Foo Fighters come back swinging

•April 17, 2011 • 1 Comment

The Foo Fighters new album Wasting Light was initially a bit abrasive, but it only took until the second listen to figure out what they were getting at.

“Bridge Burning” and “White Limo” are use an odd tinny guitar sound, and some screaming effects early into the songs. “Bridge Burning” is the more melodic of the two.

“Rope” feels a little off kilter and odd. The initial notes clash with the opening track, but the continuity is easier to see on the second time through. The loud/soft/loud formula is still an apparent part of the band’s formula, as is shown in “Miss the Misery,” which as a huge bass beating and “These Days.”

It is also important to mention the influence of In Your Honor is still here. In the songs “These Days” and “I Should Have Known” the percussion is held off until about a quarter or more of the way into the song, as was done in “The Best of You.”

“Dear Rosemary” follows a similar formula, with gentle, odd beat guitar parts and a drum keeping the band in line. The lyrics offer a superior view into the human psyche: “Truth ain’t gonna change the way you lie. Youth ain’t gonna change the way you die.”

The album’s biggest draw was the song “I Should Have Known,” where ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic plays bass. The song is dooming. The lyrics come from pain and anguish, and are filled with a lost hope that Dave Grohl and Novoselic may still wish to reignite, and, “Though I cannot forgive you yet,” burns in the ears of fans of the late Kurt Cobain. The emotion of the song sets it as a high and low point of the album all at once.

The opening guitar phrase of “Walk” scream’s Everclear’s “She’s So High,” but otherwise, is a nice way to end an album.

Overall, the Foo Fighter’s Wasting Light is not only worth a couple of listen’s, but worth the purchase. Don’t just buy the singles. You’d be missing out.

On a separate note, I hope yesterday was a happy Record Store Day for everyone. The limited edition Foo Fighter’s release Medium Rare was available for Record Store Day only. I hope somebody out there got their hands on a copy so they can tell me how it is.

Against All Will, Jimi Allen runs his own show

•November 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

A quick trip down rock n’ roll history will show you that most rockers want sex, drugs and fame via good music, but many fail.

Jimi Allen, guitar for Against All Will, realizes that it isn’t all fun and games though. After years of being mess around with by record companies, Allen has begun his own label, Subsonic Records, for his band and possibly other bands in the future.

“I started the label to put out this record because we didn’t want to wait around for a record labels to get on board for an EP,” Allen said. “Basically right now what we’re trying to do is get the studio together and get everything set up and maybe down the road we can help out some other bands and help out some other people.”

The transition hasn’t been easy for Allen, but he is up to the challenge. Allen said the difference between being signed and owning your own label is in the perspective and control.

“When you’re running it on your own you kind of know where it’s coming and going but when you’re under a big label you don’t know, so it’s kind of like you’re under their control,” Allen said. “This way you don’t have somebody that‘s trying to screw us over so when you’re on your own you get to see a little bit more of what goes in and out so you are a little bit more cautious with the decisions you make, so it’s’ like, hey, we shouldn’t do this or we shouldn’t do that because you get to see the money that’s being spent and the effort that’s being put out there.”

Right now though, Subsonic Records has one band—rock n’ roll super group Against All Will. Comprised of members of Soulfly (Cello Dias), Dead Kennedy’s (Steve Wilson), Seven Story Drop (Jeff Current) and Puddle of Mudd (Allen), it is surprising that AAW are not out touring right now, but that is all part of Allen’s plan.

“We just got off of playing a bunch of radio shows, but this month and next month [November] is kind of really rough on new and upcoming bands to go out on tour, so we’re heading back into the studio right now,” he said. “When the New Year arises, that’s when we’re probably going to hit it really hard.”

Still, the band is having success.

“We’ve been getting a lot of air play with two of our singles, ‘All About You’ and ‘The Drug I Need,’ and we’re not really carelessly jumping into a big tour and kind of going out there, we’re being kind of careful and hitting the markets and the radio and showing that there’s a lot of love in that area for the band,” Allen said.

For more information on the band, check out http://againstallwill.com/Against_All_Will/HOME.html for news, merchandise and the music video for “The Drug I Need,” from their EP.

Why I haven’t been updating recently.

•November 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I apologize to my followers but I have had computer troubles lately and have not been able to keep up with my blog. Until further notice I will suspend my blog. Please keep up with my facebook page for future posts. Thank you.

BugGirl crawl throgh the Cesspool

•October 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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Aussie rockers BugGirl came through Joplin, Mo last month on tour for their new album, Dirt in the Skirt.

A two piece, brother and sister duo, the band is on their second American tour. Far from home and working hard, the band still considers the tour a holiday.

“We went to a lot of places and there’s only like two states that we didn’t get to go through, which is a shame because we would have like to go through New Orleans, but it’s pretty much like a dream holiday,” said percussionist Clinton Spence. “It’s funny. Most people say we’re on holiday and we’re like, no, we actually do some work for what we do. We get to see some good stuff, like Joplin, Missouri.”

“It’s just wonderful to be in America because the rock n’ roll history is great. You can always be in a  different city and state and it’s got a history. It’s got bands that have gone on to cool things and it’s really inspiring to be able to see that every day.”

Two piece bands often have it easier because they have less people to deal with, but there are also special complications that come with minute size. Fortunately, the band hasn’t had problems with that.

“The less people the better,” said guitar and vocalist Amber Spence. “I Clint almost sacked me last year to start his own solo project.

“It’s a little different because there’s only two of us, so it’s a lot scraggier, a lot less to hear. It’s a bit more punk I guess but it’s kind of bluesy as well. Clint almost sacked me last year to start his own solo project.”

The sibling element has also helped BugGirl survive.

“Normally when things go wrong there’s alcohol involved,” Clinton Spence said. “It’s pretty smooth sailing with us. We’re related, brother and sister, so if we have a fight, we just say something and it’s done. Back to normal life.”

BugGirl draws influence from many popular classic rock bands like Motorhead, early era Van Halen and AC/DC.

The album, Dirt in the Skirt is available at impedancerecords.com or buggirl.net, and a video is up for “Dirt in the Skirt.”

A day in the life of an editor

•October 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Its 7:30 a.m. I’m in my friend’s room after a night of drinking. We were out until 3 a.m., but here I am, awake on a couch in a white room filled with sunlight from the window before my cell phone alarm goes off. I force myself to get up and get out the door.

Run home. Shower. Eat. Get out. The Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival was waiting.

It’s 10 ‘til 9. I’m driving a fast as I can, searching frantically for Carl Junction. I’ve only been there twice, and it was six months ago when I last had any reason to go out there. I found the same dirt road I had six months before, so I think I’m on the right track…until I cross into Kansas.

Realizing how unfamiliar I am with this area, I keep driving until I see a water tower. I punch it down a dirt road, hoping that every cop in CJ is patrolling the festival. Lucky me, I was right, or at least right enough not to have a police officer pull me over and ask me to slow down in one form or another.

I finally make it at 10 after, just long enough to get good parking in the shade and move to listen to the first band tuning up. Apparently they weren’t the only ones who got there late, so I feel relieved. I find my contacts by dumb luck. Both conversations went something like this.

“Hi. I’m Nathan Carter with The Chart.”

“Oh hi. Shayla told me someone would be coming. I’m (insert name).”

It was weird, but it made the job easy, which is something I always appreciate.

I sit there, listening to the first band play. Not bad. Same for the second, but I became increasingly uneasy as I sat there and listened to the music.

I look around. Grandparents with their grandchildren and older couples. No problem. I look around again. Cowboy hats, baseball caps with vehicle and tractor logos, cowboy boots and tucked in dress shirts or polo shirts. Then it hits me.

Oh…dear…God.

I call my photographer. He won’t be there for another half hour. I begin to walk around. I feel as though I’m a fresh amputee in a shark tank. Eyes are following me from everywhere, though I don’t know where, I know they’re watching, waiting for the right moment to strike, when suddenly, a hand reaches out and taps on my shoulder.

I turn around quickly to see my opposition, just to realize it is a friend from work.

“So what are you doing out here?” he asks me.

He’s wearing a T-shirt. It’s still tucked in and he is wearing boots, but I begin to breathe a little easier.

As noon rolls around, I have received all of my interviews for next week’s paper and am satisfied. I leave to eat and then leave for Cannabis Revival.

I arrive at 2 p.m. with my photographers ready with their gear. I drove quickly, but I know they noticed how wild my driving is. One nearly got car sick. Almost instantly I begin running into friends and past interviewees, all of which ask me if I’m still at the paper and what I’ve been up to, then the same question comes up.

“Do you want a hit?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not my thing.”

The reactions were all varied, but I don’t think any of them hated me for it. I apparently freaked one old dude out with my answer, but I don’t know him, so I hardly care. All I know is he freaks me out by getting in my face about not smoking and backs down, fast. I’m fine with it.

It begins to sprinkle, and fear of rain sends everybody under the pavilion. The smell is thick and comedy ensues. There is a little fluffy black dog with blue dye on his white tuft, and another small dog with red polka dots on his fur.

 The Underground Blues Division play their last show. I run into a friend of mine who is a vendor. He gets me backstage to talk to the guitar player, Nathan Keck, who has been hand selected to move into Grady Champion. The interview goes smoothly.

My next task, find my photographers who I lost somewhere in the middle of everything. I hear my name. It’s not them. An old friend of mine, Zakk, was carrying around his pet snake, Circe. She is about five feet long. I play with her and take photos, then hold her, drape her on my neck and take off my shoes. I realize I was in the pavilion for too long as I have taken my shoes off in the presence of a snake.

My friend moves on. My photographers move in. The rest of the day is as follows. I lose my photographers to a friend. I find them. They find a friend. I find an interview. I find them. They find me. The Scooby Doo door trick occurs. I get carried away somewhere. I find them. I have an interview. They find me. I find a friend. I find them…

I leave after getting an interview with Gary Johnson sometime around 7:30 to cover Raycliff Manor’s Screamfest. I interview the second to last band to play, Brutally Frank, and then attempt to photograph them. I fail miserably. I then try to interview the following band, the Independents, a national act that were once managed by Joey Ramone of the Ramones. Half are in the haunt house. The other half are on the spook trail.

Meanwhile, the band does a quick sound check and waits for more people to arrive. All the people that would be there are at Cannabis Revival. A beautiful woman sits at a vendor booth in a costume. I get some contact info for her pre-haunted house show, then ask for her number. She is married.

“I’m in costume so I don’t have my ring on…”

“I noticed.”

“Otherwise I’d give you my number.”

One…Two…Three strikes you’re out.

Another vendor was selling balloon animals. They stop me and tell me they will be throwing all of them away if somebody doesn’t take them. I see two pink panthers and ask for them for everybody’s favorite “not not not not gay” columnist at The Chart. The vendors do not stop piling them on until I look like a child in a safety bubble. The smell of balloons makes me feel childish. I laugh like a hyena; my photographer takes plenty of pictures.

I catch three songs from the Independents and have to run to Me Like Bees at Blackthorn Pizza and Pub. It is 9:30 p.m. This is the first break of the day because I arrive early, so I get a drink. My Editor in Chief is standing there among other friends.

“You drink on the job?”

Pause. “Uh…I drink on breaks?”

I only have one, which was still probably unprofessional for me, but the shots work out. Now forward to Cannabis Revival After Party, only, they are charging a cover. I mull it over with my friends. We decide to get Mexican food and go to a house. It is 3 a.m. Everybody goes their separate ways.

Australian rockers explore emotion through music

•September 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Shane Fritsch began recording the second album of his solo project near Sidney, Australia, not expecting what was to come.

The chemistry of Fritsch and the studio band worked so well that St. Leonard formed around the solo project.

“It all started around when I was on a solo project with one record and was getting ready to get some songs together for the studio to record a second solo record,” Fristch said. “I was in the studio for a little while with the session musicians and we had to get a group of people and it just really worked.

“When other musicians come in it just becomes a natural progression really. The music changed and started to go and it just really worked.”

The band pulls from bands like Deftones, Coldplay and Snow Patrol, or “anything that has any kind of emotional value” according to Fritsch.

“I just write about past experiences really…about people and past relationships and experiences, thing that have made you or disappointed,” he said.

The band is currently on tour in London and plans to set up some gigs in America for April or May. Until then, you can keep up with the band and check out their music on http://www.myspace.com/stleonardsmusic or http://www.facebook.com/stleonards.

Band of Joy brings a mixed bag, still enjoyable

•September 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Decades of debate over Led Zeppelin’s placing of a subliminal message in Led Zeppelin IV as a prayer to the devil still rage, but Robert Plant’s new album, Band of Joy, points in the opposite direction.

Plant is trying to separate himself from being known as “the guy who sings for Led Zeppelin,” which is a difficult task coming from such a titanic band. Sticking with the folk and bluegrass style of the Raising Sand album, Plant shows integrity and courage to not be pigeonholed as Led Zeppelin’s leading man and keep moving forward with his musical career.

“Central Two-O-Nine” lyrics feel inspired by Johnny Cash. “Waiting on the long black train” throws back to “Fulson Prison Blues” while maintaining a similar style of upbeat folk/blues/early rock sound. “You Can’t Buy My Love” feels like the Beatles and Band of Skulls lyrically, while adopting similar sounds of the two bands.

Several sounds on the album take listeners by surprise. “Falling in Love Again” almost feels like a 50s do-whop song without the “do-whop” background. “You Can’t Buy My Love” has a familiar jazz song “I’m in the Mood” percussion rhythm, and “The Only Sound That Matters” is strictly country, full with slide guitars, and “Cindy’s” banjo part is enjoyable.

The song “Silver Rider” has some electric effects that are used in a slightly hard rock fashion, while experimental guitar parts move psychedelically through the musical ionosphere, as does “Monkey.” The later of the two has creeping vocals in strange harmony. The lyrics of the song are obscure, but the simple percussion proves to be a less is more attitudes, agreeing with the delicate background vocals of Patty Griffin which are comparable to Alison Cross’.

“Harm’s Swift Way” and “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” both are written by a man facing his mortality. “Oh me, Oh my. Who’s gonna count my time?” of “Harm’s Swift Way” settle on the ear like a country singer without the annoying twang, while the creeping instrumentation of “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” put a stake in the heart of Led Zeppelin’s  “subliminal prayer.”

Overall, the album is an interesting listen and worth the purchase for those who enjoy bluegrass or experimentation, but if you are expecting the next Led Zeppelin album, don’t bother.

Shinedown perform a crazy show at the Carnival of Madness

•September 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Shinedown began their set with an incredible opening, “The Sound of Madness.” The band proceeded to belt out hit after hit, never losing energy or failing to keep complete control of the audience. Here are a few photos of their amazing performance in Oklahoma City.

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Chevelle

•September 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Puddle of Mudd

•August 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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