Product of Pieces




Chicago (featuring John mayer)

Moby’s Destoyed – Now You Can Download the Cure for Insomnia

Little Idiot Records  

Moby Destroyed

Got sleep issues? Try Moby’s newest release “Destroyed” (on Little Idiot Records). If this collection of self-indulgent faux-soundtrack cuts doesn’t put you to sleep – you might need serious medical help.

This has to be the only album in existence that makes lush string arrangements sound boring and monotone. There is nothing here that I can hang my ears on. What Moby has released is him and a computer making navel-gazing music that would even annoy the most jaded navel gazer.

There are moments of sweetness, (“The Violet Bear It Away”) but they quickly erode into repetitive droning musical ideas. He – who could have really demolished preconceived notions and pioneered the genre – relies on loops and cheese-ball edits to try to elicit an emotion from the listener.

Most of what he has created here sounds like the soundtrack to a sad European movie where it is always raining and someone dies and there is a lot of slo-mo running alone through the crowded streets of the city.

The most frustrating part of listening to this disc is some of the ideas truly are beautiful. Some of the chord progressions tap into something medieval and powerful – but rather than follow the idea to a logical conclusion – he (for the most part) just loops it back around into itself.

“Stella Maris” is an exception and – actually – almost reason to buy this disc. If you can legally download this one cut – I strongly suggest it. Moby finds a way to blend ancient spirituality into the full-bodied strings and the reed-thin computer generated arrangements.

If the whole disc was as amazing – revelatory – as “Stella Maris” Moby would have a new fan. Sadly there is nothing on the disc that is even in the ballpark. Legally download this cut and leave the rest of this disc to the hardcore fans who will accept everything he records, because they are – well – hardcore fans.

Stand out Track
The Day
Stella Maris
The Violent Bear It Away

Dead Sara is Alive and Well.

Dead Sara
Dead Sara
To Be Released: 10/2011

I consider myself lucky to have gotten my hands on Dead Sara’s debut album early enough so that I can say “I told you all so!!” The rest of you will have to wait until October 2011 to purchase the album and hear it in it’s entirety. Until then you can attempt to get by with the bands first EP “The Airport Sessions” and what has sneaked onto youtube. I promise you though, the debut album is a whole other entity.

Dead Sara is a female fronted rock band from Los Angeles which indeed, rocks the fuck out. There is no other way to poetically put this besides saying that lead singer Emily Armstrong could read me her grocery list and I would be enthralled. Her voice is that captivating and so unique that I won’t even bother comparing it to any artist thus far. Friends and musical soulmates since their teens Emily and Siouxsie Medley (Also provides stunning vocals) front the band along with equally talented (and hotties) bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday and come fall, they will all be stars.

The bands lyrics never show anything but honest depth and passion while being strung together almost effortlessly. Being a writer this makes me hate them for this, just slightly. The tracks “Lemon Scent” and “Face to Face” showcase these lyrical talents, and displays Emily’s unmatched signature growl. “Test My Patience” contains another lyical gem: “I’m in love, I’m in love, No I’m not, oh my god, I’m a liar I can taste it” belted out by Emily. You listen and think, what other female is doing this? Coming in at 11 tracks with more balls and diversity than anything I have heard in a while, with musical shifts from sweet folk and sad blues to screeching metal howls, to rock and roll and back again – This music can’t be classified in any way -other than GOOD.

I leave you with the youtube teaser provided by the band, and it’s no joke, they are THAT good.

Katla explodes again..

Ida Maria
Labels: Mercury Records
Released: June 07, 2011

katla ida maria

The opening track of Ida Maria’s new sophomore album Katla is entitled “Quiet, Nice People”. It’s a slow charmer reminiscent of a Kate Nash Track, and then you are bitch-slapped with the album’s lead single “Bad Karma”. It’s hard to believe this track wasn’t created in the late 80’s and Ida doesn’t owe Joan Jett some copyright royalties. By only the second track, I am sure of a few things: Ida has multiple personalities and she’s not afraid to show them, she’s the only artist dancing the line between punk and blues, and +5 points for name dropping hare krishna. (If you ever go too punk it’s good to have religion on your side.)

During the rest of the album Miss Maria shows no signs of musical consistency, she is all over the place in style. With all the cookie cutter pop out there it’s a nice safe change and as Wu-Tang Clan would say It’s something nice “for the children”. Save for the dark appropriately titled track “Devil” which makes me wish I was born in the 70’s and heard this track while rocking back and forth in an open field full of angst against some lost love fist pumping over woman empowerment and a cold beer.. Whew! Maybe if she ever tours again you can close your eyes and pretend while this track plays. It may be the most psychedelic rock tune I’ve heard created in this era and blissfully enforces her versatility at nearly ten minutes long. Not only is Ida a Norwegian punk bad ass, on Katla she proves can be a brazen bluesy rock hippy as well, all at the same time. Oh My God is right.

Crossfade Doesn’t Cross Genres

We All Bleed
Released: June 21, 2011
Label: Eleven Seven Music

crossfadeCrossfade is a band which lives under the genre specifications of “Alternative rock, Post-grunge, and Alternative metal”. They are holding true to these genres while most of today’s rock music has shifted towards “industrial” with electronic elements (Nine Inch Nails), or hip hop infused (Korn). That being said, it’s really not an easy task to make straight forward Alternative rock without sounding like scattered noise, and ultimately I may not be the best judge to say whether or not the guys pulled it off, or not, but I can tell you what’s good about it.

I should note that Radio Rock is not a genre I usually spend any time with, and I could easily pan the album simply because it is not my style, but that’s not giving it a fair chance. Keeping that in mind I would like to congratulate Crossfade on having a rock album where every song has it’s own legs and sounds unique from the previous track. I think if you like Nickleback, you will love this album. I think it’s really hard to look bad ass as a man while pouring your heart out about your struggles if you’re not James Hetfield or Jonathan Davis etc. The bands that master that fine line between sounding like a bitch in a radio rock song, and making a hit while crying their heart out, have the staying power and end up making the big bucks. In my opinion, I think Crossfade is almost there, and bringing it all full circle is a hard thing to do while staying true to Alternative Rock and Metal. Without the loud metal defining guitar solos, or the driving bass lines of hip hop infused rock you really need something else to drive your songs to the next level. Smart lyrics are a start, and it can be seen on the track “Dear Cocaine” that this band is on the brink of capturing the whole package without betraying their genre and selling out to today’s electronic infused standards of rock.

The album didn’t convert me from my preferences of music, but I can completely appreciate the songwriting of lead singer Ed Sloan, especially on the tracks “I think you should know”, “Prove you wrong” and “We All Bleed” which can hold their own against any Alternative Rock songs on the radio today. (Also, when covered you can see the true beauty of the lyrics.) Crossfade starts a cross country summer tour in two weeks, check them out at these venues and see for yourself how the boys are doing, and if this is your genre of choice, you can let me know if the guys pulled it off, or not.

Album Standout, and upcoming single: “Dear Cocaine”
(Vocals remind me of Rhett Miller – Nervous Heart)
Dear Cocaine

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

Nothing Is Wrong

Release Date: June 7
ATO Records

The LA outfit, Dawes, hailing from the niche of musicians residing in Laurel Canyon creates Americana folk rock.  Their second album, Nothing Is Wrong, continues the rollicking sound mixed with toned down heartachey ballads.  I have to admit I am more a fan of the latter.  Reader’s note: This comes from a fan of  lead singer Taylor Goldsmith’s side project Middle Brother, which joins Taylor with John J. McCauley III of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.  In fact, the track “Million Dollar Bill” is performed by the indie “super” group.

Nothing against the strong guitar anthems and rattling keys, but I love me a good ballad rich with male heartbreak and longing.  The opening track “Time Spent in Los Angeles” grooves through guitar riffs and a chorus that rings “Cause you got that special kind of sadness/You got that tragic set of charms/that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles/Make me wanna wrap you in my arms.”   That ain’t bad.  Not to mention the toe tapping percussions on “Coming Back to the Man” that lead into some mean harmonica.  The boys are best when they meld the rock with the down tempo woes of love, which is exemplified in the track “Fire Away”.  The album overall doesn’t skip a beat and “A Little Bit of Everything” is a fitting ending with tinkling keys that set us off into a Californian sunset.

Track list
Time Spent in Los Angeles
If I Wanted Someone
My Way Back Home
Coming Back to a Man
So Well
How Far We’ve Come
Fire Away
Moon in the Water
Million Dollar Bill
The Way You Laugh
A Little Bit of Everything

6.05 – Hunter, NY / Mountain Jam (1:30PM Set)
6.06 – St. Louis, MO / The Pageant
6.07 – Louisville, KY / Iroquois Ampitheatrer
6.08 – Columbus, OH / LC Ampitheatre
6.09 – Pittsburgh, PA / Stage AE – Indoors
6.10 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for Performing Arts
6.11 – Vienna, VA / Filene Center at Wolf Trap
6.13 – Vancouver, BC / Vogue Theatre
6.14 – Seattle, WA / Moore Theatre
6.15 – Portland, OR /Crystal Ballroom
6.16 – Bend, OR / Athletic Club of Bend
6.17 – Chico, CA / El Rey Theatre
6.18 – Los Angeles, CA / Orpheum Theatre
6.20– San Diego, CA / House of Blues
6.21 – Tucson, AZ / Rialto Theatre
6.22 – Phoenix, AZ / Marquee Theatre
6.23 – Las Vegas, NV / Silverton Casino
6.24 – Reno, NV / Knitting Factory
6.25 – Oakland, CA / Fox Theatre
6.26 – Atlantic City, NJ / Dave Matthews Band Caravan

7.02 – Emeryville, CA / High Sierra Music Festival
7.07 – Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg Folk Festival
7.08 – Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg Folk Festival
7.09 – Ottawa, ON / Ottawa Bluesfest
7.11 – Quebec City, QC / Quebec City Summer Festival
7.27 – Danbury, CT / Ives Concert Park
7.28 – Boston, MA / Wang Center
7.29 – Chautauqua, NY / Institution Ampitheatre
7.30 – Charlottesville, VA / Charlottesville Pavillion

8.02 – New York, NY / The Beacon Theatre
8.05 – Gilford, NH /Meadowbrook Pavillion
8.06 – Mashantucket, CT / MGM Grand Theatre
8.09 – Bethlehem, PA / Musikfest
8.11 – Cary, NC / Koka Booth Ampitheatre
8.12 – Asheville, NC / The Biltmore
8.13 – Atlanta, GA / Fox Theatre
8.14 – East Hampton, NY / Music to Know Festival
8.19 – St. Augustine, FL / Augustine Ampitheatre
8.20 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL / AuRene Theatre
8.21 – Clearwater, FL / Ruth Eckerd Hall
8.26 – Nashville, TN / The Ryman
8.27 – Nashville, TN  The Ryman

Foo Fighters Release Wasting Light Today

Today marks the release of the FOO FIGHTERS’ highly anticipated album, Wasting Light! Fans can pick up the album, which features songs “Walk,” and the band’s current single “Rope,” on iTunes.

Tonight, following the band appearence on LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN (11:35-12:37 ET/PT), the Foos will perform a full on rock show LIVE ON LETTERMAN, straight from the Ed Sullivan Theatre. LIVE ON LETTERMAN will be webcast LIVE (9p EST/6p PST) here,

For those who missed it, the Foo Fighters rocked Saturday Night Live with a live rendition of “Rope.” The Foo Fighters also stopped by fan John’s house to throw down a special performance for John and his friends…in John’s garage! Watch to see some footage of the secret show and find out what John had to say when introducing the band.

For more information on the Foo Fighters, make sure to check out their official site,, as well as their Facebook andTwitter pages. Wasting Light is available on iTunes and everywhere else now!


JHud Rises Above

Jennifer Hudson I remember meJennifer Hudson
I Remember Me
Arista Records
Released: 3/22/2011

Jennifer Hudson’s name has become synonymous with the word tragedy, unlike most celebs and musicians today this sadly has been through no fault of her own. As she releases her sophmore album many expect to hear and will even seek out the song for her mother, then the song for her brother, and the heart wrenching song for her nephew, but will find themselves empty handed; as there is a limited amount of weakness or grovelling here.

Everyone in America seems to love a tragedy. Shocking stories of celebrities’ heart ache and and their health issues grip us as if they are our own struggles. Events like what happened to JHud make us tuck our children in a little tighter at night. It’s a startling event that makes us turn to our fighting partner and apologize and say I love you instead of the previously planned hateful words. We lived Jennifer’s pain as they searched for her nephew and broke the news about her mother and brother. Now as we listen to her new album it’s nearly impossible to separate those events and solidify the artist and the music from what she had to live through. Yet she handles the fallout of her life with such grace and overcoming strength that for just a moment you lose yourself in song, which one might suspect Jennifer did in recording the album.

All in all it is just a good solid album with JHud’s stellar pipes present at all times. The title track is easily the most standout of any song on the album. The track is based on a poem Jennifer wrote and is one of the few songs that addresses her struggle with overcoming loss. It blantantly stares in the face of her stages of grief and extendes a middle finger to sadness as she finds her way, again. It’s an inspirational track to anyone who has ever lost someone and marks Jennifer’s first writer’s credit. I Remember Me will be released as a single on May 1st, 2011 and should lift to the top of the charts where it belongs. In the face of it all JHud has created a feel good album, personifying Per Aspera Ad Astra. Bravo Girl.

Three time$ a charm

I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance: The Remix Album
March 22, 2011
RCA Records

 I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance: The Remix Album

I told ya’ll before I’m not mad at Ke$ha, although there is a fine line between smart marketing, and milking an opportunity. This newest release seems to lean towards the latter. Honestly, what is up with homegirl’s recent releases? An Ep, and a “too early in your career to release” remix album? Few people have realized that Ke$ha only has a single album of original material released. With which she has now cleverly churned out three albums from a mere handful of songs. You wonder why a new artist would risk overkill so soon, intentionally. Releasing a remix or greatest hits album is usually a great escape from an artist’s recording contract without granting the said record label any new material. Is that what’s going on here? The new album is listed on Wikipedia as only RCA records, and not RCA/Kemosabe Entertainment as with previous releases. Could all these rush releases be because Ke$ha is trying to break away from Dr.Luke (Producer& Writer)? More importantly is this remix album worth your purchase?

If you love all things Ke$ha, then by all means hit download, or run out and buy it, surely you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise the more meticulous ear will only find “Animal” (Switch Remix), and “Tik Tok” (Chuck Buckett’s Veruca Salt Remix) worth any time because they are the only true remixes, and could have been released as B-sides or Singles. Honoring my heart felt devotion to the Mad Decent family I knew when I saw the name Switch that at least that track would be solid gold. Staying true to my high regard, Switch came through again. From the opening note to the last beat of “Animal” (Switch Remix), I found myself eyes closed, head nodding up and down. This is seamless production in it’s finest form. Take notes kids, and if you truly want a remix album hire the likes of Switch to remake the entire thing. The rest of the tracks on the album fall short of earning the proper title of “remix” as they are merely rearranged with bad techno intros and outros.

Just four months ago Ke$ha released an EP with a few previously released tracks on it, with the addition of a new single entitled “We R Who We R”. The album has sold 313,300 copies since its release in the US. You wonder why someone would buy an album half full of material they already know, and possibly already own, yet with the addition of the single it proved financially successful and paid off on Billboard charts. Since that move proved successful, why not try again, and attempt to make even more money off of the same material for a third time? ..Not so much. Let’s get back in the $tudio Ke$h.

Fast Farward to these tracks:
“Animal” (Switch Remix)
“Tik Tok” (Chuck Buckett’s Veruca Salt Remix)

Sweethead Makes for Sourpuss

Strange Addiction/ The End Records
www.sweethead. net

What do you get when you combine four b-level rock musicians from four separate b-level bands? You get the laziest – most uninspired 13 songs that will drone in your ears until you disinfect them with something that resembles rock and roll.

Surely Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age) is intended to be the anchor here. Instead we get disjointed – musical ideas that are half-baked and played without anything that resembles cogent thought or are enoyable music. [Read more…]

CMJ Parties and Showcases updated!

Here are some of the latest showcases and parties for CMJ this week in New York! There is plenty here to keep you busy from the Green Room Showcase to acts such as The White House Band, Hooray for Earth, The Knocks, Home Video, and Das Racist.

[Read more…]


Burbank, CA – “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” the new single from Reprise Records’ My Chemical Romance, is the most added track at Alternative Radio this week according to both Mediabase and BDS. Now available from all digital retailers, “Na Na Na” is also currently No. 1 on iTunes’ Alternative Songs chart. [Read more…]

LUDO “Prepare the Preparations”

Prepare the Preparations
Island Records

“Prepare the Preparations” is the third studio album by smarter-than-thou Ludo the erstwhile quartet that gave us “Broken Bride” the rock opera about what a man will do for the love of his wife.

This is a bittersweet time for Ludo fans. Andrew Volpe – the group’s front man and main songwriter – is developing his craft beyond the constraints of pop music. This has always been a lure of these Midwestern popsters, but Volpe is racing ahead of the learning curve leaving the band standing still – watching – seemingly waiting. [Read more…]

Kowalczyk rises from the ashes with “Alive”

Ed Kowalczyk
Soul Whisper Records

In a world full of Justins and Jasons and random onomatopoeia-named rappers, Ed Kowalczyk is a breath of old-school air. His name  is as no-nonsense as his approach to music. This is one rock and roller who lets the music do the talking.

A former member of the 90s stalwarts LIVE – Kowalczyk is no stranger to tight – lean music that has a deft touch wrapped around an emotional delivery. [Read more…]

Emily Hurd’s Daytime Fireflies

Emily Hurd
Daytime Fireflies

The very things that attract us to a potential mate – tend to be the same things that eventually become the most annoying habits or affectations that person possesses.

Emily Hurd is a smart and gifted songwriter who has released a collection of bold and textured songs. Her quirk is a lisp that whistles at times while it is almost completely inaudible on other songs.

I am not – by any means – making fun of Hurd – I am curious why she plays it up on some cuts and downplays it on others. She creates these sweet little moody pieces of music that draw you in either through a rolling melody that tugs at the heartstrings or by visual images that read like Don Robertson vignettes.

There are moments where her dramatic flair delves into the melodramatic – but her lilting voice and the innocence in her delivery forgive any misstep.

The title cut “Daytime Fireflies” combines a vintage show-tune with some later Beatles’ orchestral fidgeting. Lyrically it is filled with irony (literary irony as opposed to the misnomer that Alanis M. sang about a number of years ago) that  makes the listener think – and then smile to themselves as they unravel the idea within the musical context. [Read more…]

Reggae artist Shaggy to perform at the Palms

Palms Pool & Bungalows and Cruzan Rum host evening, poolside performances
Thursday, August 12, 2010, 9:00 p.m.
Tickets on sale now through the Palms Box Office

Tickets on sale Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 2 p.m. through any Ticketmaster location, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or visiting

General admission tickets $30; VIP tickets $50, plus additional service fees

LAS VEGAS – July 9, 2010 – The Palms Pool & Bungalows, in partnership with Cruzan Rum, has announced another exciting live poolside performance in its Cruzan Campfire Concert Series. Reggae and R&B artist Shaggy will perform Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. [Read more…]