Friday, September 30, 2005

Audio Minute with Steve - 'Crackerman'

Nothing helps top off a long day at the office like Stone Temple Pilots's grunge-era anthem 'Crackerman.' The crunchy guitars and adrenaline inducing beat make one wanna live hard and drive fast. While never released as a single, this song is by far one of my favorites in the STP catalog. However, don't take my word for it, listen on below:

Lyrics are here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

In the Studio: Murder By Death

Murder By Death have gone into the studio to begin work on their third album, set for release in the spring of 2006. The Bloomington, IN four-piece have enlisted former Jawbox frontman and noted producer J Robbins (The Promise Ring, Dismemberment Plan, Jets To Brazil) for the follow up to the critically acclaimed "Who Will Survive and What Will be Left of Them?" and will record in his studio The Magpie Cage, in Baltimore, MD. A demo track entitled “Dynamite Mine” can currently be heard on the band’s website.

The band, who are currently unsigned and looking for a label to partner with on the new release, has also announced an East Coast tour to preview their new material. After a year of heavy roadwork with artists as diverse as Lucero, Against Me!, The Weakerthans and Thursday, Murder By Death will headline two weeks of dates beginning beginning November 4th in Chicago, IL.

Impossible to categorize, Murder By Death’s haunting mix of gritty rock-n-roll, broodingly narrative lyrics, and dark, enchanting piano and cello has inspired a cult following. Their second album, “Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them”, a whiskey-soaked concept album about the devil wreaking havoc on a small town, was declared "perhaps one of the most beautifully crafted records...ever" by Alternative Press, with Stuff Magazine saying "You'll like it if you like Johnny Cash, Radiohead and homemade blood."

For their third release, titled "In Bocca Di Lupo", Murder By Death has created a different kind of concept album, inspired by Dante's Inferno. In true Murder By Death style, the songs are incredibly diverse - there is a tango, a seafarer's chant, waltzes, and heavy hitting rock songs. "In Bocca Di Lupo" will feature an array of additional musicians throughout the songs, including upright bass, a horn section, and a gospel choir.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Disturbed, Ill Nino, and 10 Years

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005 -- Val Air Ballroom -- W. Des Moines, IA

"Music is supposed to be about intensity and feeling, but there's no thinking
behind the music that's out there today
-Jesse Hasek

I won't lie: I was a little late to the show (good 'ol school) so I missed a good portion of 10 Years, the opening band on this very special Lazer 103.3 birthday bash. The Val Air was still borderline unbearable, making me almost (but not quite) wish it was winter, which is amazing considering an Iowa winter is pretty unbearable itself. If you've heard 10 Years' single "Wasteland" on the radio, you wonder what they are doing opening for Disturbed and Ill Nino. After listening to the end of their set, I still wonder. 10 Years is an alternative rock band sounding similar to bands like lo pro, Sinch, Submersed, and No Address, a band I previously saw and reviewed. This 5-piece, based out of Knoxville, TN, formed in 2002 and just released their major label debut Autumn Effect, which is in stores now. After hearing some of their songs, like "Prey" and "Through the Iris," I could easily see the comparison to No Address: Easy-listening rock and roll with good solid chords and a soulful lead singer, being Jesse Hasek. Much of Autumn Effect was written about the culture-shock the band went through after relocating to Los Angeles. Jesse sang about topics such as possessions, the overtly-rich Beverly Hills area, and "walled-in human existence." After listening to him sing and preach, I now saw why this band was included with Disturbed -- Mr. Hasek is very much like Mr. Draiman, in that he is very passionate about music and believes in the spirituality of his music. This is total speculation, but my guess is that David wanted this band on tour with them! 10 Years in on tour through November 13th, so check them out!

"We all pushed each other and refused to hold back. I feel like this is the first real Ill Niño record. We busted our asses on this one. This is what
Ill Niño should have been since the very beginning."
-Christian Machado

Having already seen Ill Nino once before (opening for Sevendust in 2003), I knew exactly what to expect when this 6-piece took the stage. Lightning fast riffs and a frenetic pace highlight this band from Brazil. With 2 percussionists, these Sepultura-disciples are able to have a full-time tribal percussionist, which helps define their sound. Christian Machado's vocals slice through each song, with an incredible ferocity and urgency. Formed in 1999 and signing with Roadrunner in 2000, they released their first two albums "Revolution/Revolucion" and "Confession" in 2001 and 2003, respectively. They churned through favorites such as "This Time's for Real," "What Comes Around," and "How Can I live." With their new album dropping this Tuesday (September 27th) titled One Nation Underground, they played some new material in support. One song that caught my ear was "What You Deserve," a catchy song that really stuck with me for a while. I found out later it will be there first single, so look for the video soon! Machado described the album as natural and unconventional. He said they listened to Salsa, Merengue, and Santeria to get ready to make this record. And as you can tell by his quote, he is incredibly proud of it. So when you go to the store TODAY to buy the new System of a Down and Index Case, make sure you pick up Ill Nino's One Nation Underground as well. Check them out!

"We like coming to Des Moines because this is a very pissed-0ff part of the
country. We hope we can give you a place to vent your rage" -
David Draiman

When I saw Disturbed at the U.S. Cellular Center in 2003, I said bluntly it was the best concert I had ever seen. This statement was made not based on their music, but the show they put on. They carried themselves on stage as Gods, and thus I regarded them as. Whenever I see a band carry themselves like this AND back it up (ie Black Sabbath), it sends shivers down my spine. They did this very well in 2003. Now let's fast forward to 2005. They nearly blew the roof off of the U.S. Cellular Center, so I was anxious to see what they would do to the diminutive Val Air. After seeing them for the second time, one thing is very clear to me: they sound much better in an arena. This is not to say they didn't play well, their sound is just muted in such a small place. They are built for large 10,000+ stadiums (hence their third album, 10,000 Fists, which dropped last week). Nevertheless, David Draiman was up to his old tricks, stopping every few songs to spit some politics and his own brand of spirituality, calling his audience his brothers and sisters (and making sure we knew we weren't Maggots). He even called out one fan in the audience who was flipping him off. I am a slightly religious guy who definitely believes in God, but I can't help thinking He is talking whenever David speaks to the audience. He has this incredible presence about him, and his deep, spiritual voice always captivates me. I also love his incredible articulation and intelligence (he wasn't a two-time panelist on ABC's "Politically Incorrect" for nothing). Seems kind of odd for a guy who was kicked out of five boarding schools before joining the band in 1997. And don't forget that growl, or studded tank tops! He only smiled once the entire show, and that was during an encore when the crowd stomped for more. The Chicago-based band, formed in 1996, was called "the future of metal" by none other than Ozzy Osbourne. The band sights bands such as Pantera and Iron Maiden (yes, Bruce Dickinson) as their early influences, and more recent bands such as Korn (sans Brian "Head" Welch) and one of yours truly's fav bands, Soundgarden. They played a tribute to Dimebag Darrel Abbot's family just to show their appreciation.

They opened the show with "Guarded," following that up with "Voices" off of their multiplatinum debut, The Sickness. My favorite song of the night was "Intoxication" off of their second CD Believe. They played all of their favorites including, "Prayer," "Believe," and "Down With the Sickness." They played my new favorite song "Stricken" out of the encore and closed off with "Stupify." One thing I noticed with their new songs was more solos by guitarist Dan Donegan, something you can easily hear in "Stricken." I also noticed the tats on the new bassist (John Moyer formerly of The Union Underground), in direct contrast to the rest of the band which boasts no tats (at least not that I could see). Overall, it was again a good show, with the crowd more interested in soaking in Draiman and Co. instead of moshing and crowd surfing. In fact, there were no mosh pits and ONE singular crowd surfer the ENTIRE show. I chuckled and thought to myself that I saw a wilder crowd for the Goo Goo Dolls and Tonic when I saw them in Dubuque, IA in 1999! Look for Disturbed to appear on an upcoming Faith No More tribute album. They start a European tour in October, start up again back in the States in November, and are on the Jagermeister Tour beginning in December. Make sure to get out and see them and pick up their new album! Check out the rest of the pictures from the concert at Lazer 103.3

Next Week: Billy F$#*^ing Idol @ the Val Air Ballroom

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sly and the Family Stone - 'Hot Fun in the Summertime'

Listening to XM’s Deep Tracks for a few hours the other day, I was privy to their “Two Cool Old 45s” segment. For those who are unfamiliar, Deep Tracks is a channel that proclaims itself as being “dedicated to careers.” As a result, the station plays mostly deeper album cuts, reprises, live stuff, rare covers and longwinded jams. It is not a rarity to hear 12 minute long Frank Marino guitar solos or an obscure Charlie Daniels protest song (back when he was still a liberal). The channel has an old-school AM feel to it, and employs several slow talking, baritoned DJs just for good measure.

The “Two Cool Old 45s” segment, however, breaks the regular mold of the station and features two former A-sides from two classic bands in a row. Usually, these former hit songs abide by a unifying theme. For the particular segment I listened to, the theme was “summertime” and both ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ and ‘I Get Around’ were featured. While I certainly have always enjoyed the Beach Boys tune, it was Sly and the Family Stone's ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ that struck my fancy. In fact, I must ashamedly admit I had never heard the song until this time. Part of that, though, was due to my limited exposure to such hits as ‘Everyday People’ via television car advertisements---I resultantly just sort of wrote the band off and paid them little heed.

I like a number of things about ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime.’ The fact that it opens up with a gruvis piano lick goes a long way in my book. The Motownesque rhythm and harmonization, supplemented by a full brass and woodwind orchestra is appealing too. The refrain is whimsical and easy going, embodying the true spirit of summer. The song is relatively simple and innocent, and it clocks in at an amazingly short two-and-a-half minutes. I also swear that Genesis borrowed the background bass-beat and implemented it in their hit single ‘Misunderstanding.’ I suppose the timing surrounding me hearing the song was a factor as well. Considering that another summer has slowly fallen through the cracks, this Sly and the Family Stone number aroused feelings of longing and remembrance of the most recent June, July and August months.

I realize that I may be somewhat out of the loop, as many of you have assuredly heard ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ many a time before. However, I feel that even a discovery for only myself can serve as a rediscovery for the rest. With that said, dust off your vinyls and give ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ one more spin before the last of the warm season passes.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Audio Chat With Steve - September 23, 2005

Click below to hear some random musings by Yours Truly, Steve.

this is an audio post - click to play

Artist Spotlight: Faunts

More than six hours north of the Montana border lies the Canadian city of Edmonton, home to the hazy music of Faunts. The quartet's dreamscapes in the song 'Memories of Places We've Never Been' are painted with airy synthesizers layered over pensive guitar strummings. The vocals remain thin and delicate throughout; even when the beat picks up and the flute-like keyboards kick it up a notch. Gorgeously introspective, melodies like these are practically born to soundtrack a thoughtful drive through the middle of nowhere in the early morning hours.

Fans to the sleepy sounds of Iceland's Sigur Ros who are looking for a slightly more pop-oriented sound would be likely converts to the calm, collected musings of Faunts. The indie/electronic band's debut album, High Expectations/Low Results, is available October 18th through New York's Friendly Fire Recordings. Visit the group's website to hear music from this forthcoming album.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Franz Ferdinand Track Guide

Our friends at Soundgenerator have released a track-by-track guide to Franz Ferdinand's new album. If you can't wait for the album, read the comprehensive synopsis here.

World Leader Pretend - 'Bang Theory' Continued

In a recent post I mentioned how I was falling in love with World Leader Pretend and their new tune 'Bang Theory.' Click below to stream the song.

One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back

I believe in a thing called love. I also believe that Justin Hawkins and company, falsetto and all, are soon to release their second studio effort. The Darkness' One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back should hit stores November 28. The first single, 'One Way Ticket,' will be available to the DJs November 14.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Oasis Receives Five Q Nominations

Manchester alt-rock icons Oasis have garnered five nominations for the 2005 Q Awards. The band will be competing with Coldplay, James Blunt, Green Day and U2 for such awards as Best Track and Best Album.

The awards, which will be hosted at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday October 10, are voted for by the public.

Monday, September 19, 2005

World Leader Pretend - 'Bang Theory'

World Leader Pretend orginates from New Orleans, Louisiana, and it has been said they culled their name from an R.E.M. song. Their latest album Punches contains a number of stimulating tunes, yet it has been their latest single, entitled 'Bang Theory,' that has peaked my interest as of late.

The band's sound resembles many others that have come before them, with Better Than Ezra and The Verve easily coming to mind. In fact, I think it is safe to say that 'Bang Theory' contains many elements comprable to 'Bittersweet Symphony,' if only for its symphonic touch (rather redundant, I realize). Coming from a city deeply rooted in musical flourishment, 'Bang Theory' reflects many different styles and movements. Don't be surprised if this catchy and hooky song is broadcast on an alternative/indie radio station near you in the near.

Institute - Distort Yourself

Institute - Distort Yourself: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of listening to Institute's Distort Yourself several times over. Well, "immense pleasure" may be somewhat of a stretch, considering that I find the album good more for its comedic qualities than its overall rockability.

That's right, this album is funny; hilarious, in fact. Nevermind that this disc is chock full of rabble rousing guitar riffs and cathartic vocals that made both Bush and Helmet famous. If one only listens to the tunes and melodies, this release comes across as one of rock's greatest.

However, what satirizes this supergroup's legitimate attempt at rockin' the casbah are its lyrics. Yes, it is true that the words to many of the songs on Distort Yourself are juvenile to say the least. Afterall, aren't many an 8th grader capable of lines such as "this boombox needs batteries," "There are only so many ambulances to go around. There are only so many accidents. It's the universe coming down" and "when animals attack you need fire?" The text, itself, may not seem all that unsophisticated, but as soon as you hear Gavin's vocals sing lines such as these you can only mutter, "Is he serious??"---especially after crooning the lines 4 or 5 times in one chorus!

To be fair, the album is not bad, and it has quickly grown on me. Despite this lyrical hilarity I speak of, by no means has Institute committed the faux-paux that Nazarath made with their song 'Hair of the Dog' ("Now you're messing with a son of a bitch!"). Fans of Bush and Helmet will immediately recognize each of those band's influences upon the new amalgamation known as Institute. However, whether or not Distort Yourself will be canonized as one of 2005's finest musical achievements, the answer can easily be determined right now to be "no."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Audioslave's Cuban Show Released on CD and DVD

Live in Cuba is a two-disc release that chronicles Audioslave's Cuban show a few months ago. The concert was the first outdoor free rock concert by a US band in the island nation.

The DVD will boast with a 30-minute documentary, concert footage and a TVspecial about the event with a total of 18 songs. Also included is a bonus live CD culled from an recent AOL Sessions performance. A single DVD version will also be sold, with the documentary and 14 live tracks.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Cloud Room - 'Hey Now Now'

A subtle mix of both The Cure and Morrissey, The Cloud Room's 'Hey Now Now' could easily have rocked the airwaves of a 1980s college-indie playlist as much as it is beginning to rock them today. Single 'Hey Now Now' is sung by a vocalist whose voice seems to be constantly compared to David Bowie--not a bad thing!

Check out The Cloud Room's official site here and download the mp3 of 'Hey Now Now' here.

Hot Hot Heat Tours Relentlessly

In an interview with Australian music publication Time Off, bassist Dustin Hawthorne of Canadian act Hot Hot Heat explains the method behind his band's madness of non-stop touring.

While such an unforgiving schedule may play havoc with the lives and sanity of some people, Hawthorne doesn’t seem to mind the lifestyle.

“No, it’s fine with me. I don’t really have any vested interest in going home,” Hawthorne says. “I don’t have a girlfriend or anything like that and my family lives in a different city than I do, so I don’t mind. There are times when it is trying but for the most part being on tour is fine.”

Currently in the middle of a European tour, Hot Hot Heat will hit the Land Down Under next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Gonzo Journalist's Suicide Note Published

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun -- for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax -- This won't hurt."

Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note is to be featured in the upcoming edition of Rolling Stone. The above is an excerpt. Thompson, widely acclaimed for his intoxicated musings and unique style of immersion journalism, shot himself in February.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cream Will Play in New York

Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce intend on reuniting October 24-26 for a few shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. Collectively known as Cream, the band disbanded in 1969 proceeding the release of their now classic album Wheels of Fire and the playing of their final show at Royal Albert Hall soon after. Their aptly titled, final studio album Goodbye came out in 1969. Although the group were together for a mere two years, they helped to lay the foundation of blues based rock for decades to come.

American Express cardholders will be able to purchase tickets to the New York Cream shows a full week before they go on sale to the general public September 19.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bloodsport Original Movie Soundtrack

Sunday night, in celebration of Labor Day, The Lonely Note crew and a couple friends got together to watch my favorite movie of all time - Bloodsport. This epic 1988 martial arts film not only showcases Jean Claude Van Damme at his best, but it is also a benchmark in musical scores. Van Damme's half-hour long flashback, serving to retell of his background training, could easily be one of the longest flashbacks in film history; however, it would seem like an eternity without the right musical accompaniment to move it along.

Luckily for us, composer Paul Hertzog was up to the task, and singer Stan Bush was able to perform two vital tracks, 'Fight to Survive' and 'On My Own - Alone.' The lyrics are appropriately mediocre, but when sung in an overly-dramatic way, over an overly-dramatic score, the results are, to say the least....overly-awesome. The movie's numerous fight sequences and Van Damme's recurring flashback problem would not be nearly as effective without this musical sidearm. The two aforementioned songs have an 80s rock ballad feel to them; which if you couldn't tell already from the names, 'Fight to Survive' is the pump-up track, and 'On My Own - Alone' is the glass-half-empty counterpart. The rest of the soundtrack is filled with variations of an Asian-inspired arrangement, which switch things up at key points of the plotline. For some reason, the song playing during the great chase scene, credited as Michael Bishop's 'Steal the Night', does not appear on the soundtrack.

Having grown up on this movie, I had looked to buy the soundtrack for years, but could never seem to find it in stores. After having given up almost all hope, I stumbled upon an unopened copy of it in an otherwise expensive music store for the ridiculously low price of $1. There was no debate as to whether I would soon own this soundtrack. Still quite the rarity and collector's item, I saw the cd listed at up to $80 on ebay this evening, with Amazon selling it for $50. Despite the absence of 'Steal the Night' from the soundtrack, I still hold firm that this was one of the best musical finds of my life. Great to wake up to in the morning, listen to before a big game/test/meeting, or just simply drive to, the uplifting Bloodsport soundtrack is surely one for the ages.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Gorillaz "Dare" to Storm to Number One

Animated rock act Gorillaz have finally garnered their first number one British single. 'Dare' leads the pack of pop hits followed by Rihanna and Daniel Powter for top songs on the island nation. The band is led by former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, and their latest album Demon Days was released in May.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and Ways You Can Help

The Lonely Note is a music blog. We don't get involved in external matters very often. But when extraordinary events occur that rip out the hearts and souls of our entire nation, it's hard to turn a blind eye. In the near week since Hurricane Katrina ravaged our gulf coast, thousands of our fellow citizens have perished, lost their homes and had their entire livelyhoods destroyed. New Orleans, a pinnacle city in the development of jazz and blues, has been nearly wiped off the map. As we speak, thousands of residents of that magnificent city remain trapped in their homes or displaced in refugee areas.

It angers me very much to see the delayed response our federal government has given in aiding the gulf coast. The current administration finds no trouble in sending aid to tsunami victims half a globe away or thousands of troops to liberate Iraq, yet when faced with a domestic disaster like the recent hurricane they are slow to action. The Lonely Note is not a political blog. I do not wish to alienate any of our readers with my views. However, every single one of us possess an innate civic duty as residents of the world's greatest power to do everything in our capacity to help these people in whatever ways we can. Below, I have listed resources you and I and others can tap into to provide even just a minor amount of relief.

As John F. Kennedy once proclaimed in his famous innaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." This is our chance to do for our country.

Have a great Labor Day weekend (if you can), and thank-you for hearing me out. More music news and reviews soon to follow.

Ways to Help Victims of Hurricane Katrina:

Network for Good
FEMA List of Disaster Relief Organizations
American Red Cross
Hurricane Housing

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rumor Mill: Team Sleep's Not-So-Secret Crush

This image was sent out yesterday via Team Sleep's account. Apparently Chino Moreno and the gang are secretly admired by none other than Destiny's Child. The autographed photo, which is reportedly authentic, reads "Team Sleep - We Love You!" and is signed by all three ladies. No word yet as to whether Team Sleep responded with a note asking "Will you go out with me? Yes No Maybe (Circle One)"

Who knows, Maybe Beyonce's trying to talk the sleeping team into helping her right-hand man, Jay-Z, milk one last mash-up out of his Black Album? Speculation ensues...

...But I ain't one for gossip, so you didn't hear that from me.