ALBUM REVIEW: Happy Accidents by Delicate Flowers can best be described as gridy pop-folk that goes beyond the beard. There I said it, otherwise I would have categorized it as bedroom rock written by Eric Goldberg but instead he did the right thing Not releasing the demo’s from his creepy sad Daddy Mansion in Green Point; he made a proper solo album and recorded in Wayne, New Jersey’s Skyler Ross Recording (Happy Irony?)- We don’t know.
The canvas as whole is a wash of singer song writer insights. “Break Me Wide Open” is when Happy Accidents is this record paints a very vividly a single line indie rock anthem; from something you would find on a Deep Elm comp back in the 90’s with just a chorus to satisfy the hurt you might feel from a regular break-up song. The opener “Dissolution” does what a first track should do and brings you into his relationship struggle cubby-hole setting up your expectations. Song for song the struggle is real, glossy poetic with “Vaseline”, a slick middle three chord pop song discussing struggle of hiding those things called feelings(do a search on twitter and whole world will open up on this subject in it’s own joke format), where as he might just be editing the deeper hurtful parts when he sings na-na-na-nas to further cover up hurt and blurring of the lens. We don’t know but we certainly feel it and that makes this record gracious. Maybe evening sounding a little bit like Allanis’s bad break-up with that bad comedian from Full House. I joke only because there are feelings and good lyric writing through out is meant to relate to the listening through all the tools. “It’s Easy to Love a Martyr” is when we get to it’s most reverb laden Oasis center. All good in many ways and influences through-out I just really get this and it’s a totally a panty dropper. Probably the highest compliment and rating we might be able to give out here at RS and definitely a high-watermark for this year coming from the Sniffling Indie Kids label.
LABEL: SNIFFLING INDIE KIDS RIYL: The Comas, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dax Riggs, Elliot Smith, Jason Molina
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ALBUM REVIEW: Here’s a good way to celebrate DIY country punk the day after tax day with the Waco Brothers at Monte Hall in Jersey City and their newest studio album in years called Going Down In History (Bloodshot Records). Seasoned alternative guys mostly Chicag0-ians and one brit ex-pat with guitar lineage (Mekons, Jesus Jones, Dollar Store). In the New York area go see them in all the halls.
04/13/2016 Union Hall
04/16/2016 Monty Hall
The rock shuffle number “We Know It” is one of our favorite tracks on this album, respectfully the opener “DIYBOYB” gets political in way circling up the wagons talking of the posthumous world where artisal world will live on through ideas as they sing “you can’t kill us because we’re already dead”. We asked Jon Langford thoughts on playing WFMU’s venue Monty Hall and he said “I did a session there with the Mekons but haven’t played a full on show there yet so I am very interested to see what mayhem will ensue.” We also ask John like where they find the energy to make grizzly music like this still? and he said “they bottle their rage in the winter time and unleash it in spring!”
ALBUM REVIEW: The debut LP by Belgian noise-rock group El Yunque opens Baskenland with the explosive drums, insectile guitar, and manic vocals one might expect venturing into this genre. I wasn’t disappointed, to say the least, but rather pleasantly surprised when the rest of the album offered a more constructed version of that first track. What I proceeded to find was a mix of industrial elements and versatile guitar, accompanied by a combination of English and apparently Belgian lyrics, ranging in style from folky, Gira-esque drawls, to shrill screaming. There’s a nice mix between fast progressive songs, and longer more hypnotic tracks revolving around a central groove.
“Kabeldraad” is an almost nineteen minute pounding jam that gives off a doom vibe at certain times while bringing you through a range of highs and lows, all while somehow not being boring. Noztechtransch takes you through an evil, country influenced, instrumentation overlaid with catchy verses with gems like, “I’m a redneck baller”. The classical rock elements given the context of the rest of the album gives it an interesting edge, I felt like I was in a dive bar that allows smoking mixed with some warehouse art rock performance. The way the band draws on each of their influences is very nuanced which can make it difficult to discern their core sound. With this in mind it opens up every new track to be a blank slate they can do whatever they want with, which is potentially very refreshing. When they’re using conventional rock elements it still has an edge to it, and when they have a noise interlude that’s a lot more deconstructed it retains a very cohesive feel because of the scaffolding the rest of the track provides.
Baskenlandis this band’s first LP, after just an EP and a cassette, and it showcases everything in a really promising experimental group. If this is step one, then I’m very much looking forward to the progression of El Yunque.
SAT MAY 5th 2016 at PINO’s in HIGHLAND PARK, NJ a whole slew of 90’s indie rockers will be playing some tunes and listening to book excerpt(s) describing main character’s boyfriend’s penis. It could happen and you won’t know unless you attend. We love Mercy Brown confident nature and sexy personality right off the wiffle ball bat when she doesn’t even take her own advice to not sleep with anybody in the band; as she digs deep in her Hub City e-romance debut series LOUD Is How I Love You.
The show is going to be very campfire style but with full on rock with 20 minute sets followed by a reading or just gabbing on the mic. Members from the different groups will be filling in for those that can’t make it to celebrating words and music from Mercy’s head. A big chunk of the New Brunswick 90’s local music scene will be here and there may or may not be Hello Biafra shots being served.
The book really throws one back to a very exciting time – pre-internet where you actually had to see a flyer, or talk on one of them landline phones devices, read a local paper or hang out in a record store in order to know what local bands were playing in the Hub City. While those in attendance will be tweeting and instragramming like like millennials; what will really matter most is the music that is being performed this evening.
Check out the ebook iBooks or Amazon.
9pm Three to Six
9:30 The Urchins
10:00 Ex-Vegas/Prosolar Mechanics
10:30 Bionic Rhoda / Holly Hobbies
11:00 Buzzkill / Boss Jim Gettys
11:30 Aviso’Hara / Eastern Anchors
12:00 The Stuntcocks?
PS A new documentary film announcement is coming soon for NOISY BASEMENTS & BARS which will take a look backwards to the punk heyday of 1980’s, the birth of hardcore and the indie rock of the 90’s when music was dangerous and all the way up to the present day New Brunswick local music scene. For details visit VLH FIlms.
Well now….talk about setting goals and keeping them…NOT.
The last time I wrote anything for Review Stalker.com was way back in December 2014 with my best of the year list here. After many months of false starts and broken self-promises (i.e. declaring to write a daily post everyday while 2 weeks at the beach in the summer of 2015 and doing squat)…alas, finally something…
Just to be clear…this is not a predictable best of 2015 list….instead, it is more like this is the what Paul was listening to a lot in 2015, whether it was released in 2015 or not list…
And to further clarify, some music is a constant in my life via tons of bands too many to list (Buffalo Tom, The Smiths, The Clash, etc.) And life changing/guiding genres like [New York] Hardcore/Punk in its various forms will never leave my side, especially while in the gym hitting the iron.
Soooo….what music has caught my fancy in 2015, either newly released, freshly rediscovered gems of the past (because I know you are just dying to know)?
Samantha – Brooklyn via Chicago “thrash poppers” are looking to take on the world and kick its ass and doing a mighty fine job of doing so, thus far. They seem to be around every NYC corner playing a show when they aren’t on tour or recording. Couldn’t get enough of their 2011’s Threat Level Pink, then they had to release the beautiful HourGlass Noise (2015). Check out the video for the first single (“Fight”) below….
Ride-You probably know this incredible band by their timeless piece of musical perfection “Vapour Trail” off of the heavenly album Nowhere (1990) which probably ended up on many mixed tapes of male-on- female crushes back in the 1990’s. The momentum continued with 1992’s sophomore effort Going Blank Again (1992)that continued via Carnival of Light (1994) and Tarantula (1996). I love it all. Disbanded for quite sometime, they have recently reunited (what band hasn’t these days?) and been touring and that concept is simply wonderful.
Voice of Doom (VOD) – As described on their home label (Pyrrhic Victory Recordings), VOD is perfectly defined as “…fun, it’s frightening, and glows in the dark….” For me, the band play an all too familiar sound that is surprisingly refreshing. This Jersey outfit that dates back the 1980’s, released III in 2014, packing 9 songs of lovely Ozzy meets Lemmy metal/hardcore hybrid mayhem that I noticeably have on repeat within the confines of the gym. Another EP, Scared to Death, is due out in early 2016…can’t wait.
Tri-State – New Minuits (2015) -2 songs of NJ indie rock perfection that continues with their trademark “hooks, harmonies, stabbing guitars, tangential… arrangements, and stories from post- youth” from their 2013 self-titled EP release that is on constant rotation in my little world. On this latest release, the math is simple…. 1 Julian Brash led song (title track) + 1 Jeff Zevelansky led song (“Titanic Brothers”)=indie rock heaven.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday (2015). Not as strong as his 2011 self-titled debut, but I said it before and will say it again…it’s fucking Noel, duh. Some decent songs to be found, but what saves it for me is the tune “Lock All Doors” an Oasis-size throwback kick in the nuts.
Cheap Girls – Never paid attention to the “Great Lakes” State until 2014 when I began to slowly realize half of it’s population seems to now live in my adopted Jersey town. As an “unofficial roadie” for a bunch of Buffalo bands, I been to Detroit a couple of times back in college where on one trip I learned an expletive screaming local legend, Bob Seger, was once bit on the ass by a blood drawing pooch, while jogging in his affluent suburban hood. More than one proud local “Michigander” informed me that one of my bands, Dollar Store Riot, sounds like a “Michigan garage band,”whatever that means. But, I’ll take it if we even closely resemble bands like Cheap Girls. Accidentally stumbling onto a bud’s (Jerry Lardieri of The Brixton Riot) playlist, I became immediately hooked on this Lansing 3 piece. Start with Cheap Graves (2014) and work your way backwards through their 4 album discography like I did and you will be hooked. If the opening track “Slow Nod” and killer lines like “I’m always spacing out and taking the wrong shit in..” doesn’t grab you by the crotch then that’s it. I am done. I am leaving and taking one of the kids with me….
Garrett Klahn-This Buffalo native and legend epitomizes the notion of being “almost famous” many times over, but he is famous in his own right and thank Kafka for that. Whether it was fronting the post-hardcore “emo” (before the term took on a negative tone in later years) godfathers in Texas Is The Reason (hereinafter TITR), on deck to be “the next Sunny Day Real Estate” until imploding on the eve of signing to one of many hungry major labels, to his other awesome efforts in the Wilco-ish twang of The New Rising Sons (Virgin allegedly spent $100k recording their incredible record only to mysteriously shelf it), Solea and Atlantic-Pacific. Kiddies seeking TITR nostalgia with his worthy 2016 self-titled release won’t find it here. It s a more rock, more mature, self-reflecting Garrett doing what he does best. Let’s just say if he continues on this road, I have a feeling I will be one day be saying “it’s fucking Garrett, duh…”
This Town Needs Guns – I was trying to pinpoint why I like these Oxford Math Rockers, with one of the best fucking names I ever heard for a band. So playing their fantastic opener track, appropriately entitled “Cat Fantastic” off of 22.214.171.124.0 (2013), I asked my wife who knows me better than me sometimes, especially musicially. Of course, being the wiser of the two, she kicked the playground bully square in the nads: “you always liked the multi-layered guitar with the melodic lyrics thingy…”. Sure that, and the singer sounds very Morrissey-ish! (Hat tip to bro Scott Dressler for turning me on to these guys).
The Goo Goo Dolls-I’ve mentioned in past writings my connections to the Goo’s when I attended SUNY Buffalo the same time the Bill’s went to (and lost all 4) Super Bowls. My wife’s boyfriend bartended along side Johnny Goo and I lived with Robbie’s first cousin (and still friends to this day) my senior year. My best friend and roommate, loveable but multi-majored, Mike somehow assisted in the Super Star Car Wash album cover photo (I still remember him bitching about need to wake up early on a Saturday morning to do it). Legend has it, the self-admitting “Goo-Placements” was at a point of break up when some mid-west radio station starting playing their song “Name” and their whole world exploded. So naturally, they declared that the Buffalo music scene being non-existent on MTV’s 120 Minutes, started wearing leather pants and ran away to LA. In 2011 while attending a Snapcase reunion show in Buffalo, I learned from a bartender the Goos since returned to their humbled roots and are heavily involved in many local music programs for the kids. Hence, while my wife refuses, I have forgiven the Goos! Not sure about their new offerings, but alot of great songs on SSCW and A Boy Name Goo (Naked, Flattop, etc).
Def Leppard-Well at least their song “Photograph” which I suddenly craved while going to pick up my son from soccer practice and haven’t stopped listening to since. Sucks not much of band discography isn’t on Spotify but there is a killer live version of song.
Death Vacation – Brooklyn’s Death Vacation plays hardcore like it should be….loud, fast, heavy and feeling like a consistent punch to the gut while prompting the listener to crave a stage dive or two, like lemmings off a cliff. Always being a male-dominated world, it’s refreshing to have a female around (NOT as a wallflowers at shows), especially fronting the vocals (unheard of). Michelle “Judge Girl” Mancusco’s vocals slaps you silly with a “I have something to say and you are going to listen, punk” veracity. They are another band on I have on replay in the gym. Their offerings can be found on band camp. Check it and live, bitches!
The Jesus and Mary Chain– (Psychocandy – Barrowlands Live). You cant deny the impact of JMCs debut album, Psychocandy, but I always leaned toward their later recordings such as Darklands and even Automatic (drum machine included). I always heard what the genius of PC, but there was a language barrier in some ways for me. This live recording of the band playing PC in its entirety (plus some other hits) speaks to me and finally makes me understand what the band is trying to say.
Frank Turner-the 2015 release of Positive Songs for Negative People continues where Tape Deck Heart (2013) ceased, with another dose of upbeat, uplifting, clumsy sing along anthems. Not bad for a guy that once fronted a post-hardcore punk band called Million Dead. Standout tracks include “Get Better,” “Next Storm” and “Demons” to name few.
Dot Dash– It takes a lot to impress me but musically-related facts always do. For instance, members of this DC area power punk pop quartet are two degrees of separation away from ninety-six(yes, 96) of the most quintessential punk/post punk bands our nation’s capital has ever produced. In other words, think of practically any band on the (in)famous Dischord Records (you could even narrow your search further to the Flex Your Head comp (1982)) and you will most likely find a Dot Dash member link. Fucking wow I say! DD delightfully continue with their unique blend of “sunny, [punky] jangly guitar-driven tunes” on 2015’s Earthquakes and Tidal Waves. This stellar release contains many addicting jingles I found myself humming along to while grocery shopping more than once. Check out one such tunes, “Flowers” below….
Flammable Animals– My band, Dollar Store Riot, had the opportunity to play with these Asbury Park cats at New Brunswick’s infamous Court Tavern in 2015 and I and many others were impressed by their set. Their intro song “Initium” right into “Frozen Grapes”, whether live or recorded (off of What Lies Beneath The Parkway North), packs a walloping blow that immediately sucks you in quicker then any Star Wars-related tractor beam can.
The Sink Tapes– prolific is an understatement for this New Brunswick, NJ outfit who seem hell-bent on competing with Guided By Voices by releasing an album a minute. In 2015 they released 2 full length LPs (Creases and Window Unit Blues) along with a collection of B-sides and demos (In the Rug) and a shitload of singles. While the sheer quantity of GBV releases tends to ultimately make the band pretentiously off putting, uninteresting and daunting (blasphemous, I know), The Sink Tapes have you yearning for more. I still can’t get enough of the song “Vegas Hotel Yoga Spa” off of last year’s Touchdown Buffalo.
DeadStars – Ok, so fucking sue me. I mistakenly omitted their very pretty 2014 release, Slumber from last years “Best of List” and now seeking some form of redemption. Fans of fuzzed out guitar rock a la Dinosaur Jr. or Pavement, take note of this NYC based band. They have been releasing shitloads of singles since then on band camp. Ok, am I redeemed yet?
Muler-Rochester, NY’s power pop kings are back in 2015 with another full length LP, Unlikely Soldiers. Still heavily chewing on to their 2011 release, Hope You Found A Home, more Muler to listen too means a more meaningful life…can’t believe its been 20 something years these guys played my Buffalo, NY college house basement…
It warmed my heart in huge way to finally see the guys in ween making amends and bringing back some greatness. Takes a lot of personal development and trust to be able create the musical magic these guys have been able to do live and happy to see something that should just be and exist. One of my longest running buds from my New Brunswick day is my brother from another mother is Claude. He is always able to bring out a vibe and humility to his drum thang. His playing is natural and pure instinct; which is always amazing to watch and hear and especially when I had the chance (and feel extremely lucky) that I was actually able to play with him and tour a little when I asked him to play on Suran Song in Stag’s first record Shiny Objects way back in 1995.
Anyway, here’s a couple classic including a solo by Mr. Coleman and “Don’t Squeal On A Pusher” and one of my favorites from GOD WEEN SATAN – THE ONENESS – “Pollo Asado.”
WEEN 2/14/16 BROOMFIELD, CO
On Facebook Mr. Coleman had this to say about comeback.
“Gonna step outside my comfort zone and post my drum solo from Never Squeal on the Pusher, by Ween, from night 3 from our latest Denver run. The boys know I kinda hate doing drum solos – they’re not for my personality type really, and I have such a complex about my brain injuries/paralysis stuff. But I always just go for it blitzkrieg style, try to make them musical, and give it up for the boys as best I can, ‘cos I know that’s why they make me do them – for them, standing there with shit-eating grins as I go for it. Then I sheepishly limp off stage wondering what the hell happened. But I’ve listened to this one a few times and it’s kinda cool – I’m kinda proud – fuggit. Been digging on old Roy Haynes videos and I can hear the inspiration. Plus the new drums sound rad. Hope my drummer friends dig on it. Turn it up loud dammit, kinda the only way to hear it well. Oh yea – when I stop a little bit into it is when I went to my hands and the snare mike came off, so went back to the stix – loud”
Into Another-their 2015 EP Omens, picks up where 1995’s Seemless left off (You can’t even count 1996’s unreleased album (??) Soul Control…diehard fans will understand). These post NYHC kings continue to perfect their undefined melodic, thumping metallic craft. Judging by the opener ”Crossed’, they could almost be criticized for being too good and just showing off but anyone wise would know better to say/think such silly things.
The Needy Sons– take Mike Gent from the Figgs and Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom/Crown Victoria and you have “just another band from Eastern Massachusetts” that happen to kick ass. They have been releasing numerous singles in 2015 with promises of a full length LP in 2016. Yay!
Paper Streets– This Brooklyn via Jersey quartet released their addicting four song EP, Souvenirs, right smack in the beginning of 2015. Their sound is best defined on their Facebook page as somewhere between Emo and Big Star. I can’t stop listening to the opening song, “Murmur.”
Swirlies –Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (1993)-Shoe gaze, alt-tuning, art noise done right that makes you second guess Sonic Youth at times….expect for Kim….
Velocity Girl-Their 1993 Sub Pop debut, Copacetic still stands and survives the test of time. I was am also pleasantly reminded of my eternal indie boy crush on lead singer Sarah Shannon that never seems to dissipate.
ScottJanovitz– only a complete Buffalo Tom groupie like me would know that front man Bill Janovitz comes from a long line of musically obsessed siblings. His brother, Paul, fronted the incredible Cold Water Flat (RIP) back in the 90s. Then you have another brother, Tom with Sodafrog. You finally have yet another brother and musical sensation otherwise known as Scott who I first learned about though his first band, Dragstrip Courage. Then came the Great Bandini. Then he went on to create the oh so lovely melodic, blissful pop sounds of The Russians. His 2015 three song Fall In EP continues the latter’s infectious Elton Costello-ish 1960-70 rocks meets 1980 new wave. Check It.
Walter Schreifels – just when you thought he couldn’t pull any more bands together, Mr. Schreifels (of NYHC legends Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today to post NYHC hardcore legends Quicksand, Rival Schools, Walking Concert etc. etc. etc.) actually created two new bands in 2015. Except for the killer teaser track from the hardcore supergroup, Vanishing Life, (“People Running”), he seems more focused on his other project, Dead Heavens as of late, pumping out singles drenched in 70’s classic rock psychedelia. Me dig it….singles sprouting up like a ear hair but far more enjoyable. Album out soon.
Johnny Marr– Check out the 2015 live record release, Adrenalin Baby, that finely collects tracks off Marr’s two solo releases plus some killer Smith renditions that should have the Moz nervously shitting his briefs….Johnny fucking Marr baby!!
Travis – one of the most underrated Brit-pop band ever. Yes Josh “Soandso” Thomas, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad are all worthy contemporary Glasgow/Scottish bands, but Coldplay wouldn’t suck like they do now and Oasis wouldn’t have anyone to sue if it wasn’t for this band that I recently re-discovered. I still remember singing “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” incessantly in subway tunnels to my now lovely wife, Alyssa, back when I use to visit her/NYC. The Man Who (1999), The Invisible Band (2001), 12 Memories (2003) and The Boy With No Name (2007) are all jam packed with great songs. Testament to front man Fran Healy’s beautiful singing voice can be best found on the track “When We Were Young off of Ode to J. Smith (2008). Keane who?
Matthew Ryan– hat tip to my buddy Rob Galgano at All Over the Place Internet Radio for turning me on to this alt-country PA native and ex- Strays Don’t Sleep. Had the recent pleasure of catching a Ryan acoustic set opening up, for the Gaslight Anthem/Horrible Crowes front man, Brian Fallon (also fan). Give 2014 Boxers a spin and if you don’t like it, then it simply sucks to be you. Good stuff in constant rotation in my life.
Brian Fallon– While NJ darlings, The Gaslight Anthem, has proven to be a great band, many would agree that they were sputtering, especially after 2014 highly ambitious and worthy Get Hurt, and wisely took a long hiatus so members can focus on other projects . Fallon’s largely anticipated solo record, Painkillers, is due out in March 2016 and if the single teasers is a litmus test for what we can expect, we should be some really happy campers.
Bigg Butt– this New Brunswick trio produces and audacious dose of garage, grungy “moron boogie punk” (not sure what that is but sure sounds like some shit to be reckon with). They released a 4 song demo in April 2015 that is one part Nirvana bleachy and one part Mudhoney sludgy and deserves your attention. Find their self-titled demo on Bandcamp…..
Galanos – Vacation Cannons (2015) – who knew an upstate NY town like Kingston could give birth to “silver tongued devils?” Yup, neither did I. Fueled in his basement studio, Gregory Jaw, and the rest of the gang (including Joe Pugsley of The 65’s on the bass) simultaneously go for the jugular and balls, producing nine songs of intriguing dark, fuzzed out surf rock. For those fans of the Cramps, Lords of the New Church and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds take note, this is your cup of tea.
Overlake –Travelogue/Winter Why EP (2015) – another dose of toe-tapping, knee-bouncing, head-bopping piece of shoe gaze drenched perfection from these Jersey City gods, not missing a beat from their 2014 full LP release, Sighs. Check it!
C.R. Gennone– Going Vertical (2015) A primary founder of such Jersey bands as Tribal Days and Winnebago, C.R. Gennone released this 4 song EP back in December 2015 that has caught my attention in a major way. An eclectic collection of jangly indie pop that’s steering wheel tapping delicious and gas pedal throbbing. Check out one of my favorite tracks off the release also found on Bandcamp where you will find a plethora of EP releases in 2015.
Snapcase – the co-kings (Zero Tolerance is the other…RIP!) of the Buffalo hardcore scene broke up in 2005, but have periodically played anniversary shows in past and festival shows as of late, their 25th later this month on their home turf. A band that always sought to raise the bar on the genre, they never seem to disappoint.
The 65’s–New Fun Hell (2015) – This new 3 song EP from this Rutherford, NJ band picks up right where 2013’s “I Got You” EP left off and that is why it is in heavy rotation in my life. “Punk -n- Roll” at its finest, the 65’s have the guts and grit to continually make some kick butt music.
The High – Somewhere Soon (1990) – first heard this record back in the 1990s when my friends and I were eating, sleeping and wearing the “Madchester” scene to the hilt. They definitely had the scene sound down, It also doesn’t hurt to have a cool ass name and a guitarist that was an original member of the legendary Stone Roses. The tape went lost for years, then I stumbled upon a used copy in a 5th Ave, Brooklyn record shop a few years ago. Check out the opening track, “Box Set Go” below. 100% Britpop perfection.
Scott Weiland (RIP) – I’ve been semi-closeted Stone Temple Pilots fan for years (their killer third album, Tiny Gifts…Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop….”perfectly blends punk and glam” says the Pumpkin’s Corgan and I agree) and been exploring other Weiland fronted acts long before his [un]timely demise. Despite some unevenness, his Walkabouts boasts some decent tunes and I finally slowed down to actually listened to Velvet Revolver (been debating Axl vs. Scott ever since doing so). All good shit.
R.E.M.– It seemed like over the years, many R.E.M. fans just woke up one day simply “over” the band, including me. My own interest started waning around the release of New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996). MTV favs, they just got too big and too commercial too fast. Kind of bizarre when they were once kings of the alt-music mountain that could do no wrong. I remember declaring to my high school peers who saw my cassette copies of Under A Blood Red Sky and Murmur mysteriously “stacked and glued” to my top locker shelf (most likely due to a Coke spill), that both U2 and R.E.M. will be the most famous bands in the universe one day (and voila). Personally, I think the combination of Stipe’s smug onstage political rants and the “Shiny Happy People” video (sans the cute B-52’s brunette dancing chick) commenced their downward slide. Fast forward to 2015, and I found myself rediscovering the band and realizing they are probably one of the best American bands ever. Sure they released a lot of easily overlooked material since Hi-Fi, but buried deep are a number of gems. Just check out 2008’s Accelerate. Next to”Begin the Begin” off one of my favorite releases, Life’s Rich Pageant (1986), the song “Living Well is the Best Revenge” is arguably one of the best songs they ever wrote and “Horse to Water” just knocks it out of the park for me like “Talk About the Passion”, “Seven Chinese Brothers” or even “Disturbance at the Heron House.” I gravitate towards 2009’s Live at the Olympia that compiles great songs old and new. I forgive you Michael ,just bite your tongue…xo
This year is not starting off well obviously. We can’t chase time but we can enjoy it and appreciate every where Mr. David Bowie appears in our psyche for as long as we last. A reminder of our mortality.
Born David Robert Jones was/is the definition of a true musical enigma like no other that not only crossed generations, style, movies and technology; he actually connects magic and reality like a rainbow. The devoted fans of his genius and the people he affected can’t even be explained either. Let alone him. This effort is futile like the cancer that ate him. So even what I say here is meaningless honestly. He was that ether you feel when you encounter something you don’t have words for. A feeling. A love letter. A first kiss. A man who knew know boundaries. That is where the start is.
He showed Mick Jagger and Lou Reed how to be a rock stars and always be relevant birthing countless other amazing musicians alike that also are the sound track to your life. Changes One is a perfect example and just the gateway into a man who not so much tried to sell the world but change it one amazing song at a time and I’m sure 1,000’s we have not heard yet. A real artist where even his least successful albums would be impossible for the fucking bullshit mind numbing crap that gets fed as music to come-up with. The general population is enduring some of the worse music in recorded history this past decade and a half and it’s not ok. Not at all.
Bowie taught us that a real original artist should always be unsatisfied and never settle for the status quo. Actually create trends not follow them. The smallest nuances and care for your art is sometimes not perceived at first and most will stop at their first pass. 99% of what passes as music today is an embarrassment with only one goal in mind – greed. Bowie pushed the envelope of creativity making anything after him an obvious cliches to those who actually listen. That is what great art does. That is meaningful and by definition legacy.
Rest in piece David Bowie we love you.
FREE HOLIDAY SINGLE: Every year around this time of year our Hoboken friend Saint Brian Musikoff; who is the bass player in Stuyvesant, a cartoonist, and a bartender releases a track for the world to hum and sing. This year’s tune was recorded as part of the New Jersey classic and 27th annual Jon Solomon 25HR Holiday Marathon Show on WPRB in Princeton. Listen live to the program Christmas Eve at 5:00 pm ET until Christmas day at 6:00 pm EST.
“A Can of Simoniz” is a great swirling thistly tune complete with slay bells, some polished indie-tude mistletoe sung by Renée LoBue and backed by Daniel Darragh( Risk/Reward) on Drums, Tom Beaujour(True Love) on the guitar and the bass playing of Saint MusiKoff. Far from that recycled holiday fruit-cake but just as tasty looking to our ear holes.
As a bonus to inspire some holiday high stepping cheer, if you contribute any amount for the track, Mr. Musikoff will help Saint John Houlihan of Queen’s feed those in need via his Let’s Start With A Sandwich go fund me campaign which has been running for the past 2 years. Yes that is right, delicious sandwiches will be delivered to the homeless as he travels in New York to feed some hungry unsuspecting folks. $6,300 has been raised to date from donations which is 100% pure sandwich money for this actionable cause at gofundme.com/startwithasandwich
Singles: Here’s the latest melancholy pop single from NJ’s NADA SURF hitting us just right on the heartstrings with “Believe You’re Mine” from their coming record called You Know Who You Are to be released March 2016. The lyrics are right out of twitter crush timeline romance and fall right in line in that spot you love and care about in the better parts of alternative rock makers. Co-produced by our good vibes pal and squirrel master knob twister Mr. Tom Beaujour at his studio the Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken NJ. This is Mathew Caws’s 7th Nada Surf record with the boys and includes the additional guitar strumming of Mr. Doug Gillard who has been touring with them for the past few years.
Ira Elliot their drummer described including Doug as as a full fledged member as fulfilling their destiny to become The Pretenders of their generation.
He went on to mention:
It also features the legendary Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs, Ramones, Ronnie Spector, Losers Lounge, Sid Gold’s Request Room) on keyboards, the equally legendary Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star) gave us some angelic walls of sighing harmonies (as on the single below) to say nothing of the incredible Martin Wenk (Calexico) who supplied some of his signature horn arrangements. We’re very lucky to have such talented friends at our disposal