April 29, 2009

oooh, one of my favorite under appreciated bands just released a demo from their new album on their myspace. go and hear Liars in Love by Venus Verse, then let the myspace music player keep playing music, because their stuff is just awesome.

April 28, 2009

Wanna join my bike gang?

Man! You know what I'm doing Thursday? This:

Dan Deacon & Ensemble, Future Islands, Teeth Mountain, Slight Harp, and Pictureplane
@The Bluebird.
Time: 9ish
cost: it doesn't matter. Be there.

However, if this is not your thing, there are many other things going on this Thursday:

Who: Kim Cameron & the Side FX Band
Where: Owsley's Golden Road
When: 9
How much: 10 gil

Radio 1190's Local Shakedown presents...
Where: Larimer Lounge
When: 9
How Much: probably like 5 gil

Also, I think Achille Lauro is playing up at the Oriental around 9, and I think it'll be cheap. Either way, get out there and have some fun, Mile High forever.

April 24, 2009

"But No One's Ever Going to Come, and No One Will Even Know"

The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Moon Colony Bloodbath
My Thoughts: Love More (<3)+

There are few albums that I've started writing the review of just as I hear it for the first time, but this is certainly one of them. As of this word, the 4th song (of 7) is starting, and I'm almost entirely blown away.

A little history: John Darnielle and John Vanderslice are old friends, and while back they wanted to give the world a little teaser and tell us they were going to come out with a concept album about the terrors of living on a moon base or something to that effect. I honestly thought it was just a little thing that the Johns had toyed around with, but I, for the most part, did not expect to see much more of it (especially when he was releasing albums with people like Kaki King [which was actually pretty freakin awesome]). They even gave us this track:

The Comedians - Surrounded

Now, I can see where a normal person would start getting excited. I, however, am a fan of the Prodigy (or, at the very least, I was at one point), and when a track is released, I know that all that means is a track has been released, not that there is an album on the verge of being released.

Well holy hellcats John Vanderslice came out and performed this song, along with another (Columns Pillars Steps) from this supposed album, live just a little bit ago. You'll note even though I was listening to the two perform songs together I was still a little bit skeptical (heck, I was still going off of their originally stated side project name "The Comedians").

Now, listening to the tracks, I'm in a state of disbelief. I've, at this point, given myself some time to really listen to the album, and I have to say, I'm completely blown away.

What you might have come to expect from these Johns is probably what you should expect on this record: acoustic guitars and soothing vocals, with light piano, organ, harmonica, glockenspiel, etc. in the background to set the mood. These, and what this guys would like to call "absolutely killer" lyrics, are things that we have grown accustomed to when it comes to these Johns, which, when you think about it, is not really a problem. The cryptic story that's woven throughout the album is one I've yet to fully grasp, but, again, this is something I've come to expect when listening to songs that have either of these Johns attached to it: deeply engaging, troubling, and cryptic lyrics. I feel I should mention Colorado, and Denver, is brought up multiple times throughout the album, but I'm hoping this hasn't swayed my opinion very much.

This album is not a revolution. This is what happens when two men who know how to write songs better than just about anyone else out there get together and write a few together. That, as it should be, is more than enough.

The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Emerging

April 22, 2009

So as you may or may not have noticed, there has kind of been a lack love these past few posts. I mean, I certainly liked the albums I've been writing about, but, White Lies aside, I've really not gone bat shirt crazy over anything. this is mostly because I've been trying to focus more on the things that will ensure my graduation come May 16th, and, because of this, I've mostly just been focusing on albums that people have sent me.

Now, let it be known that I'm not just someone who writes about music because people send me albums and whathaveyou, because if that were the case then I would, for one, never had started a blog, and, two, have only written about a very small amount of albums. I've been focusing on the stuff that's been sent to me because I feel like it takes a lot of gumption to send your music out into the world to have it judged, and I want to encourage this. I respect the artists who send me their music (or have their promotions person do it), and I feel like I have to show that.

But this means that I haven't really had time to focus on the albums that are really making waves in my mind. That's not to say the albums that have been sent to me haven't been spectacular (in some cases it's just the opposite, I absolutely adore them, and I hope I've made it clear), it's just to say that sometimes there are albums that don't quite make it into my inbox, for whatever reason.

What I'm saying is expect to hear what I think is the tip top so far this year.
Hot IQs are dying. but they have 3 more shows.

May 1 2009 8:00P
Hodi’s Half Note Fort Collins, Colorado (w/ Sex Glove and The Don'ts & Be Carefuls)
Jun 19 2009 8:00P
Bluebird Theater Denver, Colorado
Aug 1 2009 5:00P
Larimer Lounge Denver, Colorado

also, there is this:
I'm gonna let the press release talk for itself on this one:

First Annual C.A.M. Jam Music Festival
Presented by: The College of Arts and Media at University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO April 30, 2009, Tivoli Outdoor Stage. Cam Concerts is proud to present the First annual CAM Jam Music Festival. Organized by the students of Professor Chris Daniels' Concert promotion course, and featuring the music of current and former C.A.M. Students, the C.A.M Jam promises to be the first in an exciting series of musical festivals at CU Denver.

This daytime festival is a FREE fundraising event coinciding with CoPIRG's evening fundraiser at the Oriental Theater on the same day.

When: April 30, 2009 11am-5pm
Where: Tivoli outdoor stage, Auraria Campus, Denver CO
Cost: No Charge
Music Lineup:
Fiancé www.fiancemusic.com
The Jim Jims www.myspace.com/durtiyelowtshirt
Death Hickey Blues www.myspace.com/deathhickeyblues
Petals of Spain www.myspace.com/petalsofspain
The Wearings www.myspace.com/thewearings
Special Guests:
The Hip Hop Congress
Magnetic North http://www.myspace.com/magnetichiphop



Or contact Chris Daniels at 720-837-4332 or at cwd444@aol.com

April 20, 2009

"What A Shame About That Pier"

Operation Aloha - Operation Aloha
My Thoughts: Like ()

The story behind OA is that 14 people got the notion to fly out to Maui and spend some time in the sun and record an album. Those people were Olly Peacock , Dajon Everett & Ian Ball (Gomez), James Valentine & Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5), Sam Farrar (Phantom Planet), Fil Krohnengold (All Spots To Black), Nadav Kahn (Kahn Brothers), Charles Danek & Will Nash (producers), Christopher Wray-McCann, Maureen Wray-McCann , Mathew Chaney, & Saam Gabbay (Photographers). Holy smokes there are a lot of big names on that list. Super groups really are "in" for 09.

Anyway, their goal was to capture the free spirit and tranquility of Hawaii itself. Using what sounds to be like a quite a few traditional Hawaiian instruments (there are certainly a few things on Rain that I don't think I've heard outside of the stuff by the Yoshida Brothers), these musicians craft their best efforts at ... well I'm not entirely certain what they've done here.

To be perfectly honest the whole thing sounded, and still does kind of sound, like something that I just would not be interested in at all. You talk about Hawaii, and I think of beaches, which makes me think of things like Jimmy Buffet and uncouth American tourists, which instantly turns me off. I also don't really like anything other than the song "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5. I'm a skeptic. I didn't want a rock album with some ukulele thrown in a la Adam Ant in episode 42 of Northern Exposure (i.e complete lack of cultural respect w/ a touch of egotistical move that is a thinly veiled attempt at trying to seem world-savvy). Thankfully that doesn't appear to be what we've got.

I would never claim to be an expert in traditional Hawaiian music, so as to whether or not they touch on that aspect of the tranquil spot that is Maui, I do not currently know, but, over all, the album doesn't seem to be as soothing as I think they may have wanted it, which is honestly fine with me. I'm not really one for ambient music, though I respect it, and I really think that is the kind of music that would really capture the essence of the musicians' goal.

So, after all that, because I can't really attach to the concept, I have to just put everything aside and look deep into my ears (ick, terrible mental image), and figure out whether or not I actually enjoyed the music. The short answer is: after a little while.

The album awkwardly reminds me of the Walkmen, in that it has these floating, spacey atmospheric sounds ambling about the edges of the album, which is helpful in the soothing sense, but its overall effect can sometimes be that it makes some of the songs sort of bleed together, and, in the end, I'm thinking the artists would prefer their songs to stand out. This is really only on a few tracks, and if you sit and pay attention to the tracks, you can get what the artists are going for. There are certainly more than a few songs that very much to stand out, for their own, interesting, reasons.

Some songs stick out because they don't, to me, seem to fit the theme of attempting to get out to Hawaii and do something new (that means I think some of the songs sound a little plain for the things they're trying to attempt) (Failure), or that the songs go to the level where I think they were really trying to go (Rain), or the lyrics really don't seem to fit the theme at all (Elephant Pharmacy). These things are not necessarily bad. The plain-ish ones are not really my type of music, but I can tell that other's will probably really attach to it. The ones where I feel they're really getting to what they want are the songs that I actually attach to most of all, so yeah, good on ya. And the ones that have perplexing lyrics are just kind of off putting, but still catchy.

So, what does all that mean? It means that not all of the songs were really up my alley, but that's because they sounded a little too standard-modern-rock-ish for me. But there were songs I really freakin dug. All of it was very masterfully composed and produced though. I recommend listening to many more songs from the album than what I'm providing below, because, as always, only you will really be able to tell whether or not it's for you.

There are a few songs I'd like to post (like Phone Booth and Rain), but I've been asked not to, but you can stream "Failure," not my favorite from the album but still a nice track, here right now:

April 17, 2009

let it be known: I'm entering my last 2 weeks of college. cra. zy. This is the reason for the slowpoke updates and any lack there of. After I've 1) graduated 2) moved and 3) settled, expect posts galore. I'm still going to do reviews and what not during that time though.

April 13, 2009

Powersliding is the new Fix-Push:
oh, and my friend Rachel pointed this out to me:
(how did I not know about this all ready!?)

(I thought this countdown was wrong, because I'm like a week behind on a project I'm working on [no worries, I'll catch up ... tonight])
wednesday will be filled with much reviewing and announcements. for now I must write. I'm 1 month away from graduating! rejoice.

oh, and this is why life is awesome:

I Am A Chain Reaction from Presstube on Vimeo.

April 9, 2009

"let me leave this grieving sand and sky far behind."

I'm still in the grips of a terrible week full of work and sadness. Okay, okay, life is not that bad. I'm actually a pretty happy dude, save for the paper I'm writing and not having very much fun with. However, with the weekend comes happiness, especially this weekend. those in the know know why. in the mean time, something else I love, a human named John Darnielle, just played a show the other night, and dear geez here's the set list:

[Total Time 1:25:02]
01 [introduction]
02 1 John 4:16
03 Woke Up New
04 [technical problems]
05 Song For Tura Satana
06 Cobscook Bay
07 Going to Lebanon
08 Un Rêve Plus Long Que la Nuit
09 Going To Kansas
10 The Last Limit of Bhakti
11 You or Your Memory
12 Going to Queens
13 [banter]
14 From TG&Y
15 Dance Music
16 [banter]
17 The Day The Aliens Came (or: Hawaiian Feeling)
18 Ontario
19 So Desperate
20 Color in Your Cheeks
21 Sign of the Crow 2
22 Steps Columns Pillars [John Vanderslice comes out and plays too. dear god thank you.]
23 [banter]
24 Surrounded [JV] (This is that rare "The Comedians" side project song they're probably never going to go anywhere with)
25 See America Right [JV]
26 No Children
27 [encore break]
28 The Sign (Ace of Base)

CAN YOU SAY HOLY FREAKING GOD!? because I know I can. This fellow OVER HERE recorded and is hosting the mp3s over at his site. I'll let him get a few more hits rather than steal his thunderous thundering. Oh, I also stole the pic from his site too.

Album reviews next week by the bucket load. I know I've got more than a few I've promised to have done, and it's time to fulfill that shizzle. Now you know what I'll be listening to for the rest of the weekend, however.

April 6, 2009


new HEALTH single.

heck yes.

CD reviews later this week. after my Psychology & The Law paper is vanquished. sorry to those who were expecting one today or yesterday, but school comes first, especially when I'm this freaking close to graduating. Soon however, I'll be talking about a little thing called Operation Aloha ... stay strong weirdos

April 2, 2009

"I can't be the one to help you forget, but you might be the one, so I won't give up yet."

The Hollyfelds - Black Heart Blue
Verdict: Love (<)+

(This is a review of The Hollyfelds's new album, but I really don't start saying the really nice stuff about it until the last paragraph, so if that's what you're here for, go to the last paragraph)

I've been a fan on the Hollyfelds for a while now. I've only seen them once since they opened for Langhorne Slim last year, but that didn't really count because I saw them at an Indian food restaurant, and they weren't performing, they were just being people. So when I got word that they'd released a new EP, I was excited to hear it, because everything I'd heard before was just fantastic (I'd still recommend their old stuff too).

This new EP, Black Heart Blue, has a lot of songs about love, but, in keeping with country traditions, the songs lean more towards the painful sides of love. That's right, The Hollyfelds are unabashedly country, and there's no shame in that at all, especially when you go about it in the way these cool kids go about it. When I think of country, I think of Hank Williams singing about how he's lonely (he's crying he's so lonesome sometimes), and women who are rising up and pushing their power in the face of the misogynistic society, but still finding a place in their heart for men (either to use them or to have them there by their side helping them fight the life fight). I've always found this aspect of country music fascinating. Men listen to it to get their blues out, admitting weakness and sensitivity, and Women listen to it to encourage themselves to stand up and fight. I think the fact that the people our country pigeon-holes into the country-rock-listening-group are people who are manly men and battered women. Maybe the music is there to try to get these two to change their ways, kind of showing them the way. A very interesting dynamic I've honestly never heard anyone talk about before (but I've not really done any research on this one...). Really, though, I have no idea what most popular country music talks about, so I could be entirely wrong on this whole concept.

Also, now that I'm thinking about it, pop country could be thought of as the new punk, because punk started out trying to make people hate it (kind of ... I know there's about a billion reasons as to why punk started ... just go with me on this one) ... and a lot of people really dislike pop country, so in that way, it's kind of a punk thing to do.

I bring all that up because I think it needs to be said that pop country, as a whole, is a very misunderstood genre that is frequently ridiculed, and I just can't help but think that's wrong. Sure old county and alt-country groups are respected, but pop country in the last 15-20 years just doesn't get any good press. Well I think the Hollyfelds is a great start to turning that sort of thought process around.

Regardless of all that though, The Hollyfelds really shouldn't be too concerned with what genre they are going to be put into, because they're clearly such great musicians that these things simply just don't matter. Their new album is country through and through, but the sentiments are similar to any other song out there. These musicians are looking for love, having a hard time with decisions, and having trouble with what's truly going on here in this crazy world of ours ... just like every other musician, and, really, person out there, except they have siren-esq voices and a backing band that will make any band rethink whether or not they, like the Hollyfelds, have the skills to pay the bills. (did I seriously just write that? so dorky). The Hollyfelds write scincere, heart breaking, and, over all, catchy tunes that'll put a tear in your beer. The Hollyfelds have yet to release a poorly written song, but if you're looking for the sweetest ears of corn, pick this one, it's clearly the best of the bunch (though their older stuff is seriously nothing to be snubbed.

The Hollyfelds - She's Got You

The Hollyfelds - Hey 52

smancy news from the mouth of the horse (The Hollyfelds' myspace):
Friday night (April 3) we will be celebrating [the release of our new EP] at The Skylark Lounge in Denver (140 S. Broadway). $5 at the door will get you in to see not only us, but also the awesome GT and The Sidewinders! Music will start around 9:30, so don’t be late!

Saturday night (April 4) we will be driving South to Colorado Springs to celebrate. We will be at The Rocket Room (230 Pueblo Ave.) and will be playing with The Chris Winters Show and Roosterd. The show is only $5 and starts at 9:00.