Once in a while, there is a great gig that really makes a difference in your life. This is how the Writer show in Montreal was for me; their entire performance was extremely uplifting and refreshing, like a nice warm shower…of emotion! The evening started with an amazing interview with the two multi-talented and friendly brothers that form the band: Andy and James Ralph. They began their show with the track ‘Miss Mermaid,’ which was even more brilliant live than their recorded version. Their live performance confirmed that when two such talented people collaborate, there is no need to add more members to the band.
Fresh off the heels of last year’s magnificent record, “Look Your Best” (see review here ), Memphis pop rock stars Ingram Hill are back with acoustic renditions of some of their finest work. The collection is called Blue Room Afternoon and will be available exclusively on iTUNES June 21, 2011, courtesy of Rock Ridge Music. The new record, which consists of a dozen tunes, was produced by lead vocalist/guitarist Justin Moore with the goal to have that “living room concert” feel. The set is more expansive than their unplugged EP from 2005 (also on iTUNES).
“We had always discussed releasing an acoustic album,” says Moore, “but for whatever reason had never done it. It was kind of strange recording older songs all over again, but it was fun to be able to approach them differently, and try a few new things with them, which totally gave a fresh feel to songs we’ve played thousands of times. It’s almost a look into what songs sound like when we first wrote them, without all the bells and whistles of a full production record. We’re excited about the album, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear our songs in a fashion that is not normally available to them.”
They call themselves “flower punk” and that’s probably the best description anyone can come up with when referring to Black Lips. Formed in 1999 in Atlanta, the Lips are part of the garage rock revival movement that ushered in the 21st century. Along with groups like The Flaming Sideburns, The Hives, The Strokes, King Khan and the Shrines, The White Stripes, and Jay Reatard, to name a few, Black Lips have been imperative in helping produce the new old styles and sounds of garage punk.
Unlike their previous albums, even up to their 2009 release 200 Million Thousand, Arabia Mountain is a lot tighter in sound. This is probably due in part to Mark Ronson, who holds producing credits on the album. Arabia Mountain manages to keep the core throwback sound of the Lips, even though the record is much more cleaned up. Ronson was careful not to lose the idiosyncrasies of Black Lips in the production, and the result is an enjoyable record that still has the true Lips style stamped all over it.
Japanese experimental band Boris, famous amongst fans for constantly changing their musical style, has released three new albums in 2011. Attention Please was the last of the three, the seventeenth studio album in total and the first to feature guitarist/vocalist Wata’s vocals on every track.
Attention Please opens with the title track presenting a moody atmosphere- a metronomic drum beat with muted bass and synth, sharp guitar for texture and startlingly clear vocals. The song culminates with the addition of a psychedelically-styled guitar that bends and twists under Wata’s soft words. “Hope” begins more aggressively and an unsettling yet uplifting chorus of strings rises out of the murky guitar and bass, further enhancing the softness of the vocals.
A row of amps hummed with dead air when Keiji Haino walked on stage near midnight. Dressed all in black, trademark sunglasses that never leave the face, and long hair now grey, he had a presence that drew respectful silence. During soundcheck we heard jarring squalls of analog synth noise and sporadic stabs of a drum machine kick.
Haino opened with an atonal guitar drone piece, carving out giant slabs of distorted sound. His guitar was to have this highly overdriven tone for much of the set, largely achieved from the sheer volume and drive of his long row of amplifiers—often so distorted as to conceal any discernible melody. Intensity would pick up and he would violently raise his guitar into the air to bring a chord crashing brutally down, hair flying. A particularly powerful moment came with his exploration of vast dynamic range, tearing at his strings with enormous power and immediately muting them for near-silence.
Air Canada Centre
May 27, 2011
Almost 3 years ago to the day, I first saw the Trews and they totally blew me away. They packed Jackhammer’s Nightclub in Brantford, Ontario, home of Wayne Gretzky, and blew the doors off with their very own brand of all Canadian straight up, kick ass rock n roll.
Well this night, opening for Kid Rock at the ACC was really no different other than the size of the venue, stage, PA, audience and of course, ticket price.
They hit the stage with an all-star, greatest hits lineup of no bullshit Trews tunage. Only the best of the best as their opening slot allowed only a dozen songs to showcase to Mr. Rock’s fans what the Trews are all about.
California-based Modern American Theatre is a rock band that has been in the spotlight ever since they placed first in the Rhythm category of the Gods of Indie Guitar contest. Modern American Theatre is a six-piece band that is currently made up of Natalie Diaz on vocals, Justin Bardales and Paul Bethers on guitar, John Reyna on bass, Conner Martin on drums and Chase Werner on keyboards.
Modern American Theatre creates a sound that blends together an extremely jazzy guitar sound with the style of Rock and Roll. With that sound, the only genre the band would fit into would have to be Indie Rock. The reason for the jazzy feel to the band’s sound comes from the combined playing of guitarists Justin Bardales and Paul Bethers. The eerily similar delivery on the guitar by the two musicians helps to create a sound that comes across as a layering effect. And that layering effect is what truly separates the band’s sound from nearly every other group out there today. Taken with Diaz on vocals, Reyna on bass, Werner on keyboards and Martin on drums, their playing styles create a very unique sound that sets the band apart from most of the bands out there today.
The song that won the Rhythm category for the band (and was ultimately included on the Gods of Indie Guitar 2011 CD) was “She’s Like That With Everyone,” a song that is featured on the band’s CD entitled We Could Make A House. The main reason for the song winning the category is because of the unique playing of the band’s guitarists, Justin Bardales and Paul Bethers. Taken with Diaz on vocals, Reyna on bass and Martin on drums, their playing styles create a very unique sound that sets the band apart from most of the bands out there today.
In the utterly go-go, trans-media flurry which was mid-sixties pop(ular culture), every television star worth their Nielsens was expected to not only chase spies and rope steers, but compete with those rock ‘n’ rollers of the moment upon the Top Forty to boot. To cite but two examples, Lorne Bonanza Greene and his 1964 chart-topping “Ringo,” not to mention Captain James T. Kirk’s similarly Beatle-busting Transformed Man album. Which contained the possibly definitive version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” I kid you not.
Teri Gender Bender has been compared to the punk/grunge scene of the 90s, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, and Nick Cave’s past partner and former muse, PJ Harvey. The release of Sin, Sin, Sin follows Kiss and Kill with artistic and musical growth from Teri, and a new lineup with the band; Gabe Serbian on drums and Johnathan Hischke on bass. Relocating from Guadalajara, Mexico to Los Angeles has Le Bucherettes touring across the United States and Europe. Nothing as sharp or raw has graced the music scene since the Riot Grrrl Revolution.
Q: Why the name, Le Bucherettes?
TGB: I was 17, living in Mexico for about two years and very frustrated that a lot of really cool bands playing lacked women fronting them. I was really influenced at the time reading Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique about the household wife, finishing college and marrying. Back in the 50s that was the traditional thing to do, but there was always this emptiness, this whole that would never get filled. This is why the “s”, (it should be “Les” in the name), is taken out. It is more of a mutilation representing the female issue; female circumcision or the simple fact that you feel like something is missing.