Tuesday, November 3, 2009

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Our Lady Peace @ Power and Light, Kansas City MO

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 03:40 PM PST

Every year I look forward to Halloween. Not because of the candy or the costumes, but because of the concerts. Every major city has a special show of some sort and you it is a pretty safe bet that the bands at that show will do something special. Thus was the case with the free Kansas City Power and Light Concert.


Opening act Company of Thieves showed Kansas City their love by dressing as characters from the popular story set in Kansas: The Wizard of Oz. They outfits were fun, so we’ll forgive them the usual “But we’re in Missouri, not Kansas” speech that so many bands passing through KC get and just appreciate their tribute. They got really into the costumes and singer made comments, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” and “There’s no place like home,” in between songs. At one point, they even morphed one of their tunes into a cover of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”


They were so much fun and so good. Each musician in the band had such amazing skills that I felt guilty that Genevieve’s powerful vocals commanded so much of my attention. I didn’t want to neglect focusing on anyone. The audience was dancing and while I don’t think many knew the words to songs outside of the popular radio single “Oscar Wilde,” everybody got really into this set. I must admit that after finally seeing Company of Thieves, I might have a new favorite band and a slight girl crush on Schatz. Their recorded album does not do their live show justice.

As far as I was concerned, the next act, Our Lady Peace was the evening’s headliners. There was some actual confusion about this. A local, but major band had the last play slot, but this seemed to be marketed as an Our Lady Peace concert. It was unfortunate because I think some people would have come out earlier had they known the line up. Although, there was still a very formidably sized crowd for the openers filled with your normal person, robots, swine flu characters and like 30 dancing penguins.

The Canadian alternative rockers in Our Lady Peace missed the memo that you were supposed to dress up on Halloween, but they still got the memo on bringing treats. Aside from a full set that surprised me with how many singles they have had over the years that I knew and knew well, they ended with a very special treat. When it approached time for the last number, “Starseed,” a special Kansas City area artist joined them on stage. David Cook of American Idol fame joined in on vocals. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, the Company of Thieves crew ran back out and danced and jammed.


So while knowing when Our Lady Peace was scheduled to play was tricky, for those who were there got this special treat:

Our Lady Peace: website | myspace | @ troubador | interview with: Jeremy Taggart

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Rachael Yamagata Opening for Swell Season

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 12:00 PM PST

Rachael Yamagata will hit the road as a very special guest of Irish band Swell Season for a fall U.S. tour of intimate theaters that begins November 12th and finishes up on December 5th. Yamagata has spent the last few months writing the follow-up to her Warner Bros. Records debut album Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart. rachael

Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart was released on October 7th, 2008. The follow-up to Yamagata's 2004 full-length debut Happenstance, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart was praised by such media outlets as Entertainment Weekly ("Yamagata's delivery is gorgeous"), People ("an ambitious double disc"), and Spin ("add some cheap scotch and you've got a John Cassavetes movie").

Of the album's 15 tracks, Nebraska-based Mike Mogis, the multi-instrumentalist and producer known for his work with , Rilo Kiley and , produced 12. Two tracks were produced by John Alagia (, Dave Matthews Band), who also produced Happenstance. The album also features guest appearances by singer-songwriters Ray Lamontagne and Azure Ray's Maria Taylor.

Tour Dates:
Nov 12 – House of Blues / New Orleans, LA
Nov 13 – Warehouse Live / Houston, TX
Nov 14 – The Palladium Ballroom / Dallas, TX
Nov 15 - Paramount Theatre / Austin, TX
Nov 17 - Mesa Arts Center – Ikeda / Mesa, AZ
Nov 27 – Egyptian Theater / Boise, ID
Nov 28 - Jeanne Wagner Theatre / Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 29 – Ogden Theatre / Denver, CO
Nov 30 – Uptown Theatre / Kansas City, MO
Dec 2 – Michigan Theater / Ann Arbor, MI
Dec 3 – Chicago Auditorium Theatre / Chicago, IL
Dec 4 – The Pageant / St. Louis, MO
Dec 5 – State Theatre / Minneapolis, MN

Rachael Yamagata: myspace | website | Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart review | interview with | @ liberty hall

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Anya Marina – ‘Satellite Heart’

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 11:06 AM PST

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Anya Marina has premiered her brand new video for “Satellite Heart,” her contribution to The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. Directed by , the video was shot outside of Portland, Oregon.

Anya will perform at select dates on the film’s upcoming cast tour (see itinerary below). Her first appearance will be at the Hollywood & Highland Center this Friday, November 6th in Los Angeles. For more information on the tour, visit www.hottopic.com and www.nordstrom.com.

New Moon OST: website | review

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Motion City Soundtrack Reveal My Dinosaur Life Details

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 10:16 AM PST

Motion City Soundtrack have officially announced that their4th studio album produced by will be released January 19th, 2010 on Columbia Records. att658a4

The band also revealed the album art and track listing:
01. Worker Bee
02. A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)
03. Her Words Destroyed My Planet
04. Disappear
05. Delirium
06. History Lesson
07. Stand Too Close
08. Pulp Fiction
09. @!#?@!
10. Hysteria
11. Skin And Bones
12. The Weakends

Motion City Soundtrack: website | myspace | @ liberty hall

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‘Dear Jack’ Contest

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 08:30 AM PST

“Dear Jack,” a documentary exploring Andrew McMahon’s struggles against canceDear-Jack-Movie-Posterr, while trying to put out a record is a vulnerable piece, yet when filled with hope. Narrated by Tommy Lee and made mostly of video filmed by McMahon himself, this piece offers a remarkably refreshing look on life that is something all should see. PopWreckoning’s Sara, recently saw the film and offers a more detailed review and description here.

While “Dear Jack” is currently available to purchase at Jack’s Mannequin’s site (which I do recommend doing), we do have one DVD package to give away.

To win a “Dear Jack” package including a “Dear Jack” poster, DVD and a “Swim” art book, simply comment and tell us what “Swim” means to you before Friday, Nov. 6 at 12 p.m. CDT. We’ll then pick a winner.

Please use a valid email address when entering. Must be a U.S. resident to enter (sorry to our far away readers).

Jack’s Mannequin: website | myspace | interview 2009 | @ kegs and eggs | @ midland theatre | @ sokol underground | interview with pt. 1 | interview with pt. 2 | dear jack review

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Black Joe Lewis @ Austin City Limits 2009

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 08:15 AM PST

Though they didn’t play my favorite, “Bitch, I Love You,” I was impressed with & the Honeybears‘ set of energetic and funky rock and roll. Check out their performance of “She’s So Scandalous.”

Their energy made them one of my favorite acts of the day.

& the Honeybears: website | myspace

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‘Dear Jack’ Documentary

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 08:00 AM PST

Many of us are familiar with the brilliance of Andrew McMahon. I, for one, am unsure I would have made it through my freshman year of college without 's Leaving Through the Window album. I can't tell you the countless times I curled up on my bed during my first semester, missing my friends and family in Michigan as I tried to grow acclimated to my new life in Pittsburgh with "Cavanaugh Park" on repeat. I remember being in awe the first time I saw the band live at Duquesne University, McMahon's piano drenched in a swirl of blue murals derived from the cover art from North. I have put songs from his first release with Jack's Mannequin, Everything in Transit, on endless amounts of mix tapes and CDs. When I fell on hard times in Pittsburgh and decided to leave Steel Town for the West Coast, "Swim," off of the band's most recent album, The Glass Passenger, was one of the only things that kept me convinced that I'd be ok. Andrew McMahon's work has always been touching and brilliant and sometimes entirely too adept at hitting you where it counts. Dear-Jack-Movie-Poster

Those of us familiar with his work had also already heard the heartbreaking and heartwarming story of his battle with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. However, the documentary “Dear Jack” shows it to us in a much more intimate way. Having the fortune of seeing the screening of “Dear Jack” with Andrew's family and friends, I could not feel more blessed that I got to share the event with the people closest to him. Walking into it, I was sure the film would be a tearjerker, and I wasn't wrong. But at the end of it all, I realized something. This movie is not a sappy weep-fest. It's a love story–in more ways than one.

From the very beginning, it's easy to see that it's a love story between a boy and his music. Throughout the entire length of McMahon's battle with ALL, you almost wonder if the disease or the lack of being able to perform is causing him more pain.

It's a love story between a boy and a girl. Early on, we're introduced to Kelly, the young woman who would eventually become Mrs. Andrew McMahon. With her sugar-sweet smile and freckles, it's easy to see why he fell for her. It's also absolutely heart-wrenching to see journal excerpts declaring how much he misses her as the film details the havoc that touring, the illness, and various other factors wreaks on their relationship.

It's a love story between a boy and his family. One of the most touching moments in the flick is seeing an incredibly frail and gaunt Andrew pour his heart out in a song written for his sister, "There, There ," just before receiving a bone marrow transplant from her. He states that he was never incredibly close to his family at one point, but they are an ever-present feature in the movie, surrounding him with the love and hope he needs to get well.

Finally, it's a love story for life. Much of the documentary consists of self-shot camcorder clips of Andrew in the hospital, waxing philosophical, shaving his head, losing his hair to chemotherapy, joking with his family, being with Kelly, and brushing his teeth. All of it a video scrapbook of wanting to remember life, just in case it was taken away from him.

I spoke with Andrew for a moment after the film. He told me it was his first time seeing “Dear Jack” with anyone else. "I felt incredibly exposed," he says with a nervous smile, his arms folded in, hugging himself. But I guarantee he was also feeling incredibly loved afterward, surrounded by his family and friends (which apparently includes Pauly Shore, I might add), receiving a wealth of hugs, being told how beautiful his story was. I couldn't agree more. “Dear Jack” is even more touching than anything McMahon has given us with or Jack's Mannequin. It will easily evoke the desire to begin your own love affair with music, family, life and then some.

“Dear Jack” is now available. Purchase it at jacksmannequin.com.

Jack’s Mannequin: website | myspace | interview 2009 | @ kegs and eggs | @ midland theatre | @ sokol underground | interview with pt. 1 | interview with pt. 2

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Julian Casablancas – Phrazes for the Young

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 07:00 AM PST

Growing up as a teenager from 1994-2001, I felt jipped with the music of my generation. Rap and Hip Hop were the prominent genres, Grunge and Alt Rock were the main rock scenes, and all music I couldn't relate to. I spent my musical upbringing in my father's records: The Beatles, The Stones, Zeppelin, Van Morrison, The Spencer Davis Group, Cream, all but to name a few. It's all that really spoke to me until one summer's day in 2001 when I saw a music video on TV with a bunch of guys singing some lo-fi garage rock, dressed in clothes not many people were wearing at the time: skinny jeans, fitted leather jackets and beaten down tees. The sound harked back to the 70s and I was confused as to what band from then that I hadn't heard of. I did some research and found out that what I was watching/listening to was a band called the , and to be specific "Last Nite," and I was blown away to realize that they weren't a band from the 70s, but instead a new band on the scene. Things changed for me then. julian

I was pretty ecstatic to be listening to music that sounded more like rock I listened to, that shared the same influences, spoke the same words, had a style. Fair enough to say that I spent the better part of the end of 2001 and 2002 listening to ' debut album, Is This It. I truly love every single track on that record. And from there it opened up a whole new world to bands that started trying to emulate this sound, bringing to the foray indie rock and garage rock. Finally, music from my generation that I loved. True, they were labeled as the saviors of rock n' roll, a completely bombastic remark, but for me, it was true.

And so it is that the lead singer of that band, Julian Casablancas, eight years later puts out his first solo album. Sure guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has beat him to that, twice over, and all other members have side projects, but it's different when it comes from the lead singer/songwriter of the group. Phrazes for the Young takes its name from a piece of writing by Oscar Wilde, entitled Phrases and Philosophies For The Use of The Young.

The first single off of the album is "11th Dimension," which has /Casablancas touch to it, but it's different enough to be Casablanca's own. "11th Dimension" features the signature lo-fi feel, but has an electronic aesthetic to it, programmed sequencers, light synthesizers and a percussioned intro that beats like a heart. All mesh well against Casablancas' fuzzed and tired vocals. Another synth flavored track for the ears is "Left & Right In The Dark" that initially sounds like a re working of 80s Rod Stewart (think "Young Turks"). It continues in Casablancas' laconic style and is probably one of the catchiest/FM styled songs on the album, particularly when he elevates his chords to yell, "Wake up, wake up, wake up…" Album opener "Out of the Blue" starts with familiar guitar strumming and a quick speed, aided and abetted with a New Wave shimmer. What drives the compactness of the song is Casablancas' disaffected and candid words, "At least I'll be in another world / While you're pissing on my casket."

And those tracks are about as close as it’s going to get to sounding like , which only cements Casablancas' creativity, signaling signs of his bravery to try anything new and diversify his sound. This is best evidenced on “Ludlow St,” that features a melody based on Country, showcasing steel guitars, shuffling percussion, and interestingly enough, Asian melodies, all of which create an image of a slow walking, drawling Western, as Casablancas' recalls the history of the Lower East Side in New York, the area that was the biggest receptacle of his band's music. "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" is a large shift in musical style for Casablancas in that it's a slow and contemplative ballad. It's a pleasant surprise to see his vocals fit around a different musical aesthetic so different than what we are used to. But his faded and stretched words go a long agreeably to music that inspires the same emotions.

So perhaps many of us have been longing for a new Strokes album and thus the release of the lead singer's first solo work might signal a further delay, but at least we have it confirmed from his own project that Julian Casablancas has plenty of creativity and talent in him to continue making music with and if called for, without his band. Phrazes For The Young showcases a diversity few would expect from this man, yet a diversity that is more than welcomed on the ears.
01. Out of the Blue
02. River of Brake Lights
03. 4 Chords of the Apocalypse
04. 11th Dimension
05. Ludlow St.
06. Glass
07. Left & Right In The Dark
08. Tourist

Julian Casablancas: website | myspace

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Remix Monday: NightWaves ‘Fascination’

Posted: 02 Nov 2009 07:32 PM PST

NightWaves is a duo consisting of and , on the label Binary. They actually run and Binary Entertainment. Their tracks are out in various singles as well as on the Binary compilation album. nw

.NightWaves – “Fascination”
Fascination is a syrupy, disco electronic piece. The song rolls a long slowly with extremely youthful vocals, that reach high levels during the chorus. The music is interspersed with spacey, twinkling sequencers that feel extremely ethereal. Fascination is an addictive, moody track that works as a 'thinking time' song rather than a song to dance too.

.Junkie XL Remix
Junkie XL fashions his remix in a similar, syrupy, slow paced manner, but makes the intro sound more interesting and upbeat, with lighter and sunnier sounds from sequencers, a harder hitting drum intro and sharper synth presses The vocals run a long in the introspective manner, the music becomes less ethereal, attributed mainly to a heavier percussion beat. This one gets you moving a little more.

.Keenhouse Remix
The Keenhouse mix has an 80s/Calvin Harris feel to it. It could initially pass as a Human League song, with the very 80s synthesizers, the drawn out, emotive touching to the vocals, the deep percussion and the light bass lines. This mix is also faster and lighter than the original, making it progressively more danceable.

. Remix
interestingly start off with string arrangements, making this sound almost like a classical symphony from the 1800s. The rest of the mix runs at this slow pace, picking up ever so slightly in segments as it progresses. The strings never cease yet seem to become more powerful as the speed picks up. The most noticeable aspect to the mix is the lack of significant percussion, which makes it different than most remixes, which really rely upon that, but it is also what drives the originality of this remix.

NightWaves: myspace

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