Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Editors -- An End Has a Start

For many, UK's Editors debut The Back Room was viewed as quite possibly the best indie rock album the past 4 years had seen. Less than 2 years later they deliver their follow-up with similar results, via a mixture of equally dark and moody songs. Editors have beCarlos D, in desperate need of a mustache Editoren compared nauseatingly to a plethora of 70's/80's post-punk bands (Joy Division/Echo & The Bunnymen/Chameleons) as well as their contemporaries (mainly Interpol), so no need to rehash those comparisons and debates here. The influences are obvious, but Editors have their own take and style, making music that jumps out as fresh and vibrant while maintaining an air of familiarity. The Back Room features so many outstanding tracks, it's tough to fathom Tom Smith & Co topping that. The only knock against their debut is that many of the songs feature the same driving fifth gear tempo, so it can begin to sound same'ish on the surface.

Wisely, Editors don't change too much of what worked so well last time, nor do they stand flat-footed in reNothing says class like a limo that looks like a school bus.verence of the kudos received for an exceptional debut. Half the album ("Bones", "Racing Rats", "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors", "An End Has A Start" and "Empty the Nest") could be mistaken as A-Team material from The Back Room. The other half is where the band’s range is expanded, throwing in some new wrinkles courtesy of a few slower tempo building songs, as well as adding piano and keyboards to the arsenal. "Put Your Towards the Air" opens with the best humming seen since Crash Test Dummies' "MMM MMM MMM MMM" (similar humming is also found on "The Weight of the World" & “When Anger Shows”).

While not a concept album, it’s obvious that death, and its stamp on loved ones left behind is a central theme of Tom Smith's tunes. The title track finds Smith bellowing “More and more people I know are getting ill (Put something good on the ashes now be sMore like half a bones.till)…But in the end, still my broken limbs, will find time to mend”. On "The Weight of the World" Smith sings, "You fuse my broken bones back together again, lift the weight of the world". The song is very appropriately buoyed by Urbanowicz's furious high pitched piercing guitar, which sounds like more like a micro-surgical saw than a musical instrument. The very next track “Bones”, features a chorus of “Bones, Starved of flesh, Surround an aching heart, Full of love”. Throughout the album, Urbanowicz's guitar work is lightening fast and sharp like an instrument of death. As The Fray have the Grey’s Anatomy market covered, it’s not difficult to imagine any number of songs being fittingly used in a future episode of Nip/Tuck or an operating room scene in a movie. The choice tracks of the bunch may be the three (“When Anger Shows”, “Spiders”, “Put Your HeaAll in on the DMHd Towards the Air”) in which the band shows its proficient ability to start slowly and build up in waves, rather than kicking off with an immediate blazing intro. All three also prominently feature Smith’s piano chops, hinting at the variety of sounds that the band’s capable of on later releases when they are unshackled to take more risks.

The only major flaw with the album is its closer, “Well Worn Hand”, which displays an anguished Tom Smith singing shakily sans his normally confident baritone on the slow piano ballad. It's questionable as to why this song was picked to be on the album, much less as the finale, other than it holds a heaJacknife's what me mum named me.vy load of personal sentiment for Smith (a song about a friend’s suicide). The b-sides off The Back Room revealed material that was arguably as strong as anything on the LP. “You Are Fading” is arguably Editors’ best song, and didn't even make the first cut for the original debut (released on rare bonus disc for The Back Room).

The overall sound on An End Has a Start is anthemic arena rock (obvs, Jacknife Lee produced it), reminiscent of the glory years of U2 & REM. Whereas Coldplay/Idlewild/ Snow Patrol/The Killers have all recently gone for the big epic arena rock sound, Editors are actually able to pull it off without pretension, without sounding too slick, and without being too brooding and morbidly depressing. Where others fail, Editors seem to get that drama just for the sake of drama is anything but. While the songs appear to be rooted by an obsession with death, Smith's conviction and earnestness somehow manages to put the listener's mind at ease with a feeling of hope and survival amidst omnipresent fear and paranoia. Much like its predecessor, this album grows on you and the layers of sounds are pealed away with each listen. If The Back Room didn’t win you over, it’s unlikely that this album will change your mind.

Rating: 5/5


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Monday, June 25, 2007

June 26 Notable Releases

A few of the 2,657 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

The Trio of Doom --
The Trio of Doom. In 1979, Tony Williams, John McLaughlin, and Jaco Pastorius -- all masters of the jazz-fusion idiom on their respective instruments appeared together at the Havana Jazz Festival. The first 5 tracks of this album are that performance (warning, it's described as "miss-miced"), the second are studio takes and alternate takes of the same songs recorded in NYC a week later. In other words, the Trio of Doom takes on a different meaning depending on your opinion of late '70's jazz-fusion.

Kelly Clarkson -- My December. Who's High Pitch? [Still funny.]

Ryan Adams -- Easy Tiger. A fascinating artist who manages to release more recordings than practically any of his peers, and still find a way to have every one of them declared a comeback or return to form. It's all the more amazing when you consider that he's never really broken into the middle, much less the top.

Hannah Montana --
Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus. Is this like a Chris Gaines thing for pre-teens? I can't wait for 3, I Stabbed that Hannah Bitch in the Eye, by One-eyed Miley.

The Beastie Boys -- The Mix-Up. The Beasties follow up their previous "return to form" To the 5 Borroughs, a mixed affair of old school rap with a return to another of their forms, the jazz-funk instrumentals that dotted the Rubber Soul/Revolver of alt rock/rap, Check Your Head/Ill Communication. It is good to see Money Mark working.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Dan Deacon -- Spiderman of the Rings

Usually, here on recordreviews.org, we try to review albums in the week they come out. That rule is in place, because popular music is inherently disposable -- what's the point of writing a review of a month old album just to tell people it's awesome or it sucks. By that time, most people have already made their own call.

I've made an exception here for Dan Deacon, because Spiderman of the Rings is the kind of album most people will never hear and it is one of the most joyous musical experiences of year. It's passionate, exuberant and one of the best things I've heard since I started this site. I've been meaning to write about it, I like it better all the time, so I'm making sure I get this review out in the ether.

Like many people, I first heard of Dan Deacon via this odd little internet video from several years ago (before You Tube made everyone famous). It's Dan playing music "really cool 6 year olds would write if they had this stuff" on Good Morning Savannah with a very respectful host and a weather report in the middle. I thought it was interesting, but I didn't necessarily see this panning out to bigger and better things -- this seemed like a likely career peak.

Two or three years later we have Spiderman of the Rings with songs like "Okie Dokie" -- an infectious electonica wonder with a chorus that defies you to forget it. If you've heard it, you're probably singing "I've got a rattlesnake gun" and "I've got an aerosmith gun"1 right now. And why the hell not. This is a song that at it's core, is about having fun -- something virtually lost on most recording artists today, who are either dour, preaching over consumption, or choking on their own intellect or clever popstar aspirations.
Not that the music is stupid -- it just plays stupid in the vein of the best of Devo -- who would never be confused with actual ignorance. In fact, the best compliment by way of analogy I can pay this album is that it sounds very much like the score to an unreleased Wes Anderson Movie about Wayne Coyne's dreams, composed by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Take this little review as my apology for not reviewing this album earlier and if you've already got it, well then you know what I'm talking about.

Rating: 5/5


1I have no idea what an Aerosmith gun is or where one could be appropriated. Is it for hunting Aerosmiths? Does it fire Aerosmiths? Projectile Joe Perrys to win the war on terror? I do know however, that I would like to buy an Aerosmith gun, if you know where to get one.

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What happens when you've made all the reasonable cut back and you can't raise taxes on anything most people will notice, because it'll never make it past your retarded legislature?

You get proposed taxes on ticket sellers.

I'd go into to it more, but Jasper and Whalebomb have done an admirable job over at webvomit. Their well informed opinions are based by solid logic, which can basically be boiled down to -- don't believe that Ticketmaster has the best interest of concert goers at heart and don't believe Mike Illitch isn't more concerned about his own wallet than yours. I've received emails from Palace Sports and Entertainment as well asking me to "oppose" this terrible injustice.

The Illitch's have spent a lot of money in Detroit, created a nice little stretch of Woodward Detroit can be proud of and rebuilt horrible sports franchises into winners (don't forget the Red Wings sucked bad in the seventies and eighties), but they are notoriously "forgetful" about paying contractors and other companies they do business with. I'd usually hate to throw off such a generalization about a whole family, except that I personally know of examples of Little Cesar's, Olympia Entertainment and the grown Illitch children all stiffing other people and companies with the bill.

PS I'm eating leftover $7 dollar deep dish as I type this, great deal.

Ignore the ads and support the ticket tax or luxury tax or whatever, the state is in a budget crisis and while there's likely pork out there to be cut, we need to keep funding our roads, education and business development (particularly in the tech sectors.)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mandy Moore -- Wild Hope.

Pure Chewing Satisfaction?

In a world of narcissistic celebrities where the career lines between pop star and actor are blurry at best, Mandy Moore is a breath of fresh air playing the other side. She has a self-deprecatinIt's like waiting for a tooth to be pulled... nearly as bad as the real thing.g dark sense of humor that endears her even more to the 16-35 crowd, as she releases more albums, stars in more films, and gets more ink in the tabloids. While many celebs try to sell that angle, it usually comes off as disingenuous. In Moore's case, you sense that it's actually sincere and her way of keeping herself grounded. Moore even went so far as to offer to refund money (if she could) to fans who purchased her first two albums (''I feel bad that people wasted their money on such trite, blah pop music"). She also recently kicked it up a notch, BAM! (Emeril style) by saying she's neither a good actress nor a good singer. By in large an overstatement to say the least, but she must be her own worst critic and ego checkmate at the same time.

Moore has a natural enchanting charm (or is that the Neutrogena?) that makes you want to like whatever she does, even if the overall product is mediocre at best or even downright worst. While I haven't seen Because I Said So, I imagine I would feel pretty bad saying that it's (probably) a movie best left never revealed. One also can't help but feel sorry for her when she's linked romantically to perennial Douche of the Year contenders such as Zach Braff and Wilmer "Fez" Valderama. Her (former) record company Epic didn't help her cause by releasing a greatest hits album in 2004, after just 2 and a half albums and a covers compilation (Coverage); saving ipods everywhere from the lDon't forget DJAM, he's a KEEPER!aborious chore of utilizing its shuffle function.

Moore's latest music effort, Wild Hope, can be best described as Care Free chewing gum. Nothing you have to hurt yourself thinking about too much, even enjoyable, but unfortunately there's not much flavor left within minutes of the first chew. Wild Hope is breezy like Natalie Imbruglia, Jewel, Paula Cole, or Sarah MacLachlan tunes. It's also nice to hear a female pop artist not snarl bitterly like Kelly Clarkson's recent review of her stay in Negative Town, or dumb it down five shades like Avril and Pink in Sparkle Motion Land. Moore's seamlessly moved on from the teen pop demographic to the adult alt-pop arena, all without alienating her largely teen fan base. Moore co-wrote all of Wild Hope w/ the help of Rachel Yamagata, Chantal Kreviazuk (Clarkson/Lavigne), and Lori McKenna (among others). While the songs are all fine and dandy, there's nothing remarkable or striking about them that commands an album purchase or many repeat listens for casual fans. Moore's voice, while pleasing to the ear, just doesn't have enough separation between her and every other female pop singer going these days.
Nobody, not nobody, is bigger than BICE!
Wild Hope moves back-and-forth from pop/light rock/country genres, offering at least something for everyone. Most songs lack the huge chorus critical for radio commercial success. “Ladies Choice” features nice string and piano arrangements and sounds like it could’ve been a quality b-side to Clarkson’s “Breakaway”. The title track gets grounded in the land of blah, never really taking the listener anywhere. “Gardenia” is a pretty slow piano ballad, but Moore reveals “I’m the one who likes to make love on the floor”, which is pretty hott. The slightly laughable, “She likes chocolate in the morning, she drinks her coffee late at night” in the country rock tinged “Can’t You Just Adore Her” will make its fair share of eyes roll. “Latest Mistake” and “Slummin’ In Paradise” are catchy summer pop singles likely to have the most commercial success. Country/folk song “Most of Me” may be the strongest song here. Throughout Wild Hope, Moore showcases her strong focus on melody and pop instincts, even if the results fall just slightly off the mark.

Say what you will about Mandy Moore's music, Stunning by compari-duff-sonI for one will take any future slightly bland and not so adventurous Mandy Moore effort over a White Stripes album any day of the week, especially on days when both have free sendspace files hitting my inbox1, er...albums hitting the shelves at Wal*Mart. While Moore comes off as a jack-of-all-trades/ master-of-none, Wild Hope is solid step in the right direction for Moore trying to put some air between her teen pop days. 7 years ago who would have predicted that of Britney/X-tina/Jessica/Moore, she would be the one flying under the radar toward the most long-term career success?

Rating: 3/5 or half a smiley face


1Editor's note: "We have no idea what you are talking about, do they have the internet on computers now?"

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Roderic Goes Down, Holy Effing Crap Roderic Goes Down!!!!

Roderic Collin's
9 year reign as Blimpy Burger eating champion has ended, not with a bang, but likely the complete destruction of the new champ, James Rocker's colon.

He ate 40 patties (that's 4 pounds of meat folks) divided into four 10 patty burgers in under 3 hours. Only the first one had cheese, the rest had only ketchup meat and bread.... pussy.

The king is dead, long live the live the Rocker.

via the greatest blog in the world, a hamburger today

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Monday, June 18, 2007

June 19 Notable Releases

A few of the 1,680 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

The White Stripes -- Icky Thump. Jack White is opinionated, infuriating, mercurial, a damn clever song writer, a damn savvy marketer and if his own words and actions are to be believed (we can never be sure) damn ignorant about the future of the business of recording music. In other words, he remains interesting in a lost sea of bland.

Mooney Suzuki --
Have Mercy. Once upon a time, these New Yorkers (one a refugee from Two Skinny J's) journeyed to Detroit (but not South Detroit) to catch the garage buzz of Ghetto Recorders. What seemed liked the beginning of something interesting for both the band and Jim Diamond increasingly looks like a swan song. Most of Jim's other "essential recordings" pre-date Electric Sweat, he lost his court battle with Jack and Meg over "the sound" likely chasing away some business in the process (and no doubt part of Jack's decision to leave town). Meanwhile, the most purely accessible American garage band of the garage boom lost their way in the Matrix and will likely find themselves a footnote before long.

Jennifer Gentle -- The Midnight Room. Remember when the mere mention of prog-rock could make you nauseous? These guys do and they'd love to send your stomach churning you with a 20 minute synth solo dedicated to the battle of gnomes and the fairy people of the wood.

Mandy Moore -- Wild Hope. My wild hope is that your movie with Robin Williams as a priest won't be the worst movie ever made and ruin both what's left of your career and forever doom the rise of the dude who plays Jim on the Office... but dreams are made to be broken.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Question Number 1, Will They Still Serve Beer?

That was the first imaginary question I asked the imaginary manager of the new Fillmore Theater here in Detroit... in my imagination!

I imagine the answer is yes, so basically I'm really not concerned that the State Theater is being renamed as part of a Clear Channel/Live Nation plan to build a national concert venue brand on the equity of the classic Bill Graham venues. Imagine that!

While the State Theater has hosted it's share of great shows, it does bare noting that the venue has only been called the State Theater since sometime in 1991, prior to that it spent a short time as Clubland, primarily a large nightclub that began hosting shows during alternative rock's grunge filled MTV explosion years. Previously, it was vacant for many years before Little Cesar barron Mike Illitch began the slow resurgence of the neighborhood by restoring the Fox Theater complex next door. The venue, like the Fox, was originally a movie palace known as the Palms.

So, as much as I've enjoyed the State over the years, it's not as if the Clear Channel bozo's were renaming Carnegie Hall, I'll get over it.

But changes are a good time for reflection and based on the suggestion of one of our contributors, the legendary Nummer, I've asked a few people to share their memories of the venue formally known as State. It was such a good idea that one Detroit News Pop Music writer that I'll refer to only as A. Graham to protect his identity, blogged about it today over at the detnews.com -- I've decided to republish his response in it's entirety because I want to work on my cut and paste skills.

The first show I ever saw at the State Theater was in November of 1992, about a year after it took that name full time. My Dad took myself and three friends to see Jethro Tull. The funny thing was, while my Dad is a big classic rock fan, he really was never into the flute fueled blues-prog rock of Ian Anderson and company. Nor has he ever to my knowledge, owned, worn or much less befriended an Aqualung.

Dad was simply doing his fatherly duty, showing his kid and some friends a good time involving live rock n' roll (and probably looking over our shoulders to make sure we didn't "accidentally" get some beer or weed from old stoners who had basically been high since the real Jethro Tull was drilling seeds.) In the event I ever have children, would I, could I endulge said children's burgeoning interest in vintage rock by ac
companying them to a Collective Soul or god forbid, Bush reunion tour?

I think I may have to buy him TWO ties this father's day.

I've since seen many shows at the State (but not nearly as many as other contributors), Beck, The Strokes, Tenacious D (a couple weeks after 9-11 when everyone was still coming out of their cable news hibernation) and recently a fantastic and horribly attended set by Mastodon that I mentioned on this blog previously. But honestly, none of those shows had as many memorable flute solos.

T. Wicks

My 5 most memorable State Theater experiences (thank you for asking):

1. An on-their-last-legs Replacements. Bob and Chris were both MIA by this point, but I still wish I could go back in time and re-live this one.

2. Urge Overkill, riding high on “Saturation,” wearing gold medallions and shirts that spelled out U-R-G-E, left to right across the stage.

3. Sneaking onto the main floor for the Beastie Boys after the just-released Check Your Head. They opened with “Slow and Low,” and a guy promptly jumped off a railing and flattened me.

4. Red Hot Chili Peppers/Smashing Pumpkins/Pearl Jam. Ned Coho bought a Chili Peppers T-shirt and lost it minutes later in the main floor melee’.

5. Chris Isaak goofing on the names of Detroit automobiles, particularly the Ford “Probe.” Late in the show, he exited the stage and reappeared in the upper balcony with a spotlight hitting his disco-ball suit.

Nummer's Top Two State Theater Memories

10/12/94 - Live/Weezer/Fatima Mansions: I was 16 and this was my first show without parents. Went with my junior year high school girlfriend Heather and our mutual friend Kristin. We took Kristin's car (which featured a NIN bandana safety pinned to the ceiling) and listened to Greta's "No Biting" album on cassette during the drive down. Legendary.

That night also marked one of my first ever encounters with the homeless. As we approached the entrance (we parked in a vacant lot where Comerica Park now stands), a grizzled street person giving out plastic jewelry for money came up to us. He looked our group over, reached into his bag, and gave me a gold colored bead necklace explaining I deserved it at no cost because I was "a pimp with two ladies on my arm". Welcome to Detroit, and true or false: I wore that necklace under my shirt the next day in school?

7/11/00 & 7/12/00 - Limp Bizkit/Cypress Hill: I'm not a Limp Bizkit fan and I was only there because I worked for 89X's Promotions Department that Summer, but man o' man, talk about NUTS. The shows were free, people camped (some for 40+ hours) in lines wrapped through dozens of city blocks, MTV was out in full force and I got mobbed for running out of free 89X t-shirts that said "I Waited in Line for the Nookie".

The scene inside was even crazier: crowds in the balcony and mezzanine sections were jumping around so much you could literally see the upper level moving up and down out of its foundation. And downstairs? The main stage was surrounded by a 20-foot-tall chain link fence so nobody could mob Durst and Borland. Adding to the entertainment were morons attempting to scale said fence only to be shaken off by security guards forcing a free fall back to the floor. Thank God for the boosted up medical staff with all those stretchers.

The music may have sucked, and I definitely got sick of red baseball hats, but those shows will never be forgotten. I even still have my bottle of "hot dog flavored" water - unopened.

Top 5 Honorable Mentions:

3/30/96 - Foo Fighters/that dog.

8/15/97 - Radiohead

2/23/00 - Kids in the Hall

5/10/02 - Belle & Sebastian

6/3/05 - Kraftwerk

Adem "Shoosh, he's the Greatest Grizz in the World" Graham
, as originally published on the Detroit News Music Blog.

With tomorrow's concert from the Fergalicious one herself, the State Theater officially becomes The Fillmore Detroit.

And What's in a name? Not much if the fact that everyone still calls DTE Energy Music Theatre "Pine Knob" is any indication, the State Theatre isn't really going anywhere.

Still, it is the end of an era of sorts for the 3,000 seat theatre that has consistently ranked as one of Detroit's best concert venues.

The State plays host to bands that are on their way up or huge bands looking for a retreat from the spotlight, craving a more intimate setting. I've seen dozens of shows there from bands who've gone on to great things and bands who've gone on to nothing.

And that will continue. Still, now is as good a time as any to look back at the good ol' State Theatre, a venue that's always been there for concert fans and will continue to be there even in its new, super-corporate incarnation.

With no further ado, here are my first-ever State Theatre Awards:


3. Hole, 2000. Remember when Hole went on tour with Marilyn Manson? Yeah, that didn't go so well, and Hole dropped off the bill a few weeks into the tour and came back on their own, which is when Courtney and the crew came through the State. She was a hot mess on this night, pulling kids out of the crowd and on to the stage and at one point climbing on to the knights that flank the stage and grinding on them as if she was giving them a lap dance. Crazy awesome.

2. Wu Tang Clan, July 30, 2000. Chaos, tons of dudes on stage, each with their own towels. I remember after this show I wanted to always carry a towel with me but never got around to it. I can't remember if ODB was there, but I know Method Man dove into the crowd. Probably the best rap show I've ever seen.

1. Smashing Pumpkins, June 30, 1996. At the time, the Pumpkins were the biggest band in the world -- but not big enough to sell out two nights at the Palace. The second show was moved to the State Theatre at the last minute, and the Pumpkins raged for what I swear was at least two and a half hours and no less than three encores. I may have embellished these facts in my head, but that's the way I remember it. Perfect, and to-date the best concert I've ever seen.


Travis, Oct. 29, 2003. The normally lovable Brit-poppers were touring on their atrocious "12 Memories" album and put on a dead-boring set puncuated by a 4-years-past-cool cover of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time." Awful.


Missing Bjork, 8/5/95 and missing Britney Spears, 8/24/99. Also, hanging out at the bar and talking through Sigur Ros on 11/9/02. I don't remember the conversations I had, but I remember missing one of the most majestic show's I'd ever been to. Rats. One last regret: Getting to the Green Day show on 11/20/97 almost halfway through the show. But even though I missed half of it -- my buddy and I got lost on the way down from MSU -- it was still killer. Solo electric "Good Riddance!"


When I met Fiona Apple in 1999 and asked her, "How's Paul?" (She was dating "Boogie Nights" director Paul Thomas Anderson at the time.)


Velvet Revolver, 5/20/04. Before their first album came out -- which significantly lowered everyone's expectations of the band -- these refugee rockers put on a blistering show, which peaked with Slash rocking out a guitar solo from the top of a stack of speakers.


Audioslave, 2/28/03. As I recall, my wife (then girlfriend) and I got there at 8 p.m. and the band had already been on for 30 minutes, and they were done by 9 p.m. What, Chris Cornell's got an early bedtime now? What would Kim Thayil say?


Motley Crue, 10/23/98. Or maybe I was just overly excited because I slapped Tommy Lee's hand at the end of the show.


Toad the Wet Sprocket w/ Hootie and the Blowfish, 3/28/95. Dude, give me a break. I was in high school!


Mastodon w/ Against Me!, 5/13/07. Epic, even though everyone fled after the openers.


Liam Gallagher of Oasis, who pretty much stared down audience members the entire concert both times I saw them, on 3/3/96 and 3/19/00.


Radiohead, 8/15/97. People talk about this show in legendary terms, but I was only so-so on it. They were much better at the Sanctum on 4/5/96.


Limp Bizkit, 7/11/00-7/12/00. The free, Napster-sponsored show unfolded behind a massive chain link fence that practically begged audience members to climb on to stage and to throw bottles at Fred Durst. And few would have blamed them.


Marilyn Manson, 9/14/98. The Antichrist Superstar prowled the stage on stilts for part of the show on this "Mechanical Animals" tour stop. I can't remember if he had the fake boobs or not, though.


Garbage, 11/12/98. Shirley Manson still owns.


Shady Bowl Super Party, 2/4/06. Hey now! Yes, that's a pen in my pocket, I'm a reporter. Twice as intense as the pat-down at the actual Super Bowl.


Nas, 4/19/07. Only show I can remember being at, ever, that didn't have a merch table.


I saw the Insane Clown Posse at the State Theatre twice, in 1997, at the height of the "Great Milenko" controversy and at their Hallowicked show in 2006. In between, little evolved except the flavors of Faygo being kicked around. Happily, some things never change.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

June 12 Notable Releases

A few of the 2,035 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

Queens of the Stone Age -- Era Vulgaris. While it remains tempting to look at everything QotSA does through the, "what if Oliveri was still around" lens, it's a fact that few bands have cultivated such a unique and consistent voice in the rock vein in the 2000's.

Various Artists -- Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. It's difficult to put a dollar amount on these kind of things -- because they do bring awareness to serious problems like Darfur that for whatever reason, often fail to capture the popular consciousness -- awareness is expensive, trust me. But at the same time, the money and effort that goes into the album sometimes seems difficult to recoup. Honestly, I'd just suggest buying a couple of John Lennon albums and making a donation straight to Amnesty International -- no reason to bring Green and Day into this.

Toby Keith -- Big Dog Daddy. Boots. Ass. Whiskey. Beer. Strong preference for domestically branded full-size pickups... check, check, check, check. If it ain't broke don't fix it, you know like the War in I-raq. Honestly, instead of buying this I'd just suggest you support America's troops with a donation to the USO's carepackage program -- if you feel so inclined, include a note with your donation that alludes to the fact that things are bad enough for the troops over there without the periodic USO sponsored visits from Toby Keith.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Battles -- MirroredYou aren't popular with girls!

Do you know that James L. Brooks line? The one about "the Simpsons theme"?

No? OK, well some us couldn’t get a date in High School. Lay off.

You aren't popular with girls!Story goes that executives from FOX are standing around listening to music for the first episode of the Simpsons and no one likes Dan Elfman’s theme: no warm, memorable easy-to-sing-along-too words ala Cheers, a weird tempo that’s jaunty and sweeping at once—ratings poison, right? So they’re getting ready to ax it and in walks Brooks and he goes, "Oh my god! This is great. It’s like lemmings-marching-to-their-death music." And so they stick with it.

Underground electronica rockers Battles make lemmings-marching-to-their-death music. It’s not the dense, dour prog of black-clad Germans. It’s buoyant, dashing math rock for Xbox addicts and the pedal-obsessed space-rock faction of the Lollipop Guild.

Click through for awesomenessMaybe that sounds terrible to you. Be warned, the potential annoyance factor here is pretty high. If the idea of Can or Tangerine Dream covering "the theme from the Smurfs" horrifies you more than it fascinates you (which admittedly it should), then this record might be "too hot for your chinchilla".

The vocals are all filtered yelps and keening nonsense—no actual words anyone seems able to pull out. They seem incidental and absurd until you get to the final moments of "Rainbow," when singer Tyondai Braxton finally sounds like a human, even if he still isn’t singing a single real word. It’s oddly touching, one of many little ghosts in the machine.

Raised by fairies, obvs.My passing, uninformed opinion of Bjork and the people who make music to rip-off and/or impress Bjork is they aren’t enjoying themselves these days, like they feel they’ve evolved past it. To quote an old SM t-shirt. "Fuck Art, Let’s Dance." If there’s a place on your hard drive for the crushing beauty of Sigur Ros or paranoid builds of Godspeed, You Black Emperor, then maybe there’s a spot for this record.

It’s experimental music that’s pulling listeners in, instead of shutting them out. Raymond Scott, the unsung genius of Warner Brothers cartoon soundtracks and an early electronic instrument pioneer, would be proud.

Rating: 3/5

-Dmitri Jr.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Great Lakes Myth Society -- Compass Rose Bouquet

Check my flo.

While we lack the empirical evidence improved measurements of background microwave radiation and dark matter may one day provide to prove or disprove their actual existence -- there are interpretations of quantum physics that allow for alternate universes to exist in parallel to our own.Basically a paycheck, right Spock, you were in search of some bread

Under the rather conservative, if not controversial interpretation of Hugh Everett III, all these alternate universes are identical, but exist in different states.

But enough of that cosmological fiddle faddle we all learned in our level training at the genius academy (Oh, sorry... didn't realize YOU didn't attend the genius academy like some of us) and peep this shit, cause it'll blow your whole tautology broseph.

Great Lakes Myth Society prove the existence of alternate planes of reality.

They come from a universe identical to our own, but one that is in a different state.

Over there, The Kingston Trio blew up on Sullivan, instead of tIt is like math and shit, you wouldn't understandhe Beatles and pursued studio based innovation at the end of the '60's that in many ways remains unparalleled. The Beatles, still exist there mind you and their skiffle records are tasty if you can find them in a used record shop. Fairport Convention, not Led Zeppelin roared out of England and defined much of the pop culture landscape of the 1970's, red snappers and all. The '80's saw the rise of a hungry Irish band that remains among the most popular across the globe, The Pouges. Some say U2 would have been big too if they had ever embraced the folk-pop and left the rock behind... also, if Bono hadn't been such a raging alcoholic and married the Edge's mom, perhaps the disastrous club tour Zoo TV, with that stupid 27" Zenith could have been avoidIt ain't me babe, oh wait, ah, yes, yes it is in fact meed.

Dylan is still Dylan, obvs.

In their home state of reality, Great Lakes Myth Society dictated the terms of their major label contract and the most talented Coppola relatives fought over who would direct their videos (would you believe Nick Cage won?) Their NME cover issue came shrink wrapped with a limited edition Edison Wax Cylinder of explosion sounds, entitled, "Boom. Did you hear that? GLMS just blew your mind."

Back here in my world, GLMS is celebrating the release of Compass Rose Bouquet with a June 9 cd release party at the Stick. It's solid sophmore album of folky-pop that shimmers with creative anachronism and poetic narrative. To the band's considerable credit, the album not only survives, but rather thrives on the contributions of three separate songwriters -- often a recipe for disaster. While the tone may shift and the tenors each take their turn at the helm Compass Rose Bouquet can be called nothing if not consistent and surprising.

Great Lakes Myth SocietyThe whole album, though clearly not eschewing modern synthesizers and electronic flourishes is largely arranged with traditional instruments and it is tempting to want to impose a completely acoustic framework on songs drenched in hot running nostalgia and cold historical regrets. But the Great Lakes cannot be bound by the preconceived notions of long dead record store bins and so they've wrapped their music in a completely modern production aesthetic. While I suspect the smoke and beer of the club circuit will continue to provide considerable more grit to the GLMS live sets than is on display here, the modern sheen on an album so rooted in the past was bold and throughly successful choice.

In short, pick up Compass Rose Bouquet and be sure to check out Great Lakes Myth Society as they tour through a reality near you.

Rating: 4/5


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Monday, June 04, 2007

DETOUR Magazine Launches

You could call one J.T. Loftus many things.

High Life enthusiast.
raconteur (with the small "r," NATCH).
A scholar of rock...

And now it seems we should add to the list amateur entomologist and skate culture historian.

Busy dude.

Be sure to check out the rest of the newly launched DETOUR Magazine, streaming live to world from the seedy bowels of Royal Oak, MI.

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June 5 Notable Releases

A few of the 2,268 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

Paul McCartney -- Memory Almost Full. First Sir Paul album in his almost 45 year career not released by Capitol (or EMI across the pond)... sure the major labels are doing great... I mean, what could the most successful songwriter of the twentieth century know about the music business?

Marilyn Manson -- Eat Me, Drink Me. Alice Cooper used to be edgy too, hopefully double M's got a plan for the future or a least a good 401K.

Chris Cornell -- Carry On. As in, "carry on, nothing to see here." He may not have been the voice of his generation, but he certainly had the voice of his generation... wonder what Kim's up to?

Sister Hazel -- BAM!, Vol. 1. Pretty cocky aren't we Hazel dudes? Volume 1 is it? Pretty sure there's gonna be more BAM are we? Enough BAM for at least 2, if not 3-6 volumes? Let me break it down for you, you had a hit 10 years ago, making you easily the 2nd most successful band in the history of Gainsville, Fla (fuck you Less than Jake, you're number 3). But let's not get ahead of ourselves and go on predicting the future when the present is pretty effing tenuous.


Friday, June 01, 2007

SHOOOSH, This is The Greatest Song Ever Written

Sorry for the infrequent posts, we'll be back a little stronger next week.

Until then, wait for the Blimpy Burger reset... WAIT FOR IT!

Cheeseburgers rule, please put your all time favorites in the back blog... IN THE BACK BLOG!!!

--via the greatest blog ever written, A Hamburger Today.

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