Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sorry For The Delay, Dead Meadow Fans

I haven't forgotten about the promise to post an interview and show review from their stop in Buffalo, NY. I have been very busy and also sprained my ankle recently. Besides having alot to do (I was turning my front lawn into a garden area pre- injury) and now dealing with the effects of a bad limb, I just haven't gotten around to transcribing the audio interview I did with Jason & Stephen into print. So, please bear with me a little while longer. I will get to it soon, I promise....

Rock Gods Live Forever

It's been a sad time recently for aging rock stars. From Pete Steele to now Ronnie James Dio, mortality has proven to be a real bitch. Rock on forever, Pete & Ronnie- rock stars never die, they become LEGENDS.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dead Meadow: Re-affirming Why I Love Music....

I saw Dead Meadow live last night at Mohawk place in Buffalo, NY. Did an interview with lead singer Jason Simon and drummer Stephen McCarty and took a bunch of photos of the blazing 90 minute set they performed.
I'm looking forward to posting a transcript of the interview I did, along with photos from the show and my thoughts on their performance, but I have to catch transport out of town for about a week and I doubt that I'll be able to post everything until the weekend after next.
So, in the meantime, I encourage everyone to check out some DM music and see them live if you get the chance while they are still on tour. You will NOT be disappointed- I promise you!
And, Jason, on a personal note- hope you had no trouble making that Toronto show! (and are able to get some good rest the next day!) Hope to see you down the road again soon :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Video Clip Of The Day #3: The Warlocks "Red Camera"

Lastly, here is just an amazing song/ video for their single "Red Camera".

Video Clip Of The Day #2: The Warlocks "Shake The Dope Out"

Another song off the "Phoenix" album- this track is killer live. I dare you not to dance to this one...

Video Clip Of the Day #1: The Warlocks "Baby Blue" & "Song For Nico"

A great psychedelic classic from The Warlocks off their "Phoenix" album.

And the second part here is a brilliant ode to The Velvet Underground's Nico. This song should have been an instant classic- but like most great music nowdays was ignored by the critics and public. Look for it on The Warlocks self- titled album and in a slightly different and just- as- cool version on their "Rise & Fall" album.

Clash Of The Titans Rules! (The Original)

These remakes are getting out of hand! Can I honestly be expected to believe that Hollywood cannot find good original scripts to develop into movies nowdays? Why does every other film being made seem to be a sequal or remake??
The latest victim of this senseless plagerism is the classic 1981 Ray Harryhausen film "Clash Of The Titans". It was the best movie ever done based on Greek mythology (though Jason & The Argonauts is right up there as well) and featured a long list of acclaimed actors among its cast.
You can argue that the 1981 original had better effects than the remake. CGI, to me, is comical and obvious. It all looks like animation to me and nothing close to believable. Miniatures and stop- motion looks much more life- like in my opinion, and as a result, I think special effects look much better 20 or 30 years ago than they do with today's technology. And most movies of the action variety today base everything on the special effects, including the COTT remake.
The original had action at times, and fights, but never let it get inb the way of the story. There was a lot of quiet diaogue and quiet moments, like the nightly visitations when the crow takes Andromeda to the swamps to be with Calibus. Or the long scene when Perseus first meets the Burgess Meredith character in the coliseum and is presented with his first gifts from the gods.
During the whole film the music was mostly string based instruments and flutes- very authentic to the times. With the remake I hear blaring rock music in the trailer! What the motherfuck?? There was no rock music in ancient Greece! That alone made me cringe with disgust. What a shameful way to promote a crappy film. You just lost a major segemt of your audience in the trailer geniuses!
So Let me tell you a story, kiddies. I was at a screening of The Shining last week and after the molvie I am waiting in the lobby for the wife. A group of three kids, students it seemed, are gawking at the movie poster for the new Clash Of The Titans remake. One of them, a young girl all of 16 I believe, says "I REALLY want to see this! It looks so great!" Usually I can let ignorant comments like this go in public. But, this day, after having just seen a classic film like The Shining, I had to make a stand. A stand for Harry Hamlin, for Ursula Andress, for Burgess Meredith, For Ray Harryhausen, for Maggie Smith- and definitely for Hollywood icon Laurence Olivier and his classic portrayal of Zeus.
I said to this clueless teenager "See the classic 1981 original instead. The best take on Greek mythology ever put to film starring film icons Burgess Meredith, Ursula Andress, Maggie Smith, and Laurence Olivier." Her blank- faced response to me was "There was an original?"
At that point I realized that this generation is clueless about art history. If a piece of music or film wasn't on MTV or making 100 billion dollars at the box office- they have no idea it even existed. That is a damn sad realization to live with. Somewhere along the line these kids are just not being educated about the classics and seem devoid of good taste in any manner whatsoever.

Here is a wonderful review I found on IMDB that sums up my thoughts exactly about this travesty that calls itself "Clash Of The Titans::

Badness and worthlessness of this movie leaves me speechless.
Usually, there are certain aspects of a movie you like or dislike. One could agree or disagree certain take that director chose to do, certain changes, something that was below par, something that could have been better, that one could talk about. However, in this case, the task of reviewing this movie is difficult as from the very first scene to the last scene this movie is one unbearable, soul-less, boring, ugly and horrible disaster.
The original is a classic! It has heart, romance, soul, humor, sweetness, feel of an epic, beauty, nobility, overall feeling of an adventure, a quest, and yes it also had certain spooky quality, and deviousness.
This remake has NONE of those qualities. As if lacking anything interesting or worth liking was not enough, this movie tortures you with horrible darkness and senselessness. A fisherman comes up with empty catch, so declares war on Gods. Really? Why even be a fisherman then? Just sit at home and demand food and other necessities be delivered to you, and if that doesn't happen, just declare war on Gods.
From Andromedae to Zeus, the characters are either evil or robotic. Its a world of mindless creatures. There is no way to get emotionally involved, even though you go to the theater with every intention to like it, and enjoy and give it every break possible.
The girl playing Andromedae doesn't even appear to be a leading lady and appears to be sick and weak. The Princess is a meaningless entity in this movie. She was his love in the original. Even the monster, the Kraken is boring. Medusa left a permanent scar in the original, but here it just might be a giant mindless snake. However, the soldiers trying to kill her are even more determined to be killed by her gaze. One of them could have simply avoided that fate, but the writers probably ran out of script for him, so he had no choice but to gaze straight in Medusa's eyes.
Just a bad movie. Avoid it at all cost. I am disgusted the time and money I wasted on this one. There is absolutely nothing, not one thing in this movie that is worth cherishing."

The Shining- Back On The Big Screen

Here in Buffalo, NY they have this wonderful film series that features classic movies brought back to the big screen with an introduction and hour- long discussion afterwards. I missed the first few movies, but had the opportunity to see the 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic "The Shining" last Tuesday.
If you never had the chance to see it in the theaters, you missed out on something special. Like alot of the big action blockbusters (though this most certainly falls outside of that category), this movie was meant to be seen on the big screen. The atmosphere, the tension, and the scary images are all amplified. Seeing it this way gave me a whole new appreciation for this film.
One of the most improved things, for me, was the setting. On the large screen you feel the isolation more, the cold.... the claustrophobia. The Overlook Hotel encased in a snowy tomb. You really exerience the sensation, like the characters, that there is no way out.
The after movie discussion was fascinating to me. Two local film experts, the organizers of the film series, held a question and answer session for about an hour. Some of the more interesting points brought up:
- The snow used in the film was actually salt. Truck loads of it were constantly being shipped on set to give the illusion of snow.
- The film was almost entirely shot on a soundstage in England. The Overlook was built there in one of the largest stage sets ever constructed.
- The few daylight exteriors of the Overlook was actually the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.
- A crucial scene was cut at the end of the moview that gave a better indication of the fate of Jack Torrance. After the scene where Jack's frozen corpse is shown in the snow another shot was deleted that showed the same spot- but his body has mysteriously disappeared. It was supposed to preceed the closing shot where Jack appears in the black & white photo hanging in the Overlook with the date 1921. The scene was supposed to indicate that when Jack died he became part of the hotel- like Grady before him, and the others perhaps that repeated the same cycle of violence before them. Kubrick wanted the ending to be more ambiguous and felt the scene would reveal too much if left in.
- The opening scenes where Jack and his family are driving through the mountains to the hotel was actually leftover scenes from the movie Bladerunner inserted in The Shining in the last minute.

And last but not the least- BOYCOTT CLASH OF THE TITANS!! Rent or buy the classic 1981 original instead!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dead Meadow "Three Kings"

Dead Meadow "Three Kings" Movie Trailer

From their website at "A stunning mix of fantasy film and multi-camera live concert footage, The Three Kings overlays the transcendental experience of the band's music with film vignettes of The Three Kings at work. The Kings look into our mortal world where each of the three human characters we play are tempted by the dark side of things and each react differently."

Dead Meadow "At Her Open Door"

Dead Meadow- "What Needs Must Be"

Dead Meadow- Coming To A Town Near You

DEAD MEADOW. If you haven't heard of this band, I VERY highly recommend clicking on the You Tube links I am going to post here. They are in the middle of their US tour now supporting their new concert film/ album "Three Kings" and are bringing their renowned stage show to a medium sized venue near you. Before they get too big for the clubs, you should really see them up close.

Under Great White Northern Lights

First off, the new White Stripes film is as good as expected.
Now, I am not a huge WS fan as it is. I like their music to a point, but for me it can get a bit tiresome after a while. I mean, really, how much can you really do musically when you have painted such a small box for yourselves as they have?
That being said, I loved this film. Even if you are less of a WS fan than I am- I think you will be captivated by this documentary. More than just a concert film, UGWNL is a travelogue of Jack & Meg's 2007 tour of Canada. The places they visit and the people they meet are as much of a part of this film as the music itself. For a casual fan, it creates a very interesting parallel to the music. And fortunately, Jack & Meg are very captivating subjects.
At times humerous, and other times surprisingly insightful, Jack dominates the commentary here, at one point even poking fun at this fact by goading Meg to speak up and let her voice be heard during an interview. Meg, in her typically shy manner, rarely says much at all, choosing instead to smile flirtaciously with the camera through much of the film. On the occasions when she does speak, her voice is so soft and her words so mumbled that the filmmakers actually choose to subtitle her!
The relationship between the two is perhaps the most interesting and engrossing part of the film. There is a real magic and undeniable chemistry between Jack & Meg that you absolutely cannot turn away from. At the conclusion of the film the payoff moment between Jack & Meg is both poignant and touching in a way I didn't expect. For all those who haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you- but it really caps off the movie in the most perfect, unexpected way.

Monday, March 15, 2010

White Stripes Concert Film Screening

Tonight I am attending a live screening of the new White Stripes concert film "Under Great White Northern Lights" here in Buffalo. They are not showing it at a theater, but instead are going to have a public screening at a local bar/ music venue called Mohawk Place. All I can say is- I hope they put up some seating!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Waylon Jennings Vs. Bad Blake

I saw the movie Crazy Heart on Wednesday, a day before I took ill with the flu. It was an excellent film, acted and performed to authentic perfection by all involved. In watching the film I couldn't help but see many parallels between Jeff Bridge's Bad Blake and the real life Waylon Jennings. From Bad's grizzled facial hair to his music, Jeff Bridges seems to channel pieces of Waylon into every fiber of his character. Heck- they even seemed to dress alike! Check out these side by side captures above of the two in near identical wardrobes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Posting Audio= Pain In My Ass

Okay. The main point of this blog is to post music here from my colection for y' all to listen to and download for your own listening pleasure. But I'll be damned if I cannot figure out how to get the music ripped to my windows media player posted on this blog. I have tried everything I can think of and lost many nights of sleep to no avail.
Much of the problem I believe stems from the fact that when I rip my cds to the computer, WMP makes them into wma files- not mp3's. And there is no embedded link to post like video clips. So, perhaps that is the root of the problem. I don't know. If anyone can help- please feel free to comment here. I'd appreciate any help I can get at this point.

A little Whiskey for your morning commute...

This has always been a favorite cip of mine. It has everything that made Whiskeytown a great band. We get Ryan pissed off and railing against some local critic onstage and damn close to the original lineup onstage all feeling the groove and putting out a kick ass performance of a classic WT song. If you ever can't remember why you loved this band back in the day- here's a great reminder. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Uncle Tupelo: Critcial Mass Pt. Two

Here is the second part to the interview/ performance from the UT practice space in December 1988. Enjoy!

Vintage Uncle Tupelo: Critical Mass Live 1988 Pt. One

I love this clip! This was recorded in December 1988 in the bands practice space/ apartment in their hometown of Belleville, IL for the local public access show "Critical Mass". Jay, Jeff & Mike are all so young and eager at this point. You can see thier discomfort in the interview section, but once they start jamming their skill and confidence really shine through. I find it fascinating that even then- they had just put out two self- produced demos and were completing their third and final one (Not Forever, Just For Now) and were about to start making their debut album "No Depression" the following year- Jay's voice remains unchanged from today. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Midlake "The Courage Of Others" album review

I found this great review of Midlake's amazing new album "The Courage Of Others" and wanted to post it for you all. I really couldn't have described it any better myself, so many thanks to King George over at Check out his site, he has some great content over there.

The Courage Of Others review Pt. 1

"Album number three from Midlake finds the band edging away from past glories and indulging in something new - or new for them, at least. Their first album, Bamnan And Silvercork, was indebted to Radiohead while the splendid The Trials Of Van Occupanther was steeped in the influence of '70s smooth rock. The Courage Of Others takes on the world of folk and assimilates it perfectly.
As such it is something of a departure from its predecessor. Electric guitars take a back seat, only being introduced cautiously to add colour where needed. The songs themselves possess no particularly great hooks, relying instead on subtle nuances and a wonderfully assured vocal performance from Tim Smith to ensure their individuality.
But any concerns that this is a collection of uninspiring folk songs should be instantly banished. This being Midlake, The Courage Of Others is an utterly perfect piece of work from start to finish. The spirits of Fairport Convention, The Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest inform much of this album, but Midlake have taken their influences and created something quite wonderful.
It's not clear whether The Courage Of Others is a concept album, but the theme of the natural world and its fall into decline seems to be a key premise. Many folk songs are concerned with fertility and the wonder of the natural world, but Midlake's world seems to be crumbling and bleak, with only shafts of light giving the smallest slivers of hope. This is the sound of the pastoral landscape being mourned as it disappears under a sea of cement and concrete. It's almost Hardyesque."

The Courage Of Others review Pt. 2

"Kicking things off with Acts Of Man we're instantly in a world of dreamily apocalyptic folk. Smith intones, 'When the acts of man cause the ground to break open, oh let me inside'. If Warren Ellis And Nick Cave hadn't so eloquently scored the soundtrack for The Road, Midlake could probably have done a reasonable job of it. Interestingly, Core Of Nature seems to follow similar themes to that of Cormac McCarthy's novel, featuring a protagonist who walks through a wood accepting his bleak fate.
Children Of The Ground is possibly the album's finest moment. It's seemingly based in a feral landscape where 'they jump on your back' and 'leave an imprint on your shoulder blades'. It notes that 'we're all undone in this town' at the climax of one of the finest vocal sections on the album - a dénouement that suggests the absence of hope, despite the anthemic leanings of elements of the song.
Although the vocal harmonies are exquisite throughout and the production is warm and inviting, almost everything else on the album is unsettlingly cold. The electric guitars tend to be scabrous, like thorns on a wilting rose (Winter Dies), and at times they are brutal, such as on the strangulated solo amongst the haunting flutes on the title track.
The Courage Of Others is bleak. Many will find it a struggle at first, but there is beauty amongst the laments; it just takes time for it to become apparent."

The Masterplan Is...

I am going to post music here real soon. Promise.

Please bear with me, folks, I'm trying to figure this out as I go.

But here's the masterplan. I am a music collector who has accumulated a lot of rare, impossible to find live, import , unreleased, and out of print music. I've been collecting since I was a kid and have a massive amount of stuff here, a lot of which is irreplaceable and extremely valuable. What gives me great pleasure is having the opportunity to share what I have with other music fanatics like myself. I scan different sites online and the local indie record stores to find material to add to my collection constantly, and having created this blog, I would like to post some of that music here for fellow music geeks to download and enjoy for themselves.

I am a novice on the computer and am still learning how to post music on this blog. Once I figure it out I can guarantee you all a steady stream of priceless gems for your listening pleasure. I just expect, of course, that they be downloaded for your personal listening pleasure ONLY and not sold to the highest bidder on ebay. Let's not ruin it for the rest, folks. Respect the music and respect the artists who create it.

That being said, I hope to get some stuff up here in the next day or two. Until then, go out and buy Midlake's new album "The Courage Of Others". I am telling you - it's a huge step forward for them and a landmark piece of artistic expression. And if you won't take my word for it, pull up some online reviews.

My Top 25 Of The Decade: 1- 14

I have seen alot of Top 10 lists this time of the year. Recently, I saw a top 20 albums of the decade list in one of the local papers that really infuriated me. I could not fathom how they made their selections, and some seemed outright dumb- not to mention all the great albums mysteriously overlooked.
So here it is folks- my TOP 25 ALBUMS OF THE DECADE (In no particular order)
1. B.R.MC. 'Howl' 2007
2. Fleet Foxes 'Fleet Foxes' 2008
3. Hope Sandoval 'Through The Devil Softly' 2009
4. Brian Jonestown Massacre 'Bravery, Repetition & Noise' 2001
5. Luke Doucet 'Broken' 2005
6. Mark Lanegan 'Field Songs' 2001
7. Ryan Adams 'Love Is Hell' 2003
8. Doves 'Lost Souls' 2000
9. The Thrills 'So Much For The City' 2003
10. My Morning Jacket 'It Still Moves' 2003
11. Dead Meadow 'Old Growth' 2008
12. Dandy Warhols '13 Tales From Urban Bohemia' 2000
13. Son Volt 'Okemah & The Melody Of Riot' 2005
14. Neko Case 'Blacklisted' 2003

My Top 25 Of The Decade: 15- 25

15. Mark Pickeral 'Snake In the Radio' 2006
16. Raising The Fawn 'The North Sea' 2004
17. The Hangdogs 'Wallace '48' 2003
18. Kathleen Edwards 'Back To Me' 2005
19. Drive-by Truckers 'The Great Southern Rock Opera' 2001
20. Old 97's 'Satellite Rides' 2001
21. Hayden 'The Place Where We Lived' 2009
22. Jose Gonzalez 'Veneer' 2006
23. Roscoe's Gang 'Loud & Lonesome' 2004
24. Alejandro Escovedo 'A Man Under The Influence' 2001
25. Tyler Ramsey 'A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea' 2007

Part Three:

He was making the best music of his career this last year. The collaboration with Guy Picciotto from Fugazi that yielded the magnificent album 'At The Cut' and the tour that followed showed Vic in top form. It seemed that the burden of living without health insurance ( a nightmare for anyone like Vic with constant health issues) and facing medical lawsuits and mounting doctors bills became too much to take (I have heard they were threatening to seize his assets as well). As someone who is disabled and living without health insurance, I am in exactly the same position myself. I know what Vic faced here, and I can totally see how it could drive someone to check out for good.
Vic's decision to exit this world was his own. I know some of the burdens the man faced, and although I cannot know the physical pain he carrried with him each day in that body of his, I had the privilege of sharing some intimate moments with him that will stay with me the rest of my life. I am grateful for that. As well as the music, which will stand the test of time.
Let's please not forget Vic. And if there is ever a way to change this fucked up health care system in this country- let's do it for Vic Chesnutt. Maybe his example can promote change. That is my hope. What a wonderful legacy that would be.

Part Two:

I was able to spend alot of quiet, intimate moments with Vic before shows. In the hours leading up to a concert there was very little for myself to do, a situation Vic found himself in as well. In the quiet stillness of a darkened venue with only a few friends and crew members about we often had the occasion to chat. It's those moments I find myself thinking of now. Vic was a complex man. He could be incredibly self loathing at times, but I never thought of him as a negative person. He had such a sweetness about him and empathy. When you talked with him he was funny, engaging and full of wit and humor. And one of the only musicians I ever knew who seemed generally interested in what you had to say when he spoke.
Vic was a very physically fragile person, but he spirit was so strong you never looked at him as being weak. There were so many times before shows where his body was convulsing from various pains and ailments and you couldn't imagine him being able to get up on stage and play a show... but he always did.
I would always stand mesmerized by the stage watching him play that little guitar. I knew he had limited use of his hands. Greeting Vic was a always an adventure in that way, because you didn't know if you were going to get a good handshake or not. His hands were often bent like claws or twitching uncontrollably. His fingers were stiff and at times barely able to move at all. But, up on stage clutching that guitar he could manipulate the strings in very unique ways to get the sound he wanted. It was a magnificent thing to watch. I know.

Part One:

On Xmas day Vic Chesnutt died of an apparent suicide. I knew Vic and his death came as a huge shock to me. It's been hard for me to process and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on a truly wonderful man whom I fear will fade way from public conscious prematurely.
For the early part of the decade I was involved in the music industry in NYC. I worked for Vic's record label New West Records for a while and was able to cover a number of shows with him.
Vic was a complex man. He hated being in that wheelchair and hated having to depend on other people. But, it was a necessity in his situation, and one I am sure he never grew comfortable with. I recall the logistical problems he faced being confined to that chair. Concert venues don't generally have access ramps to the stage (they are not the most handicap- friendly places by nature). So, it took a team of helpers to lift him on and off the stage. And then, as most venues have their dressing rooms up or down a typically long flight of stairs- they would have to carry him back and forth to there as well. It was a task that I know he felt burdened by. He never liked having to ask anyone to do something he couldn't do for himself.

A Comment On The Untimely Death Of Vic Chesnutt

I had written this after the death of Vic Chesnutt, someone I'd gotten to know when I was working for his record label in the early part of this decade. His death made me very sad, not only for the personal effect of his loss, but the sad commentary it offered on this nation's healthcare system. I wanted to re-post what I had written at the time for anyone who may be interested :

Let The Future Begin...

I have envisioned this for a long time- and procrastinated even longer. Here it is folks- my official blog. As I take my first giant leap into the cyberworld I want to lay down my personal doctrine here for all the world to see.
You see, I have big plans for this here blog. It's going to be an extension of me. My interests, my thoughts, my personal philosophies of living. So, stand back, and prepare for a healthy dose of the truth- and some great music you may have never heard before.
This here little blog is going to feature movie reviews, concert reviews, social commentary, interviews, and lots of links to hard or impossible to find music that you need to take a listen to. I'll post photos that I may find interesting and ones that are just plain weird. Like I said folks- this is all me.
So, welcome, one and all!
The first order of business is sleep. It is almost 6am and I have yet to bed down for the night.
I'll post more content upon my re-awakening.
There is a storm brewing here in the Northeast. Fleet Foxes "White Winter Hymnal" is stuck in my head for some reason... Goodnight, all :)