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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Recurrent Classic: Lifeguard Nights - Punch Sky

DATELINE: the NEW JERSEY SHORELINE


Punch Sky is Funny but Pretty Damn Amazing
When skilled musicians have a great sense of humor!


Following a Tip from a Good Friend... We have been following the wild career of Lifeguard Nights long before they changed their name (from the mouthful: South Jersey Seashore Lifeguard Convention Band!) That's not all that's different about Nights... They are a massive band - with as many as 11 members on stage at any of their shows, LN is its own supergroup! While still making their mark on new audiences, the band has already played in front of crowds at NY's Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge and Maxwell's in New Jersey. (We would love to see them take a turn up north - and soon! )

Lifeguard Nights is a band that loves a good joke as much as they like their music.

Funny, sure - but musically speaking, PUNCH SKY is definitely one of the better albums we have heard this year. Is it the band's fault they had a great time recording it? Ween (last year's La Cucaracha was insanely good) and They Might Be Giants completely understand how to write a song with humor interchanged with the notes. Run out and pick up Punch Sky (click here for the Headshop Records site.)


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TRACKS

From the new album "Punch Sky"
Lifeguard Nights - Sunshine

From 2007's "Church of Song"
Lifeguard Nights - Over It

Friday, January 30, 2009

Glasvegas Giveaway!

GLASVEGAS LOVES THE STATES: After the release of their debut album and a few sold out shows on their most current tour, Scottish quartet, Glasvegas are kicking off 2009 with a memorable bang. With critical acclaim brewing from their incredible live shows - American audiences better find a place for their strong Glaswegian accents and shoegazey grooves. Starting with some red-hot SxSW Music Festival dates, Glasvegas will soon be embarking on a new American tour!


Danny North photo

RECOMMENDED mp3
Geraldine

CONTEST DETAILS: To celebrate Glasvegas' good fortune, Ryan's Smashing Life is giving away an incredibly cool prize: Grand Prize is an autographed Glasvegas record album! Second prize is one of the band's CDs (and while not signed) - it's still pretty damn cool! This contest is open to all US residents. For a chance to win, email us with your full name!


GLASVEGAS
Web/Myspace/Facebook / on ITunes

Andrew Bird, You've Arrived!

DATELINE - BOSTON: The silly-talented Andrew Bird certainly doesn't need our bit of affirmation, but we will be amongst those cheering tonight in Boston when he takes the stage at the Orpheum to play. Bird just released the brand new and highly recommended Noble Beast record. And it's an album tour that has him in the traveling mood - dates (many of them sold out or close to selling out across the country.) From all accounts, Andrew Bird is playing the best music of his life right now!

We know we are going to hear all the juicy tidbits from the new record tonight, but would just love to hear some old favorites as well!

ANDREW BIRD

Buildin' It



ANDREW BIRD
Web / Myspace (tour dates) / Facebook

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Indie rock from Volunteers - Fuck My Ghost

AN OPEN INVITATION: On Saturday (1/31), one of the most celebrated unsigned bands in America rolls into Boston. Brooklyn's The Volunteers will entertain during a CNC Music Production night at All Asia in Cambridge on Saturday night as part of the band's already underway East Coast tour. The Volunteers have made quite a name for themselves recently. Their hot new album is titled, Spectrophilia.

CELEBRATED INDIE: High Times magazine recently named Volunteers their Unsigned Band of the Week and - with quirky, fun song titles like; "Fuck My Ghost," one can hardly wonder why. You can choose to be appalled or you can realize that this is the "Positively 4th Street" / Kiss Off song of the year so far. Being a little dangerous is what rock is all about! Can you dig?

VOLUNTEERS

In Boston on Saturday


VIDEO



Volunteers | Myspace

SHOW DETAILS 1/31/09
ALL ASIA in CAMBRIDGE
7pm 18-plus. 21+ after 10pm
Doors: $6 ($9 for 18+)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Blizzard of '78 - Record Release

THURSDAY NIGHT: The Blizzard of '78 celebrate the release of their new CD Book of Lies at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Special guests include Scarce (an acoustic show) and Eddie Japan. Expect good things (namely: Pop Gems, crushing rockers, soul infused rave-ups, and smoldering mid-tempo numbers) from the band on this record. Members of The Blizzard hail from Boston and Providence.

Baby, it's Cold Outside - Come on inside for The Blizzard of '78

Lizard Lounge show begins at 9:30 pm / Doors $8 (presale is just $5)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Elvis Perkins - Album Preorder Lets Fans Stream Audio Now

PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE & SMOKE IT - News tonight, just coming in from the good folks over at XL Recordings and the Beggars Group. The eponymous forthcoming Elvis Perkins in Dearland record will be released on March 10th. Fans who preorder now will not have wait a moment more to hear the songs... Preorder = Instant Access to Streaming Audio. If you're going to buy the album anyway, why wait? If you weren't going to buy the record, you may want to think again.


ELVIS PERKINS

We just heard "Shampoo," the first single, streaming on WOXY. It's pretty damn sensational. It's easy to predict HUGE THINGS for Elvis Perkins here in 2009.

It wont' be too long until this one gets torn down.

VIDEO: ELVIS PERKINS PLAYS FOR LETTERMAN



Elvis Perkins in Dearland
ALBUM PRESALE / WEB / MYSPACE

Win Tix to the Heartless Bastards Record Release!

Win Win Win! The best show in Boston on February 3rd will be happening at Great Scott in Allston. That's when the Heartless Bastards arrive in town to rock! And, as it just so happens, the Tuesday night show will also be the band's record release. [We definitely were not alone in showering praise on "The Mountain" - the upcoming Spin magazine review gives the record 4 Stars - making it one of the most awaited releases of the young 2009!] Ryan's Smashing Life and Great Scott want to put you on the guest list - email us today for a pair of free passes to the show! (18+ / 9pm / $12) This is one you will not want to miss!


HEARTLESS BASTARDS
photos by Cambria Harkey

Erika Wennerstrom


Jesse Ebaugh


Dave Colvin

ENTER TO WIN
Include Full Name in Email Entry.
Winner must be 18+ and have ID.

Winner Notified Tomorrow!

Details: Great Scott

HEARTLESS BASTARDS ALBUM REVIEW:
- The Mountain -
out on Tuesday!

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Work from The Rakes - The Light From Your Mac

DATELINE: LONDON - Watch out, somebody went and woke up The Rakes. The fun, wiry UK band, who have a history of crafting addictive smart rock, have awakened from a year-long slumber (their last tour ended in March '08 - then they disappeared to take a break and to prepare new material.) And it's been two whole years since the band released any new material.

All this is a grand way of me telling you that the World is overdue for some of their music! The Rakes are set to release their new LP, 1989, to global markets in March. We will definitely be looking forward to this one. Here is the first, unreleased single from that album. It's a love song, of sorts....


The Rakes are Back


HIGH CULTURE INDIE ROCK:The Rakes are named for a three-part Stravinsky opera titled, "The Rake's Progress." It's a misbegotten morality tale of love lost, really... It's about a man (Tom Rakewell) who falls for a woman, who in turn falls in love with a a man who is actually the Devil, himself. Nobody is happy. How appropriate.



The Rakes
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Devotchka's National Tour - Nothing for New England

HERE & GONE IN A BLINK OF AN EYE: We have been Devotchka devotees long before the film Little Miss Sunshine cast its loving glow across the band's talented brows - so imagine the flip flop of emotions this morning when I heard that the world's most talented multi-instrumentalists are embarking on a new national tour - and then, my heart sank when I learned that Devotchka is skipping the entire six-state New England area! Not a good decision. Let's hope that somebody over at Anti-Records sees the light of day and straightens this out.


Laura Totten photo

Devotchka - How It Ends

From A Mad & Faithful Telling (2008)
Devotchka - New World

A STUNNING LIVE BAND: Devotchka is comprised of individuals with origins and talents spanning the globe, each ingrained with their own particular cultural pasts. Using instruments to that effect (including sousaphones, accordions, upright bass and bouzoukis - along with more traditional stage instruments), this diverse ensemble successfully blends a multifaceted folk sound, thus designing an ethnicity of old and new, creating an unbelievable sonic showcase. Please do whatever you can to see singer Nick Urata and company play. Mark my words - you will not regret it!

TONIGHT! – New York, NY @ Webster Hall

1/27 – Aspen, CO @ Belly Up

1/28 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In the Venue

1/29 – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Resort & Casino – Grand Theatre

1/30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

1/31 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

2/2 – West Hollywood, CA @ Viper Room

2/4 – San Diego, CA @ The Belly Up

2/5 – Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse

2/6 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre

2/7 – Lubbock, TX @ Jakes place Sports Café

2/8 – Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa

2/9 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live – Studio

2/10 – Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues

2/13 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre

3/6 – Miami, FL @ Langerado Music Festival

3/7 – St Augustine, FL @ S. Johns County Fairgrounds

3/16 – Kansas City, MO @ The Beaumont Club

3/17 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant

3/19 – St. Paul, MN @ Myth

3/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave

3/21 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theater


FILM STUDY:
Devotchka Live at Red Rocks! (9/13/08)


DeVotchKa:
Web / Myspace / Facebook / Wikipedia

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heartless Bastards and the Stellar "The Mountain"

I've said it before and I still mean it. Heartless Bastards is the best band name ever! Do your homework on it and get back to me... I bet you can't change my mind. Anyway, I'm not talkin' Heartless Bastards to celebrate their totally awesome - and completely ironic, name.

Heartless Bastards


I want to talk about their really stellar new album, The Mountain - set for a February 3rd release on Fat Possum Records. As luck would have it, this staggeringly good bit of indie rock will be released right here in Boston. The band will take the crowd on a stirring, furious dance through The Mountain's rock, and country-stained roots. There will be folk and bits of soul (just you wait to hear Erika Wennerstrom's blues-steeped howl!) When Heartless Bastards begin to play I hear the moonshine-drunk Velvet Underground covering the Pixies. It's kind of like that. The Mountain is completely mesmerizing...

Title Track from the new album:
Heartless Bastards - The Mountain

DATES with the HEARTLESS BASTARDS
01.30.09 - Young Ave Deli - Memphis, TN
01.31.09 - Martyr’s - Chicago, IL
02.03.09 - Great Scott - Allston, MA
Album Release Party!
w/ Hoots & Hellmouth
A Fenway Recordings Night.
02.04.09 - Maxwell’s - Hoboken, NJ
02.05.09 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
with The Black Keys
02.06.09 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
with The Black Keys
02.07.09 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
with The Black Keys
02.10.09 - Gravity Lounge - Charlottesville, VA
02.12.09 - Bottle Tree - Birmingham, AL
02.13.09 - Government Street Grocery - Ocean Springs, MS
02.14.09 - Last Concert Café - Houston, TX
02.28.09 - Hailey’s - Denton, TX
03.15.09 - The Pageant - St. Louis, MO
03.16.09 - Liberty Hall - Lawrence, KS
03.17.09 - Cain’s Ballroom - Tulsa, OK
03.18.09 - SXSW - Austin, TX
03.19.09 - SXSW - Austin, TX
03.20.09 - SXSW - Austin, TX
03.21.09 - House of Blues - Houston, TX
03.23.09 - Lyric Oxford - Oxford, MS
03.29.09 - Mr. Smalls - Pittsburgh, PA
with Gaslight Anthem
04.02.09 - Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI
with Gaslight Anthem
04.03.09 - The Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL
with Gaslight Anthem
04.04.09 - Varsity Theater - Minneapolis, MN
with Gaslight Anthem
04.07.09 - The Warehouse - Calgary, AB
with Gaslight Anthem
04.08.09 - The Starlight Room - Edmonton, AB
with Gaslight Anthem
04.10.09 - The Plaza Nightclub - Vancouver, BC
with Gaslight Anthem
04.15.09 - The Boardwalk - Sacramento, CA
with Gaslight Anthem
04.16.09 - Slim’s - San Francisco, CA
with Gaslight Anthem
04.21.09 - The Clubhouse - Tempe, AZ
with Gaslight Anthem
04.24.09 - Gothic Theater - Denver, CO
with Gaslight Anthem

Heartless Bastards
Myspace / Facebook/ Web

The New Album from Franz Ferdinand!

The New New: On January 27th, less than one week from now, Scottish alt-rockers Franz Ferdinand will release their third album to an ever increasing throng of fans. As of this very moment - you can listen to the album, titled; Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, in total right now (if you just can't wait....) Just head over to the band's myspace page and stream the audio in their player!



TOP OF THE WORLD, 2009: Franz Ferdinand have grown to become one of the more popular rock bands in the world. These days they certainly can no longer be called indie rockers - but we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for them. Their self-entitled debut album was powered by a number of churning dancehall numbers but it was their second album, You Could Have It So Much Better, which was unfortunately ignored by many - that made us fans for life.


Franz Ferdinand
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Glenn Yoder - Okono Road

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Cassavettes are one of our favorite Boston bands of the last few years - so it's only natural we would be all over the talented Glenn Yoder's solo debut - Okono Road, released today! On the new record, Yoder shines like a star and in many ways transcends his prior accomplishments. On Okono Road, Yoder pays homage and affection for the great American song.


Yoder on keys - Aram Boghosian photo

Tracks on Okono Road are original, modern takes on classic song forms. The spirits of great musicians (both past and present) are heard in the background on these recordings. Yoder lists George Harrison, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan as inspirations. On Okono Road, the singer-songwriter dabbles (dwelling for just a bit with) traditional folk, the blues and country-western, but Yoder's strongest work here reflect great indie rock singers who also used the previous styles as stepping stones: Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Paul Westerberg, Evan Dando, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.

Released Today:

RSL Key Track:
A Thousand Ways

CD RELEASE PARTY TONIGHT:

Everyone who attends Glenn's CD Release Party tonight at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, will be given a complimentary copy of Okono Road. Glenn will be supported on stage by members of Girls, Guns, and Glory and Left Hand Does. This one, friends, should be a blast!

Connect with Glenn:
Solo Page / Cassavettes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dar Williams at the Paradise

THURSDAY NIGHT IN BOSTON:

One of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of this generation, Dar Williams has the innate ability to perform with intelligence and grace. Her songs cover a wide range of social and political territory, touching the lives of her fans all over the world. Three of Williams' greatest stories - songs that challenge and entertain, “It’s Alright,” “The Easy Way,” and “Buzzer” appear on Williams'Promised Land, her seventh studio album, released in late 2008.

Williams will bring this material on Thursday night - appearing before a capacity audience at
The Paradise in Boston with special guest Joshua Radin.


Dar Williams
Traci Goudie photo

VIDEO: It's Alright

DAR WILLIAMS TOUR (w/ Joshua Radin)
Thu, Jan 22 - Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
Fri, Jan 23 - New York, NY –Webster Hall
Sat, Jan 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Keswick Theatre
Sun, Jan 25 - Ringwood, NJ – Ringwood Public Library
Mon, Jan 26 - Richmond, VA - The National
Wed, Jan 28 - Carborro, NC - Cat's Cradle
Thu, Jan 29 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay Theatre
Fri, Jan 30 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
Sat, Jan 31 - Greenville, SC – Handlebar
Tue, Feb 3 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
Wed, Feb 4 - St. Petersburg, FL - Palladium Theatre
Thu, Feb 5 - Gainesville, FL – Common Grounds
Fri, Feb 6 - Jacksonville, FL - Freebird
Sat, Feb 7 - New Orleans, LA – House of Blues (Parish room)

Dar Williams
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Static of the Gods celebrate Obama Day with the Inauguration EP

RED, WHITE, BLUE & EXTREMELY RARE: Some bands allow politicians to use their music to excite voters. Others play gala black-tie fundraisers. Some do something far more crazy - for example:

The release of a limited edition EP celebrating the US's inauguration and only distributing it for just that one day. That's exactly what Boston's Static of the Gods have done. This stellar indie rock band, who are on the verge of releasing an album's worth of new material, will lead a rock and roll celebration in President Obama's honor tonight!

At the show, Static of Gods will be selling copies of their 4-Song Inauguration EP for just $3! One day from now the EP offer will be over forever - just like George Bush's time in office.


TONIGHT:
BOSTON'S ROCK & ROLL INAUGURAL BALL



STATIC OF THE GODS

RSL Music Blog Exclusive Track from the EP:
Static of the Gods - True North

HAVING A BALL FOR OBAMA: Static will be joined on stage tonight with Colourmusic and Close Friends for a Rock & Roll Inaugural Ball Spectacular tonight in Cambridge at TT the Bears. Doors are at 8:30 - Bands start at 9:00 pm Doors are just $9. For just $3 more you get the extremely limited edition Static of the Gods EP.

DIGITAL VERSION AVAILABLE: Many of you who are reading this are in cities outside the Boston area - some in regions throughout the world. Static of the Gods have the answer for you: For just $3 you can download the digital version of the EP through Pay Pal. But just be aware - you must buy the EP over the next 24 hours or you will get shut out!

Man, this has to be the most limited album sale ever...!

more Static of the Gods
Web / Myspace / Facebook

The First Must Have Record of the Year: Matt & Kim's Grand

OUT TODAY: Having fast become known as one of the premier indie cult groups and certainly one of the better opening bands in the United States, Matt & Kim (Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino) have further defined their sound here in 2009 with Grand - an effervescent, quirky and undeniably good full-length release. Not only is it their best material released to-date, it's also the first must-own record of the year for the purveyors of good taste!


Grand is in stores and available online beginning today

GRAND MARKS THE COMING OF AGE OF MATT & KIM: It's ironic that Matt & Kim, who began playing music together as single people and are now married to one another, wed such a number of influences into their songs. There are clearly elements of post-punk and the dissolution sound mixed in with the indie songcraft. The themes are highly theatrical, exposing the band's experimental side . This is a skill set we have come to respect and to love from the likes of MGMT, Of Montreal, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fiery Furnaces, The Dresden Dolls, Jukebox the Ghost, and Talking Heads.


But there are no absolutes in this new Matt & Kim, as evidenced in one of our favorite songs on the album; Lessons Learned, a track powered by pounding drums which are evened with keyboards and then brought back by the soft kew of Kim's voice. By the time Matt enters the song, we are more than ready to listen... These songs are more sophisticated and layered but yet still basic and the air about them is free. The percussive hand claps in Don't Slow Down play perfectly against the organ. Grand is balanced and these songs just feel right. In other words readers, "we have a winner."

VIDEO: "DAYLIGHT"


Matt & Kim's Grand offers the listener 11 solid tracks. After just a couple of listens, this record has SEVERAL standouts. Our key tracks: Daylight, Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare, Lessons Learned, Don't Slow Down, I'll Take Us Home and Daylight (Outro Mix). That's six immediate winners and the likelihood that the others will grow on us reeeeal quick. In other words, there's almost no risk of buying a lemon to the buyer during these tough financial times. Run out and buy this one. Here's the album opener:


MATT & KIM
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Boston's Heavy Metal Sunday

Tonight at the Garden: If you have ever appreciated guitar rock or heavy metal you will certainly appreciate Austin's THE SWORD. The band plays in front of the legendary Metallica tonight in Boston.



Getting to know THE SWORD: One of the most fun releases of 2008 was born on April 1st and was with me throughout the year. Shock and surprise - it's a heavy metal album: Gods of the Earth (Kemado Records). A tremendous release simply packed full of simply wicked guitar!

A BAND ON THE RISE:
The Sword is one of the hardest rockin' bands going and the young four-piece has proven itself to be most skilled. Playing screaming guitar, powerful bass and pounding drums - the band finds some way to avoid the foolish grunting that characterizes "modern" metal. The Sword is a guitar cult and a refreshing throwback... In a single year, the band went from playing intimate clubs and small venues to jamming in front of thousands at the Bonneroo music festival in June. Now they are playing major venues in front of Metallica! Here's why:

VIDEO: THE SWORD



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meet Logan 5 and The Runners

HOT DEBUT: Today is the day that Boston sons, Logan 5 and The Runners release their wicked self-released album, Featurette. This band has an awesome post-Brit, new wave sound (think Pulp, Blur, David Bowie and Supergrass) that has us thinking L5ATR is going to be one of this city's hottest exports of 2009.

Featurette is out today

Song Structure: The nine tracks on Featurette are designed to free the "9-5"er in all of us. Sharp, punctuated drum driven forward by keys and rythmic bass only to be chopped up by electric guitars. These are songs that move the listener and make them forget their troubles at the door. We are further fueled by David Berndt's voice which seems it was pretty much made for smoky lounge rooms and dark epiphanies.


Style and Manner: Logan 5 and the Runners are David Berndt (voice and guitar), Chris Barrett (keyboards and trumpet), Nick Balkin (guitar), Mike DeLisle (bass) and Mark Beaulieu (drums). The band's unusual name pays tribute to the scifi film Logan's Run - a total cult classic from 1976 with tons of socio-political undertones. It's definitely one of my favorite films from that time period (this writer has a copy on DVD) if for no other reason than for imagery, tone and feel projected in that movie. It was a great choice in naming the band. (It doesn't hurt that Berndt looks quite a bit like actor Michael York who played "Sandman" Logan 5 in Logan's Run.)


Unleashed Tonight in Boston: The Featurette CD Release Party will take place tonight at Great Scott in Allston. With an all-Boston lineup of old friends and new, this is where you should be spending your entertainment dollar tonight!

The Daily Pravda (9:30 pm)
The Luxury (10:30 pm)
Logan 5 and the Runners (11:30 pm)

Logan 5 and The Runners
Web / Myspace / Facebook / The Album

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yooooouuuuuuk!

FROM THE WORLD OF SPORTS: I have apologized for my occasional deviation into the world of sports on this website, but in this case I'm too excited to care. I am a baseball fanatic and a lifelong Red Sox fan. My favorite team just re-signed my favorite player - Sox firstbaseman Kevin Youkilis, ensuring I will be able to watch him play here in a Boston uniform for at least four more years! [STORY and STORY]

Kevin Youkilis

Goes All out on Every Play & Gives a Damn

We are definitely grateful for the Yoooooouuuuk man. He's a better grade of player with a hard-working character. He makes the team and the game better with his presence. Appreciating a player that actually gives a damn about winning and the game makes us better fans. Note: Kevin Youkilis has more character in his pinky finger than former Sox slugger Manny Ramirez ever hopes to own. So that's all we had to say about that.... and here's some music!




Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stage Photography: Adele in Boston at the Somerville Theatre - 1/14/09

WELL ENTERTAINED: Adele brought her grammy-nominated voice and her A-Game to stage in Boston on Wednesday (1/14/09) sang for an appreciative audience at the Somerville Theatre. The UK songstress who performed in stocking-feet and with hyper-kinetic charm, definitely belted it out proving why she has such a great reputation as a stage performer.







All images by RSL photographer Sean Hafferty.

Adele
Web / Myspace

VIRAL VIDEO: The Ettes soooo Just Wanna Rock!

Good Music is Definitely Capable of Making you Move. (This We Know...) And great music can lead you to good videos... But, it's a rare thing these days (when everyone makes music videos it seems - there's just so much out there) that a video will lead us to a really great rock n roll band. But that's exactly what has happened with The Ettes. They just rock AND they know how to make kick ass videos!


The Ettes at SxSW 2007. Photo by Matt Wignall.
The band returns to the Austin festival in March

STAGE ACT: The Ettes are playing US Dates in anticipation of a southern swing for SxSW in March. After that they head out for Europe. All this to support their 2008 release "Crown of Age." (We even hear there's a new EP in the works in 2009!) If you have the chance, you must catch this act!

VIDEO: CROWN OF AGE


VIDEO: MARATHON



The Ettes
Myspace / Web / Facebook


Spend a Few Minutes checking out all these
RSL Viral Video selections:

Subscribe:
The RSL YouTube Page!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ryan Adams quits the Cardinals (and cigarettes) - Or Does He?

DEAR DIARY, I QUIT..... (Actually, Not Really)

In a rambling, somewhat incoherent blog post on the Cardinal's website, musical golden boy Ryan Adams today made some pretty bold and misleading statements causing readers to conclude the fiery and talented 34-year-old musician and author was quitting music. The reasons Adams provides were varied and many (including: lost loves and friendships, sustained hearing damage, long-term stage fright and the loss of his dignity.[?!]) Since that time, Adams has pulled down his statements (which we have available to you here in their entirety) and now claims that despite the clear conviction of his own words - he hasn't quit music and is only taking some time off.

One thing is clear, however, come March - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals will be a thing of the past.


And We Quote: i am excited to step away. i lost more than anyone will ever know (hearing, someone i loved, my sense of dignity, a never ending losing battle with stage fright and now my hearing and balance due to an inner ear issue- people accusing me of not being sober when i am suffering tremendous pain and nausea from my inner ear symptoms... know that i am not abandoning anyone, not the cardinals and not the fans, this is just something i need to do now, and that i loved playing music in the cardinals and hell, even before i was in a place to try and learn to be well, music was my life source- and cardinals was such a heavy crush and a real dream…

To our untrained eyes - Adams' note (which interestingly starts out as a singles ad - see below) was a pretty clear indicator to us that the prolific, emotional and fiery Adams was quitting the Cardinals, a band he put together in 2004, if not the music industry as a whole. (It doesn't really sound like all the years on stage performing for fans made him very happy, or wealthy, or better off.... ?) Even though these were his own words, Adams' assertion this afternoon was that he was misquoted: "Of course everything i said got taken out of context. as always, i did not say i was quitting i said i was taking a step back… so thanks…..thanks again"

EDITOR'S NOTE: From here on, the act of criticizing others for their inability to clearly understand one's own blog ramblings is to be known as "Playing the Axl Rose card." (Named, of course, thanks to Axl's supremely interesting and self-indulgent rants on the GNR website. You're not too far behind the braided one these days, Mr. Adams...)

We really love Ryan Adams' work, but have to repeatedly question his often discombobulated, self-indulgent statements made in recent years. Case in point were the artist's own words used to criticize his Easy Tiger project with the Cardinals. The amazing record was not the record, evidently, the artist wanted to make. Now we find out that he hasn't been happy while creating the music we love. It must be tough for him.

Decide for yourself: Here are Adams' words from earlier today (gone from the site, but I had the foresight to copy them all - predicting there would be some changes or retractions later - certainly after his label had understood the firestorm that these words created....)

DAVID RYAN ADAMS: me- 34-a non smoker and happy, for the first time in my life..

i am excited to finish this wonderful time i have had with the cardinals and whatever new adventures may come after march. atlanta will be my last venture with the band and i am grateful for the time we have had and maybe someday we will have more stories to tell together. i am however ready for quieter times as i think it is very evident i am struggling with some balance and hearing issues.
also, no drama or anything but i am okay to step back from all of this right now and i think i did enough manic blogging when i felt alone and isolated during the last few years of travel. these last few years were the hardest i can remember and the most rewarding but i have loved ones to care for now and i am lucky i have been given a chance to turn around and see just what i am capable of as a friend and as someone who is not gone forever every year- it rendered me incapable of things i needed to be to myself and others- and my schedule sometimes never ended when the shows did- and some of that was my doing. and i lost someone i loved, and i lost myself.
that changed. i got to know just who i am in this little spell of time here recently. and change is the nature of the world and i naturally embrace that.
i won’t be blogging here anymore either- but not for effect- it just is not being kind to myself- i need a life that is mine- i need to grow up and grow in to who i have subtly been working back towards since i stopped all that nonsense and i know also no matter what i choose to do in the music world, because i chose to do things my way and never lie i will always be viewed as an “asshole” ( i hear and have seen things in the past) and i am not, and i know the truth and i know who i am.
also it is kind of ridiculous to blog as i am a musician and anything i say here just gets reprinted at some point out of context. i say NOT FAIR but it doesn’t matter what i say anymore or what is fair anymore really does it- the 21st century media has it’s own rules about what is true and what is not. it is not a life- not one i want to live anyway and i don’t really care to participate in narcissistic over-indulgent behavior anymore- that was never my intention- i just wanted to fight for my right to make music and to be given the benefit of the doubt. now, because i have stood up for myself and fought for myself i am labeled all kinds of awful things. well, i will walk away now and it will not matter what anyone say’s. there are other things i can do in this life, other ways to be creative and to try and help others and be expressive without being demonized for attempting to gain the same things any other human being desires- love- friendship- understanding- and being able to express yourself without constant fear of being mistreated for speaking up
i have friends to make, brand new books coming (two of em’ not counting that one already printed and on it’s way out there and i LOVE writing….yay!) and a whole lot of living and learning to do.
i am excited to step away. i lost more than anyone will ever know (hearing, someone i loved, my sense of dignity, a never ending losing battle with stage fright and now my hearing and balance due to an inner ear issue- people accusing me of not being sober when i am suffering tremendous pain and nausea from my inner ear symptoms- people accusing me of theft (THEFT- ….awful) and this is not much of a life, not glamorous like those ridiculous video’s a long time ago television played and no it is not monetarily as rewarding as people would like you to believe and yes, it is soul destroying. especially when you spend your life trying to write about the really difficult stuff and you stand there losing your way and people yell at you like you were in a circus. when it was your dream to matter and you realize one day, it never mattered- i mean, i am a punch-line and a footnote in what is worse to yell at someone besides “free-bird”. i mean, i lost. and it’s okay because i seriously snuck some pretty neat idea’s in there in the work when i was making those mistakes or they were being made by others. this business is no science.
andf you know, whatever this is- it’s not my dream. and it is a punishing thing to endure when you are getting worse and worse- it’s not my dream, my dream was to try and tap into that energy i saw watching Minutemen vcr tapes when i was just a little shit in NC of mike watt’s crazy shaking leg and his electric fingers- or how sonic youth droned into beautiful clouds those guitars shaking, kim and steve rattling the pulsing lines into feverish thudding imaginary subway cars racing through my heart- and how it felt to just let go and static up a riff and find the sweet spot- but getting yelled at for just being a songwriter- to be called so many horrid things because i chose to love music so much, and also to look for peace and balance in my life- that is not kindness and just not my thing. at least not now.
and i loved somebody. and i let others decided if that was okay and that was wrong and i was wrong and no one should deny themselves or others love or understanding because people don’t get it. that was an awful mistake. i always make big mistakes. it’s like i let myself learn that because that was a role, a niche’ i filled that make sense to a loud voice of strangers who would never really play a real part in my life.
never become that if you choose this path- if you go this route with your art. never listen to those loud dissatisfied bystanders who only want to see you fail because that will be entertaining for that moment. hold fast to your dreams, hold faster to your heart and never step out of the light of that love that made you whole. i did. and i know better now. and better late than never i suppose.
but i am okay now. i see a peaceful way to better days now. i am healing. and most importantly i feel loved and i have learned to treat myself with that same curiosity and lover that i have been lucky enough to feel and to learn to let guide my life. love is the great teacher and i am happy to be learning now. happy to be listening to that over this never ending painful ringing. this is the great lesson of my life. for once i want to be dignified in my study and in one place long enough to hear and understand without my pride or my lack of faith in myself leading me further away from things i need to know once and for all.
this is the real work now. the rest is something else entirely.
quitting smoking was a good step and i am happy i also am just now beginning to understand how important it is i take better care of myself in every way right now. hell i am even beginning to sleep a little and i can feel the things good and bad that i did not have time to feel when i was running towards a new oblivion of work, hoping somehow someday what i did would be accepted and maybe that would make me feel loved. how foolish.
that is not love. love is being accepted for who you are. love is taking care of yourself and caring for others and dreaming out loud when it matters. not chasing rainbows. not hoping for some eventual collective sigh of approval which will never come. how did i ever think in those terms? i always knew better. thank goodness i know now how to be honest with myself.
anyway, enjoy these shows ( i will enjoy them immensely and i will miss them just as much) and know that i am not abandoning anyone, not the cardinals and not the fans, this is just something i need to do now, and that i loved playing music in the cardinals and hell, even before i was in a place to try and learn to be well, music was my life source- and cardinals was such a heavy crush and a real dream…i honor it too much to have any regrets right now, i am just proud.
maybe we will play again sometime and maybe i will work my way back into some kind of music situation but this is the time for me to step back now, to reel it in and i wish everyone peace and happiness and if music is your dream, or if just dreaming is your dream, may you find your way through the rough patch with ease and i hope you let go and it takes you all the way there-

loving kindness to all.
R



Ryan Adams
Good Luck Man, Whatever You Do.

A Look at Adele - the Charmed Singer Plays Boston

Another British Invasion: Its been a pretty rapid rise for British singer Adele, who will be playing a sold out Somerville Theater tonight. In fact, as we look forward through her calendar, it's hard to find a date or a performance that isn't sold out at this point. Adele isn't just a musician - she's her own musical movement.


Adele leads the pack here in 2009.
She plays the intimate Somerville Theatre tonight.

Adele is frequently mentioned in the same breath as great contemporary vocalists Amy Winehouse and Duffy. Each is similar in that not only are they are British women, but that they pull from the same musical palette. Perhaps with good reason... Adele attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, which has a fairly illustrious alumni list, including Winehouse as well as singers Kate Nash and Imogen Heap. The comparisons may be fair - but, having said this... Adele reminded us in an December interview appearing in The Guardian; "We're a gender not a genre".
Everything is still new and developing for this talented singer. Adele won the first ever BRIT Critics' Choice Award for outstanding unsigned artists. She received a Mercury Prize nomination and is also up for four Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Chasing Pavements and Best New Artist. Normally, I think the Grammys are total crap, but they are right in this case.

Adele's debut is 19 - a record that has been met with considerable critical praise and gone certified platinum in sales. (The record is named for the age when she wrote and released it.)

This record is a pleasure, although says that she was miserable when she wrote the songs for it. (It seems high art and heartbreak always go hand in hand.) Her singles such as "Chasing Pavements" and "Right as Rain" are more highly structured and richly produced than the rest of the album. However, for the most part, the songs on 19 are fairly sparse in their arrangement, which allows the listener to soak in the rich velvet of her voice. Check out this live set she did on NPR's World Cafe to get a feel for the power of her vocals.

Adele will reportedly be heading out to California later this year to start work on her second album. I'm looking forward to it. You can follow her adventures on her blog, where she seems to post with some regularity. And, if you can somehow get a ticket for tonight's events, it should be a very special show.
Adele
Web / Myspace

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Daniel Lenz - Beats, Electricity in a Bottle

CREATIVITY HAS A NEW NAME: Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, the producer, programmer, songwriter and Platinum-selling recording artist known as Daniel Lenz is the man behind a lot of dramatic songs you've been hearing over the last few years without even realizing it.

Over the last few years Daniel Lenz has been creating tracks for Film, Television, Advertising and Video Games. (Charlie’s Angels, Saw IV, Beowulf, Love Guru, The Ruins, “Burn Notice”, “Mad Men”, “CSI” and many others.)


Daniel Lenz

Techno and Rave audiences will know Lenz through his works as the co-founder of both Psykosonik and Hednoize. Much of this reputation, while hard-fought, will soon be changed. Lenz has finally released his debut solo album - Stuck In A Dream, and it's pretty incredible. Typical song structures include subtle elements rising to form ethereal structures of light. Others find the listener bouncing along to pulse-pounding industrial grooves that motivate. All of the songs find the beats building to something greater. - And, we can't help think that's the perfect description for Lenz's own career. RSL Record Grade: This one's a winner.


Debut Album - Now on Sale!



DANIEL LENZ
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hide the Children! The Local Natives have Arrived

SHOWS OF NOTE / A NEW FAVORITE:

Tonight
, RSL recommends you fight through the cold and see what all the fuss is about. Los Angeles' Local Natives created quite a bit of buzz at home prior to embarking on a coast-to-coast national tour this Winter. The results of this fun frenetic tour with this currently UNSIGNED band have been somewhat predictable.... People love them!

Tonight they play TT the Bears in Cambridge. Put your winter gear on but bring your dancing shoes with ya!


Go Native!
WINTER TOUR VIDEO

Early indications are the five members of Local Natives pull together delicate harmonies with energetic guitars, drums and keys, to create songs that have both depth and subtlety. In this way, they sometimes sound like Talking Heads, whose classic “Warning Sign” the Natives recently covered, making it their own...

Local Natives - Warning Sign
(Talking Heads Cover)


Critics around the country are getting excited about this band. Don’t miss out on the chance to stay ahead of the curve and advance your musical taste buds. Doors tonight at TTs are 8pm. Along with Local Natives (who go on early at 9:45), you get also get special performances tonight from Whistlejacket, Voxhaul Broadcast and The Union Line - just $7.

We'll see you there!

Local Natives Myspace

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Excitement and Intrigue from NY's MURDER MYSTERY

THIS JUST IN: It's been a few months since I last heard from my friends in NYC's Murder Mystery, but they dropped me a line this week with word that the band is finishing a new record in 2009. Some songs have already been recorded and more are in the works. This is very good news!

Weekend Artist Profile:

MURDER MYSTERY

THE LATEST FROM THIS BAND: Murder Mystery are Jeremy, Laura, Adam and Graham. The band released the enigmatic and fun Are You Ready for the Heartache - Cause Here It Is album in 2007 to some pretty high praise from journalists and bloggers alike. [* Here's the RSL album review.] Based on what we've heard for ourselves (we booked the band to play two RSL presents live music showcases)... This band proved that they have a very promising future!

SNEAK PEAK only available right now on the RSL Music Blog...

New & Unreleased!
The World

from 2007's Are You Ready for the Heartache - Cause Here It Is
Love Astronaut

Check This Band Out!
Murder Mystery Myspace

Friday, January 09, 2009

Jason Bajada - You Are A Runner (I Am My Father's Son)

ARTIST PROFILE: After two independent albums, Puer Dolor and Up Go The Arms, Montreal singer-songwriter Jason Bajada has joined MapleMusic Recordings for the release of his third album Loveshit. Though the first two albums earned him accolades as one of Montreal’s best songwriters, listeners will be privy to Bajada’s best work yet with Loveshit.


Despite the fact that the songs were conceived in various cities across the continent, including Halifax and Los Angeles, the album is very much intertwined with Montreal. It was recorded at Troublemakers Studio in Montreal and includes a cover of You Are A Runner (And I Am My Father’s Son) by fellow Montrealers Wolf Parade.

As for the cover of Wolf Parade - it's a real winner. Bajada takes the jangly, rumbling brilliant "You Are A Runner" and makes it his own. The result: a dark, folk version of this modern classic. This one will be in our heads all day long!



JASON BAJADA
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fleet Foxes give us Instant Nostalgia

Editor's Note: It was a great challenge selecting our Top 20 Albums of the Year. When we were all through, we started checking out the selections of our peers. We saw some similarities in our picks but for the most part, our choices for the best were just different. Case in point, the subject of today's post. Time and Time again during our search of peer blogs, we looked upon the name Fleet Foxes. Each time, we rolled our shoulders and shrugged. None of us detest the band, but none of us could hear the magic or feel the love. This is the story of our writer-debate here on the RSL.

Coincidentally, there are a number of 2008 projects and songs we didn't yet shower sufficient praise on. That must mean it's about time for the Annual RSL Music Awards. [Link to 2007 ] Next week, we put the final wrap on 2008 and recap our selections for the year's most choice (and often the most overlooked materials.) We promise that much will be new to your ears and a real treat.

FLEET FOXES made a Lot of Noise this Year

DID WE MISS SOMETHING?

DATELINE: At the Center of the Indie Rock Universe - It’s all true. Listening to Fleet Foxes gives us a trip back to a period of classic late 60s and early 70s music. They do a good job of sounding like The Beach Boys, The Eagles, or Crosby. Stills, Nash and Young, at their best.

The band is technically great, demonstrating a sensitive "mastery" of their instruments. This skill allows them to play with confidence under the prerequisite floods of reverb suitable for the period to which they are playing homage. (Are you already catching the drift?)

The vocals on this album are pretty close to pitch-perfect, even in what sounds like four or five part harmonies. As legions of reviewers have concluded then, it is true that these Foxes are the complete package...

But let me step out of this company line for a moment... Let us depart from the well-trod upon path of reviewers paying considerable praise to Fleet Foxes’s "genius" eponymous album.

Haven't We Heard this All Before?

This New Record just Reminded us of The Past


We ask fair but difficult questions: Is this effort, this homage to Fleet Foxes' musical heroes, just too a little too close to the original? (I suppose you could reword it like this: At what point is imitation not flattery?) Does this effort from Fleet Foxes really give the world anything original? Is this band a living and breathing bit of nostalgia?

It is a bit unfortunate that the latest generation of music lovers needs to be re-educated about the past by listening to it being played by the young... We can't and we won't end up hating the Foxes- it's tough to detest something this skilled. But we have to question the creative value of this one.

Our Conclusion: Fleet Foxes were fun fare, but hardly "Best of." Our recommendation is to head to your local record shop and buy the original material from the classic rock heavy-hitters who did it the first time. Fleet Foxes are pretty good stuff, but they just made us nostalgic for the past.

FLEET FOXES
Web / Myspace / Facebook

RELATED PIECE:
Beck's Modern Guilt (2008)
"Not As Good As They Say"