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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ryan Adams interviews the Arcade Fire!

I look beyond the cover story of this month's particularly strong Interview magazine (August Issue: White Stripes cover!) reveals one hell of an exchange between Ryan Adams and the Arcade Fire. Adams has appeared here before, but never as the interviewer and we see him here as the hipster fan who is eager to find out more about the band whose new album, "Neon Bible" he loves. Turnabout is fair play!

ARCADE FIRE

RYAN ADAMS

Here are is an excerpt of the piece - very conversational:

Ryan Adams: Did you guys have it in mind to record Neon Bible outside of a regular recording studio before you made the album, or was making it in the church a happy accident?

Win Butler of Arcade Fire: It was definitely a bit of a happy accident. Once we found the space, it became clear that it would be a great place to make a record.

Ryan Adams: The acoustics are unreal too.

Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire: They were actually a bit nightmarish at first because of the reverb. You would hit a snare drum and it wouldn't stop ringing for 10 seconds. But we made some adjustments. I'm sure on paper the acoustics were not the industry-standard ideal, but recording the album there was more about capturing the feeling of being in a room.

From the new album "Neon Bible"
Arcade Fire - Intervention

Second Source
Arcade Fire - Intervention

In addition to offering up the White Stripes and Arcade Fire, the August issue of Interview also invites readers into the lives of Amy Winehouse and Cat Power. It's on store shelves now.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stevie Wonder's amazing performance on Sesame Street

Whenever anyone asks me what I like to listen to when I get stressed or catch a case of the blues... I often will tell them Stevie Wonder. It just doesn't get a better than Stevie Wonder. Period. I kind of felt like that today. Nothing serious though - just a little frustrated. So, I turned on this utterly incredible video of Stevie Wonder and his band playing Sesame Street in '73.


Watch the video and check these cats out. Utterly insane. I challenge you to name one musician or group better than this today. Don't hold your breath.

Superstition live on Sesame Street.
1973

Can you name the players? I have a few listed here, I think - but not all. You are invited to make suggestions and/or corrections. Do your best - the picture quality isn't the best - but the music record is sensational!

The Band: Keys and VocalsStevie Wonder; Guitars - Ray Parker and Ralph Hammer; Bassist - Scottie Edwards; Drums - Ollie Brown; Sax - Lou Marini; Horn - Alan Rubin.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Boston Big Event Tonight - SILVERCHAIR

It's been at least five years since Silverchair has come to the city on the tour. Coming into Boston tonight with an album's worth of incredible new material expect the band to tear up the Paradise tonight in front of a sold-out crowd. I am pretty excited. Opening up for band are glam rockers We Are The Fury - A Toledo Ohio five-piece band currently on the Van's Warped Tour.

SILVERCHAIR TONIGHT IN BOSTON

Australia's greatest rock band
tours with new material: "Young Modern."

The Sold-Out Show is at the Paradise. Doors at 7 p.m.
Tomorrow both bands travel to Montreal to play Le Spectrum.


My Album Review - here.
Silverchair Web - here.

Artist and Song of the Week: Fujiya & Miyagi - the Indie Rockers from the UK with the Japanese Name - with "Ankle Injuries"

Fujiya & Miyagi are a British threesome making some pretty sensational music. Already having done the South-by-Southwest music thing this year, F&M moved on recently to Pitchfork and have made quite an impression with the crowds there as well. The band is made of up three very non-Japanese natives from the UK - which surprises a lot of people the first time they see them on stage. Dave Best (vocals, guitar and keys), Steve Lewis (beats, backing vocals and keys) and Matt Hainsby (bass, keys and backing vocals) do all the sounds recorded on Fujiya & Miyagi without traditional drums. There is some talk of adding a drummer, but the band has not yet made up their mind on that accord.

Fujiya & Miyagi's new album - Transparent Things is available now in the UK on Tirk Records and on DD&B Recordings and I-tunes in the USA. It was released in Japan on Rough Trade on 11th April, and across Europe on Groenland Records on 16th March 2007.

Green Screen: The Making of the "Ankle Injuries" Video

Fujiya & Miyagi

I selected F&M's fun track, "Ankle Injuries" to share with you as track of the week largely due to the amazing video. Once I got watching the video, I appreciated the song even more. It's a complimentary affair, really. The video, filmed in front of a green screen - was animated with dice....! The editing and production were completed by Wade Shotter of London production company Factory Films. It's one of the best I have seen this year!
ARTIST OF THE WEEK:
FUJIYA & MIYAGI'S
"ANKLE INJURIES"


Production: Factory Films (London)


The Hook Up
F&M Myspace / F&M Web

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"Music From Regions Beyond" - the Latest release from Psychobilly Giants TIGER ARMY

Tiger Army's fourth and most ambitious album, "Music From Regions Beyond" (Hellcat Records) is now on store shelves and is definitely worth a listen on a hot summer night. It's the first release from the band in three years and has a markedly different feel than the group's earlier records. The album was put together (and most certainly impacted) by producer Jerry Finn whose credits include recent records for blink-182, the Offspring, AFI, Pennywise, and Morrissey.
The New Album

Tiger Army's most daring record to date.
A great listen but one that may turn off some die-hards fans.

The record opens with "Prelude: Signal Return" - an intro track sounds as if it is well underway when we hit play. Fast paced but not yet classic Tiger Army - until the bass breakdown and the familiar credo comes as a chant, "Tiger Army - Never Die!" - welcome to the new record. "Hot Prowl" unfolds like a track from the band's first record in 1999. The wild track sets the plate for "Afterworld" and an appearance from AFI's Dave Havok. The guitar sweeps like windshield wipers across imaginary windshields in "Forever Fades Away."

Three tracks (and the album intro) and we have heard four different sounds from Tiger Army - but each has a foot firmly standing in their rockabilly past. My two favorite tracks on "Beyond" come back to back. Call me a classicist, but you have to love, "Ghosts of Memory." It feels like home - and based on the song, I think that's what singer Nick 13 (born Nick Kearney - now Rockabilly Legend personified) had in mind. Next comes "LunaTone" - a track which could be the bridge between the old and new T.A. - it sounds like a classic track, surf ballad and maybe a little indicator of where the Army is headed in the future. It's certainly less gritty but more of a challenge musically. It should be interesting of the die-hard fans come along for the ride.

From here on in - it's Tiger Army's experiment and we are along for the ride. We hear elements of Finn's work with Morrissey (2006) on the Tiger Army track "As the Cold Rains Falls" - a most unlikely song that is quite good in all other respects. "Hechizo de Amor" is a love song performed in Spanish! "Spring Forward" is a return to form and the album closes southern cypress trees: the scene setting song - "Where the Moss Slowly Grows."

All in all, Tiger Army's new album was very enjoyable to listen to - but it may not be what you expect. Time will only tell what this daring album does to their place in the industry and their legacy amongst fans.Definitely worth picking up!

New Music from "Music From Regions Beyond"
Tiger Army - Ghosts of Memory


TRIVIA:
The title of the new Tiger Army record, "Music From Regions Beyond" is lifted from the script of the Seance Room scene of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.

Tiger Army is the current headliner on the Vans Warped Tour.

Tiger Army
official website / myspace

Song of the Day: TV on the Radio cover the Pixies' Mr. Grieves

If you haven't seen TV on the Radio yet - the very cool NYC underground band that took the indie world by storm last year - you should check out their myspace page and try to get to a show. And if you can't make it out to a live show they do have a live show link on their regular webpage that will take you to a download especially recorded for itunes. What a sound! Here they cover the Pixies' "Mr. Grieves" - in a performance that I am sure stuck with the live audience for a long, long time.

SONG OF THE DAY:
TVOTR cover the Pixies!


On Stage - photograph by Daniel Boud


Coming Up: Two Live Show Reviews (one from Los Angeles and one from Boston!) and my take on the new Tiger Army album. At least one album Review and my hype for the Sold-Out Silverchair concert on Sunday Night at the Paradise here in Boston. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Artist / Song of the Day: David Cory II with "Hole in My Shoe"

David Cory II is, to put it mildly, unique. He's a fresh face making really catch popular music with a throwback Seventies Sound. He's also tremendously underexposed and making his own music at just 23 years of age. As he says it, "I like to have total creative control over my songs, typically I play all the instruments and turn all the knobs." David Cory II contacted me the other day and asked if I might be interested in sharing a song with you readers. After hearing, "Hole In My Shoe," it was a definite "yes!" David, what it sound like to me is the beginning of a most promising career.

ARTIST OF THE DAY

David Cory II



The DC2 Myspace Page

Uncut Magazine - Pretty Pictures but the Music Reviews? Handsome Furs gets Panned.

Had to laugh last night - flipping through the pages of the newer issues of Uncut magazine. I pick this British music magazine up for a couple of reasons - the monthly compact disc supplied is generally good, the profile and interviews are generally informative and there are usually a few good unexpected tidbits. I do NOT read Uncut for the reviews. They are generally ridiculously inflated. The vast majority of artists earn four stars. This is a silly way to sell magazines if you want to maintain your credibility. Case in point: The front of the album touts, "172 Album Reviews." Another problem: they sometimes miss newer albums and only revisit those artists and their new records when the group gets popular and they have egg on their face. So they miss a band like Tapes 'N Tapes and then rate "The Loon" months and months later and give it a big write-up and a great rating. (Boy, that's sticking your neck out...)

So - I usually skip the album review section altogether, but something last night made me decide to flip through. And the comedy ensued. The ratings are slightly better overall (fewer four out of five star ratings) - but the magazine still can't get it right. The ratings crackdown struck down one of the best new albums of the year. Uncut gave the Handsome Furs "Plague Park" album an absurd two out of five stars! - Uncut reviewer Stephen Trousse writes (in the July magazine)... "Overall the record had the pleasantly hobbyish but inessential air of a gap year vanity project." Ridiculous. Plague Park is most certainly is one of the best records released in 2007 and is one of my album of the year candidates with less than half a year to go. Way to go Uncut. Keep trying!

Alexei Perry and Dan Broeckner:
The brilliant Handsome Furs

Way to go Uncut Magazine - Just 2 of 5 stars??


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Van Morrison's Greatest Hits Volume III

Rounding out the modern leg (1993 - 2005) of Van Morrison's decorated musical career is the Greatest Hits Volume 3 collection. It's a 31-track, 2-disc set now available in stores. Hits 3 is a successful blend of more recent songs and deftly re-told classics (an example - the absolutely can't miss version of "Gloria" with John Lee Hooker!) In fact, the strength of the album is the duets and rare live performances from later in Van Morrison's career. The fact that Morrison can command performances with James Hunter, the Chieftains, Carl Perkins, Tom Jones and BB King (amongst others) underscores the talent level and respect Morrison has amassed over the years. If you enjoyed the later works of the great Johnny Cash (another international music giant!) - chances are you will smile on this new release as well! Recommended music.

Van Morrison's Greatness Revisited:
Vol. 3 is a deft collection.




Van Morrison web / track list for this album / biography

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Falling in Love with The Red Romance - New Music!

Fresh off tour with The Killers comes an unsigned New York band that shares a lot musically with their benefactors. (Think a cross between The Killers with The Smiths and maybe you begin to get close to the sound of The Red Romance!) These are complimentary comparisons but well earned based on the band's 4-Track EP which arrived in the mail this week - just in time for the band's live performance this Friday at the Paradise. Based on what I am hearing, getting over to this show is a very good idea.

RECOMMENDED NEW MUSIC:

The Red Romance


The Red Romance (from left): Darren Beckett (drums - former Ambulance LTD), Herschel Gaer (guitar), Matt Dublin (guitars & vocals - former Ambulance LTD) and Adam Chilenski (bass). The four-piece band will soon be returning to the studio to record their first full-length album.


The Red Romance: Web / Myspace

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The White Stripes - Boston Live Show Review

Review:
The White Stripes rocked Boston - 7/23/07
Boston University's Agganis Arena

Welcome to Boston University's Agganis Arena - home to the Terrier hockey team. For one night however - it belonged to the White Stripes. The stage and everything on it were dipped in crimson. The backdrop – and everything in front of it: the amplifiers, piano, monitors and stands were Red, Red, Red. This effect served as a reminder (like we needed one!) that the songs of the White Stripes were not just in the air… they were in our veins. The sole splash of color on stage was Jack White’s guitar of choice – the guitar of the moment; and he changed them often as suited him. If you didn’t know already – Jack White is in control.

Guitar Wizard

Jack White - just electric!
Phoenix photograph by Carina Mastrocola

Song of the Night:
"Catch Hell Blues"


The White Stripes opened with “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and the crowd went wild! Within moments they had burned through “Hotel Yorba” – an old-fan favorite they used to reserve until later in the show. It just demonstrated, immediately, that the band’s scope has been completely opened up with new albums worth of material. A live performance could be played to the album or be something else altogether. During “Hotel Yorba,” the White Stripes stopped on a dime so that Jack could play part of a sweet little country ditty on that guitar of his. The timing was right, the feel was slow and breezy – like a classic country song. Everything for those few moments were correct. And just like that, White returned to “Yorba” without losing a note. The audience was left with the briefest of memories of this temporary but artistic deviation. By the time Jack reached the electric blues-steeped track, “When I Hear My Name,” the crowd had already long since been won over. It was a hell of a night!

The high point for the entire night was the formidable play by Jack White on the amazing “Catch Hell Blues.” It’s a new song on the Icky Thump album that is vastly understated on the released recording. White tore the roof off the house last night – speaking to the guitar ghosts through his bared soul. This was sheer joy! During the dazzling sequence, the red stage was dotted with white lights from the disco ball high above (giving the room the look of a strawberry!), Jack White climbed red stairs playing guitar the entire way. He stopped when he reached the top – standing some twenty-five feet above the stage and even higher still above the crowd below. The last kick of Meg’s bass drum came. Silence in the Arena! Jack turned away from the crowd and raised his guitar. The anticipation grew by the moment until a squeal of energy and the instrument emitted a cackle of electric rage. Then silence again – the audience was being controlled and Jack White was the puppeteer. His shadow – Red on Red - loomed huge into the rafters. Playing again, Jack trod across this elevated stage slowly as smoke rose from the floor around him. It was as if he was summoning the spirits or at least communing with them. (The new track "300 m.p.h. Torrential Outpour Blues" - was almost as good. If you don't have the new album yet - you should really go out and pick it up!)

When the Stripes eventually got to the title track of the new album - “Icky Thump” – it was a fast-paced crowd pleaser. Fan involvement echoed through out the show but never was it so pronounced as during this track. White never had to utter the catchy lyric “La La La, La Laaaaa!” in the chorus. That was done for him by the audience! The Stripes used “Icky Thump” as a launching pad to enter into an intense version of “Ball and Biscuit.”

Not since Jimi Hendrix has guitar ruled with such a mighty fist on stage. Jack White toys with the audience – regularly making eye contact cues with Meg to make sure the drums and guitar are tight. Meg stepped out from the drums and took center stage to sing the fan favorite, “In the Cold, Cold Night.” During the set, Jack walked to the back of the stage – sat down on an amplifier, facing away from the crowd. He played well and loud, perfectly synched up with Meg – but never stole the spotlight during her song. They never fell out of beat.

During an especially memorable encore, Jack and Meg teased the crowd with a medley of White Stripe favorites. Jack began playing, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself,” then launched into “I Think I Small A Rat,” before settling into the new song "Rag and Bone." Well into the song, the guitar and drum riff for “Rat” would return again before the song concluded. Also in the encore was a wonderful version of “Seven Nation Army” – a song that Jack White had vowed he would never again play live. Thankfully, that promise was not kept. One of the best live shows I have seen in the last two years. You must see this band play live!

More pictures from the Show:
from the On the Download Blog
(Photographer Carina Mastrocola)

Review of the new White Stripes album:
"Icky Thump"

Monday, July 23, 2007

The White Stripes - Icky Thump Carnival comes to Boston!

I went to bed last night thinking mistakenly thinking that Tuesday was the 23rd - I woke up realizing that the White Stripes were playing in Boston tonight! I am very excited to see the band play live for the very fist time. (If you want a precursor to the show - check out some clips from the W.S. video "Live under Blackpool Lights" - that will get you warmed up!) The Carnival that is the White Stripes comes to Boston tonight at Boston University's Agganis Arena. The duo of Jack and Meg White are on the road in support of their sensational "Icky Thump" album. It's just another chance for rock genius Jack White to show his chops!

A CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE TONIGHT IN BOSTON

The White Stripes by Leibovitz

My review of "The Icky Thump"
Download the complete W.S. concert at the London Forum - 2001

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Strong and Influential Voice of Women - Songs by Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse

The magic of technology... I listened to a mix randomly selected from my laptop today; lo-and-behold, it laid these two tracks back to back. I give you Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Listen to both of these... Enjoy the songs - they're both sensational, and tell me it was a mistake! Sometimes music and life can prove to be even more beautiful than we believe they can be!
Nina Simone

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Triumphant Return of Silverchair!

Australia's greatest music product is Silverchair: the album sales say so; the fans confirm it. Silverchair has five #1 albums in their homeland - that's more than anyone else. That list of Number One album releases includes the "Young Modern" (2007) release - Silverchair already sold more than six million copies in Australia (is that even possible!?) The record goes on sales this very week (7/24/07) in North America. Expect good things from Young Modern is a most triumphant return to music!

SILVERCHAIR are back!

The album is YOUNG MODERN
North America release date - 7/24/2007

In a tiny, almost mechanical and ironic voice - Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns opens the new record with the song "Young Modern Station." In a small, excited rasp he says it all; "The band is back together!" And then the music explodes, unfolding as none in the band's history. It's been five years since Silverchair released new material. In October 2002, the trio released "Diorama" - an album that won them six ARIA Awards (the Australian Grammy). For the new record, Johns worked with Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks to pen and arrange orchestral selections for three songs. (It's an 80-piece orchestra recorded for this record!) Coincidentally it was Parks, who also worked with the band on the Diorama album,who provided the unique title to this Silverchair album. "Young Modern" is the nickname that Parks has called Daniel Johns ever since they met.

It is easy to forget how young Silverchair are. After all - the world, as a whole, has known the band for about thirteen years. Silverchair's three members: Johns (on guitar and vocals), Ben Gillies (drums) and Chris Joannou (bass) are just 27 years-old. The band, initially known as The Innocent Criminals, would change their name to Silverchair just prior to their first demo release - the huge hit "Tomorrow" in August 1994. By the end of 1995, the song had spent weeks at #1 in Australia and was one of the biggest singles of the year in the U.S. That would make them amongst the most commercially successful teenagers in music history.

The new album is a highly produced affair. Clean and well-rounded, there is no hint of fuzz or static here. The sound is strong and there is no hiding this fact. Where the album truly does triumph is in tone (upbeat in tone now and pride filled ~ i.e. "we survived all that mess from the past!") The band has never sounded so good either - tight and able, they sound as if they have played together every day for the last five years. We know, of course, that this is not the case. It just gives us another indication that while the world changes - sometimes you can return home again. "Young Modern" is proof. A great album!

The First Single from the new "Young Modern" album
Silverchair - Straight Lines

you are on the inside track!

Blast From the Past
Silverchair - Tomorrow
First ever demo - from the Frogstomp album (2005)

The Boston show on July 29, like so many national shows on this tour - has already sold out. Please visit the band's myspace page for an up-to-date tour schedule with ticket availability.

Silverchair on Le Web
Silverchair on Myspace

Friday, July 20, 2007

Artist of the Week - The Detroit Cobras take a Poison-soaked Bite Out of Boston

Appearing tonight in the Boston-area are the Detroit Cobras. The girl rockabilly / punk rockers with a great sound are responsible for making great live music for years. They return to Boston tonight to play T.T. the Bears in Cambridge appearing with The Willowz - an amazing rock band from California. We are talking one hell of a bill tonight! If you can't make the show at least check out the artist pages and pick up those albums!

ARTIST OF THE WEEK

THE DETROIT COBRAS!



Snake-Bitten:
Detroit Cobras - Web / Myspace

Keep Off the Grass - Blog Radio 27 (A Midnight Mix)

BLOG RADIO 27 - A Midnight Mix

KEEP OFF THE GRASS
But Listen to the Songs


Dublin's Angel Pier released a really great EP titled "Bullet Holes & Broken Sectors." I lost my copy for a long time but recently found it amidst some junk in a drawer. It was like finding a miner finding a small bit of gold. The song I have included here is "Sprites." Find out more about the band on their myspace page.


To be fair, Citizens Here and Abroad are probably one of the most underrated independent rock bands in the entire country. The San Francisco four-piece make songs that fill spaces and can sing in harmony. They also released one hell of an EP last year with "Waving, Not Drowning." Add it to your collection and visit them over on myspace. Great tunes!


Wolf Parade is so good I wrote an entire blog about how they are changing the nature of indie rock. You can read The Importance of Being Wolf - The Growing Influence of Krug and Broeckner's WOLF PARADE or you can just visit the band's myspace page to check out the goings on there. If you don't have the "Apologies to the Queen Mary" album sneak over to the local record store and pick it up before some indie hipster gives you grief.


This is the first ever time that Thailand has appeared on this blog and it's about time! A Los Angeles three-piece with a rather unique sound. Check out their Motorcade album on their myspace page. Recommended Music!


It's an absolute crime that the masses do not know about Boston's E.R. The man - a mainstay on Midriff Records, is just incredible. Listen to this track: "Why I Fear The Ocean," and figure out for yourself why Rodriguez's "This Conspiracy Against Us" album is one of my favorites of 2007. Here's the link to my review of the record - or take a minute and visit E.R. on myspace.


New readers will see a theme with time. I love Morphine. The band died with the passing of Mark Sandman, but the music lives on. There has never been an American band so unique in sound and spirit. The track, "Let's Take A Trip Together" comes off the "Cure for Pain" album. Visit the unofficial myspace page for Morphine and learn about the most important Boston/Cambridge band.


Baltimore's Animal Collective is the amazingly talented, freakishly different band you probably were afraid to like. I have chosen to share "Grass" - the retreaded super-classic from the band... But the song is just so good. Imagine what it would sound like if elephants were marching by you, but they were magic elephants and they barely touched the ground... If the birds made music while the flew by and crickets really sang? Animal Collective are four guys with weird band names who make amazing psychedelic prog folk... Yeah - just really different and really good! More A.C. on myspace.


What is Blog Radio? This collection celebrates my musical tastes, gives me a chance to dust off some old classics and slip in some new artists who might otherwise not get proper exposure. A new installment is released once each week to ten days. Today's post is a commemoration of staying up late, using your imagination and sometimes breaking out and being free! Ryan

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Latest album from California's The Willowz is Unadulterated Summer Fun

The Willowz are a young California band with a big "Seventies Sound." They took this unique style (which has some elements of both early Led Zeppelin melded with the White Stripes) to a new high on their third release: "Chautauqua." The new album was released earlier this year on Dim Mak records and they are currently touring the country in support of the LP. They play Boston tomorrow!! Do not miss the opportunity to see them live!

Appearing Friday 7/20/07
T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge with The Detroit Cobras!


Artist of the Day:
THE WILLOWZ


The band brings their brand of ramblin' rock and melodic song to the Boston-area this very Friday when they appear at T.T. the Bears in Cambridge Central Square. The band will rock out with throwback, girl-punk, attitude rockers the Detroit Cobras! This is a GREAT BILL! So if you're not already all booked up with a visit to your mother-in-law's house .... this is the best place to be! Bring a couple extra bucks - once you hear this band live, you're going to want to pickup this record. Recommended Listening!



See you there! - Ryan

To buy the record / See more tour dates / Hear more Willowz
Visit the band's: webpage / myspace

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jesse Malin's Boston-area Gig Tonight Canceled

Sadly, Jesse Malin is sick and Boston-area enthusiasts of his "Glitter in the Gutter" album will not be able to see the man play live tonight at T.T. the Bear's (Cambridge Central Square.) Ticket refund at point of purchase.Very little information is available at this hour, but you can bet he will return as this area loves its Malin.

CANCELED - DUE TO ILLNESS

JESSE MALIN'S BOSTON-AREA GIG TONIGHT IS OFF

two songs from Jesse's last album:

Jesse Malin pages on the RSL Music Blog:

April 2007 Boston Show Review:
Jesse Malin Delivers a Knock-Out Blow at Great Scott

Jesse Malin Album Review:
Glitter In The Gutter

The show will go on tonight at T.T. the Bear's with Acute and The Wildbirds. Expect both to play longer sets. Cover has been dropped to just - $5. I have to be honest I know nothing about The Wildbirds, but Acute are great.


Artist of the Day - Medeski, Martin and Wood

I recall when I first heard the music of Medeski, Martin and Wood. The sound so sharp and clean and yet so layered and complex... It wasn't what I was listening to and didn't match my music collection at the time and yet it clicked immediately. Last year the group released "Out Louder" - an incredible album that they recorded with guitar phenomenon John Scofield - hence Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood. The record was definitely one of the best released over the last 700 days. Go out, pick it up and enjoy a drive on a beautiful day.

Out Louder

Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood


Medeski, Martin and Wood play the Boston area in August!
Appearing live in Lowell, MA at the Lowell Summer Music Series - August 18.
Click here for details and discounted pre-ticketing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The "Home" Video from L.A.'s Great Northern filmed by Winch and Pulley Productions

One of my favorite bands and best albums of the year just got a video made by my favorite music video production team - and I couldn't be happier!

Making the Video for "Home"

Filmmaker Josh Forbes (at center) with
Great Northern (Eenie Meenie Records) on set.

Great Northern released one of the best indie rock releases of 2007 with "Trading Twilight for Daylight" (my album review) and we last met up with Winch and Pulley Productions (also Los Angeles) when I did my interview with filmmaker Josh Forbes last year. Josh is the man behind great videos from the Cold War Kids, Irving, the Shins, the Submarines and They Might Be Giants! (my interview with Josh Forbes) With their mighty forces combined - well, the results speak for themselves: The blog premiere of "Home" right here on the RSL:


Home
This video is dedicated to Josh's father Rick Forbes
who passed away during its filming.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:
Great Northern - Home

Great Northern plays Boston again
next Monday (7/23) at the Middle East in Cambridge.

More from Great Northern
More from Josh Forbes / Winch and Pulley

Monday, July 16, 2007

The National's Black Sessions - Paris 2005

Screw the Happy-Go-Lucky :
: Learning to Love the Gloom & Doom

Part of liking independent rock music, I am absolutely convinced, is that you have to listen to some pretty self indulgent "sad rock" at times. Not 24-7, but by God, you should love you some Ian Curtis and Joy Division and everybody should dig on Boston's Eldridge Rodriguez (Solo and The Beatings). Everyone should get a kick out of Gerry Miller's Letters and Colours (Sheffield, UK). And, you really need to get something from Matt Berninger's group - The National.

Now.... Stop. If you don't know all of these, it's not all over - but here then.... you have a shopping list - and for Christ's Sake - You do know Joy Division, right?!! Let's move on. These are each important to what's happening here in the world. It's the soft underbelly of indie rock. The negative to the positive charge. And god... So real.

Let's talk about The National. Cincinnati boys started out very small until they moved to Brooklyn and made profound sad-sack, self reflective music that even a positive thinker could dissolve into. Great.. Now, moving forward. 2007 - they release "Boxer." Great album - this new material; definitely one of the top twenty for the year. But, we have moved too far forward - let's focus on their development and the pre-"Alligator" album. Niceee. Perfect. And stop - the year is 2005 and the band appears in Paris and records a live performance in front of strangers. The show gets recorded and "The Black Session" as it is known, is released. Brilliant - these songs form the basis for all their entire future! Here you go:

Sprung from Ohio, Made it in NY, Recorded in France

The National's Must-Have "Black Sessions"

THE NATIONAL'S BLACK SESSIONS

PARIS, FRANCE - April 29, 2005


ALL FILES HAVE EXPIRED

The National - 01 All the Wine
The National - 02 Secret Meeting
The National - 03 Driver Surprise Me
The National - 04 Lit Up
The National - 05 - Cherry Tree
The National - 06 Baby, We'll Be Fine
The National - 07 Geese
The National - 08 City Middle
The National - 09 Looking for Astronauts
The National - 10 Mr. November
The National - 11 Daughters of the Soho Riots
The National - 12 Abel
The National - 13 Wasp Nest

The National website

Acute's brand of Fuzz Guitar Pop Comes to Boston

One of the best pop rock albums I have heard this year comes from Acute - a tight Los Angeles band that takes their smooth riffs and guitar fuzz very seriously.

ARTIST OF THE DAY:
ACUTE



The New Album: Arms Around A Stranger

The band is doing their own thing - but their sound could have descended downward on the same tree of life that birthed Fastball, Everclear and Weezer! Those are some impressive comparisons - and Acute can hold up their end of the bargain. The band plays T.T. the Bears - Central Square, Cambridge on Wednesday night. It's a bill that also include personal favorite Jesse Malin! If you are in the Boston area, check this one out. To quote Acute: "You Better Believe Me, Because the Trouble Will Follow You Home."



More on Acute / the myspace page

Free Passes: ACUTE play Cambridge on Wednesday!
Acute appears with Jessie Malin on Wednesday at T.T. the Bears in Cambridge.
This show promises to be incredible.
Email me for a free pair of passes now!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Remembering School of Fish - Indie Rock Flashback :: 1991

School of Fish were started as an acoustic duo in Los Angeles. The pair of Josh Clayton-Felt and Michael Ward were signed to a record deal by Capitol Records in 1990. They appeared together through the region and would later add bass and drums - which helped nail down their trademark sound in time for the band's 1991 release of their self-entitled album.

School of Fish reached as high as #6 on the U.S. charts with the cogent track "Three Strange Days" which some indie rock radio stations still play today. The band followed up the album with a less successful record, "Human Cannonball" and the band ultimately split up. The track that made them famous was a true snapshot of the band and the time.

Remembering School of Fish

Debut Album 1991



School of Fish signer Josh Clayton-Felt

Aftermath: Josh Clayton-Felt went on to have a considerable measure of commercial success as a solo artist. He released three solo records; "Inarticulate Nature Boy" (1995), "Felt Like Making a Live Record" (1996), and "Beautiful Nowhere" (1999). By the end of 1999, however, he took very ill. Clayton-Felt was diagnosed with testicular cancer - an illness he succumbed to on January 19, 2000. Two further albums worth of his solo material were released posthumously: "Spirit Touches Ground" (2002) and "Center of Six" (2003). Some critics credited Clayton-Felt's "Spirit Touches Ground" and "Inarticulate Nature Boy" as the finest works of his career. Clayton-Felt continues to have a small but loyal cult following on the internet. Michael Ward went on to work with artist John Hiatt and would later help found the Wallflowers - a band in which he plays with Bob Dylan's son Jacob.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Into the Light - West London's the Moths

Weekend New Artist Profile - The Moths

The latest sounds from the West London clubs.

From the first time I heard their music - I knew I liked The Moths. There are two great examples why here. Take the in-your-face chant in the song, "Games" - it shows an utter (and delicious!) contempt for reality. "It's just a game in my head!" - again and again the band repeats the mantra. The kids are on the loose. A new classic for a summer night of carousing.

The three-piece are James Fox (vocals), Dave Lightfoot (guitar) and Jon Vick (beatmaker and keyboard player). What they have reinvented is the sweet pop punk from the late Seventies and early Eighties. And the fans went wild!


INTO THE LIGHT:
- The Moths -

Indie Breakfast with Sunday Morning Chameleon

- ARTIST OF THE DAY -
SUNDAY MORNING CHAMELEON

This Chicago four-piece have one of the most dynamic and under-appreciated sounds going right now. The band released its self-titled EP in 2005 and have the unique ability to say they produced one of the catchiest songs of the last three years - "The Lengths." In an odd and cruel twist of fate, Sunday Morning Chameleon remains unsigned.

WAKE UP CALL

"Vancouver Sunset"
-Matthew Kalenuik

Sunday Morning Chameleon - One of These Days
the perfect song to start off a day

More Chameleon:
Web / MySpace

Friday, July 13, 2007

Boston Icon "Mr. Butch" - Homeless Guitar Celebrity and Beloved Local Landmark is Dead

This story is still unfolding.... "Mr. Butch" - the Boston iconic figure who for decades was a regular part of life for thousands of college students and concertgoers, is dead today following an accident. The man was probably one of the most upbeat and charming characters many will meet their entire lives. Entertaining and cheerful, he became a landmark in the city for many who (like myself) have only lived portions of my life here. How remarkably odd that a homeless man - even one as enigmatic as the great "Mr. Butch" - would become a symbol of stability amongst a sea of change here. I know many others feel the same. There is a Mr. Butch Wikipedia page! On an annual basis, Mr. Butch was voted the "Neighborhood Character" in the Boston Phoenix's polls - even though that was not how they initially intended the question. I learned of his passing just late last night and decided to put a couple of tracks together for him. Please play these and enjoy the images while you read the story which appeared overnight in the Boston Globe. Due to proximity and his own remarkable guitar-playing, "Mr. Butch" will remain a part of the Boston scene and its truly one-of-a-kind musical life - even after his passing.



Street icon 'Mr. Butch' dies at 56

Scooter crash claims popular homeless man

Dreadlocked, homeless, and usually cheerful, Mr. Butch was an iconic presence in Kenmore Square for years before moving his base of operations to Harvard Avenue in Allston a decade ago. Ranting in rhyme with a beer in hand — a tall boy, preferably — he would panhandle one minute and offer to share his take with a friend the next.

‘‘Mr. Butch,’’ whose name was Harold Madison Jr., died yesterday of injuries from an early morning crash when the motor scooter he was driving hit a pole, friends and family said.

The subject of YouTube videos, a MySpace tribute page, and a Wikipedia entry, Mr. Butch may have been the most famous street person in Boston. He was so popular that The Boston Phoenix wrote in April that it was considering changing the criteria of the ‘‘Readers’ Pick: Neighborhood Character’’ category because Mr. Butch won so regularly.

At 56, he had lived on Boston’s streets for about 30 years. In Kenmore Square and his Allston neighborhood — areas rife with college students and people who prefer less traditional approaches to life — some saw in Mr. Butch a latter-day Thoreau, a man who chose a path that didn’t involve taxes, rent, or office cubicles. Instead, he helped the elderly cross streets, joyously played air guitar, philosophized, and sang.

‘‘He’s been in so many local movies, videos, in the Phoenix — he’s like an icon of the neighborhood,’’ said Erin Scott, manager of New England Comics on Harvard Avenue in Allston.

‘‘He was just the sweetest, nicest homeless person — he looked out for people,’’ said Toni Fanning, who owns the Ritual Arts store nearby. ‘‘I’ll tell you, this whole street is just miserable right now. Everybody just doesn’t want to believe it. It’s so hard to talk about Butch in any kind of past tense.’’

In a YouTube video posted on Mr. Butch’s MySpace page, he offered a buoyant view on how to live: ‘‘You got to be articulate every day and keep going on strong and straight and use your heart and all your might and all your weight and all your power. Do what you can, make it last for many hour, ’cause once you’re dead, you’re done, you don’t come back,’’ he rapped, pausing before adding, ‘‘Yeah.’’


Fanning’s favorite encounter with Mr. Butch was on Easter a few years ago. When she left home to visit a friend who was in bad straits, she was depressed about her friend, the day — just everything.

‘‘And I walked outside and there was Butch standing on the corner of Harvard and Comm. Ave. with a big sandwich board that said, ‘I need weed,’’’ Fanning said. ‘‘I started laughing so hard that it got me through that entire day.’’

Mr. Butch was not timid about his pastimes: drinking beer and smoking marijuana. And he could be irascible. He was a tall and slender man, and the stoop of his shoulders signaled his level of intoxication. Unwelcome as Kenmore Square began tidying up its act, Mr. Butch left, telling friends that encounters with police officers had become too frequent.

Allston proved more tolerant.

‘‘I’m just devastated,’’ said Jerry Katz, a lawyer whose offices are along Harvard Avenue. ‘‘Everyone loved Mr. Butch. I loved Mr. Butch.’’

Though thousands of passersby made his acquaintance through the years, few knew much about Mr. Butch’s background. Born in Worcester, he grew up in a large family. His father, Harold Sr., dubbed him Butch.

A talented drummer, he sat in with bands and played with a mentor in the local music scene, picking up the guitar in his midteens and filling a closet with percussion instruments he made from items he found. He did not finish high school and moved to Kenmore Square in the 1970s when Worcester became inhospitable to his frequent drinking.

‘‘I think he was just looking for someplace to be accepted,’’ said his sister Jeannette Madison of Worcester. ‘‘He told us that this was the life that he chose — a street person, happy-go-lucky, panhandler. I guess for him that was easier, and it didn’t take very long for people to understand what he was doing and just take it with a grain of salt.

‘‘People are who they choose to be.’’

In addition to Jeannette, he has four siblings in Worcester — Russell, Phillip, Jeffrey, and Sheila — and a brother, Alphonso Moore, of Henderson, Nev. His mother, Virginia, died in December; his father died in 1974.

Mr. Butch played on the fringe of Boston’s music scene for years. Friends tried to get him into subsidized housing, but he refused to go through the required detoxification treatments. Recently, he lived in a van friends helped him acquire.

Trusted friends became his ‘‘banks,’’ holding onto his money and storing his belongings. Mr. Butch’s thee-quarter-length leather coat, with his name in white and red letters on the back, was displayed last night in the window of Regeneration Tattoo on Harvard Avenue as a tribute.

‘‘It kind of blows my mind that he isn’t here,’’ Scott said. ‘‘I have his guitar in my back room. I have a buck in his bank.’’

Friends plan to meet Monday at 8 p.m. at Regeneration Tattoo and Ritual Arts for a memorial, said Sue Jeiven, owner of Regeneration Tattoo.

‘‘He always wanted a big blowout for his funeral. He said: ‘Blow a lot of money. I want a big party,’’’ she said.

A favorite among many students and professors, Mr. Butch was once asked to speak at Boston College. Proud of the moment, he sent his siblings a photo of himself lecturing in front of the classroom.

‘‘I feel like he had a lot to say and there were a lot of people who actually wanted to listen,’’ his sister said. ‘‘And I thank the Lord for that. And I thank the Lord that Butch is in his hands now.’’

Thursday, July 12, 2007

FOUR SONGS for FREE SPEECH

Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - author Salman Rushdie


And Now We Celebrate Our Freedom of Speech! This post for free speech is dedicated to the Boston Phoenix's annual Muzzle Awards - listing the names of those officials and offenders who tried to silence Free Speech....

BACKGROUND (A few brief words)

Every year The Boston Phoenix (one of the best free weekly publications on the planet) publishes a critical list exposing the names of the worst offenders against free speech. These are called, "The Muzzle Awards." Definitely worth a read. Want to get ready for the next town meeting or vote? Read this list! Granted, this list is Massachusetts-centric (largely) but the spirit is what should be applauded. There are two equally important parts of free speech: Those who protect it and Those who use it. Be "guilty" of both!

FOUR SONGS FOR FREE SPEECH

Subcommittee - My Confession Source One
Subcommittee - My Confession Source Two

* One of New Jersey's funkiest bands! - webpage


Mason Proper - Life's Cornucopia Source One
Mason Proper - Life's Cornucopia Source Two

* Elite Indie Rockers from Michigan Keep it Real - webpage

The Streets - Can't Con An Honest Jon Source One
The Streets - Can't Con An Honest Jon Source Two

* Mike Skinner is a true individual and he speaks the truth of the Streets! - webpage


Great Northern - Telling Lies Source One
Great Northern - Telling Lies Source Two

* Los Angeles Indie Rock done the way it should be. Tell it True! - webpage

Rave On! Tigers and Monkeys release Loose Mouth - An Album of Summer Heat from NYC

I have been sitting on Tigers and Monkey's new release "Loose Mouth" for a long time now. I pop it in periodically, enjoy the hell out of it and then put it away for a little while. Why haven't I written it up for you?

Well the damn thing wasn't even available until now - so here goes.... Tigers and Monkeys are an exciting five-piece heralding from Gotham. The best thing about the band is perhaps the droning tone of their tracks - honestly, think a mix between the Velvet Undergound, the Pixies and about twelve other modern bands. Basically, like everybody - the band descends from somewhere. Tigers and Monkeys have a place and a time and it's here and now. I can't think of better songs for suffering with through the summer heat. Recommended listening!

TIGERS and MONKEYS

Ryan's Smashing Life
BEST of 2007

Tigers and Monkeys - Rave On

From the "Loose Mouth" album

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Album Review: The White Stripes Groove On and Get Complex!

The Icky Thump is the sixth album from the White Stripes. It is easily the smartest album of the rock duo's still emerging careers. The album begins with the rugged, bass drum-driven title track, but from there on out... the songs prove to be more structured and lyrically stronger than those of the Stripes' previous records. One might speculate that Jack White got the lead out with side project wonder band the Raconteurs. Perhaps it's that or just that it was time for the Stripes to fill in the blanks. For whatever reason, this is one of the best records in the Stripes' collection - but perhaps the most challenging for their most hardcore fans. Change is good, and this record demonstrates (clearly) that the band has all kinds of room creatively to live, move and breathe over the coming years. Bravo!

The White Stripes
Emerge Even Stronger

With the success of Jack White's "side job" as a Raconteur and as a producer (Loretta Lynn) - this record could have been the end of the band. Instead.... this is just the beginning! Perhaps proving they are the choice of the next generation, the Stripes released the album on customized, limited edition USB memory sticks. One looks like Jack - the other, Meg.


Embrace the future. Or get run over by it!

The most profound area of advancement on the record can be found in the areas of lyrics and inspiration. A song like "Effect and Cause" would have no place in the earlier Stripes' albums. Sure there were White Stripes love songs with veiled criticism before - but "You Don't Know What Love Is... (You Just Do As You're Told)" is a complex, layered tale. The pacing for "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues" unfolds at a surprisingly slow but most entertaining pace. Instead of lightning bolts outside the drunken bar - the night's skyline depicted on this track periodically explodes with electric guitar. Brilliant! Perhaps the most unlikely, albeit interesting song is an internal dialog White conducts with himself in "Little Cream Soda." The structure is mature, the voice unapologetic and perhaps a little too unforgiving. We've heard this from Eric Burdon and the Animals - only this time it's Jack White's turn to tell his version of "Paint It Black" - to read back his more drum-laden version of "San Franciscan Nights." Songs like this don't emerge from Rock Musicians today, do they? I guess so! (As Jack might say, "Oh Well, oh well!")

From the Amazing New Record:
The White Stripes - Little Cream Soda



BONUS MATERIAL - JUST ADDED!
Live Show Review:
- BOSTON 7/23/07 -
WHITE STRIPES AT AGGANIS ARENA

On the Web: White Stripes

Artist of the Day - Charles Thompson (aka) Frank Black

FRANK BLACK
is the Artist of the Day


One of the Greatest Living Musicians is a Boston native

Songs from three Frank eras
(Early post-Pixies / Honeycomb / Faster Man-Raider Man)

Frank Black - Los Angeles

Frank Black - I Burn Today

Frank Black - Holland Town

Your Linkage:
Frank Black fansite
Frank Black wikipedia site

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

You Decide: Songs about Relationships or Mining?

Rockin' Love Affair or Diggin' in the Dirt?
You Decide if it's Love and War or Just Strip Mining!



SIX SONGS THAT EITHER IN TITLE, LYRICS OR FEEL COULD BE EITHER!


You Really Got A Hold On Me

SONG OF THE DAY


Born in 1940, Smokey Robinson persuaded a nation to listen to new music when just about half of everybody wanted to close their ears to popular music. Recorded to the Motown label, Smokey would be amongst the best known musicians on the label for decades. In 1987, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bob Dylan called Robinson, "one of America's great poets." And that is just one example of why listening to Smokey Robinson cannot be a bad thing.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Acoustically Speaking - the Sensational and the Sensual

Acoustically Speaking
A new music series celebrating artistry in pubs, studios and practice rooms.
I bring you the best acoustic music in the world - both past and present!


Founded by Lou Barlow and John Davis in the early Nineties, The Folk Implosion had a smash hit with "Natural One" - which was a prominent place song in the movie Kids. The regular version of the song reached 30th on the pop charts - making the Folk Implosion officially a one-hit wonder. This is the acoustic version of that song. Very choice.


This machine will not communicate
These thoughts and the strain I am under
Be a world child, form a circle
Before we all go under
And fade out again and fade out again....
lyrics from Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Arguably one of Radiohead's finest songs appearing on the band's 1995 Bends album. The track appears far less often than I would like to see on live set lists - probably because the band has so much material at hand at this point. The song appears acoustically as the B-Side for the Fake Plastic Trees maxi-package (which may have only been released in the UK.) Ultimately, this is some great acoustic guitar and a rare performance. Dig it!


Jorge Drexler is a tremendously talented singer and guitarist. I actually missed him the last time he appeared in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts (and I had tickets thanks to the good folks at the MFA!!) because of illness. The man is probably one of the top Latin guitar players in the world right now. What makes him special to me? His style is his own, but he marries music from outside the genre to his own. He is creating fusion! Such is the case here where Drexler covers Radiohead acoustically. (Don't you love it when I bring it full circle?)


This three-piece band is named for the motorcycle gang that Marlon Brando ran with in the 1953 movie "The Wild One" - BRMC has an impressive lineage. The guitarist and co-vocalist in the band is Peter Hayes (of RSL former favorite and criminally overlooked the Brian Jonestown Massacre.) The BRMC stepped out into their own with the release of the Howl album in 2005 which birthed "Ain't No Easy Way. The song is powerful, gritty and raw. It's great acoustic too. This version was recorded live at KEXP's studios. Impressive.


Folk revivalist Sufjan Stevens has tapped into something magical, carving his own niche in modern music. He floats in the world between folk/acoustic / Christian rock and modern indie; in such a way I have never seen. Perhaps in his "uniqueness" the only one that comes close is Devendra Banhart - and maybe that comparison is unfair to both artists. It's tough to say. I am only partially won over to be honest, but I know many rabid fans. One thing that cannot be questioned is the man's skill. Here he deftly takes on this R.E.M. classic in yet another powerful acoustic performance.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Deadly New Record from Theo and the Skyscrapers

In two days the world will know just how deadly Theo Kogan - lead singer of Theo and the Skyscrapers can be. The band's second full-length album "SO MANY WAYS TO DIE," hits store shelves this week proving their 2006 debut was no fluke. I am predicting big things and a strong tour (coast-to-coast) and the material sounds great!

Kogan is one of the premiere woman of rock. Attending a live show is a must! This woman has magical control and stage prowess. Theo is the legendary songstress behind the Lunachicks - an all-girl band that rocked stages in ways unimaginable. That was until I saw the Skyscrapers play live last year. Wooo-weee! There is heat in the kitchen!


The Skyscrapers - Theo Kogan's band releases a great sophomore album

After leaving the Lunachicks Kogan teamed up with guitarist Sean Pierce (former Toilet Boys) and drummer Chris Kling to form the Skyscrapers (there is no one in the band shorter than 6'5" tall. No joke!) - When Kogan (tall, blanched hair and tattoo-sleeved arms) walks into the room she definitely makes an impression!)

"So Many Ways to Die" is a 12-track album with a duality theme. The songs are about beauty and death; vitality and decay; sensuality and destruction. The publicity shots for this album even have the musicians (healthy looking and clean) showcasing fresh wounds - as if there was a recent battle - or worse; they might be at death's door. These are themes perfect for this band and their sound. Highly recommended listening! Get your ass out this week and pick up this rocking summer fare.

There are no Boston-area dates announced as of yet.
Live dates, albums & free tour posters are available for download at Theo Kogan's myspace - (X)


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Easy Tiger :: Review of the new Ryan Adams album

I'm a huge fan of Ryan Adams' work.
"God save us from Ryan Adams."


The New Album - Easy Tiger
Verdict: Very Easy to Love

Ryan Adams' ninth studio album was released less than two weeks ago and it's one of my favorites in his collection. I realize now why that is... His label took some of his creative freedoms away. The album is an impeccable mish-mash off all Ryan's music genres: he dances from rock; "Halloweenhead," to country twang; "Pearls on a String," to vocal-strengthened guitar tracks; "Two" (which features Sheryl Crow), on to blues-influenced Grateful Dead-homage music, "Goodnight Rose."

Ryan Adams is the sole name on the CD. His country-rock specializing backing band, The Cardinals, are not credited here. I was unsure of the motives - but based on an interview I read in the new Uncut magazine (July 2007)...

"It's not the record I wanted to make," Ryan says, unprovoked. "Not at all." Adams wanted, he says, to make an album that was more about his backing band, The Cardinals. His label, Lost Highway, were allegedly not enthralled by this prospect. "They were very specific," said Adams. "They didn't want a Cardinals record, they didn't want a rock record. They wanted a record which was predominantly acoustic guitar, and just under my name. I obliged, because I only have so much fight in me." (Ryan Adams interview with Andrew Mueller)

I find Adams' words very telling. Not perhaps because that they represent the truth, but because they represent that overall - he no longer has complete artistic control. He makes the songs, they release the albums. While this would be unhealthy for most - perhaps this is exactly what Ryan Adams needs. Easy Tiger is a great album - and nothing that Ryan Adams says will ruin it for me. "God Save Us from Ryan Adams."


Returning back to the Ryan Adams who is recorded on Easy Tiger. The artist may feel cornered, but he triumphs on this new record. Adams is still making great songs without regard to what people might consider his proper music type. The song order are a bit of a jumble - but the fact that there 13 tracks versus the three full-length albums Ryan released over a nine-and-a-half months. That's a hell of a lot of music to put your arms around. Fans would inevitably arrive at a show interested in hearing specific songs they enjoy, but Ryan would have already moved on... Good for Ryan, keeping it fresh while on the road. Not always great for fans who had not yet fallen in love with three albums worth of brand new material. And still, Ryan has survived to release new material... So the bottom line is that while disjointed, Easy Tiger is digestible and remarkably tight. The songwriting and performances are concise.

I thoroughly enjoy this record - despite how much Adams wanted to make a different album. I have elected to share one of my favorite tracks from the new record, "Everybody Knows." It's one of the songs that dances on the fine line between the music types that live on Easy Tiger. It could be the best song on the record. I will let you decide. Go out and buy the record.


BONUS TRACK:
The Rescue Blues (live)
Bristol, UK - Feb. 21, 2006