Monday, December 14, 2009

Album of the Day and Stereo Typing Elsewhere

My useless musings appear not only on this blog you see before you but also several other places on the internet. Please permit me in directing you to some of the more current ramblings jotted down by yours truly. The first is my album of the day: The Dismemberment Plan's Emergency & I. It is featured in the article Wherein There Is Much Discussion Of Media Enjoyed This Past Fortnight #5 in which I unknowingly or perhaps subconsciously create the egregious error of a typo. The article comes courtesy of my good friend Ben over at Rabbit Hole Music, a fine blog worthy of your time. A stream of the album can be found below. Again, it is very worthy of your time.

Church Gets Dirty

I finally got a chance to see The Dirty Dishes along with some other local bands on December 4, 2009 at Church in Boston, MA. I first have to mention that Church is among my favorite bars and small venues in the area. Located right outside of Fenway, it serves as a superb substitute to the stereotypical sports bars that plague the area. Church has nightly music as well as pools tables and brings in a diverse alternative crowd. It served as the ideal place to showcase the local bands that were performing. The Dirty Dishes opened the show and graced the modest audience with their catchy shoegaze tunes. Despite some microphone hiss, the band sounded great delivering tracks from their debut EP In the Clouds which I recently spotlighted. Songs like "Dear in the Headlights", their catchiest jam, showcased Jenny Tuite popping notes from her guitar amongst the timid delivery of her vocals. "Stolen Apples" was a punchier tune allowing drummer Mike Thomas to excitedly pound the skins in the background amid the dissonant synth. The live setting added strength to the soaring chorus of "In the Clouds" which was one of the highlights of the performance. In all, it was a solid set and I'm looking forward to catching them again soon.

An Evening with Kevin Smith

On December 3, 2009, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Kevin Smith in Blackman Auditorium at Northeastern University. The notorious director spoke to students about almost everything for three hours in an open Q&A format. The length and talkative nature of the event was a little exhausting for some but I could have listened to him speak all night. I found solace and inspiration in his words as he told anecdotes about how he got to where he was today. I always love hearing the prominent voices of our generation speak and listening to the words of someone who has made a living by following their passion is certainly inspiring. It probably says something about me that I am inspired by a fat man in a bathrobe speaking crudely to a bunch of college students but, in its own bizarre way, it works. Clerks and Chasing Amy remain two of my favorite movies ever and I haven't disliked anything he has put out yet [although Jersey Girl was trying].

Denmark = Paradise?

Mew has always been one of those bands that my friends told me I had to get into and I would probably love if I gave them a chance. Nevertheless, I always ended up writing the band off; mostly because I couldn't get into the vocals. On December 2, 2009, I gave the band one last chance when I decided to go to their show at Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA. I figured since they were one of the most critically acclaimed artists in recent memory and were traveling all the way from Denmark, I might as well catch the show. This decision ended up being one of the best I have recently made. The band absolutely blew me away with their live show and has made me a fan for life. As often only a live show can do, it gave me a greater understanding of the power of their music. On top of this, I was given a free ticket by a gentleman outside the venue. So a BIG thanks goes out to him in the off chance he ends up reading this.

The Big Pink Paradise

The Big Pink has been gaining tremendous buzz all year and their debut full length A Brief History of Love has managed to consistently stay on my playlist. Having already been impressed by their studio efforts, I finally got a chance to see what they could do on stage when they visited Boston, MA on December 1, 2009 at the Paradise Rock Club. The UK band did not let fans down as they played their captivating take on shoegaze music. The group had the stage presence of a band on a much higher level. The lighting and rock antics gave the impression that the performance could have also worked in a stadium setting. However, in the Paradise, some of the lights acted more as a blinding nuisance.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Track Rundown

Hello again faithful reader(s). It's time for another new track rundown and this time we are looking into the future; all the way to the year 2010. Sounds futuristic, eh? We're not even out of 2009 yet but 2010 is shaping up to be one hell of a year. I might even have to prematurely name Yeasayer's "Ambling Alp" song-of-the-year because it's just that damn good. Speaking of the tune, I have the video for it here and it is one of the most mind-blowing videos you will ever feast your eyes upon. Be forewarned, it is NSFW (that's not safe for work for all of you who are out of touch with the kids' internet lingo these days). I'm also bringing you live footage of new songs by Final Fantasy and Menomena, both of which are absolutely gorgeous. New tracks from Efterklang, Surfer Blood, Shearwater, Shout Out Louds, and Spoon serves as proof that 2010 will be a satisfying year for your eardrums. Also featured below is "Even Heroes Have to Die" the new song by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists who are releasing The Brutalist Bricks on March 9, 2010 with their new home, the always consistent Matador Records. The album cover is pictured above. If you haven't noticed, I also added a nifty little media player so you can stream songs that have download links right here on this very page by pressing the play button next to the track or by pulling out the player in the lower left-hand corner. With that, I'll advice you to stop reading and start listening.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Letter from David Jones

The image above is a response to the first American fan letter sent to David Jones also known as David Bowie. The remarkably timid reply from September of 1967 comes from a 20 year old David Bowie that was a far cry away from his Ziggy Stardust persona. It is humbling to see how appreciative he was to receive the letter and to get a glimpse at Bowie before he was immersed in fame. Read more about it at Letters of Note, a really cool blog (at least for nerds like me) that compiles similarly significant correspondence.

Meytal Drumming

No, that is not a typo. Thanks to Ryan's Smashing Life, I have just discovered Meytal Cohen, an Israeli drummer (and candidate for my new musical obsession) who knows her metal. Remember to keep your comments mature (I know I couldn't) as you gawk at the picture of her holding wood [sticks]. Check out three lovely and talented ladies including Ms. (hopefully not Mrs.) Cohen manhandling System of a Down's "Toxicity" below. The video features Meytal on drums with Jennifer Lynn and Christine Wu on electric violin.

Free Sound: Exploding!

Nothing rings in your ears quite as pleasantly as that word 'free'. My friends over at Exploding in Sound are offering the ultimate ear pleasing opportunity by allowing you to grab their new compilation Circulatory System for free. It features a track from The Dirty Dishes who were recently spotlighted on this very blog. Fellow Boston favorites Constants and Irepress also make an appearance, both of whom have released excellent records this year worthy of your appreciation. Check out the press release below and download the compilation to experience the ultimate in auditory pleasure.

AfterHours with GZA

On November 23, 2009, I got to an experience an intimate show performed by GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan at AfterHours, a Northeastern University venue. One of the better and more prolific artists to grace the stage at AfterHours, GZA was paired with Break Science, comprised of a DJ with live drum and bass, providing the backdrop to his slick rhythms. The show started late because GZA hadn't even shown up until the moment he took the stage at around 11. He began slowly and had a few miscues with the band which was to be expected since he just got there and didn't have any time to set up. As the show progressed, he began mustering up speed and enthusiasm. At first he looked a bit perplexed performing in front of a crowd of predominately white college students but as the show went on, it seemed as though he realized he had some true hardcore fans in attendance.

The Middle East Experiences Cave In

I took the image above in 2003 when Cave In played the second stage of the Lollapalooza tour in support of their RCA major label debut Antenna. Since then, the band had been dropped from RCA, denounced Antenna, and went on hiatus. Fortunately for those of us who are familiar with the band, they have returned in prime form releasing the Planets of Old EP and performing a few shows for lucky audiences. In my previous post, I mentions how psyched I was to see the band on their November 22, 2009 date at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Now that my ears have finally recovered, I can recall the glorious return of one of my favorite bands of all time.