Tomorrow is Concert Day in Kansas City

Wow...I was just looking at the concert lineup for tomorrow night here in Kansas City and Lawrence, and it's pretty impressive. There's something for everyone:

BB King
8 p.m., Ameristar Casino, Star Pavilion

Blue Man Group
8 p.m., Kemper Arena ($50.50 - $86)
Jeez! Are those prices serious!?

Billy Ebeling & The Late For Dinner Band
9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Slow Ride Roadhouse (Free)

Small Sails / The Capsules / Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
10 p.m., The Jackpot Music Hall ($3 - $5)

Crawling With Kings / The Afterparty / OK Jones
10 p.m., The Hurricane

Softee / Ghosty / American Catastrophe / The PedalJets
Sonic Spectrum Anniversary Showcase
10 p.m., The Record Bar ($10)

Danny Pound Band / The Belles
10 p.m., The Eighth Street Tap Room ($2)

Personally, I'm looking at the Sonic Spectrum show. I'm poor but I think I can swing 10 bucks anyways. I hope that Robert Moore and AmCat don't think I'm stalking them.


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One of the "hip" things to do in music today is the two-man (or indie music - the boy-girl band) and thus strip the music down some, usually to just something you can beat on and something you can play some sort of melody on. It's very rare you get something TRULY unique out of the formula, but often times its still quite enjoyable. But before it was hip, it was experimental.

Back in 1970, Billy Joel teamed up with drummer Jon Small to create a project called Attila. Joel provided vocals and played an oddly distorted organ. This stuff was NOT "Just the Way You Are". It was some sort of combination of the early metal sound, with psychedelic and a touch of prog even. At times, Joel's vocals sounded somewhat akin to the wailing of Robert Plant, if you can imagine that. Once again, this was NOT "Just the Way You Are."

However, the album was a huge bust. No sales, the critics hated it (and apparently still do) and the band ended up getting dropped from their label after just the one album. Apparently, when they lost the record deal, Joel even tried to commit suicide by swallowing furniture polish. You're lookin' at Billy Joel a bit differently now, aren't ya?

Even down to today, it's considered by critics to be one of the worst all time records. It sounded so ridiculous that I had to hear it - but frankly, I really like it. But listen for yourself - you know you're curious about it by now.

01 California Flash
02 Wonder Woman
03 Rolling Home
04 Brain Invasion
05 Revenge Is Sweet
06 Tear This Castle Down
07 Amplifier Fire
08 Godzilla Pt. 1

Attila Wiki Page


New Reverie Sound Revue!

I was thrilled to hear last night about a new Reverie Sound Revue song! Apparently, the new album is just short of being completed and the band is still trying to figure out just exactly what to with it when it comes out. Just in case you didn't notice, the "label" field on their Myspace Page says "none". You mean to tell me Amy Winehouse can get a record deal, but these guys can't!? No justice!

But the song is pretty much everything you expect - driving percussion and bass lines, guitar used more for accents than anything else, and Lisa Lobsinger's voice cooing over it all.

Here's the trick thing tho - this is still an incomplete version of the song. It's not gotten the full mixdown yet, but the RSR folks were so anxious to share it anyways.

So, download the song. Watch the video. You'll like it.

An Anniversary Away

Official Page

Hey, check it out! I made it thru the whole thing without one mention of Broken Social Scene! Oh crap, I just blew it, didn't I?


Review: American Catastrophe with In the Pines

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Photo courtesy of Todd
Check out his page Flickr page too

Saturday night I hopped in my scary car, popped in a country mix CD and headed down the highway to Lawrence Kansas (which was quite depressed last night after the big KU loss) to go see two great bands - In the Pines (whom I've written about before) and American Catastrophe (whom I tragically haven't written about yet...) at the Bottleneck with some DJ work by the man known as Robert Moore.

I've seen both bands before on a bill with another band called The New Tragedies (you'll hear about them soon...) and the first time I was just so immensely impressed with both, In the Pines especially. So I was super excited to see both again.

First, Robert may have singlehandedly convinced me to make sure my radio still works and turn it on. I turned it off for the last time about 3 years ago because the music was so terrible, but last night Robert was spinning everything from Jerry Reed to Love to Peter Bjorn and John. I think I enjoyed the music he played nearly as much as the live music. It made a lot of sense to have Robert there because he is the man behind the new local record label Oxblood Records, whose first signees were American Catastrophe.

And second, I gotta say going to shows alone is not very fun. But on the other hand, I took a notebook with me and got a tom of leg work done for some future posts here. I could hear people behind me saying, "Yeah, so he's definitely a writer, but who does he write for?" I got a kick out of that.

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Yup, that's from the notebook...

First up were In The Pines. The setlist was culled almost in its entirety from their self-titled record - the lone hold out was "How to Love Her" from the Oxblood Records comp "First Blood." It really added a new dimension into the set with the handclaps and great lead riff. "Dress on Fire" and "Never Say Too Much" closed out the set and they rippled with an enthusiasm and energy that was missing thru the rest of the set. The rhythm section boomed forward and carried them with the strings skittering atop the acoustics. The sounds were so delicate at times that you had to pay close attention not to miss the subtleties. I'm normally not okay with bands sitting while they play, but frankly, I'm worried for frontman Brad Hodgson - one of these days that chair is gonna fall apart as he rocks back and forth and nearly jumps out of it. And while we're on the subject of Brad, it has to be said that he doesn't really look like a typical front man - he's skinny, balding and unshaven and looks like he may work in the back room of your local guitar shop. But jeez - half the time he didn't ever have to sing into the microphone to get his voice out.

And then, after more Robert Moore and more notebook writing came American Catastrophe (AmCat). First it needs to be said - Shaun Hamontree is one beautiful man. All of the intimidating 6'5 of him. With a voice that sounds like a cross between Jay Munly and Tom Waits, he writhes and jukes in his chair while pushing out some of the greatest music that has one foot in rock, one in blues, a hand in folk and a pinky finger in post-rock. As good as their album is, its no comparison to seeing them live. Their set seemed perfect in the dim, somehow smoky without allowing smoke venue. The new tunes fit in perfectly amongst the ones from their recently re-released "Excerpts from the Broken Bone Choir". The themes of murder juxtaposing with and odd romanticism are continuing on (as well as I could tell from the lyrics). All in all, I can't wait to see what new stuff AmCat will be pushing forward on Oxblood.

These are the same songs from before, but if you haven't listened yet, trust me, it's time:
Dress On Fire
Never Say Too Much
And you can pick up the record here.

And one from AmCat:
Broken Bone Choir

And you can pick up the Oxblood Records comp "First Blood" here.

And my freaking goodness - does EVERYONE need to link to Arcade Fire's takeaway show!?


Burning to Shine

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One of my favorite parts of the Humanities class that I had to take was getting to listen to all the different kinds of music. That class, more or less, was my first introduction to classical music. Sure, we all hear it in Bugs Bunny cartoons and other places, but we really don't pay attention to it. The way the instruments interacted and the way they could convey a full range of emotions without a single word fascinated me. Some of the other students would nod out, but I was wrapped up in it. It's a shame that so few people give it the time of day anymore.

And because of that, the CBC Radio Orchestra is the last of its kind in North America. But their wonderful people were up to a new challenge. In 2006 Canadian Rapper K-os was contacted about doing a collaboration with the orchestra and having it filmed for a documentary. He decided to give it a try and the results were fantastic. I just got a chance to watch the documentary yesterday and it was quite interesting. The tension ran thick as they worked to meet their deadline while K-os repeatedly changed his mind and made adjustments and worked in ways that the folks associated with the Orchestra had never worked before.

All in all it was a very entertaining documentary and it made for a great track too.

Watch the documentary in its whole HERE.

And after you watch, check out the track too:
Burning to Shine

K-os Official Page
K-os Myspace
CBC Radio Orchestra at Wikipedia


Rachel Yamagata's New Record

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Back in 2004, Rachel Yamagata was announced to be a part of the lineup at Bonnaroo. This led to a collective response of "Who?" Rachel isn't such an unknown anymore. Her music has been about everywhere and as a result she has too. Her smoky voice and plaintive calls on the piano are real attention grabbers and the pop hooks keep you coming back for more. Her live performances, while often containing awkward banter, are always changing including different versions of songs. I've probably heard at least five different versions of "Worn Me Down" alone. The moods vary from upbeat pop (see "1963") to brooding dark pop (see "These Girls") to "Did-She-Really-Say-That?" confessionals (see "Woman").

And later this year we get the LONG awaited second full-length from Rachel. She says its all done but hasn't yet given us a tracklisting or title and says that the artwork isn't done yet. That makes me nervous considering how long we've waited for this record, but at least the music is done now. It's said to be more guitar driven this time around, proven by the version of "Faster" that she played at said Bonnaroo performance.

All these following songs are possibilities to be on the forthcoming untitled record.

Live From Bonnaroo 2004:

Live From KCRW in 2004:
Sunday Afternoon

Live From KCRW in 2005:
What If I Leave?

Official Page
Myspace Page

And of course, as I hear more, I'll do my best to pass the word on. I'm really excited for this one.


Lavender Diamond

Frankly, I wasn't in a big hurry to get around to listening to Lavender Diamond after hearing the accounts of their opening sets for The Decemberists and front-lady Becky Starks antics. Not in a hurry at all. However, when Matador temporarily posted a track off their upcoming record, "Imagine Our Love", I decided to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did.

If you're looking for a life changing album, this is not for you, but its just a great pop record. Becky has an amazing voice and the instrumentation isn't flashy but its really solid and the album is really well produced. Lyrically, there's probably very little being covered here that hasn't been covered a thousand times over in the last 60 or so years, but the lyrics are carried by Stark's vocals and the pure sense of conviction in her vocals. When she repeats "I'll never lie again" in the track by the same title, you believe her. She obviously has corrected all her geneological imperfections to the point where she is physically incapable of lying ever again. And then, on "Open Your Heart", you almost expect Colin Meloy to jump in on vocals for a while, but Stark carries it out wonderfully.

Despite its imperfection, this is really a great record that is gonna be in my rotation for a while.

From "Imagine Our Love":
Open Your Heart
I'll Never Lie Again

From "The Calvalry of Light EP":
You Broke My Heart
Rise in the Springtime

From Becky Starks' "Artifacts of the Winged":
I Know You Had To

Official Page
Myspace Page


1090 Club

What comes out of Billings, Montana? BESIDES Brent Musburger! Surprisingly, some pretty darn good pop music.

1090 Club was formed nearly by accident when they gathered to do up one song for a comp, but just kept going. Kinda like in Forrest Gump when he just kept running. Kinda like that. But it's a good thing. Everyone in the group contributes vocals, with violin player Megan Dibble's vocals really kinda stealing the show. That's not to say that they boys are slowing down the train...piano man Mike Galt, guitar man Sean Lynch, and drum...man...Steve Serfazo all hold their own and make for a heck of an enjoyable album.

The first references to the 1090 Club that I heard were references to Mates of State and The Postal Service. Sounds good to me. I'd also like to add to that list a good slice of Matt Pond PA. I think that's probably an even better reference to the sound.

(Puts on Levar Burton hat)
But don't take my word for it. Listen to the MP3's:
Second Hander
It Starts With

Sidecho Records Page
Official Page
Myspace Page


The Afterparty

The Afterparty is not your normal country-rock band. Your normal country-rock band may cite Roy Orbison as an influence, but they wouldn't cover "In Dreams" on their latest record. They wouldn't feature a local pin-up girl on backing vocals. And they wouldn't have a rockin' picture with Andre Williams on their Myspace page (See above).
Nope. These guys are pretty unique. They'll kick you in the shins and then ask you to dance. And when you say no, they pull you out on the dance floor anyways. But man, they can dance.

And then last night, I was having a rough night and noticed my copy of "Under the Rainbow", their most recent release, and tossed it in the cd player and I learned it's actually one heckuva "pick me up" disc too.

And now they're going on a bit of a tour. If you live between Kentucky and Texas you may get a chance to dance afterall.

Down In
Hard Times
And if you swing by their Myspace Page, you can download some tracks off the most recent record, and a couple of great live tracks.

Tour Dates:

March 1- Louisville, Kentucky
@ The Rudyard Kipling
w/ The Sad Bastard Brothers & Warm in the Wake

March 2- Chattanooga, Tennessee
@ Black Sheep Pub
w/ Bathtub Gin and The Bohanons

March 3- Chattanooga, Tennessee
@ JJ's Bohemia
CFAR Pirate Radio Benefit

March 4- Memphis, Tennessee
@ Murphy's
w/ Girls of the Gravitron and Staags!

March 4- New Orleans, LA
@ Circle Bar
w/ Happy Talk Band New

March 6- Austin, Texas
@ Beauty Bar
w/ Matt Hubbard & Pink Nasty

March 7- Austin, Texas
Live on-air performance/interview
The House Call with Dr. J on KOOP 91.7 FM

March 8- Austin, Texas
@ The Mohawk
w/ Matt Hubbard and The Summer Wardrobe

March 9- Austin, Texas
@ Scoot Inn
w/ Etta Vendetta's Eyeful Tower & That Damned Band

March 10- Austin, TX
We'll spend the day with Mike Vasquez at Sweatbox Studios.