Christina Aguilera: Biopsy Of A “Bionic” Woman

Christina Aguilera
Bionic

christina-aguilera-unveils-bionic-album-cover

1. Great voice
2. An established fan base
3. Talent
4. Credibility
5. Stability
6. A loving husband and adorable child
7. A solid song-writing team

The list could easily go on and on, but sadly, the math does not add up. Christina Aguilera has “what a girl wants.” However, her fourth studio album Bionic proves to be yet another reinvention of Christina’s image; this time around having superhuman strength and capacity. Utilizing electronic devices and mechanical parts to assist Aguilera in performing difficult, dangerous, and intricate tasks achieves nothing but supreme unoriginality in the singer’s case. With harsh criticism by the masses fueled by her in-your-face obvious imitation and reproduction of pop music’s ruling queen Lady Gaga, Aguilera’s numerous uncanny similarities (duplicated in Bionic‘s tracks and music videos) do not leave much room to defend any new music.

Read more of our review of Christina Aguilera’s latest record Bionic after the jump…

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Album ANTICIPATION: MIA

M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\
Interscope Records
Out July 13, 2010

Your favorite Sri Lankan, M.I.A., drops her semi-eponymous album /\/\/\Y/\ on July 13th. A few singles have leaked demonstrating the strange evolution from her global party-starter tracks like “Paper Planes” to the electro-industrial “Born Free.”

This new album is set to feature a few of her favorite DJ’s tearing up the track. The newest track to “leak” is this fantastic mess:


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Sia Undergoes Rebirth With New Album ‘We Are Born’

Sia
We Are Born
June 8, 2010

Sia We Are Born

With integral reservation to candidly be herself, Aussie singer/songwriter Sia Furler fortuitously accomplishes individuality on her sixth studio album attempt, We Are Born. Sia has delighted in steady burgeoning success since her solo debut in 1997. Compared frequently to fellow female singers Feist, Adele, and even Nelly Furtado, Sia manages to distinguish her sound with a full lineup of quirky, catchy, and addictive tracks that fall under the category of ‘acid jazz.’ Kicking things off is first song “The Fight,” which immediately explodes into your ears. “The Fight” makes it blatantly clear where Sia drew her inspiration for the album’s title. We are born is the first line Sia sings in the tune. The compilation continues with upbeat ditties each with their own infectious hook, including first single “Clap Your Hands” as well as dance club favorite “You’ve Changed.”

Read more of our review of Sia’s new record We Are Born after the jump…

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Norah Jones Pushes ‘The Fall’ In Chicago

Norah Jones
The Chicago Theatre – Chicago, IL
March 20, 2010

Norah Jones The Chicago Theatre

Not many artists kick off their live show with six brand new songs in a row. Not even when on tour promoting their latest record. However, that is exactly what Norah Jones did last night when she performed to a sold out crowd at The Chicago Theatre. On the road in support of her new album The Fall, Norah Jones pushed her new tunes to the max. Not until the seventh song in did Jones revert back to an oldie. Upon completing the first midtempo keyboard-heavy song of the evening “Chasing Pirates,” Norah informed the audience that, “We’re playing all new songs from my new album for the first few minutes.” If fans wanted to hear Norah’s early material, no one dared to object to the singer/songwriter’s decision to plug her latest musical effort, The Fall. Norah works hard for her money. Clearly, the fact that Norah Jones has won multiple Grammy Awards (12 wins out of 18 nominations!) in the past seven years has no effect on this woman’s work ethic.

More photos of Norah Jones and the set list from the show after the jump…

Set List / Chicago

I Wouldn’t Need You

Light As A Feather

Even Though

Chasing Pirates

Young Blood

It’s Gonna Be

Broken

Waiting

Sunrise

Cold Cold Heart

Back To Manhattan

Sinkin’ Soon

Jesus, Etc. (Wilco cover)

Man Of The Hour

Don’t Know Why

You’ve Ruined Me

Lonestar

Strangers

——————————ENCORE——————————

How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?

Come Away With Me

Stuck

“It’s Gonna Be” is a throwback to 1969-1970 when Norman Greenbaum’s hit “Spirit In The Sky” was omnipresent and selling over two million copies. “We’re going to do a song from my last album. It’s a song called ‘Broken,’ announced Jones while two of her band members respectively arranged themselves with an upright string bass and a xylophone. What surprised me the most at last night’s concert, was that Jones did not sit down at her upright piano until eight songs through her set when she played another new track from The Fall, “Waiting.” Up until then, Jones was either steadily strumming on her red-and-white electric guitar, or on stage right standing behind her keyboard.

“You guys wanna hear a happy song now? I wore my party dress for you guys,” said Jones, cute as a button in a strapless polka-dotted red, black, and red dress straight out of a 1950s high school prom. “It kinda doesn’t fit under the piano, but whatever.” The happy song that the jazz piano major from the University of North Texas performed next just happened to be my absolute favorite track from the Norah Jones catalog. One simply cannot help but smile and sing along when you hear “Sunrise.” Believe me, just try not to hum or “hoo” along with the singer’s angelic and ethereal voice. This tune is addictive. And to imagine I first heard it at work while hostessing at the Olive Garden. The job was horrible, but it introduced me to one of my favorite pieces of music ever. “Sunrise” was accompanied by a gorgeous spectacle of lights set against a backdrop of four white curtains hanging from the ceiling. Rich, warm tones of red, orange, yellow, magenta, fuchsia, purple, pink, gold, and any other color reminiscent of a splendid summer sunrise and/or sunset illuminated the stage and its performers.

“Thanks, we’re going to do an old song now,” announced Jones before launching into “Cold Cold Heart” from her debut record Come Away With Me. “It’s way older than I am. And it’s probably older than most of you, too.” Next up was a cover that I somewhat expected would be included in the night’s festivities. “We’re in Chicago, so we’re going to do a song by our favorite Chicago band, Wilco,” Jones exclaimed. Performing a cover of Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc.” has become a staple of Norah’s live show. “Thank you, Jeff Tweedy,” gushed Jones, an avid and long-time fan of Chicago’s very own Wilco. “We actually did some shows with them and we sang this song in tribute to them to be funny. They played it, too.”

“We’re going to do a song about a dog here,” Jones said by way of introducing the next song “Man Of The Hour.” However, Norah was left alone on stage for this one, where she proceeded to perform “Man Of The Hour” sitting at her piano. This was the only moment during the entire show that had Jones playing solo, with only her delicate voice coming through the house PA, supported by her college-trained tickling of the ivories. “Man Of The Hour” is about man’s best friend. That’s correct, a dog. “Sasha and I have our dogs out on the road with us, which is really fun,” admitted a smiling Jones. Sasha is the only female member of Norah’s touring band. What is it with girls and their dogs? I suppose once you listen to the comical lyrics that compare a boyfriend to a canine, why not have your dog with you to keep you company?

Inevitably, the time came for Jones to knock out one of her big hits. The first few bars of “Don’t Know Why” was met with claps and shouts of approval from fans seated in the audience, who had been waiting patiently to hear a song that they knew. Radio fans is what I call those people. With “Don’t Know Why” out of the way, Jones took a few seconds to verbalize her appreciation of those fans in attendance. “You are great audience. It’s like I can feel you.”

“You want to hear a song about Texas? Let’s do a song about Texas,” Jones said while addressing her band as they stood by waiting for their boss to make an impromptu decision regarding which song would be next on the set list. “It’s the only song about Texas we have,” joked Norah before beginning to play the opening notes to “Lonestar.” After paying tribute to the state where Jones lived out her formative years, Norah told the crowd with a hint of disappointment, “I thought we were going to have some honkytonk dancers, but I think they were just going to the bathroom. We had it last night. Oh well, maybe next time.” Maybe next time, indeed. Although it will definitely NOT be me getting up out of my seat to dance the honkytonk. However, count on yours truly being at the next Norah Jones concert in Chicago. Witnessing the talent of Norah Jones right before your eyes is worth every penny of her ticket price.

For the encore, Jones and her band got up close and personal with each other as they gathered around a single microphone on stage right. From here they began to play a beautiful acoustic arrangement of “How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?” With the first of three encore tunes wrapped up and out of the way, Jones gave in to the wishes and desires of fans who have followed Norah’s music since the beginning. “Come Away With Me” may have been the third single to be released from the artist’s debut record with the same name, but it is arguably the biggest hit of Norah’s career to date. “No, YOU come away with ME,” a smiling Norah told a fan sitting up front who shouted out the song’s title as Jones adjusted her electric guitar. I was caught off guard upon realizing that “Come Away With Me” was not the last song of the night. Jones is obviously very proud of her new record and its tunes because she chose to end her set with yet another new one, “Stuck.” When it was all over, Norah lovingly told the crowd, “Thanks a lot, Chicago! Have a good night!” before she sauntered off the stage and out of sight.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Album Review: V.V. Brown ‘Travelling Like The Light’

V.V. Brown
Travelling Like The Light
Capitol Records
Lincoln Hall
Thursday, April 1, 2010


Every once in a while an artist comes along that bridges musical styles and generations simultaneously and flawlessly. V.V. Brown is one of those artists. Her debut full-length record Travelling Like The Light is a breath of fresh air at a time when the collective audience of music fanatics is choking on the fumes of Taylor Swift and American Idol contestants. One of the elements that draw listeners to this amazing little collection of songs is Brown’s fearlessness combined with her cheeky attitude. V.V. turns an intriguing (and often humorous) rhyme reflecting her advanced academic background, but Brown’s intricate compositions clearly reflect the jazz and classical piano classes she took in her youth.

V.V. Brown has an uncanny knack for taking an uncomplicated melodic line and layering a variety of textures around it. Thus taking the melody and the listener to unexpected places that eventually become welcome little surprises. There is a difference between production tricks in the studio and well-crafted arrangements. Brown is clearly having a blast offering the latter of the two. This is not to dismiss her as a novelty act. V.V. Brown is so much more than the sum of her parts. “Shark In The Water” is most likely to be labeled the performer’s signature song from this point on and with good reason. This buoyant happy-go-lovely tune should (and deserves to) enjoy a long shelf life on the ears and lips of her loyal listeners. As well as the neophytes who use the contagious composition as a compass to find their way to Brown. However, it is this breakout artist’s versatility that is her true calling card.

“I Love You” is a softer-than-spring sunset ballad that features both Brown’s sweet and sensitive sides. This is easily one of the best love songs recorded since the Philly soul days of the mid 1970s. The melody is haunting. Brown’s vocal delivery is innocent-in-love. The lyrics are intimate while simultaneously reflecting an experience that is universal to all. “I Love You” is followed by the British singer/songwriter’s cry, “You best believe I’m in love, baby!” This lyric then kicks off “L.O.V.E,” a song that shifts gears back to upbeat happy-to-be-here music that will surely make V.V. Brown a household name in no time.

Buy Brown’s new disc Travelling Like The Light. See V.V.’s Chicago show next month at Lincoln Hall. Repeat aforementioned process with V.V. Brown’s next album and concert. Ready, set, go!

Stand Out Tracks: “Leave!,” “Crying Blood,” and “I Love You”


Album Review: Dessa ‘A Badly Broken Code’

Dessa
A Badly Broken Code
Doomtree Records

Dessa, born Margret Wander, transcends the narrow-minded labels created by music execs who want to understand everything they try to sell. In another place and time Dessa might have had trouble getting her music out to a wide audience because so much was controlled by so few. These days, with all of the technology available an artist can take complete control of their music and not have to answer to anyone but their audience.

This is the perfect time for the Minneapolis, Minnesota based artist to have released A Badly Broken Code, which veers seamlessly between spoken word confessionals and vintage ennui. When Dessa speaks, as she does on the record’s opening cut “Children’s Work,” her voice commands attention by virtue of urgency and honesty. When Dessa sings there is a frailty that she balances with flashes raw power. Dessa’s vocal acrobatics though, never sound forced or manipulated and her harmonies soar.

Returning to the idea of labeling, Dessa has been most often referred to as a “hip hop artist.” Now the term “hip hop artist” has evolved over the years to mean more than it did ten years ago. The issue with this label where Dessa is concerned is that she brings so much more to the music than what we come to expect in this era from a “hip hop artist.”

On Dessa’s sophomore release, we uncover layers of intricate instrumentation that co-exist with solid unflinching beats. This unique juxtaposition of sound is evident throughout A Badly Broken Code from the first track to the last. It is important to note that there not a bad song on this disc. “Dixon’s Girl” was my introduction to Dessa and had me excited to hear the woman blend the vintage torchy music accompanied by vocal gymnastics. I had no idea what I was in for: brilliant story-telling that is revelatory and deep, but universal in theme.

Unlike many artists who use their music to expunge their history (and the negative forces at work), Dessa explores her past while learning and living to sing another day. A Badly Broken Code is smart, relevant, and poised to launch this multi-talented star into the next echelon of the musical stratosphere. A Badly Broken Code is a must for people who crave smart timeless music that makes you move and think at the same time.

Stand out tracks: “Dixon’s Girl,” “Seamstress,” and “Matches To Paper Dolls”

RJD2 Brings New Life to Chicago

RJD2
The Metro – Chicago, IL
3.13.2010

RJD2 The Metro

DH: Do you have any surprises coming up for your US tour?
RJD2: Oh yes! The show starts off with a big one.

Well, RJD2 certainly wasn’t lying when a space creature from a foreign land stepped onto The Metro stage. The space farer “Commissioner Crotchbuttons” promised no harm would fall amongst us Earthlings joining him as he proceeded to beat on a drum machine located firmly where the alien’s crotch should be. Giving us a tour of his alien hardware, the Commissioner gave us a brief demo of what was to come later on in the night.

After a few well placed electro-thrusts, the foreigner unveiled himself to be the master DJ…
RJD2 The Metro

(Hint: It was really RJD2!)

DH: I read you started DJ-ing in Ohio, of all places… How did you manage to escape?
RJD2: Oh, I wouldn’t say “escape”. It’s a great place, really. Just got to be a little too claustrophobic.

DH: So, how did you get away?
RJD2: In 2002, I moved here to Philadelphia. Just up and did it, really.

DH: What was your goal when you first started out?
RJD2: No goal, really. I was just having fun. At first, I was trying to be a scratch DJ. Then, a rap producer. Then, a solo producer. I never had a master plan or anything.

DH: So, what are you now?
RJD2: Well, now I consider myself more than just a DJ. I’d like to think there’s legitimacy to the music I’m making that wasn’t there 15 years ago.

What is present in RJD2’s live DJ set is a diverse fusion of old and new school sounds. From old school hip hop to ambient samples, RJD2 blends it all up and gives his fans a great live show. Utilizing three turntables and a surplus of electronic equipment, the DJ spun out some of his best work in this round of his live show. The DJ has been touring extensively for the past few years, yet still managed to combine the majority of his previous work into one massive collection called 2002-2010 spanning nearly a decade. He also added another release last month: his fourth album, The Colossus. The title is not an understatement, this is just one peak in a lengthy career.

Now there is a very good chance you have been exposed to his work. His tracks have been featured in everything from video games to commercials to CSI: NY.
RJD2: Saturn ran an ad with “Ghostwriter” in 2002. It came on the TV when I was least expecting it. It was the first time I heard my music like that, definitely a trip.

DH: When working on a new track, do you start with the structure of the melody first?
RJD2: Always the groove. Once the drums and one instrument are moving together in the right way, then things start falling into place.

DH: Have things fallen into place this year?
RJD2: Probably the day that I finally nailed the live show I’m touring on now. It wasn’t for 10-15 dates into the tour when I REALLY had all the details down. It’s pretty hard to execute the whole thing with no mistakes, so that keeps us working every night.

RJD2 The Metro

His 2007 album, The Third Hand, featured the producer getting more than detailed with his work, opting to play the instruments he featured in his tracks including singing on a few tracks. The DJ-turned producer took yet another step further as he spent a few minutes away from his skills behind the turn tables to rock with a few band members and opener multi-instrumentalist Happy Chichester. The hard rock was a completely different sound than his scratch DJ skills which I was familiar with. It’s not that I didn’t dig his sound, but it was just a little off putting to switch from his mixing directly into a hard rock collaboration and then back into re-mixing. It was just a little off putting, not terrible. The crowd definitely took a few minutes to tune their ears to the new waves.
His live shows are more than worth checking out if he is in the area. If you’re into having your mind warped, he has a video projection featuring some of the trippiest visuals I have seen since that one time I took an unknown pill from a friend’s pocket. Tons of inverted colors in big Bollywood dance numbers and some good old-school horror films wound and rewound for most of the night. The DJ seemed pleased by the end of the night, leaving the crowd satisfied and sweaty. Although we did not get to say goodbye to the “Commissioner” or his “Crotchbuttons”, we are more than certain he will land in Chicago in the near future.

DH: Any major plans for 2010? Any way you are going to make this year the best?
RJD2: Hmmm. Just gonna try to do me. That’s all I can expect really, is just to do my best.

www.rjselectricalconnections.com/
www.myspace.com/RJD2

Photos by: Blake Russell

HuDost – Trapeze

HuDost
Trapeze

Album Cover 2009

According to HuDost’s Website, the band HuDost was initially formed as an acoustic duo between songwriters Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines that later expanded to include an ensemble of musicians and instruments. With the band’s third album, Trapeze, HuDost exemplifies their versatility with genres and musicianship that gained them acclaim from their first two albums and currently puts them at the forefront of the folk rock world.

The album consist of 14 tracks, and  it reminds me of music that is played at borders, or at Starbucks.  The album’s sound is ideal for lounging around, studying, cocktail parties,  or even just cleaning up. Trapeze is very chill, to say the least and complex. I  enjoy Sommer’s vocals.  She has a very pleasant and yearning voice. Although I have no idea what she is talking about in any of the songs I didn’t mind, it was a pleasure just listening. In addition to Sommer and Wade, the band consists of three percussionists and a variety of other musicians who play bass, cello, acoustic guitar, flutes and additional vocals. In “Breakup Breakdown,” the song opens with tribal percussion and flute before acoustic guitar and Sommer join in to add more melodic direction. “Breakup Breakdown” showcases the band’s side of world music.

The album however seemed to take a turn in its genre somewhere in the middle, I got bored and confused; I started to feel like I was listening to contemporary Christian for a second.  The album jumps genres in each song, going between country, folk, world and rock and can leave the listener longing for a sound they heard on an earlier track that does not come back later.  But overall I enjoyed the album, and would recommend it for anyone’s listening pleasure; it’s a great escape from the norm.

Chicago Is Open to New York’s Body Language

Body Language
Metro – Chicago, IL
12/4/2009

_bodylanguage3

The Brooklyn-based electro team are opening for their tour with Zero 7. However, Body Language is no stranger to performing, recently touring with School of Seven Bells as well as originating from private events and basement parties. Their hi-fi sound is alike and unlike anything you have heard before. Their first EP, Speaks, was supplied
from the demand of their live audiences and friends. On December 4th, Body language gave the Chicago crowd a reason to join the group in their fancy footwork. Grinding out groovy covers like Detroit Grand Pubah’s “Sandwiches”, Body language just may be “hot like butter” in 2010.

More on their synth sounds after the jump… [Read more…]

Zero 7 Takes Chicago Out of this World

Zero 7
Metro – Chicago, IL
12/4/2009

_zero3

Reminiscent of the random synchronized sounds of Animal Collective, Grammy nominated Zero 7 took the stage at the Metro on 12/4. The stage was littered with instruments- plenty of drums, acoustic and electric guitars, synth and keyboards with enough extra equipment to please even the pickiest audiophile. Two extremely talented female vocalists crushed any concern that Sia was not on tour with the UK group. Zero 7 took the stage and proceeded to take the Chicago crowd through space and time over the next few hours.
The ups and downs of the Zero 7 show follow after the jump… [Read more…]

A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 7 WILL FEATURE ALL-STAR LINE UP OF YOUNG TALENT TO BENEFIT SPECIAL OLYMPICS

A Very Special Christmas 7

A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 7 WILL FEATURE ALL-STAR LINE UP OF YOUNG TALENT TO BENEFIT SPECIAL OLYMPICS

COLBIE CAILLAT, CARTER TWINS, CHARICE, MILEY CYRUS, KRISTINIA DeBARGE, GLORIANA, VANESSA HUDGENS, SEAN KINGSTON, LEIGHTON MEESTER, MITCHEL MUSSO, KELLIE PICKLER ASHLEY TISDALE AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD CONTRIBUTE TO ACCLAIMED CHRISTMAS SERIES

(Los Angeles, CA – Thursday October 1st, 2009) The torch has been passed to a new generation of superstar talent for A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 7, as Colbie Caillat, Carter Twins, Charice, Miley Cyrus, Kristinia DeBarge, Gloriana, Vanessa Hudgens, Sean Kingston, Leighton Meester, Mitchel Musso, Kellie Pickler, Ashley Tisdale, and Carrie Underwood contribute to the latest edition of the acclaimed  album series which benefits Special Olympics.   A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 7, set for release on November 23, through the Universal Music Enterprises, features original recordings of new and traditional Christmas songs which each artist selected especially for this album.    

LINK TO COVER ART: http://www.dbaronmedia.com/special-olympics-photos-media.html

In making the announcement, Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, said, “This is a fantastic Christmas record created by and for a new generation that wants to make the world a better place.      The songs on   A Very Special Christmas Volume 7 have all the freshness and energy of the talented artists who recorded them.  Through the spirit of their musical performances, these young recording stars bring the same passion and dedication to Special Olympics that our athletes display every day of their lives.”

A Very Special Christmas was launched in 1987 when record executive/producer Jimmy Iovine decided that a Christmas album would be a beautiful memorial to his father.  His wife Vicki suggested that the album benefit Special Olympics, for which she was working as a volunteer. Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss (the “A” and “M” of A&M Records) helped make the first A Very Special Christmas album possible with an advance and a commitment to handle the record without taking any royalties, and Bobby Shriver signed on as a producer.   Keith Haring, one of the great artists of the 20th century, created the Madonna and child artwork that has appeared on every cover.

Selling one million copies in its first year, the premier album, A Very Special Christmas,  and the subsequent albums in the series, have generated more than $l00 million for Special Olympics, the most ever raised by a benefit recording series.  Disbursed in grants by the Special Olympics Christmas Records Trust, the monies raised each year by the albums/CDs/DVDs play a crucial role in the lives of the least-advantaged Special Olympics athletes around the world where there are inaccurate and prejudiced views about people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away this year, but her words about the artists on the first volume of Very Special Christmas apply to the artists on A Very Special Christmas Volume 7, too. “I am full of admiration for the many artists who have helped us.  It’s a great tribute that these men and women say to themselves, ‘I’ll use my talent to help others.’ It’s not easy because they’ve got so many demands on them and every charity wants them, but they’ve helped us, and I’m very grateful.”

Each successive album of the series has honored the quality of its predecessors with timeless recordings of holiday music by some of the most influential and talented artists of the time.  U2, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Madonna, Sting, Bon Jovi, Reba McIntyre, Alan Jackson,   Wyclef Jean, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Vanessa Williams and Bryan Adams are among the stars who contributed tracks to the previous albums and whose songs for A Very Special Christmas have become perennial favorites on the radio and at holiday celebrations over the years.

For more information on Special Olympics, go to www.veryspecialchristmas.org

Pixies: Rock Night One @ Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom…(w/ Set List)

Pixies
Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
November 19, 2009

Pixies Aragon Ballroom

It was one of those rare moments when both the boys and girls were having fun – the sold-out crowd rose to their feet and joined hands – as a chorus of voices chanted, “Bam Thwok…Bam Thwok,” (the title of their 2004 single). Or maybe I was the only one. “Bam Thwok” or no “Bam Thwok,” the set was about as outstanding as you’d expect, especially considering Doolittle was played in its entirety. Probably best “Bam Thwok” didn’t replace any of their other set selections. “Bam Thwok”….the last time I’ll say it. Bam. I would’ve liked to have heard “U-Mass,” “Ed Is Dead,” definitely “Cactus” and “Is She Weird?” and perhaps a cover mixed in. All the songs are hits in my book; it would’ve been a five-hour show to get to them all.

Rarely have I ever been to a show and saw the band as anything more than people I really respect; the Pixies were celebrities. The four came out all dressed in black, acknowledged the huge applause, paused in front of the mic without saying anything and launched into “Dancing The Manta Ray.” A visual backdrop accompanied the performance from five minutes before the Pixies took stage throughout varying from the lyrics of “Gauge Away,” the awesome doll-teeth/baby-spinning on “Crackity Jones,” to the huge face displays of the band themselves.

Pixies Aragon Ballroom Trompe Le Monde and Bossonova, the less-Kim-Deal-involved albums were represented only with the awesome “Planet Of Sound,” and “Dig For Fire.” “Planet of Sound” earned stars on the paper plate that I wrote my notes on, along with “Wave of Mutilation,” “Gauge Away,” and the natural crowd-pleaser “Where Is My Mind?” Kim joked about all the b-sides that they had to go back and learn, and aside from Doolittle, the four b-sides outnumbered the amount of songs they played from any specific album.
I figured the crowd would be comprised of mostly kids like me, 21 year-olds, second-generation Pixies fans that learned about the Pixies from their older brother. Surprisingly, there seemed to be over half that were older, and many of whom had seen the Pixies in the early ’90s. The hilarious crowd-member Chris R “CJR” (pictured below the set list) advised audience members attending one of the next two shows at the Aragon, “This show was a lot better than when they first reunited, and I also recommend and appreciate women to dance.” I do feel very fortunate to have gotten to see the first of the three-night stand.

Pixies Aragon Ballroom

One thing that was awesome about the Devendra Banhart show was that his backing back of various bands all got a shot at playing their own solo/side-projects. I would’ve loved an Amps, Breeders, Frank Black, Grand Duchy, etc song. Pixies are in my top 10 favorite bands, and Doolittle is definitely a top 5 album of mine. The show certainly rocked. The still-relevant and ever-influential/amazing Pixies ended with a touching bow.

Pixies Aragon Ballroom
Here’s the Sweet Set:
1) Dancing the Manta Ray
2) Weird at my School
3) Bailey’s Walk
4) Manta Ray
5) Debaser
6) Tame
7) Wave of Mutilation
8 I Bleed
9) Here Comes Your Man
10) Dead
11) Monkey Gone to Heaven
12) Mr. Grieves
13) Crackity Jones
14) La La Love You
15) No. 13 Baby
16) There Goes My Gun
17) Hey
18) Silver
19) Gouge Away
First encore
20) Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
21) Into the White
Second encore
22) Dig for Fire
23) Planet of Sound
24) Where is My Mind?
25) Gigantic

editedMAN

Them Crooked Vultures

them crooked vulture

Them Crooked Vultures is made up of Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. They are releasing their self-titled debut album on November 17th. The album is available for pre-order on iTunes now. You can also download their first single, “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”, for free on iTunes!

Them Crooked Vultures recently announced its first ever shows in California and the Pacific Northwest:November 17 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, November 19 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, November 21 at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, and November 22 at the Roseland Theater in Portland.The dates expand an itinerary that already includes a December tour of the UK and Europe and January dates in Australia and New Zealand.

For further information, updates, dates, etc., check back at www.themcrookedvultures.com.

Orianthii to Release Debut Album Today!

Exciting news for fans of Orianthi! To coordinate with the release of the This Is It soundtrack, Geffen is pushing up the release of her debut album Believe one day earlier, to October 26th. Believe features the single “According to You,” and will be available in stores and online TODAY. Visit Orianthi’s Myspace to preview tracks and for more information.

YouTube Video Link

Myspace Link

Madonna’s “Celebration” Video Shot With Real Fans During Sticky And Sweet Tour 2009

Watch a new version of Madonna’s “Celebration” featuring real fans! The video was shot on location in Barcelona and Milan during the Sticky and Sweet Tour 2009, and also features Madonna’s teen daughter Lourdes giving homage to her mother’s classic “Like A Virgin” video. “Celebration” is the title track from the Queen of Pop’s forthcoming greatest hits compilation due out on September 29th.

Want to become a part of Madonna history? Dress up in your favorite Madonna looks, film your own version of the video, and enter the “Celebration” video contest. Simply upload the video to Myspace and email the entry to madonnnacontest@warnerreprise.com by Sunday, September 27th. The best ones will be featured on Madonna.com and Myspace.com.

Watch Madonna’s Video Here!

Madonna assets: http://totalassault.com/assets/?team_id=146

The Regina Experience

Artist: Regina Spektor
Album: Far

Regina Spektor / Far

Quirky. Insightful. Fun. Intelligent. Original. Those are just a few words many have tagged to Regina Spektor’s music. And there’s no relenting on her new album Far. It is a an amalgam of those qualities and many others that showcase a growth worth taking in.

For Far, Regina worked with four top producers, which included Jeff Lynne (ELO, The Traveling Wilburys), Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem), David Kahne (Paul McCartney, The Strokes) and Garret “Jacknife” Lee (Weezer, R.E.M.). Talk about an eclectic mix. And that’s what you get on on this album.

Old and fair-weather fans may be “disappointed” in her decision to go this direction, and call it “overproduced.” Because up until now, she’s been a one-woman band. But whoever said experimentation and growth weren’t allowed? Whoever said it’s uncool to try something new? I recommend those fans take a deep breath and just enjoy the experience that is Regina. ‘Cause it is an experience.

Her two previous albums Soviet Kitsch and Begin To Hope are full of songs that are distinctively Regina’s own, and Far doesn’t fail. Spektor’s intricate melodies are still here. She still gives you her rich and evocative sounds that will entrance and intoxicate. With the playful “The Calculation” to the musing “Blue Lips”, Regina’s Far takes you on a real ride.

Only Regina could make “I’ve got a perfect body ’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat,” sound sweet in her lovely “Folding Chair”. And “Dance Anthem of the 80s” has so much unexpected fun, I had to replay it five times in a row before I could move on. Something quite special happens right around two minutes.

So… Quirky. Insightful. Fun. Intelligent. Original. Those adjectives don’t spell ‘blow you away’, or even ‘brilliant’. But they still describe Regina and her music. An important talent, indeed.

For a sure-fire Regina Spektor experience, you can catch her this Saturday, September 12 at The Chicago Theater. http://www.thechicagotheatre.com/events/regina-spektor-chi-909.html

Kate Earl Song “Melody” iTunes Single of the Week

Artist: Kate Earl
Album: Kate Earl
Kate Earl

Kate Earl’s not just a dreamer, she’s a doer and it’s what got her to Universal Records under the guidance of Tommy Mottola – the proclaimed “architect of dreams”.  She’s no Mariah Carey, that’s for sure and that’s just fine by me.

Kate hails from Alaska, but her roots go deeper than that. Coming from a Dutch / Welsh father and her Filipino mother, Kate’s music is that kind of special.

Her first album Fate Is The Hunter released back in 2005, put her on my radar for it’s smooth somberly tunes. Laced with jazzy pop soul, that album was made through the passing of Kate’s father. This time around her self-entitled album is all of those things and then some.  It’s feel good music. Sweet. And hopeful.

So what’s so great about this album? To begin, it’s fresh. It’s refreshing. It’s unlikely anyone needs to be reminded that times are tough. You feel it. But anyone who appreciates quality pop music, authentic pop music, positive pop music is always looking to hear more of that unwilted sound. It’s a restore-your-faith-in-“pop”-kinda- sound. And it instills in you the urge to shout or give someone a hug. It’s no surprise her fellow label-mates include Erin McCarley, Amy Winehouse, Kate Havenik, and Colbie Caillat.

Stand – out tracks begin with her opener Nobody. It’s sassy and it’s smart, reminiscent of Fiona Apple’s Criminal. And it’ll have you swaying and singing along by the second chorus. Her first single Melody is appropriately so, as it showcases the heart of her music. It’s obvious her love and passion for just that spills out of that song. While not so serious, it takes you with her as she sings, “There’s a river in my mind that’s never still.” Then, halfway through the album, she’s placed When You’re Ready. The song opens with a big bass beat you can’t help but bop to. But a typical club song, it is not. She surprises you with her softness, singing, “I will wait… patiently.” Kate exudes confidence and a sense of reconciliation in this song that it can’t not feel tremendous and triumphant.

She’s gorgeous. And I’m happy to say her music is reflective of that. Though Kate’s a newbie to the big label scene, she’s got a lifetime of music in her. She’ll most likely be receiving many thanks for making such an exuberant mix of music. To all the skeptics (maybe, it’s just myself) who were losing hope in the discovery of new quality dynamic pop music, Kate’s got something to say: “It’s never too late to put the past away.”

Here’s to her hope and her journey; a bright future indeed.

Billboard charting blues artist Guy Davis to perform at The Village at Lake Las Vegas

Billboard charting blues artist Guy Davis to perform at
The Village at Lake Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – June 24, 2009 –As part of The Village at Lake Las Vegas’ free concert series “Jazz on the Lake,” award-winning bluesman Guy Davis will perform on Saturday, July 25 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is a stop on Davis’s tour promoting his new hit Red House release Sweetheart Like You.

Davis, an accomplished musician, composer, actor, director and performer is the son of actors Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis. Raised in New York City, Davis taught himself to play the guitar by listening to and watching other artists perform. His songs, inspired by stories of rural life in the south he heard from his parents and grandparents, all revolve around love, family and the often challenging paths life can take.

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NYC DJ Nickodemus releases sophomore album this month

Nickodemus
“Sun People”
Released June 16, 2009

Written by Nadia Ibanez

rephlektorlist CoverArtlores

I’m not going to lie. When I first read the pitch about Nickodemus’ sophomore album being deemed as “crossing the entire dubwise, latin, Brooklyn electronica vibe,” I thought to myself, “Uh, what does that even mean?” I’m sure if I was a New Yorker, or even an East Coast gal, I’d know exactly what they were trying to say. And three seconds after playing the Intro track, I was hooked.

Nickodemus, who has been in the forefront of the NYC dance music scene for over ten years, released “Sun People” on June 16, which was inspired by “sunny days and good people.” Sounds more like a So Cal surf-inspired album if you ask me. His album mixes dance music from Latin America, Romania, India, Turkey, the UK and Brooklyn. Nickodemus’ other claim to fame: He is one of the founders of “Turntables on the Hudson,” which started out in 1998 as one of the first late night outdoor parties in NYC’s parking garages, lofts and boats. In its 11th year, movers and shakers can groove to the beats of the Brazilian Girls, Los Amigos Invisibles and Tortured Soul in infamous New York clubs and venues.

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All Time Low’s new single “Damned if I do ya (Damned if I don’t) debuts on Myspace Monday June 15; Track available in ITunes Tuesday June 16

NOTHING PERSONAL IN STORES JULY 7; BAND ON TOUR WITH WE THE KINGS, AND WARPED TOUR THIS SUMMER

June 15, 2009—On Monday, June 15, MySpace will debut All Time Low’s new single “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”, which will then be made available for purchase on iTunes starting Tuesday, June 16.All Time Low

All Time Low will perform a string of dates on the Main Stage of this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. Having just recently finished a tour with Fall Out Boy, the Maryland foursome will be jumping on Warped Tour in Oceanport, NJ, and staying on it until the end in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to these dates, they will do a short headlining tour with We The Kings and Cartel, hitting several cities on the East Coast.

All Time Low’s highly anticipated sophomore full length release Nothing Personal (Hopeless Records) hits stores July 7 on Hopeless Records.

All Time Low tour dates with We The Kings, Cartel, & Days Difference:

7/09/09 Richmond, VA – The National
7/10/09 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
7/11/09 Towson, MD – Towson Center – Towson University
7/12/09 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
7/13/09 Wantagh, NY – The Bay Stage @ Jones Beach
7/15/09 Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
7/16/09 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues Cleveland
7/17/09 Pittsburgh, PA – Riverplex Amphitheatre
7/18/09 Allentown, PA – Crocodile Rock Café

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Jeremy Jay Plays CHICAGO On 5.2 At The Empty Bottle

Slow Dance Out To Rave Reviews On K Records

Releases New Single “In This Lonely Town”

Click Here To Download “In This Lonely Town”

Pitchfork Premiere’s “Lite Beam”

Pitchfork Review (7.7) : “Slow Dance uses crisp garage-rock and frigid post-punk as a backdrop for romanticized pop fantasy.” :
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/12832-slow-dance/

Spin Magazine 3 1/2 Stars : “The stripped-down, synth-and-guitar indie pop on this oddly spellbinding second album from Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jeremy Jay could be the Cars minus the dreams of chart glory and bloated studio budget.”

The Fader : Jeremy Jay manages to capture teen melancholy without sounding like he’s in the middle of puberty. The best example of this is on Jay’s new album Slow Dance is “Where Could We Go Tonight,” the closing track, which is ostensibly about driving around aimlessly with your friends.
http://www.thefader.com/articles/2009/1/27/exclusive-freeload-jeremy-jay-where-could-we-go-tonight

Prefix Media : http://www.prefixmag.com/reviews/jeremy-jay/slow-dance/24935/

The Tripwire : “It is the dance track you find yourself moving to when the room starts spinning in slow motion, when nothing good will come from being awake, yet something interesting inevitably does.”
http://www.thetripwire.com/reviews/2009/03/16/slow-dance/

Tiny Mix Tapes : http://www.tinymixtapes.com/Jeremy-Jay,8455

Nylon Magazine : http://www.nylonmag.com/?section=article&parid=2764

XLR8R : http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/jeremy-jay/slow-dance

 

Keep Reading For More Tour Dates:

 

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Motown’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

hitsville

Today marks the official 50th anniversary of Motown Records and members of some of the label’s greatest acts are in the Motor City to help kick off what will be a year-long celebration for the famed label. The Four Tops’ Abdul “Duke” Fakir and members of the Miracles, Martha & the Vandellas and Rare Earth will spend the week at the Motown Historical Museum, housed in the original Hitsville Headquarters. Plus, today was officially named Motown Day in the city of Detroit.

It was 50 years ago that Motown founder Berry Gordy first borrowed $800 with the hopes of starting his own label and founded Tamla Records, which would be incorporated as Motown in 1970 and produce its first hit a year later. Berry will not be on hand for the festivities, but said in a statement, “Motown music was for everybody, and it grew out of love. It has spread around the world and has become part of the culture and consciousness in all seven continents, and it all started right here.”

To honor the anniversary, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will house the exhibition “Motown: The Sound of Young America Turns 50,” plus Gordy has a documentary about his famed label in the works along with a Broadway musical and a Marvin Gaye exhibit. All in all it will be a busy year for Hitsville USA. Congratulations Mr. Gordy!

It’s the End of the Year AND things are Popping for TAB the BAND.

After spending the summer touring with Stone Temple Pilots and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and doing select dates this fall, here’s what’s happening NOW…

THIS WEEK, their hysterical video for “Where She Was On Monday” is currently on the front page of MTVu.com and being featured at MTV’s Best Film on Campus
http://www.bestfilmoncampus.com/filmmaker/default.aspx?filmmakerID=1896

AND they have tons of new dates!
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Emily Hurd’s A Cache in the Warehouse Floor

Emily Hurd
A Cache in Warehouse Floor
Available on iTunes

A Cache in the Warehouse Floor is the latest release from singer/songwriter Emily Hurd.
Cache is her 5th studio release. She started off on Columbia College’s AEMMP Records them moved onto release the records independently.

[Read more…]

Ludacris Previews New Album With Red Bull

Ludacris
Crescendo – Chicago, IL
November 9, 2008

Ludacris Crescendo - Chicago, IL

Red Bull brought GRAMMY Award-winning rapper Ludacris (aka Chris Bridges) back to his hometown on Sunday night, so that the Chi could hear tracks from his upcoming album Theater of the Mind. His new record drops on Tuesday, November 25th. Ludacris is coming back to Chicago to perform live in concert this December – I am so there!

Ludacris Crescendo - Chicago, ILFun fact for those in the Midwest: Ludacris was born and raised in here! In Oak Park to be exact – a suburb right outside the west side of the city limits. My friend and fellow intern at 103.5 KISS FM went to the same high school as him. She told me that there is still a photo of Luda on the school’s wrestling team by their gym. Can you believe it? Ludacris was a WRESTLER…wtf? He even said it himself Sunday night: Chicago is his second home away from home. He may say he’s from Atlanta (aka the ATL), but he hails from Chicago!

Besides previewing tracks from Theater of the Mind, Luda also talked about the guest artists appearing on the album, such as Nas, Jay-Z, and of course Lil Wayne (whose record is Lil Wayne NOT on?). My friends Michelle and Tim tagged along with me to new nightclub Crescendo. We hung out by the DJ booth in the Red Bull VIP lounge area and were about 1-2 feet from Ludacris the whole time he was there!

The highlight of the night was seeing him perform a bunch of new songs from the upcoming album for free! I have never seen Luda in concert before, but my first time was free and we were closer than being in the front row at a show. Check out some photos from the preview party at Crescendo…

*Photos taken by Nicholas Schrunk for Red Bull

Deerhoof @ The Metro – Chicago, October 17, 2008. New Album “Offend Maggie”

Deerhoof
The Metro – Chicago, IL
10/17/2008

Deerhoof

By 10:00 Friday, the nearly sold-out, extremely satisfied Deerhoof crowd had already dispersed from outside the Metro and was on their way. Rocking along side the far better (at least live), Experimental Dental School and Flying, Deerhoof shared songs from their quality new disc, Offend Maggie, in a set filled with all the Deerhoof “hits.”

The songs formed a collective whole, while highlights like “The Perfect Me” stood out, the incredibly tight instrumentation – aided by new guitarist Ed Rodriguez – shared by no one brilliant rock voice of Satomi Matsuzaki were the main attraction. For most of America, there’s still time to catch the band on this massive tour; definitely worth your while/money. Breakdown of the Offend Maggie essentials:

Deerhoof

Their most recent effort demonstrates the band’s staying power that has yet to deviate from quality. “Tears and Music Of Love” launches Maggie with an insanely catchy clangy guitar riff in a song that hits full force at the two-minute mark packed with drum fills, call-and response melodies of various tones and a beautiful chorus of inaudible lyrics (as often the case). The songs ends in an enchanting breakdown. “Chandelier Searchlight” follows the multi-track structure, with the almost-folky chorus and harmoization of la la las and guitar. “Don’t Get Born” is my favorite, however, weighing in at just under 50 seconds. The song works as a poem and sounds like a Japanese Nico.

Two key tracks from their best, The Runners Four:

Two of the more pop songs, though far removed from any radio airplay are: 1) “Vivid Love Cheek Song.” These bizarre lyrics are proff that Matsuzaki can pull off anything; for example, the song opens with “Baby baby hi five/Baby baby say hi” moves into Kites are flying by/Winter turns summer/Sense will be hi-fi, and somewhat justifies the “Vivd Love Cheek Song,” songtitle, I’ll paint your cheek colorfully/Will you like it to be blue, red or green? The pace of the song is what makes this song amazing, moving back and forth from reflective verses to distorion-filled anthemic chorus. 2) “Spy On You.” A creepy title proportionally creepy with Matsuzaki’s voice. The instrumentation takes on an espionage feel, while the lyrics involve an investigation in a manner that warns the song’s subject in a short of whisper.

PS I lost my pictures! The band passed out various breads (as they’ve been known to do). “Eskimo” served as the encore song. Also, there is a song about Basketball on their newest disc, if you’re still not convinced that it rocks.

Deerhoof

Be sure to check the 12-year veterans out in their remainder of their tour:

DEERHOOF
October 2008
18 – Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot Ballroom – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
21 – New York, NY @ Spiegeltent
22 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
23 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
24 – Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Starlight Ballroom – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
26 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
28 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
29 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
30 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
31 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
November 2008
1 – Orlando, FL @ The Social – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
2 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
5 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
6 – Houston, TX @ Numbers – w/ Experimental Dental School, Flying
7 – Dallas, TX @ Granada – w/ Experimental Dental School, Hawnay Troof
8 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest –
10 – El Paso, TX @ Club 101 – w/ Experimental Dental School, KIT
12 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress – w/ Experimental Dental School, KIT
13 – Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse – w/ Experimental Dental School, KIT
14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex – w/ Experimental Dental School, KIT
15 – San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine – w/ Experimental Dental School, KIT
December 2008
2 – London, UK @ ULU (University of London Union)
3 – Berlin, Germany @ Lido
5 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
6 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Melkweg
8 – Le Havre, France @ Cabaret Electrique
9 – Rennes, France @ Antipode
10 – Lyon, France @ Ground Zero
11 – Paris, France @ Sonic Festival at Trabendo
12 – Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound Winter Edition
13 – Madrid, Spain @ Primavera Sound Winter Edition

Music Builds Tour: Jars of Clay Get Closer

Jars of Clay
Cricket Wireless Amphitheater – Chula Vista, CA
9/27/2008

Dan Haseltine – Vocals Stephen Mason – Lead Guitar
Matthew Odmark – Rhythm Guitar
Charlie Lowell – Piano J
Jeremy Lutito – Drums (Live Performer)
Gabe Ruschival – Bass ( Live Performer)

Jars of Clay Cricket Wireless Amphitheater - Chula Vista, CA 9/27/2008
Jars of Clay kicked off the Music Build tour that stopped in San Diego on Saturday. The Music Builds Tour is a Christian Music tour that is traveling the country this summer through the fall. The tour has joined with The One Campaign to expose issues such as global poverty, hunger, and disease in efforts to fight such problems in the world’s poorest countries. They also teamed up to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. One dollar of every ticket sold goes to charity, so this tour literally helps build.

Jars of Clay Cricket Wireless Amphitheater - Chula Vista, CA 9/27/2008Jars of Clay is also out to support their EP Closer. The EP contains 5 new songs along with a new arrangement for their hit “Flood”. They actually dubbed it “Flood (The New Rain)”. The new arrangement is almost better than the original version we are used to hearing on the radio. The only way I can describe it as is lighter. Everybody in line that picked up the EP from the merchandise booth was excited to see “Flood” re-recorded and on the EP.

Jars of Clay also kicked the set off with “Flood”. Too bad I missed most of the song trying to get to my seat. They also played their new song “Closer” which is an upbeat pop song about love. Dan Haseltine, lead singer, announced the new studio album will be out in 2009. The EP Closer is supposed to hold fans hunger for new Jars of Clay until 2009. It looks like it is doing the job. They are selling the 5 song EP at the show for $5. It also comes with a mini poster. They were also gracious enough to hold an open meet-and-greet with the band after their set. This was great to see because in order to meet the other bands on the tour, one needed to sign up for their fan club. The women sitting next to me at the show and I decided that one would probably have to pay money to join their fan clubs.

These guys were great to see live. I have been listening to them for years. They have a great energy onstage and played many familiar songs. The funniest part of the whole thing is for all those years I was listening to them I never knew they were labeled as a “Christian Rock” band. I am looking forward to the new full length album in 2009 and if you get a chance to see them on the Music Builds Tour, get there early, and you will not be disappointed.

Photos of Jars of Clay on the Music Build Tour:

Evangelicals Tour Everywhere: Check Them Out!

Evangelicals
Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL

evangelicals

The gender neutrality in Josh Jones’s vocals, frontman of the indie-rock four piece The Evangelicals, is perhaps their most endearing quality – maybe more so than being from Norman, Oklahoma. Despite scoring two 8.0+ ratings on Pitchfork for both of their albums to date (and rightfully so), the band hasn’t caught fame like the lesser, though often compared, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

The Evangelicals show last night at the Beat Kitchen marks their fourth appearance in Chicago, I believe, in 20 months time. Unlike CYHSY! and the more gimmicky, over-the-top indie acts, Evangelicals will have staying-power it seems. Gems flood both their ’06 debut So Gone and their latest, The Evening Descends. From tropical to theatrical elements, the keyboard-heavy, ’80-based songs are freshened up with an indie mind-set which replaces and modernizes cheesy elements from their pop influences.

evangelicals2

Both openers were Chicago-area band; The Chicago-based Syllable Section, who share some of the same inspiration of the Evangelicals, is a band worthy of your time on their MySpace, (be sure to check out “If It’s In You”).

Evangelicals Beat Kitchen

For those looking for a few numbers to get in to the ‘gelicals try these on for size:

Skeleton Man” and “Paperback Suicide” from The Evening Descends
“Diving,” “Goin Down,” and my current favorite “What An Actress” from So Gone.

Head over to their MySpace and check out YouTube to see the gnarly video for their also rad song “Midnight Vignette.”

evan3

For those who missed the show, the hard-working Evangelicals will hit just about every US coordinate between now and their homecoming show at the end of October:

Sep 21 2008 8:00P          The Bluebird Bloomington, Indiana
Sep 22 2008 8:00P          The Mad Hatter Covington, Kentucky
Sep 23 2008 8:00P          Skully’s Music Diner Columbus, Ohio
Sep 24 2008 8:00P          Beachland Tavern Cleveland, Ohio
Sep 25 2008 8:00P          Bug Jar Rochester, New York
Sep 26 2008 8:00P          Big Orbit’s Sound Lab Buffalo, New York
Sep 27 2008 8:00P          Sneaky Dee’s Toronto, Ontario
Sep 28 2008 8:00P          Casbah Lounge Hamilton, Ontario
Sep 29 2008 8:00P          Zaphod Beeblebrox Ottawa, Ontario
Oct 1 2008 8:00P            Middle East Upstairs Cambridge, Massachusetts
Oct 2 2008 8:00P            Cake Shop New York, New York
Oct 4 2008 8:00P            Rock n Roll Hotel Washington DC, Washington DC
Oct 6 2008 8:00P            Clementine Harrisonburg, Virginia
Oct 8 2008 8:00P            Village Tavern Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Oct 9 2008 8:00P            Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, Georgia
Oct 10 2008 8:00P          JJ’s Bohemia Chattanooga, Tennessee
Oct 11 2008 8:00P          End Nashville, Tennessee
Oct 13 2008 8:00P          Maintenence Shop Ames, Iowa
Oct 14 2008 8:00P          Hi Dive Denver, Colorado
Oct 15 2008 8:00P          Kilby Court Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 16 2008 8:00P          Neorlux Boise, Idaho
Oct 17 2008 8:00P          Vera Project Seattle, Washington
Oct 18 2008 8:00P          Department of Safety Anacortes, Washington
Oct 19 2008 8:00P          Whaam Bellingham, Washington
Oct 20 2008 8:00P          The New Frontier Tacoma, Washington
Oct 21 2008 8:00P          Backspace Portland, Oregon
Oct 23 2008 8:00P          Hemlock Tavern San Francisco, California
Oct 24 2008 8:00P          SLO Art Center San Luis Obispo, California
Oct 25 2008 8:00P          Little Radio Los Angeles, California
Oct 27 2008 8:00P          Solar Culture Tucson, Arizona
Oct 28 2008 8:00P          CSF SUB Santa Fe, New Mexico
Oct 29 2008 8:00P          Bash Rip Rock’s 2 Lubbock, Texas
Oct 30 2008 8:00P          HELLOPOLIS Norman, Oklahoma

Esoterica: The Fool

esOterica-blueEsoterica hails from Warlingham UK, but was founded in Africa. They are a well established rock band in the UK and have already supported the likes of H.I.M., playing on the KERRANG! Tour, and having successful radio play with their debut The Fool.

Their sound is being compared to the likes of Tool and A Perfect Circle. They do separate themselves from the crowd of industrial rock with Tobias’s vocals. The entire album is filled with dark guitar melodies mixed with some violins and other stringed orchestral instruments.

My personal favorite off The Fool, and seems to be a car favorite, is “Watch this Drive.” This song starts off with a clip from one of George Bush’s speeches that begins, “We Must Stop the Terror..” Any song that starts off with George Bush is going to be a politically charged song just as Pornocracy’s Evile. The song then proceeds into the very melodic wall of guitars and somber voice of Tobias. This song on the cd is noted as a demo. I think its great the way it is. It’s somber, dark, and delivers a message.

[Read more…]

Dare 2 Dream: Hanging with Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill
House of Blues – Chicago, IL
7/25/08

The Dare 2 Dream show is a Benefit Concert & Silent Auction to raise awareness and funding for youth homelessness; Latino homelessness programs in Chicago.

I received a random call late Thursday night from a good friend of mine, Big Herc, asking if I was interested in going to the Cypress Hill show. Beknownst to me the night would be much more than just a show. When I finally reached the HOB Big Herc was having a drink over at the Crimson Lounge with none other than Sen Dog! There aren’t words to describe how cool it was to meet him. It was so laid back shooting the shit, talking about music, hearing about the days of Cypress Hill getting into the music scene. Being a kid growing up in the 90’s listening to Cypress Hill and here I am some 13 years later having a drink with Sen Dog, I can’t even explain the experience. Big Herc has recorded & toured with Cypress Hill in the past so business talk of “making it” in this industry came up and it all comes down to sacrifice. You have to do what you can to make it in this cut throat industry not only for yourself but for your family. It was humbling to hear about how Sen Dog & B’ Real would show up to clubs while a friend was spinning and try to get on the mic or how in the days of cassette tapes Julio would sample snippets of songs, hook up mics to a boom box and record onto tapes.

To hear about our fantabulous seats keep reading…

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The Nylon Magazine Tour: The Switches

The Switches
House of Blues – Chicago, IL
6/12/2008

Switches @ House of Blues 2

The Switches are a Brit-pop band who’s U.S. debut album Lay Down the Law was released last March and are currently known for their single “Drama Queen”, which is also the theme song to MTV’s reality show “Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search For Elle Woods”. They’ve been around since 2006 but I can’t say that I’ve heard of them before a few weeks ago.

The Switches performed at the House of Blues on Thursday as a part of the Nylon Magazine Music Tour along with The Virgins, Be Your Own Pet and headliners She Wants Revenge.

They were the first openers of the night and went on pretty early at 6:00pm. They performed for a crowd of about 60 people, but they seemed excited nonetheless.

[Read more…]

NIN Review: The Slip

NIN the slip cover

I said I would review the album The Slip, so here it goes.

It sounds like the NIN sound that NIN fans are accustomed to. Nothing that reinvents NIN and nothing that strays to far from their core sound.

Any NIN fan should download it because it’s Trent Reznor and free, but for new fans there are better albums to check out.  You can see download options for The Slip here.

I feel like this album is more famous for being free than the music on the album.

By the way, this is not car music. There is quite a bit of mellow “acid trip” music on here. I was listening to it driving at night and had to turn it off because it really mellowed me out.

Lucky Number 13: I can’t wait!

The Cure
Cox Arena-San Diego, CA
06/03/08

Robert Smith

The band from Crawley, Sussex formed in 1976 and they’re still going. This was a show not to be missed. Cox Arena for SDSU was a first time event location for me. As we walked in the opening act was just finishing up. They sounded pretty good, but I didn’t catch their name. As we wove our way to the seats the arena continued to fill in. Since it is a sports arena the seats are at such an angle that you can still see over the top of people heads. That’s always nice since I’m always the lucky one with the tallest person in front of me. Enough about me though….

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Alanis Morissette: Flavors of Entanglement

AlanisMorissette Flavors Of Entanglement

It’s being dubbed “The Breakup Album,” previously I heard it was supposed to be her dance album, it’s more of The Breakup Album. It’s not as edgy as Jagged Little Pill, but its deeper and more synthesized. She sings of how she loved and how she is alone. It’s a very hypnotic album. I have listened to it 3 times now from Vh1.com’s The Leak. I really want to just recommend a couple songs to check out, but I am having a hard time deciding which ones. This is one of those albums that I can listen and enjoy the entire thing. It’s been awhile since one of those albums has crossed my path.

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