Tegan and Sara – The Con album review

Tegan and Sara - The ConThis album upon the first few listens seems to be a very lateral movement for Tegan and Sara. As always there are a few shining tracks on the album but they almost serve to contrast some of the lesser songs. As a whole “The
Con” is lacking more bright spots. After a few more runs, if you’re really looking for it, depth is discovered in some elements here and there. Mainly lyrically and vocally, the trademark double layered, spitfire vocals are a pleasure to listen to, accented by the poetic, smart lyrics… this album should have been produced with an 808, I would probably like it more. In fairness I could see “The Con” being the type of album that grows on you over time and somewhere in my ears garnering a cult following, but it will
always have those tracks that are left off playlists or have me reaching for the skip button.

Now I don’t want to come off sounding like its all bad, in fact its not bad at all, its just that, when someone asks how this album is one would shrug and sincerely say “its not bad”. “The Con” and “Back in Your Head” (coincidentally the two songs released off the album first) are the strongest and best songs on the disc, quick, smart, clever, and catchy. “Hop a Plane” and “Nineteen” are a close second, with the former being a fun and toe tapping pop song, and the latter full of the swell and emotion Tegan and
Sara fans are used to. (In retrospect four days after I wrote this review I have decided “Nineteen” is probably the best song on the cd)

When I heard Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie fame was producing the disc my hopes for this album were very high. Well you can definitely hear his touches drum production, the keys, and the guitars, both sounds and layering… and maybe that’s part of the flaw of this disc. I firmly believe you should be able to hear a producers influence but not identify his fingerprints clearly in the songs. It almost sounds like a Death Cab Tegan and Sara mash up, maybe a little Gwen Stefani thrown in there on the track “Like O, Like H”. You think with all the guest players one sound wouldn’t have so dominated this disc.

I very much enjoy the quirky weirdness of the girls songwriting it guarantees that this album will be a grower not a shower so give me a few months and keep an eye on the blogs and eventually I will probably be professing my love for this record, if I can aurally separate Chris Walla from its DNA

Let me suffice this review by saying dedicated TNS fans with love this album but I am a music fan not a fan of musicians so this review is unbiased from someone familiar with their music who has seen them live a few times and actually really likes them don’t hate me or hit me if I am out at a show.

– 6/10 – JKE Dean

Boston post-punk quartet Junius to release EP collection in October, cut new studio album with producer Kevin Mills

Boston post-punk quartet Junius to release EP collection in October, cut new studio album with producer Kevin Mills. Current tour dates across the U.S. and Canada.

“The most engaging dark rock to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage.” – Disclosure Magazine

“Genius as far as contemporary new wave/cinematic art-rock goes… An epic audio masterpiece.” – The Big Takeover

Boston post-punk / post-rock (let’s call it post-wave) quartet Junius has slowly built up a strong following over the course of a pair of EPs and some very impressive live shows. Soon, the band’s epic, dark sound will spread even further with the October release of a self-titled disc compiling the two previous records on Radar / S.A.F. Records. Junius is currently touring across the U.S. and Canada en route to record its debut full length in September at Henson Recording with Tom Syrowski and Kevin Mills (AFI, Weezer, The Bravery) under the working title The Martyrdom of A Catastrophist. See complete tour dates below.

Boston has long been known as a breeding ground for renowned political dissidents as well as mind-expanding sonic adventurists. A legacy of great progressive labels (like Hydra Head, Tortuga and Big Wheel Recreation) and a harbor full of Earl Grey attest to that. Carrying in that tradition is Junius – at once an enigmatic letter-writing historical footnote (and political critic from the 1700’s) as well as a rainy, Brit-inflected supernova of gigantic guitars, entrancing lights and erudite lyrics founded by drummer Dana Filloon, singer/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez and guitarist Mike Repasch-Nieves.

The New England coast was first illuminated by Junius on Friday, February 13, 2004 at a sold out show at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Drawing upon influences as diverse as Failure, Hum, Sunny Day Real Estate and The Cure, Junius electrified the rapt audience with the spellbinding walls of dreamy guitars and alluring lights that have continued to define the band’s signature aesthetic. Together with fellow Bostonians Seneca and Constants, they formed the core of the Radar Recordings collective-a community of self-funded progressive artists founded in 2002 — which filled a void left behind when the aforementioned labels uprooted and expanded to warmer climes.

Shortly after releasing their first EP, the post-wave pioneers began a relentless touring regimen of multiple headlining and co-headlining North American tours to fan the flames of an already relatively blazing press. Of the EP, Disclosure Magazine wrote, “One of the most engaging dark rock albums to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage.” Junius played over 200 shows in 2005 alone, and spent nearly 9 months on the road that year.

The songs which make up Junius’s self-titled album (Radar / S.A.F. Records) were recorded by Will Benoit (of Constants), and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Isis, Converge, Pelican, Cave In.) Hailed as “genius” by The Big Takeover, Junius’ work is borne of experiments in isolation and ascetism, including month-long stints in remote places including a storage facility in Texas, a farmhouse in Vermont, a cabin in Pennsylvania and a small room in the swamps of Louisiana. It’s this austere approach that adds a weighty foundation of authenticity to the members of Junius as credible artists. Themes of forbidden knowledge, supernatural and extra-terrestrial phenomena, and religious mythology permeate singer Joseph E. Martinez’s esoteric lyrics, while the group’s music pushes sonic boundaries.

In addition to the release of the eponymous compilation, 2007 finds Junius as tireless as ever, with a new 7-inch (Radar / Anchorless Records), further touring and plans to begin recording their next album, entitled The Martyrdom of A Catastrophist this Fall. The forthcoming record is based on the life of controversial scholar Immanuel Velikovsky. Martinez, along with illustrator Matt Gauck, will also be releasing an accompanying graphic novel for the record. Junius’ brutal itinerary extends well into 2008, with plans to hit Europe, Japan, as well as more North American dates to solidify their already solid fan base. Appearances on MTV’s On the Rise and scores of “Most Anticipated Album” nominations have all but catapulted Junius to the forefront of the world’s sight line. With this self-titled release, as well as the impending album, the specter of the Junius enigma will loom heavier in the public’s mind than ever before.


Junius Live:

07/24 Burlington, VT 242 Main
07/25 Montreal, QC Zoobizarre
07/27 Toronto, CA Siesta Nouveaux
07/28 Lansing, MI Mac’s Bar
07/31 Denver, CO 2126
08/01 Salt Lake City, UT Liquid Joe’s
08/04 Spokane, WA Prago
08/10 Turlock, CA Mr. Slice Pizza
08/11 Santa Cruz, CA Cafe Pergolesi

Junius Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

01. [Elan Vital]
02. Hiding Knives
03. From The Isle of The Blessed
04. [Elan Fatale]
05. Forcing Out The Silence
06. [The Annunciation]
07. Blood Is Bright
08. A Word Could Kill Her
09. In The Hearts of Titans
10. At The Age of Decay

OFFICE To Release A Night At The Ritz On September 25

OFFICE
A NIGHT AT THE RITZ
Scratchie/New Line Records
September 25, 2007

AUDIO: The Ritz

Scratchie/New Line Records are thrilled to announce the debut release from one of their newest signings, OFFICE. Due out September 25th, A NIGHT AT THE RITZ is full of the irresistible and sophisticated pop songs that have made this band one of the most popular acts in Chicago over the past year.

Recorded over the Winter and Spring of 2007, A NIGHT AT THE RITZ was produced by frontman Scott Masson, who, along with the band, did the majority of the work on the record at his apartment. Final touches and mixing took place at New York’s Stratosphere Sound.

Over the past year and a half, OFFICE has built an enormous organic buzz at home, through steady gigs in Chicago (including a performance at Lollapalooza ’06) and Masson’s native Detroit, as well as through their two self-released demo albums. Though featured in nearly every publication in Chicago, the band also caught the attention of such national outlets as Billboard, who featured the band in their “Now Hear This” column; Magnet, who reviewed the band’s 2005 self-release, Q&A; NPR, which gave the band a “Song of the Day” feature; and Spin.com, who included OFFICE as one of 32 contenders for the 2007 Artist of the Year.

Born out of a series of conceptual art pieces at the turn of the century, OFFICE is the brainchild of Scott Masson. Masson would fill galleries with cubicle displays, Xereox paper, boxes, pop culture items. As he recalls, “They were all very minimal and blank-looking, but it was the start of some thematic dialogue within myself.” After about a year, Masson turned his attention to music, recording numerous demos with various friends. In these songs, Masson dealt with similar themes to his sculptures: OFFICE imagery, city life, pop culture, work environments, love, social structure and money. A few years later, OFFICE became a full-fledged band, with the current lineup of guitarist Tom Smith, bassist Alissa Noonan, drummer Erica Corniel and backup singer/multi-instrumentalist Jessica Gonyea, and put out a self-released album of infectious new-wavey pop tunes entitled Q&A.

During the Summer of 2006, the band caught the ear of Scratchie Records owners James Iha and Adam Schlesinger, and the heads of parent company New Line Records, and by November, OFFICE had signed a deal with the label.

A NIGHT AT THE RITZ contains brand new material, as well as select gems culled from five years worth of demo recordings that have been re-worked and re-recorded. All persons involved with OFFICE and THE RITZ felt that these older songs were simply too good to not be released on a wider level. About the album, Masson muses, “This album has easily been the most grueling recording project I’ve ever been a part of, but also the most rewarding. It’s not like this was setting up a band in the studio, and pressing the record button. There are tympanis, keyboards, concert percussion, electronic flourishes, machines, studio tricks, tape machines, choral vocals, and acoustic moments. It was years of revision, reworking, rethinking, subtracting, adding, and re-recording until it got to where it is now.” He adds, “I feel like we live in completely surreal times, and this album is a reaction to that sensation.”

TRACK LISTING
1. Oh My
2. If You Don’t Know By Now
3. The Ritz
4. Company Calls
5. Wound Up
6. The Big Band Jump!
7. Plus Minus Fairytale
8. Paralyzed Prince
9. Had A Visit
10. Q&A
11. Dominoes
12. Possibilities
13. Suburban Perfume

Bits And Pieces

People, I work hard. Seriously. And I do it all for you. Hey now stop laughing, I really mean it. I spend hours everyday scouring chat-rooms, forums, Myspace pages and porn sites (wait scratch that last one) in an effort to bring you the stories others can’t.
Well as you all (should) know, Social D. went and released a greatest hits album. While I may frown on this practice, I do understand and will not hold it against Mr. Ness and company. As is required for any greatest hits collection, they capped it off with a new song, and a rather good one at that. “Far Behind”, the bands current single aggressively goes after those treacherous and two faced back-stabbers we all deal with in life. With Social D. celebrating the big 3-0 next year I’d imagine they’ve seen more than their share of coat-tail riders and hangers on, something tells’ me this song was a long time coming. On the same note, Mike Ness recently took the time to sit down with the folks over at Billboard, among other subjects tossed around was the impending follow-up to 2004’s Sex, Love and Rock ‘N’ Roll. Don’t be surprised if the content spans all three decades.
While we’re waxing old school, Suicidal Tendencies is on tour! Kinda. The Kings of Cali Thrash are hitting the road in early August. First playing the Sounds Of The Underground Tour, and then steaming to Japan, just in time to headline a few dates on the Summer Sonic Festival. Anyone else thinking these might be warm-up dates?
Summer Sonic Festival – 2007
August 11th Osaka, Japan
August 12th Tokyo, Japan
For more information check out – www.summersonic.com
Stateside the band is headlining three shows.
Sounds Of The Underground Tour 2007
August 3rd San Jose, California
August 4th Irvine, California
August 5th Mesa, Arizona
Check out www.soundsoftheundergroundtour.com for the complete lineup.
Also on tour this summer, a band even Jesus loves’ (according to the their website) The Smut Peddlers! This Huntington Beach based quintet may just be the most politically incorrect band on earth. Totally tasteless, proverbially polluted and playing an all ages show near you. With lyrical content along the lines of an N.A. meeting, these partying punx aren’t for the faint of heart. These guys (and one girl) are pure punk rock. They tour in a Ford van, play dive bars all over California, and once accused me of driving a Volvo to a Pennywise concert. For the record, it was a Subaru and it belonged to my woman. If you’re lucky enough to catch one of the shows, be on the lookout for new tracks from the soon to be released (August 27th) disc featuring digitally remastered content from their first two demo’s originally released in 1993 and 1994 (previously available only on cassette). The Shows are as follows:
August 10th Studio 99, Bakersfield, California – all ages
August 11th The Distillery, Sacto, California – over 21
August 25th The Alley, Fullerton, California – CD Release Party – all ages
Check out www.smutpeddlers.net for a cool picture of Jesus and oh so much more.
Now playing…Fletcher Says. Hard hitting Pennywise strummer Fletcher Dragge has taken the gloves off and is giving hollywood big-wigs the pounding they deserve. B-listers beware lest you find yourselves in the ring with the big man at www.movieweb.com. Yeah you heard it right, movieweb.com home to Fletcher Says, Dragges’ own outlet to bask or bash the powers that be in Hollywood. Well written, and so far batting a thousand. Accoding to the newest (and only post) the The Fantastic Four were anything but. Way to go big guy.
While we’re singing the praises of the silver screen, we might as well mention my must see movie of the summer; Punks Not Dead The Movie. Now playing on a limited basis across the states, the rockumentary was produced by Susan Dynner an aging punk rocker by her own admission. Prior to launching into this “five year labor of love,” Dynner was VP of Creative Affairs at Ventura Films (owned by Charlie Sheen and Nick Cassavettes) co-produced Brick, a 2005 Sundance Film Festival award winner and at one point functioned as the VP of Development at Prairiefire Films.
Production and Direction credits also go to Todd Traina, founder of Red Rover Films and Producer of 2006’s “What We Do Is Secret” which centered on punk – icon Darby Crash and his band The Germs. Tim Armstrong (Op. Ivy/Rancid) is credited as well, garnering the title of Co-Producer. You go Tim.
It should be interesting, comparing Punks Not Dead with 2006’s “American Hardcore” which was a Sundance and Toronto Film Festival selection as well. Strangely enough, both movies focus on many of the same bands, though “Not Dead” continues past 1986 which is where “Hardcore” left us. In perusing the “cast” I’ve noted the obligatory Henry Rollins/ Jello Biafra credits. Great. We all know these two were instrumental parts of the scene back then, but come on they are both so tired it’s not funny. Rollins is nothing more than a sheep in wolves clothing, jumping on any VH1 special he can get his little hands on and Jello is an absurd self – serving egomaniac. Christ most of his contemporaries can’t even stand him. Ranting aside, I’ve got high hopes, the film was done in true old-school DIY fashion, the bands (Rancid, UK Subs, Sub Humans, NOFX, The Damned and many others) were not compensated, Dynner in fact actually had to hold down a day job to help finance production (which took five years). You can sink your teeth into all the juicy details at www.punksnotdeadthemovie.com. Can’t wait to hear what Fletcher Says.

Every Time I Say Something Nice About Someone…

They just have to go and give me a brand new reason to hate them all over again! In the case of; The People vs. Mr. Brett Michaels’ (and VH1/Rock Of Love), we have been provided ample ammunition for aggression. People charges have been filed, the case is going to court, and I’m the Prosecutor!
Your Honor, I’d like to present the following evidence that will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Mr. Michaels is indeed the worlds’ biggest douchebag.
Strike One: Taste in women…or lack there of. WTF Brett? You have chosen (on several occassions I might add) to make out with Rodeo, your resident 40 something cowgirl. Bro…she’s buff…like man buff. Her neck looks like Hulk Hogans’ circa 1985. Not to mention she also wears a cowboy hat. Constantly! And, worst of all… she has a misshapen head. At this point do I even need to bring in Magdalena? He…oops I mean she needs to go. Seriously.
Strike Two: You nixed Tiffany! C’mon Brett any woman who slurs “don’t threaten me with a good time” has got to be entertaining, and completely retarted. Undoubtably her undiagnosed personality disorder and definite substance abuse problems would have pumped life in to a show that has completely flat-lined after one episode.
Strike Three: Your wardrobe. I know you’ve always worn your little cowboy hat, but this time you have really lowered the bar. Yeah I’m talkin about your jammies. Are you for real? Red and black dragon jammies. Are you 40 or 4? As if that weren’t the lamest thing I’d ever seen, you finish the show wearing a cow hide duster and matching cowboy hat. Hey jackass! Yeah you with the hair extensions, YOU LIVE IN L.A.! Not to mention you were indoors.
Thats it Your Honor. The Prosecution rest’s.
14 seconds later the jury returns the guilty verdict and the judge allows me to sentence you.
Mr. Michaels, this court hereby sentences you to spend the remainder of your life stuck on Survivor Island with Mark Burnett, Nancy Grace, George W. Bush, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Vick,Davey Havok, the entire cast of Pirate Master and anyone else we decide to exile. Maybe Mr. Burnett will come up with an immunity challenge…loser has to bunk with Nancy.

Bits And Pieces

Need good information? Hit up the rumor mill…it may not be accurate, factual or otherwise credible, but it’s always entertaining.
Rumor has it, that NOFX (Fat Wreck Chords) is putting together a new live album (their second), slated for an early 2008 release. It should tide over fans who haven’t seen anything new since 2006’s “Wolves In Wolves Clothing.” The new album should be content heavy considering the band has been globe trotting as of late, playing far away venues in mystical lands(Japan, South Korea,China, South Africa). It will be NOFX’s second live release, the first, 1995’s “I Heard They Suck Live” was well received. Rejoice.
“Rise To Your Knees” the latest offering from proverbial psychedelic-punk rockers The Meat Puppets provides listeners (and bandmates) an unexpected twist. The brothers Kirkwood together again. Following a hiatus of little more than a decade, brother Cris (on bass) has rejoined the line-up alongside brother Curt (on guitar) in creating the legendary bands newest release. Once refered to by his brother (Cris) as a “suicide in progress” Curt has seemingly overcome his struggles which have included a stint in jail, drug abuse, and best of all a gun-shot wound. Oh the irony.
Gearing up for the start of their North American tour; Strung Out (whom I’m still undecided on). The band will return from Europe and kick things off August 31st in California. They’ll follow up with a second leg (primarily East Coast and Mid West dates)starting in September. While supporting their latest effort “Blackhawks Over Los Angeles” the boys will tour with Evergreen Terrace and I amGhost.
Fuse T.V. aka (MTV 3, the network you love to hate) has been doing some cool things as of late. Warped Wdenesdays’…your weekly Vans Warped Tour wrap-up is fun a couple hours of relatively good music. I love the idea, but would like to see better excecution. Also on the air “Crusty’s Dirt Demons” the first reality show worth watching. Heavy Metal, motorcycles, and mayhem! How much do I have to shell out for tickets to that party? For those of you not in the loop, The Crusty Demons is a group of tight -knit riding buddies (FMX/Motocross) who pioneered the FMX video scene in the mid-nineties. The group includes O.G.’s the likes of “Mad” Mike Jones, Larry “Link” Linkogle, Seth Enslow, Mike Metzger, the loveable redneck Bubba, and of course multi-media magnate Dana Nicholson. Contestants are brawling for a spot on Team Crusty and the chance to take their career to new heights. Hey I ride, and I have more tattoos than resident loudmouth Sean Highland…I want in. Additionally check out www.punknews.org for a cool contest link to Fuse TV (it’s also a great site), where you can win your very own Nintendo Wii. Sweet.
And although the news is over a week old, people love to wax intelluctual regarding the Horrorpops recent line-up changes. Get over it! In Geoff Kresge’s case it was inevitable. Viva Hate was his dream. It was half the reason he left Tger Army in the first place. Good for him, even the band supported his move. But in regards to Naomi and Kamilla Vanilla, are you f@#*ing kidding me? People these are dancers, last time I checked NOT an important ingredient. Besides threesomes rule. On the subject, what is with Psycho-Billy? Great style of music, so why should the fans ruin it, old dudes with six inch Vanilla Ice pompadors died black, busty Bettie Page wannabe wives. Scenesters. It’s not f-ing Halloween!
And last but not least Rants and Raves!
Rave: The Aggrolites newest self titled release. Only lately has the groups music become “main stream” music store accessible (doesn’t hurt to be Tim Armstrong’s backing band). Think true, dark, dance hall reggae with a pinch of Cali attitude thrown in for good measure. Full length review coming soon.
Rave: Rock of Love With Brett Michaels’ the offering from the folks over at VH1. Let me just clarify, I hate Poison, always have, always will. The only things real about that band were their sexual escapades and drug problems. Musically they were never innovators, or particularly talented but they were pretty. And at the time, American women 15 – 30 years of age liked their men pretty, the possibilities were endless; hairspray for two, huge makeup collections, and double dates with the hair dresser. Huh now that I think of it, kinda like todays Emo generation. Distaste aside, I love Brett Michaels, he’s rude, arrogant, and honest. Besides he’s been placed in a room full of chemically polluted, silicone enhanced toys (strippers and porn stars) and given carte blanch. Keep an eye on Tiffany, possible split personality/substance abuse problems…She should make for some quality entertainment.
Rant: New School big-label A&R guys who think every band with a pop-punk sound should dress in black and wear eyeliner a la Davey Havok (sell out extraordinaire). What the f#@%? You take great bands and ruin them. Go back to booking Maroon 5.
Rant: “Honest Goodbye” the new Bad Religion single. First I question the bands judgement. Then I see it performed live a few weeks ago, it grows on me, and I begin to dig it for what it is. Then my son loops it 9,000 times for 4 straight days, and every “alt-rock” radio station in the good ole U.S. of A. blasts’ it every hour on the hour. Alas I don’t blame them, I blame the band. Why did you release that song as a single? Brett you’ve got Epitaph and Hellcat, Greg you’ve got your P.H.D., what gives? You really need more dough? Try touring more (not on the Warped Tour) write books, shine shoes, anything just please N0 MORE SHITTY SINGLES!
And finally…Serius Punk 29, satelite radios’ “edgy” channel. You started so strong. Original playlists’, cool hosts’ we’d been waiting for a channel like you. Now just repetative and boring. While getting tattooed yesterday (July 18) I heard the same Bad Religion tune 4 times in 4 hours. Ok the song is classic, but 4 times in 4 hours? On the same page, does Jello Biafra (egomaniac du-jour) own a large stake in Sirius? Jello and The Melvins, the D.K.’s, his spoken word garbage, it goes on and on and on and on. Enough already. With a catalog as thick as W’s record of wrong doing, originality should be the focal point. Hey Sirius, I’m available.

DEERHOOF, KHONNOR, TRENTEMöLLER, LONEY, DEAR TO PLAY ICELAND AIRWAVES!

DEERHOOF, KHONNOR, TRENTEMöLLER, LONEY, DEAR TO PLAY ICELAND AIRWAVES!

Will join múm, Bloc Party, Chromeo, Of Montreal, !!!, Bonde do Role and more for a glorious five days of music!

Critical darlings Deerhoof (US), Swedish pop-sensation Loney, Dear and indie wunderkind Khonnor (US) are among the latest additions to Iceland Airwaves 2007. Other recent acts include Danish electro sensation Trentemöller, Canadian next-big-things Plants & Animals; not to mention horde of Icelandic performers such as Mínus, Singapore Sling and Ghostigital. All of them will join previously announced attractions that include Bloc Party (UK), !!! (US), of Montréal (US) and Icelandic legends múm and GusGus for a five-day party in downtown Reykjavík during the week of October 19-21.

Iceland Airwaves: A five-day festival, Iceland Airwaves has been steadily growing since its inception and is now widely considered to be among the highlights of the annual music-festival calendar – with hundreds of journalists and music industry people flying in every year from Europe, North America and rest of the world. As per usual, this year’s bash looks to surpass the previous ones in terms of sheer intensity, with an approximated 170 acts competing for the festivalgoers’ attention.

Reykjavík’s proximity to a plethora of geysers, waterfalls and other natural phenomena that are unlike anything found elsewhere in the world helps earn the festival some of its merit, although it’s main attraction has always been the music. Making a point of always showcasing a healthy mixture of local and international talent, the festival often features bands on the brink of it-dom well before they gain international notoriety (cases in point: The Rapture, TV on the Radio, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Iceland Airwaves’ location – in the numerous and infamous bars and clubs of 101 – adds a final touch of charm to the world’s northernmost music festival.

The latest additions: Deerhoof’s latest opus, “Friend Opportunity”, was released to great critical acclaim last January, with many a noted publication awarding the trio full marks for their adventurous, yet melodic sonic ventures. They remain a live favourite for the indie set and their legion of devoted fans grows by the day. Those might also fall prey to the irresistible charm of fellow American Khonnor (Connor Kirby-Long), who’s home-grown 2004 début “Handwriting” saw him lauded as a bona fide genius by the NME among others. His reputation certainly precedes him, and with new music in the works his Airwaves performance is highly anticipated.

Comma enthusiast-slash-one man band Loney, Dear’s fourth long-player (and US début), “Loney, Noir”, hit North-American shelves last winter via SubPop. A hefty, still-ongoing world tour followed and will see the lovely Swede sing his “adorable and fragile” songs for new crowds throughout the year.

Iceland Airwaves has always aimed to present the best and brightest of Iceland’s acclaimed music scene, and 2007 will prove no exception. Festival staff are currently in the process of reviewing the 300-strong pile of musician applications for Airwaves 2007, and will leave no stone unturned in the quest to showcase the best things Icelandic music has to offer. <3 Svanhvít!, Esja (featuring members of Airwaves favourites Mínus and Gusgus) and Motion Boys are among the very promising "Airwaves-virgins" selected to play this year, to name but a few. For full listing of the 77 acts now confirmed for Iceland Airwaves 2007 please visit www.icelandairwaves.com

Iceland Airwaves is produced and promoted by Mr Destiny, in collaboration with Icelandair and the Reykjavik City Council.

Festival website: www.icelandairwaves.com

For package deals (flight, festival ticket + optional hotel) visit your nearest Icelandair outlet (www.icelandair.net) or find out more on the Airwaves website.

ACL: Rock’s Hidden Gem

Music festival bums, take heart. When the last concert of Summerfest came to a close a week ago, it may have seemed like the only thing left of the summer was to peck away at the fourth of July’s surplus of hot dogs and commence your vigil awaiting the announcement of next year’s Coachella lineup.

But wait. The music of Summer ‘07 has not ended, at least not yet. The summer’s most under-the-radar festival is still ahead of us. And you can still get tickets.

And arguably, it’s the best music festival in the country.

This year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is September 14-16, at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. It’ll be hot (in the past, temperatures have soared to 107) and muggy (in southeast Texas, the atmosphere is basically the Gulf of Mexico disguised as air), but for anyone willing to sweat out the Texas hospitality, the festival offers a stellar lineup in a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere.

Headliners this year include Bob Dylan & His Band, Bjork, the White Stripes, Wilco, Arcade Fire, the Killers, and the Arctic Monkeys. Other artists include Ben Kweller, Damien Rice, the Decemberists, and Amy Winehouse. And lest you forget you’re in Texas, ACL also features a number of roots rock, country, folk, and bluegrass bands, including country-rockers Cross Canadian Ragweed, maverick Robert Earl Keen, banjo jazz master Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Steve Earle, and alt-country pioneer Billy Joe Shaver. All together, 130 bands will play on eight stages during the three day festival.

One of the best things about ACL is the relaxed atmosphere. For those skeptical of attending a rock festival in Texas, remember that we’re talking about Austin, not Texas. Austin is like
Haight-Ashbury located in Soviet Russia. Texas’s capital is laid back and friendly, and sports as many hippies as Seattle (though in Austin they’ll probably wear cowboy hats and refer to Willie Nelson by his first name). Because Zilker Park is huge, the festival is a little less crowded than other major festivals, and attendees are allowed to bring chairs, blankets, and just about whatever else they want.

First held in 2002, ACL is as an offshoot of the popular public television program of the same name. Produced by KLRU (owner of the program) and Capital Sports & Entertainment, the first year’s festival was only two days but drew 42,000 people. Realizing they’d struck gold, ACL’s producers quickly went to work organizing the next year’s festival, which they expanded to three days. In 2004, just the festival’s third year, 75,000 people attended the Saturday show. Since then, a 65,000 cap has been placed on each day. Last year, both Saturday and Sunday sold out.

All the three-day passes have been sold already, but you can still get single-day tickets by going to their website (http://www.aclfest.com/tickets.aspx).

Type O Negative – Dead Again album review

Type O Negative Dead Again album reviewwritten by Mike Cox

Heretic? Misogynist? The devil incarnate? Nah, just Peter Steele; death obsessed, self-loathing front man of the Brighton Beach (Brooklyn, N.Y.) based Goth rockers Type O Negative. Laugh at them. Go ahead. They actually enjoy it.

Formed in demise, and doom, the band is (in my opinion) solely responsible for starting the whole Goth/Metal genre. Argument is futile. Your fight will fall upon deaf ears. Accept this as the word of God himself.

Almost two decades deep, T.O.N. is still churning out some of the darkest, lyrically provocative music in the world. Evidence lays in the bands seventh studio release, 2007’s “Dead Again.”

Musically the band never saw themselves as, well “talented”. Steele and the others constantly used self-deprecating humor, to sort of justify what it was they were doing. What they never realized, was that no justification was needed. With guitars tuned so low, the hands of the dead could well reach from the bowels of hell to assist in playing, and lyrical content so politically incorrect were it not put in an artistic (theatrical and sarcastic none the less) light, it may well have endured constant protest. Fans adore them. Parents despise them. And with the release of “Dead Again”, I’ve never heard more life.

Musically the band has peaked. The line-up has been stable as an E.R. flat-line for sometime now. “Dead Again” the title track, begins with sludging guitars, and a ghostly choir, quickly ascending into a bass driven hardcore breakdown eventually keeping the tempo at a punk rock pace. All the while Steele harmonizes, melodic and soulful, never really needing to scream. With lines like “No excuse for drug abuse”, “Chemical enjoyment turning thee paranoid”, and my personal favorite “There are some things worse than death” his depression and anger come au natural. Shades of emotion that turn “Dead Again” into a heartfelt sentiment on drug addiction, coming off a stern warning. The joy of temptation leads to the evil of indulgence, and Steele’s own story seems to serve as one dark lesson.

Wallowing in the same shades of depravity comes “Tripping a Blind Man” the albums number two track. The combination of tracks one and two is T.O.N. at their best. Again fans are treated to a meat grinder style guitar intro that quickly morphs into a full speed self-serving tyrannical rant. The track breaks and changes several times, allowing Steele to experiment with every vocal range known to man. Addressing the condemned that serve to judge…taking the low road all the way “Want to play god, and I know you will, but if that’s the case I’ll be the devil.”

As for the album’s rotten core, it’s classic Bella Lugosi with modern mental depravities. “Profits of Doom” incorporates more of the horror movie style fans have come to know and love. Grandiose Goth Rock at it’s best. Picking up on a serious note, “These Three Things” is a ranting ode on the evils of abortion (obliviously this topic struck a chord somewhere in Steele) clocking in at 14 minutes and 21 seconds; it’s the albums longest track and possibly the most thought provoking. The track is confrontational on several levels, stemming possibly from Steele’s shocking spiritual conversion (he’s a devout Roman Catholic).

Winding through, we have the staple (and often misinterpreted as misogynistic) rants on the evils of women. A common theme in Steele’s writing, we find it toned down this time. “September Sun” and “She Burned Me Down” come closest, both slightly vindictive tales dealing with loss and infidelity (consider these my personal interpretations). Both tracks are done with a softer touch than say…”Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity” as heard on 1991’s “Slow Deep and Hard.”

Alas I find myself going track by track, and that’s not what I’m about. Take the time to soak this album in. Love it for all it does and doesn’t have to offer. Sit like me in a pool of self inflicted pain; agonize over love lost, wasted time and mental illness. Drink heavily and wear a heavier heart. Type O Negative is half empty, yet still full of anger, guilt, shame and sincerity. An appropriate choice considering toady is Friday the 13th of June 2007.

Garage Ink Studios To Hold Second Art Show

The Bay Areas’ critically acclaimed Garage Ink Studios(www.garageinkstudios.com), owned by husband and wife team Rob and Ginger Struven are set to hold the second in a series of three art shows at Garage Inks’ Napa, California location on Saturday July 21st, 2007.

Quickly gaining a reputation as one of the Bay Areas most sought after tattoo artists, Rob is looking to shine in a second medium. Print Art. While tattooing has become a primary focus for Struven, it’s evident he remains driven to create. His technical training (a degree from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco) really shines through in his paintings. A stylistic mixing bowl, his paintings run the gamut, from the romantic to the macabre, and everything in between. One of the more humble artists I know, Struven strives to shine alongside his contemporaries, and this show is no exception.

Among the dozen or so other artists showing lay a few standouts. Nor Cal resident Bruce Gosset is slated to be on hand. Gossets’ work has been featured in/on concert posters (SuperSuckers, Rob Zombie), Hot Rod Magazies and T-Shirts everywhere. For More information check out www.brucegossett.com.

Also on the bill, Horiyoshi III. Japan’s leading tattoo sensei. And master of the ancient irezumi-the 200 year old art of Japanese Tattoo. His work, nothing short of transcendent is talent personified. Whether Horiyoshi III actually appears remians to be seen, but having the opportunity to view his original works in such an intimate setting is a rare.
Horitaka proprietor of San Jose California’s State Of Grace Tattoo(www.horitaka.com) is also scheduled to appear. A well known artist up and down the West Coast, Horitaka is also credited for running one of the most successfull annual tattoo conventions (San Jose/State of Grace)in existence today.
Photographers on board include Vancouver, Washington based April May Photography(www.aprilmayphotography.com), purveyor of Fine Art prints detailing some of the most elaborate custom hot-rods the West has to offer.

Others on the bill include; Donovan Kinyon, Horitomo, Jill Bonny, Justin Shaw and quite a few others.

The show will be held Saturday July 21, from 7 to 11 P.M. at Garage Ink Studios, 814 Third St. Napa, California 94559. Admission is free but keep in mind this is a professional showing. In other words; bring your checkbooks.