Friday, August 31, 2007

Hampden Fest 2007: September 15; Free MP3s From Bands Playing The Festival

Hampden Fest 2007

As always, hosted by Atomic Books, get ready for this year's Hampden Fest on September 15. The fest runs 11-7 on the Avenue. Tons of great Baltimore bands, many of which have been reviewed here at AGT!

CITYPAPER STAGE (36th & Roland Ave)
11AM - Private Eleanor (read a review of Sweethearting)
12PM - Payola Reserve (read a review of 200 Years)
1PM - Caleb Stine & The Brakemen
2PM - The Jennifers (read a review of Colors From The Future)
3PM - Impossible Hair
4PM - The Oranges Band

11AM - Stalking Horses
12PM - Water School
1PM - Frenemies
2PM - Television Hill
3PM - Arbouretum
4PM - Chelsea Graveyard & The Screams At Midnight
5PM - June Star
6PM - The Beltways

ATOMIC STAGE (36th & Falls Rd)
11AM - Baby Aspirin
12PM - Jason Dove
1PM - Secret Crush Society
2PM - Double Dagger
3PM - The Ubangis
4PM - Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad (read a review of Brian Adam Ant's Separation Celebration)
5PM - The Barn Burners
6PM - Electric Junk Band

Free MP3s:
The Jennifers - "Lion In Winter"
The Payola Reserve - "Henrietta"
Private Eleanor - "Temporary Homes"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lejeune - For Club And Country; Free MP3 - "Spanish"

Lejeune - For Club And Country

Out of DC, Lejeune are an indie-pop quintet who come together like Voltron (I just got to make a Voltron and a Wu-Tang Clan reference in an indie review . . . score!) to combine pop, country twang, new wave, and romance to produce For Club And Country, their second full-length.

Blending acoustic and electric guitars with keys and thick bumps and grooves on the low end, the album marks the culmination of a growth period for the band as they expand on their sound and deliver more confident tracks. The post-punk intro on "Spanish" leads into the new-wave Morrissey/Michael Stipe intermixed vocal style of Sam Bishop, and Matthew Richardson's guitar leads on "Replaced By Robots" display Lejeune's nascent style that should tear all 'new-wave revival' comparisons asunder. As apparent as the comparisons to acts before them may be, Lejeune's past is not as precious as its present. This is a band that burns brightly on its own.

Purchase For Club And Country at CDBaby.

Free MP3: Lejeune - "Spanish"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ticketmaster And Live Nation To Part Ways In 2008?


Could Ticketmaster and Live Nation be breaking up? Ticketmaster has been the primary ticket vendor for Live Nation concerts for as long as recent memory serves, but that might change in 2008. According to a Ticketmaster statement:

"... we now believe it is doubtful we will extend our agreement when it expires at the end of 2008. Live Nation has been a valued client for a very long time and we believe we've taken every reasonable step possible to facilitate a renewal, but they seem intent on a direction for their business that leaves us no viable way to work together."

Live Nation would rather do away with permitting Ticketmaster to collect over $100 million in "fees", which also allows Ticketmaster to collect even more lucrative customer data (name, address, who the customer is buying tickets to see and where, etc.). If Live Nation eliminates the vendor, Live Nation can sell tickets themselves, collect that customer data for themselves, and collect the 'fees' themselves (or eliminate the extraneous fees, which would all but blow customer's minds).

Source: Hypebot

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Any Given Tuesday #7: Podcasting 101 At The Baltimore Music Conference

Joel Witt from Folk Media and myself presented at the Baltimore Music Conference this weekend on the basics of podcasting. We covered topics from podcasting hardware and software to format all the way through to our tips for success. Give the show a listen below or subscribe to the Any Given Tuesday podcast RSS feed.

Monarch - If Children; Stream The Album, Download MP3 of "Warning"

Monarch - If Children

The duo of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner make up Monarch, making their mark on Baltimore's indie music scene in the year since their formation by layering catchy pop hooks with feedback to form a shoegaze that alternates between minimalistic sparseness and a cacophonic instrument salad.

Last week marked the release of Monarch's debut LP If Children (available now from Morphius Distribution). Monarch thrives on using feedback to seamlessly push songs like "Orchard Fair" through an electric chorus. Jenn Wasner wins when she starts breathily and almost incoherently melodizing over a loose piano hook on "Keeping Company".

While Monarch find themselves in a genre known for layering sound on sound, tracks like the just mentioned "Keeping Company" and its country-twinged follow-up, "A Lawn To Mow", are spare, unassuming, and magical. While Wasner leads on the former, Andy Stack takes the microphone on the latter, giving us a chance to hear the two separate and in their own space. Vocal harmonies have their place on the record, but it's a fresh breath to hear these multi-instrumentalists sing for their supper apart from one another.

About three minutes in, "If Children Were Wishes" takes off for the stratosphere, with Wasner's voice projecting strong and proud over the fast-picking guitar. A massively proportioned track, showing in full view one of the reasons Monarch is known for packing a lot of sound in their small footprint.

If Children mingles in a room full of shoegaze, alt-country, folk, and noise, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, and making friends with everyone. Perhaps friends of any of these genres should seek an introduction.

Stream the whole album or purchase Monarch's If Children

Free MP3: Monarch - "Warning" from If Children

Monday, August 27, 2007

Metal Monday (Post 666): Dillinger Escape Plan Tour Dates; Free Throwdown & 3 Inches of Blood MP3s; Concert Review: Hatebreed & Lamb of God

Dillinger Escape Plan

Dillinger Escape Plan tour dates begin to surface along with news of their forthcoming release, Ire Works, due November 13 on Relapse Records.

10/4 Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's Down Under
10/5 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
10/6 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
10/7 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
10/8 Papillion, NE @ The Rock
10/9 Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theare
10/14 Santa Ana, CA -Galaxy Concert Theatre
10/17 Spring, TX @ Java Jazz
10/20 Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
10/21 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
10/22 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/23 Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar
10/25 Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East

So, in a somewhat unique milestone, this is the 666th post on Any Given Tuesday. Seems fitting that some metal would fall into this slot!


Some of you know that I'm really into hardcore. Throwdown are one of my newer favorite hardcore metal bands, with uplifting, positive lyrics a la Hatebreed (Read a review of Hatebreed's Supremacy). Check out "Holy Roller" and get blown away.

Free Metal Monday MP3: Throwdown - "Holy Roller"


And, in the final installment of the Metal Monday Post #666 extravaganza, my show buddy and I caught the Ozzfest off-date show of Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Canada's 3 Inches of Blood, and Poland's Behemoth at Ram's Head Live! last Thursday night. What a show!

3 Inches of Blood

3 Inches of Blood are Iron Maiden-influenced Canucks, blending New Wave of British Heavy Metal high-pitched vocals with fantasy-themed lyrics combined with growling backing vocals (often co-vocals as both styles share the spotlight) and a thrash/power metal musical run. The brief set by this band was efficient and fun, bringing some of the old school back and blending it with modern extreme metal trappings.

Free MP3: 3 Inches of Blood - "Goatrider's Horde"


Following up, Poland's Behemoth entered the stage in full death metal regalia, and commenced to unleash their furious black/death sound on this crowd full of hardcore and southern metal fans. The language barrier was minimal as Nergal's between-song commentary was in a moderately-accented English that only once left fans scratching their heads trying to find out just what he was saying. Musically, relentless and theatrical, Behemoth rocked their set with fast thrashed-out death metal in support of their latest album, The Apostasy.

By the time New England hardcore powerhouses Hatebreed took the stage, the whole place was whipped into a frenzy. Hatebreed is one of the hardest-working bands in showbiz, always touring, supporting and promoting their music and the music in their community (singer Jamey Jasta hosts MTV's Headbanger's Ball), and putting out quality music. Still out supporting the awesome 2006 release Supremacy (1 year old tomorrow), Hatebreed never fail to impress, both on record and on stage.

Unleashing "Empty Promises", the opening track from Satisfaction Is The Death of Desire (ten years old as of Veteran's Day this year) early in the set, the band sends a message of respect and appreciation to its older fans and a voracious hunger for new ones by destroying Ram's Head Live! with "Destroy Everything", "Never Let It Die", and the closing "Perseverance". Sweating with positive aggression, every member of this band makes a point to interact with their crowd, mouthing thanks to the adoring masses.

Read Any Given Tuesday's review of Hatebreed's last appearance at Ram's Head Live!

Lamb of God

After Hatebreed left the venue in a ball of dust and positively sweltering with the body heat from a packed house of aggro pit people, Lamb of God made their rock star entrance and lived up to their title as Revolver Magazine's Best Live Band of the year. Blasting out the technical guitar riffs, Mark Morton and Willie Adler were blowing minds like shooting tin cans off a fence post, backed by Chris Adler's pounding double bass and echoing rimshots, with John Campbell laying down the groove for Randy Blythe's demon-summoning, menacing screaming and growling. Pacing the stage like a caged animal, Blythe stagedives into the crowd about a third of the way into the set, causing a crowd frenzy soundtracked by melting guitar breakdowns. Another set that runs the gamut, from Sacrament's "Redneck", "Pathetic", and the blistering "Walk With Me In Hell", to "Ashes of the Wake" and original Burn The Priest (Lamb of God's former moniker) material. As usual, closing the set with "Black Label" and the signature wall of death crowd antics, Lamb of God rocked the (almost) hometown show and left Baltimore regretting having to wake up on Friday morning.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bright Eyes Adds North American Tour Dates For Fall 2007

Bright Eyes Conor Oberst

More Bright Eyes tour dates for the fall (including DC and VA):

09-13 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
09-14 Boise, ID - Big Easy Concert House
09-15 Spokane, WA - Big Easy Concert House
09-16 Olympia, WA - Capital Theatre
09-18 Fairbanks, AK - University of Alaska - Fairbanks
09-19 Anchorage, AK - University of Alaska - Anchorage
09-20 Anchorage, AK - University of Alaska - Anchorage
09-22 Seattle, WA - Quest Field (End Fest)
09-23 Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre
09-24 Chico, CA - Senator Theatre
09-29 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl with M. Ward
10-03 Mexico City, Mexico - Vive Cuervo Salon
10-19 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
10-20 Kalamazoo, MI - State Theatre
10-21 Champaign, IL - Foellinger Auditorium at University of Illinois
10-22 Milwaukee, WI - Riviera Theatre
10-23 Lawrence, KS - Lied Center at University of Kansas
10-24 Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
10-25 Sioux Falls, SD - Ramkota Exhibit Hall
10-27 Billings, MT - Shrine Auditorium
10-28 Missoula, MT - University Theatre
10-30 Edmonton, Alberta - Events Center
10-31 Calgary, Alberta - MacEwan Hall
11-02 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Burton Cummings Theatre
11-03 Fargo, ND - The Venue at Playmakers
11-04 Iowa City, IA - Main Lounge at University of Iowa
11-06 Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre
11-07 Birmingham, AL - Alabama Theatre
11-08 Charleston, SC - The Plex
11-09 Winston Salem, NC - Millennium Center
11-10 Norfolk, VA - The NorVa
11-11 Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
11-12 Wilmington, DE - Grand Opera House
11-14 Binghamton, NY - Magic City Music Hall
11-15 Rochester, NY - Main Street Armory
11-16 Portsmouth, NH - The Music Hall
11-17 Providence, RI - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
11-18 Worcester, MA - Palladium
11-19 New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall

Tonight at Sonar: DJ Baby Anne (Plus A Special Q&A)

DJ Baby Anne

Tonight at Sonar, DJ Baby Anne will be spinning the Florida breakbeats along with the club sound of Small Town DJs. You can get in for as cheap as five bucks.

Baby Anne was gracious enough to answer some questions for Any Given Tuesday:

1) What/who did you listen to growing up? Who's been your biggest influence?
Everything. Southern rock, disco, alternative, the 80's will always be my favorite. My biggest all around influence is Icey, but my sound influences come from everywhere. Information Society, Joe Walsh, White Zombie, dynamix II, Jackyl & Hyde, other genres of dance music.

2) The Baby Anne/Jen Lasher album, Assault & Battery, was stellar. Any plans for a future collaboration between the two of you?
I hope so. I would love to do another project with Jen but it would be different. Maybe just a bunch of singles. It's not easy to plan when we live in different cities.

3) The original tracks that make their way onto your albums are always great. Do you have any plans to make a whole album of your own productions?
It's always a possibility. I've been thinking of putting something together that includes some of my older tracks as well as new stuff. It might be next after my Past Present Future tour.

4) How do you spend your time when you're not on tour/in the studio?
I do quiet things. I get homesick easily so when I'm home I am at my house a lot with my dogs. I practice yoga, do a lot of gardening and remodeling on my house, I read a lot and watch a lot of Science and History channel. Pretty boring for most!

5) What's in your CD player/on your iPod right now? Do you like to listen to your own music?
I absolutely never listen to my own music or what I play in my live set. My iPod has a ton of chill out music and also stuff like Goldfrapp, Imogen Heap, and Tracey Thorne. When I listen to music that sounds nothing like mine, it makes me enjoy djing more.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shelly Bhushan - Picking Daisies; Free MP3 - "Beautiful Me"

Shelly Bhushan - Picking Daisies

Teeming with the unbridled passion that is the sine qua non of true soul, Shelly Bhushan's Picking Daisies does its best at projecting the independence and self-assuredness of an archetypical woman ("Beautiful Me") while balancing that with the fragility and folly of human emotion ("It's Over"). Bhushan's bellowing wail is capable of blowing the doors off but is as melodious in a whisper, providing Picking Daisies with manifold levels of heartache, rancor, and raucousness. Here is a singer who can instill palpable feeling in a listener just by changing her tone.

With the range that Daisies runs, it might be easy for Shelly Bhushan to get away from herself and record a mash of tunes with no logical progression. That is avoided here, ranging from the fretful "Perfect Stranger" to the claim-staking "Beautiful Me", which incorporates a melody invoking a playground taunt in its assured message whisked along with horns and strings. But where Daisies manages to keep from unraveling, it sacrifices a certain boldness that this strong crooner could use to her advantage. Sometimes the tracks seem a bit too safe. Whether that was a conscious choice to court television and soundtrack placements, this album is inoffensive musically. Audiences of vast tastes will still be charmed by Shelly Bhushan's confidence and sleeve-worn emotion.

With a less-is-more sound approach, Bhushan's backing band conceives funk sounds fused with classic soul, driven further by Bhushan's pop and blues vocals. Some variation in backing vocals would have helped, as the overdubs can sometimes be too much of a good thing.

Key cuts include "Beautiful Me" for the spiteful spirit, "Birthday Suit" and its pop/blues/country amalgam, "It's Over" for the forlorn piano.

Pick up Picking Daisies at CDBaby.

Free MP3: Shelly Bhushan - "Beautiful Me"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Amy Winehouse Cancels Fall North American Tour

Amy Winehouse as Minnie Mouse

Amy Winehouse has postponed her fall tour of North America. This leaves Paolo Nutini without a tourmate, but I suspect Paolo will be just fine.

According to the official statement, "Amy has been ordered to rest and is working with medical professionals to address her health." Now I ain't one to gossip (yeah, right. This is a blog!) but Amy wears a wig (thanks, Kristen, for sharing this story)? That hair is fake? I knew it was all kinds of outrageous and defying the laws of nature, but still. According to the UK Daily Mail, Amy's mom witnessed this spectacle: "She was sitting hunched on the bed wrapped in a towelling robe, her face a sickly white and devoid of make-up, her trademark beehive wig abandoned on the dressing table." Amy, with no makeup, and no hair. Was she transparent? Did she have to wax Amy's scalp, Kojack-style?

Amy Winehouse w/ Blake

What's more, according to the report, when Winehouse was told she had to go to rehab, her reply: "No, no, no. I don't want to go." Art imitates life, eh? From dressing up as Minnie to becoming a streetwalker. Huzzah!

Britney Spears Rebuffs Justin Timberlake and Timbaland

Britney Spears

The world of gossip is aflame with news that Britney Spears has refused to show up to record vocals for a planned duet with Justin Timberlake (read Any Given Tuesday's review of FutureSex/LoveSounds here) and produced by Timbaland. Word has it that JT wrote the duet specifically for Britney (what did that take, three minutes? It's not like you haven't written twelve songs about her before, Justin) and that Timbo put aside a whole week of his "crazy schedule" to do this track, and that Brit backed out at the eleventh hour.

The pages claim this was her chance for a comeback, and that she's blown it. I challenge that thought: what if the cancellation were a calculated move to snub the overblown hitmakers and go rock, like Kelly Clarkson? I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but consider the thought!

Source: NME

Album Review: Bella - No One Will Know

By trading around vocal leads throughout their upcoming album No One Will Know, Canada's pop-minded Bella wind their way through synth, indie, and dream pop with aplomb. Combining melody, synth hooks, and a catchy chorus, Bella manufacture dance music to go along with hipster haircuts and pogoing dance moves.

The aggro track on the record, "Go", begins with a minimalist synth, combining a robotic "Where did you go-oh" backing from guitarist Cameron Fraser before launching into the guitar-fed chorus. Fraser's lead on "Ocean Or A Lakeshore" is backed by "ah-oh-ah-ah"s from Tiffany Garrett Sotomayer and Charla McCutcheon and provides an edgier vocal and barbed pique which is exchanged for the more candy-coated yet ever suggestive breathily sung female vocals when Sotomayor and McCutcheon take the mic.

No One Will Know insists that you get up and dance, banging out a head-shaking and foot-stomping rhythm throughout. The bouncy "Camelot" embodies the sparse but heady, worry-free moments that elude us as we grow older, capturing a universal memory in a pop song. The glee this album invokes will leave you positively fluorescent.

Due September 18 from Mint Records. Click the album art to (pre) order.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rhapsody America: Joint Collaboration Between MTV, Real, Verizon; Urge Dead

I received an email yesterday announcing a partnership between MTV, Real, and Verizon. MTV has ditched its Microsoft partnership, Urge, in favor of what will be called Rhapsody America. MTV has yet to finalize negotiations with Microsoft, so Urge will go on for the foreseeable future.

The service is designed to be DRM-free competetion with iTunes, offering a "jukebox in the sky" courtesy of Verizon Wireless, and marketing that is much more aggressive than that utilized for Urge. No data has been released about subscriptions, prices, and the like.

New Releases for Tuesday, August 21, 2007: Rilo Kiley, M.I.A.

Head on over to Rilo Kiley's MySpace to stream the new album, Under the Blacklight, out today, August 21.

I think RK is OK, but I've never been a huge fan. But listening to this album, I'm pretty sure this record fulfills a contractual obligation, not an artistic endeavor.

M.I.A.'s Kala is out today, too. Featuring beats from Baltimore's Blaqstarr. Fortunately for M.I.A., her visa problems kept her from working with Timbaland and making obvious, superficial tracks.

Monday, August 20, 2007

No Go On Seizure - For The Mistake of Mankind; Free MP3 - "Todays Tomorrow"

No Go On Seizure - For The Mistake of Mankind

Recently received an underground mixtape style, yet respectable, effort from a NY band called No Go On Seizure. It's one of the more rocked-out albums I've received in recent memory, which somehow makes it harder for me to review. No Go On Seizure's For The Mistake of Mankind (cover art by Greg Bernhardt) runs the gamut from hard rock to party rock to classic rock, even throwing some Slayer-type vocals in the mix. Powerful riffs from dual guitars give the album a beefed-up chunkiness. Droners will get down to the slow chugging of "Blood (Redux)" and Motley Crue fans will reminisce fondly during the partying sound of "Jonas E. Salk".

A personal favorite on the album is "Todays Tomorrow", which recalls early '90s grunge favorites (if I close my eyes, I feel like I'm an extra in Singles). For The Mistake of Mankind is heavily influenced by '90s rock, with lots of Nirvana-type chord progressions (in "A Song", for example, I detect hints of "Scentless Apprentice"). No Go On Seizure is naturally suited to Gen-X.

Try if you like: Alice In Chains (for the swampy, dirty guitar sound), Sponge (for the melody), early Soundgarden (for the screaming vox)

Free MP3: No Go On Seizure - "Todays Tomorrow"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bruce Springsteen Back With The E Street Band For Some Magic

Bruce Springsteen

My sensibilities betray me: Bruce Springsteen (Broooooooooce!!) returns with the E Street Band on October 2, with an album called Magic. I admit not following Bruce since he was "Boooooooooaaaan [notice there was no 'r' in his pronunciation] in the U. S. A-yay", because I was never into his butchering of centuries of refining the art of enunciation, but the The Seeger Sessions were impressive, and apparently the rest of the world thinks mush-mouth is a sign of genius, so I better open my ears. Plus, it's produced by Brendan O'Brien.

Source: Pitchfork

Violent Femmes Take It To Court

Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie filed suit against lead singer Gordon Gano in a U.S. District Court in New York August 15th. His allegation? That Gano allowed "Blister In The Sun" to appear in a Wendy's commercial, thus blistering the group's reputation. To add insult to injury, Ritchie claims he is the group's true founder and that he has never been acknowledged as such (well, it takes two to tango, and at least that many to found a band, right?).

No word on how much the suit seeks in damages.

Swedish Man Addicted To Metal, Government Declares It A Disability

Absolute insanity: Swede Roger Tullgren has been diagnosed as having a disability: addiction to heavy metal music. Per reports, Tullgren has been working for a decade to have doctors recognize his addiction. Now, the Swedish employment service will award Tullgren with supplemental income benefits based on the reports of three psychologists. The afflicted can now play music at his dishwashing job, and will be granted time off to attend concerts.

I love metal as much as Tullgren, I'm sure, but doesn't the above sound like he's being enabled? Supplemental income benefits and free time off to support an addiction? I can almost understand this being diagnosed, based on Tullgren behaving in ways that interfere with what would be considered a "normal lifestyle", but supporting his habit sounds starnge to me.

Source: Anorak News

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Dashboard Confessional on October 2: The Shade of Poison Trees

Dashboard Confessional: The Shade of Poison Trees

From Dashboard Confessional's camp:

"This fall, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Chris Carrabba will return to his roots with the release of The Shade of Poison Trees, Dashboard Confessional’s fifth album for longtime label Vagrant Records. The album marks a notable return to the signature acoustic sound that Carrabba first developed on early Dashboard Confessional albums like 2000’s The Swiss Army Romance and 2001’s The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most.

Recorded over 10 days in Florida with renowned producer Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Linkin Park), The Shade of Poison Trees is filled with the kind of earnest acoustic laments and smart, poetic lyrics that long ago turned Carrabba into a feverishly adored artist. While he continues to evolve as a songwriter throughout, the album is a significant return to the Dashboard of old, as well as a tip of the hat to fans that have spent the past nine years by his side.

When asked why he revisited his earlier stylings he responded, “I never really left.”

Over the past year, Dusk and Summer has received universal acclaim from such publications as Rolling Stone, Blender, Spin and the LA Times. And now, Dashboard has returned with The Shade of Poison Trees, an album that is sure to reconnect with the band’s longtime fans and further proving that Carrabba has become one of the most influential songwriters of his generation. Without question, The Shade of Poison Trees is Dashboard’s most personal album yet, and, to that end, Carrabba is set this fall to embark on a North American solo tour – his first in over five years."

PJ Harvey: White Chalk US Release Date

PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey has confirmed September 25 as the release date for her next album, White Chalk. The first single from the album, "When Under Ether", will release 9/17 in the UK.

Daft Punk To Release Live Album

Daft Punk

Daft Punk have announced plans to release a live album of a June 14 Paris show later this year. Parisians themselves (are all the good electro duos from Paris?), Daft Punk stated the show was their first in Paris in ten years.

The album will be released in a single disc version along with a double disc featuring the show's encore.

Source: NME

The Sky Drops in Baltimore: Metro Gallery Show August 17

The Sky Drops

The Sky Drops are the Delaware duo of Rob Montejo and Monika Bullette. Yeah, you're thinking "Oh, just like The White Stripes!" And you might be kind of right, except this band is from my home state of Delaware and are thus cooler than that co-ed duo. Sky Drops will be playing Metro Gallery on Friday, August 17 at 8PM, joined by A Place To Bury Strangers (NY), Airiel (Chicago), and Monarch (Baltimore).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Sex Pistols + Def Leppard = Man Raze

Man Raze

Fans of Def Leppard and the Sex Pistols, listen up: Man Raze has come to life. Yeah, the sleaze of the Pistols and glam of Def Leppard have somehow come together to form a brand new monster. Phil Collen of Def Leppard and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols (along with Simon Laffy, a former bandmate of Collen's before Def Leppard) have brought together the powerful punk sound and the songwriting sensibility of each of their historic bands to create the rocking sound of Man Raze.

Listen to Man Raze and download "Turn It Up"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Any Given Tuesday Episode 6 - Wendel Patrick

Wendel Patrick and I sat down a few weeks ago for an interview, and I finally got around to editing the result. Listen to a few tracks from Wendel's album, Sound: (read a review of Sound: here), and enjoy! Just click the logo above to listen, or right click to download the MP3. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed in your podreader or in iTunes.

Wendel Patrick ( is a trained pianist from Baltimore who just so happens to make insanely exciting music influenced by classical, jazz, hip hop, and electronica. Barrett King sits with Wendel at the City Cafe in Mount Vernon to discuss Wendel's album, Sound:, the creative process, gear, and more. This episode also features three tracks from the album: "Man Vs.", "Traffic", and "My CD Has A Scratch II (feat. Salim)".

Monday, August 13, 2007

Van Halen Announce Reunion Tour Dates

Van Halen

It's official: Van Halen will reunite, with Diamond Dave on vox and Wolfgang Van Halen holding down the low end in Michael Anthony's place. Earlier plans for a reunion were tanked by Eddie Van Halen's rehab stint, but he's clean and ready to rock!

Tour Dates:

Sep. 27 - Charlotte, N.C. @ Bobcats Arena
Sep. 29 - Greensboro, N.C. @ Coliseum
Oct. 01 - Philadelphia @ Wachovia Center
Oct. 07 - Toronto @ Air Canada Centre
Oct. 10 - Cleveland @ Quicken Loans Arena
Oct. 14 - Indianapolis @ Conseco Fieldhouse
Oct. 16 - Chicago @ Allstate Arena
Oct. 18 - Chicago @ United Center
Oct. 22 - Auburn Hills, Mich. @ Palace of Auburn Hills
Oct. 24 - Minneapolis @ Target Center
Oct. 26 - Kansas City, Mo. @ Sprint Center
Oct. 28 - St. Louis @ Scottrade Center
Oct. 30 - Boston @ TD Banknorth Garden
Nov. 03 - East Rutherford, N.J. @ Continental Airline Arena
Nov. 13 - New York @ Madison Square Garden
Nov. 20 - Los Angeles @ Staples Center
Nov. 23 - Glendale, Ariz. @ Arena
Nov. 25 - San Diego @ Cox Arena
Nov. 27 - Sacramento, Calif. @ Arco Arena
Nov. 29 - San Jose, Calif. @ HP Pavilion
Dec. 01 - Portland, Ore. @ Rose Garden
Dec. 03 - Seattle @ Key Arena
Dec. 05 - Vancouver @ GM Place
Dec. 09 - Edmonton, Alberta @ Rexall Palace
Dec. 11 - Calgary, Alberta @ Pengrowth Saddledome

Sorry, Baltimore, you'll have to head to New York or Jersey to get your fix.

Source: Reuters

Album Review: The Antiques - Sewn With Stitches

The Antiques

If you've been searching for the right sound to accompany your all-black attire and the cloud of gloom that follows you around, look only to DC's The Antiques. Lock yourself in your room and listen to "Closed Curtains". The dark baritone of the male vocals, followed by the scathing and piercing female part, gets magnified by the accompanying organ, making for a sadistic breakup song to cry alone under the sheets to with the lights off and the stereo cranked to 11. Where the organ reaches into the internal depths of despair, the reverb of the guitar in "Tied To Nowhere" provides a reprieve. Still despondent, but less "the sky is falling" and more "let's tear it down."

Not one to be victimized throughout, singer Greg Svitil stands up on "You're Everything I Don't Need" and walks away from someone who is "everything I don't need and nothing I can use." The bright and jangly guitar of "You're An Act That Can't Be Followed" brightly underscores the story of a would-be suitor who throws himself at the object of his desire, only to be ignored. This is followed by the murky "Brown Balloons", charged by drums and bass and phased guitars. Echo and reverb effect dilute the vocals of this almost-love song.

Stepping wildly outside the confines of gloom-pop on "Bedsit Bones", the guitars funk up a hook reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II", opening up the blinds just a bit and letting the sunshine in.

Sewn With Stitches is deeply cynical, rife with self-loathing, forlorn, and absolutely quaking with unrequited love. Fortunately for the Antiques, if found that love would be their demise. They'll have to go on suffering to bring more of their shoegazing, hopeless-yet-glimmering pop.

Free MP3 Download: The Antiques - "Closed Curtains"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Disco Romance In The USA, Courtesy of Sally Shapiro and Paper Bag Records

Sally Shapiro
Photo by Frida Klingberg

The enigmatic Sally Shapiro is about to make her US debut with Disco Romance (Paper Bag Records). Produced by Johange Bjorn (I can't type the umlauts over the 'o'), Romance is imbued with synthesizers and euro-disco flavor. It's a lot less pop-fueled than Annie's "Me Plus One" (which rotated on my iPod for a while), and more darkly passionate than Amber.

Tracklisting for Disco Romance:

1. I'll Be By Your Side (Extended Mix)
2. I Know
3. Find My Soul
4. Time to Let Go
5. Anorak Christmas
6. He Keeps Me Alive
7. Hold Me So Tight
8. Skating in the Moonshine
9. Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)
10. Sleep in My Arms

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thanks For The Note

Today I was taking my mom sightseeing in Baltimore, and we stopped off at Record & Tape Traders in Charles Village. That store is closing in the not-too-distant future! Picked up some stuff at 20% off, that was cool. Then we walk outside, and the mirror has been lopped right off of the car. No paint damage, just a broken mirror. But hey, there's a note! Charles Walken, (410) 285-6791. So I call Mr. Walken, and the number is disconnected. Which leads me to believe someone punked my mirror down, intentionally, and left me a bogus note just to have a little fun with me. So, thanks! What a great thing to happen on what was a really good day.
Called the cops, they really just look like they would rather be anywhere else. Not that I expected them to do anything, but maybe other people are calling in, and it turns out it's a bunch of kids playing games, and the kids get caught. That was a laugh. Anyway, if you're out there, Mr. Walken, your number is disconnected, and I'd still love to have you pay for repairing my mirror.

Q&A With J Roddy Walston & The Business; Free MP3

J Roddy Walston & The Business

Steve from J Roddy Walston & The Business (read a review of their latest, Hail Mega Boys, here) was kind enough to answer some questions for me at the end of their recent tour:

1) You guys are currently out on tour. What's the best/worst thing about road-dogging as a band?

We're fairly new to extended touring, so these may just end up being first impressions. I'm not the kind that gets homesick too easily, so I ended up missing privacy more than anything. You end up trying to grab snatches of quiet when you can. I'll take a walk whenever we have the time - I really like checking out new towns like that, and it gives me time to think or make phone calls or talk to myself or whatever. You'll never miss the ability to sit on your toilet and read a book like after you've been crapping in gas station bathrooms for a month.

But from watching the guys with girlfriends, keeping everything together back home when you're gone for weeks has gotta be one of the hardest thing for a touring musician. It'll put a strain on any relationship and once you're out on the road and hours away from home, all you can do is talk about it - endlessly.

2) It's clear from the new album [Hail Mega Boys, available now] that there is a lot of roots rock and rockabilly influence in the music. How does each of your personalities/creative influence manage to come out on record?

If you'd ever heard the band before Billy and I and joined, it was much quirkier and poppier - kind of like The Band on acid, or maybe Supertramp fronted by Harry Nilsson. Zach's been with Rod longer than anyone, so by now they can practically read each other's mind about where to place harmonies and how they should be sung. Surprisingly (unsurprisingly if you look at him) he's a total metalhead, though he still keeps a soft spot for shit like Imogen Heap. Billy tends to push the songs the hardest - he's the hardest to please, but his instincts are tried and true. He's a pretty hard rocker - lots of Guns and Roses and Motley Crue, but also tons of classic rock, especially Queen. I'm a pretty meat and potatoes guy - I just try to drive the songs as hard as they need to be driven, and keep everything solid and hanging together. I'm definitely from the Grohl school of playing drums, but I'm a huge Ringo fan along with all the drummers on Dylan's mid-60s records. Rod is kind of the ring-leader - he normally has some kind of vision for the song before we all sit down and he keeps everyone on task and optimistic. He's a huge fan of quirky songwriters like Nilsson, McCartney and Newman, but he's a big Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Buddy Holly fan, too. If the end result sounds like Bonham backing The Band - or Jerry Lee Lewis fronting The Band - then we're on the right path.

3) While the music is bright and generally raucous, the lyrics are sometimes quite melancholy. Do you guys try to make happy, danceable songs, or is there less a formula than a see-if-it-works mentality?

We just like writing stuff that's fun for us to work on and fun for us to play, and usually if you get that, it lends itself to being fun for the audience. The songs are definitely written with a "let's feel this out and see where it goes" approach. As for Rod's lyrics, I'm not sure what he's aiming for; though I will say that one of the underlying themes of the record is Rod's disillusionment with Baltimore and the rude shock to the system that it hit him with.

4) Hypothetical: You're down to your last twenty bucks amongst you on the road. You've got 1/8 of a tank of gas in the road wagon and 150 miles to the next show, and you're down to your last [insert favorite vice here]. Do you go the responsible route and gas up, or ride on fumes and restock the goodies?

Neither - we're converting our van to be able to run on vegetable oil this Fall, so we'd keep the twenty and put it towards a hotel room so we can avoid sleeping at so many dude crash pads. We're an incredibly boring band when it comes to vices.


J Roddy Walston & The Business will be playing at Ottobar here in Baltimore on August 17th.

Download "Rock and Roll The Second" from Hail Mega Boys

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Album Review: Mark Berube - What The River Gave The Boat; Win A Free Copy Of The Album!

Mark Berube

Lately, I've been in love with the closing track on just about every album I listen to. That goes for today's review choice, Mark Berube's What The River Gave The Boat. The magnificent sound of "Barber Shop", from its rebounding piano to its regal string section, romantically carries the sentimental voice of Berube over the clouds before climaxing in a thunderous cacophony of classically-tuned sound. Although a bit off the path of the rest of the album, "Barber Shop" is one of the songs that speaks to my spirit, musically, more than others of late.

What The River Gave The Boat is the first half of a double album, to be followed with What The Boat Gave The River in the future. A trumpet drives the mid-tempo swing of "Cloudy Day" and upright bass pushes the groove of "Pretty Little Bird (The Saint of Vancouver)", while Berube's voice sings the gospel of the folk tales of today's world. Berube's tales are just as at home in his native Vancouver as the war fields in the wrenching "War Without An End". Singing the sorrow in "Alarms", Mark Berube's voice carries the weight of someone who has seen it all and conveys that experience through that voice. It's not just the choice of his words, which he does stunningly, but the salt and grit of experience and empathy in his voice that makes What The River Gave The Boat enough to sprain whatever existential muscle it is that ties the heart to the soul.

If you like what you just read, and you went to Mark's website and liked the songs, leave a comment or Email AGT and win a free copy of Mark Berube's new album! Hurry, the drawing ends on August 17!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reminder: Local Music Blog Birthday Party This Weekend in DC

IA 1st Birthday

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you about the 1st birthday party for another local music blog, Instrumental Analysis. Covering DC, Austin, PA, Baltimore, and even my home area of Rehoboth/Dewey/Bethany/Fenwick/Ocean City, IA is off the chart on local music coverage. It's going to be a great show. My moms is going to be in town, so it'll take some encouragement, but you might find me and my mom-dukes getting blown away by Jette Kelly of Jette-Ives, among others. The party is this Friday, so get down to DC!

Album Review: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - This Is Somewhere; Streaming Preview Of The Album

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - This Is Somewhere

New today from the always soulful Grace Potter & The Nocturnals is the fully rockin' This Is Somewhere (funny how I was listening to Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere just before receiving this album). Potter's voice is alternately breathy and bold, bursting forth with spirit and sensuality. At all but 24 years of age, Grace Potter sings with the force and credibility of a songstress twice her age. Lest this site fall into the trappings of chasing the lead singer of a well-rounded band, the Nocturnals - Scott Tournet on guitar, Bryan Dondero on bass, and Matt Burr on drums - provide the sound that completes the elegance of This Is Somewhere.

The album starts off with a delicate verse in "Ah Mary", reminiscent of the band's last album, before exploding into an aggressively driven roots-rock chorus in a tale of Mary and her dangerously provocative personality. On This Is Somewhere, Grace trades between a Hammond organ and a guitar, adding more punch to this record than on Nothing But The Water. For a band that has fit so nicely into the jam band circuit, this album could present a challenge to fans returning for another groove.

Choice cuts from the album: "Ah Mary", "Stop The Bus", "Big White Gate"

Click here for a streaming preview of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' This Is Somewhere

Monday, August 06, 2007

Album Review & Free MP3: The Payola Reserve - 200 Years

The Payola Reserve - 200 Years

The Payola Reserve are going to have to indulge me a bit as I waver a bit from standard record review format. I met the Payola Reserve at their practice space/studio (listen to Episode 5 of Any Given Tuesday to share in the fun) and these cats were just plain cool. I felt like I was hanging out with the rock star heroes I looked up to when I was a kid, except those heroes stayed the same age while I grew up. These guys are just the fruit of a different era (kind of how I view myself). We were all born thirty years too late.

The Payola Reserve just recorded and released (all by themselves . . . take that, hipsters. If I have to listen to one more Clap Your Hands Say Yeah reference, I'll lose it) their second album, 200 Years. This album breaks away from the New Wave-y One Long Apology and moves into the beyond cool sound of the early '70s. Again, indulging myself fully, I'm going to make a Tim Renwick reference. I have talked about this guitar demigod in the past, who has been a session player for Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Al Stewart (Tim played on the LP Year of the Cat), and so many other powerful artists. When I hear Al (Pacheco, not Stewart) play guitar on this record, I feel like he's reproducing the tone of '70s guitar icons. On "Henrietta" I am reminded of another band Renwick worked with, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver. Renwick played with Quiver, who along with the Sutherland Brothers, recorded five albums, my personal favorite of which was Slipstream. My father's prize possession is his 8-track of this album which, to me, is beyond rad. The guitar chops on "Henrietta" are among my favorite of any record I've listened to this year. The Payola Reserve just jam it out on the track, and the rolling toms from drummer Ken Fisher texture this track, with Bryson Dudley keeping down the low end on bass. Ben Pranger's wails on the track have me squeaking out my own singalong with the air guitar, making "Henrietta" a highlight for those who pick up the record.

What I find most compelling about Payola Reserve is that their albums conceptually invoke an era. 200 Years is a record that compels references to other artists, because the album is a virtual history lesson in rock and roll. Where Apology delved into the 80s, 200 Years moves to the awesomeness of the late '60s and early '70s, digging up a lost Neil Young. Maybe even some Neil & Crazy Horse Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere material. Perhaps an indication of what's to come, but you'll detect a fleck of Delta Blues in this record, too. You know what I want to hear? Some Mississippi John Hurt. But I'll take the extra jam on "Portrait Society" until then, as well as the conjuring of Tom Petty in the vocals for "Going Army", a tongue-in-cheek shout about joining the military that begins with a military-type processional.

The lyrics on 200 Years are a treat for anyone who considers themself a poet/lyricist because these lyrics are so clever. When "Grade A Television" develops an almost meaningful relationship between a person and her TV and avoids being awkward, that displays a lyrical finesse that I love almost as much as I do the Rhodes piano (which this album employs). If you ever debate the lyricism and songwriting of the Beatles, TPR's Ben Pranger is much more Lennon than McCartney. Listen to "Money For Old Rope" and I challenge you to disagree.

The Payola Reserve, with all their ability and vision, seem to be holding back a bit and restricting themselves to an extent, whether to categorically maintain an "indie" sound or as part of a long-term vision for their plans to let their sound develop over time as they reinterpret and pay homage to sound eras of the past. The album inoffensively and deftly moves from knee-slapping bluegrass ("Jugband Joan") to harmonica-infused ballad ("200 Years") and country twang ("Lost Wind Craze"). The Payola Reserve has a lot of potential for experimenting with their unique influences. They have a sound all their own, comparisons and name-checks aside, and on 200 Years that sound is starting to steal the spotlight.

Free MP3: The Payola Reserve - "Henrietta"

Friday, August 03, 2007

Neighbors' Night Out Benefit for Zach Sowers

Courtesy of my friends over at Ell Records in Frederick, Maryland:

As many of you already know, Zach Sowers -- a Frederick native -- was the victim of a horrible crime on the evening of June 1st, close to his home in Baltimore, MD. To raise awareness of the growing crime rate in Baltimore and to give support to Zach and his family during his recovery, please participate in the Neighbor's Night Out event happening this Sunday from 2-8PM.

Neighbors' Night Out

Sunday August 5th, 2 - 8pm

What happened to Zach could happen to any one of us. But we live and work here because we love our neighborhoods— Canton, Patterson Park, Fells Point, Locust Point, Federal Hill, Inner Harbor— and we have the right to feel safe. Neighbors' Night Out is a bold statement against crime. On Sunday, August 5, 2007 from 2 - 8 p.m., in honor of Zach, neighbors across Baltimore will meet at select bars and restaurants to drink, dine and send the message that we stand together against violence.

We're asking you to stand with us by joining the list of bars and restaurants that have agreed to donate up to 20% of that evening's profits toward the cost of Zach's lengthy hospitalization. Please help us stop the violence.

Visit for a full list of participating locations and updates on Zach.

Of special note, there is a location in Frederick now participating. Please come out and show your support for Zach and Anna.

105 N Market St
Frederick, MD 21701
(301) 663-0330

Salim To Speak At Morgan State University


Baltimore's own Salim (read a review of Hip Hop Revisited here) will be on a panel this Saturday at Morgan State University. The panel will discuss how the commercialization of rap has contributed to breakdowns in black culture. The discussion is part of a book/DVD that Ryan C. Greene, author and radio talk show host, is publishing. The details:

Saturday, August 4th


Morgan State University

New Student Center Theatre

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, Md. 21215

It's only five bucks to get in there and hear an intellectual discussion about rap music and its place in culture.