Monday, March 29, 2010

Matt Rubano Leaves Taking Back Sunday

I know. It's crazy.

The announcement was made on the TBS website today:

I wasn't a huge fan, but they weren't bad when I saw them last year and I'm pretty sure everyone in my generation of music has screamed along with this song at least once. Make damn sure.

*EDIT* Matt Fazzi has now also left the band. What is it with bands breaking up lately?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hot Chelle Rae Show Review... Sort Of

Hot Chelle Rae at The Somerville Theater - March 26, 2010

Here's one of those times (hopefully the first of many) where I can't give you my full show review here. "Why?" you ask. Well, because that would be scooping my own story. My official show review will be posted on Music Remedy, and I'll link you there when the time comes (NOW LINKED HERE). But here you will get the unofficial, unprofessional commentary on my nights out, even when they're "on assignment."

I sound so official. I swear I'm not really this cool.

I had a guestlist spot and a plus one (this is still the coolest thing ever, being able to roll up to the ticket window and tell someone that I'm on the list) so I dragged a friend off to Somerville to see the show. We found the theater, wandered inside, and hit a wall of children. Now, I always complain a little about shows full of screaming 14 year olds, and that's what I expected this to be. What I did not expect was that the headliner was a Disney Channel star. Emily Osment, to be exact, and she's apparantly from Hannah Montana.

At least that's what the veritable horde of seven to ten year olds in hot pink told me. I'm not even lying, these girls were all under the age of ten. There were maybe twelve middle school kids, and that's being generous. This also meant that the place was full of parents, almost all of whom decided to cope with the experience by getting really drunk. Twitter even reports that there was a fight between drunken dads after we left. There were grandparents too, giving this concert the official widest age range of any I've ever been to.

Hot Chelle Rae
was awesome, really great, but that'll all be in the later review. What won't be in the later review is how completely creeped out we were by the girls' reaction to them. When the music started, the swarm of little girls raced up to dance in front of the stage. Okay, fine, that's normal. And if it was any other crowd, I would have agreed that the hands in the air reaching out to touch the band was normal as well (though I've never quite understood it - "Oh look! I touched a guitarist!" Um, okay?) But I'd like you, for just a minute, to picture about thirty eight year olds in hot pink reaching out to touch a bunch of guys in their early twenties.

Sketchy, right?

Unofficial thoughts on the band include my high approval of boys dancing with tambourines and my love of one of the guitarist's guitars. I really like highly decorated guitars and this one was shiny black with a very bright pattern that looked almost floral from the back of the room. They looked like they were having fun, and that's really what I need to get into a show. Good music, fun beats, and a teenage drummer headbanging with shoulder length hair during the last song.

I just realized the perfect band to compare them to, after my review has been submitted (damn!) though I guess this just means that my apt comparison of Hot Chelle Rae to a young All American Rejects is going to be lost to the greater internet community. Ah, well. It's true though, and I see them having the same trajectory and fans. Put these bands on the same tour and Hot Chelle Rae will have an instant fanbase.

Emily Osment was on after, though a few temper tantrums and crying fits nicely separated the sets. Seriously, who brings kids that young to a show? We stayed for about the first three songs, but they were nothing special so we bailed early. We went downstairs to check out the Museum of Bad Art, which is really odd, and then hopped back on the Red Line.

I will never complain about sixteen year olds at concerts again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem just posted their new single, "American Slang" off of their similarly titled new album on their Facebook page.

It's true rock music, great guitars and Brian Fallon's honest vocals. I love their ability to tell a story through their songs and their ability to make you feel what they're feeling. They don't disappoint with this song. I can see them playing this live, absolutely. I really like the beginning, the drum and guitar lead into the song.

"And they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive, I got your name tatooed inside of my arm, and I called for my father but my father had died, and you told us fortunes in American slang."

The track listing and album art are also now available on their page. The album art is blue photographs of Jersey, and it is very true to who they are. Track listing is as follows:

American Slang
Stay Lucky
Bring It On
The Diamond Church Street Choir
The Queen of Lower Chelsea
Old Haunts
The Spirit of Jazz
We Did It When We Were Young

I'm very excited for this album, but more for the tour they're going to have to do to support it. The Gaslight Anthem show I went to last October is tied for my favorite show of last year, and I can't wait for it to happen again!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ben Folds ChatRoulette Improv Pretty Much Defines Awesome

So this clip has been circulating the internet lately, of a guy named Merton improvising piano accompanied songs about the people he connects with on ChatRoulette. He was great, really funny, but his style and hood and glasses made people wonder if it was Ben Folds. It wasn't. But you know what? This is:

Ben Folds ChatRoulette improved in front of a live audience. I don't think it gets any better than this.

Welcome to 2010. This is music meeting the internet in real time. This is awesome.

(Bonus points if you can name the second partner, the shirtless guy with the lip piercings before Ben starts singing. The internet just looped around like a giant snake and ate it's tail.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Isn't Fall Out Boy

Patrick Stump previewed some of his new solo material at SXSW recently.

I want to be there so badly. I swear, I'm tempted to spend a large portion of my year off after college going to all the music festivals I've never been able to, and SXSW is up near the very top of that list.

Anyways, Patrick Stump. He's channeling his love of funk (seriously) and a stripped down version of his new sound. It's a little slow, but it's got soul, and I want more of this music right now.I love his voice, especially slowed down like this, without the crazy pop-punk energy and anger that Fall Out Boy demanded.

Keep doing this, Stump. This is good, real good. It almost makes me forget that Fall Out Boy is gone. Give me a few more guitar solos, a lot more piano, keep that voice coming, and we'll be alright.

Se Te Nota en la Cara, Tienes Mucho Poder

I'm spending all day watching movies by Vittorio de Sica, under the ruse of writing a film paper. I do have to write a film paper, that's true, and I am going to write it on De Sica, also true. But the sheer amount of movies I'm watching is not so much for background knowledge as it is because I really love his films.

And somehow, I don't even remember how, something in a documentary about an hour ago reminded me of La Oreja De Van Gogh.

Translated, it means Van Gogh's ear, and they're a band from Spain. They've had a lineup change in the past few years and their original singer left. I'm not a huge fan of their music, but I've always loved the song "Pop" and it's accompanying video. And, in light of our most recent pop diva, I felt the lyrics were appropriate. The lip-synching video not so much, but the message absolutely.

The chorus, for those of you who don't speak spanish: "You're the queen of pop, a life without name, a mountain of illusion. You're bills and alcohol, a blurred photo, a flower without scent."

And again with the key change at the end of the song. I love key changes in songs.

And now to find more movies. Think of how hard it is to find that movie you want to watch online. Then imagine if you had to find it in a different language. Then require subtitles.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Under Great White Northern Lights

Things I love: film, music, documentaries, Icky Thump.

White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights from filmswelike on Vimeo.

The White Stripes traveled across Canada and filmed as they went. This movie is going to rock. Literally.

"I would never be satisfied unless my marriage was as good as Cliff and Clair Huxtables (or at least as enigmatic as Jack and Meg White's)." - Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Scene is Dying; Long Live the Scene

Panic! at The Disco holds a special place in my musical world. When they split up last July, I wrote a little about how their music narrated the last year of my high school career and about how much Ryan Ross's lyrics meant to me. I really didn't care who he was, or what they meant to him, and I really didn't want to know. Those lyrics went on to mock me over the following year, and then came full circle to describe everything that had happened. The first five tracks of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, culminating in "Camisado", were pulled straight from my consciousness. For that, and for his ability to describe what being a messed up eighteen year old feels like, Ryan Ross will always hold my respect.

But. But when I did go see Panic live for the first time in May of 2008 they were touring for Pretty. Odd. Ryan sang one song on that CD, "Behind the Sea," and when he sang it live, I cringed. I thought he must have been sick, must have had some sort of cold, because his voice was toneless and dead. Then I heard him sing it live again about six months later and... well his voice was still just dead.

This is why making him the lead singer of The Young Veins is a bad idea. Lyrically, he is one of my favorites. I was considering going to see them play at Great Scott at the end of the month, but honestly, I don't think I can sit through a full set of this:

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

I've moved on from the fact that the band split up. As long as both sides keep making music, I'll be happy. But please, please, Ryan Ross, find a lead singer.

In more unhappy band news, The Butcher from The Academy Is... released some solo songs on his tumblr. I love TAI shows. Their music holds another portion of my life, the crazy summer of physics and anger and Warped Tour. In my head that summer is labeled "the summer of The Academy Is..." and lately every time I go to one of their shows I strain a little bit more to feel what their music once held. Solo projects don't bode well for the continuation of a band that was already losing steam.

And all this after the end of Fall Out Boy.

Dear bands that I love: Stop breaking up, going on hiatus, and falling apart. It's spreading and I don't like where it's headed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Travie McCoy - Billionaire

I was skeptical at first. I didn't love the Gym Class Heroes, though I will admit to liking their singles. I'm always wary when artists go solo, wonder if they'll implode without the rest of their band. But Travis McCoy, who is now going by Travie, just put out a sample of his new solo album. The song is "Billionaire" and it's less hip-hop and more Sublime. It started slow, but I was absolutely feeling it by the end. Bruno Mars sings on the track in addition to Travie's rhymes, and the two flow together very well. I could get into this.

We'll see how it goes live in May. I love the line: "Everywhere I go, I'ma have my own theme music." Isn't that really everyone's dream?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perfect Indie Pop

Tally Hall, Jukebox the Ghost, Skybox at Great Scott in Allston, March 3rd 2010

Last night was some good, good music.

First up was Skybox. They were opening and I wasn't expecting much, but they were awesome. Really, really good. A friend that I was with noted their variety of sound: "There was that one song that was Simon and Garfunkle-esque, then that one song that was trippy Beatles-esque, then that one that sounded like Jack's Mannequin." Those boys were having so much fun up their, bouncing and laughing and singing, that it was impossible not to have fun too. They were also playing some really interesting music that was full of well executed key changes. They had variety to their music and a sound that was all there own. I loved it. They made me laugh and they surprised me and I really can't say enough how this is perfect indie pop. There was a song called "Various Kitchen Utensils" and the lyric that started the night was "Grab the river by the ass." You must listen to them. I insist. I need to find out find out how to get their CD. There's a free download on their myspace as well. Well, aren't you listening yet?

Next was Jukebox the Ghost. If you've been paying any attention at all, you should know that I absolutely love their music and live shows. They just finished a European tour, so they were a little jet lagged and scruffy and sick, but that just meant they were even more silly between songs. They played old favorites like "Victoria" and "Hold it In" as well as a whole mix of new songs. Some I'd never heard before, but others have been rotating through their set for the past year, which means that even though recorded versions aren't available, these songs get stuck in my head for days. "Empire" is a great one that I need in CD form sometime soon, but there's another that I just don't know the name of that is a frenetic battle of contradictions and I wish I could link you to it but I can't! "Half Crazy" is another fabulous new song that they sold as a "hit dance single." The crowd loved them and they had some sick, jet lagged fun and it was awesome. They joked that the album was expected for summer, then 2011, then 2012, but I want this music now, right now. This is still my most anticipated album of 2010.

Finally, Tally Hall. A booming announcer told the crowd to turn around and voila! The band was behind us by the bar with a soft, almost acoustic set. It was fabulous because it showed off their voices without the soundboard and huge amplification distortion. Those boys can harmonize. The vocals were amazing, some of the best live group vocals I've seen at a show like this. I would really push for all shows to happen like this - get the crowd to shut up, turn the instruments down, and listen to the music, not the noise. They eventually got back up on the stage but at that point the magic was lost. They were so amazing and captivating down on the floor in the middle of the crowd that I was disappointed by the switch back to a normal show.

Last night was the best show I've been to in months, the happiest I've been in a while. That was the high I've been looking for. Why can't all shows be that good?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Too Shall Pass... and be Embedded

OK Go is the master of one take videos. Everyone remembers the treadmills, and there was another video around the same time of them dancing in their backyards, but now they've gone above and beyond.

Their first video for their new album was the video for "WTF?" Their sound was very processed, a little reminiscent of MGMT, and the video was a cool computer effect but I got bored about halfway through.

The they came out with their first video for "This Too Shall Pass." It featured a camouflaged Notre Dame marching band popping out of the weeds in a field and playing a continuous take of the song. I know that sounds weird, but the finished piece is very, very impressive. The rest of the marching band comes out in uniform and they joing OK Go and the music takes over the field. The stands spell out the lyrics of the songs and it's really awesome. You have to go watch it here.

Now both of those videos are not embeddable. OK Go wasn't happy with this, and some drama with YouTube and their record label ensued. The lead singer wrote a great op-ed piece for the New York Times about how not allowing embedding hurts everyone, including the band and the label, and I completely agree. It's an interesting piece about the state of the music industry, and you can read it here.

In response, their new video for "This Too Shall Pass" is embeddable, and it's a damn good thing. Is it a true Rube Goldberg? Do they have help? I don't care. It is a great, interesting, involved piece and it's all one take. I'll let the video speak for itself: