New Tunes Test: The Bixby Knolls

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When I read this statement I knew I had to check out this band:  “Our record reminds us of Bobby Gillespie and Joe Strummer in a fist fight.”

BixbyKnolls

Not quite sure where the Joe Strummer part comes in, but this LA-area band definitely digs Primal Scream.  Think dirty, LA signature sound with a hint of the ‘Scream mixed in.  I listened to the full album (titled “Near & Undear”) tonight.   There are clear UK influences yet it contains more hard-edged rock than one would expect.  The band takes notes from their influences and makes them their own.

A couple of things worth noting -1)  I really like several songs deep into the tracklisting.  In fact, I would recommend “Waking Up The World” (via Spotify) and “Want It All” if you only listen to 2 tracks.  2)  Solid songwriting.  I think there’s some promise here.

If their vibe is a little too hard for your taste, give the track “Sister Anne” a try.

The Bixby Knolls on SoundCloud

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The Charlatans to release documentary

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Mountain Picnic Blues will be available in March (of course it’s going to be released in March along with every other cool album I’m looking forward to) and highlights all things related to their work on “Tellin’ Stories”.  Fifteen years on I’m sure the band’s perspective dealing with the loss of Rob and realizing what a once-in-a-lifetime album they had created will make for a great retrospective. Beautiful album that’s worth a full listen now and then.

Preview the documentary

Order the DVD

BTW, has anyone checked out Tim’s latest album?

History of a song

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“If Leonard Cohen was the author . . . and John Cale was its editor,” writes Light, “Buckley was the song’s ultimate performer.”   alan light_cohen book

The Holy Or The Broken by Alan Light

I’ve lamented about the evolution of Cohen’s masterpiece and this book takes on the subject in detail.  I didn’t know exactly when Cale had recorded the track.  Buckley’s version came 10 years after the original recording.  Lots of goodies about the song that has become the go-to track in the face of national loss and hurt. 

Boston Globe Review

BRMC’s December Gigs in CA

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Feels good to be talking (and hearing) new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club music.  During my week off at the folks over the holidays I was excited to hear Robert’s Dad’s band, The Call on one of the hometown radio stations.  I think the last time I heard “Let The Day Begin” was when I had learned of Michael Been’s passing.  It was refreshing to hear the track.  As I got back to my place this weekend (and to my laptop rather than using Mom’s iPad) I was blown away to see the playlist for their recent Troubador show.  Top of the list was “Let The Day Begin!”

And it’s one of the tracks off the new album to boot.  Double treat:  Tom Ferrier of The Call guested on the song during their Santa Cruz gig.  I tell you, BRMC always hits it right.  I don’t know how they do it, but why question it.  Enjoy the tracks below and here’s a link to a blog review of the Slim’s show via 402 Productions.

The “Six Barrel Shotgun” performance 402 Productions writes about:

Cleanest version of “Let The Day Begin” I can find (Troubador):

Cleaning up

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Got a bright new background to bring into the new year and doing a little housecleaning.  I’m currently re-listening to music for my YE list.  The problem I keep running into, though, is distraction from other folks’ lists and albums I either didn’t get around to checking out or something new to me that sounds interesting. 

I need to focus!

Covers discovered – Mickey Thomas

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While I was roaming around the net checking out missed releases I came across a release from Starship’s Mickey Thomas from 2011.  Marauder is a wide-ranging collection of cover songs; originals from such artists as The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, Snow Patrol and even AC/DC.  Yes, it’s scattered, but who doesn’t enjoy the odd cover now and then?  You can listen to samples at AllMusic.com or Spotify. 

I have to say Thomas still has his chops (check the video below).  But you really should at least track through the samples – I just don’t see where a Beatles’ track, Muse and AC/DC fit together.   You gotta check it out!

Gimme Shelter – Bluesy rendition of the Stones’ tune

 

 

 

How do music venues survive?

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I realize a good number of my music friends read The Guardian regularly and perhaps you already read this in-depth article by Tom Lamont posted over the weekend.  It’s a great read and as we just had “Small Business Saturday” in the ‘States I thought it was especially appropriate.  We often read about the stuggles artists have as well as streaming media outlets; and some come out better than others.  The issues venues deal with aren’t written about nearly as often.

The author follows the people who make the Forum in Tunbridge Wells (located somewhere between London and Brighton from what I gather) tick as best it can given various circumstances.  What’s amazing is we’re talking a night when Palma Violets were playing (heavily-tipped by NME) and the venue had been called one of the best small venues to catch bands.  All the right ingredients one would think.

Anyway, below is a picture of the crew who love live music and here is the link to the story.  If you’ve ever done something purely for the love of it, you should take the time to read it!

Photo by Katherine Rose of the Observer

Some Lo-fi Disgrace

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Time to feature some of my favorite music of 2012.  There is usually a band with connections to Scotland on my YE list and this year will be no exception.  Thanks to the most awesome music blog, 17 Seconds, blogger Ed gave me a fantastic tip to check out Laurence and the Slab Boys.  “Laurence” is from The Cinematics, with whom you may be familiar. 

I’ve hesitated a few times since getting hooked on their album, Lo-fi Disgrace, on how to (or how not to) describe their sound to friends.  There’s a shoegaze vibe, but for a couple weeks it really bugged me whose voice he reminded me…it really drove me crazy.  I hate to say that for fear if you’re reading this you might write them off as not having their own merit.  In reality I would say they’ve created a hybrid sound.  For several reasons I find the album a nice collection of familiarity.  Deep into the album I hear Joy Division and there are a couple other singers that come to mind – I’ll let you decide.   All are good traits and the songwriting is solid. 

The youtube track I’ve chosen is more on the dreamy, shoegaze spectrum.  The song doesn’t represent the whole album; it’s intended just to give you a taste.  Let me know in the comments if you hear any other famous-sounding voices that I haven’t mentioned. (The album is available via their Bandcamp store.)

You can watch the band perform “Mushroom” via YouTube.

No regrets – other than missed shows

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I ran across a gig review earlier this month for a show in Scotland featuring Mike Peters of the Alarm.  It’s a quick read and makes you feel like you heard an account of the show from a friend vs. a reviewer.  That could also sum up the performer himself.  Mike Peters has been “all in” from the beginning.  He’s all about the music and fans – even before social media!

This fact again hit home with me reading the review and recalling a rare show he played in Lawrence, KS, in the 90’s.  It was one of those shows where my friends weren’t around or interested to check it out.  He played a very intimate venue, too, the Jazzhaus which would become one of my favorite spots, but at that point I hadn’t been there but maybe one time.

I can honestly say it’s one of very few shows in my adult life I regret missing.  Granted it would not have been quite the show as described in the review linked above, but I know it would have been fun. 

And something you may not be aware of is the story of Peters releasing music under the guise of younger musicians in 2004 has been turned into a movie named, “Vinyl“.  It has a good cast lineup.  As far as I know it’s making the festival circuit and no immediate plans of US release.  (Much same as “California Solo” unfortunately – another music-related UK indie film that is on my Must See list!)

SXSW 2011 News

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If I’m not going to post anything about SXSW, I’d just as well abandon this blog.  Buuuut, I’m not quite ready to do that.  So I’ll be posting links to a plethora of info and insights stemming from this year’s SXSW gathering; including news from Film, Interactive and Music.  Aren’t you excited?  😉

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AdAge  :::  Live From SXSW, the Death of the Social Check-in

Which social check-in companies are in Austin and what they are doing to catch attendees’ affection.

ScreenCrave  :::  Conan O’Brien Documentary Strikes Unique Distribution Deal At SXSW

We are bound to hear more about Conan’s doc covering his comedy tour while between shows and networks last year.  Don’t you love sweet revenge?

Paste Magazine  :::  Paste’s 100 Bands At SXSW

Meh.  Was hoping for a preview to bands, but this will be updated throughout the fest.  Should be good coverage, tho.

Spin/HP collaboration :::  Every Passion Has A Road  (series)

Showcase of upcoming bands attending the music fest.

The Guardian  :::  The Internet is Over

Not quite, but there are some serious querries to consider the future of computing in this article.

PC Mag  :::  Google Circles Social Network? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Most sources are saying Google has backed off for now.

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And if you like to follow numbers and trends you must check out The Guardian’s SXSW Band Tracker – real-time trending of bands playing and who’s literally the talk of the town!