Bag 'o' Pipes

Monday, May 14, 2007

Find the beat and then move to it

I caught LCD Soundsystem this past Friday at Avalon in Boston and am not disappointed that I did, despite the $6.00 Coors Lights. What a show Mr. Murphy puts on with his five (sometimes four) mates. I had in recent weeks heard quite a few good things about this show, including one rave review from Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone’s music review section. A critic not known to give much love to electronic / dance punk-disco music too say the least.
The hype was lived up to, with an amazingly energetic performance and precision craftsmanship. This “backing” band deserves a lot more credit and press then it currently receives. To reproduce to such high levels the beats and music of the LCD Soundsystem catalogue is no easy task.
Witnessing this show I realized something though, the Boston kids need help dancing. I am definitely including myself in that comment, as I am not one to even occasionally cut the proverbial “rug”, but my goodness kids! Oh yeah one more thing, if you want a spot close to the stage get their early. I know that this is elementary thinking, but it is two fold in its purpose. Not only do you get your choice of location in the venue, but also you get to see upcoming acts who are opening.
On this night it was YACHT or who may be better know as Jona Bechtolt or the male half of The Blow. This one man wrecking crew of a show let his computer music flow as he “danced” around the stage and in the crowd. I give you that the show was a bit of a glorified karaoke act, but you have to admit that someone who goes out and puts that much energy into a performance makes the experience fun. His album I believe you. Your magic is real was released last week, but for someone reason Newbury Comics wont have it until tomorrow. It’s a good listen with the standout track being “see a penny (pick it up)”, which you can listen to here.

Photo courtesy of: xcopy

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Elliot Smiths' King's Crossing

The following was submitted to CMJs' Elliott Smiths' tribute request here earlier today by yours truly:
There are many Elliott Smith songs that give me memories, and make me feel many different things. Some songs make me long for a lost love, some make me happy some depress me. You know the usual feelings that songs conjure up. But King’s Crossing makes me feel something totally different. This song scares me, it fills me with dread it gives me that feeling in my stomach that something bad is about to happen. Do you know that feeling? That rounded out, stomach dropping feeling of doomed anticipation. That feeling that you got, while sitting outside of the principals office. That feeling when a soon to be ex, was about to break your heart. That feeling when you pass a hidden cop and you know that you were driving a little too fast, those fleeting few moments when said cop is deciding if they are going to come after you or give you a free pass…Yeah, that feeling.
From the moment that eeiry speaking starts and the creeping guitar comes in, to the ghostly tracked backing vocals and those gut-wrenching lyrics kiss my ears, my stomach is in knots. The song emotes such pain and torment and invokes such frightening imagery. Scenes of hopeless loss and no tomorrow scenes of depraved souls and holiday fixes. “The judge is on vinyl / decisions are final / And nobody gets a reprieve” “I can't prepare for death any more than I already have” “It's Christmas time / And the needles on the tree / A skinny Santa is bringing something to me” “Open your parachute and grab your gun / Falling down like an omen, a setting sun”
Yet, despite all of these things, it is one of my favorite songs of all time. It is a song that can take me back to the first time I had heard it. It is a song that at it’s peak, its apex, moves me. Whether it makes me sing aloud or nod my head I can’t help but to be enthralled by it and taken away. It’s a song that will stick with me all day, and five hours later will dance off of my tongue like I have just listened to it. All the while scaring me and messing with my stomach.

(I am hoping to get my ezarchive account up and running within the next few days so I can post songs that coincide with these posts.)

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I just returned from the Bishop Allen show that was held in Cambridge @ the Middle East upstairs and I must say that if you weren't there, then shame on you! That goes for you too, Candyman or OMC or mentor & idol, as you have been become affectionately known as.
This was the third best show of the year (the 1st being Menomena and the 2nd being St. Vincent / John Vanderslice). As we, (Kaarina & I) entered the venue we were welcomed with the sounds of a band named A NORTHERN CHORUS out of Hamilton, Ontario, who didn't even make the bill besides a late add-on, on the Middle East web-page. Mixing the sounds of modern pop music, vast expansive arrangements, shoegaze guitar and boy girl vocals, they create great music along the lines of Cloud Cult mashed up with Malory. A must listen from my point of view.
AREOGRAMME from the Highlands of Scotland took the stage next, and as their music definitely pleased, it would have been better received on a bill with bands of similar style. There sound is very hard, fast and melodic, part shoegaze and part hard-rock with a Scottish accent. I enjoyed their set, as everybody else did, but it would have been better suited for a line up of similar bands. I would love to see them with the BURNING BRIDES, a band more who is more befitting Areogrammes' style .
BISHOP ALLEN were next, and the headliners and pseudo Cambridge locals did not disappoint. After a quick set-up and equally as short, but ill advised sound-check they proceeded to tear the place apart. I say ill advised because this is the second week in a row that multiple bands on a Friday night have had a difficult time getting their sound dialed after the start of their set. The Middle East upstairs, know for their intimate ambiance and great sound is slowly but surely losing the latter characteristic, which is unfortunate. None the less, a set of beautiful pop music, performed to a standard that Mr. Dylan would have appreciated followed. One of the hardest working bands in the business reproduced their greatest hits from their 12 EP's (1 for each of the months of 2006) and 1 LP, at such a high level that the long standing establishment and neighborhood hot spot almost burned down. Reminiscent of The Doors recording "the end" in that little studio in L.A., where Mr. Morrison or Mr. Mojo Rising as he may be better know, had to break in at 3am to douse the room with a fire extinguisher to "...put out the fire...", Bishop Allen performed their craft in such a fervor, that the seems busted, the plaster cracked the structure shifted. Never before have I witnessed a THIRD encore call, or the floor shaking and trembling under the stomping feet of hundreds of rabid fans, as I have on this night, and whats better is, it was warranted. It wasn't just long time fans of the band, or the teeny-bopper hipsters at the show. It was everybody, young, old, in tune, out of tune, comatose or wide awake, all in attendance enjoyed and was left wanting more at the end of the show and I think that is how it is supposed to be, right?
Anyway, just search the names of the bands a fore mentioned to hear their art. I would post some songs for you to click, but it is 4:46 in the a.m. on Saturday morning, my Narraganett tall-boy is running low and the only person who reads this rambling "shyte" is Mr. Caissie who doesn't have a sound card or a high-speed connection, so it would be pretty pointless. The link below is a news story that I read before I typed this mess, and is something that pisses me off as it may you, so read it or don't. (Not suggested it you want to have a good rest of your day.) Good day, be well, and remember your neighbor will always be your neighbor until you make him or her your friend.

Photo Courtesy of the Hunta, he is a great man with a great eye. Check out his Flickr site here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Bird(z) and the Bee(z)

The next big band to come out of L.A. isn’t big at all. It is a duo, who goes by the moniker The Bird and the Bee. Inara George and Greg Kurstin were brought together by their love of jazz and have collaborated to make one of the most addictive albums of this young year. Released by Blue Note in January the self-titled debut effort has already climbed the Indie Radio Select Album Charts to number 15. It has also landed the duo a recent spot on the Jay Leno Show, an upcoming appearance on The Carson Daily Show, a nomination for “Best Alternative Dance Track” at the International Dance Music Awards and as the opening act of Lily Allen’s U.K. tour. And with over 300,00 hits on their MySpace page since they developed it in April 2006, they don’t show any signs of slowing down.
Their sound is very poppy electronica, along the lines of Teddybears “yours to keep” or pretty much anything from The Blow. It’s really a throw back to 60’s pop vocals with enough modern electronic guts to make it appealing to today’s listening audience. The music and beats are workings of Kurstin, who gets some writing and production credits from the above mentioned Lily Allen as well as a remix of “Free Radicals” on the recently U.K. released Flaming Lips “It Over Takes Me” EP. The vocals are left up to George, and are hypnotically harmonized and very layered. The combination of the vocals with the looped instruments and beats make The Bird and the Bee sound a lot bigger then they are with a true break through sound.
Watch for The Bird and The Bee to explode in the next few months, especially when Danger Mouse or Hot Chip start re-mixing these gems.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

words to come later


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Balloons, confetti, multiple Santa's and aliens all have equal parts in making a Flaming Lips live show endlessly enjoyable and unforgettable, albeit unfathomable. Unfathomable because why are these old, played out party objects, and mythical beings, endlessly enjoyable and unforgettable? Why will I remember these two shows (Thursday in Burlington VT, & Sunday in Boston, MA) made up of these properties for the rest of my life as two of the best concerts ever? Why will I rank these shows above Pink Floyd in '95 or over the triple billing of Faith No More, Metallica and Guns 'n' Roses in '92? The excellence and magistry of these two shows is due to the mystical madness of Wayne Coyne and the musical genius of Steven Drozd. It's because everyone in attendance lets their inhibitions go and has fun. It's because of Yoshimi and that creepy nun puppet. It's because this show was developed and produced to take away all that is sad, depressing and angry in the world and transforms it into cohesion with your neighbor, where you actually see eye to eye on everything for the time being. Especially when all that exists within this time frame is true ecstasy and bliss. This is a sonic experience of momentous proportions. This is your vision being transfixed on something that you can't explain, rationalize of recreate and you absolutely love it. This is your ears listening to the music of angels when you have crossed the threshold and there is no longer anything to worry about or fear. They can take an indoor show and make you feel like it is outdoors and you have all the space in the world to spread your arms and dance in circles, even though you have a thousand or more Burlington Vermont, dredlock laden, olfactory invading, modern day hippies all around you. They can take an outdoor show and make it intimate and close like you are in the fourth row dead center, but you are actually in the nosebleed section of an outdoor amphitheater with your back against the outer perimeter fence. (I actually got fourth row center tickets for the Boston show @ 11:30 pm the night before the show. Mind Blowing!)
I am surprised that the FLips do not have more of a following akin to the Grateful Dead. I am amazed that more people have not devoted their lives to the vision and mission of world peace, happiness and cohesion through total domination and massaging of the senses that the Lips seem to be on. I know that they have a very wide range of audience members, but it is bewildering that more people are not talking about this experience and subscribing to it. Preaching this show / experience like the gospel of Luke or the word of God. Screaming it from rooftops and purchasing Superbowl ad space for it. This can be this realities soma, or new prozac for that matter. A therapeutic experience that costs no more than a few bucks with no side effects or guilt.
Now I am not a superstitious man, but I feel like something was willing me to go to the Thursday show. On Wednesday in the A.M. I had decided not to go. I couldn't talk anybody into joining me and I wasn't really looking forward to a four hour journey by myself, for a three hour show only to get back into the badlarry vehicle for a four hour journey back to Worcester. But, as I toiled away at my desk my media player (while set on random) played three Lips songs in succession. I had to check to see if I had changed the setting at some point sub-consciencly, but it was still on random. Out of 54 hours of music that is stored on the player it had randomly chosen three consecutive songs to play by the same artist. The very artist I was supposed to see the next day! O.K. it is not really all that weird, but still not all that normal. After close to four years of working on that machine with the same media player, never has it played three songs by the same artist back to back to back, two yes, but three was a first and has yet to happen again. So this is not a glaring sign or a burning bush, but in it's own right still note worthy.
So, I finish out the day looking forward to a few days off, ran some errands and got back to the abode. I turn the tube on to the Sundance Channel to see what's on, turns out to be a film entitled, Fearless Freaks. Interesting title eh, lets check it out to see what it is about. Low and behold it is a documentary about the Flaming Lips, with among other things testimonials from fans about how great their live shows are! So it starts to click with me that someone / thing is telling me to make the trek. I felt like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams without the voice, the corn or the baseball. I'm not into coincidences or fate, and I don't really believe in a higher being, but I do believe that I was supposed to experience this show. There was some sort of concerted effort put forth by some sort of cosmic force to get me to witness this phenomenon.
The rest as they say, is history. I have completed my mission (in a way) to finding the meaning of life. Which is, sometimes a spoonfull weighs a ton and sometimes you will feel yourself disintergrate, but don't let the sound of failure get you down keep on being a free radical because do you realize that all we have is now!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Next weeks mission for the meaning of life

Next week beginning on Tuesday night I embark on what may and should be a life altering experience. I begin five days of shows that will span all genres of music (well a few anyway) in two New England states.
Tuesday night brings The Colour to Boston, a raucous little outfit who I hope will keep me bouncing around right into Wednesday night when I catch RATATAT. Whos beats and grooves should stay with and assist me during the 5-6 hour drive to Burlington VT, where I anxiously a wait the start of a show that I have been looking forward to for at least two months. I know that two months doesn't seem like that long of a time, but for a kid with undiagnosed ADHD who tries to telepathically change traffic lights and constantly tries to find ways to cut in concession lines, it is an eternity. The show will feature two bands of whom I have great excitement about seeing. Opening will be those darlings of the internet album sale, Oh No Oh My and headlining will be The Flaming Lips. That's right Wayne Coyne and company in Vermont, what will happen? The end of the world or the beginning of a new one? Transmissions From the Satellite Heart was an album that got me through my senior year in high school and still today effects me. It kind of ranks up their to me with The Velvet Underground and Nico album for genre busting, ground breaking, this is the start of something new and great music. I have seen the lips only once back in 1994 when they opened for Candlebox. Yeah, there was a time where The Lips were openers and were openers for Candlebox of all bands. My friends and I walked out on the headliner for obvious reasons, the least of which being that they were no talent balloon knots.
( Incidentally, I have an extra ticket for this show and if anyone is interested in it let me know. Can you believe that I couldn't give this ticket away?!)
On Friday it is a very very very long trip back to Mass where Band of Horses is playing at The Paradise with Chad Vangaalen opening. This show should be interesting as I am bringing two people who have never heard of either of the performers. I am quite confident that they will thoroughly enjoy Band of Horses, but I have my doubts that they will get into Mr. Vangaalen. I hope that they will enjoy both, but one out of two aint bad.
Saturday ends the existential pilgrimage with Birdmonster at The Middle East Downstairs or Upstairs I cant remember. This should be pretty exciting as I hear that their live show is great and they are coming off of an album release week. Lets hope that they are still in a celebrating type of mood.
Anyway it should be quite the few days. This is my summer vacation and I am only leaving the confines of Wormtown for one sleep. That can be looked at two ways and neither is really that impressive, but it should give me fodder to post about for at least...... two days?

I pose three questions for you to ponder:
1. What is the over/under for $ spent on gas?
2. Is this the most fitting bumper sticker this year - GOP "The Grand Oil Party" ?
3. What is better the peanut butter or the jelly?

Links to the guides of my journey:
^Chad Vangaalen^