It’s pretty safe to say that the 90’s were one of the best decades for music in the last century. It’s the decade that just won’t die. From the endlessstream of reunion tours to the pop culture references in movies and television, the hits just keep on coming. Need more proof? I’ve got two words for you – cassette revival. I don’t know anyone who lived through it the first time that longs for the days of tangled tapes jamming matchbooks into the car stereo, so it must be the music that draws everyone back.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all perfect. There were plenty of crimes committed against our auditory wills. Those dreadful line dance songs that your aunt always requested at weddings. Nu-Metal. Auto-Tune. That horrendous Barbie song – a turd polished so brightly it could have blinded a mole from space. But there was a period of time in the early part of the decade where the pop confections of the day sat awkwardly on major radio playlists right along side some wonderful, fuzzy guitar drenched bliss, dished out by the great unwashed, proudly bashing away in their Chuck Taylors and flannel shirts. Can you imagine The Breeder’s “Cannonball” airing on top 40 radio stations today? I certainly cannot.
As we drift further and further away from this unusual time, it’s only normal that musicians and fans alike begin to look back on it fondly and revisit these sounds. But it’s not the kids (or rather than generalize, I should say it’s not MOST of the kids. As you were, Rock N’ Roll Hi Fives). Things have changed and there’s no going back. While my neighbors had to deal with the pounding of drums and squealing guitar amps in the garage, I live in relative peace and quiet in modern suburbia. Still, tranquil and utterly boring peace and quiet. Kids don’t want to “play guitar” any more; they want to “play” guitar.
I know, I sound like some crusty old codger complaining about “these kids today”. Excuse me while I chase a few of them off my lawn.
Where was I? Right, the 90’s…
DOLLAR STORE RIOT – “WHAT’S IT TO YOU?”
SINGLE REVIEW: Luckily, all is not lost. There are still plenty of musicians like the affable and capable Dollar Store Riot, who have found that making music purely for the joy of it can be its own reward. Their new single “What’s It To You?” attacks with the familiar abandon of those long lost gems of the Clinton presidency. Thea Kearney’s direct and forceful vocal delivery echoes Joan Jett at times (in all the best ways) and there’s a clear hint of Sleepyhead in the songwriting and delivery. Brian Boehm, Paul Haley and Will Kramer propel the song forward with pleasing abandaon. It hits like a late summer wave, pushing you back on your knees a bit until you can steady yourself and sway in its swirling flow – until another time shift hits like the breaker you didn’t see coming.
Just like it’s loud and proud retro sound, the video shot at Maplewood’s Woodland Hall immediately recalls late nights on the couch waiting for 120 minutes to start. Shot as a live performance with a bit of comic relief added, it’s a reminder that you can be serious without taking yourself too seriously.
Fuck music. Fuck writing. Fuck caring. Fuck this shit. There I feel better.
The last record I purchased recently was the new Publicist UK album and it really is a fine piece of vinyl. Also I noticed a post by @michaelazerrad that Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt’s is making a site/app called www.8stem.com that allows everyone to remix music. This might be the future and they are seeking beta-testers. Since I am a super geek at heart I am now awaiting my access info to be able to peer into the future for at least a minute. It’s a fleeting effort but I’m gonna try.
I recently I let my eMusic credit card lapse after 15 years supporting them and not really feeling inspired to re-up due to some austerity like cut-backs (about $2,100 in downloads at least) that mostly went to labels and bands. I love some of the varied music I have discovered there old and new but a lot of new music is not very inspired. Has the same old non melody, canned sounds and devoid of hooks. It’s a lot of work to make original music – a constant complaint around here. Don’t just publish and release the first song you write. The labor part is gone. Although I am all for inspired song making like Daniel Johnston he is anomaly. Which was/is one of the review stalker number one missions still I think is to help point out and find these nuggets.
1) Listen and bubble up the good stuff
2) Talk about it nicely except for a couple instances like when we let a crappy review of Vomitface spatter on our pages. Can’t apologize to those guys enough. Even though I try to be diplomatic. Sometimes we fail even when we think something is derivative even if it has heart then it’s good. It’s a hard balance because everytime my random players kicks on one of their songs. I’m like this – fuck! Their new one rocks weird and bendy C tuned to make your stomach rumble, its jacked as if Mike Patten puked in his workout cloths wrangling out the beast of melody. You are welcome.
3) Point out music that has passion, artful, weird and or political.
4) Highlight the killer stuff in the nj music scene in particular. Which is was/is a huge aspirational task unto itself. There is so much to cover and if you feel you want to write just let me know. Give me a reason to believe again. I rarely get takers and I think it’s because it’s a “ME” generation thing and I give huge kudos to James at CoolDad Music for digging in so well and caring about so many musicians.
5) If it’s a hit and we hear it. We feature when bandwith allows. Which brings me to my last point. I have not had a lot of time. Life has been a roller coaster of my own design. So give me a reason to believe and it shall be. Post your best song that presents your band in the comments. Let’s see what others think go take a chance and click a link. I ignore about 95% of the emails i get because it’s just email nightmare. Don’t be offended. Send me a CD or piece of vinyl and let me know in the subject line. Getting back to touching and feeling your art and music in my hands is something I will appreciate and it will help you stand out in giant fucking fat glut of mediocre.
The need for streaming and music sharing websites to broaden their scopes when it comes to pushing their product has heightened over the last five years. With the advances in technology, there has been a surge of apps hitting the market, so for premium brands such as Soundcloud, the need to launch new pristine apps regularly, is something that will always be in need for the company to appease the ever-changing needs of the consumer market.
Soundcloud revolutionized the format in which we stream music, and ultimately share it. It’s used by many different websites to showcase a diverse selection of songs to music fans. And now with the launch of their new app, the ability to port the app to iPhones, iPads and smartphones will give Soundcloud a spike in the reach that the Berlin-based online audio distribution company currently has. Its all-new iPhone app tracks the songs that you like, keeps you in touch with the trending artists and helps you organize your playlists.
But why is there a need for platforms like Soundcloud to continue to improve the apps they launch?
Back in 2013 Apple announced that there were over 1 million apps now available in the App Store. Although, there isn’t any concrete data, for the music industry, it means that there is now a significant amount of apps accessible to the socially active music fan. Online gaming developer Gaming Realms, which produced the online portal Pocket Fruity recently documented that the ‘growth in mobile Internet is one of the most powerful trends in the Internet landscape.” They went on to say that “the global smartphone and tablet installed base is expected to exceed the PC installed base.” And with there now being an estimated 1 billion smartphone users, the need for the most up to date innovative app on the market is of paramount importance in order to be recognized amid the deluge of music apps on the market currently. The need for slick aesthetics and easy navigation is what helps apps succeed in an oversaturated market. Fortunately for new freemium Soundcloud app, it ticks all the right boxes and has been deemed a success by many music and tech hacks.
What do you think of the new Soundcloud app? Let us know your thoughts below.
Situation wanted: 4th member for heavy metal tribute band (NJ/NY)
Indie Rock die-hards Eastern Anchors change their thing to make money. This story is actually believable. You must have guitar chops and willing to travel on the weekends. Former straight edge musicians ok but no vegans. No time wasters need apply CraigsList Post | Band Announcement
STEREOGUM: Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp Goes Grunge
Rock ’N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, the Vegas-based institution where you can get instruction from aging butt-rock stars, has long been one of your best bets if you really want to spend some quality non-sex-tape time with Tommy Lee or Bret Michaels. But the Fantasy Camp is evolving, and now it’s come to encompass another generation’s version of classic rock: Read On >>
PUNK NEWS: Nirvana to Reunite with Courtney Love as Singer Probably one of the more tasteless but funny ones is from Punk news. The story goes on to say: Although Courtney Love has been embroiled in constant legal disputes with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic over the use of the Nirvana catalog since 2001, the three appear to have put their differences aside to play together under the name Nirvana. Read On >>
Guitar Bar Introduces Air Guitar Lessons! The Guitar Bar in Hoboken NJ will be carrying the full line of Luft air guitars at both of their shops! Here’s a video showing some of the amazing things you can do on one. Featuring their wonderful air guitar instructor Ty, and Sam from the uptown shop!
Flamming Lips companion album for Dark Side of the moon
Honestly, this is an amazing piece of music and they mainly fucked with the press like any respectable and credible band should. This is an amazing space jam which will remind you that you once really liked drugs. You really do believe in aliens and that life is good. Stream this while you work and write your co-workers dumb emails about nothing important at all.
Have any funny April Fools joke’s today you want to share? Please add them to the comments or email them to reviewstalker at gmail.com
Not sure I’d want to be Emily White from NPR’s All Songs Considered and I hope her friends are watching here carefully and she does get to keep her job. NPR’s blog has responded to David Lowery in her defense in the debate. Granted the RS blog is a music mp3 blog where we post submitted (mostly) music for you to download for free. We do always encourage you to purchase the full albums of bands we feature, see them live and discover things because we have awesome taste. I do like to make it known we frequent record stores(again) at least once or twice a month, have a Emusic account and even buy popular songs for the daughters on iTunes -yup we’ll probably be buying Bieves new one. Paying top dollar so they can enjoy on demand their favorite pop songs. Anyway, we hope some awareness comes out of this for artist trying to continue make living making music. It’s not easy we know even though there are many more ways than ever for independent artists to let their music be heard. So on that note. Here’s some random music submissions for you to judge, listen and check out for yourself. As always enjoy!
QUICK REVIEWS FOR SHORT ATTENTION SPANS:
First up is a track called Far in Between an MP3 by a band called EndAnd from their album Adventures of Fi in Space This trio is from epicenter known as Brooklyn. They are a anti-keyboard rock-band. Yes, this is what I’m talking about. Shoegazer distortion meets indie on this very first short ditty will beg you to listen to the rest. Good fucking loud shit like Blur meets Bluetip. Name your price on their bandcamp page and give them 5 bux.
Under The Skylight MP3 by Katrin The Thrill from Evil Eye Charm. This is a independent band. Katrin is from Athens, Greece. She writes global alternative music alla PJ Harvey meets Patti Smith.
Here’s a cool dub mixtape from RKTR from Chicago. If you like this kind of groove drug dance mixing. It’s pretty good so break-out your glow sticks and lava lamps. Depeche Mode meets the residents instrumentally. Download from their soundcloud page yourself.
Next up is swedish pop-tronica guitar band with nice hair cuts and youth on their side called The Royal Concept. The video is complete with pillow fights and cutish girls. “Who wants to have a pillow fight at band practice?” Said nobody ever! But we do like that you are able to make the booty shaker do it’s thing. If we/you mashed the Strokes with, oh I don’t know lets say Of Montreal this would be sound. Get the wave version yourself if quality is your thing. Otherwise I converted to mp3 for us low-lifes.
Ween Court Tavern, New Brunswick circa 1993 God Ween Satan Era
Ween is the kind of band that you either love or you hate. They originated from the 4-track cassette culture I grew up on so once you get over that hump you are half way there. They created this reality that was inhabited by the entity known as The Boognish. In this head space they played with tape speeds, drums machines and the occasional puff of pot and called each other dude and Jimmy Wilson a lot. I’m not sure they realized when they were in their teens and late 20’s that suddenly this whole hippie culture of college kids would cling on to them. You know burkenstock culture who also like the Grateful Dead, Phish and James Taylor but it happened and kept them alive and working band for over 25 years. Who knows Aaron Freeman (Gener) and Mickey Melchiondo (Deaner) may come to terms once the glory of Aaron’s solo career won’t be able to put asses in seats. We do hope Marvelous Clouds is successful but to not notice the giant conceptual similarities would be deaf, dumb and blind my dear kiddies.
MoistBoyz City Gardens 2nd show 1995 Photo by The Review Stalker
Mickey has had his solo projects and jam sessions with Chris Harford and the Band of Changes, The Jimmy Wilson Group, and recently local New Hope “old farts” Blueballs and of course the notorious Moistboyz. They even did a set with False Front doing Meddle by Pink Floyd end to end.(which was fucking awesome and I was there.) Anyway, the whole musical ‘click’ down in New Hope is fairly close but what’s really humble about Mickey is he runs a fishing charter service, plays in the local softball team and in general is a very un-rockstar in his off time. I guess the point is he found about his band how everybody else did saying “it was news to him” on their ween facebook page. Which is the sort of crap somebody has to deal with when there is substance abuse and recovery involved. He’s been there the whole time while creating moments of brilliance with his buddy and the occasional turd.
So we think this is a low in the bands history and time will tell what will end up happening. Their 30 year anniversary is just around the corner. All fans of the brown can only hope that slight reprieve will be a short blip for some more songs like Dr. Rock, Puerto Rican Power, Coke on my dick, Spirit of 76 and so on. Lets hope; as there is nothing like what they created but for now enjoy the set from their 1993 tour below. Which was ween at their fucking best. When they became a band it opened up things for them which we love just as much. Starting with Kramer (from The Pod) on bass, Claude Coleman Jr(Drums), Andrew Weiss(bass) and Dave Dreiwitz (bass), Glenn McClelland (keyboards) etc. Seeing these guys was like at one point like going to see Led Zeppelin or at least what we envisioned the long jams were like – truly epic. We also can’t forget their long standing sound guy Kirk Miller who always gave them awesome sound. He was the guy fucking with the delays for their in-between rants. Anyway for some other old photos check out ReviewStalker bookface space.
EDITORIAL: Grammys, 2012. Seriously, there was once a time when the Music Industry would spend millions of dollars developing bands and performers. At some point in time ( they blame the internet piracy thing) they sort of hammered away at people’s tastes to the point where they don’t have any. So what are the Grammys for? Interesting fact there was once 109 categories and now there are 78! Is the music industry shrinking although it still thinks in big business terms and not how they used to develop song writers, building their audience and developing the performers — you the know — the art where good people like producers and engineers bring out the best. Now it’s about how fast they can exploit something and cheaply to make the business needs.
The only reason I watched the Grammys this years was to see what twitters reaction to Grammys was going to be – actually can’t imagine taking in other events like this or politics any other way. Brings whole new meaning to the silent majority. On the one hand it’s a award show but it sure as hell didn’t feel like they gave out more than 8 awards the whole 3 1/2 hour long broadcast. The Foo Fighters (5 Grammys), Adele (6 Grammys) and [insert skinny white chics name here ] sort of took them all home with them. They still allow lip syncing for “Artist” performances but then suddenly when you get a performance out of The Foo’s or Beach Boys backed by Maroon 5 I think a sudden appreciation of live talent may be taking a turn for the better. Well at least we hope. Big business knows what works so they work desperately to make sure none of the pop divas are perceived as having big asses, sing flat or having drug problems (RIP Whitney I think god meant the show not you) but anyway. The point is perception is everything.
There are always going to be manufactured artists and those who think a meat dress is unique. It’s easy but does it take talent? Remember when the abomination known as the Black Eyed Peas made a mockery of Half time shows? We all appreciated the dress malfunction. Autotune is starting to not be impressive and people really resent it never mind the horrible lip syncing. Who the hell wants to see Chris Brown dance? I know one demographic who does not mind -mostly. These are one trick ponies that like Grunge/Nirvana sound alike bands the Industry has seemingly bled the “genre” and spit it out so many times but agree they could use some new categories as suggested by Dave Grohl and Butch Vig that are little more nostalgic shall we say like “Best Garage Record” or “Best old-school album”. Now there is an idea!
About your new band:
With best new artist award going to Bon Iver – I still could not hum you a song although I could for last years winner. The deciders may start to develop bands we already love thanks to the internet and MP3 blogs like this one acting as their scouts. So many amazing bands in the past like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin never played the Grammys even though they were dominating ticket sales in their hey-day. It’s a strange phenomemom. Bruce opening this years show was a good start to keeping to basics and what works. A magical moment where we all seriously appreciated because that is real talent to sing and write you own songs. What a concept! Don’t get me wrong getting a Grammy is no small feat but it’s cool when you feel somebody has earned it.
Bobby Albert - Serving Hub City Rock from 1981-2012
Nobody knows the answer Why Bobby Albert Jr would one day wake-up on a cold January and decide The Court Tavern(124 Church St) would close it’s doors forever. Maybe he got an offer he could not refuse — but I doubt it. Maybe the burden of a looming $60 thousand dollar bar license was just too huge an amount of hard swet and pride he was not willing to cough up one more time. The hole was just to big so he folded his hand.
Once, after a infamous patron argument Bobby once put up a sign behind the stage and painted over a mural by E-Gun(RIP) that said “Cruel but Fair” that would yet stamp the attitude of his bar. Years later the mural was uncovered again to reveal all the past “floating chromosomes” on the wall. Even though the sign was ugly it was a statement that had been a part of the folklore and lure of the Court Tavern crowd – always in chaos but always intriqueing. This was one of many incidents you’d hear about from the dixie cup chain of hooligans and curmudgeons who congregated here to celebrate rock-n-roll and get the occasional cocktail. For the most part the bands were understood and respected as Artists, well at least most of the time. The point is that this was punk rock bar that embraced most of us –no matter how weird or misunderstood.
His father Bobby Albert Senior first ok’d live music in the bar then in came the local rock bands like The Smithereens, Crossfire Choir and Opium Vala. There was also bands like A.O.D., The Blisters, PEDs and Bad Karma. Ok so you maybe you never heard of any except for one of these bands but the point is local bands used to draw just as much as any indie touring band. Matter fact the local bands these days are all pretty well known so sort of perplexing with so many high profile punk shows that the situation got to be too much. This was a place where turning up the volume was par for the course and sometimes the band just played for flies and that was part of the risk of bringing in outside bands or having locals who just forgot to tell their friends. Sure the club/bar has had it’s fair share of early performance by the likes of Flaming Lips, Buthole Surfers and Superchunk. The list of who’s who goes on and on so here we’ll post some of these lesser known bands. (so second post is coming) The truth is this past week I’ve been bumming pretty hard as are a few of my other friends. Literally stayed away from facebook to take a step back after I heard the news. Just in December the Mayor of New Brunswick celebrated the clubs 30th Anniversary in the local press. In my humble opinion culture has pretty much been erased out of New Brunswick in the past 20 years since it began rebuilding the city so its always been a sideways battle. Homogenized from the day J&J decided to move-in and every bit of cheap real-estate bought up by UMDNJ under eminent domain in some cases we lost other amazing clubs there like The Roxy and The Melody Bar where Matt Pinfield used to spin (even when he was famous). Like roaches the music will survive somehow but it won’t have a place to hang it’s hat or hoodie like the Court. Well at least until somebody sees an opportunity as the court is now officially for sale.
My friend and rat bastard Cliff mentioned on one of the Facebook threads that we were done with this culture. Which is true maybe it’s time for the next generation to make their own fucking thing but for me it’s like loosing a bridge to my youth. Which was maybe ill spent at times but damn was it fun burning through those brain cells and hearing for that matter. This we can all agree on. Maybe even selfishly at times booking my bands with bands I wanted to see and hear; trying to help build up a scene and knowing full well the mystique was a commodity that paid-off in spades or could fail miserably. But at the end of night we’d always hear these words last works.
“You Don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here”
Well at least until the next time. Lets hope somebody else picks up the torch for next generation of Sonic Youths and pulpit pues.
Now on to the music.
Download: The Diamond Church Street Choir MP3 by The Gaslight Anthem from American Slang. This is super poetic tribute song that Brian Fallon wrote which is about my comrade Andy Diamond who I guess up until a few days ago booked bands there. He had some serious shoes to fill with the likes of Tom Crowe, Eric Gundry (the Artist behind the murals RIP), Adam and Sluggo who’s tastes were broad giving a lot of bands a place to practice and show-off their craft.
15 minutes Prior to this photo Corey Parks from Nashville Pussy lit Eric on fire. Photo by me
About those fuckin’ bands
There were so many to mention that I’ve either seen there, played with or wish I’d seen. Here’s my List of memorable shows: Nudeswirl(2x), Buzzkill(12x), Monster Magnet, BarkMarket, Transilvia, Boss Jim gettys'(10x), Mule, Don Caballero, Nashville Pussy, 9lb Hammer, Bionic Rhoada(6x), Mad Daddies(3x), The Raging Lamos, Whirling Dervishes, Tiny Lights, Chris Harford and the band of Changes, Deadguy, Duochrome, Ween(5x), MoistBoyz(2x), False Fron(3x).. jesus this list will never end but it was a lot of rock and I’ll never forget mostly thanks to the intertubes. I will say the songs I’m post barely make a dent so we’ll have to do a follow-up post.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” -Seneca
I was wondering that there really are no new and worthy protest songs these days. It was cool that Jeff Magnum used the Wall Street Protest as a platform to make for a good street acoustic performance but really there is no new content to speak of. Ken Kesey, Joe Strummer, U2 and REM said their thing decades ago. So it seems that protesting is for people who don’t work (can I protest that too? ). I know that they more than likely are students or don’t have jobs for one reason or another but considering how fast the social media pace works who knows if we’ll ever hear a good protest song. The messages are mixed and are quickly being simplified into a media meme. Airline pilots and unions are taking the opportunity to revitalize their platforms and take stand against the very reason they should exist. “Shit the government should be able to balance a fucking check-book right” said one angry black man in a viral video I saw. A blessing really that this small army of individuals decided to take a stand because there is a reason we don’t put regular Joe’s in charge of the masses but then again we elected one and he’s been getting crush by perception. Really a big challenge considering we’ve let the financial system of lobbyist be in control for quite some time. Our “leaders” have been letting the people get ripped-off for quite sometime so it’s really a matter of time before our blood runs out or has it already? I think the transfusion is over and this is the tipping point. There are things you while being inspired by music that you can do. Maybe something as simple as switching your money from one of the big four banks to a smaller local bank so you don’t incur a service fee to keep more some of your money or live by cash and not use the convenience of credit cards. Buy what you can truly afford to buy. Although I would like to error on the side of some guy yelling at me with me a megaphone to be complacent. The actions can be subtle. One tactic that might work my dear sheeple is to just do something in your own private way is the point. I mean seriously when is the last time you gave a cop a hug or gave a complete stranger a random act of kindness. I think we just all really want the opportunity to have the things we want but without rules that govern those that have everything. How can we all exist is metaphorical slaves of the machine? This is a class war and the ironic part is that those with very little think they are one of them and that’s just shows you how stupid the masses can be convinced by things that don’t matter in the end.
This is a cheap trick but somebody will be looking for it. Song for song Earthquake Glue by Guided by Voices Vs. The best twitter and Facebook posts by friends and enemies. I’m sure there are some good ones so put them in the comments! Like these choice best Earthquake tweets.