Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Athlete – Black Swan

Posted: 11 Nov 2009 01:00 PM PST

If you're a first time listener, a few things most likely won't surprise you.

1. These boys are UK-made and thriving
2. These boys are huge on the radio waves
3. These boys have seen serious family heartache ath

With Athlete's first hit album, Vehicles and Animals, listeners heard more electric-tinged motion, and it included a quirky ditty, "El Salvador" that popped up on The Last Kiss soundtrack and gained quite a fan base. Fast-forward to year 2009, and Athlete is now releasing record number four, and has been mood music to “One Tree Hill” four times.

So what can we amateur Americans liken Athlete to? Well, critics seem to agree that 's mellow swells and slows are here, and the sweethearts of popular indie success, , would dig this. Lead vocalist Joel Pott has a voice made for proclaiming tender life lessons with backup from echo-ey (not acoustic or biting) guitars, symphonic synth, and moments when the arena-jammed fans are wailing "ohhh wooahhh ohh" right along with him.

Black Swan seems to have a steady plot; the whole arrangement was named appropriately for life and its cataclysmic turns. "We read an article about Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his book The Black Swan,” as Pott puts it. “He was saying that our lives are made up of a handful of significant shocks, good or bad. That’s exactly how our journey has been over the last six years. We’ve had lots of unexpected highs and lows, as a band and as people.”

That being said, there are definite winners in the mix, and then moments where it just seems too FM-ready. For instance, "The Getaway" is the first single and massive fan favorite in the U.S., and one listen will bring you to the conclusion that yeah, it's perfectly produced and breathtakingly well balanced. The lyrics, starting with, "I never really know who you are/you could be a ghost for all I know" let you know that this is the track you want motivating your all-too confusing and bipolar love life. However, the cheesy clincher explodes later in the song, "please break my heart/just so I can feel." Come on…cue the montage.

But not all tracks sound like a band-backed Matt Nathanson, Howie Day, Travis, Damien Rice, enter-any-other-young-adult-nighttime-soap-indie-band-here. "Love Come Rescue" really is beautiful, on any facet. From the finger plucking of the acoustic, to the resonating crooning of Pott's voice, and even the tender lyrics that aren't made for crowd pleasing; these are the lyrics that seem to be talking only to the subject, whoever that is. This should have been the single, in all its honesty and secrecy. But it's a short track, at under three minutes. And so I elect another, "Superhuman Touch" to grace the radio for a while. It's , and still has moments that, although not too innovative, seem unique.

The album is good enough to pass with a thumbs-up, but it should come with a warning to indie-absorbed snobs like this writer—overplay is an absolute possibility, if not guarantee. Come next spring, this sucker will be in ALL the bars.

Track List:
01. Superhuman Touch
02. The Gateway
03. Black Swan Song
04. Don’t Hold Your Breath
05. Love Come Rescue
06. Light The Way
07. The Unknown
08. Awkward Goodbye
09. Magical Mistakes
10. Rubik’s Cube
11. Black Swan

Athlete: website | myspace

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The Script ‘Breakeven’ Video

Posted: 11 Nov 2009 12:00 PM PST

Irish rockers The Script are currently on tour with David Cook. They’ll also be on the Late Show with David Letterman on November 17.

The Script: website | myspace

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fun. Releases New Video, Announces Tour with Jack’s Mannequin

Posted: 11 Nov 2009 11:00 AM PST

As they wrap up their tour supporting and dive into more headline dates on the west coast, . debut a brand new video for “All The Pretty Girls,” – the popular track off their critically acclaimed debut album, Aim And Ignite.

Now, in the midst of more headline shows, . announce their first set of tour dates in 2010, joining Jack’s Mannequin on a 12-city tour across the country (with more dates being added!).

Don’t miss .

Tour Dates:

Headline shows

Nov. 11 – Chain Reaction / Anaheim, CA
Nov. 13 – Troubadour / West Hollywood, CA

Tour dates w/ Jack’s Mannequin

Feb. 5 – The Showbox / Seattle, WA
Feb. 6 – Roseland / Portland, OR
Feb. 7 – Knitting Factory / Spokane, WA
Feb. 9 – In the Venue / Salt Lake City, UT
Feb. 11 – Cal State Union / Sacramento, CA
Feb. 12 – House of Blues / Las Vegas, NV
Feb. 16 – The White Rabbit / San Antonio, TX
Feb. 17 – House of Blues / Dallas, TX
Feb. 19 – The Beaumont / Kansas City, MO
Feb. 20 – First Avenue / Minneapolis, MN
Feb. 24 – Egyptian Room / Indianapolis, IN
Mar. 5 – The Norva / Norfolk, VA

.: website | myspace

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Merge XX Giveaway

Posted: 11 Nov 2009 10:01 AM PST

In sunny North Carolina, Merge Records’ celebrated their twentieth birthday this year with 33 bands over four nights. Brian Vetter documented the festival, which we called XX Merge. xxmerge

Though the actual party is over, the doesn’t have to stop. has a special channel for Merge Records’ XX festival that you can see here and we’ve got some Merge records gear to give away as a part of it.

To our first place winner, we have a Merge t-shirt and tote bag. To second place, we have a t-shirt.

All you have to do to win is be one of the first to correctly comment with a valid email address and name 3 bands that played the birthday party.

Merge Records: website

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Weezer @ Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles CA

Posted: 11 Nov 2009 09:13 AM PST

An intimate gathering of Weezer fans greeted me at the entrance of the Hollywood Palladium in eager anticipation of KROQ Presents Weezer and . The line twisted around the block; garnished by Weezer tee shirts and multi-colored converses. Controlled chaos reigned supreme; courtesy was common, but the amount of positive energy was outrageous, unharnessed, and completely apparent.

The Palladium housed the crowd comfortably (I had enough room to air guitar solo to "My Name Is Jonas") and by the time ascended the stage, the balconies were teeming with anxious fans. For those who are unfamiliar with , I don't blame you. This particular show was their first live set in 14 years, and marks the reunion of Weezer and sharing the same bill since they toured the same LA circuit in '92 (Both bands moved to LA the same year). But, it sure didn't seem as if they had lost their touch over the past decade plus. Their ska-studded set was energetic and efficient, despite the fact that the crowd hadn't the faintest idea where this band had materialized from (I would guess the 90's from the sound of their set).

But, the main attraction was yet to come, and it was blatantly acknowledged in the restless arena as put up the Weezer "W" and gracefully bowed offstage. In between sets, the energy level heightened considerably. A horde of little girls donning Weezer gear skipped gleefully around the Palladium chanting the headliner's moniker, and a roar went up in the arena once a KROQ crony had sufficiently introduced the band. And then there was Rivers. Rivers Cuomo has to be one of the greatest entertainers I have ever had the courtesy of observing from two feet away mid-performance. His gestures were overdramatized, leaving girls squealing with every awkward lunge of his limbs.

Appearing in matching white sweat suits, the band also sported a minor change of roster: drummer armed himself with a bass for the set so that accomplished drummer, , could join them on electric drums (Freese has played with , , , and ). Their performance was nothing less than fantastic. Rivers made use of several props (a trampoline, a football, and his water, just to name a few), and smashed his acoustic guitar at the end of “Undone” after dragging it behind him while crawling on the brink of the stage. Rivers definitely glows in all of his delightfully geeky splendor. The set list included several unexpected covers including Black Sabbath's “War Pigs” and 's “Song 2,” as well as, several new tracks off of their new album (one of which included a guest appearance by for a duet with Rivers). The band is swiftly heading East in support of the new album; their next show is scheduled for December 1st at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

Weezer: website | myspace | @ maryland heights | review

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LCD Soundsystem’s Gerhardt “Jerry” Fuchs dies

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 06:51 PM PST

(Entertainment Weekly) — Thirty-four-year-old Gerhardt “Jerry” Fuchs, a beloved fixture of both the New York and Athens, Georgia, rock scenes who played with LCD Soundsystem, !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk), , MSTRKRFT, and The Juan MacLean, died Saturday night in a fall after attempting to crawl out of a broken elevator shaft at a benefit party in Brooklyn. *Nov 08 - 00:05*

Fuchs, who also freelanced at Entertainment Weekly, was a house drummer of sorts for progressive record label DFA, as well as a member of long-running Athens post-rock outfit .

On the Juan MacLean Web site, MacLean wrote: “Jerry was one of my best and most loyal friends. He was hands-down the best drummer I have ever played with or seen for that matter … He was utterly sincere and fiercely loyal.”

According to The New York Times, the accident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. on November 8, when Fuchs became stuck on a freight elevator between the fourth and fifth floors. When he attempted to jump out of the stalled car, his jacket got caught and threw him back towards the elevator shaft, while another unidentified man in the car with him leaped safely to a fourth-floor hallway.

At a gathering for Fuchs’ friends on Sunday night, LCD frontman James Murphy called him “one of the only people we all knew who was literally great at what he did.”

And longtime friend Jon Fine noted, “He could play metal, prog rock with multiple time signatures, aggressive indie disco. … His passing puts an enormous hold on the Brooklyn music scene. The world of independent music has sustained a really significant loss.”

Originally posted by Entertainment Weekly.

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