Cass McCombs – Wit’s End album review

Cass McCombs’ fifth album, Wit’s End was released this past week, April 26, 2011. The California native who debuted his first EP down in San Francisco way back in 2002, Not the Way, has, well….certainly found his way. Wit’s End travels through the depths of unrequited love, a tragic sound that will evoke feelings of a desolate land, a table in the back of a bar, the pit of someone’s bedroom lit by the tragic spotlight of a desk lamp in the midnight hour.

The album opens with “Country Line”, a song that sets up all of those emotions, the saddening desperation of retreating from something that failed. In “Lonely Doll”, the lyrics speak of a girl, childlike and porcelain, something sweet and innocent, repetitive in its verses. “A poetry painted from truth but imagine the suit the lonely doll / For beauty eternally in youth those pity compassion and roots / the lonely doll.” “Buried Alive” proves to be the darkest song on the album, a contemplation of life and death. Spin Magazine said of McCombs album: “He’s aiming for timeless.” Many will agree. The instrumentation on this album, such as that of the piano, mirrors a brooding starkness like that of Leonard Cohen. The minimalistic aesthetic of Cass McCombs is comparable to Tim Hardin or The Decemberists’ realm of wintery perspective.

Pitchfork‘s review even went so far as to compare him to Elliott Smith or Nick Drake, which could seem like a stretch until you reach a point in the album, it’s final song: “A Knock Upon the Door.” HIs “Memory Stain” sounds like a bluesy folk song that could have been played at a coffee house in Greenwich Village in the ’60s. It is dainty and morbidly jolly with the aid of the clarinet. In “Hermits Cave”, McCombs cleverly sings: “In my twenty-seventh year / I set out to confront my fears / And found the role of a lifetime / You see, two plus seven is nine / And the ninth card in the Tarot / Is that Hermit I came to know.” There is a quality to his music that is stripped down, fragile in its delivery, and fit for a dimly lit cantina hidden under a cobblestone road in a foreign land.

Cass McCombs has toured with artists like Andrew Bird, Blonde Redhead, Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Cat Power, and Iron & Wine.

To learn more about Cass McCombs or to download his album, Wit’s End: check out his Myspace page, or take a look at his website.

The Boxer Rebellion – The Cold Still album review

To call The Boxer Rebellion’s sound epic would be an understatement, as the unique sound captivates the spectrum of all encompassing emotions. The London quartet possess pensive ambitious guitar riffs, coated with substantially heavy keyboard output, which is solidified with anchored drums.

Somewhere between the National and Radiohead, The Boxer Rebellion’s “The Cold Still” sits pleasantly, tackling the hardest defining emotions of humankind and declaring a truly distinctive sound.  They have learned a substantial amount and have made a name for themselves since the last release, “Union,” notorious as their first self-release.  Scoring one of the top producers of today, Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon) and starring in a Hollywood film (Going the Distance), The Boxer Rebellion have much of which to be proud.

Although on “The Cold Still,” The Boxer Rebellion’s front man, Nathan Nicholson’s exclusive vocals and lyrics seem somewhat withdrawn in the fervor department, evidence can be seen on the amateur track “The Runner.” It comprises the same recurrent few words rehashed in a different way.

However, the ardor is unquestionably apparent on “Doubt” and the Coldplay collation “No Harm,” but is charlatan in tracks of the likes of “Organ Song” that drums its way into the juxtaposing vital drum backbone of the Arcade Fire “Rebellion (Lies)” feel.  Although, The Boxer Rebellion do leave us with a peaceful and light ballad “Doubt,” possibly assuaging that empty feeling imposed upon the listeners and moreover, a perfect title for the identity crisis, they are facing at the moment.

If there is one thing I have learnt from The Boxer Rebellion it is their constant striving and strain to set a poignant or emotive overtone to their work. Perhaps taking away from the mood and emotiveness altogether, as noted in “Both Sides Are Even.”  Dreary might be perfect descriptor for the track – definitely not what The Boxer Rebellion was going for.  Thus, conceivably leaving the listener in a futile state. Even “The Cold Still” ‘s cover possesses an enlivened and fresh green leaf, against a tattered backdrop.

While covering your bases could be extremely advantageous in some situations – not this one. The lack of vehemence deters from the rest of the album. Perhaps the next triumph on the list for The Boxer Rebellion would be to formulate a clearer direction for their music. There is something missing on “The Cold Still”, which definitely does not showcase their perseverance.

EMPIRES ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE’S “CHOOSE THE COVER” CONTEST – THE FINAL FOUR CONFIRMED HEADLINING TOUR BEGINS THIS JUNE

EMPIRES ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE’S “CHOOSE THE COVER” CONTEST – THE FINAL FOUR CONFIRMED HEADLINING TOUR BEGINS THIS JUNE

NEW MUSIC ON ROLLINGSTONE.COM

With an overwhelming response from both fans and critics, Chicago four-piece EMPIRES have advanced to the next round of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Choose The Cover” contest. What started with thousands of musicians, has now been narrowed down to the final four. Known for an explosive live show, Empires will embark on a national headlining tour beginning June 15th and play a hometown show on May 21st. Tour dates below.

Driven by insightful lyrics and an exciting balance of swagger, melody and an explosion of guitars, Empires is catching the attention of many. Along with MTV, Alternative Press and more, The Chicago Tribune praises Empires as “refreshingly unpredictable” and AOL Spinner applauds the band’s “explosive Gaslight Anthem-grade stadium rockers.” Rolling Stone raves “a big, multi-faceted, tower of power” and “inspired by the independent spirit of 90s grunge, Empires’ music takes the urgency and emotion of that era and reboots it for a new generation.”

Since their formation, Empires has taken full advantage of the Internet and online communities as a means for getting the word out about their music. As with all of their songs, which are entirely written, engineered and produced by the band leaving them totally free from creative restraints, Empires has allowed kids to download their music for free on their official website www.weareempires.com. Through an organic word-of-mouth and a true love of these songs, the band’s debut album “Howl” is currently over 70,000 album downloads, and counting.

Check out news songs “Night Is Young,” “Hard Times” and “Hells Heroes”

By rating Empires five stars on the link above, you can help the band become the first unsigned band to land the cover of Rolling Stone!! Voting for round three ends Friday, May 13th.

TOUR DATES (more to be announced):

May 21st Beat Kitchen Chicago, IL
June 15th Frankie’s Toledo. OH
June 17th The Studio @ Webster Hall New York, NY
June 18th The Fire Philadelphia, PA
June 20th Vibe Lounge Rockville Centre, NY
June 21st Smiling Moose Pittsburgh, PA
June 22nd Mac’s Bar East Lansing, MI
June 23rd Musica Akron, OH
June 24th The Strutt Kalamazoo, MI

BRITNEY SPEARS REACHES PLATINUM STATUS WITH FEMME FATALE

BRITNEY SPEARS REACHES PLATINUM STATUS WITH FEMME FATALE

Her U.S. Albums Certifications Now Total 32 Million

Ticket Sales For “Femme Fatale Tour Begin On April 30th

New York, NY – Pop superstar Britney Spears achieves another benchmark with her current album, Femme Fatale. This week, Spears’ seventh album – which spawned the No. 1 hit “Hold It Against Me” and the Top 5 smash “Till The World Ends”- is certified platinum by the RIAA. This latest news brings Britney’s U.S. albums certifications to the 32 million sales mark.

The certification comes as tickets for her highly anticipated all female Femme Fatale Tour with special guest Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo go on sale April 30th. The tour kicks off on June 16th in Sacramento.

Spears’ impressive reach goes beyond the U.S. as fans world wide are embracing her latest project. Femme Fatale has also achieved platinum status in Canada and is gold-certified in the UK, France, Mexico, Czech Republic, Brazil, Korea & Singapore. The current single, “Till The World Ends” is in the Top 10 on iTunes charts in Canada, Mexico, Australia, France, Spain and Denmark and the song ranks in the Top 20 on radio airplay charts across Europe.

With the release of the critically-acclaimed Femme Fatale, Britney has earned more distinctions and set new records: she is the only woman to have six albums debut at No.1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart; she and Mariah Carey are the only artists to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with more than one song; Britney’s one of only seven artists- and just three women- with Hot 100 No. 1’s in three decades; Femme Fatale is one of the Top 10 longest running trending topics on Twitter.

Afrobeta – Under the Streets album preview

Back in 2006, the duo that is Afrobeta, Cuci Amador  and Tony Smurphio, joined forced to create the kind of neon dance beats you’d hear on a sweaty Miami dance floor. The club-sexy, synth sound of this South Florida group was just beginning to create a fan-base. It was in 2007 that the Miami New Times titled them with “Best Electronic Group”, and later in 2008, they were announced by the same publication as “Best Local Songwriters.” Afrobeta has also been recognized over the years for their bilingual lyrics, gaining sponsership from Myspace Latino.Which comes as no surprise. Amador has the kind of  likability that stems easily from such ethereal vocals, and Smurphio, a long line of street kid among the Latino music scene, having toured with Pitbull as his keyboardist.

By July of 2009, Afrobeta was ready to release their debut EP, Do You Party? It was a melding of loungy electro-lite singles, a familiar Miami wave with bright pop undertones. 2010 became the year of all years for Afrobeta when they decided to get back into the studio to remix and remaster some of their older tunes. They also spent the better half of the year touring the world’s various festivals, most notably: Glastonbury in Somerset, England, a gathering that also welcomed bands that year like The XX, Bonobo, La Roux, and LCD Soundsystem. Afrobeta made its mark at Burning Man and Space Ibiza. After etching such a spot in the eletronica community, the Miami New Times gave Afrobeta the long awaited title of “Best Band of 2010.”

Their newest album release, which has been slated for Summer 2011, is Under the Streets, a full-length 13-track album. While they’ve been stamped as “cutesy electro-lounge”, many will find a bit of a dubstep influence on their new album, and perhaps that’s thanks to Smurphio’s intense bass-lines. Song favorites will include “Two Different Worlds”, “Nighttime”, and “Playhouse”, some songs familiar to Afro fans, and new songs that you will digest with simple and pure house beats.

For the latest on Afrobeta, check out their website, or their Facebook fan page.

Love Inks Announce North America Tour Dates

LOVE INKS
ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICA TOUR DATES
DEBUT LP ‘E.S.P.’ OUT MAY 10 (HELL, YES / CITY SLANG)

LOVE INKS NORTH AMERICA TOUR DATES
WED 5/18 – Tempe, AZ @ Saill In
THU 5/19 – San Diego, CA @ Tin Can Alehouse
FRI 5/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echo
SAT 5/21 – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlcok
WED 5/25 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
THU 5/26 – Santa Fe / Albuquerque, NM @ TBD
FRI 5/27 – Denver, CO @ TBD
SAT 5/28 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
MON 5/30 – Chicago, IL @ Beauty Bar
TUE 5/31 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
WED 6/1 – Montreal, QC – Cagibi
THU 6/2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands
FRI 6/3 – New York, NY @ Cake Shop
MON 6/6 – Boston, MA @ O’Briens
WED 6/8 – Washington, DC @ Red Palace

Be sure to catch Austin trio Love Inks on their North America tour this Spring in support of their upcoming debut, ‘E.S.P.’ out May 10, 2011 through Hell, Yes / City Slang Records.

Tipped as “Ones To Watch” by Rough Trade Records and triumphing the ‘Favorite Track’ title on BBC Radio personality Steve Lamacq’s 6 Music Playlist for their premiere single ‘Blackeye,’ Love Inks are set to sweep the sonic nation as one of this Summer’s top breaking bands.

Giving nods to lo-fi indie-rock outfits like The Blow and Best Coast, the record was conceived and recorded with strict, direct motives. The sounds captured within the album’s 10 tracks are simply an electric guitar, a bass guitar, an old drum machine, at special moments a Moog Satellite and, most importantly, the simple yet poignant vocals of Sherry LeBlanc.

Bass Drum of Death – GB City album review

Mississippi born grunge, noise-sound ear fucking duo releases GB city on Pulse Sound/Inflated records. The two fellas prove they are capable of noise-lots of it. John Barrett singer/guitarist/drummer/distortionist is one of those renaissance musicians who can’t help but wail an instrument. He started his personal project in 2007 and has now joined forces with drummer Colin Sneed.

This is Bass Drum of Death’s debut full length album in which the two fill every second with wailing, generating, ear-bending madness. The band is described as “low-fi” and “noise-pop” which they somehow manage to be both of while fitting into just good old punk (which doesn’t seem to have a place in music anymore). Whatever the two do, they do it well.
The album is filled with many solid tunes, many of which get inter-tangled in the abyss of noise together but some stand out like a black eye . The title track “GB City” drives home the objective of the album-mind numbing madness via earlobe which is a feeling I, like many (but not all) welcome with open arms.

We hear more groove in the “Leaves” which includes a melody completely suitable to choreograph head banging. The tracks “Heart Attack Kid” and “Young Pros” represent everything that is good about loud. They like to flaunt their too-cool for school attitude with most band photographs capturing their hair over the face that only displays cigarette smoke being released from their ultra loose lips. The lyrics hit the ears like a bass drum and run the risk at being repetitive, but the instrumentals often make up for it. The album is best digested with headphones, the louder the better.

The Boxer Rebellion Interview

After just driving for two and a half days from Milwalkee in a van, six guys arrived in Vancouver. Four of them make up the band The Boxer Rebellion. Relieved that there weren’t any incidents on the trip, the group finished off their soundcheck at The Biltmore Cabaret and their lead singer Nathan Nicholson along with bassist Adam Harrison sat down with Hugo Lunny for a few words for MVRemix.

The Boxer Rebellion have been together for nearly a decade now, and have endured both significant ups, and downs. They’ve had their major label deal, but due to issues beyond their control, their label went under and the band opted for the indie route which has proven well for them.

The group’s music has been heavily featured in TV and film, enabling the UK based band (with a lead singer originally from Tennessee) to travel the world recording music and touring.

Continue reading “The Boxer Rebellion Interview”

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS US TOUR BEGINS NEXT WEEK Tour To Feature Special Guests Margo & The Nuclear So & So’s

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS US TOUR BEGINS NEXT WEEK Tour To Feature Special Guests Margo & The Nuclear So & So’s

The Twilight Singers will begin their US tour in support of their new album Dynamite Steps next Wednesday in Oxford, MS. The 23-city tour will conclude in New Orleans, LA on June 3rd. Tickets for all shows are on sale now. For the most up to date information on ticket sales visit www.thetwilightsingers.com.

Special guests Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s will open all shows on the US run. The band is currently recording their fourth album and will be taking a break to join The Twilight Singers on tour.

The Twilight Singers performed their latest single “On The Corner” on the Late Show With David Letterman this past Tuesday.

Clearly the next chapter in an already long and stellar career for Greg Dulli, Dynamite Steps reaches a whole new level of catharsis and progression, evocatively cramming all the highs and lows of the maverick singer-songwriter’s past half-decade into unexpected sonic trapdoors. Various guests make contributions to the album including: Ani DiFranco, Joseph Arthur, Petra Haden, Nick McCabe (The Verve), and Mark Lanegan.

Rising to fame as the magnetic leader of the Afghan Whigs during the 80’s & 90’s; Greg Dulli followed his muse and began to innovatively fuse indie, soul and electronic sounds in his post-Whigs collective The Twilight Singers, who released their first album, Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers, in 2000. Their beloved second album Blackberry Belle followed in 2003, followed by a covers album She Loves You in 2004. 2006’s Powder Burns made many critics “Best Of” year end lists. In 2008 he teamed up with long time friend Mark Lanegan to form The Gutter Twins who released the critically acclaimed album Saturnalia the same year.

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS US TOUR

May 4 Oxford MS Proud Larry’s
May 5 Atlanta GA Masquerade
May 6 Nashville TN Mercy Lounge
May 7 Carrboro NC Cat’s Cradle
May 9 Washington D.C. 9:30 Club
May 10 Philadelphia PA Trocodero
May 11 Boston MA Paradise
May 13 New York NY Webster Hall
May 14 Pittsburgh PA Mr. Small’s Theatre
May 15 Detroit MI St. Andrews Hall
May 16 Newport KY Southgate House
May 17 Chicago IL Metro
May 18 Minneapolis MN Varsity Theatre
May 21 Portland OR Wonder Ballroom
May 22 Seattle WA Showbox
May 24 San Francisco CA The Fillmore
May 25 Los Angeles CA The Music Box
May 27 San Diego CA Belly Up
May 28 Phoenix AZ The Clubhouse
May 30 Dallas TX Granada Theatre
May 31 Austin TX The Parish
June 1 Houston TX Warehouse Live Studio
June 3 New Orleans LA Tipitina’s

Josh Groban Gearing Up for May 12th Kick-Off of North American Leg of His 2011 “Straight To You” World Tour

Josh Groban Gearing Up for May 12th Kick-Off of North American Leg of His 2011 “Straight To You” World Tour

Internationally Renowned Singer and Songwriter Brings Intimate Theater-Esque Setting to Arena; Marks First Tour in Four Years; Groban to Take Questions From the Audience During Each Performance; Those Who Present a Valid Student I.D. at the Box Office Can Purchase a Ticket for $25

This week, Josh Groban begins rehearsals for his first full-scale global arena tour in four years: The 2011 “Straight To You” World Tour. The North American leg kicks off May 12th in New Orleans, Louisiana, and visits cities across the U.S. and Canada before culminating in a celebratory show at New York City’s legendary Madison Square Garden on November 14th.

With a set designed by the award-winning British multi-media creative and digital agency Knifedge, which has pioneered the use of projection with live theater events, the tour will give fans the feeling of an intimate theater setting through stage design, lighting, and projection, as well as through the spontaneity and interactivity Groban delighted his fans with during last year’s “Before We Begin” shows. Groban will not only perform an ever-changing set-list of favorites from his best-selling albums, including his self-titled 2001 debut, 2003’s Closer, and 2006’s Awake, as well as songs from his recent platinum album Illuminations, he will also take questions from the audience via text, which concert-goers will be able to send before and during each show.

“Gearing up for a tour, there is always the anticipation of something special; the excitement of traveling across the country and the world, of meeting and sharing with the fans, of exploring musical worlds in a way not possible in the studio,” Groban says. “It is the most fun I have in my whole career and I want it to be the most fun my fans have as well. The Straight To You Tour will be all about this goal.”

In addition, as a nod to his devoted student fans of all ages, Groban is offering tickets for $25 to anyone who presents a valid student i.d. at the venue’s box office. Tickets for all shows are on sale now. All dates are listed below. For more information, please visit http://www.joshgroban.com/tour. Rock-jazz pianist ELEW will provide support on 18 dates.

Josh Groban’s upcoming “Straight To You” Tour dates are as follows:

05/12

New Orleans, LA

Lakefront Arena
05/14

Houston, TX

Toyota Center Arena
05/16

Dallas, TX

American Airlines Arena
05/18

San Antonio, TX

AT&T Center
05/20

Tulsa, OK

BOK Center
05/21

Wichita, KS

In Trust BankArena
05/24

Omaha, NE

Qwest Center
05/25

Kansas City, MO

Sprint Center
05/27

St. Louis, MO

Scottrade Center
05/28

Moline, IL

I Wireless Center
06/03

Buffalo, NY

HSBC
06/04

Cleveland, OH

Quicken Loans Arena
06/07

Greenville, SC

Bi-Lo Center
06/08

Duluth, GA

Gwinnette Arena
06/10

Charlotte, NC

Time Warner Cable Arena
06/11

Raleigh, NC

RBC Center
06/14

Richmond, VA

Richmond Coliseum
06/15

Hershey, PA

Giant Center
07/08

Minneapolis, MN

Target Center
07/09

Green Bay, WI

Resch Center
07/12

Indianapolis, IN

Conseco Fieldhouse
07/13

Chicago, IL

United Center
07/15

Cincinnati, OH

US Bank Arena
07/16

Auburn Hills, MI

The Palace of Auburn Hills
07/18

Toronto, ON

Air Canada Centre
07/19

London, ON

John LaBatte Centre
07/22

Ottawa, ON

Scotiabank Place Arena
07/23

Montreal QC

Bell Centre
07/26

Boston, MA

TD Garden
07/27

Washington, DC

Verizon Center
07/29

Philadelphia, PA

Wells Fargo Arena
07/30

Uncasville, CT

Mohegan Sun Arena
08/02

Newark, NJ

Prudential Center
08/03

Pittsburgh, PA

ConSol Energy Center
08/05

Columbus, OH

Scottenstein Center
08/06

Grand Rapids, MI

VanAndel Arena
08/09

Milwaukee, WI

Bradley Center
08/10

Des Moines, IA

Wells Fargo Arena
08/12

Denver, CO

Pepsi Center
08/13

Salt Lake City, UT

Energy Solutions Arena