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Monthly Archives: September 2012

250 Word Album Review: Lucero – Women & Work

Lucero Women & Work

Lucero Women & Work gets 4 Stars

Lucero is one of many solid Texas bands with a string of records already available. So at this point the band knows their strengths and have found their identity so they can put out solid records. Women & Work is very good album that rolls pretty smooth from front to end.

Their raspy smoke filled vocals make their sound very distinct. Their music actually has a very wide range of influences and sounds. On Women & Work you can clearly hear influences from classic rock to blues and country all the way to punk. The band rocks out Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Shuffle style through much of the record. The seem to capture that spontaneous, passionate sound revolving around smooth moving songs featuring guitar all the way to horn sections. The record’s wide range of sounds never hurts it thought, possibly because of the distinct vocals holding the whole record together.

The can jam in a radio friendly style on songs like “On My Way Downtown” and “Juniper” but still have the soft touch to pull off songs like “When I Was Young.” “On My Way Downtown” it super catchy and in a world with better musical taste would likely be a big radio hit. The good time-feeling song is not alone on the record either, other tracks like “Women & Work” deliver the same punch.

The very end of the record drops off a little, mainly because of the overly slow ballad “Go Easy” that ends the album. While it isn’t a bad song it seems to wander and get lost a bid and wander a bit too long. It is a minor complaint on a good record however.

Key Tracks: “On My Way Downtown” “Juniper” “When I Was Young”

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in 250 word album reviews

 

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250 Word Album Review: Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits

Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits

Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits gets 4.5 Stars

The term supergroup gets thrown around like it is a bad thing. It’s not, some projects don’t turn out well but the bottom line is that it is a group of good musicians that usually leads to good music. While you can undoubtedly hear Spoon, Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks in the music on A Thing Called Divine Fits it is an album all to its own.

The balance of different singers and sounds is refreshing to the album. It rolls through its 42 minute running time smoothly and never even hints at getting boring. Whether it is a solid drum beat, good keyboards or a nice little tasty guitar lick the album is as fresh as anything you will hear. It is versatile enough to survive multiple listens as well. It is a record filled with great, simple pop tunes that flirt with perfection.

Dan Boeckner edges out Britt Daniel by singing 6 songs to Daniels 5 but both contribute great tunes to the album. Boeckner’s jewels are “My Love Is Real” and “Civilian Stripes” while Daniel shines on “Would That Not Be Nice” and “Flaggin A Ride.” The true masterpiece of the record belongs to Daniel however. The song “Like Ice Cream” may be one of the most perfect little pop tunes you will ever hear. With it’s catchy little guitar lick and divine simplicity it is likely one of the best songs of the year at this point.

Don’t miss out on this record, it is lightning in a bottle.

Key Tracks: “Like Ice Cream” “Civilian Stripes” “My Love Is Real” “Would That Not Be Nice”

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in 250 word album reviews

 

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Concert Review: Local H in Omaha, NE at The Waiting Room 9/19/12

Concert Review: Local H in Omaha, NE at The Waiting Room 9/19/12

Local H's marquee at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE.

Local H’s marquee at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE.

Each band has a unique audience, sure a wide range of people go to their shows but you can easily stereotype an audience. Local H’s audience tend to seem like dumb jocks. There are exceptions of course (hopefully I am one) but most of their crowd plays the role of the cheap beer drinking simpleton.

Local H is a hard rock band; they are loud and abrasive. Lead singer Scott Lucas possesses a great screaming “singing” voice that many frontmen can’t pull off. Lucas always wants his vocals loud, every show has him asking the soundman for more vocals. This is necessary to fit in the barrage of guitar noise he puts out and the brain rattling pounding of the drums by his partner in noise on stage, Brian St. Clair. Lucas plays up party-jock role to fuel the audience as well. While the music of Local H may draw a crowd not interested in “smart” music; the bands music is actually quite good and well thought out. They did just release a double album profiling the political divide in America. Lucas encourages the crowd to scream along with him on such anthems as “California Songs” and “High-Fivin’ MF.” On these two songs in particular the crowd participation includes yelling the word “FUCK” in each song so it isn’t difficult to get a bunch of drunk people to want to do that.

All this explains why the audience is filled with people who care as much about the mosh pit as what is going on on the stage. The shenanigans in the mosh pit on this night would include but certainly not be limited to a long search for a shoe that came off, a broken bar glass on the floor right in middle of where the moshing took place and one bruiser dripping blood from his nose while eagerly awaiting the next moshing opportunity. Scott Lucas is always up something on stage and on this night his antics would include pouring water on his head then headbanging to throw water everywhere, singing while holding the mic in his mouth and playing guitar and at the end of the show crowd surfing his way off the stage.

As I paint a bad picture of the activities I must say it isn’t all bad. It can be a little fun, especially for the participants. Who it sucks for is the fans watching the rock show and the 95 pound girl that gets ran into at full speed by the 6’6″ 275 pound frat boy moshing nearby. The only way to avoid the pit is to not be close to the stage unfortunately, a sacrifice I am simply not willing to make.

Amazingly, during all of this there is a band on stage! On this night it was Local H and they played a pretty damn good rock show. They were one day removed from releasing their 7th full length album Hallelujah! I’m A Bum which is their most ambitious and hard rocking album to date.

The Ambassadors Live at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE 9/19/12.

The Ambassadors Live at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE 9/19/12.

The opening band was The Ambassadors. They are an electronic inspired band from New York. They had at times two keyboards and two drum sets going simultaneously. Their music was very keyboard filled (naturally) and ultimately not a good match for Local H with whom they are touring for the coming weeks. They sounded like a lost orphan in the land of bands like Phoenix, Foster The People, Fun and the non-Sam’s Town Killers. They had great energy and shockingly had a blind keyboard player. The lead singer’s tight tank-top and over the top gyrations to the songs drew little more than polite applause from the crowd that maintained it’s distance from the stage for the duration of their set.

Local H would take to the stage to a great reception from the eager audience that had waited 4 years for them to come back. Half of the bands set would be devoted to the new record. They would do 10 of the 19 songs that you can hear on Hallelujah! I’m A Bum. They would also hit on their anthems but not dive much into the deep cuts of their own catalog. The new record is solid; it rocks hard and is a collection of very good songs that translate extremely well live. The new songs were highlighted by “Another February” “Feed A Fever” and the encore performance of the surprisingly country-tinged “Look Who’s Walking On Four Legs Again.”

Local H's Scott Lucas performs Live at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE 9/19/12.

Local H’s Scott Lucas performs Live at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE 9/19/12.

The anthems are often the same each night. “Bound For The Floor” always has the big sing-along and great crowd reaction. “Back In The Day” always gets the mosh pit going and “All The Kids Are Right” has the great start-stop-start finish that always ends just a little after you expect it to. “All The Kids Are Right” did possess the shocker of the night with Lucas singing the lyric “… and what the hell was wrong with Joe?” alluding to former drummer Joe Daniels who hasn’t been in the band for about 15 years now. Lucas changed the lyric in the song to “… and all the crew was gacked on blow” on every version I’ve heard until the Omaha show.

Again, the amazingly good record 12 Angry Months was completely overlooked by the band. Until Tuesday it was still the most recent release by the band and in the times seeing them live since the release of that album they have performed just one song from it. The merch table is always manned by Lucas himself and he had a very busy night in Omaha at that table. The new record was flying off the table as were the Republican red and Democrat blue t-shirts. The line seemingly had no end and had Lucas selling merch for easily 45 minutes to an hour immediately after the encore ended.

Local H in Omaha, NE at The Waiting Room 9/19/12 setlist:

  • Waves
  • Cold Manor
  • Blue Line
  • Bound For The Floor
  • They Saved Reagan’s Brain
  • Scott-Rock
  • Here Come Ol’ Laptop
  • Back In The Day
  • Say The Word
  • Feed A Fever
  • Another February
  • Alright (Oh Yeah)
  • All The Kids Are Right
  • Fritz’s Corner
  • Hands On The Bible
  • Waves (Again)
  • encore break
  • 2112 (Rush cover)
  • California Songs
  • Look Who’s Walking On Four Legs Again
  • Hi-Fiving MF

Go visit LocalH.com and buy the new album Hallelujah! I’m A Bum now!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Concert Review

 

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Listen To… Will Johnson – Scorpion FREE album download give away!

Would you like to hear this record? The first person to contact me and ask will get a free download of the entire album! Undertow very cooley included an extra download to help spread good music! I’m offering it to you. Email me at wiederholt8 at yahoo dot com.

Here is a pic of the download card and note from Undertow… A big thank you to them for being so damn cool!

Will Johnson Scorpion Download Card

Will Johnson Scorpion Download Card

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Listen To...

 

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Concert Review: Radkey / Dsoedean at the Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO 9/15/12

Radkey is cooler than you. It alright, they are cooler than me too. It’s a rare occasion when then three guys not even old enough to drink alcohol can play a bar a be the center of attention, in a good way.

The three brothers are possibly the jewel of the St. Joseph music scene right now. They fuse together metal and punk (which may not seem like much of a stretch but I’ve seen several bands fail at this) and put together a shameless blend of their own sound. Radkey has been active for a while as a band now but a writeup on VocalsOnTop.com hasn’t happened for various reasons. They have been one of my favorite St. Joe bands since the beginning of the year but I haven’t caught a full show. Their pairing with Dsoedean was a perfect chance to rectify this on September 15th.

Dsoedean has become a St. Joseph treasure. They play their asses off every show and have amassed a ton of hometown shows. If you are in St. Joe and haven’t seen Dsoedean play you aren’t trying very hard. The band is comprised of lead singer/guitarist Zale Bledsoe, bassist Marcus Words, Drummer Bobby Floyd and Keyboard master Colby Walter. If you haven’t seen Dsoedean play live, you have probably seen one of the four fine musicians that makeup the band at some point. Look for more on Dsoedean after their next show on 9/22/12 at the Cafe Acoustic with GasTown Lamps. Also their first full length album Continue To Move should be available by the end of the year.

Dsoedean performs live at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO earlier this year on 2/25/12.

Dsoedean performs live at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO earlier this year on 2/25/12.

Radkey took to the stage at the ‘Vous on this Saturday night with no surprises. They would tear through their strong batch of original songs and mix in a couple covers. The three brothers Dee, Isaiah and Solomon got the best reception I’ve seen for a St. Joseph show. The crowd was enthusiastic and showed their support for the hometown band. St. Joseph really hasn’t always been kind to Radkey, the support hasn’t been good enough and crowds haven’t been big enough in the past for whatever reason.

The band is coming off a failed Kickstarter project to record their first album. They have recorded a EP with some good choice cuts on it and are planning on releasing another instead of a full record. It is in the process and should be available soon so keep an eye out for it.

Radkey performs live at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO earlier this year on 4/24/12.

Radkey performs live at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO earlier this year on 4/24/12.

The band has no shortage of good original songs. They trotted many of these out at The ‘Vous. Many of them have been in their arsenal for a while like “Little Man” “Mind Ride” and “Out Here In My Head.” They also busted out a couple new jams that didn’t disappoint like “Cat and Mouse.”

The band’s mix of covers is very specific to them. They throw in some Fishbone and Faith No More as well as a killer reading of the “Teen Titans” theme song that always brings the crowd to a roar. They would end the evening by covering Outkast’s “Hey Ya” which at one point they said was special to St. Joe shows, the track sounds great as a rock song.

Radkey along with Scruffy & The Janitors are leading a wave of incredibly talented young bands in St. Joe. The music scene is gaining momentum here and it is largely because of them. The ceiling is high for Radkey and their sound is something very unique and special. They are a great, energetic live act and are too cool for school. It is great to be able to watch a young band like this cut its teeth on the stage knowing they have the talent to be something great.

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Concert Review

 

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Concert Review: Old 97′s / Those Darlins / Rhett Miller in Omaha, NE 9/11/12

The Old 97′s may be the best live band in the world. Their consistency and enthusiasm is unparalleled among modern bands. Rhett Miller is one of the most charismatic and lively frontmen you will ever see. For their Too Far To Care 15 year anniversary tour they signed on Those Darlins as an opening act and Rhett himself would do a solo acoustic set to start things off. The tour drew near to a close on this Tuesday night at the Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on September 11th, 2012.

Rhett Miller performs his solo set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12.

Rhett Miller performs his solo set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12.

Rhett Miller would quietly walk onto stage at 9:00 sharp to start a stretch of over 3 hours of music for the night. He would immediately introduce himself and allude to how he knew the band leading him to landing the opening slot he was about to play. Miller just released his forth solo record so he has amassed an impressive catalog even away from the Old 97′s. The crowd was small for Rhett Miller so early in the evening, Omaha tends to traditionally have a very late crowd to get to shows so openers often play to much smaller audiences there.

He would blast through a quick about 25 minute set that covered 6 songs and featured only three songs from his solo releases. He would appropriately bust out a b-side from the record being celebrated on the night, Too Far To Care, with the song “Holy Cross” and do two covers.

He would play two songs from his new solo record The Dreamer and a solo version of a duet he did with Rachael Yamagata. He shockingly (and ambitiously) took on Wilco’s classic song “California Stars” which was unfortunately marred by sound issues. He would end his short solo set with a ferocious reading of Johnny Cash’s “Wreck of the Old 97″ for which the headlining band on the night took its name. He would tease the crowd with the fact that he might see them again before the night was finished.

Rhett Miller setlist: The Slowdown, Omaha, NE 9/11/12

  • Lost Without You
  • Holy Cross
  • California Stars (Wilco cover)
  • Fireflies
  • Out of Love
  • Wreck of the Old 97 (Johnny Cash cover)
Those Darlins performs their solo set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Nikki Darlin on the left and Jessi Darlin on the right.

Those Darlins performs their solo set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Nikki Darlin on the left and Jessi Darlin on the right.

Those Darlins would storm the stage missing one Darlin. Apparently Kelley Darlin had chose to leave the band and was replaced by a new bass player. The core members Jessi Darlin and Nikki Darlin were still present and didn’t hesitate to put on a great show along with drummer Linwood Regensberg. The girls in the band would come out in short shorts and provocative outfits as is usual for them. Jessi would sport a tight, sparkling dress while Nikki would go with a loose fitting red button up shirt with most of the buttons going unused.

The would shockingly start their set with one of their slowest (and best) songs in “Waste Away.” They would hit the album that features that song, Screws Get Loose, very hard in the set along with a few new tracks. They would also play both sides of The Nightjogger 45 by playing “Nightjogger” and “Funstix Party” back-to-back.

“Nightjogger” is always a highlight of their live set with its power riffs and “Funstix Party” is a goof jam filled with clever sexual references and some not so clever (“I’ll bring the pussy, you bring the dicks…”) They would show their confidence that they haven’t showed in the past during this song as well by jamming out quite a bit. Their several new songs were highlighted by Nikki’s new song “In The Wilderness” showing the band’s new direction. Their first album had many country sounding songs and Screws Get Loose featured much more of an indie rock sound and the band has continued to move toward the harder sound on the new material.

NIkki would jokingly accuse Jessi of writing one of the bands most popular songs “Red Light Love” about Rhett Miller before tearing into song. Old 97′s guitarist Ken Bethea would come out to contribute to a three guitar attack for the final song, a new track that rocked as hard as anything the band has ever done.

Those Darlins setlist: The Slowdown, Omaha, NE 9/11/12

  • Waste Away
  • Mystic Mind
  • Screws Get Loose
  • Turns Me On
  • Hives
  • Night Jogger
  • Funstix Party
  • Why Can’t I Change?
  • Pet You, Hold You
  • Red Light Love
  • In The Wilderness
  • Be Your Bro
  • Never Been Into Promises (with Ken Bethea)
The Old 97's perform their set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Left to right: Rhett Miller, Ken Bethea and Murry Hammond.

The Old 97′s perform their set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Left to right: Rhett Miller, Ken Bethea and Murry Hammond.

The Old 97′s would come out to a fair sized crowd, it was a Tuesday night but I fully expected a larger crowd for the band and was a little disappointed in the number of people there. The audience however was very enthusiastic and the band continued to play like fans were hanging from the raptors.

The Slowdown always has great sound for bands. The bands almost always comment on how they like the venue as well. The show setup was great for the bands on this night too, Those Darlins used The Old 97′s drum set so there was very little time in between sets and this proved for a fast paced evening of music without any of the usual long waits in between bands.

The Old 97′s would start with their entire 1997 album Too Far To Care in order. The record features many songs the band plays at every show anyway like “Timebomb” “Barrier Reef” “Niteclub” “W. TX Teardrops” and “Four Leaf Clover” among others. The album is where the band really found their sound and has stood up as a great record for many years now. Jessi Darlin would hesitantly come join the band for the album’s final song “Four Leaf Clover.”

The album would only compose half of the night’s songs. They would also play another 13 favorites from other records. Ken Bethea (The Old 97′s secret weapon) would even get his chance to shine on a song Rhett would scoff at “doesn’t have any vocals” to which Ken would remark that the “real talent” could then shine on the instrumental song “Marquita.”

The highlights of the second half of the set would prove to be the songs that preceeded the encore in the back-to-back performances of “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” and the fantastic “I’m A Trainwreck.” The encore would feature Murry breaking out “Valentine” and Rhett then singing “Rollerskate Skinny” from the underrated album Satellite Rides. The band would then very appropriately close the evening the way their set began, with the first track from Too Far To Care, “Timebomb” which normally serves as the band’s closing song anyway.

The Old 97's perform their set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Philip Peeples on drums and lead singer Rhett Miller pictured.

The Old 97′s perform their set at The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/11/12. Philip Peeples on drums and lead singer Rhett Miller pictured.

Old 97′s setlist: The Slowdown, Omaha, NE 9/11/12

  • Timebomb
  • Barrier Reef
  • Broadway
  • Salome
  • W. TX Teardrops
  • Melt Show
  • Streets Where I’m From
  • Big Brown Eyes
  • Just Like California
  • Curtain Calls
  • Niteclub
  • House That Used To Be
  • Four Leaf Clover
  • Mama Tried
  • Marquita
  • Tiny Spark
  • Victoria
  • Champagne, Ill
  • State Of Texas
  • Smokers
  • Question
  • Every Night Is Friday Night
  • I’m A Trainwreck
  • encore
  • Valentine
  • Rollerskate Skinny
  • Timebomb (reprise)
 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Concert Review

 

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250 Word Album Review: Will Johnson – Scorpion

Will Johnson - Scorpion

Will Johnson - Scorpion gets 3 Stars

Will Johnson releases solo records when he isn’t releasing an album in one of the many bands he is in. Scorpion is his third proper solo album and comes nine years after his last. This record is not much different than Murder of Tides and Vultures Await that preceded it though. It seems his solo albums are all cut out of the same groove.

It is interesting how Johnson can sonically tone down his sound so much from the blast of noise that is Centro matic down to a quiet acoustic album like this. Scorpion requires your attention. It will not have songs you’ll be singing in your head all day, it isn’t meant to be that kind of collection of songs. Instead what is here is a very personally sounding confessional from Johnson who puts his heart on his sleeve for the slow, gentle songs.

The song “Scorpion” is a standout along with “You Will Be Here, Mine.” Some of the most interesting moments of the record are Johnson’s acoustic guitar making the songs distinct and adding flair to the songs. The acoustic strums and picks on songs like “Riding From Within” and “Rosanky” are hypnotic at times and make you feel like you are in a dark room having Johnson in the room himself playing the tracks for you.

The record fails to have a classic song like “Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming” but is still yet another solid release from Will Johnson.

Key Tracks: “Scorpion” “You Will Be Here, Mine” “Rosanky”

Would you like to hear this record? The first person to contact me and ask will get a free download of the entire album! Undertow very cooley included an extra download to help spread good music! I’m offering it to you. Email me at wiederholt8 at yahoo dot com.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in 250 word album reviews

 

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250 Word Album Review: Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls

 

Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls gets 4 Stars

The Alabama Shakes are a new band and have gained a ton of momentum, seemingly to get more popular daily still. Every now and then an indie band comes out that has a ton of potential beyond their big song. As “Hold On” gets played repeatedly on the radio there is still much more to this young band than a couple of good hooks.

I was scared to try the Alabama Shakes after getting burned by similar band numerous times recently like Foster The People. The Alabama Shakes passed the test though and have legitimate talent.

Each listen to Boys & Girls reveals something new it seems, it really does feel like a special record. The voice of lead singer Brittany Howard is the first thing to impress. The very ’70s feeling vocals bring to mind back when R&B was backed by good bands that played real instruments. The band is obviously no slouch here either. Repeated great bass lines are turned in by Zac Cockrell and each song has an impressive guitar lick that makes every song have a different feel.

The brilliant hit single “Hold On” is the best song on the record, hands down. “Hang Loose” has potential to be a great radio song as well if it gets the push. These songs are part of the reason side A of the record shines above side B. While the record is a bit front loaded it is still likely the best debut of the year so far and you will see it all over top 10 lists at the end of the year.

Key Tracks: “Hold On” “Hang Loose” “You Ain’t Alone”

 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in 250 word album reviews

 

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Signed! – Brendan Benson My Old Familiar Friend cd booklet

Brendan Benson signed cd booklet

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Signed!

 

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