The Ting Tings – Sounds from Nowheresville album review

British newer wave duo The Tings Tings second studio album Sounds from Nowheresville continues the charmingly carefree sonic excursion begun by a pair of friends with their chart topping album We Started Nothing.  Growing with the harsh realities of the modern music industry while charting a path through an expanding global soundscape, The Tings Tings produce soundwaves on their terms that have quickly gained a far flung following in the four years since their wildly successful debut.

“Silence” opens the pair’s latest offering.  “Hold your tongue now and let them listen to you silence” as drums, guitar and electronic beats slowly fill the speakers before connecting with a higher reaching keyboard riff to flood the air.  Katie White’s rhythmically flouncing vocals flit across the spectrum as the album progresses, taunting, thoughtful and stirring by turns.  Moving through a segment drawing an end to the pain inflicted by others, Nowheresville revolves onward.

Heavy guitar rocks through the core.  Riffs create the backbone of several tracks surrounded by a wide array of supplemental instruments utilized by the British doublet.  “This time I’m gonna get it right.  I’m gonna place my bass at the Guggenheim.”  Cowbell and drum splashed with strung chords surround personal evolution as storytelling explodes into a burgeoning starlet’s self assured inner rock star over the landscape painted by Jules de Martino’s instrumental virtuosity.

“And this is what it is.”  A sound resembling reggae roots slides back into the greater world of electronica before the record begins spinning toward conclusion.  “If you always have to wait, then this moment will be gone.”  “One By One” leans toward the Euro discotech sounds of Ladytron before falling into more reflective emotional territory.  A pair of tracks searching inward wind down an otherwise upbeat finished product.  Ending on an almost melancholy note, violin strings help bring Sounds from Nowheresville to a softly receding close.  “You love everybody else…. wish I was everybody else….”

Bonnaroo Announces Comedy Lineup

BONNAROO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2012 COMEDY LINEUP

AZIZ ANSARI, STEVEN WRIGHT, MARC MARON,
BRIAN POSEHN, JUDAH FRIEDLANDER , REGGIE WATTS
AND MORE CONFIRMED TO PERFORM

Superfly and A.C. Entertainment are proud to announce that the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has confirmed another extraordinary comedy lineup in association with Comedy Central for the 2012 event, scheduled to take place June 7 – 10 in Manchester, TN. A festival staple and a longstanding tradition that began in 2004, Bonnaroo will once again feature a dynamic and eclectic host of national headlining comics in its ever-popular seated, air-conditioned comedy venue.

The festival, in association with Comedy Central, will welcome some of the most hilarious personalities working today, including, among others, Aziz Ansari, the iconic Steven Wright, Marc Maron, Brian Posehn, Judah Friedlander, Reggie Watts, and Colin Hay, former Men At Work frontman. Now considered an essential play for any comic, Bonnaroo is widely considered one of the biggest comedy events in the country. Like the music programming, festival organizers strive to do things a little bit differently as they look for ways to present shows you won’t experience anywhere else. Many of the performances in the comedy tent are unique and are not likely to be seen on the comedy club/theatre circuit. More details about Comedy Central’s new partnership with Bonnaroo will be announced in the coming weeks.

The full list of comedians confirmed for the festival is below.

After an unforgettable 10th year celebration in 2011, festival organizers have come back with one of the most eclectic and striking lineups to date, drawing from an astounding range of music scenes to create what is sure to be another incomparable weekend for the ages. The breadth of the programming is consistently innovative each year and has become one of the key signature aspects of this legendary festival, whose uniquely open minded yet discerning and passionate community thrives on its intelligent diversity.

As the only round-the-clock major U.S. music festival, Bonnaroo packs an unparalleled amount of entertainment options into its four days. The event has offered its attendees the amenities and community spirit of a small city, with 24 hours of activities including a comedy theater, cinema festival, broo’ers festival, silent disco, salon, sustainable gardening lessons, arcade, Internet cafés, restaurants, yoga classes and hundreds of high quality food and craft vendors. Rolling Stone magazine called the 2011 event “epic,” saying the weekend was full of “surprise and wonder.” Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield intoned, “If Woodstock were like this, we never would have left.”

The 2012 comedy lineup is below:

Aziz Ansari
Steven Wright
Marc Maron
Brian Posehn
Judah Freidlander
Reggie Watts
Rhys Darby
Colin Hay
Garfunkle & Oats
Amy Schumer
Pete Holmes
Rory Scovel
Mike O’Connell
Ali Wong
Kyle Kinane

OFF! tour dates and new song King Kong Brigade

OFF! just released the first sampling of their new self-titled record – the mid-album barn stormer “King Kong Brigade”. They’ve also announced a US tour with the recently reunited Refused, inspiring no shortage of jealousy from my inner teenaged self.

King Kong Brigade” download:

Full US tour dates:
5/8 Los Angeles, CA – Whiskey a Go Go
5/11 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
5/14 San Diego, CA – The Casbah
5/15 San Diego, CA – Che Cafe
5/29 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
6/02 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound Festival
7/15 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Music Park *
7/16 Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore *
7/18 Brooklyn, NY – Williamsburg Summer Garden *
7/19 Philadelphia, PA – Penn’s Landing (Riot Fest) *
7/20 Boston, MA – House of Blues *
7/21 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis *
7/22&23 Toronto, Ontario – The Sound Academy *
7/25 Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater *
7/26 Chicago, IL – Congress Theatre *

* with Refused

HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM HOSTS TENACIOUS D IN JUNE AS PART OF SUMMER TOUR

TENACIOUS D ANNOUNCE 2012 SUMMER TOUR INCLUDING 6/28 IN NYC AT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM RIZE OF THE FENIX AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON ITUNES

“TO BE THE BEST” VIDEO PREMIERE ON THEONION.COM

Following an initial string of dates in May, including an appearance at the Sasquatch Festival in George, WA, Tenacious D will be hitting the road in support of their new album Rize of the Fenix.

Locally, Tenacious D hits the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 28th. Last time Tenacious D played in New York City, they sold out Madison Square Garden, so make sure you get your tickets well in advance. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am HERE.

Rize of the Fenix, Tenacious D’s widely-anticipated third album, is available for preorder on iTunes now. Their first studio album in six years, Rize of the Fenix is the follow-up to 2006’s gold The Pick of Destiny and 2001’s platinum debut album Tenacious D. The iTunes preorder includes the exclusive track “The 5 Needs” – a classic, never-before recorded Tenacious D song. Also available is first single “Rize of the Fenix”, listen to the track via soundcloud at www.tenaciousd.com.

Rize of the Fenix will be available everywhere May 15. Produced by the brilliant John Kimbrough, Rize Of The Fenix was recorded in the garage behind his LA home and features Jack Black and Kyle Gass (Tenacious D’s core duo) performing with Dave Grohl (drums), John Spiker (bass, piano, organ), and John Konesky (electric guitar).

The Jeremy Konner directed “To Be The Best” music video expertly sums up the duos six year absence and features cameos from Dave Grohl, Yoshiki, Josh Groban, Jimmy Kimmel, Maria Menounos, Tim Robbins and Val Kilmer. “To Be The Best”, the first visual from Rize of the Fenix, premiered exlusively on TheOnion.com; click below to view.

Tenacious D – To Be The Best video

Tenacious D on tour

May 23 Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
May 24 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
May 26 Bend, OR @ Les Schwab Amphitheater
May 27 Vancouver, BC @ PNE Amphitheater
May 28 George, WA @ Sasquatch Festival
June 1 Nuremberg, Germany @ Rock im Park
June 2 Nurburgring, Germany @ Rock am Ring
June 3 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ HMH
June 5 London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
June 6 London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
June 9 Donnington Park, UK @ Download Festival
June 10 Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo
June 12 Glasgow, UK @ SECC
June 23 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
June 25 Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
June 26 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
June 28 New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
June 30 Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing – Festival Pie
July 2 Boston, MA @ Bank of America Pavilion
July 3 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
July 6 Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit
July 7 Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
July 19 Austin, TX @ Austin Music Hall
July 20 Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom
July 21 Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater
July 23 Saint Louis, MO @ The Pageant
July 24 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
July 26 Denver, Co @ Fillmore Auditorium
July 29 San Diego, CA @ SDSU Open Air Theatre

Rize of the Fenix tracklisting

Rize of the Fenix
Low Hangin’ Fruit
Classical Teacher
Señorita
Deth Starr
Roadie
Flutes and Trombones
Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage
Throwdown
Rock Is Dead
They Fucked Our Asses
To Be The Best
39

GREGORY ROGOVE TAKES ‘PIANA’ ON THE ROAD FOR THE “ALONE TOGETHER’ TOUR

GREGORY ROGOVE TAKES ‘PIANA’ ON THE ROAD FOR THE “ALONE TOGETHER’ TOUR

BILLY MARTIN (MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD), SARAH NEUFELD (ARCADE FIRE), COLIN STETSON (BON IVER) TO JOIN ON SELECT DAYS

NEW VIDEO FOR ‘SUNKEN SHIPS’ UP NOW ON FILTER

Gregory Rogove, best known for his work with Devendra Banhart, Priestbird and Megapuss (Devendra Banhart, Fabrizio Moretti, Gregory Rogove) will be performing songs from his recent release, Piana, on the’Alone Together Tour’. Piana, is a collection of simple, melancholic yet beautiful instrumental pieces for piano that were composed by Rogove, inspired by the French Impressionist piano music of Erik Satie and Claude Debussy. The tour, consisting of a West Coast and East Coast run, will kick off on April 7 in Brooklyn, NY and will include three instrumentalists from different-but-related musical communities stepping out of the band atmosphere to present their solo compositions. The tour line-up includes Gregory Rogove and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre / violin) on all dates, Billy Martin (Medeski Martin Wood / percussion) on the east coast leg, Colin Stetson (Bon Iver, Laurie Anderson / saxophone) on the west coast leg. Each artist will perform solo on their respective instrument, exploring a variety of different compositional approaches.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ‘SUNKEN SHIPS’

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ‘JACKYL’

‘ALONE TOGETHER’ TOUR DATES
April 7 – BROOKLYN, NY @ Littlefield #
April 9 – ARLINGTON, VA @ Iota #
April 10 – NY, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge #
April 11 – SOMERVILLE, MA @ Armory #
April 13 – PHILADELPHIA, PA @ First Unitarian Church – Chapel #
April 28 – LOS ANGELES, CA @ Dilettante *
May 1 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Hotel Utah *
May 3 – PORTLAND, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
May 4 – SEATTLE, WA @ Columbia City *
May 5 – VANCOUVER, BC @ Western Front *
May 6 – VANCOUVER, BC @ Western Front *

# w / Billy Martin
* w /Colin Stetson

Miike Snow – Happy To You album review

When the Swedish-American music production three-piece Miike Snow released their self-titled debut album it was met with mixed reviews. After producing hits such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (co-written and co-produced by two members of the band, in the past when they are known hit makers Bloodshy & Avant) and their claim to fame, “Animal”, their follow up, Happy to You, might not be the that highly anticipated event their label said it was going to be.

The trio’s sophomore album, Happy to You, is more carefully made and less immediate than their self-titled. This was a time when Miike Snow brought to the front the feel of a more solemn Gnarles Barkely. Miike Snow were underground electro-pop musicians pushing the envelope and not afraid to churn out mainstream hooks.

Fast-forward to Happy to You, where hooks have less emphasis and are replaced with muted dazy beats; as aforementioned it’s a smarter and more carefully put together album, but ultimately less satisfying. That goes to say nothing on the album tops “Animal” although the outstanding “Devil’s Work,” an upheaval of horns, strings and vigorous piano riffs, is a close contender.

A military beat, contrastingly relaxed and unhurried vocals and a sharp hook provide “The Wave” with a delectable zest. Yet this is only the start of catchy tunes. “Paddling Out”‘s charm hinges on spirited house piano and accompanying early-90’s elation, with “God Help This Divorce” amalgamating arch-MGMT-like falsetto vocals with a serene folk which will get your body moving. Surprisingly, Lykke Li, determined resuscitator of the dullest songs, cannot do much to help the fait of the spiraling synth track “Black Tin Box”.

What Miike Snow urgently needs at this moment is that hit, one like “Animal”, which will launch them in the mainstream music world. In spite of this Miike Snow are rocking out in a much better spot then they ever would have expected. Happy to You, is still a giant step in the right direction, a giant step that we never thought they would make.

Sharon Van Etten – Tramp album review

Music lovers around the world may agree that London-based artist, Adele, and her highly-acclaimed compilation, “21,” embody the most pain and heartbreak from a previous relationship musically conveyed in this generation. However, that opinion is quite arguable and can easily be refuted with the third album release from Brooklyn singer-songwriter, Sharon Van Etten.

No one may ever fully grasp her personal story, or if that which is told pertains to her, but the emotional depth that surrounds the sound of “Tramp” is enough to articulate the memories and feelings of unhealthy, romantic despair. This is certainly no fairytale. Throughout each song is a heavy acoustic influence capturing innocent vocals that seem to cry out for some kind of redemption, or a second chance with a significant other who actually, unbeknownst to the victim, may not be the ideal mate. It is within that underlying dark tone that Van Etten engages the listener in a therapy session.

With a simple instrumental presence comprised mainly of a guitar, it is the whispers of Van Etten that strike a powerful chord and resonate with lingering echoes of fragile lyrics. In “Give Out,” she croons, “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city or why I’ll need to leave,” and if one is looking for the reasoning behind this sentiment, the answer can be found on the album’s first single, “Serpents,” as she narrates the chilling tale of a woman who seems to be in a physically abusive relationship. Van Etten sings, “But they didn’t know/ Close in on my black eye/ I feel safe at times/ Certain emblems tell me it’s time… Serpents in my mind/ Trying to forgive your crimes/ Everyone changes in time/ I hope he changes this time.” This somber theme continues throughout the remainder of “Tramp,” as the album’s subject strives to hide the hopelessness and find a way to cope. “Trying hard to breathe in between my knees,” she says, “Take my hand and squeeze/ Say I’m alright.”

Sharon Van Etten’s “Tramp,” is profoundly lyrical as she captivates the audience with the tale of a broken woman whose desolation is far from a whimper. Her cries are heard and clearly stated in Van Etten’s vocals, which are demure, yet possess a potent appeal that draws someone in to hear her cry.

1.21 GIGAWATTS: New Brooklyn-Based Arts & Culture Magazine

1.21 Gigawatts is a NEW bi-monthly arts and music magazine based in Brooklyn, NY made by a group of Brooklyn based artists. It’s a full size, 32 page, full color magazine. Focused mainly on the New York music and art scene. Every issue includes a free downloadable playlist as well as an original piece of artwork in each copy.

The core staff all met while interning at PAPER Magazine, and after being inspired by what they saw and learned at the magazine they decided to create a publication that covered the Brooklyn scene and community. They have also picked up other staff members along the way including filmmakers, fashion students and others.

The first issue will include articles on Oberhofer, Bear in Heaven, The Yellow Dogs, Life Size Maps and artwork from the whole staff as well as a few other New York artists.

Here is the link to the Kickstarter campaign:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannykrug/121-gigawatts-magazine
Get involved, all the cool kids are.

Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror album review

Sleigh Bells’s debut Treats introduced noise pop in a sugar-coated, cheerleader ready album.  While providing a second chapter, Reign of Terror utilizes noise pop for a darker, more haunting sound.  The beginning of the album follows in Treats’ path, though.

The first song “True Shred Guitar” starts with audio from a live show in New Orleans.  The song is amped up, ready to get the crowd riled.  If the music itself cannot get someone ready to jump out of the stadium seat then the chorus does it – “Push it, push it, push it.”  Not only does it have the effect on the audience, but it also gets the listener at home pumped up for the album.

As their sophomore album, Reign of Terror continues to provide that pep-rally-on-crack feeling.  At the same time, though, the lyrics are darker than those found on Treats.  The second track “Born to Lose” opens with “head you say suicide in your sleep” then proceeds to tell this person he or she was born to lose.  Lose at what?  It is presumed Sleigh Bells means life.  The song comes to a haunting end with a minute-long outro of a reverberating electric guitar.

“Road to Hell” follows down this dark path.  The song begins with a hard drum line and the sound of machine guns.  A breathy chorus is followed by deep breathing, leaving the image of someone running down said road to hell.   Running from what?  Perhaps the “Demons” of the previous song.  Still with the pumped up volume, Alexis Krauss screams about these demons coming to “bury you” while lined up “6x6x6.”

The rhythm slows down for “You Lost Me,” adding another layer to the terrifying album.  Karuss’s voice whispers hauntingly, “I don’t want you to see me this way/What a way to die.”  This song is the closest Sleigh Bells comes to having a ballad.  With the lyrics and the slow-dance rhythm, the song brings to mind the first dance at Jack and Sally’s Halloween wedding.  Looking at the album’s cover art, it could just as easily be blood on those Keds as spirit paint.

Yellow Ostrich – Strange Land album review

I’ll confess, it has taken me a while to finally sit down and listen to Strange Land all at once: some truly optimal skiing conditions as well as the St. Patrick’s day work/party schedule has kept me away from the laptop for over a week. But now, I feel like a fool for waiting so long to get educated. I could have been ripping mad powder with some of these tracks blasting. But hindsight is 20/20; best push on with what I’m here to do.

In a totally new direction from his debut album The Mistress, New York’s Yellow Ostrich (born Alex Schaaf) has expanded the musical palette to an extreme. Where the previous offering was minimal and eclectic, mixing looped vocals with different effects, it seems many of the tracks on Strange Land take you on a journey with a vast landscape. Each is like a 3-4 minute vacation, and Schaaf is your guide. Take the opener, Elephant King: Hyper produced vocals, slight buzz, and the buildup to the meat of the song is tantalising. Then the latest single, Marathon Runner, and it’s a belter, hooking your attention from the outset, with the quirky vocal intro that cascades into a cacophony of cymbals and a great chorus. I Got No Time For You is a drugged out antithesis of the previous tracks, leading up to a sensory overload with essence of Pink Floyd and a self-affirming mantra. I Want Yr Love has a beautiful vocal melody, with almost a Moroccan feel.

I could go on.

The point is this: Yellow Ostrich has created a highly listenable album, made up of solid standing songs that equal a sum greater than its individual parts. If this is the development capable in just one year and 2 albums, then one can only anticipate their future endeavours to be met with eager ears and open wallets. If they can continue this trajectory, they could well be up there with the greats in a relatively short amount of time.