Archive for Rock
Enjoy these photos courtesy of Liana Blum of WRBC’s Fall Concert!
In honor of their show tonight (9 PM at the Benjamin Mays Center, Bates College), we’d like to point you in the direction of the Time Travelers’ self-released EP, Bed of Roses, which you can pick up over at Bandcamp. The Time Travelers are a 4-piece band comprised of Bates College seniors, reunited after a one-year break during which members were scattered across the globe. If you’re not too busy, you might also find the time to like them on Facebook.
DR. DOG is coming to Bates College for WRBC’s first big show this fall.
Come see the FREE concert September 25 on the Library Quad, brought to you by WRBC 91.5 FM and CHC.
The mini music fest will begin in the early afternoon and will end by 9 PM. Bates’ own Time Travelers will kick off the event, followed by opener Delicate Steve.
Dr. Dog’s latest album, “Shame, Shame,” has been wildly well-received. Pitchfork hailed the work “arguably the band’s finest moment,” and music critic Doug Wallen categorized their sound as “a little folk, blues, indie rock, soul, bluegrass—and a whole lot of down-home harmonizing. It conjures images of old friends sitting on a porch swapping instruments and just letting the tape recorder run.”
Mark your calenders and get psyched for an epic start to the year!
Listen to Dr. Dog: www.myspace.com/drdog
Listen to Delicate Steve: http://www.myspace.com/delicatesteve
I recently had the opportunity to watch Grace Potter perform live. Each time is a treat. She shakes and drops, teasing the crowd with her rockin’ legs and “candy ass.” Abandoning her trademark soul, Gracie has gone rocker-girl with her new partner-in-crime Catharine Popper, formerly of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. Popper’s smart, up-beat baselines and sexed-up style bump the Nocturnals to a new level. But on the new album, and to some extent in concert, our Gracie has gone missing. The soulful organ-grinding girl from Burlington has gone Hollywood, literally. While This is Something certainly marked a shift Potter’s style, she maintained her seductively bluesy sound. However, signing with Hollywood Records seems to have finally hijacked the bands studio sound, turning our Gracie into a magnate for 15-year-old high school girls, alienating the old-guard hippie crowd that gravitated to her during tours with Gov’t Mule.
It isn’t simply the turn towards hard-core rock that has me rattled. It’s that she abandoned what made her special, and worth listening to: The Organ. Without it, she looses the soulfulness that makes her hard-core rockin’ so damn sexy, its distinctiveness in a world of blonde country stars with cookie-cutter verse chorus repeat bridge banality. With Grace Potter and the Nocternals, the band’s latest effort, the B-3 largely fades into the back. Its sound varies. Alternating from choir accompanist to circus master, the Hammond has lost is soul in Ms. Potter’s latest album. For all those who crave the unnerving, reverb-saturated, rock grind that drove tracks such as “Treat Me Right”, “Ragged Company”, and “Sweet Hands” on Nothing but the Water, the reality will soon set in that Gracie likes to shake it, and the B-3 hides what all the men in the 9:30 club want to see.
Ms. Potter played many of her new songs, returning briefly to NBTW for brilliant renditions of “Sweet hands” and “2:22”. She remains a force to be reckoned with on-stage, even if her voice sounds constrained at times. Slipping her shoes back on after a raunchy opening set she remarks, “ I don’t care what anybody thinks, I’m putting then back on ‘cuz they make my butt look like candy. See?” turning her back to the audience and accentuating what could never be even intentionally obscured. Just as her new songs feature a smart lyrical compactness, her on-stage banter maintains a sharp and witty character. Popper eggs her on. “Take it off,” she taunts. Potter retorts, “talk about womanizing ourselves” as the band plunges into “Ah Mary”, the crowd-pleasing political scorcher about America.
Her new songs however, offer little of the sound that first attracted me to Potter’s music. They are marred by backup vocal tracks that dilute the sheer power of her voice. She rarely lets loose, with outtros comprising loud guitar rock and the occasional Potter shriek instead of the heart melting blues notes she used to hold for miles. Electrifying guitar solos replace jazzy organ jams. “Tiny Light” showcases her vocal talents at moments, but they become lost in the country-pop choruses. The organ finally breaks through in earnest in “Only Love” a Bonnie Raitt styled throwback about heartbreak and love. It’s truly one of the more enjoyable tracks on the album; the chorus has a jazzy fullness, delivered with a guttural emotion missing from many of the country-tinged offerings.
The single “Medicine” represents some of the best elements of Ms. Potters revamped sound, most notably her songwriting and thumping classic rock guitar lines. The song describes a seductive “policy woman” who pulls the narrator’s lover away. The seductive intruder has “the medicine”, but our storyteller steals “her bag of rattling bones” and “magic stones” en route to securing “the medicine”. Our storyteller gets herself a pair of “mojo hands”, ending the song proclaiming, “I got the medicine that everybody wants.” The phrases are bright and sexy, there’s a sense of achievement in Potter’s voice that mimics the song’s lyrical theme. Missing from the album is the bands one-of a kind rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” as featured in Tim Burton’s Almost Alice. I’m not sure what prompted this decision, but I regard it as a significant oversight that reeks of big-label money-sucking tactics. The band’s cover is magnificent. Live, it’s spectacular. Popper bangs out the iconic baseline with an addictive coolness and suave that sets the tone for Ms. Potters picture-perfect vocals.
The album is overall quite good. Ms. Potter’s vocals soar on several of the tracks, revealing how truly talented she is. The album seems to be an attempt to channel the electricity and vibrancy of the band’s live work into a studio album. On this level, they have succeeded spectacularly; the album simply rocks from start to finish. But I can’t help longing for the soulful organ rock that first attracted me to Gracie. It’s there; It’s just in the background now. Just like her concerts, the album is chocked full of erotic grunts, ohhs and ahhs, sensual reminders of watching Ms. Potter perform live.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals leaves me asking one question. Where has Gracie gone? I know she’s still there somewhere, waiting to break loose live in the nation’s most prominent music clubs. The new album however seems to pander to a different crowed. In front of me was a group of high school girls. “They don’t get it,” my concert neighbor, a long time Potter fan remarked about the bands music and the girls. They may not get the old stuff, the music that first seduced me; music that made Grace a tiny light on the otherwise marginal roots-rock throwback scene. However, they do get the new Grace, the Hollywood Records Grace with harmonized back up vocals and mainstream normalcy. They get it because they are used to it, and GPN puts it right in their laps, no work needed.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals: B
Live Concert: A
Finally Meshuggah’s brilliance has been caught on tape! Everybody who has witnessed it will only be able to concur: in a live situation technique and compositions are just as baffling and unintelligible as on record. Their first DVD, simply titled ‘Alive’, now enables us puny humans to (re-)experience Meshuggah’s mechanical tightness. The live part consists of images shot during their North American Obzen-tour and their appearance at Loudpark festival in Tokyo. This, indeed, means that the DVD contains footage of a fair amount of songs from their latest album.
In between unbelievably perfect renditions of crushing tracks like ´Bleed’, ‘Pravus’, ‘Electric Red’ and a number of golden oldies, we are treated on bits and pieces of interviews and documentary-type footage. In these segments you become more acquainted with the band and their touring life, which in itself is quite interesting. However, when you are expecting a continuous liveshow, this format might be annoying. Especially for these people the DVD comes with an audio CD enabling you to listen to the live songs uninterruptedly. Read more »
My music taste flows in waves of obsession. What I might have listened to nonstop in October, I more than likely, do not listen to all that much today. As jaded as this may seem, my personal love for albums seems to be relatively fleeting.
My personal obsession is the eponymous album Broken Bells born out of a collaboration between Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and James Mercer of the Portland, Oregan band, The Shins. While this pairing initially seems like a blending of opposites, but this real-life mash-up is nothing short of musical gold. Read more »
It was a fantastic week for music in Paris. Frightened Rabbit played Tuesday night at Le Flèche d’Or, and The Very Best graced Social Club the following evening. The groups put on shows that are practically polar opposites, but both nights proved to be brilliant in their own right. Read more »
Back on March 3, WRBC Presented a concert featuring Cambridge, MA. based rock band Hey Mama. We shot some video of the event for your enjoyment, and finally it is online.
Check it out:
Among the best soundtracks of all time, people will inevitably cite The Graduate by Simon and Garfunkel or Henry Mancini’s work for The Pink Panther. There is indeed something to be said about these succinct, complete works of cinematic musical composition as they fit within the context of a single film.
You may well be asking yourself why exactly I am talking about film soundtracks given that Go by Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi is not a soundtrack (despite the extended documentary release that coincides with it). On some level, however, this new Jonsi album is a soundtrack without a film. When one listens to this album one cannot help but be taken to a world not our own in the depths of our own imagination. Go provides, for me, the audio track to the ramblings of my mind, and certainly any human could elicit some sort of similarity in my opinion of this disc. Read more »
Lately I’ve noticed my iTunes drifting back into the listening habits of my high school days: exclusively D.C. Hardcore/Post-Hardcore i.e. anything released on Dischord from 1980-1996. Literally, this is all I would listen to for two straight years of high school. I hadn’t even heard Modest Mouse until sophomore year, when a friend started proclaiming their newest album at the time, “Good News…,” as shit, lamenting the fact Issac Brock stopped taking acid and drinking heavily.
Dischord Records has affected the majority of what I listen to. Immediate heavy listens went to Minor Threat, Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses, Q and not U…bands that remain my favorites to this day. But lately, I have really started to delve into what is their most nuanced and subtle heyday: early 90′s indie rock. What band captures this crazy blend of post-punk/hardcore, avant-garde/art rock, and pop? Shudder to Think.
The first song I heard by them is ‘Red House’ and I’m grateful for that day. It’s a great introduction to what this band’s sound is about. Starting off with some slow palm muting and a tepid drum, you can tell this shit was recorded in ’91. And once the riff begins, and the bass and full drums kick with the full climax of the second chorus, a listener cannot help but remember how solid independent rock music used to be (by the third chorus, you have no choice but to endorse this view). Read more »