30 April 2011
Bucking Coachella's tidal wave of New Wave nostalgia, PJ Harvey instead turned her set into a batty folk music netherworld. Clad in an elvish white gown and a feather-cloud headdress, Harvey clutched a zither to her bosom as she sang "Let England Shake," the unsettling title track from her new disk. Striking the perfect tone for the exhausted evening, Harvey's combo was sedate, but hardly soothing. From "Down By The Water" to "Billy," Harvey emphasized the quietly sinister craziness in her catalogue, while her backing players worked with muted drum and marimba sounds, as if producing the only handmade music on the whole polo field at the time was something to be kept secret. Their mature, complex sound was clearly doomed, however, with the imminent arrival of Kanye West on the main stage. Looking radiant but disengaged as the set drew to a close and the booming of absurdly amplified grunting began to overwhelm the mix, Harvey gamely took up a guitar and turned up her amps for a couple raucous yet well-aimed parting shots: "Big Exit" and "Meet Ze Monsta."
Photo credit: rock.about.com
What is there to say about flamboyant rockstars from Brazil hitting the desert of California, hailing from what many think may be the rainforest? I think that combination screams ultimate party. The real question is how did Kurt Cobain's former record label, Sub Pop, which now pumps out acts like Handsome Furs, find CSS? I'm not so sure. CSS has joined the ranks of other non-U.S. acts like Yelle and Bomba Esbull.
But CSS's "Art Bitch" song won me over and easily became one of the reasons I moved to LA. from New Jersey. When I saw "Let's Make Love" performed, it inspired the dance in me and it was perfect to groove to. Lead singer Lovefoxx surfed into the crowd numerous times, gave the security guards a work out and rocked the Cansei de Ser Sexy self-titled album. From the iPod commercial to the numerous rocking rave clubs where this music plays, CSS has garnered a significant amount of fame in the United States and left their crowd happy. Almost nothing beats the smoking Lovefoxx dressed in a matador costume, which was definitely one of the highlights of Coachella. CSS is the real deal.
How good would an obscure UK dance act have to be to remain a legend a decade and change after putting out only two albums? They'd have to be as good as Leftfield. Tucked away in the geezers' tent late on Sunday night, Leftfield got little respect, but they quickly became the unknown distraction that pulled people away from the other slim pickings on offer after 9:00. Leftfield came out as a trio rocking vintage component gear and a live drum kit. Swinging into "Song Of Life," a syrupy dub epic from Leftism, they proceeded through a kickass set that was equal parts trance and Tangerine Dream, and demonstrated chops that are still being ripped off today, however badly. Compared to the ear-raping car alarm demo next door in the Sahara tent, Leftfield still sounds like the future, but sadly, they still didn't command half the crowd they deserved. Most of their audience was composed of trainspotting gear-geeks and gangs of guys with whistles and pacifiers, which was really sad. A dazzling female vocalist rolled out to sing on "Swords" and a guy who looked like Afrika Bambaataa shredded the mix on a Theramin, but didn't stick around for "Afrika Shox."
Nothing new came close to touching their classics, but they still know what they're doing, and they can still do it… So why didn't they record more than two albums? Why did they fade into the background and let hacks like Paul Oakenfold and Chase & Status define electronic dance music for the last decade? If this show was any kind of omen, Leftfield could finally be ready to reclaim the crown they forged.
With so many bands to see and experiences to experience at Coachella, one cannot expect for people to stick around for half an hour waiting for a band to get through sound check difficulties. It is even more unexpected for people to wait around for a band who has not even released a full-length album. Yet crowds began staking their spots in the tent for Foster the People before the performance was even scheduled to begin. While the sound check was sprinkled with boos from a restless crowd, it hampered neither the energy nor the performance once the group finally emerged. Foster the People formed two years ago and in the last year, has skyrocketed to success with the song “Pumped up Kicks”; however, you could tell at certain points throughout the set by the looks on Mark Foster’s face that even he did not expect a crowd that size to be so, well, pumped about their music. While performing their signature song, he paused for a brief minute, seemingly marveling at the crowd singing his lyrics. What started as a one-man act has now blossomed into a five-man powerhouse of a group, and the performance was packed with so much energy, movement, drum-banging and dancing from every member that the audience couldn’t help but return that energy. It felt like the group made a pact to give the performance of their lives, and it paid off. The sunset show stayed packed until the very end, and nobody seemed to remember the technical difficulties by the time it was over. The only difficulty now is to wait until June for their album’s release.
I first stumbled across Death From Above 1979 while perusing the used music section at Fingerprints in Long Beach, California. I figured, how bad can an album be when the group is ballsy enough to put elephant trunks on their faces? I fell hard for their heavy-hitting sound, but I soon realized the band disbanded in 2006. My hopes of ever seeing them live were dashed.
When I heard the band had reunited in February and were planning to play Coachella, all that changed. Sunday's festivities were well under way when Death From Above (a two-member drum and bass sort of band, mind you) took the Coachella main stage. Though they appeared as mere specks on the goliath stage, their sound was larger than life. It was fast and loud like Queens of the Stone Age, but a majority of their performance had a danceable rhythm for the crowd to get down on. What was really powerful was hearing Jesse Keeler grind out his heavily distorted and fast bass lines that I know so well from countless listening. For an avid fan like myself, seeing a Canadian band who had disbanded for half a decade on the famous Coachella main stage was a dream come true. The music did seem a bit rushed and incomprehensible at times, giving me the impression that these fellows were not quite on their A-game. But this is only their second tour stop (the first being South by Southwest in Austin, Texas), so they may still be locking into their groove. I can only hope they'll return soon or be in the market for a new album!
29 April 2011
While Saturday’s Coachella Stage boasted an impressive lineup, the last act was certainly the one every Coacheller anxiously awaited while still dripping with sweat on the eve of the festival’s hottest day. As soon as Animal Collective stopped boring the crowd, the pushing ensued for Arcade Fire’s 11:20pm show. Packed like sardines - overheated, dehydrated, sharing sweat and inhaling each other’s stale breaths - we waited for the seven-person Canadian group to blow our minds. And they did. After a clip of Vanessa Redgrave’s version of “The Lusty Month of May” from Camelot, they exploded into “Month of May.” Playing a fabulous mix of old and new, they kept old and new fans happy, singing and dancing the entire time. Win Butler, lead singer, smiled the entire time and revealed to the audience that he had just celebrated his thirty first birthday. The smitten crowd proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday.” Unlike most bands, each member of Arcade Fire calls attention with her/his individuality and dynamic performances. Reginé Chassagne’s always-resplendent attire did not disappoint. She graced the stage in a sparkly gold dress. As if their stellar performances and adorably humble “thank yous” weren’t enough, the most memorable act of the entire festival occurred during their last song – giant white balls, two or three times the size of a large beach ball, armed with alternating blue, green and red lights leapt from the tip-top of the stage. It was magnificent. The crowd went insane. Reports from by-standers witnessed fans in the crowd grabbing balls and running away madly with their “prizes.” When the song ended, a canopy of balls covered the crowd. Barely able to see anything but balls and bodies, I managed to sneak peeks of the jumbotron and stage during the three-song encore. Yes, you heard me – three. The last song performed was thankfully “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).” While wearily driving along the 10 late Sunday night, we were reminded of this spectacular show as a car passed us with a giant, glowing, green orb nestled in the backseat.
The main stage lawn was packed with people anticipating something to follow up Mumford & Sons' performance. It was hard to tell if many of the people standing around really knew what Animal Collective was all about, but I knew that nonetheless, they would "bring the weird," as lead singer Noah Lennox coyly announced during their performance.
Bring the weird they did. Their set began with the structural cage of the stage transforming into a giant metal cube. Anticipation in the crowd escalated as the front of the cube cage closed and ominous drone noises shook the air. Everyone was waiting for something to happen. Maybe the group would emerge? Was this their actual performance? Lights began to flicker on and off throughout the cube. The noise grew in intensity. Lights climbed the cube and flashed around it in nameless patterns. The crowd noise grew, but nothing changed. The giant cube had taken over, and we were watching this monster perform! Static sound and lights spun around quicker and quicker, and disappeared into the void of space. Animal Collective appeared as the crowd went mad, and their set was under way.
If you've ever heard the group, you know that their music is unlike any other. It reminds me of a big pot of rainbow colored liquids being stirred together to create sound (the LCD screens were filled with these sort of graphics). A rhythmic beat pervaded many of their songs that night, but it was sometimes dissolved into bizarre samples and screams. I sat back to watch people's reactions. Though I expected confusion and even anger from the crowd, people seemed to be making their best attempt to understand what was going on. A majority of listeners stood silently bobbing their heads, but a good handful were out back jerking around frantically and freely to the music. Maybe it wasn't the best move to put Animal Collective on the main stage, but no one can argue about the initial effect this group gave to the Coachella experience. It was a show that will be hard to live up to.
Taking the Coachella Stage at 8:30pm on Saturday, the festival’s second day, these four men from West London wailed out on their instruments for fifty solid minutes and wowed the crowd. I thought for sure their fingers would be raw and dripping with blood, but they finished sans wounds and maybe just a few broken strings. Band members – Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane – lined up in a row (which seems to be their signature formation) for their performance. All multi-instrumentalists, they switched instruments before almost every song, creating a rightfully longer break in between songs than most bands. Mumford, lead singer/guitarist, changed guitars several times. He hopped behind the drum set for a song or two as well. While the bands’ obvious love for music and passion for performing live shined during their set, Lovett’s permanent giant smile struck me the most. I’ve never seen a man so happy while pounding on a keyboard. Their voices rang through the Coachella Valley, blasting an English folk rock, bluegrass sound rare to the Coachella lineup. The crowd seemed familiar with all songs from their debut album, Sigh No More, but as expected, when they hit the first note of “Little Lion Man,” fans went wild. Watching them perform this song struck a chord in me that drew a couple tears from my severely dry and tired eyes. Mumford & Sons, you sweated your souls out up there, and we were sweating right there with you.
If you were in the Sahara tent during Shpongle's DJs set, you were sure to see acid heads, stoners and Burning Man enthusiasts in addition to quite an amazing visual and musical performance. Simon Posford (Shpongle was a solo DJ act during this occasion) was posted up high in a psychedelic totem fortress complete with a watchful Eye in the Sky at top. Falling under the sub-genre of electronic music called Psytrance, Shpongle created a soundscape of bizarre samples and affected voices atop driving dance beats. As you danced like a devil amidst a thousand other fans, the DJ's elevated performance booth evolved the visual show into ever more complex and ethereal patterns. What seemed to pervade the music was the recurrent theme of complex flute and guitar samples, providing a familiar ground as the remaining samples rocketed off into trance-inducing rhythm. Even if you do not consider yourself a fan of Psytrance, Shpongle's performance was a great way to appreciate the genre, with or without the use of illicit psychotropic drugs.
Rocking Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre on Saturday, the hottest day of the festival, Delta Spirit presented a refreshing rock sound during their 4:05pm-4:55pm set. Although the desert sun still blazed upon concertgoers, a sizeable crowd grew quickly to see this native Californian band from Long Beach. Perhaps the three giant fans spinning onstage behind the band helped beckon boiling Coachellers, too. Enthusiastic fans crowded the stage and clapped along with the soulful band. Dressed in a black Hawaiian shirt adorned with blue and pink flowers, lead singer/guitarist Matthew Vasquez and his shoulder-length brown locks blowing in the breeze captivated the audience. His humble hotness and raw, flawless vocals mesmerized the entire time, as did the obvious chemistry between the band mates. Relentless in their touring, it was no surprise that these five musicians entertained the overheated, dehydrated crowd. The day performances were definitely at an entertainment disadvantage, lacking the showy lights that enhanced the night sets. When you play during the day, you just have your musical talents and stage presence to awe the crowd, and Delta Spirit absolutely delivered. Their multi-instrumentalism is incredible to witness – band members banged on orchestral bass drums and trashcan lids, strummed guitars and basses and wailed on a harmonica. They played a splendid mix of songs from their first album, Ode to Sunshine, which they self-produced in 2007, and their second album, History from Below, which was released in June of 2010. Their energetic performance of “Children” off their first album rippled through the crowd, bodies dancing along with their drum poundings. They thanked the crowed for attending, and we thank you, Delta Spirit, for rocking.
It’s difficult to tell before an afternoon show begins at Coachella whether or not a crowd has accumulated at any given tent because they are trying to secure a good position for the upcoming show or merely secure a spot in the shade to protect them from the swelling heat. When singer/songwriter Kristian Mattson took the Gobi stage at 3pm on Saturday, it was clear that even the concert-goers sprawled out on the grass were there to listen to a raw and passionate folk performance from an extremely talented solo act, and Mattson delivered. While any other solo singer/songwriter at Coachella act faces the threat of being drowned out by the sound of neighboring stages, The Tallest Man on Earth held his own, captivating the overheated crowd with a no-frills performance – just the man, his guitar, and a visible love for the music. While he didn’t tell long stories between each song, interacting with the crowd as he does at more intimate venues, Mattson did manage to get a sentence or two to introduce the song and give background to an audience that was more than willing to listen and ready to sing along. Mattson often thanked and blew kisses at the audience, clearly overwhelmed by the love and thanking the audience for “being so sweet” to him. He closed out the evening with “Thrown Right at Me,” performed with rumored girlfriend Amanda Bergman. It was, fittingly, a very sweet performance.
Photo credit: last.fm
Cage The Elephant couldn't have put on a better performance. Pure rockstar Matty Schultz had no "rest for the wicked" at Coachella because "money doesn't grow on trees," and the most astonishing aspect of the performance was his playing the stage in a red dress faintly reminiscent of Kurt Cobain's cross-dressing days. Performing in the afternoon in the desert, he rocked his way into the crowd, where he appeared like a G-d in a red dress, and gazed out at all the happy festival attendees as they audibly gasped at his boldness. The crowd sung along to "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," "2024," "In One Ear," and "Shake Me Down." To top it all off, the Monday after the festival, they appeared on the local rock station speaking about their entire record.
Photo credit: last.fm
In the midst of an orgy of 80's nostalgia, the return of Britpop stalwarts London Suede might seem too early or too late, but to so many in America, they never mattered at all. Frontman Brett Anderson has been playing festivals with the reunited group, but still sans Bernard Butler. The drama of seeing such a legendary feud resolved would have made London Suede's return something to see the way you have to watch some idiot try to bumrush the wristband checkpoint. But with Anderson's colossal ego untempered, the only drama came from how well he's taken care of his voice, which still has power and maybe even a little gravitas, thanks to crack and heroin. It still sounds acidic and glamorous on "Beautiful Ones", still takes weeks off your life. Nothing else on stage could distract from Anderson's self-conscious Mick Jagger mannerisms, and his haunted torch renditions of "Asphalt World" showed that he still had it. Two tittering British girls in the audience told me that yes, he was still well fit. But the tormented youthful angst of "So Young" sounded fraught with whole new catalogues of meaning that nobody at the world's biggest rave really came to hear. At their uptempo best, London Suede made the case that with a little luck, they could have been Blur. If the original band were reunited and the clash of egos were there to revive the music, it might've been something. But Anderson's incarnation was like a funeral for a vampire who won't lie still, and raging to see himself in a mirror.
Photo credit: pluginmusic.com
28 April 2011
Owning the Outdoor Theatre at 2:20pm on Friday, Coachella’s first day, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) “came to set it off,” as said by Nic Offer, lead vocals. And the Sacramento-based eight-person band certainly did. The ripe crowd danced, sang, jumped and clapped along with the encouraging band. My left foot is broken, and I couldn’t help but tap along with the fun dance beats. Their third song was the popular “Must Be The Moon,” which they performed awesomely. Offer, dressed in his usual short shorts, couldn’t seem to stay on stage, leaping into the crowd during the first song, then again for the second, perching himself on a brawny fan’s shoulders. During another song he hopped from the stage once more, straddled the fence to the right of the stage, then bounced through the audience, high-fiving ecstatic fans. Rightful brag: I received a high-five. He definitely steals the show with his eccentric dance moves, sometimes delightfully provocative, many times reminiscent of Mick Jagger. However, Shannon Funchess, the band’s female vocalist who can rock the zils off of a tambourine, stole the show at the end as she reappeared for the last song. “Coachella, you know how we feel about you,” Offer said to the crowd. And !!!, you know how we feel about you. You strapped us into our dance shoes and forced us to move. Thank you!!!
Sometimes main stage acts can be a let down. Not Kings of Leon. When I was at my cousin's house house showing her the awesome Coachella tickets, she knew none of the bands but Kings of Leon, so I chose to watch them diligently and caught myself knowing the majority of songs just from frequent radio play. Maybe this is because Kings of Leon have recently become one of the biggest bands in the world, and with that intention. Best part about the show? They sound just like they should on stage: flawless. Anthony Caleb Followill, Ivan Nathan Followill and Michael Jared Followill, brothers, along with cousin Cameron Matthew Followill sounded so spot-on that you could recognize them from a mile away. They played Sex on Fire, Use Somebody, Molly's Chamber and more. They weren't the best headliners of 2011, but they seemed to have almost as many fans as The Chemical Brothers, and the drugs that everyone was on by that time garnered plenty of people to sing along for their set.
This girl-rock group performed Friday, on the sunny lawn of the Outdoor Stage during the heat of the day. Their sound was structured around airy, female vocals, thick reverberant harmonies that are reminiscent of the dream-pop group Cocteau Twins. For some reason, the band's name and their drummer's use of knitted mallets instead of drumsticks seemed to fit together nicely; her beating of the floor tom with the mallet's soft end was like an echo from some distant Native American war dance. Sustained guitar notes in the upper register added sharp color to the music, giving it an ethereal feel. Sure, the avid fans were in a large hoard in front, cheering on the group, but many were lounging around, taking in the sun, eating a slice of greasy pizza or just resting their feet. If you were at the festival, Warpaint was a relaxing musical experience to bring you down from the aggressive sounds of the Sahara dance tent. If you are a fan of the dream-pop genre (Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil), Warpaint may have been a nice transition for you into the world of indie-rock that Friday.
About four songs through the Black Keys' blistering Coachella set, something incredible accidentally happened. As they took the cavernous main stage and introduced themselves and their hometown, the gigantic video monitors flanking the stage had remained blank. As they swung into old favorites like "Thickfreakness" and "Girl Is On My Mind," it seemed like a brilliant way to shrug off their recent problems and let the music be their face as well as their voice. But then the monitors abruptly fired up, and the curtain was ripped away.
Dan Auerbach, looking terminally haggard from a crash course in living the blues, not-so-playfully ribbed drummer Patrick Carney by getting the audience to wish him happy birthday. A seething Patrick impatiently ripped into the backbeat for "Tighten Up." The same tensions in the band that give the music its vitality overran the music, if you looked at them. The back-and-forth on "Chop And Change" and Howling For You", with a weirdly lackluster drum solo, took on the feel of a passive-aggressive duel. Patrick stared fixedly at Dan throughout, his awkward, Gollum-like features an open book with jealousy and codependence rendered bigger than a billboard. The anonymous bassist and organist were tucked upstage like stepchildren at a family fight. It was hard not to see how much effort it still takes to hold onto the little slice of musical legendary they've won so far. Friction between talented artists makes good bands great, but the results are a lot easier to listen to, than they are to watch.
Poster credit: Tom Sanford
Let me start by saying that Tame Impala is one of my favorite rock groups right now. Hearing the boys who hail from Perth, Australia was a real treat. I squeezed my way to the front barricade and got ready for their sonic time-machine to take me back to the psychedelic 1960s. Imagine hearing the voice of John Lennon singing with the Beatles and the Flying Burrito Brothers. I swear, I think Tame Impala's bass player stole Paul McCartney's original sunburst bass! The bass drum bumped a quarter-note rhythm alongside the groovy, flanger-effected main guitar. Main guitarist and lead singer Kevin Parker bleated a chorus-affected voice into the setting sun, blanketing the sticky Coachella pilgrims in what an LSD trip might have sounded like. The big LCD screens on the sides of the stage showed the group's passionate and concentrated faces. The bassist stared into his strings, oblivious to the sweat that dripped off his brow. The drummer let out a giant, toothy grin, breaking through the typical stoic stare of a rocker.
On the other hand, I have to admit I never realized how repetitive their sound is. Every song seems to start with the main guitarist strumming a rhythm out and the band following. Nonetheless, the diverse crowd, which had ex-hippy types and youthful faces wearing neon Ray-Ban sunglasses, swayed to the rhythm of Tame Impala's sound.
Photo credit: watchoutfor.com.au
History may record that the best thing MIA ever did was to plug Sleigh Bells, who do everything MIA is supposed to do, with ten times the style and none of the bullshit. Heralded by a thunderous intro from Black Sabbath's Iron Man, the much-hyped Brooklyn duo took the stage before an iconic wall of Marshall amps with the hubris cranked to eleven. And why not? Not many new acts get invited back to Coachella two years in a row.
A guy and a girl and a drum machine shouldn't sound louder than Ministry or hotter than Rihanna, but they pulled it off. Building on simple beatbox standards, metal hooks and girl-rap formulas, this could've been a bigger joke than Die Antwoord. But Sleigh Bells didn't come to pose, they came to work, hammering out almost all of the songs from their debut album Treats. With his vocals buried under the mix and his feet nailed to the stage, Derek Miller was a sphinx in denim jeans and jacket, looking like Martin Sheen in Badlands, wielding his guitar like a chainsaw. He didn't have to do anything else, because Alexis Krauss owned the crowd. She wore a Bells basketball jersey and black Dickies, but she didn't need to dress up or strip or play the clown. Her confidence and command was total as she went from babydoll raps to slasher movie scream queen caterwauling without dropping a stitch. For all his grinding power, Miller was on a leash, and Krauss was the one holding it. By the set's end, she came down into the crowd to meet the fans while rapping on the set-capper "Rill Rill," she had all of us on the same leash.
Photo credit: Last.fm
OFGKTA, or Odd future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, has been sought out by almost every hipster who loves rap but thinks Wu Tang is the only source of that genre. Have no fear because Coachella brought them to us. Unfortunately, Earl, who is arguably the best rapper of them all, whose unknown whereabouts build the mystique of the group on a daily basis, (he is supposedly in rehab/boot camp) did not make an appearance, and the fearless leader in Tyler the Creator did not make for the best of performances out of hip hop. Taking the stage nearly twenty minutes late after having sound problems, the best part of the set was definitely Tyler's stage dive after spitting one verse. Goblin will come out on May 11th and ring some bells as the first OFWGKTA CD via Tyler the Creator.
Here are our authors' bios for reference:
Cody Goodfellow is so old his acid flashbacks have closed captioning. He's written about music, culture and technology for countless forgotten zines, and his latest novel, Perfect Union, is available now from Swallowdown Press.
Lauren Lloyd is an L.A.-based freelance writer covering arts, entertainment and environmental topics. She can usually be found clickety-clacking on her laptop, attempting to save the world or attending live music shows. She is a vegetarian, practices Pilates and rides her bicycle as often as possible. Links to her writing work, tirades and deep thoughts live on her blog, http://laurenashleylloyd.blogspot.com/.
Mari is a production assistant living in Los Angeles. She attended the University of Southern California where she hosted a co-hosted a talk and music radio show for KXSC. She spends her spare time and change going to as many concerts as possible.Justin Gutierrez is a musician, writer and free spirit. You can visit his website at JustinGutierrez.webs.com.
26 April 2011
We've got a new CD review up for Foo Fighters' latest album called Wasting Light, so if you're even slightly Foo-ish, check it out here.
How many times can we say Foo in one blog post? Foo Foo!!
24 April 2011
We know how you love treats (we do too) and it'd be selfish not to share all the good stuff with you, our ever-adoring readers.
So, we want to let you all know that NYC indie-rock artist, Matt Lowell, has decided to give away his recently released EP, Swan Lake, for free on his bandcamp. But it will only be available until this Tuesday, April 26th, so get it done here!
We think one of the best ways to become familiar with new music is to get it for free, so this is a perfect opportunity to acquaint yourself with Matt Lowell's dark folk style, deeply thoughtful lyrics and multi-instrumental moodiness. There's something slightly witchy brewing in Lowell's third EP here, like the album is a cauldron of brooding, bubbling elements, with pinches of surprise effects here and there.
Indie rock fans will delight in the layers of soft sound created by this graduate of Berklee College of Music, who has two EPs under his belt, an extensive tour history, and placement on various TV programs. Swan Lake was released on March 8th, co-written with Dead Oceans Recording artist John Vanderslice and produced by Joel Hamilton (Black Keys, Matisyahu, Sparklehorse) and John Davis at Avatar Studios (John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith).
Anyway, enough talk! Stream or download for free here.
20 April 2011
New Melody Maker Body Styles
We've got a treat for you. And we know you love treats.
Especially if you dig superheroes, giant octopi, and classic rock musicianship in a modern form, you're going to love this new video by a Philly-based rock band called Parachuting Apostles. First of all, what a great name. Second of all, they have a very mature sound and their classic rock influence shows through in their own way in this original single called “Let's Do It (Right This Time)." Third of all, the video hass been nominated for the best music video by Origivation Magazine and it's sure to satisfy the inner comic book rock nerd inside every one of us.
"Watch the band battle evil with the power of their rock."
For more Parachuting Apostles, visit their website.
19 April 2011
Elbow is a five-piece British alternative rock band that has been around since 1990, that artists like Radiohead, Coldplay and U2 have heartily endorsed, and who have been at the high ends of the U.K. music charts more than a few times.
They have a new album out now called Build a Rocket, Boys! and have just released a video for their single, "Open Arms," which has a deep, rich classical-infused sound that builds over the refrain of "We've got open arms for broken hearts." It's an intricately woven journey.
Frontman Guy Garvey said in a 2008 Daily News article, "Volume dynamics are an essential part of classical music, but a lost art with guitar music. I think it's incredibly boring and shortsighted if a band sticks with just one sound song for song. An album should take people on a journey." If you like Peter Gabriel, Radiohead and Talk Talk, Elbow will be your next favorite thing.
For both fans and newcomers alike, Online Rock is proud to show the new animated video here, with another option for watching posted afterward, because it is also too awesome not to display.
Below is a video of a live recording at Blueprint Studios:
Hope you enjoyed! If you did, check out Elbow's website for more good stuff.
08 April 2011
If you're not sure what an iRig is, here's a description from their website:
"AmpliTube iRig is a combination of an easy-to-use instrument interface adapter and guitar and bass tone mobile software.
With AmpliTube iRig, you can plug your guitar into your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and jam anywhere with world class guitar and bass tone right in the palm of your hand...
Simply plug the iRig interface into your mobile device, plug your instrument into the appropriate input jack, plug in your headphones, amp or powered speakers, download 'AmpliTube FREE' version for iPhone or for iPad, and start rocking!"
Now, how to win? Simply post on Online Rock's Facebook wall your desire and cross your fingers! We know you're on Facebook all the time anyway...
A random winner will be chosen April 15th, so let us know how much you want to win before the week is up. Good luck!
Visit our Giveaways page here for additional information about the contest.
This should be a no-brainer. Of course we have awesome, thoughtful reviews of CDs and live shows, not to mention artist interviews and featured artists of the month, but no one doesn't love free stuff. In addition to free downloads, every month we offer up a chance to win some free music gear.
This month from March 15 to April 15, OnlineRock is offering you a chance to win a Smokey® Amp.
"Invented by Bruce Zinky in the early 1980s (and improved for production in the 1990s), it has become a favorite with guitar players for its tough distortion and the speaker output function that allows you to power any speaker cabinet (it’s amazingly loud)! The Smokey® Amp will also power any 4, 8 or 16 Ohm speaker cabinet, including a 4×12, and can be used on the input of another amp as a fuzz box. Nine volt battery included. Made in the US."
In order to win, enter our e-mail contest here. Must be 18 or older to enter and duplicate entries will be dismissed. There's only one week left, so good luck!
The Artist of the Month for March is none other than the "gritty pub rock" band of Phoenix-based Hooves. If you've visited our home page recently, you've surely seen the picture of the six of them goofing around, but also note that their sound is unique, raw, complex and completely fun. See their featured profile here and then give them a listen.
Be aware, they're sort of addicting and it might make you want to tip your hat, pick up yer boots and seek a straw-covered floor to do some dancin'.
07 April 2011
OLR punk rocker Natalie Perez starts by introducing the band with, "Eight years ago a city was created but not just any city, this was a city where anyone would be free to die. Yes die.... because you’re giving them your pity circumstances and end up in Suicide City."
For those not familiar with the loud and rocking sound of Suicide City as well as die-hard fans, this interview will provide some interesting insight. Check it out here.
06 April 2011
My eyes adjusted to the soft lights and neon beer advertisements while I took my spot on a squeaky bar stool close enough to the stage to get a good feel for the performance. If you’re reading this and know Lisa Savidge’s sound then you’ll understand my thoughts on how a band with a full sound consisting of two guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums was going be equally heard in such a tight space. (No offense to The Trip, I truly enjoyed the atmosphere and surroundings.)
The band looked like they were relaxed and having fun in each other’s company while tuning and going through sound check. Although seeming a little cramped in close quarters, they jumped right into the first song of the new album, “Building your own HAM radio.” Sounding crisp and energetic the tight space didn’t hold the playing back from any of the members. Ellery Keller, (lead guitarist, back-up vocals, violin) shown through with his fast picking solo’s throughout the night – adding more credit to his performance was the fact that as they proceeded through the first three songs off the new album Keller broke his high E string. Because of time limitations he decided to continue playing with no E string. For the type of solo work on the new album and his guitar arrangements overall one would think this would hinder his performance greatly but you honestly couldn’t even tell. Kudos to Keller for making the best of the situation and still sounding brilliant on all of his solo work.
I did not recognize a couple songs that must have been previous releases, but all of the songs off the new album sounded tight and full of the textures that make their new album a worthy piece of music. Another highlight was the instrumental track off the album titled “Moment of Silence” which, on the album version features Keller on violin. Substituting an electric guitar in place for the violin, (and still missing his E string) the band blasted forth a darkly dazzlingly instrumental piece that left everyone surprised at its depth and precision. My one problem with the set was the lack of presence from keyboardist Nick Gortari. This actually wasn’t Gortari’s fault, more a tech issue with the soundboard. That aside, the highlights of the night along with aforementioned instrumental piece “Moment of Silence” were, “Headspace” and “Country Fear.”
After the set I was lucky enough to speak briefly with Dan Somers, lead vocals and guitars. He pointed out the Kia hatch back and explained how crazy of a packing job they have to do just to fit all the gear in.
“We usually don’t do shows for long periods of time and then we’ll play at bigger venues.” remarked Somers when I mentioned the size of the venue.
He also explained, (chuckling as he exhaled from slow drags of a cigarette) at the common misconception of the band by its name.
“I even explained what we were and they still had us in a lineup with other female groups.”
Taking everything in stride, Lisa Savidge still sounded like an up and coming talented group to watch for. With their new CD out now they are starting to make a splash getting some airplay on some local stations. They definitely deserve a bigger venue and room not only for the band members themselves, but for the layers and depth to their sound. If you get a chance don’t miss them as they continue their northbound journey for the state of washing then finishing up in their home-state of Arizona. If you want to check out more visit their album review by us here or visit their band page at lisasavidge.com.
That is, Lisa Savidge is no purse-toting, high heels-wearing femme fatale, rather, they are a five-piece all male band that "seems to be able to morph their sound, touching on several genres within one song." Perhaps their sound is intricately linked to their overall style and their name reflects that. Either way, read the full OLR review by Tim Rosini here.
Also be on the lookout for upcoming Lisa Savidge shows because they're on tour now:
April 7: Portland, OR
April 8: Seattle, WA
April 9: Olympia, WA
April 28: Phoenix, AZ
May 21: Scottsdale, AZ
One more flip of the lip before we go: They were recently booked in Santa Monica as a part of an all-girls rock show, which we think is pretty awesome. OnlineRock might tell you we have a live review of this show on its way, or we might let you wonder whether that statement is a he-said or a she-said. Sometimes it's healthy to keep you guessing. But I will tell you this: keep your eyes peeled.