Thursday, December 29, 2005

Franz Ferdinand Saved British Rock?

This week, Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos quipped:
"It's not arrogant, but it is a fact that we changed the face of rock music in Britain.

"The second part of the 1990s and the beginning of the new century were very bad.

"It was one of the worst periods in British rock music. It was all bad and boring. Now we have a huge number of very good bands.

"Our intention was to change the course of history of British rock if we could not change the world and we feel we have done well in that respect."

WTF? That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 Music Trivia

How well did you pay attention to music news in 2005? Test your wits here, with a short 2005 music trivia quiz.

The Dr. is In

Recently, the site heard from a young band that calls themselves Dr. Mike. Hailing from the small midwestern city of Cedar Falls, Iowa (home to the University of Northern Iowa), this vibrant young group has been busy drawing attention to themselves. Less than a year and a half into their existence; the band has already this fall, released their debut LP, A Mighty Love. Combining garage rock with classic jazz undertones and traces of funk, Dr. Mike find themselves spanning the pop genre to play the type of warm, grassroots music that is well-suited to the college-rock community. Dr. Mike could easily appeal to Indie scenesters and arena jam band enthusiasts alike. Besides the traditional lineup, this sextet also features an electric mandolin player and a keytarist. Fans of G. Love & Special Sauce, Ben Harper, and even 311 could be potential converts to the upbeat sounds of Dr. Mike. The band emits an aura that suggests they simply enjoy playing to an audience - maintaining a laid-back approach to having fun and not taking anything too serious (e.g. their live cover of the Golden Girls themesong).

Below, I've posted the stream for their album's second track, 'Dolly'. You can check out more on the band, including live videos, by visiting their website and myspace

Digital Music Services Involved in Price-Fixing?

The New York Attorney's office has subpoenaed several online music vendors, attempting to determine whether or not they have been involved in illegal price-fixing:

Darren Dopp, a spokesman for state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, said the office was seeking information on wholesale prices the music labels charge for digital music files that can be downloaded. Dopp said Tuesday that it would take months for the office to launch a full investigation, if one is warranted.

Warner Music Corp acknowledged being subpoenaed, and attriubted it to an "industrywide investigation." No further information is available.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Strokes - 'Juicebox'

First Impressions of Earth will be available for purchase next week. For now, here's the first single 'Juicebox.' Although I haven't been the biggest Strokes fan in the past, I feel this new song is one of their best efforts:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Earbuds of Hearing Death

Recent research has indicated that tiny earbud headphones common to modern MP3 players can cause hearing loss in young people. Research at Northwestern University determined that many earbud users tend to listen to music at 110-120 decibels. Such usage can lead to hearing loss within an hour.

What can be done to avoid such hearing damage? Audiologist Roger Hughes said to regularly get your hearing tested:

As the damage starts to accumulate to the hair cells in the inner ear, it becomes a permanent situation and it's not always readily apparent in the beginning. [Testing] give[s] us a base line, it'll tell us at this point what [the] hearing is like, and if … hearing [is] tested regularly, at least we can see if there's a pattern."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bono to Quit Music?

Growing bored with rock, U2 frontman Bono has admitted that he may leave the music scene to live on a fish farm.

He said:

"After doing this kind of thing for so long, it becomes a grudge match. against your opponent, which is of course your lazy self, or the other self, which fancies the fish farm in Wales or Kenya - go and live on the beach, you've earned it, and for us it becomes a fight against that temptation."

In other Bono related news, he was named one of Time's Persons of the Year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Google To Add Music Search

In their neverending quest to index anything and everything known to man, search portal Google plans to introduce a music search feature that will "make it easier for music fans to find the kind of content they are looking for."

The way the feature works is simple. When an artist's name is queried on the search network, links to the artist, music stores selling their music and relevant album reviews will be displayed.

Google commented:

"Right now the music search feature mostly works for artists popular in the US and a more limited number of artists from other countries, but we plan to expand it to classical music, worldwide artists, and lesser-known performers. Our list of music stores will also grow over time."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

311 f/ Alien Ant Farm

Friday December 9th, 2005 @ Val Air Ballroom
in W. Des Moines, IA

Alient Ant Farm -- I won't lie. We completely missed these guys. We arrived just after 8:30 p.m. and they were already off of the stage! Some bouncer said they only played for like 20 or so minutes. So that sucks. Oh well -- our clan of past and present Cedar Falls-ites (plus a few others) just went to the bar while we waited!

311 -- Celebrating their 15th year of being a band, the 5-member 311 from Omaha, NE came to W. Des Moines to put on a good show. And a good show they did. Now I usually stand somewhere near the middle or even back of most shows just to listen, but for some reason I was feeling rowdy so I went up near the front. Well was I in for a wild time. It wasn't the most I've gotten thrown around at a concert (that honor is reserved to the Incubus concert I saw in Cedar Rapids, IA @ the 5-seasons center in 2002), but I did have to do a fair amount of making sure I didn't end up on the ground. I got thrown into a few mosh pits. Can't say I'm a huge fan of being in those, but I did get to throw a few elbows (and not have to feel bad about it!). There were a couple of times I almost fell into the chaos, but some nice fellow mosh-pitters picked me up before I fell. Who says you can't make friends there? I also got to witness some slender dark-haired girl on some guys shoulders who seemed to be allergic to her t-shirt (she was behind me, but there were plenty of times I got "inadvertantly" turned around, so I was "stuck" looking at her!) I did not, however, do any crowd-surfing. My crowd surfing days began and ended on the same day, at a Goo Goo Dolls/Tonic concert in Dubuque, IA @ the 5 Flags Center in December 1999. I gave my keys and wallet to a friend went up, and was promptly dropped directly on my back. It hurt bad, and I haven't done it since. One advantage of being up in front (getting my butt kicked) is that it was too violent for the "marijuana-crowd," so they were safely behind me. Enough of me. Now to the band.

311 opened with "Creatures (For a While)," which was a sweet tune to open with. Nick Hexum and Co. were really on their game. "Beautiful Disaster," came soon after, followed by the 50 First Dates remake, "Love Song." A yours truly 311 fave followed next, the trippy "All Mixed Up." It wasn't until this song (for some reason) that I realized SA Martinez had a huge cast on his right arm. I thought for a second, then it hit me. As it was reported last week on the Lonely Note, Martinez broke his hand in a fist fight with our Lord Jesus. I laughed to myself for a second. On another note, here is Jesus' rebuttal to the incident. (note: if you want to see pictures of SA's cast, as well as a great Scott Stapp shirt some guy was wearing @ the concert, visit and click on "311 Concert Pictures" -- Clear Channel Entertainment seems pretty strict about hyperlinking and posting photos, so go check them out there!) Getting back to the concert, another highlight was a great drum solo by the entire band on "Applied Science." They brought a whole bunch of drums to the front of the stage and played for a few minutes. Definitely photo-worthy.

I do have to apologize, I was so into going crazy, I didn't take time to remember most of the songs they played. I know I heard "Whisky and Wine," and "Mindspin" in there, as well as an extended version of "Nix Hex." "Speakeasy" was another good song. Then 311 did what most bands won't do (except for two of my faves, The Pimps and Local H), and that's play a crowd request. Throughout the concert, kids were chanting "Who's Got the Herb?" Finally, I think Hexum and Mahoney had heard enough and played the song! The place went nuts! They then finished off pre-encore set with 4 huge songs -- "Amber," "Come Original," "Don't Tread on Me," and "Down." It was definitely the wildest during "Down." 311 then went into encore. Afterwards, they finished the show with "Omaha Stylee," and a great version of "Feels So Good." It was during that last song I sustained my first and only injury of the night. I had been part of a few guys putting people up into crowd surfs the entire show. I had probably helped 15+ up to that point. Well, the last one, I just wasn't paying attention, and WHAM, I took a shoe to the face. I spent the entire time during "Feels So Good" making sure my nose wasn't broken.

Well, after their 24 song set, and being covered in sweat, I didn't care that much about it. 311 put on a great show and I would definitely see them again. After the concert, we hightailed across the street, and then a huge snow-covered area to reach my favorite Des Moines pub, Charlie's Filling Station. I also took a huge dive into the snow on the way over, which seemed like a good idea at the time for how hot I was, but was a horrible idea after I did it. At Charlie's, we celebrated the 311 concert, getting together with everybody, and of course the University of Northern Iowa Panthers' victory over Texas State in the Division 1-AA football semifinals! The NCAA championship is this friday night, December 16th at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2 vs. Appalachian State. Make sure you tune in. Go Panthers! Have a great Xmas and New Year's!

Coming 2006: Nine Inch Nails concert, CD reviews of Staind and System of a Down, CD release updates, , 2005 year in review music(?) etc. I'm open for ideas, comments, criticism, hate-mail, etc. And of course, I'll be at concerts are in the area!

Monday, December 12, 2005

MPA Wants Lyric Site Owners to Go to Jail

The Music Publishers Association (MPA) represents US sheet music companies. Come 2006 they are to begin the shutdown of sites that illegally host lyrics, tablatures and song scores. MPA president Lauren Keiser said he'd like to see the owners of such sites jailed. This campaign comes in the wake of sucessful prosecution of internet users who acquire music without paying for it by the RIAA.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sony Makes Nellie McKay Cry

Distraught at Sony Columbia's refusal to release her new disc the way she intended it, Nellie McKay tearfully urged fans at West Hollywood's Troubadour to write the music company and protest. Columbia wants to issue a 16 track version of McKay's upcoming album Pretty Little Head, while Nellie wants to release a 23 song version.

Nellie said at the Troubadour:
"It’s not fair, it’s not fair to anyone what they’re doing,” she said. “The corporations are raping the world. I know that everyone is gonna grow up and, you know, get cynical and everything. I can’t, I still care too much. This is driving me insane.”

The 20-year-old caberet singer has made waves with her first disc Get Away From Me. That debut was released in 2004.

Thriller Is Best Music Video

According to music channel The Box, Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' has been named best music video by Britons:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blues Traveler f/ Carbon Leaf

Thursday, November 17th 2005 @ Val Air Ballroom -- W. Des Moines, IA

Carbon Leaf - I have to apologize, I didn't pay too much attention to these guys. Three of us grad school dudes walked into the show midway through their set. This 5-peice from Richmond, Virginia sounded more like an Irish drinking band than a rock band -- so we did what any good Irishman does, and DRANK. So that kept me occupied so I didn't remember too much about them when they were done. What I do know, however, is that Carbon Leaf plays good, medium-tempo Irish-rock, complete with penny-whistler and whatever you call those small-Irish guitars. They honestly sounded like they just flew in from a bar in Dublin to play. They played good, solid Irish rock that really made us want to party, so we did. Go check them out at their website.

Blues Traveler -- This is the second time I had seen Blues Traveler, but it had been nearly a decade, so my memory was a little shady. The Concert Guys 1st concert ever was 1996 Bridges to Babylon Tour, where I saw Blues Traveler open for the Rolling Stones at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. I was 14 years old. Talk about starting your concert career off on a high note!(note: my 2nd concert ever was Bob Dylan later that year, so two legends in my 1st two concerts!) It definitely does make me feel old knowing that I've seen a band 9 years apart! Well, one difference I knew would be obvious was John Popper's weight. In 1996, he was pre-gastric bypass. Now he would be skinnier. I will say, I saw him on tv after he had his surgery, and he looks as if he's put some weight back on since then (this seems odd since they usually say tv adds weight!). But he DEFINITELY looks much better than he did during their hey-day in the mid 90's. The death of original bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1999 was one key ingredient to his lifestyle-change. One thing I didn't realize was how long Blues Traveler has been around. When their radio hit "Runaround" hit the airways in 1995, not only was it off their 4th album (and 7th year together as a band), the album "Runaround" came off of Four, which had already been out for more than a year! So these guys have paid their dues and been around for a long while. Their show was evidence of their staying power.

It is easy to see why Carbon Leaf opened for Blues Traveler. They are both blues-influenced rock bands, perfering to play long instrumental solos than just standard rock songs (see- Grateful Dead). John Popper must burn off about 4,000 calories per show on his harmonica. He doesn't just play it once in a while, instead he plays it ALL THE TIME! Blues Traveler is one of those band that you don't need to know the songs, you can just listen to their instrumental sets and be entertained. And since they played for almost two hours, and I only knew about 5 songs of theirs coming in, you can bet I didn't know most of their songs! Of course they played "Runaround," harmonica-happy "But Anyway," Busch beer commercial song "The Mountains Win Again," and Hank's personal favorite BT song, "Carolina Blues" off of their 1997 album, Straight on 'Till Morning. Curiously absent from their set list was "Hook," but then again, when you have a catalog as big as theirs, it's not surprising (another case of a band not playing songs that you want to hear, as I wrote about last week!).

Blues Traveler also played a lot of songs off of their new album, Bastardos. I didn't know any of the songs, but they sound pretty similar to anything else they have done. The highlight of the night was the last song they played. They brought every member of Carbon Leaf, bringing total # of musicians on stage to 9. They then busted into a extended version of one of your's truly's favorite songs, (as well as fellow correspondant Steves' favorite band), a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain," off of Zeppelin's 1979 swan song release, In Through the Out Door. It has always been one of my favorite songs, and never thought I would ever hear it live. They did a perfect version, really hammering those guitars and nailing the quick drums at the end after the long instrumental. They even got Page's great guitar sound at the end of the song. What a great way to go out. If you are interested in Blues Traveler, be sure to check them out at their website, and if you like old Blues Traveler, their new album shouldn't disappoint. 95.5 KGGO was the sponsoring radio station for this show, but I can't find any pictures of it. Sorry!

Next Week: 311 and Alien Ant Farm @ the Val Air Ballroom, W. Des Moines, IA.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Year Without Dimebag

On December 8, 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed during a Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio. A tremendous contributor to metal, the Pantera/Damageplan guitarist has been sorely missed. Yet, despite his untimely death, his legacy lives on. Jason Newsted remembers:

"I come up and I'm in my casual clothes, and we played 'Whiplash' and 'Four Horsemen' or something -- two songs off Metallica's 'Kill Em All.' [Frontman] Phil [Anselmo] played guitar on one, and Darrell sang -- they swapped. I just remember getting in front of his amps and having my hair peeled back. F*** man, I've played with Metallica on stage for 15 years and it's loud. But in front of Darrell's amps, Darrell was loud as f***! That was a very special moment."

The one year anniversary of Dimebag's murder is this Thursday.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Christ Incarnate Vs. 311

In a Thanksgiving battle of bands, Scott Stapp allegedly sucker-punched Chad Sexton, drummer for 311, in a Baltimore hotel. The altercation developed shortly after Stapp made disparaging comments towards Sexton's wife. 311 said later:
"We did not intend to discuss this incident publicly, but since rumors are beginning to spread we'd like to set the record straight," the band says, before giving its version of the incident.

Former Creed vocalist, Stapp, has been rumored to have suffered from alcohol abuse for the past few years. Stapp has, so far, issued no statement addressing the 311 claim.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Audioslave, Seether, 30 Seconds to Mars

(Copyright The Rave)

Friday, November 11, 2005 @ The Rave/Eagles Club in Milwaukee, WI.

30 seconds to Mars - After a long drive across the plains of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, yours truly and two accomplices arrived at the Rave for the 3rd time in our illustrious careers (previously for The Darkness and Deftones) at 8 p.m. JUST in time for the 1st 30STM song (after paying $25 for parking! $25!!). Quite, honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Jared Leto and Co. But hell, knowing he's been with Cameron Diaz, one of the Olsen's, AND Lindsey Lohan, he gets the benefit of the doubt (and on another note-- who isn't jealous of his life- movie star AND rock star!). On the way up, us 3 Amigos committed concert faux paus and listened to both their 2002 self-titled debut and their new disk, A Beautiful Lie. I hadn't heard much of them, so I needed to hear them before seeing them in concert. In concert, even though they only played a short 6-song set, I was very impressed with the pipes on Jared Leto. Man can he wail! I could listen to him on "Capricorn" all day long! "Attack" was another great song they played. They were very good live, but I didn't get the full energy that I got from them on their EP's. One thing we all liked about Leto (with brother Shannon as the AMAZING drummer) was that they set up a table after their show to meet all fans and sign autographs. How many bands are that approachable? And I did get to see that Jared can't be any taller than 5'8". I really liked 30STM, so be sure to check out their EP's. I'll leave you with this quote from Mr. Leto about his new disk:
"On the first record I created a world, then hid behind it. With A
Beautiful Lie, it was time to take a more personal and less cerebral
approach.... A story of life, love, death, pain, joy, and passion. Of what
it is to be human."

Seether - I've had two concerts cancelled in my life. My first was Rage Against the Machine in August of 2000 at East Troy, WI when Mike D of the Beastie Boys broke his arm riding his bike through Central Park (they never rescheduled, then Rage broke up -- yes I still hate the Beastie Boys to this day -- GRRRR!). Since Rage is my favorite band, and I never got to see them. This was quite heartbreaking to an 18 year old kid. The second concert that got cancelled was Evanescence and Seether when they were supposed to play the UNI-Dome in scenic Cedar Falls, IA in November 2003. That one was cancelled because Amy Lee messed up another band (see: Evanescence, Cold, and Seether -- haha just kidding!). But that was when guitarist Ben Moody left the band in the middle of the tour. I didn't care too much about seeing Evanescence, but I was ticked to miss Seether. So redemption at last! Besides the fact that Shojn Morgan looks like a bum they pulled from the streets outside of the Rave, he has a great voice and stage presence(he looks much larger than their debut CD -- did Amy Lee make him quit drugs?!?! -- just kidding!). They did not play much longer than 30STM, only about 40 minutes. Of course, they played their two new singles off of their new disk Karma and Effect, "Remedy" and "Truth," the latter of which I really like. They played "Fine Again" in memory of the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Of course, "Gasoline" also made the set list. They played a bunch of new material I didn't know, but sadly did not play my three favorite Seether songs, "F#*K It," "Needles," and "Driven Under." I never like when bands don't play your favorite song (see: Chevelle "Closure"), but my disappointment would be made up when the next band took the stage.......

Audioslave - When members of my 1st and 3rd favorite bands combined in 2001, needless to say, I WAS ECSTATIC! To me, Chris Cornell has the best, most soulful, and powerful voice I know in rock 'n roll, along with Paul Rodgers and Chris Robinson. And you just can't beat Morello and Co. hammering away powerful riffs. Maybe they haven't quite lived up to my incredibly lofty expectations I put on them as a band with their CD's (but how could they?), but they definitely made up for it in concert. I can't say this more bluntly: Audioslave was the best concert I have ever seen! AND IT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE LOFTY STATUS THESE BANDS HOLD IN MY HEAD. Let me explain:

I had read concert reports that 'Slave was playing lots of covers, but I had no idea how many they were actually going to play! They opened very Rage-esque with Mrs. Morello proclaiming "Get ready for the best band in the world - Audioslave!", and then with songs off their new EP Out of Exile, playing "Your Time is Gonna Come," and "Out of Exile," along with a few others. Then they dropped the art-work for 1991's Badmotorfinger, with awesome renditions of "Rusty Cage" and "Spoonman," which I thought coundn't get much better. Boy was I wrong. Then Rage's Red Star dropped, and they busted into a killer version of "Bulls on Parade" (If you've ever seen the intro to my favorite DVD of all time "Rage- Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium," - it is exactly the same as their intro into "BOP" in the DVD, and JUST as awesome as it looked!). Wow- that place went nuts. I was going nuts. Morello's guitars were just as good, loud, and piercing as I could have ever dreamed of. They played half of the song, and then burst into a mean version of "Sleep Now in the Fire." Cornell, now in his 40's, sounded really good on that song! I almost didn't realize Mr. de la Rocha wasn't there. Almost. After a long ovation (and me thinking it couldn't get any better), they broke back into 'Slave, with songs like "Shadow on the Sun," "Doesn't Remind Me," and "Like a Stone," along with a few others.

Then the stage got dark. Rage left, and Cornell came out with his acoustic guitar. He played a perfect version of "Black Hole Sun," followed by an absolutely incredible version of "Fell on Black Days," with Shojn Morgan of Seether. It couldn't get any better...... but then he played a song I never thought they would play. Cornell played Track 13 of their debut, "Getaway Car." I always wanted to hear that song, but never thought I would. He finished off his acoustic set with "I am the Highway," with the band joining him halfway through the song. Then they played "Show me How to Live." I figured they had one song, maybe if we're lucky two songs left at this point. I knew "Cochise" had to be one of them. The other one I was not prepared for. If you've ever seen a concert hall go nuts before, you know what I'm talking about. When Morello started the familiar cords for "Killing in the Name," the entire place started bouncing. The scene was indescribable. It felt like the floor was moving. Even though I had said it already about five times that night, it was "the best song of the night." Morello was so loud and Cornell sounded so convincing, I didn't even notice it wasn't Zach on stage crooning. I thought they might cut out the "x-rated" ending to the song, but never fear, they played the whole song! After Mike D cost me my concert five years ago, I never thought I'd hear that song. I could now die happy. But the night was not over. After bringing the Rave down to it's knees with "KITN," the ended with a dyn-o-mite version of "Cochise." Talk about leaving on a high note.

I love guitarists. Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Jimmy Page, B.B. King, etc. But on that given night, and through his whole career, I swear no living guitarist can combine earth-shattering riffs and killer solos much like Tom Morello. Nobody. You really have to be their live to catch his energy. Even at age 41, he still moves on the stage like he's 21, leaping in the air, jamming to the songs. Even though Cornell is the vocalist, Morello owns the stage. I hope he stays around for a long, long time. And Cornell sounds just as good as he ever had. The thing I enjoyed most about the night that was unlike most bands I see, they played EVERYTHING I hoped they would! They didn't skip one song that I wanted to hear. For two hours of my life I was in near heaven. Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Timmy C played for two hours. I could have listened to them all night.

Next week: Blues Traveler @ the Val Air Ballroom