Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doves - Kingdom of Rust


The other day I came across a published review of the Doves new album. It was odd to see Kingdom of Rust appear in Rolling Stone magazine of all places. (As an astute and informed music buyer, many of you might think it quite surprising that I was looking inside a Rolling Stone in the first place...) What was more surprising, actually, was the fact that RS even bothered enough to write even a short piece about Doves, a band from the UK that hardly cause a ripple over here. It became clear that the review was just an opportunity for the writer who clearly had an axe to grind, to lash out at a convenient target...

The review of the album contained the following byline..; “UK trio create epic tunes about (what else?) boring UK.” (Bottom line: It's a journalist's cheap shot on a great Doves album just to make a sweeping generalization about today's British music scene.) Here's what we have to say:


About the Music: I have to work hard not to be swept away by Kingdom of Rust. Generally speaking, Doves make me melancholy. Their ability to cause this sensation cannot be understated. Their music is moving, but I must confess there is something more particular about my sadness in this case. Doves are from my long-lost hometown of Manchester (UK!), so I’m not claiming journalistic objectivity this time around, but then again, I don’t think I’m completely off the mark when I say that “Kingdom of Rust” is a really warm, engaging album. Doves’ bass driven song construction, mixed with Jimi Goodwin's vocals, create tracks that are much less elaborate then their hometown counterparts Elbow (RSL Best of 2008), but remain capable of being similarly ‘epic.'

We Like This New One

SONG TO WRITE HOME ABOUT: There are several good songs from this record, but we will choose just one. “10.03” is an achievement - a track the band should be really proud of. This one builds to a frenzy you might not expect from this band. We like “Compulsion” too - a song that proves Doves have some swagger in them too, along with all the poetry. That's the kind of combination that makes Kingdom of Rust a winner!

file removed.
Doves - 10.03
Highly Recommended!

Doves are definitely a band worth checking out, if you can stomach all the ‘boring UK’ associations you are bound to make by listening to this album repeatedly.

Ed.'s Note: Our Nick Parker is a British transplant living with his family here in Boston. Please read some English inflection and a measure of dry wit into his written voice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Remind Me Where the Light Is

THE BEST NEW MUSIC of 2009: Today we finally see the release of Remind Me Where the Light Is, the much anticipated sophomore album from LA's Great Northern. After listening to the album for fives whole weeks - I am happy to relay that this is easily one of the best new records of 2009. We loved their first album (an indie pop masterpiece - RSL Top Albums of 2007) and expected a hell of a lot out of this new one... But with the results now in hand, all I can say is we at the RSL Music Blog are blown away with how far the band has come in the last year. Some of this is due to playing on the road, but much must be said about the creating and editing process that took place in studio. According to a Winter interview in Filter magazine, Great Northern's Rachel Stolte and Solon Bixler arrived in studio with 30 rough demos and a handful of song fragments. Many of these songs were reworked many times...

The final product is an impressive 11-track record with 6 immediate winners (Grade A) tracks with nary a bad song on the album. During this economic hard times, Remind Me Where the Light Is happens to be one hell of a safe bet for your next record-store run.

Six Key Tracks from the new record:
"Story", "Houses", "Snakes", "Mountain", "Warning", and "Driveway".

Great Northern - Snakes
Highly Recommended

Where this One comes Out on Top: With the new record's incredible two-part harmonies, Great Northern's layered instrumentation (this time around far more enthusiastically punctuated with rock guitar and just the right amount of digital effects) this record serves as a mighty bridge forward for Great Northern. As I said before, that's high praise for a band whose first album was just incredible. These indie rockers have somehow found a way to grow their music on this record, while portraying a level of intimacy and personal-ness that suggests that these scene-setting songs belong to the to emotional scenes of a great movie.

Bravely, Great Northern take a lot of chances on this album. Lucky for us, the lions share of these efforts are hugely successful. At the heart of it all are two musicians who entered the studio - and in making great music, they fell in each others' arms. In a way, the record is a biography of this magical time period in both artists' lives. This is a highly recommended effort!

Spring 2009 Tour
May 1 - Brooklyn, NY
Bell House
May 2 - Albany, NY
May 4 - NYC
Bowery Ballroom
May 5 - Philadelphia, PA
Johnny Brenda’s
May 7 - Washington DC
Black Cat
May 8 - Pittsburgh, PA
May 9 - Cleveland, OH
Grog Shop
May 10 - Columbus, OH
May 11 - Detroit, MI
Magic Stick
May 13 - Chicago, IL
Lakeshore Theatre
May 14 - Columbia, MO
May 16 - Denton, TX
May 17 - Houston, TX
May 18 - Austin, TX
May 21 - Phoenix, AZ
Rhythm Room
May 22 - San Diego, CA
May 23 - LA
May 24 - San Francisco, CA
May 26 - Portland, OR
Douglas Fir
May 27 - Seattle, WA
Crocodile Cafe

Great Northern
web / myspace / on Itunes

CULT of PERSONALITY - EMI gets the rights to MLK

You can't buy freedom. Or dedication to a cause. And you can't buy personal belief. But - evidently you can buy its voice. We just learned that EMI Publishing signed a deal worth an undisclosed amount allowing them the sole rights to license Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches for the use of sampling in music. Buying & Selling the words of MLK Jr. - think about it...

CAN THEY EVEN DO THAT? We uncovered a few more important details in Performer Magazine (linked in our toolbar) - including the fact that MLK Jr.'s children are currently embroiled in a lingering legal battle to see who will control King's estate. Intellectual Properties Management, the Atlanta company that represents the current Estate leadership - reached agreement with EMI (they're the global label that's close friends these days with Hot Chip and hates Radiohead's fucking guts...) This is a for-profit deal - costing EMI a fortune.

Expect two things: Somebody in the music industry with deep pockets will begin sampling the icon soon - and that anyone who has "informally" been using MLK samples can expect C&D letters and/or lawsuits very very soon. People don't spend that much money without planning to protect their investment. This leads to legal implications and use restrictions... And, of course, raises questions and concerns about censorship. (Whatever happened to fair use?) I ask this pointed question: Does the MLK estate even own the rights to these legendary public deliveries? We will be watching with a raised eyebrow. Below is, "I Have a Dream."

We got a little diverted the last few days on the site (we intended this to be New Music Week) - but I think you will agree that the diversion has been at least as good as the intended upon journey - which still lays ahead. Tune back in soon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

PJ Harvey and John Parish's "A Woman A Man Walked By"



Let me give some context for what I’m about to say about PJ Harvey and John Parish’s new album, A Woman A Man Walked ByI am a PJ Harvey OBSESSIVE.

Her last record, White Chalk easily topped my best albums list for 2007. It was the kind of record which made me want to go and spend a couple of thousand dollars on a piano (which I cannot play) and spend the next year trying to write even a single line a haunting as those she had recorded for that album. The list of great work from PJ Harvey doesn’t end there. Who can forget albums like Is this desire?, with its vicious industrial scrawl, or the exquisite Songs from the City, Songs from the Sea. Just in case I haven’t made my point (that I am, indeed a huge fan), perhaps I should introduce my cats named in her honor: tabby female “Polly Jean” and long haired ginger female “Harvey.” Yes, when I fixate… I do a smash up job of it!

The New Album

So it’s a sad day when I come to A Woman A Man Walked By and have to admit that while it isn't a horrible album - it does have some serious problems. There are some dubious lyrical choices. The lyrics to “April” seem surprisingly prosaic, for example. “Pig Will Not” ends with Harvey shouting “I will not” again and again, and makes you wonder if she really has anything to say this time around.

The First Single from the Record

Deceptively Good & not representative of the album

There are still some great, moving, tracks, like “Passionless, Pointless” and “Leaving California,” but the overall album is very uneven. I’m a little more bitter at this because the single, “Black Hearted Love” is deceptively like an excellent track from Songs from the City…, so it raised my hopes that this might be the best new release of the year from an established act. That accolade still goes to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs right now (perhaps until Maximo Park next month?). Meanwhile I’m sad to say Harvey needs to rethink things a little, if she’s to produce the great new music I know she is still capable of. I recommend this artist wholeheartedly, but not this record. We have heard her do much better.

Black-Hearted Love - Official Video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Luxury are Crowned 2009 Rumble Kings

RUMBLE'S END: To be honest with you, it's odd to think it's all over... Since April 5th, this city's music-loving children (both the young and the old alike) have converged at the Middle East to be entertained. Now in it's 31st year, we find ourselves at the end of another WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble. The bands just keep getting better and better... Much healthy debate this year - in the chat rooms, over water coolers and atop barstools.

ROCK KINGS CROWNED: Where 24 bands once, only - one remains. Congratulations to The Luxury, a band we already believed to be the city's best rock band. They are confirmed with their victory on Friday night.

WARRIORS: The Luxury have represented the city of Boston before... last year they won the regional competition that landed them the opening spot for Coldplay at the Garden. So it was no surprise that many thought of The Luxury as the band to beat in this year's Rumble. It didn't take long for a reminder. The Luxury (Jason Dunn, Steven Borek, Justin Day, Daanen Krough and Steven Foster) destroyed the audience with a legendary Rumble Night 1 performance on April 5th. (The single best performance by any band at any stage of this Rumble.) Their show on Friday didn't surpass their own epic deeds from the first night, but they were undeniably great - and worthy of this huge win. The Luxury's new album emerges in July!

FINALISTS: We saw notable performances by fellow finalists Gene Dante and the Future Starlets - truly remarkable shows all Rumble long. {Note to all: we think Gene Dante put on as good a show as did the Luxury and we wouldn't have been surprised at all if they had managed to pull out the win. Keep in mind that this is a Very Good band!} We are predicting very good things for Gene Dante and the Future Starlets. (Gene you were just wicked!)

FINALISTS: The third band in the Finals field were the formidable The Dirty Truckers, the dark horse candidate from Jamaica Plain that won over all kinds of new fans during this competition for their heartfelt and skilled performances. Another band that we will be watching very closely!

On behalf of the many hundreds of people who attended the Rumbles performances this year, I applaud the efforts of organizers at both The Middle East and WBCN radio. You did a fantastic job. This was an insanely good year of performers and bands -- in a time that we all needed entertainment. Boston is a wonderful place! It was fantastic to see so many coming out for live music and to support the scene during this economic downturn. We are reminded in times likes these, without friends and music - we really don't have much at all.

Web / Myspace

You're Doing It Wrong Billy Bob

CAUGHT ON FILM: Ego Maniac Billy-Bob Thornton does his best to derail an interview with Q-TV's Jian Ghomeshi. What riled Thorton? In his intro to the piece, Ghomeshi mentioned the fact that he has a band in studio whose drummer Billy Bob Thornton whose first love is really music. (Doesn't sound to scandalous, right? Billy Bob wants everyone to love him for his music and to forget about hist acting past.) The problem - the only reason anybody out there knows about The Boxmasters is that their Sling Blade drummer is an Oscar Award Winner.

BODY OF EVIDENCE: In the video below, watch Thornton's facial reaction right from the start when the interviewer (a very smooth and patient Jian Ghomeshi) provides his introduction. From that moment on, Thorton stubbornly ignores Ghomeshi. Then he prattles on foolishly about monster magazines and then lies - denying that he has never met Willie Nelson (who The Boxmasters toured with earlier in the year. Anything, it seems, to be childish and inane.) The rest of Thornton's band do their best to keep calm - but it's obvious that he's a loose cannon they would cut loose if he wasn't bankrolling their efforts.

Tuning into the Interview about 6:40 seconds in... after Thornton rattles aimlessly about Monster Magazines and telephone poles, and whatever else.. What follows is 2 minutes of Glory:

Jian Ghomeshi (Q-TV): (Gathers himself, pausing) "Sorry, where does music fit into that?"
Billy Bob Thornton: "It was a monster magazine."

Q-TV: "Given that you seem to be quite compassionate about music, I was wondering if ..." (cut-off by Thornton.)
Billy Bob: "Would you say that about Tom Petty?"

Q-TV: "Would I say he's passionate about music?"
Billy Bob: "Yeah."

Q-TV: "Yeah."
Billy Bob: "Really?... (long pause) Would you explain why it's not a hobby?"

Q-TV: "Would I explain why it's not a hobby? Are you reacting to the fact that I..." (cut-off by Thornton.)
Billy Bob: "Yeah, I am. I am. Since you're instructed not to talk about shit like that."

"I wasn't instructed to..." (clears throat) I'm not really instructed to... You guys are here as a band. You are here performing..." (cut-off by Thornton)
Billy Bob: "Well, your producer was instructed... Somewhere along the way."

"Because I mentioned that you were an actor... and a screenwriter?"
Billy Bob: (Turning his head.) "First of all, that wasn't supposed to be mentioned either."

"But that's just giving context right? I'm happy to interview you guys as a band... but for the listeners - we're giving the context for who you are. That's part of your trajectory isn't it?"
Billy Bob: (Groans, grumbles and shakes his head)

Q-TV: "It's not?.. You would prefer me to only do this interview not mentioning at all (just to clarify) - at all - that you had any career in acting or screenwriting...?"
Billy Bob: "That's correct."

"Ok. But do you know, that people are listening across the country and across North America and they might think it's odd that I don't mention anything about your past?"
Billy Bob: "I think it's odd you have to smoke inside of a white stripe outside."

Q-TV: "Well that is also odd, but that's a little different - that's a rule and regulation. I'm just trying to do show and give people context for who you guys are."
Billy Bob: "Well there's plenty of context for that."

Q-TV: "Right."

THE FALLOUT: Since the interview, the Boxmasters were booed off stage in Toronto. They have since canceled their tour dates blaming the flu. Way to go Billy Bob!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson & John Mellencamp to Play Ballparks

NATIONAL MUSIC NEWS: We could come up with all kinds of clever ways of telling you to the upcoming tour, but nothing could really capture it like this: Bob Dylan will headline a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp this summer. This one will put the trio, who haven't played together in more than two decades, together on a tour of minor league baseball ballparks all over the country.

Bob Dylan and Baseball

An undated, uncredited photo. Dylan reads the latest Baseball Weekly

PLAY BALL! - Dylan headlined a 2004 tour of minor league ballparks, drawing rave reviews from critics and fans. From what we understand this time around, children get in for free when they are accompanied by parents. And, (this is my favorite part....!) Tickets to most games are general admission only. This means fans of the music and of baseball can find their own sweetspot in the park to watch the show from. (Bring a blanket for the lawn!) There is so much bad news in the world today, I can't get over how great this is! Dylan arrives at McCoy Stadium, home to New England's beloved Paw Sox (AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) on July 21st. We plan to be there! Here are the rest of the dates - mark you calendars now:

7/2 - Sauget, IL
GCS Ballpark - on sale 5/2
7/8 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Slugger Field - on sale 5/9
7/10 - Dayton, OH
Fifth Third Field - on sale 5/2
7/11 - Eastlake, OH
Classic Park - on sale 5/2
7/13 - Washington, PA
Consol Energy Park - on sale 5/2
7/14 - Allentown, PA
Coca-Cola Park - on sale 5/2
7/15 - New Britain, CT
New Britain Stadium - on sale 5/9
7/19 - Syracuse, NY
Alliance Bank Stadium - on sale 5/9
7/21 - Pawtucket, RI
McCoy Stadium - on sale 5/9
7/23 - Lakewood, NJ
FirstEnergy Park - on sale 5/2
7/24 - Aberdeen, MD
Ripken Stadium - on sale 5/9
7/25 - Norfolk, VA
Harbor Park - on sale 5/9
7/28 - Durham, NC
Durham Bulls Athletic Park - on sale 5/9
7/29 - Sevierville, TN
Smokies Park - on sale 5/16
8/4 - Round Rock, TX
The Dell Diamond - on sale 5/16
8/5 - Corpus Christi, TX
Whataburger Field - on sale 5/16
8/7 - Grand Prairie, TX
QuikTrip Park - on sale 5/30
8/11 - Glendale, AZ
Camelback Ranch - on sale 5/16
8/12 - Las Vegas, NV
Cashman Field - on sale 5/30
8/14 - Fresno, CA
Chukchansi Park - on sale 5/30
8/15 - Stockton, CA
Banner Island Ballpark - on sale 5/30

More Info including ticketing on

more Bob Dylan on the RSL:
Dishing Pepsi / Tell-Tale Signs/ Dylan on Obama

Friday, April 24, 2009

Seven Mary Three to Play Boston EarthFest 2009

BOSTON NEWS: They aren't even the headliners, but they are most certainly the spotlight band for this music blogger! Excellent music news in Boston this week - the reborn Seven Mary Three will be part of the free 92.9fm Earthfest Celebration at the Hatch Shell in Boston on May 30th.

RSL Seal of Approval :: Seven Mary Three in Boston

Now before we go too much further, we will address your questions. Yes, this is very much the same Seven Mary Three that did that grunge rock grinder, "Cumbersome" and they also did that other one you know, "Water's Edge." And, you know what? I would quickly trade both of those tracks away in (an easy sacrifice... ) to hear only the band's new songs...

Jason Ross' Seven Mary Three are older and certainly wiser. The band have clearly turned a corner that is critical in their creative rebirth. Their engines now fired, they are making some impressive music. We recommend Seven Mary Three's newest album, Day & Nightdriving (2008.) This album's 12 emotive tracks completely won us over resulting in a positive review; "RSL Best of 2008: Seven Mary Three." What to expect during this Free Concert: Alt-Country steeped pop ballads are on the menu these days. The new songs are altruistic, sophisticated and full of feeling - and what more could you really want?

Web / Myspace

Live Photography :: Lucero in Boston!

A New Live Photo Collection :: Lucero at the Paradise
Boston, MA :: April 16th, 2009

It would be the understatement of the year to say that Ben Nichols and LUCERO make a huge impression everywhere they go. The frontman sings his guts out on every track, stopping periodically to swill and share some Irish booze with his friends in the band. He salutes the crowd, thanking them for their good will. Later, he curses at them and, later still, he laughs when the need arises. He shares jokes and then he returns to the music... Lots of stories and lots of smiles. This was the pace of things last week at the Paradise. The band was just sensational, and together with Nichols, they sewed up each song into a tapestry of incredible musical performance and sloppy-fun memory.

So point well taken people: the Nichols-led Lucero is one of the Nation's finest live shows going. Trekking across the country right now they are marching toward their seventh album - and a new kind of immortality... one song at a time!

It is with great pleasure that we bring you the Lucero show in Boston.
All pictures by RSL photographer Sean Hafferty.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Et Tu Fluffy? - a Must-Have Record

EMERGING: We receive dozens of albums each week and are offered more still digitally through email each week... but it oddly makes sense that one of our favorite new albums of 2009 comes from right here in Massachusetts... Meet Hands and Knees - this completely indie and beautifully unpolished quartet are on the verge of releasing, Et Tu Fluffy? - a vibrant eleven song album that has us hoping this music group will be around for a very long time.

on sale 4/28/09

THE BAND: Hands and Knees' Joe O'Brien (guitar) and Carina Kelly (bass) share the vocal duties on Et Tu Fluffy? and are the best new 1-2 singing foil we have heard since Laura Burhenn and John Davis of Georgie James (RSL Best Albums of 2007). Adding to the Hands and Knees mix: Scott Hoffman (lead guitar) and Philip Ilatovsky (drums) and what you have are four members who each speak through instruments. Since the tracks on Et Tu Fluffy are so rich and diverse, each song seems to provide each member with a podium to play on; a time to shine!

The record begins with the soft and diminutive Midnight in the Applefield, but let's just say that while the song starts small - it doesn't stay that way for long. Applefield has us wondering if the band was made up about a lovers' rendez-vous or a secret party of friends - both of which might get heated up as town goes on! Handclaps are a primary percussion element throughout the album and they usher us into the album here.

Et Tu Fluffy takes on it's modern indie/alt-country flavor with Hot Little Item, a swirling, slowly climbing homage to a girl that I swear to god could have come from Roy Orbison. Hands and Knees perform the pop-dipped in country guitar track admirably. We can almost smell the whiskey and taste the dust coming off the pickup on that winding country road... Very nice!

Just when you assume you have things pegged, the band comes out with You Thought It'd Make You Feel Better and A Great Pain and Blue Day Moon - 3 songs that are both more subtle and in some ways also far more frenetic and indie rock than their two predecessors. This is no mistake, however, there is more in the bottom envelope than I realized when I opened the mail. We definitely hear bits of Murder Mystery and the Talking Heads on this trio!

Practice Space

And this brings us to You Got Pop, You Got Style - a song that elements of Cracker and the Pixies (sorry, the Frank Black comparison was coming at some point and it's being made in the middle of a compliment!) We just love this song - it's a fast little ditty, but it gives you a small snapshot on just how good this record really is...

Kelly wrests singing duty away on Anywhere But Here, a traditional rock lament song. The only difference here is the underlying drums and bass used as vehicles to drag the listener off into the distance. Swirling guitars later join into the fray and finish off the job. Nicely done.

We love a good joke and when it's a good joke embedded in a good song it's even better... Ask anybody you know that's been in a band for any significant amount of time - so long as they are not the dude, they will probably tell you stories about difficult to understand drummers. Drummers sometimes don't get along with Singers. They leave. New weird, flaky drummers take their place... Well, obviously the band chemistry also holds true with personal relationships in general. So the question, Do You Really Need a Drummer? makes for an interesting storyline. Tip of the hat Hands and Knees!

We jump on the hayride for the howling, constant upstage that is We Are The Man Who Cannot Fly. I can already hear this song as the first of a two-piece encore at the end of a wild live show. (Sorry guys am I writing your setlist? This song is just too perfect for this purpose.) We definitely get chills when we hear great live music and this track almost sounds like it was recorded on a Boston stage before a loving, live audience. Echoes here of Lucero and Man Man. (Fair comparisons to successful kickass music!)

It took me a few minutes to figure out why I like Shove It Up Your Heart! so much. (Well, other than the awesome title.) And then it came to me, Hands and Knees do their very best Muy Cansado on this track. Jangly guitar, punctuated by voice and two-part harmonies... Just awesome!

The coup-de-gras as they say is What Ever Happened to That Beautiful City? - an absolutely gorgeous deconstructed number punctuated by hand claps, foot stomps and delicate bits of silence between notes. This is the closest sound we have heard to Sound Team (one of our all-time favorite and now deceased bands from Austin, Tx)... This was how they say, "The Perfect Ending to an absolutely wonderful album."

Hands and Knees have much to be proud of here. Et Tu Fluffy is a Best of 2009 Selection. Now do your job and get a copy of this record!

On April 28th Midriff Records will release Et Tu Fluffy? and will sponsor a CD Release/Listening Party at River Gods in Cambridge. That's the day you can also start buying this one online! (Encouraged.) On April 30th, the band will unleash the album before a live audience - as this music was meant to be heard - at Great Scott. The night is being sponsored and hosted by our friends over at Boston Band Crush. The night is set to include Arletta, Magic Magic, and Mr. Sister. We will definitely, definitely be there.

Web / Myspace / Midriff Records

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Music Week on the RSL

LIFT THE LID ON THIS ONE! - Stop by each day this week and check out the new artist profiles, tips on hot new artists and projects and new album reviews. We know you love being exposed to new music and art - this should be a lot of fun!!! Welcome to New Music Week.

Videodrome Spotlight :: HANDSOME FURS

VIDEODROME SERIES: We could be one of the world's biggest supporters of Wolf Parade. Today's video spotlight celebrates video selection from WP spin-off band The Handsome Furs - an experimental rock duo from Montreal who we still (unbelievably) have not seen perform live. (The RSL were even ticketholders but some visa issues barring the couple from entering the couple and killed off our Boston show hopes almost two years back.) Here's what you need to see:

Handsome Furs

In Case You Didn't Know: Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs guitarist/frontman Dan Boeckner is a freakin' genius modern musical genius and a guitar-beating maniac. After two Handsome Furs albums, "Plague Park" (RSL Best Albums of 2007) and "Face Control" All we can say is that Dan B has one of the most distinctive voices (angst filled, hollow-sounding, and completely authentic) in music today.

Does anybody out there have a good video performance copy of "What We Had" - ? Couldn't find one anywhere. Handsome Furs will never take over Wolf Parade in my eyes, but this brand of inventive, heartfelt musicmaking will never, ever, get old!

Official Video

Live in Minneapolis 3/28/09 at the 7th St. Entry
MFR recording

Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam

live in San Francisco - A Take Away Show

Official Video - very David Lynch-esque!

Debuting live in Studio Q (Toronto)


also -Recently on Videodrome:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Night of Rock - Not to Be Missed!

Ryan's Smashing Life presents... a Night of Rock! Fresh off their absolutely Huge 2009 Rock 'n' Roll performance, The Lights Out headline a night of indie rock this evening over at Great Scott in Allston. We love these guys and are delighted to have them play the show. Joining TLO are another recent Rumble band, Logan 5 and the Runners - the city's best vibe band so cool that they make beer taste better! For the first time ever in Boston - we bring you Fishhawk. This amazing band from Atlanta, are making lots of noise on the national music blogs and we know you will love their incredible sound. (Their new video just came out last week!) Starting us off is Boston's Hundred Years War - who just released their second EP ("Ocean Floor" is really good - we will be reviewing it here soon!) Here's one of their new tracks - being offered for the first time!

Here are 4 unbelievable bands on the same bill and for an unbelievably low price (just $8!)

BOSTON, Don't Miss this One!

poster art & design by Thomas Gallo


The Lights Out

TONIGHT - 9pm /18+ / Nice RSL Price: $8
1222 Commonwealth Ave
Allston, MA 02134

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 RUMBLE FINALS - THE LUXURY are the Wild Card

LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR! - Not sure if we can thank the Gods of Rock, the ghosts of Rumbles past, but The Luxury (who already gave the single best performance of the entire Rumble this year on Night One way back on April 5th) have been selected to represent the Finals Wild Card spot (see here) and will have a chance to win it all. (The Announcement was made last night by Rumble Host Anngelle Wood on her popular WBCN radio program Boston Emissions.) This was a good decision. We support all Boston music, but after seeing Jason Dunn and the band tear the roof off the Middle East that night and again in Round 2, the prospect of them not moving on seemed, a bit odd. No favoritism - just opinionated rock sensibilities at the RSL....


Jason Dunn at the Middle East 4/5/09
Rumble 2009 Night One

On to the Final Night! - The Luxury will meet The Dirty Truckers and Gene Dante and the Future Starlets at the Middle East on Friday 4/24/09. All three bands kicked ass in their own way. The Luxury are probably the hottest rock ticket in the city. The Dirty Truckers' blues-influenced southern style rock have clearly been the upstart in this contest and have been playing some of the best music throughout. They have not ceased to impress. Gene Dante and the Future Starlets are the trendy avante garde pick for the tournament. We have been blown away by the band's charisma and charm as much as we have their music - which is great! Three great bands - three deserving winners - but only one will Win! Tickets (which will sell out) this last night are $12. That's a small price to pay to see Boston Rock 'n' Roll History in the making!

FINAL NIGHT (Friday 4/24/09)
Middle East downstairs
8:30 doors / 18+ / $12

Rumble Semi-Final Photos
Pix by Veronica Dale

RSL Rumble Photos by Sooz

(highly recommended)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Super Furry Animals - Dark Days, Light Years

ALBUM TALK: A little while ago I wrote about the Fleet Foxes, and I had some problems with their generally lovely sound. It was too close to the sources it was taken from, so you wondered, despite its beauty, why you shouldn’t just listen to the originals. Now I’m going to put my head on the block again, and argue that another album that is at least as beautiful, and is born of some old music too, is worth treating in quite a different way.



The Super Furry Animals’ “Dark Days, Light Years” comes from a really idiosyncratic musical world. I have been a fan of this band for more than ten years, and I’ve seen them produce folk, punk, massive prog rock and hard electronica. This new album, their ninth record, gives you a strange sensation right from the beginning. Echoes from the past - the roots of the albums – late 70s disco at times, or 80s hair metal, or psychedelia - can be heard to converge here. It’s a crazed concoction, all their own.

SFA are a band who play complex, moving music while holding the slightest of wry smiles as they do it. My brother-in-law listened to the opening track (“Crazy Naked Girls”) with me recently, and seemed slightly irritated by that smile. He felt the outlandish humor of it was contrived, because the huge shredding guitar solos that run through it were really compelling, but SFA were too cool to admit it.

Perhaps that’s true, but I think it’s fair to say that SFA never smirk at us as they play. The humor is offset by the beauty of the harmonies on a track like “Moped Eyed,” or the swirling eight-minute build of tracks like “Cardiff in the Sun,” which is too euphoric to be just a joke. They are serious about music, but they know that without the humor they would quickly become way too serious to be digestible by the rest of us.

Let me say that “Dark Day, Light Years” is certainly not SFA’s best. That would have to go to either “Guerilla” (1999) or “Phantom Power” (2003). But by comparison - their efforts are far better than the best we ever hear from most band. This is not an average band.

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Recently on Ryan's Smashing Life:

A look back @ SFA's Mwng album

Tonight in Boston - an Enough Cowbell DJ Benefit

CITY HAPPENINGS: We want to congratulate and wish good luck to our friend Aaron over at EnoughCowbell for tonight's DJ benefit he's set up. EnoughCowbell, if you didn't know, is a daily must-read in Boston for it's provision of daily live show listings in the city. Looking for something to do tonight - or pretty much any night in Boston, check out Aaron's page. EC is a nice resource.

Sunday, April 19th 2009
Enough Cowbell Presents...
A DJ Night with Count RockuLA (LA) and Cassette (NY/LA)
@ Middlesex Lounge
315 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
$5 cover (all cover charges will benefit Cycle Kids)

PROCEEDS BENEFIT CYCLE KIDS All money at the door will benefit the local non-profit organization, Cycle Kids. The group places bicycles, helmets and biking curriculum in urban and at-risk communities in an attempt to help foster a love for bikes and physical activity. Cycle Kids has worked in local communities such as Somerville, Cambridge, and Dorchester as well as Harlem in NYC. Please consider donating to Cycle Kids even if you can't make the event.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Dirty Truckers head to the Rumble Finals!

RUMBLE SEMI-FINALS NIGHT TWO: In a remarkably similar outcome of Semi-Final Night One - four bands played their heart out with predictions made - and largely, those predictions were foiled by the real outcome! The Dirty Truckers, who won over a ton of new fans in their earlier Rumble appearance, stepped up and impressed the judges last night to take the win. Their blues-influenced alt-country southern style has led them to the Rumble's final night - and a possible place in Boston history! Congratulations!

The Dirty Truckers have really stepped up in this competiton

On to the Final Night! - The Dirty Truckers on to the Final night where they will face off with Gene Dante and the Future Starlets and an as-of-yet unnamed Wild Card (one band will be selected based on points from the Semi-Final Round.) We predict that the Wild Card band will probably come from this 3-man field* : The Luxury, The Lights Out and Gravehaven... (* That being said, on previous nights things have been too close to call and we certainly haven't had much luck so far predicting the winners.) Details when we have them!

FINAL NIGHT (Friday 4/24/09)
Middle East downstairs
8:30 doors / 18+ / $12

Rumble Semi-Final Photos
Pix by Veronica Dale

RSL Rumble Photos by Sooz

(highly recommended)

What does Susan Boyle mean for music?

AROUND THE WORLD & OF NOTE: By Now, you know who Susan Boyle is. And if you don't know who Susan Boyle is - you may need to plug in a computer. In a world of grey, this one's pretty black and white.

Boyle, a single, unemployed woman who lives alone with her cat in a small, relatively quiet Scottish village was unknown to most of her neighbors up until a recent televised singing trial for Britain's Got Talent." Diminutive in stature, but high in pep, Boyle (who is certainly not the traditional sex-symbol we are used to seeing on tv) immediately went from small town poppet to world sensation in hours.

Susan Boyle became a Global Sensation overnight

Exaggeration? (Just listen.) Copies of Boyle's performance began proliferating on the online video sites. (One is below.) If you add all the views up - more than 100 Million people were exposed to her performance through internet video alone - and in just the first few days after she sang for the fist time on the show. The performance was also televised (and then re-televised globally) and has since landed her television and radio exposure as well. (Here is Entertainment Weekly's coverage of Boyle's appearance on Larry King Live. Remarkable!)

And it was all due to her unbelievably good performance. (Of course, her looks, her age and her self-ridiculing jokes helped to effectively lower the audience's and judges' expectations.) But no one could have ever expected this:

I think it's safe to say that we all like to see the underdog win - and it certainly costs us nothing to cheer for Susan Boyle. (Especially since supporting her doesn't hurt anyone else... in Celebrity, there's always room for more - at least that's what we tell ourselves...) But let's consider for a moment what Boyle's well-deserved overnight success might mean for Music in general. Are the days of labels "creating" seed bands (you know, the fabricated "boy-" and "girl-" bands - the most successful of which was probably The Spice Girls and N-Sync) over? What would happen to people if we didn't have payola to decide for us what to listen to on the radio or to decide which new talent gets the largest marketing budget and who gets iced based on principle alone (not on actual talent)?

Obviously, Susan Boyle isn't going to change the world on her own - but much can be learned from her success. Our mass exposure to Susan Boyle threatens the Global media outlets. (They see you as consumers instead of interested parties... Well, the consumers are being enlightened by a woman from Scotland!) What can you do? Buy and listen to only what's good. (One would think that's easy enough...) Don't believe the hype. And maybe the best lesson: Great things do come in new forms and small packages.

Since music is the international human language, people can recognize talent when they see it. (They don't need a television judge to tell them what's decent!) Perhaps that's the greatest irony of Boyle's emergence on a talent program. She is far better than the platform! And now the whole world knows.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ice Palace and Cloud Cult with Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos


live music in New England...

Ice Palace at the Paradise 4/7/07
Photos by Sean Hafferty

DATELINE - BOSTON: As most of you have noticed, last week was a pretty music-packed time here in Boston. There's been the WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble (which has occupied our hearts and minds on this blog for the last two weeks now.) There were some other great shows as well... With the Rumble on last Tuesday (April 7th)

Jen and I decided to hit
The Paradise for Ice Palace, Cloud Cult and Margot & the Nuclear So & So's
...even though, one of our favorites, Mates of State was at HOB with the Black Kids. Well, you can't be everywhere. The following is our combined impressions from the night...

Ice Palace was Impressive

First up was Ice Palace, a band who was new to most of the crowd. As the opener, Ice Palace, who just finished recording their new CD, found themselves playing before a responsive, appreciative crowd. They really impressed; their set was vivacious, and the music was a terrific fit for the evening's lineup. So, fans of Cloud Cult, AiH, newer Death Cab for Cutie and even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah should be delighted by the band. We also enjoyed how charismatic and approachable the band seemed.

Standouts Cloud Cult were Amazing

The Best stuff all night long came from Cloud Cult, who last came through town with Mason Proper. If you are not familiar with Cloud Cult, they have an amazing musical breadth that goes from layered sounds to simple arrangements and from funky beats to in your face. All with a subtle intensity that come through even more when you see them live.

Cloud Cult's music takes on a Dream-like Quality

Cloud Cult's sonic presentation was amazing and ADHD-friendly. Projecting on the white brick wall in the back were Pink Floyd "The Wall"-esque animation (minus the scary), and the band had big energy to share with the crowd. AND, a favorite, the artist-cum-trumpet player-cum-singer who painted with musically-guided gusto and created a fabulous art piece to be auctioned off at the end of the night. Just great!

Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos

Having seen Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos before, we were excited to check them out again. (They were one of the big reasons we showed up.) Unfortunately, something wasn't quite there in their performance... The band's energy level was low and their sound and appearance was a bit anemic. (This being said, their percussion was outstanding.)

Margot don't play like their CD, which can be both good or bad - depending on what you like. Regardless on what's on their recordings, we were expecting better. Perhaps in need of a break (a night off from the grind), The So & Sos, sadly, paled by comparison with the two fine shows we saw precede them.