Saturday, September 30, 2006

Regina Spektor, You're So Adorable! And A Leak of "Rapture" From Deftones' Saturday Night Wrist

Come on, look at that cute picture! I have a feeling I'm going to melt when she plays in Baltimore for FREE next Wednesday! There's another show review to look forward to!

Caught a leak of "Rapture" from the coming-soon Deftones Saturday Night Wrist. This album is shaping up to be a killer. Be sure to catch them at the 9:30 club in DC on December 4. Tickets go on sale 10/26.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Virgin Festival 2006 Photos, Tool in DC, and a Chinese Democracy before '07?

Even though the page credits Washington, DC as hosting the first US Virgin Festival (it was actually in BALTIMORE at the Pimlico Race Course), here are some pretty killer pics from the show. Too bad Keane decided to back out because Tom Chaplin went into rehab.

How about the fact that Axl is hinting at a Chinese Democracy (finally) by year's end?

Tomorrow's concert: Tool at the Verizon Center (formerly known as MCI Center) in Washington, DC. Isis, a great prog-metal band, will be opening. I will be there, in a very good section, and will post a review in the days after.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free Music Downloads In Your Future

The good folks at SpiralFrog, which is launching in December, are linking up (so far) with Universal Records, EMI Music Publishing, and indy KOCH Records to give free (as long as you're cool with watching advertisements) music downloads. The SpiralFrog site is a bit uninformative, with only press releases available to get the real scoop, but the company hopes to hit the 13-34 age market. With artists like Xzibit, Nelly Furtado, Sting (who is probably going to most interest the latter end of that age spectrum), Jay-Z, and for you old No Limit Records fans (I was down in the '97 and '98), C-Murder (Master P's brother, currently in prison on a life sentence for murder), it's worth waiting for.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stream The Decemberists' "The Crane Wife"

MTVu is streaming the new Decemberists album, The Crane Wife, on The Leak. If you like it, it's yours this Given Tuesday, October 3.

Source: Brooklyn Vegan

New Deftones Single; Regina Spektor and Guns N' Roses in Baltimore

Not too long ago, the Deftones started streaming "Hole In The Earth", the new single from the forthcoming Saturday Night Wrist (due out on October 31). Just when it seemed like they were wearing out, this is pretty incredible stuff that I can't wait to get my hands on. There's even a track named after the classic Konami code! That's so geek-chic!

If you're in Baltimore, Maryland, Regina Spektor will be playing a FREE show at The Sound Garden in Fells Point on October 4th at 6PM.

And there's more for you Axl fans out there (myself being totally included), Guns N' Roses will be playing the First Mariner Arena on November 13th. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thursday - A City By The Light Divided

2.5 out of 5 stars.

The band's second release on Island Records, A City By The Light Divided is more lo-fi than their Victory Records work. Singer Geoff Rickly has suddenly started singing more often than screaming (significantly obvious in "Sugar In The Sacrament") but the bang-crash of the drums and the fuzzy distortion of the guitars make it near-impossible to really appreciate the turn he's taken. It seems an effort to bring the music to the same focal level as the vocals, to add to the aural topography, but is at times quite frustrating. The backing vocals on one of the best tracks, "Running From The Rain," are almost louder than Rickly's own rather stirring sound.
Early in the album, the production change with David Fridmann is noticeable, but "Counting 5-4-3-2-1" is still a catchy single, and fans of previous Thursday records will be satisfied with both this and "The Other Side Of The Crash/Over And Out (Of Control)," the opening track.
The album is sonically intense, with a large focus on more intricate guitar work, as noted in the instrumental "Arc-Lamps, Signal Flares, A Shower Of White (The Light)," albeit briefly.
Among their peers, Thursday is ahead of the curve, if only because they are cherry-picking pieces of other, more influental artists. Overall, the vocals seek to be somewhere between the emotional wailing of The Cure's Robert Smith and the screaming agony of Deftones' Chino Moreno. The most impressive guitar layering only lasts for about 15 seconds.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Citizen Cope - Every Waking Moment

3 out of 5 stars.

Clarence Greenwood, AKA Citizen Cope, since leaving the DC hip-hop scene (his former group was Basehead, worth checking out), has reached out on his own, now on his third solo release.

Cope's vocals are very muddled, without enunciation, particularly noticeable on the album's deepest cut, "107 Degrees." This smoky, sensual track conjures the ambience of the previous album, with some heavy keyboard and the best sound from Citizen Cope on the record. Some might consider such vocal porridge to be Dylan-esque, but it's more likely the product of being stoned. Then again, maybe it is Dylan-esque, after all.

The opening song, "Back Together", strikes as an internal battle of one dealing with personal struggle: "Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself," and is a good enough way to start things off. The title track, "Every Waking Moment", is not particularly impressive as a single or a namesake for an album.

Every Waking Moment is a fine blend of folky, bluesy, and funky tracks, offering a mellow 45 minutes of hazy lyrics and music. The album doesn't deliver lyrically as the previous did, departing from the story-telling and blanking out where it could have continued to add to Citizen Cope's library of 4-minute tales about the crazed, forlorn, and famous.

Try tracks 6, 7, and 9.

3 out of 5.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Justin Timberlake successfully escaped the boy-band downturn and came out a bigger star than he was in 'NSync. His last album, Justified, was one of the most entertaining albums of 2002, not to mention a very sophisiticated R&B record.
So when this album came out last week, in the midst of a new single that's been scorching radiowaves all summer, I was pretty eager to see what else Justin had to offer. The album opens with another synthed-up Timbaland beat, then thumps its way into SexyBack, Justin's proclamation that he's reintroducing Sexy to the rest of us. We didn't really know it had left, but that's why he's there, isn't it?
The absolute winner on this album is Track 4, "My Love", a romantic offering with strong vocals, a wicked hook, and saccharine lyrics ("I can see us holding hands, walking on the beach, our toes in the sand") that, somehow, I can buy coming from this guy. T.I.'s cameo on this track is entertaining enough, but unnecessary.
The next track, "LoveStoned", gives us a freaky girl and a nice funk guitar sample that makes you wish Bootsy Collins had a cameo, rather than just a sample. Who needs T.I., seriously?
"What Goes Around" is a step back to the last album, a bit of a "Cry Me A River" sequel, opening intriguingly with a sitar, but letting it go in 10 seconds. The interlude, "...Comes Around", is a strong rant (presumably at Britney, but JT denies it), which could have been a song on its own.
"Chop Me Up" with Three 6 Mafia, is a Dirty South rap joint which works, but is a bit out of place on this record. Maybe Justin should have visited them on their next record.
The album's low point, and that is to say very low, is "Losing My Way," about Bob, who works at his job, and "makes forty-some dollars a day." Well, poor Bob is a crackhead, and Justin decided he would give us a PSA about how crack is whack. Please, Justin, just give me more sexy, or maybe some futuristic love type of stuff. I'll watch public access for the crack message.
The last song is produced by Rick Rubin, and really takes it back to some old soul/real rhythm and blues. Down-tempo, lean piano, unpretentious vocal production, this is the love-making song of the album.
The first nine songs get you from the dance floor into bed, number 10, "Unitl The End of Time" has the modern R&B love-makin' beat, then 11 makes you wonder why you went to bed with this guy who just got all socio-political on you, but number 12 is his apology for getting weird on you during it all, and hey, it works.
Unfortunately, this album strikes me as a bit too schizophrenic. There seems to be a point where the songs went from FutureSex (Side A) to LoveSounds (Side B), at about track 10. But in between, the bounce from R&B to hip-hop to soul and back was too startled. Justified made me think Michael Jackson moving to Bahrain, both mentally and physically, wasn't a big deal, because someone else could wear the glove and moonwalk us back to 1981 and real pop music. Though Timbaland might think so, this is no Thriller. It's no Purple Rain. But it's the best thing that pop has offered since, well, the last album. 3.5 out of 5.