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Reviews and Suggestions Rock News

De Staat ride the waves of Machinery and hit the road

Holland’s critically acclaimed alternative rock band, whose unique sound is as distinctive as The Dead Weather, Captain Beefheart, Nick Cave, Steve Reich, Queens of the Stone Age and Tom Waits is set to tour the UK in April 2011, riding the wave that their second album, Machinery, is making.

In less than a year, De Staat has become one of the biggest alt rock acts in its homeland of Holland. Now, what is the band expected to do next after topping 2010 end of the year lists and playing highly acclaimed sets at many festivals including Lowlands, Pinkpop and Glastonbury?

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Features

Hangin’ out pre-show with Vancouver’s Bend Sinister

Fun, electrifying and upbeat all the way, Bend Sinister, blasted its big, bodacious sound at this year’s Pop Montreal festival. The Vancouver-based band, whose name was acquired from a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, is made up of Dan Moxon (lead vocalist and keys), Joel Myers (bass), Joseph Blood (guitar) and Jason Dana (drummer) and is currently on a cross-Canada tour. I met up with one of the West Coast rockers, Joseph, right before the band’s show at Les 3 Minots. Here’s what happened…

Q: Sorry I’m a little flustered, my bike got two flat tires and I had to hop on one of those rental bikes to make it here on time…

A: Oh, that sucks! Yeah, I saw those rental bikes around – that’s kind of cool.

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Tracy Bonham talks new album, Steven Tyler’s love of slides, crying on Stevie Wonder’s suit, and, of course, the song that started it all

Many a music lover know of Tracy Bonham thanks to her Grammy-nominated debut, The Burdens of Being Upright, and its quirky, unforgettable star single, “Mother Mother.” However, fewer know (shame on you!) of the numerous releases, both full-length albums and EPs, that followed, delivering the same high caliber of original, infectious songs as Burdens. So, you owe it to yourself to add some more Bonham to your CD rack (um, I meant iPod), and now is the perfect time to do so, as she gears up to release her first full-length album in five years, Masts of Manhatta, on July 13th.

The R&RR recently had the chance to catch up with Bonham and talk Masts, Steven Tyler’s love of slides, crying on Stevie Wonder’s suit, and, of course, the song that started it all.

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Artists and Bands Record Labels

Alive and Rocking: Part 2

This is the second part of this round-up review/label profile so let me repeat:

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days. Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fanbases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time. This is, of course, the second part!

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Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

grammyIt’s finally here! The second half of our “A Year in Review” extravaganza is ready for you to peruse and, hopefully, enjoy. We’re serving up more great albums and fabulous artists and I finally get in on the action by counting down the best songs of the year (with some slight cheating.) For those of you who missed Part 1 (shame on you) I’d just like to repeat: Thank you for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 2 you’ll find:
Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone
Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick
Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard
Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin

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Features

NYC’s ‘Starcode’ on Everything from Playing the Former Czech Republic to the Difficulties of Choosing Between a Tom Waits and Better Than Ezra T-shirt!

starcodeNew York City’s newest modern rock offering comes in the form of Starcode; a band founded by brothers Dave (Vocals and Bass) and Dan O’Connor (Drums), and joined by Greg Nicotra and Steve Bernstein (Guitars), whose style of “high-energy, dark pop rock” separates them from the herd.

Working with famed producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Mathew Good) Starcode put together their stellar, brand new record, A Fine Line, which delivers no-nonsense melodic rock that is built on a strong acoustic base and decorated with plenty of tasty electric guitars and harmony vocals.

Recently, Dave was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our burning questions.

Q: Hi Dave – thanks for taking to time to chat. To start, tell us a bit about how Starcode began.

 

A: Starcode began with a few friends and family – Dan, the drummer, is my brother – getting together to share their love for creating and performing music.

Q: Do you have a favorite track off the new release? If so, what makes it stand out for you?

A: This is something that evolves with my moods. So, my favorite track today may not be my favorite track tomorrow. Even tonight as I doze off it may change. So, right this second? I’d have to say I Found A Way.  It stands out for me at this time because we’ve just shot the video for it and done some shows where it really seems to have moved the crowd. There are few things better than seeing a roomful of people singing along to a song that you’ve sweated and tortured yourself to create.

Q: Working closely with a relative can be a double-edged sword. How has it been for you and Dan?

A: Dan and I have been playing together for years. Our first band, Amethyst, had their first gig when I was nine [at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass] [but] we have most definitely had some moments of rivalry. There were many things and tantrums thrown over the years. I must say however, that when things got serious for the band and we started going on the road it sort of morphed into an “us against them” sort of thing. We tend to unite along with the other guys instead of getting at it amongst ourselves. So I guess our secret for not killing each other is finding a common enemy. They’re out there and we’ve conveniently found a great way to come together against them.

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Features

The Fast Romantics on Playing CBGB’s, Near-Death Experiences, Approaches for Crack – Proof That a Musician’s Life is Never Dull

frThe Fast Romantics are a band who seem to have everything going for them. The foursome from Calgary, Alberta, Canada have had their current members in place since late 2007 – Matthew Angus (Vocals), Matthew Kliewer (Guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (Bass), Alan Reain (Drums)  – and have been enjoying a very successful streak, with no signs of slowing down. Their self-titled debut album is overflowing with their signature quirky sound and has had people talking and instilling constant praise on the band since its release.

Their standout sound even caught the ears of some industry bigwigs and The Fast Romantics were named one of the four finalists in the SPIN Earth/John Varvatos Contest in search of the world’s next great rock and roll band. As one of the four finalists they performed at the old CBGB’s in New York City last September, where they absorbed as much as they possibly could from the rocking judges panel, which included: John Varvatos, Perry Farrell and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

The Rock and Roll Report caught up with the two Matthews the day after their big New York City gig, just as they were getting set to rock Montreal, Quebec.