Friday, September 26, 2008

The Spin: Dirtbombs, Turbo Fruits and Kintaro at The End

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM


Photo by Steve Cross.

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With a touring band on the bill and gas prices on the rise, it seemed that inflation had trickled down to the Rock Block, as we discovered an unanticipated $10 cover at the door last night. This turned our hope for a good show into downright expectation. "This better be good," we thought. Luckily, our value-oriented jitters were put at ease as Kintaro took to the stage and brought us back to a time when something could be described as pop punk and that was not a bad thing.

Bands like Jawbreaker, Descendents and Superchunk would all be able to gaze upon Kintaro with pride and perhaps find some absolution in that maybe the Blink 182s and Sum 41s were not their fault. Led by Wes from MEEMAW, Kintaro are not a huge departure from that band stylistically but they certainly deserve just as much praise for their brilliantly simple hooks and rebellious vitality—their second song, "I Don't Give a Fuck," being a perfect example. It may be easy for some following our local rock scene to bash these guys and their contemporaries for their mass exposure and incestuous consecration of projects, but they really should be applauded for energizing a homespun punk scene that doesn't feel tired or contrived.

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Yes? Yes! Dec. 10 at The Ryman!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Speaking of old guys at the Ryman....

Watch the above video, from the 1972 tour film Yessongs, and two things become apparent. First, Yes clearly provided inspiration for Spinal Tap. (Tell me that's not Nigel Tufnel on guitar.) But more importantly, they could play the shit out of their instruments while still hitting harmonies like the Vienna Boys' Choir.

Yes play the Ryman on Dec. 10 to "perform the group's classic repertoire in live spectacular," says the grammatically peculiar press release. Sadly, lead singer Jon Anderson has been stricken with acute respiratory failure and can't make the tour, so he'll be replaced by Canadian prog-rock singer Benoit David. And keyboard wizard (we mean that literally, as the video shows) Rick Wakeman had previous touring obligations, so his son Oliver Wakeman will man the 'boards. But drummer Alan White, bassist Chris Squire and überguitarist Howe will be there. (None of that Trevor Rabin bullshit, thank you very much.)

One thing's for sure: For those of us who remember sitting around our dorm rooms in the ’70s (that probably includes me and one other Cream reader), focusing our dilated pupils at Yes' whacked-out Roger Dean album covers while Close to the Edge blared over the stereo, this will be, um, a trip down memory lane.

Be sure to pay close attention at 1:22 in the above video, as bassist Squire (wearing more scarves and veils than a mid-'80s Stevie Nicks) does a stage kick for the ages. Derek Smalls himself couldn't have done it better.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m.

Brian Wilson at The Ryman: Tickets on Sale Today

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Tickets for Brian Wilson's Nov. 10 show at the Ryman Auditorium went on sale today at 10 a.m. In the clip above, a tranquil Wilson tells the Associated Press about writing his latest album:

"Writing for me these days takes quite a lot longer than it used to. But I still can finish a song sometimes every two weeks. Or a month even...It's something I have to do because I need to keep myself financially secure. And I want to make people happy, and I want to bring joy to people."

All things considered, Wilson isn't doing too badly. But in performance footage (see also his Black Cab Session) he seems nothing if not a bit distant. He remains a legend and one of America's most iconic musicians, but is it worth $50 to see a performer because of the impact he's had? My wallet obviously says no. But were I a man of means—as I'm certain so many Cream readers are—would I get my money's worth? Or is it slightly more likely I'd see a stageful of cheesy old studio types playing Wilson's tunes as he sings along and claps awkwardly here and there? Given, not every aging rock star can retain the mutant stamina of The Boss, but it looks like they just sort of prop Wilson up behind a keyboard and plow through the songs whether he keeps up or not. Anyone seen him in recent years? Is it worth checking out?

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New Track Alert: Umbrella Tree

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 7:40 AM


So, it was literally yesterday when I was driving along wondering to myself: Where the hell has Umbrella Tree been? Well, it's like they sensed my heart growing fonder in their absence because a new track was posted today on the Cephalopod Records' MySpace profile. It's an atypically subdued version of their usual bipolar bohemian bookworm pop, with a plinky Casio keyboard lick that has officially roped and hogtied the untamed steed that is my heart.

You can check it out here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just in Time for Hanukkah: Matisyahu at The Cannery

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 3:10 PM


If you hadn't heard already, Cannery Row is one badass place to be this fall. If you guys have any bread leftover after seeing Girl Talk, The Faint, MSTRKRFT, Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene, Man Man, Ben Kweller, Ghostland Observatory and Bob Pollard's Boston Spaceships at Cannery/Mercy, get down with hasidic hip-hopper Matisyahu in The Cannery Ballroom on Dec. 7. Advance tickets are $22. They will be $25 on the day of the show. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, October 10 at 10 a.m.

Row'd Kill: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Messures

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 1:27 PM


When the times get tough, the tough sit in the back of a pick-up and wait for songwriters to plug their tunes. "Nashville Recording Artist" and Pocatello, Idaho resident Layce Whitworth isn't going to let a sputtering economy and a flagging industry get in the way of his dreams. He's being proactive. He's taking his destiny in his own hands and running with it—because he's a "Nashville Recording Artist," and that's what they do. Plus he's got a sticker of himself on the driver's and passenger's side windows. Do you? I didn't think so.

Now quit snickering, you America-hating, hipster dicks. Music Row is a tough place to make it.

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MySpace vs iTunes: Let the Games Begin

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 11:21 AM


So, anyone logging into MySpace today might notice the new music player options you now have. Here's a story that lays out the deets in depth, but the gist of the whole deal is that now, much like iTunes, you have access to hundreds of thousands of songs. You can buy them as on iTunes, but it'll be through Amazon's music service, and it won't limit the number of times you can transfer the song.

But fo' free, you can create up to 100-song playlists from their libraries—which they hope will soon surpass iTune's 8.5 million songs. You can host top 10 playlists on your page now. So now your friends can hear all 10 of your favorite sad songs, or the eight songs that made you feel, like, different from most people, or the nine songs that make this particularly Thursday strangely funky fresh. Does anyone care?

Indie labels do. Earlier this morning I got a press statement via email from Charles Caldas, CEO of independent labels global rights agency Merlin, stating that Koch, Beggars Group and Domino (9% of the U.S. digital recorded music market) are not part of this inaugural launch and are still in negotiations with MySpace. In essence: As of this second, MySpace can't really say they're honoring the indie artist because all indie artists are not yet part of Invasion 2.0. But they probably will be soon. Just not right now. Possibly a moot point as of the very near future.

Anyway, seeing as how people have been saying MySpace jumped the shark already, what do we think of this new razzle-dazzle? I tried it out this morning for a minute and was pleased to find my old-school '90s-core faves and early Cure records and shit right there for the playlistin'. I'll still buy from iTunes, though, because there I won't be inundated with a bunch of ad crap and irritating smiley faces popping up. And, I can't say how much time I'll commit to creating playlists simply because I can.

Thoughts? Feelings? Outrage? Eh?

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Video of the Day: Turtleneck & The Sweats

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Hey Everybody! That Guy From Florez Is Gonna Get Laid!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 8:24 AM


Well, slap my ass and call me Stabert! I've only been in my role as the "guy that doesn't watch TV but blogs about it anyway" for less than a week and there's already some super hot goss fillin' up my inbox. It seems that Erik Huffman, virginal contestant on Survivor: China and bass player for local rockers Florez ( you know, the band with that's "absolutely distinct amongst other rock acts in Music City"), is getting married to fellow Survivor castaway and Music City n00b Jaime Dugan. Which is awesome for him cuz he finally gets to wet his willy! Maybe Florez's music won't be so flaccid once ol' Huff gets to taste the joys of manhood! Or maybe not...either way, there's gonna be a wedding and weddings are fun!

Also, I am now taking bets on how long it takes them to sell their children into celeb-reality. Double down if a live birth ends up on basic cable. Any takers?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Track Alert: The Turf

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 1:19 PM


Local indie poppers The Turf have posted a new song on their MySpace page. The tune is from their forthcoming full length Fascination of a Sort and definitely shows some growth in a more sophisticated direction. Personally, I'm hearing a lot of early '90s Chili Peppers influence in there.

As you may or may not recall, The Turf made a noticeable blip on the radar, contributing to the soundtrack of the still-regrettable Summer of Dreamz (2007) before setting off in separate directions for college, only to reconvene back in Nashville this summer.

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