Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Metal at the Mercy: 'Master of Puppets'

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I like metal as much as the next guy, and since I live in Nashville that means I love cover bands. So how did I miss out on partying with these guys the other night at Metal at the Mercy? Well, I don't have a good excuse. But thanks to YouTube user sparkysplayground, we can all have the experience of watching a video of a cover band on our computers. I actually think the band's performance of "Caught in a Mosh" is better from top to bottom, but the "Master of Puppets" clips have much more awesome crowd reaction, so here they are. The first clip cuts off during the slow neo-classical part, but you can still get all deep and shit after the jump.

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Those Darlins, Screws Get Loose [Review]

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Those Darlins
Screws Get Loose
Oh Wow Dang
March 29, 2011

From the first few seconds of “Screws Get Loose,” the title track from Those Darlins’ new full-length, it’s clear this is not the same band that gave us 2009’s rollicking, punk-country Those Darlins: A rubbery mess of warped guitar notes bends around a driving xylophone, and as the song shifts into the verse, the sound is akin to a parallel-universe ’60s girl-group (albeit with snarlier vocals) playing full-on guitar-driven pop. But it’s around the time Jessi Darlin gets to the chorus — “Can’t blame me for what I choose / Whoa-oh, screws get loose” — delivered in her signature adenoidal drawl, that we realize this is the same band we’ve known all along. They’ve just gotten better.

Put another way: While the acoustic instrumental twang of old favorites like “Wild One” has been replaced by surfy riffs and the occasional psychedelic reverb-soaked drone, these Tennesseans are still country enough to down whiskey all night, come home drunk and devour an entire leftover chicken at 3 a.m. — “Fatty Needs a Fix” is a hilarious companion piece, of sorts, to Those Darlins’ “The Whole Damn Thing” — and their relentless touring has only made them more assured in their writing and playing.

There’s a nice continuity to Screws, too, to go with the variety of songwriting styles. On one end of the spectrum lie bratty rants like the infectious Jessi-penned “Be Your Bro,” and its punky lament that will ring true for annoyed tomboys the world over: “I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you / You just wanna stick it in.” On the other end there are the slower, more reflective, wistful tunes like the Kelley-penned “Boy” (a riposte, of sorts, to Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man”). In between — from Linwood’s slouchy “Let U Down” to Nikki’s delightfully psychosomatic “Hives” — Those Darlins sound like a band, and a hell of a good one at that.

Rating: 4.0

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Third Man Hosts White Denim on April 1 and Black Milk on April 8, Releases Live Vinyl From Reggie Watts, Cold War Kids & The’s [TMR Round-Up]

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

UPDATE: The White Denim show is canceled. See this link for more info.

Question: Do the dudes at Third Man Records ever stop doing stuff? In the time it takes you to answer the preceding question, Jack White and his cadre will have likely released three more live albums and booked a couple of top-notch touring acts. According to the TMR crew, Austin’s garage-psych power trio — and one of my personal faves — White Denim will be popping in on Friday, April 1, to play a set riddled with jams from their forthcoming album, D — hear some streaming tunes from that record at White Denim’s site. Hans Condor will be appearing in support for that one. One week later, on April 8, Third Man will host Detroit producer/rapper Black Milk, who will perform with a live band. Both White Denim’s and Black Milk’s sets will be recorded for live albums.

Speaking of live-set recordery, TMR also says they’ll be releasing live albums from Reggie Watts (TMR 080), Cold War Kids (TMR 081) and The’s (TMR 076) tomorrow, March 29. Each of the aforementioned releases was recorded live at the TMR shop within the past few months — see The Spin’s coverage of Cold War Kids' and The’s' respective appearances at Third Man, if you like. Sez the TMR crew, “All releases will be vinyl LP only, no digital. Limited Black & Blue vinyl editions will be available at Third Man's Nashville retail location for those who attended the shows.” See Third Man Records’ site for more details and ticket info.

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Caption Contest: Dashboard Confessional Giveaway! [Updated]

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Winning caption goes here.
  • When asked for a comment, Amy Grant responded: "Looking back on it, I probably shouldn't have let Harmony Korine direct the 'Baby Baby' video."

UPDATE: We have our winner. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Get up, kids! It's Monday, and that means it's time to get some work done and be miserable. Your task today? Come up with the wittiest, most LOL-worthy humdinger of a caption to accompany the curious image above and you'll win yourself a pair of tickets to Thursday (no, not the band) night's Dashboard Confessional show at The Cannery Ballroom, where the aughts emo boomers will put on a victory lap performance of their landmark Swiss Army Romance record in full.

Be sure to include your email addy along with your entry. Worry not, we won't out you as a contest competitor (or a Dashboard fan) by publishing it, but we will need it to furnish you with your winnings. The race to the finish-LOL starts now and ends Wednesday at noon.

And go!

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The Clutters: Breaking Bones Album Trailer Is Far Out, Man!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Hey, the new album by The Clutters is called Breaking Bones, and it comes out May 10 on Chicken Ranch Records. The band put together this album trailer, which sees things you cannot see. Or can you? We posted lead track "Under Suspicion" a while back, and if you missed that then, here it is now, just as awesome and with the same generous helping of cowbell:

Speaking of The Clutters, they'll be opening for the fantastic Dex Romweber Duo this Wednesday night, March 30, at FooBar.

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The Coolin' System at The Basement, 3/26/11

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

“I gotta move those tables!”

When we heard those words coming out of Grimey's mouth as he rushed by us to get into The Basement on Saturday night, we knew we were in for a bangin' show. OK, we knew we were info a bangin' show anyway — we've seen The Coolin' System a dozen times, and we're not ashamed to say we love their debut album as much as Charlie Sheen loves seven-gram rocks and hookers in closets. But proof that shit's about to get buck right as we walk in the door is just, well, reassuring. We aren't afraid to admit that our taste in music can be a bit, uh, obtuse, so walking into a room full of other people also there to see one of our favorite bands is always comforting.

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Jessica Lea Mayfield w/Daniel Martin Moore at Mercy Lounge, 3/25/11

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Last week’s unexpected resurgence in winter weather kind of brought out The Spin’s ornery side, but as we wolfed down our cheeseburger and hustled up the steps to Mercy Lounge, we resolved not to let that stubborn douche Old Man Winter get the best of us. We entered to what sounded like a playlist from our iPod circa 2006 — lots of Iron & Wine and Beirut — issuing from Mercy’s speakers, with a handful of folks sitting cross-legged on the floor. Total dorm-core.

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Baths Tonight at The Cannery Ballroom

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Sometimes you write a headline and wish it were true both ways. Cold War Kids, who played at Third Man their last time through town, are the headliners, but Ryan Burleson's Critic's Pick focuses on the opener:

Baths is just one of three aliases wunderkind Will Wiesenfeld invokes to share his inventive music with the world. But it’s unmistakably as Baths that the 22-year old produces his best work. At points recalling Flying Lotus, Toro Y Moi, M83 and Tim Hecker, Baths grew out of Wiesenfeld’s introduction to L.A.’s notorious “beat scene,” a loose collective of artists headed by Daedelus, FlyLo and Nosaj Thing who make druggy, off-kilter electronic music that’s as addictive as it is difficult to pin down. Cerulean, Baths’ critically-lauded debut released last year on anticon. fits the script of this micro-genre nicely, though improves upon it by featuring Wiesenfeld’s impressive croon atop ambitious tracks that could be just as compelling as instrumentals. Of course, it wouldn’t be beat music if, like every other element, his vocals weren’t often tweaked dramatically. But it’s hard to deny that even their mere presence reveals a pop sensibility that separates Baths from the rest.

Show starts at 9 p.m., and will now cost you the day-of-show price of $22.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

James Wallace and The Naked Light Cassette Release at The Basement Tonight

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM

If you're not heading out to catch may-as-well-be-local chanteuse Jessica Lea Mayfield at Mercy, you'd do well to travel a few blocks up the road to The Basement to see James Wallace and the Naked Light with Fly Golden Eagle and Dawn Kinnard. You may or may not be aware of a Critic's Pick about such an occasion:

The story behind More Strange News From Another Star, the latest release by local indie pop chameleon James Wallace, is about as unlikely as any you'll hear about a record this year. Conceptualized in China and recorded in Richmond, Virginia, Strange News was meant for release on cassette in Beijing last May through Tagteam Records. Tagteam disappeared off the face of the planet and the tape never came to fruition — until now. Wallace's orchestral folk-pop hymns are understated, yet distinctly charming in a way that recalls singer/songwriters like Paul Simon. Wallace's story-songs weave Southern folk and avant-pop with an Eastern influence that frequently reminds you of the Chinese connection that never quite happened. There's good reason why the bloggerati at We Own This Town declared Strange News as a contender for their Top 10 of 2010 list (if only it had been released). $7

I chatted with Wallace about the story behind the record — did you know he sometimes works as an interpreter for the Chinese ice cutters who make the ice sculptures at Opryland? It's true! — but whatever plague I caught during Road to Bonnaroo Monday has nearly destroyed my ability to string together a coherent series of thoughts. Here's the short version:

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American Idol Recap: Motown Show, Paul McDonald, Steven Tyler Looks Like a Lady and So On

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Motown week — here we go! This can be dangerous ground for America's favorite dog-and-pony show: high risk of "karaoke" accusations, but also high opportunity for reward because, let's be serious, these songs are awesome. The show starts, and JLo comes out wearing some sort of crazy pretty, pretty princess ensemble, complete with pastel eyeshadow and Disney hair. Through some miracle of pixie dust and red wine (for me), it works! What can this lady not wear? On the other end of the spectrum, Steven Tyler dresses like a cougar — all sparkles, animal prints and smile lines.

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