Friday, June 30, 2006

The Killer in Brandon Flowers

Once again, The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers cannot keep his mouth shut. Taking a break from his usual band rivalries, the singer has chosen to attack the entire emo genre in one fell swoop. This is not surprising, considering the catty nature of this Mormon new-waver, but the following quote by Flowers did shock me.

We don't wanna dislike anyone, and we've still never met Fall Out Boy, but there's a creature inside me that wants to beat all those bands to death.

Wow! I just can't picture this frail figure beating anyone down, but he must really hate emo. Of course, his feelings aren't attributed to a personal dislike, but more toward the futures of today's youth.

Culturally, if it gets as big as it is in America, it could change an entire generation of people growing up here. Emo, pop-punk, whatever you want to call it, is dangerous.

I don't know, Brandon. Dangerous?!? I think "annoying" may be a more accurate adjective. The only dangerous thing about the music is its threat to his album sales.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Caught On Tape: Guns N' Roses - 'Estranged'

This week's Caught On Tape segment features the music video for the Guns N' Roses song, 'Estranged.' In a recent interview from fellow contributor, Steve, I had the opportunity to express my thoughts about the video's deeper meanings. You can listen to our full discussion below.

Tae and Steve discuss the video for 'Estranged'

MP3 of Steve and Tae's conversation can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alice in Chains - 'Shame in You'

While we're on a "I Love the 90s" kick here at the Note, I thought I might as well post one of my favorite deep cuts from that era. 'Shame in You' was a mid-disc track contained on Alice in Chains's self-titled album. But for those obsessive fans in the know such as myself, the LP was commonly referred to as Tripod, an obvious reference to the three legged dog on the cover.

Tripod holds a special place in my heart simply because it was the last studio album released by this all-time favorite band of mine. Plagued by collective fatigue and
Layne Staley's heroin addiction, the band fell apart soon after, with the MTV Unplugged session in 1996 being one of the last times its members would all perform together.

Tripod is a markedly different disc for the band in the fact that guitarist
Jerry Cantrell made a dramatic move to the forefront and performed lead vocals on two of the radio singles ('Over Now' & 'Heaven Beside You'). Past studio work had Cantrell relegated to back-up VOX, at best. In retrospect, this new ambition on behalf of Cantrell and Stayley's departure from prominence within the band provides a sure foreshadowing of Staley's eventual lethal demise, as well as Cantrell's future solo efforts.

'Shame in You' is a brilliant encapsulation of both Staley's exclusive voice, as well as the personal pain evident in his lyrics:

When I waken, and I'm achin', time for sleepin, yeah
When I'm sayin time to go and, I've been hurtin, yeah
When I'm layin, I'm still tryin, concentrating on dyin', yeah

Furthermore, who can dislike a song that uses Olde English?:

Or n'er regain peace you seek

Of course, the ace in the hole for this song is the climax towards the end, with Layne Staley pleading:

Throw out, blow up, hold in
Show fine, no signs, grow blind

Overall, this non-radio single serves as one of the last records of Staley's grainy, but passionate vocals. It represents one of the last recordings of a singer who, along with Cornell, Vedder, and Cobain, helped popularize hard rock for the masses. Most importantly, however, 'Shame in You' is a chilling portrait of a man full of tortured self-regret and obvious "shame."

May Layne rest in peace:

Alice in Chains - 'Shame in You'

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ted's Song of the Week - 6/27/06

Either They Decorated for Christmas Early or They're All Dead
He Is Legend

Anytime a band fuses the hardcore genre of the present day with the wailing guitars of Iron Maiden, there is bound to be an interesting and raucous result. "Either They Decorated for Christmas Early or They're All Dead" is a great track for those days when frustrations can only be consoled through music.

The song's cryptic and rapid-fire guitar intro leads into a hullabaloo of sound that works well for the group. Surprisingly, He Is Legend is considered a
Christian rock band. While this doesn't change my feelings toward the song, it just goes to show that not all religous rock sucks. Jars of Clay is also an exception to the rule. Thrice fans will enjoy He Is Legend.

He Is Legend - Either They Decorated for Christmas Early or They're All Dead

Chad Smith Looks Like Mugatu

I've always seen a striking resemblence between Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, and comedian Will Ferrell. But, when I saw the cover of Rolling Stone's June 16 issue, bearing a photo of the Peppers in eyeliner, I couldn't help but think IMMEDIATELY of Ferrell's role as Mugatu in the movie Zoolander. I'm not the only one seeing this, am I?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Jagermeister Music Tour -- Staind, Hurt, 3 Days Grace

June 12, 2006 -- Val Air Ballroom -- West Des Moines, Iowa

Your concert reporter Hank is back with another attended show at the recently-renovated Val Air Ballroom in beautiful West Des Moines, IA. After seeing a band I'd been waiting to see for a long time in the Black Crowes, I wasn't so sure how great this concert would be. But Hurt, 3 Days Grace, and Staind sure put on one hell of a show, and I left pleasantly surprised. Although none of the bands are considered by any means in any 'favorite band' list, I would have to say this concert would have to easily rank in my Top 10 of concerts seen, probably Top 5. That might not sound like that great of an achievement, but considering the multitude of concerts I have seen, that is pretty darn impressive.

To start this review, I must first talk about Jagermeister's host for the evening, The Lizard Man (pictured above). He came out between every band, told jokes, and stuck random objects in his body. Pictured above is the scissors he put in his nose. He also shoved some long sharp object down his throat ( a sword? My memory is not so good!) and emceed as some nut hung cinder blocks from his eyelids. It also happened to be his birthday, as he begrudgingly listened to the audience sing for him. I must give props to Jagermeister for hiring this guy, as he was an instant crowd pleaser. He might not be a guy I'd wanna hang out with on the weekends, but he was good for some great humor and stunts that made you look away. I bet he'd be great entertainment for a bachelorette party!!

I missed the opening band, Narcoticself, so we'll start with the first band on the ticket, Hurt. These boys from Virginia play sort of a Nu Metal/Alt metal blend of tunes. Their lead singer, J. Loren Wince, wore a hat that reminded me of Alex from A Clockwork Orange or Chazz Palmintieri from A Bronx Tale (truly a great movie and INCREDIBLE soundtrack, but that's for another discussion). J. Loren really knew how to work the crowd, and also busted out a mean violin for a song, which makes you think maybe they are aiming for the prog rock crowd as well? Now I've heard their big song, "Rapture" (from their debut album, Volume 1), but I never realized how good of a song it was until I heard it live. What a great first single for a band looking to score it big. The energy given off by "Rapture" was incredible, and it was one of the best songs of the night, of any of the bands! The bass and guitars during that song just kicked my ass. I thought Hurt was a great band, and when they get a few more albums under their belt I'll be interested to see how they've progressed. Check them out at their website.

After more comedy courtesy of the Lizard Man, the four Canucks known as 3 Days Grace took the stage. Lead singer, Adam Gontier, armed with his trademark gravely voice was dressed in a tie and black shirt, looking very Billy-Joe esque. I had never really liked 3 Days Grace all that much until their recent single, "Animal I Have Become" off of their most recent LP, One-X. I thought the songs were marginal at best, and they were just another MTV rock band. But like lots of bands, they sound much better live than on radio, which is very true of this band. They slogged through their favorites like "Just Like You" and "Home," the latter being a song I hated on the radio but was GREAT in concert. They played a great cover of Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot" (a song Richard Patrick wrote about the public suicide of late-Pennsylvania State Treasurer Budd Dwyer in 1987, which I can still vividly remember from watching during a viewing of Faces of Death as a teenager). They ended with a killer (no pun intended) version of "I Hate Everything About You." Check them out.

After another quick break (Jagermeister did a great job of moving band interchanges around. Most concert spend 30 minutes changing equipment, but this show was averaging 15 minutes in between, barely enough time to get beer. Another reason why I loved this show so much, no long boring breaks!), the highlights of the concert, Staind, took the stage. They burst into the 2nd single of their newest LP Chapter V, with one of my favorite Staind songs, Track #5 "Falling," the song that convinced me to buy their newest LP! And man, did they nail it! The poweful guitars on this song, provided by Mike Mushok, combined with Aaron Lewis' strong vocals make this such a great song.

Their was one thing I liked in particular about this concert, in contrast to my most recent concert, The Black Crowes. While the Crowes barely played any of their singles, Staind played ALL of them, along with a lot of tracks from their new LP. Since everyone knows all of their hits, and I own their newest CD, I new almost every song. Some people scoff at the idea of just playing hits, but let me tell you it was very refreshing to hear a band do that, especially with some of the recent shows I have seen. It really gets the crowd, including myself, into the show, instead of just the hardcore fans, which I am not. They made their was through songs like "It's Been Awhile," "Everything Changes," "Right Here," "So Far Away," and their most MTV-worthy song, "Outside" from the Family Values Tour and their 2001 release, Break the Cycle. Thankfully, there was no Fred Durst their to ruin the song! They even through in a perfect version of Pearl Jam's "Release," the last track off Pearl Jam's debut, Ten (a tribute to the jersey # of Eddie Vedder's favorite basketball player, Mookie Blaylock). Besides "Black," "Release" is probably my favorite Pearl Jam songs off that album, and when I heard the familiar cords playing, I turned to my companion who accompanied me to the show and said "Is this Pearl Jam? No way couldn't be! Yes, yes it is! YES!!"

Staind continued to play the show with familiar track such as "Price to Play" and "Epiphany," the former off of 2003's 14 Shades of Gray. They played lots of my fave tracks off of their newest LP. The only song I hoped they would play was track #4, "Schizophrenic Conversations," but since they played everything else, I couldn't complain! With no break or encore, a quiet and reserved Aaron Lewis ended with the best song of the night, predictably "Mudshovel," off of their first LP Tormented (and again on Dysfunction). I knew it would be the last (and best) song of the night, but to hear it was truly awesome. As Lewis screamed "You can feel my anger!" the crowd screamed back at him as the guitars cut through the hot Val Air. They blistered the crowd into a frenzy, as if it was even possible to get us more going than we already were. I almost knew there would be no encore after that, and I was glad when the lights came on since I didn't want them to end any differently.

In the end, I was glad I spent a decent amount of money on the show. The Jagermeister Music Tour is over for the summer (I think), but be sure to catch either of these 3 bands (or even Narcoticself) in concert whenever you get a chance, because it will be well worth it! And be sure to check out Lazer 103.3's pictures of the show. When they aren't busy bringing the best (or worst, depending on opinion) of the 80's hair metal bands to the Des Moines area, they do bring in some good shows, so tell them thanks!

Talk to you all soon-- Peace!

Remember When Chris Cornell Went Solo?

Audioslave may be well on their way to producing a third album, but does anybody remember that short wrinkle of time when Chris Cornell came out with a solo disc? I do, and out of a bit of early week idleness I've decided to post one of my favorites from that very album:

'Steel Rain' was the somber conclusion to the introspective Euphoria Morning, an LP that showed Cornell's softer side. Soulful, yet dark, this track resonates as one of Chris's deeper treks into singer/songwriter territory.


Chris Cornell - 'Steel Rain'

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The 411 on Mars Volta

Mars Volta has recently announced the track listing for their latest studio album Amputecture. While there is little information on the rest of the album's details, it is rumored that Mars Volta's forthcoming record will drop in stores sometime around August, which may coincide with their tour schedule.

The album's artwork has not been revealed, but Mars Volta has hired Jeff Jordan for the job. I imagine this was a match made in heaven, because Jordan's work is bizarre and right up Mars Volta's alley. Check out this artist's gallery to see what I mean.

Amputecture's track listing

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Music Mix Reflecting the Past 6 Months

I don't do this very often, but I've decided to post a mix of songs that have been rocking my MP3 player for the first half of 2006. In order to maintain the suspense, I've chosen to leave out the track listing. However, I will clue you in that there isn't anything too obscure here; most are fairly popular modern rock songs that have been featured on our radio station at one time or the other.

So what's Steve been listening to? Download
here to find out.

Caught On Tape: Aerosmith - 'Crazy'

Aerosmith's wildly popular Get a Grip album yielded several smash singles. Among them was the Cryamzy trilogy, which garners its name from the tracks 'Cryin', 'Amazing', and 'Crazy.' Each single was accompanied by a music video, styled into a miniature movie. And the glue that held the trilogy together was the young Alicia Silverstone.

These music filmettes not only acted as a launchpad for Silverstone's acting career, but the video for the song 'Crazy' was also the first major appearance of frontman Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv. Sure, it was a tad creepy that Tyler used his own daughter as a sex icon in his video, but you won't hear any complaints from me.

The 1994 video for 'Crazy' has always been my favorite of the Cryamazy trilogy. It's the story of two girls who skip school, and go on an adventure - an adventure that includes roadtripping, winning an exotic dance competition, and picking up some greasy farmboy. Essentially all of the 'Craziness' that the girls stir up along the way is limited to removing layers of clothing, as opposed to something actually crazy... like doing crystal meth and burning down an orphanage for example.

But still, this 6.5 minute movie had an amusing storyline, and featured the power duo of Liv and Alicia - making it one of the most memorable videos of my early 90's.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ted's Song of the Week - 6/20/06

The Vice and Virtue Ministry
The Happy Bullets
The Vice and Virtue Ministry

Despite the lousy weather I'm experiencing in my respective region, I've found a song that almost makes it feel like it's sunny with blue skies. The combination of singer Jason Roberts' lilting voice, upbeat harmonies, and happy-go-lucky instrumentals make "The Vice and Virtue Ministry" the perfect track for those occasions when you just need to sit back and relax.

Fans of The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree will enjoy this group's work.

For lyrics, click here.

The Happy Bullets - The Vice and Virtue Ministry

A Matured Sound for Killers on New Album

The Killers are currently putting the finishing touches on their newest disc in London, and bassist Mark Stoermer claims the band has "grown up" this time around. About the upcoming album he says:

"It sounds different. It sounds like we've grown up a little bit as musicians, songwriters and as people. Overall it's still pop songs by a rock band, which is what we liked about ourselves before and I think other people did too. It sounds different, but it still sounds like us."

As much as I like The Killers and want to believe that this album is, in fact, "different," history has shown me that when bands tell the world that their new album is the best ever or has changed in a significant way I'm usually sorely disappointed.

Here's hoping this group from Las Vegas avoids the all-too-usual sophomore slump.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Random Sunday Mix

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

For those of you not partaking in any paternal celebrations, I'll refer you to this downloadable mix from Villains Always Blink. It's 18 songs long, and should help to kill at least an hour and a half worth of boredom, should that be your primary objective for the day.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Thom Yorke Goes Solo

I'm a huge Radiohead fan, so when I heard that lead singer Thom Yorke was cutting a solo record, I elevated the forthcoming album to the top of my wishlist.

Yorke's The Eraser is slated for release on July 11th, but for those of you who want a taste of Thom's record, I managed to track down a few songs and post them for your listening pleasure. The music is primarily electronic and will remind some of Radiohead's Amnesiac.

Thom comments on the record:
"As you know the band are now touring and writing new stuff and getting to a good space so I want no crap about me being a traitor or whatever splitting up blah blah," he writes. "This was all done with their blessing. And I don't wanna hear that word solo. Doesn't sound right."

Thom Yorke - And It Rained All Night

Thom Yorke - Skip Divided

Thom Yorke - The Clock

Thursday, June 15, 2006

AFI has #1 Album

I have always considered myself sort of a "closet" AFI (which stands for A Fire Inside) fan, so I was pleasantly surprised when their new album, Decemberunderground, debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, selling over 182,000 copies in its first week. Even better, they knocked the Bush-bashing Dixie Chicks out of their #1 spot which they had held for 2 weeks (2 weeks too long in my opinion).

Their 7th album, released May 29th, has been said to be an even farther cry from their traditional goth-hardcore-punk sound as their last album, 2003's Sing the Sorrow. Critics say this album contains more electronic and new-wave sounds as compared to their previous albums.

I'm not sure if I'd ever buy an album (and would be interested to hear from readers how it is), but I always try to catch their songs on stations like MTV (the only time they show videos, like 2 a.m.) or Fuse. I like their new single, "Miss Murder," so hopefully the rest of the album is just as good, if not better.

In a never-ending world of American Idol albums, Now albums, and country albums (sorry you country fans, I just can't get into your music, but I have no problems with you liking it), it is good to see a good hardcore-punk band reach #1.

Keep up the good work, AFI, and congratulations.

Please Tom, Don't Enter Politics

I realize I am probably in the minority when I say this, but I can't stand Tom Delonge. Unlike my colleague Ted, who is quite the fan, and undoubtedly the millions of others who buy his records, whenever I hear the guy attempt to "sing" I feel like curling up into a small little ball and thinking of warmer, happier places. Unsurprisingly, the only Angels & Airwaves song I've voluntarily listened to is 'The Adventure,' simply because my friend and co-writer Ted featured it as one of his Songs of the Week. And during the 90s/early 00s I consciously initiated a personal blockade of Boxcar Racer and Blink-182. Sorry, he and his bands just aren't my cup of tea.

In spite of my disdain for his music, I've always been fine knowing that Mr. Delonge would never branch out from his niche of emo rock/mall punk. He had his place, and I had mine, and regardless of musical tastes we could all get along. With that said, I was quite floored when I read that Tom Delonge wants to enter politics...floored with laughter that is. According to
Jaded Insider Tom has expressed interest in entering the political arena. In fact, here is what my "favorite" frontman had to say:

“There was awhile when I actually thought I was going to be doing stuff in politics,” he said. “I spent a great part of the election year traveling with John Kerry and really being involved in the campaign. If Kerry would have won -- I was pitching all these different initiatives to his administration, y’know? -- there was a good chance I would have bought a place in D.C. and been more involved than I probably would like to admit.”

Pitching all these different initiatives y' know??? Like what, Tom, statutes protecting millionaires like yourself from the unfair practices of record companies and ticket agencies? Or perhaps a law requiring elementary kids to listen to your shitty music?? I hate to break the news to you, but there's only one place for a celebrity singer in politics, and it is currently occupied by Bono.

Please Tom, don't turn more people against you. Stay out of politics. Please.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ted's Song of the Week - 6/13/06

Bad Animals

Heart had been on the rock scene for over ten years when they released Bad Animals in 1987. By this time, the group had become a major arena act with the help of popular singles "Barracuda," "Crazy On You," and "Magic Man." However, after a decade of playing, the band was on the decline and forced to evolve their sound to keep up with the times. It was with the aid of comeback albums Heart and Bad Animals that the band was able to cement their name within the annals of rock.

"Alone" was a number one hit on Bad Animals that offered a more tender perspective to this rough-edged female-fronted rock group. The track is a narrative on a person's struggle to confess feelings of desire to their crush. It's a song that anyone can relate to.

On a personal note, power ballads are a guilty pleasure. This is one of my personal favorites for the simple yet righteous beginning to the chorus:

Till now I always got by on my own - I never really cared until I met you.


For lyrics, click

Heart - Alone

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Muse Tunes

I don't have much to report on today, but I did run across four downloadable Muse songs from their forthcoming release. You can tell that they have a more definitive sound this time around, which is a good thing.

You can check the tracks out here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Black Crowes

Sunday, May 21, 2006 -- Val Air Ballroom

Well, it's been awhile since the concert guy has gotten around to a concert, but it got a little slow there in the winter/spring period in central Iowa. I also have not been able to post much since I am currently in summer clinics and studying for board exams, all while cleaning my apartment and moving to a new one. So to say the least, I have been pretty busy, and will continue to be, so my posts will be few and far between in the coming months. But enough of that, and onto the Crowes!!

It was a nice Sunday night in West Des Moines when yours truly, Hank, and a few friends ventured over to the historic Val Air (which just settled a legal battle) to hear the great southern rock enigma known as the Black Crowes. There was no opening band, so at about 8:10 the Crowes began jamming out with their opening song, "Stare it Cold," the final track off their 1990 debut, Shake Your Money Maker. Chris even had time during the song to point out some 40 year old loser who threw ice at the stage and got him kicked out of the front. The whole crowd loved it and booed and took shots at the guy as he escorted himself out of the crowd. After playing "Seeing Things" and "Give Peace a Chance," a song that had everyone singing along, they burst into "Soul Singing," one of my favorite Crowes songs that can be found on their 6th (and latest) release, 2001's Lions. Much like the time I saw the Rolling Stones in '96, the Crowes employ 2 full-time female gospel singers to back up their songs. They never sounded better than they did in this song. After a few more good songs, they really sounded good on "My Morning Song," off of their 1992 release, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.

Drinking his trademark Tecate beer (which friends tell me is terrible!), Chris continued on with great songs such as "Lay it All on Me" and "How Much For Your Wings?" It's been 16 years since the Black Crowes first burst onto the scene, and Chris' voice sounds as good as ever (then again, I was in the 3rd row -- which was remarkably calm-- so maybe I didn't have the best acoustics). I've always said the two most soulful rock vocalists of all time were Chris Robinson and Paul Rodgers, and the concert solidified that. Dressed in an orange t-shirt that read "How do you spell relief? Colombian!" with a cannibus leaf in the middle, a beard that rivals Jesus (or maybe Rasputin or ZZ Top?), and his "rRr" tattoo on his left arm (which are initials for his son Ryder Russell Robinson), Chris took the riffs Rich gave him and just blew the songs apart (in a good way). He took average songs and made them great, passionate tracks that could bring tears to the eyes even the manliest of men (including the guys in front of me who didn't look like they showerered much.)

Speaking of not showering, his backing bandmates on this tour (Steve Gorman and Sven Pippien, I think) looked more like they belonged playing for Grand Funk Railroad than the Crowes. They honestly looked like they were straight out of the 70's (or the Blue Oyster Cult SNL skit with Bruce Dickinson). And I will say Rich did look a little fatter, but maybe it's just been awhile since I've seen him in public (or maybe it was the beer messing with my eyes?). But for all the great things about the show, including seeing one of my favorite bands, there were plenty of things I did not like (not including the drunk meathead in front of me, who after repeatedly spilling beer all over himself for the whole show, decided to pick a fight with some quiet kid standing behind him). For one, there were 3 breaks in the show. One is a planned break the Crowes take midway through the show. Then there is the break for the encore. There was also a 30 minute delay while the PA system was being fixed. Now I know the PA wasn't their fault, but having to sit through 3 breaks (totalling probably close to an hour) wasn't what I had in mind. With how much Ticketmaster bends us over by upping concert prices (building fees, bathroom fees, and hell probably even breathing fees), it kind of was a downer.

Another complaint I had was something I fully expected going into the show, but hoped wouldn't occur. The Black Crowes are well-known for playing odd set lists and changing them nightly. I kind of figured they would be a band that didn't play their hits, and I was right. There was no "Remedy" or "Stop Kickin' My Heart Around." Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" and "She talks to Angels" also didn't make the cut. Same result for "Twice as Hard." They did play "Jealous Again," but I swear they only played it as a consolation to the fans for having to wait 30+ minutes during the technical delay. It was a great song out of the "break," and it probably had the crowd as excited as they were all night, but even then, the song was partially ruined when Chris let Rich sing half of it! Now I like Rich Robinson and I think he's a great musician, but he is a terrible singer! And considering it was on one of the only hits they played, it was disappointing to have to hear him sing a lot of that song. It was funny, however, to watch Chris and Rich attempt to interact. It appears to me (and this could be way off) that Chris wants to bury the hatchet with their past troubles, but Rich wants no part of it. The reason I say this is I would always see Chris walk over by Rich, jam with him, look him in the eyes, and it always seemed Rich had sort of a cold response to his gestures -- only looking at him when he had to and putting up with Chris next to him, but never enjoying it. But that's just what I thought I saw, and nothing further.

After the Crowes came out of their final break (the planned encore), they played a killer version of "Space Captain," which was one of the best songs of the night. They took their bows to end the show, but with the crowd going crazy and chanting "one more song!" the Crowes came back with a final song, "Oh Well," a song I'm not sure I've heard before and have no idea where it's from (and only know the title because I asked somebody else). They left to a raucous ovation, one they richly deserved, regardless of my lamentations! One of my friends told me that when they came through Des Moines with Tom Petty last July, they sounded rusty and disorganized. Even though I was not at that one, I can say they did sound really good and cohesive. Are the Crowes coming out with a new record? Only Rich and Chris know that. But I have heard news they have worked on new tracks (at least for Chris and Rich's acousic project, "Brothers of A Feather.") Hopefully in the near future they can quench the thirst of their patient fans with some new work. We can only hope Chris and Rich can stay civil long enough to bring out more great music!

Chris didn't talk very much, but here is the only memorable quote of the night I got (and I have no idea what it means!):
"We in no way condone spleunking or the use of male
-Chris Robinson

Coming Soon (hopefully): Jagermeister Music Tour f/ Staind, Three Days Grace, and Hurt and Buckcherry's new CD Fifteen music review

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Meanderings of a Music Conventionalist: Is the Digital Revolution Good For Music?

I remember when I was one of the few people with a CD burner in my very small town. It was the late 90s, and the technology had become just cheap enough for the middle classes to purchase. I remember how it had taken me several grocery store pay checks before I finally accumulated enough cash to buy the then hi-tech peripheral and how I thought it was worth every penny, even though I should have been saving up for college instead.

Back then, whenever I was bored or in a transcendental state of mind, I'd spend hours meticulously choosing select tracks out of my not-so-massive collection that were classy enough to make the cut of my latest compilation. But there was more to it than just simply choosing songs. My routine was a well thought out process that consisted of printing out artwork, writing linear notes, and strategically distributing the finished product to friends and objects of admiration whom I wished to provide musical comfort to, or, more likely, just wanted to impress. These were the Romantic days of music swapping, a time before
MP3 players with hard drives bigger than that of my Hewlett Packard PC were invented, an era before iTunes, Napster, and other online merchants made buying mediocre songs for 99 cents fashionable.

Steve's Favorites, as my music mixes were boringly, yet aptly titled, made it to volume 9 before they fell out of style with my friends and acquaintances. By the time the last one rolled out, hot off my personalized music press, one of my friends apologetically informed me: "Sorry Man, but I don't really listen to CDs anymore now that I have an
iPod. Could you just send me the MP3s?" Like a child discovering that Santa Claus isn't real, it was at this moment I realized my time had passed. The iPod had killed the home studio engineer.

I can't complain too much that technology now exists, enabling me to carry all 300 of my albums in my pants pocket. And I guess I should avoid wallowing in the past for overextended periods of time, considering that the advent of
podcasts and MP3 blogs have provided so much to the masses in the way of underground marketing, band promotion, and the general egalitarian spread of knowledge. But being the music traditionalist that I am, I have to admit I kind of miss the days when your friends would hand to you a personalized and tangible compact disc rather than a few "you-gotta-check-these-songs-out-they-are-sooo kewl!' MP3s in the email. I miss the days when sifting for the perfect mix could take days instead of the mere seconds downloading one of Napster's pre-selected personalized compilations take. I miss the days when the art of the music mix was more process than product oriented.

"Get with the times, Steve!" I can already hear the majority of my readers screaming to me. And as I type this I'm already preparing to go into hiding in anticipation of all the
mac whores who will be offended by my slight distress at the success of the oh so holy iPod. (For the record, I love my iPod and have owned one for three years). Regardless, it must be acknowledged that the digital music revolution has changed music listening habits dramatically, and while most of these changes have been for the better, some have not been. Something special is lost when music is thought of less as a tangible art and more as a metaphysical flash of entertainment. While the MP3 has provided convenience and simplicity to music fans everywhere, I also believe it has displaced the durability, staying power, and sentimentality inherent in its antecedents. When the archaeologists of the distant future come to excavate our forgotten civilization will they think to look in the antiquated hard drives for Sgt. Pepper or will they be more intrigued by its compelling artwork and the rubbery touch of its vinyl contained on an actual record instead?

Technology scholar
Marshall McLuan coined the phrase, "the medium is the message," and I think his statement is quite parallel to what I'm trying to say here. Is the digitization of the musical corpus good for the human race? Or will the stripping away of all traces of human elements related to the production of a work spawn further disenchantment?

You already know my position on the issue, but, then again, what do I know, right? I'm a music blogger.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An Amusing Video

Every once in awhile, I get exposed to a few music videos that I actually enjoy. One of which is The Gossip's "Standing In the Way Of Control." The video looks like it could have been made in the local mall, but this actually works out well. It's a stab in the direction of originality for this group from Olympia, Washington.

With the use of laughable graphics (keep an eye out for ass tattoos and brushing teeth) and the intense enthuiasm of vocalist Beth Ditto, the video is a visual and auditory treat for the viewer. I particularly like the opening scene where the anonymous bassist (see ski mask) gets molested by a big cartoon hand. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Caught On Tape: Tom Petty - 'Mary Jane's Last Dance'

With the release of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest album, there has been some controversy as to whether their single 'Dani California' steals a guitar riff from the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit, 'Mary Jane's Last Dance.' Always one of my favorite Petty tracks, 'Mary Jane' was first released on 1993's Greatest Hits collection, and reached Top 20 status.

While it doesn't take too much effort to pick up on the song's undertones about marijuana (aka: Mary Jane) the music video takes an alternate route, choosing a literal interpretation of the song title. By literal, I mean Mary Jane is dead, and Petty takes her home and dances with her corpse. That brief explanation doesn't do the video justice, however. While the concept of necrophilia may be a bit hard to stomach, the video actually portrays the relationship in a much deeper, affectionate way. The body of Mary Jane is portayed by actress Kim Basinger, and Petty plays a man who longs for her to come back to life. Once he has taken her home from the morgue, Petty tries to be romantic by dressing her up as a bride and making dinner for her, but the deceased Mary just slouches down in her seat. In the end, after sharing a "last dance" together, Petty decides he is ready to say goodbye. In a strangely poignant moment, he carries his bride down to the ocean and sends her off with the tide.

Ever since the first time I saw this video, I have felt it provides a different level to the song. Emotional elements of love and loss both come into play, and could just as easily be applied to a drug reference as they could to the subject of the music video, or any multitude of other interpretations for that matter. I find this music video exceptional not only for its gothic and poetic appeals, but for its ability to show sadness while maintaining a wry sense of humor. It is an interesting combination that works well with Petty's Dylan-esque roots.

To compare the RHCP and Petty tracks for yourself, you can listen here. Once you've chosen a side, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday Roundup: Kasabian is Naughty, Supergroup & Wolfmother

Kasabian's Naughty New Disc

Kasabian’s new album is close to release. Empire is slated to drop in early September, and is supposed to be much naughtier than the band's debut. Lead singer Tom Meighan explains:

"We fucking own it, we're the fucking modernists now! We're not trying to prove anything, we've just let our hair down and gone for it. It's sexier than the first record. It's naughtier too, it's not as aggressive, it's definitely naughty this time round."

This Kasabian album sounds so naughty, it scares me.

VH1's Supergroup

VH1 is definitely the best at creating reality shows containing washed up celebrities. This time around, with their new production, ‘Supergroup,’ the network has once again created a cheaply entertaining hour of crap television. From Sebastian Bach running his Skid Row credentials into the ground, to Ted Nugent trying to lecture everybody as to why he’s always right, to Scott Ian just being along for the ride, this show has all the right drama for the metal lover in all of us.

Visit the
official website here for showtimes and other info. And be sure to watch the show. You will not be disappointed.

Wolfmother's Blowin' Up!

Head over to
Earvolution to read a review on a recent Wolfmother show. The Australian band is blowing up as of late and has been instigating epilepsy everywhere with their shaky video for ‘Woman.’

So I survived 666 day yesterday and music is still here. I guess Ozzy was right: "You can’t kill rock n’ roll. It’s here to stay!”

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ted's Song of the Week - 6/06/06

¡Forward, Russia!
Give Me A Wall

While it was tempting to select a song which could further add to the evil connotations of today's date, 6/6/06, I decided to steer clear and choose something which doesn't evoke images of Satan.
The band known as ¡Forward, Russia! not only sports one of the more unique names in rock, but, interestingly enough, labels all their songs with numbers. You won't find any of those 15 word track names.....*cough..emo....with this group.
"Twelve" is the third single released on the group's debut album. At first listen, one may find a messy wall of sound, but there is a method to the madness. The frantic beat, squealing guitar, and sporadic handclaps are remarkably consistent without overwhelming the listener.
With a sound that mixes equal parts disco, rock, and punk, ¡Forward, Russia! have found a way to bring something new to the table. Fans of
At The Drive-In and !!! will approve.

¡Forward, Russia! - Twelve

Monday, June 05, 2006

IM: Instant Media

From time to time I like to highlight technology that helps bring music media to the masses. Just over the weekend I downloaded IM (Instant Media), a computer program that downloads video to your PC for free.

So how is this software musically relevant? For one, it has tons of music shows available in the channel library. From videos by
Kerrang! to MTV to Insurgent, you can discover new bands and enjoy engaging interviews with established ones. Furthermore, the program serves as an audio RSS aggregator, able to download your favorite podcasts as well.

Visit IM's official page to examine specs, features and requirements.

Avril Takes Tae's Advice To Heart

Just last Thursday, to cap off my Fiona Apple post, I made a minor dig at Avril Lavigne. Well, apparently Av is a Lonely Note fan, because it has since been reported on Soundgenerator that the teeny-rocker has no future plans to continue her music career. Instead, for better or for worse, she is considering switching her focus to something no other pop star has ever attempted, EVER. Acting.

I was going to throw an 'Adios Avril' party, but I'm superstitious that with 6/6/06 tomorrow, she'll change her mind and release a new new single. I kid.

In all seriousness, while I've never been particularly enamoured with Av's music, I won't dispel her credit. After all, she's (1) cute, (2) sassy, (3) getting married to that ugly dude from Sum41.

Stay tuned for the latest in Avril updates. Right here... on The Lonely Note.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Anthems of Summer

On Friday Vague Space posted their second installment of 'Summer Music.' Check out the downloadable tracks here.

Ugly Band, Good Music. Meet Fierce Perm

With faces made for radio, Fierce Perm lays down exhilariting tracks that, as Big Stereo says, "will cut your soul." As if looking at them isn't enough (note disturbing cleavage shot and drummer's face), the music itself leaves no prisoners. Their name isn't too shabby either.

Visit Bigstereo to stream one of their songs
here, or visit their myspace page.

Britney Has Had It With Federline

Reports indicate that Britney Spears has been meeting with a divorce lawyer lately. Spears and her husband, Kevin Federline, are not talking anymore, and the latter spent Mother's Day with his ex-lover Shar Jackson.

“Britney is at her wits end. She's furious with Kevin. Brit has some very serious decisions to make. She really wanted the marriage to work for her family, but it seems to be harder by the day,” a close friend of Spears said.

Read more about this latest Hollywood marital disaster here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The British Point of View

Oasis' debut album, "Definitely Maybe," ranks number one in a recent British vote for the greatest album of all time.

I found this surprising for two reasons:
(1) How could Oasis beat out the Beatles for greatest album??
(2) I found Oasis' "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" to be a much better album

The vote was announced in last year's edition of British Hit Singles & Albums, said editor David Roberts. Anyone could vote for as many as 10 albums, in rank order, and probably 95 percent of the 40,000 votes came from Britain, he said.

Not surprisingly, nine out of the top ten albums were produced by British groups. The lone exception to the list was Nirvana's "Nevermind," which placed 6th.

Top ten:
1. "Definitely Maybe," Oasis.
2. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," The Beatles.
3. "Revolver," The Beatles.
4. "OK Computer," Radiohead.
5. "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" Oasis.
6. "Nevermind," Nirvana.
7. "The Stone Roses," The Stone Roses.
8. "Dark Side of the Moon," Pink Floyd.
9. "The Queen Is Dead," The Smiths.
10. "The Bends," Radiohead.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Caught On Tape: Fiona Apple - 'Criminal'

In 1996, while barely of legal age, Fiona Apple released a stark, and disturbingly seductive video for her single 'Criminal.' Like many other fans, this was my first real encounter with Apple; who, at that time, was a teenager with a voice and maturity far beyond her years. The somber-yet-catchy feel of the song is further reflected in the mood of the video. The young and waifish Fiona is always positioned as the scantily-clad center of focus. Her stare is piercing, aimed directly at the camera, as if caught unabashed in flagrante delicto. Whether she is sitting in a heap within a closet, or strewn out over a cluster of legs, Fiona acts as the dominant face and force behind the video's dark emotional appeals. One cannot deny the diary-style commentary being made here when listening to the lyrics, or when it has been revealed that Apple was sexually abused earlier in her life. Often cold and voyeuristic, this beautifully filmed video hinges on giving your grandmother a heart attack. As such, Fiona Apple is one good reason why I never gave Avril Lavigne an ounce of my appreciation.