Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra

For starters, I have never traveled outside of the state to go to a show. "Wtf?!" is usually the response I get for such a stark and unusual confession, but yes, it was true up until September 29, 2009. When the opportunity to go see Cage the Elephant, Manchester Orchestra, and Silversun Pickups in Johnson City, Tennessee was proposed by two friends, I couldn't wait to give up my "out-of-state-concert" virginity. Just so I won't forget my first time, I'll tell you all about it.

With Five Guys in my belly and the promise of a good night, Jason, Kyle and I headed into Electric Cowboy, a venue tucked into a tiny strip mall next to a shop that sold swords, crossbows, and magic wands...yeah.

If I was innocently driving through Johnson City and saw a sign for Electric Cowboy, my mind would immediately jump to a gay club specializing in Ladies’ Night, $3 Cosmos, and all-American beefcake strippers. While some of those signals may have been subtly exposed (the bouncers had a manscape look about them), the venue played great host.

Cage the Elephant couldn't seem to make up its mind about what genre of music to play that night. Everyone who still listens to radio knows the song "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," a southern "When the Levee Breaks" knock-off that sounds surprisingly different than the rest of Cage's material. Matt Shultz was howling like a North U.K. punk grunger in one song, and the next second he was channeling his own version of Kurt Cobain from Bowling Green, Kentucky.

All of Shultz's schizophrenic performance, both confusing and entertaining, and a guitar wah that sounded like Anakin's pod racer. Their set didn't do anything for me, and the set was much too long for an opening act. To give in to a pun, the Elephant should stay caged.

I had never payed much attention to Manchester Orchestra material before (I had only heard of the M.O. that produced a noble and bombastic Christmas album that my folks put on repeat during the holiday season). So I could get an idea of what I'd be in for, we listened to Me, Everything, and Nothing to get some 101 on the way up to the show.

Andy Hull, the lyrical mastermind behind most of M.O.'s material, gave listeners a fantastic set. I was surprised when after twenty-minutes of playing, the band layed down their instruments and left the stage. Manchester Orchestra - come back! Most of the set was from Me, Everything, and Nothing, and according to my concert comrades, Hull changed some of the lyrics, giving the songs a unique twist for old and new listeners.

Silversun Pickups is coming up later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Total Eclipse of the Heart

So, after very little deliberation and argument with myself, I decided that passing up Manchester Orchestra and Silversun Pickups would be the most epically lame thing I did to wrap up the month. As a result, I am heading up to the gig with two friends tonight. Who knows if I'll make it home with enough sleep to fuel four classes the next day? We shall see.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Song of the Day


Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye

------------------A windy, crisp, exquisite fall day. Now I can finally say that it is fall, because we've officially passed September twenty-whatever, so the leaves have calendar permission to change color and temperatures have the thumbs up to plummet each passing day.

Silversun Pickups snuck into my Itunes shuffle tonight. Ironic, because they're headlining a show in Tennessee tomorrow night with Manchester Orchestra playing as well. I would love to go to the show, if I wasn't poor and didn't have a mother-freaking 8 a.m. the next morning.

Alas, I can still listen to the trances of "Lazy Eye," with tunnel vision guitars and synth, not to mention Brain Aubert, who is one of the first frontmen I confidently categorize as an indie-rock singer (among others of course). "Lazy Eye" turns feedback away from its stereotypical noise into an ambient pleasure, an henceforth, I am drawn to it like a hipster to a steaming cup of chai. Take a sip of "Lazy Eye" from Carnavas.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Song of the Day


Laurindo Almeida - Manha De Carnaval

----------------My apologies for being absent from the blogosphere for the past two days. Got caught up in studio time and other sorts of reckless shenanigans over the weekend, and didn't find the time to plunge my creative senses into a pool of new music.

Last night I was introduced to the art of Laurindo Almeida, a Brazilian classical guitarist. A prolific and delightful talent, Almeida produced over thirty (!) albums throughout his career up until his death in 1995. A friend of mine with a flair for Latin music waited two weeks for his copy of Almeida's eighth album, Guitar From Ipanema, ordered off and shipped all the way from Japan.

Despite the turbulent journey the album took to reach American ears, the album is blissfully cool with colorful jazz guitar, chirping and singing flutes, and the occasional whistler. "Manha De Carnaval" goes down smoother than Dulce de Leche, with sleepy guitar and lullaby flute gliding over a quiet samba. Just from listening to Guitar From Ipanema all day long, my Sunday in the mountains has felt like a fantastic getaway to South America.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Song of the Day


Vivian Girls - The End

-----------------Take The Ramones, throw in a dash of spunky and adorable charm, and make each song over two minutes, and you have Vivian Girls. With Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy, and Ali Koehler representing the ladies of the Brooklyn punk scene, one can look forward to pouty-lipped yet seriously good-time, old-school punk from the trio's new album, Everything Goes Wrong. Recorded in only six days, Everything Goes Wrong has Blackheart-style surf punk, coupled with a few brokenheart tracks like "The End" and the sedated swoon of "Can't Get Over You." Get Everything Goes Wrong for the tough girl, mushy heart inside you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Song of the Day


Leona Lewis - Happy

-----------------Real divas don't have any regrets, and live their lives to the highest potential with courage, dignity, and of course, a bring-the-masses-to-their-knees set of pipes. Leona Lewis seems to fill these criterion, charming and warming the cold world while she belts her impassioned pop songs. "Happy" is the anthemic yet cuddly power ballad that pours over lyrics of no regrets, taking chances, and being content with every aspect of life, especially in the feild of love. Get "Happy" from Leona Lewis sophomore album, Echo.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Song of the Day

Photo by Eric Kirk

A Path Less Traveled - An Eye For An Eye Makes Us All Pirates

-----------------My usual formula for finding music on Myspace is accepting a friend request and hearing out the material with no other frame of reference. But for this Song of the Day, I was lucky enough to hear about the popcore stylings of APLT from the band's photographer and brilliant friend, Eric Kirk. The seven members of A Path Less Traveled hail from the Atlanta area, and will celebrate the release of their new EP From Here On Out this Friday with A Heartcake, She Came From Above, Show the Fight, and A Fight For Life.
So what separates APLT from all the other hardcore bands in the southeast? "An Eye For An Eye Makes Us All Pirates" is one of the most popular demos on Epitaph Record's demo forum "Demo-Lition." The teaser tracks to the new EP are effortlessly good with heated vocals and the members exhaust every fiber of their instruments to give an outstanding show. Get "An Eye For An Eye" from APLT's upcoming release From Here On Out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Song of the Day


Cory Branan - Tall Green Grass

-----------------Cory Branan's "Tall Green Grass" rides along a jagged, steely guitar as well as an echoing block-beat that makes for a rustic, country-style rythem. Just as well, the sweet-secrets, hidden lust lyrics are perfect for lovers intertwined or those gone afar. Rolling Stone magazine called Cory Branan "a new breed of singer-songwriter" upon the release of his album, The Hell You Say. However, the Southaven, Mississippi man released "Tall Green Grass" from his 2006 album, 12 Songs.

You may be asking yourself, "Gee, Meg, how'd you find out about this killer artist? I love this guy!" Well inquisitive listener, I'm delighted to tell you that Cory Branan was featured on Taking Back Sunday's Adam Lazzara's featured playlist made on the obviously titled, The list includes Iron and Wine, The Avett Brothers, HoneyHoney, and many more. Tell all your friends!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Song of the Day


The Get Up Kids - The One You Want

----------------Yet again, the rain continues to spit and spray in my face everytime I step outside. Since I'm sitting at an elevation of exactly 3,333 feet, there's no escaping the clutches of this foggy drizzle. To combat this pitiful percipitation, I'm sampling a number that'll breathe a little life and energy into this nap-like daze. "The One You Want" finds the narrator caught in an unbreakable relationship, and no shovel could ever get him out of this heart-twisting hole. The music takes shape in lively electric six-strings and an overall pleasant ambience similar to the Gin Blossoms. Get "The One You Want" from The Get Up Kids fourth album, 2004's Guilt Show.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Song of the Day

Brand New - At the Bottom
----------------Not going to lie, when I first heard "At the Bottom" off of Brand New's upcoming release, Daisy, I thought someone changed the names of a Modest Mouse record just to mess with me. But it's definitely the same band from Long Island that gave us "Soco Amaretto Lime" and told the ones who made us miserable that we'd be better off home on Saturday nights. "At the Bottom" revisits the bitterness being alone with only the thought of sending the ones who broke us apart six feet under. Daisy is going to be sold everywhere on Tuesday, but if you're dying to hear it, several tracks are on Myspace, including the revolution-charged "Gasoline" and the dazed and confused "Bed."

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Evening After

Well I can definitely admit that I have never heard any cut of Salt n' Peppa's "Push It" performed on the same stage that had an accordion and violins - and the band that pushed it real good? - Scythian. This band had everyone from hippies to hipsters jumping and waving their arms during their fantastic set.

I became acquainted with Mike Ounallah, the drummer from Scythian, after the band's set , and we bonded over our hometown and the venues we liked to haunt and the high schools where we were imprisoned. Cheers, Mike, and to the rest of Scythian - good luck tonight in Bristol!

Before Toubab Krewe, instrumental performers sounded relatively dry to me. However the ethereal dancing, blissful faces, and sweaty stench from the pit drew me in like a mouth to a Corona. There was an ambient mood of a controlled chaotic festival, and it placed me in a lovely reggae afro-beat trance for all of the two hour set.

Toubab Krewe won't be performing with Scythian tonight; they have a show in Knoxville. But if you're dying to get your alcohol or substance infused groove on, click on the links below or grab a ticket to the show.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Contact Tables and Concerts

   Thought I'd do a quick little update about my plans for tonight. Toubab Krewe and Scythian are here tonight at Legends, and I've been promoting the show since 11:00 a.m. 
  There's something very invasive and awkward about contact tables. You can either sit behind the table scattered with posters and text or do some communications homework, or you can stand in front and stuff handbills into the palms of strangers holding a half-finished text message or a Crossroads latte. Sure you're encroaching on their bubble, but hey - if it gets one more person to the show tonight, it's worth it. 
  Working on merch throughout the show for Toubab Krewe. Scythian is supposed to be a killer dance band. I've never seen their show before, and I'm looking forward to a fun, dance-filled night!


Major Lazer - Pon de Floor

---------------Just watch the video taken at SXSW of Major Lazer, and tell me that the crowd isn't having an amazing time. Major Lazer is as electro-dance as you could probably get, and even if your favorite musical instruments don't include mixers and turntables, this beat might change that. Hailing from Lazerville, as told by the myspace page, the digital-reggae collaboration of DJ and producers Diplo and Switch bring beats to the party that are as infectious as swine flu on a college campus. Get "Pon de Floor" from the 2009 Major Lazer album, Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Song of the Day


Of Machines - It Must Belong Somewhere

---------------Up until last month, there hasn't been a steady flow of drop-kick fantastic hardcore that I've been dying to gush over. But thanks to the guidance and wisdom of some amazing friends who know the genre like the days of the week, I've been blessed with armloads of artists such as Lydia, Miss May I, Emarosa, and Of Machines. I've selected "It Must Belong Somewhere" because it was the first Of Machines song I was introduced to, and the vocals absolutely blew my mind. "It Must Belong Somewhere" begs for a flame to never extinguish and grasping on to what we (whoever that "we" may be) has for the time, Get the song from Of Machines album, As If Everything Was Held in Place.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Song of the Day


Razorlight - America

-------------Blessed with another beautiful day, and it's hard to believe that even on the most prestine days, we can still ache for something more. Maybe that something is lost, forgotten, or a few hundred miles away; either way, the going gets easier when there's music to help out. Take Razorlight's "America" - the wish-you-were-here lyrics tug at bruised heartstrings and a fragile timbre from electric guitars. Get "America" from Razorlight's 2006 self-titled album.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Song of the Day


Between the Trees - White Lines and Red Lights

----------------White lines and red lights usually stop us in our tracks, whether driving at two a.m. or in line for the show of a lifetime. These boundaries are mentors, showing our impatient souls how to appreciate the inexplicable beauty found in the instances when time stands still. "White Lines and Red Lights" cherishes the seconds in life where every move, every word, is drunken in without question or ingratitude. Take a look at galaxies spinning overhead or close your eyes and make a move. Whatever you do, cherish those flickering flames. Take care.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Song of the Day


Bo Diddley - I'm a Man

--------------He's gotta spell it out for you. Bo Diddley's proud and provocative "I'm a Man" is rooted in American blues, bringing a sensual and shouting howls up and over harmonica and sharp, jagged guitar. For those unfamiliar with Bo Diddley, he's known as "The Originator" for transitioning blues to rock and roll - not a small milestone in America's social history book. To say that Bo Diddley's music was instrumental in the material of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, and Eric Clapton is an understatement. Takea listen to a few of his songs - you'll discover the foundations of what has influenced generations and generations of rock n' roll. Get "I'm a Man" from Bo Diddley's 1958 self-titled album.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Song of the Day


The Wombats - Kill the Director

-----------------Sometimes when you want to know what qualifies as good music, you should ask a local. To illustrate this scenario, a lovely lad from across the pond introduced me to The Wombats, a Liverpool rock group that performed their first gig donning jester hats and sunglasses. Even though The Wombats claimed that they began as a group that didn't want to be taken seriously, their goofy and rambunctious rock n' roll have landed them a spot opening for the Kaiser Chiefs and a #35 slot on the U.K. charts for "Kill the Director." This cinematic fubar is about singer Matthew "Murph" Murphy taking his girl to a posh dinner theater, only to find out the movie is "no Bridget Jones." Get "Kill the Director" from The Wombats' album A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Song of the Day


Common - Go

---------------Motivation. Some find it from within the inspirational writings of incredible (in my case, Gonzo) authors or the shoulder-to-fall-on lyrics of psalms and rappers. Or in this case, it's the thought of another fantastical romp with a sexy someone that keeps Common motivated to keep the love(?) alive and, ahem, active. Just listening to the lyrics smothered against the honey-smooth voice of John Mayer commanding an echoed "Go" is enough to put you in a trance for a bedroom dance. Get "Go" from Common's 2005 album, Be.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Song of the Day


Carbon Based Lifeforms - Abiogenesis

---------------First of all, if your music catalogue contains Carbon Based Lifeforms or ever heard the name passed along in a random, obscure music swap, then my fedora goes off to you. Second of all, if violins and keys don't please your relaxation senses as much as ethereal, otherworld sounds from a synthesizer, then this duo belongs in your library. The Swedish ambient-electronica Carbon Based Lifeforms signed with Ultimate Records in 2002 following an earlier release of their debut album in 1998, The Path. But 2006's World of Sleepers is aptly titled for those searching for the perfect out-of-body techno trance. Instead of just listening to the opening song "Abiogenesis," listen to World of Sleepers as one continuous song.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Song of the Day

Michael Alvarado - Weak At the Knees
----------------Ever heard a song that has such a lively, infectious chorus that you find yourself singing along on the first listen? Michael Alvarado's "Weak at the Knees" is full of sunny warmth and crooning soul. An already energetic jazz piano is caffeinated with Gavin DeGraw-esque vocals and clap breakdowns, ladies will surely love the sensitive-heartthrob attitude that Alvarado will give to a lineup of North Carolina shows this fall.
For those in Boone, North Carolina, Michael Alvarado will be performing at Legends Music Hall with The Gregory Brothers on Friday, September 11. If you can't catch the show, check out "Weak at the Knees" on Michael Alvarado's EP, Waste the Day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Song of the Day

Gwen Stacy - My Friends Over You
--------------Scribed across their posters at Warped Tour, New Found Glory is described as "The Undisputed Leaders of Pop Punk." Gwen Stacy probably felt like "My Friends Over You" was so kick-ass, it HAD to be covered! As a tribute to these pop punk princes, Gwen Stacy rips and shreds through the otherwise charming guitar riffs with aggressive, chugging metal and bombastic percussion. Solid covers are hard to come by, but Gwen Stacy hits "My Friends Over You" on the head like a water bottle thrown at a scenester. And just for fun, this song is my current ringtone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Song of the Day


Gym Class Heroes feat. Busta Rhymes - Peace Sign/Index Down

-------------Well high five me and hand me a cold one - it's Labor Day weekend! To all the college students returning home, bums hitting the beach, friends getting together for some random shenanigans- this one is an ego booster. "Peace Sign/Index Down" signs a gigantic eff-you to all the haters in your life with Travis McCoy's story of climbing to the top. And why not celebrate every achievement with a little smarmy middle finger to those who doubted you? Satisfying and bad ass, "Peace Sign/Index Down" will rock and rap your weekend on Gym Class' album, The Quilt.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Song of the Day


TLC - No Scrubs

---------------Some of the leading females in music have assured their men that they like them just the way they are and their love don't cost a thing. Not the women of TLC, who have made it clear that they won't be wasting time with any losers. Sassy and sexy, T-Boz, Left Eye, and Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas exude a tough-love attitude through three-part harmony and precision-cut rhymes by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez. Get "No Scrubs" from TLC's album, Fanmail.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Song of the Day

Forever the Sickest Kids - Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)
------------Funny how we never leave the awkward, no-eye-contact interactions between the opposite sexes that should've been blown away in the dusty winds of high school. Alas, these fickle situations seem to sweep in regardless of the time that passes. So FTSK will gladly remind us of these unfortunately unforgettable moments, with a regretful chorus chant that goes:

"Whoa oh Whoa oh Whoa oh,
Why do I put myself in these situations,
Whoa oh /Whoa oh Whoa oh,
I keep pushing myself even though I can't take it at all."

But I mean, who hasn't found themselves in a kill-me-now rut of explosively uncomfortable social settings? Either way, you can laugh or lament listening to "Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone) from the Forever the Sickest Kids album, Underdog Alma Mater.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Song of the Day

One of my own photos from Mykonos. Isn't it lovely?
Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
-----------Anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to visit the gentle coast of Mykonos knows perfectly well the jaw-dropping perfection of the quaint island in the middle of the Greek Isles. Fleet Foxes seem to relate this hallowed ground to a fresh slate, a reversion to paradise that cleanses us from all of our mistakes. Fleet Foxes are working on some fresh material to complete a new album, but don't worry - they're still touring everywhere from Glasgow to Slumpsville, Maryland. Even though the band has only been a spot on the radar for two years, they're tenacity to produce new material has kept them on U.K. charts and with plenty of fans for support. Get Mykonos from Fleet Foxes 2-Disc special edition of their self-titled album.