Tomas Barfod – Salton Sea review

Danish music has not of yet left an especially impressive mark on popular music. Suffice it to say that the most prominent Danish musician right now, and of the last twenty or so years, may be Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. Scandinavian music in general does carry with it the catchiest connotations for the average American listener. The Danes are making tremendous strides, however, and one artist in particular may be able to capitalize on the wildfire popularity of indie electronica.

With the release of his solo album Salton Sea, Tomas Barfod, drummer of Scandinavian outfit WhoMadeWho, bridges several gaps with which electronica can struggle at times. Being a drummer, Barfod utilizes the tangible kit to great effect as the backbeat for much of the album, but on several occasions the kit seems to fight with a synthesized drum kit, creating a sort of battle between the sounds. Tracks on the album alternate between having vocals and being entirely instrumental, giving the album the experimental feel that Barfod is reconciling with himself and toying with the listener to see what works best.

The opening track, a nearly five-minute romp entitled “D.S.O.Y.,” builds continuously without ever really going anywhere. The momentous climax that the listener expects never reveals itself, which may be a cunning ploy on Barfod’s part to fool us before we have gotten to know him. From there, though, the tracks pay off with dividends. Barfod’s two collaborations with Swedish singer Nina Kinert (“Till We Die” and “November Sky”) in particular sparkle, with Kinert’s seductive vocals bringing the kind of sample-worthy quality that is bound to appear in an Avicii remix before too much longer.

“Came to Party,” an ode to club life, features only one line: “Everybody came to party.” Universal sentiments do not exist if that is not one of them. The dazzling “Aether” showcases Barfod’s melodic prowess as well as his adept timekeeping on the drums, and the track which follows it, “Nighthawke,” emphasizes harmonic displays that echo and reverberate throughout the album.

Overall, the album takes on a Hot Chip vibe, circa Made in the Dark. Barfod shows that he is an effective electronic musician in his own right, though collaborations with the other members of WhoMadeWho throughout yield positive results. With any luck, Salton Sea will bring Barfod and his comrades some popularity, help to redefine cross-genre electronic music and give Denmark credit where credit is due.

The Ghost Inside – Get What You Give album review

About a month ago, I ended up at a hardcore band’s set at a festival, waiting for the set I really wanted to see to start. I’m not going to say who the band was, but it was awful. It was basically my introduction to the genre, and I took my hating the set to mean that I’d hate all hardcore music. I was wrong.

The Ghost Inside’s June 19 release Get What You Give is 40 minutes of heavy and surprisingly upbeat noise. Despite a new drummer and record label (Epitaph now, instead of Mediaskare), the sound of the album is relatively the same as the band’s incredibly well-reviewed 2010 release Returners.

“Engine 45” begins as one of the hardest tracks on the album, led by dominating guitar riffs and driving vocals, but about halfway through, the loudness stops. It breaks down and lead vocalist Jonathan Vigil sings a verse that strangely resembles Floridian pop-punk band New Found Glory. The calmness is short-lived though and “Engine 45” soon picks back up with its original power. “Dark Horse,” one of the best songs on the album, has a similar breakdown, leaving behind the screams midway through for a melodic chrous that will be stuck in your head by the second time you hear it.

Just the opposite is the opening track, “This Is What I Know About Sacrafice.” It packs as much intensity into it’s minute and a half frame as some of the others do in twice the time. While a few songs later on match the power and harshness (“Deceiver” is one of those that stands out), the album as a whole is much more melodic and rythmic.

Lyrically, Get What You Give is edgy and uplifting. “I put my faith in the tried and true,” Vigil belts out in “The Great Unknown,” a song midway through the album about sticking to what you love. “Keep those you trust right by your side. Only the strong will survive.”

Admittedly, my knowledge of hardcore music is pretty limited to that one atrocious set I caught and a few bands who played Warped Tour. But even I could tell that Get What You Give is good. It proves that adding some melody to a genre that traditionally is meant to be more loud than meaningful can pay off. And it’s proves that I should never judge a genre by an awful set at a festival.

The Hives: A Night in Photos

The Hives - Howlin' Pelle Almqvist

Live performance is a skill I have seen very few bands master. Sure, I come on here a lot and post up some pictures, and often I tell you just how good a band is. I urge you to see a band – not because they’re perfect live, but because they’re darn good. Today, I’m going to preach to you that The Hives are one of the best live bands out there.

The Hives - Nicholaus Arson (Niklas Almqvist)

The Swedes decided to hit some east coast cities in North America before they pack up and play some more festivals in Europe. It’s been four years since they hit up Montreal, and the turn out for their show was superb. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and company walked on stage, sporting their formal attire with matching top hats. They wasted very little time and opened up with “Try It Again.” They had me singing along while I snapped my pictures, and they had the kids in the pit moshing and dancing away.

The Hives - Howlin' Pelle Almqvist

They had a very short setlist: only sixteen songs, most of them lasting less than three minutes, and the majority of them off the new album. “Take Back the Toys” and “1000 Answers” proved to be incredibly for fun for everyone, as the crowd didn’t seem to mind the group shelling out new material. However, the very talkative Per Almqvist (Howlin’ Pelle’s real name) did ask them for their input, “Do you want to hear a new song or an old song?” To which the crowd responded with “old!”

The Hives - Nicholaus Arson (Niklas Almqvist)

To which he replied, “Fuck you, you’re old! This is new, unlike all you who just said ‘old.'” He also took a swig of beer at one point in the show, looked at the bottle and asked, “Corona Extra? Is that a Canadian specialty?” He’s absolutely hilarious and knows how to entertain between songs. And while his French isn’t perfect, as he referred to “Tick Tick Boom” as a song from the year 10,000 (dix mille – not deux mille), he had the Montreal crowd cheering at every French sentence. Did I mention that their stagehands are dressed up as ninjas for no good reason? Yeah, don’t ask.

The Hives -Vigilante Carlstroem (Mikael Karlsson)

Did “Tick Tick Boom” and “Hate To Say I Told You So” sound good? Really? What do you think? Awesome. It’s not one single song that makes The Hives so good – it’s the way they move around stage, how Pelle twirls and tosses his mic all over the place, how Nicholaus has this crazy demonic look on his face when he strums his guitar, how Chris is constantly throwing out his drumsticks to the crowd, and how the formal attire slowly becomes a sweaty mess of white dress shirts. You can plainly see that they give it their absolute all every single night. The Hives don’t look at their live shows as something they have to do to make a buck. No, to them, it’s not a job. It’s a passion and love for the stage, and for the crowd that they feed off of.

Setlist: The Hives at Metropolis in Montreal, Qc

Full Set of Photos: jakemullan’s flickr

Leo Kottke and Jake Shimabukuro At The Oregon Zoo This Friday

The Oregon Zoo continues their Summer Concert Series this Friday with Grammy-nominated guitarist Leo Kottke and ukelele master Jake Shimabukuro. The two musicians are playing a few select dates together in the Pacific Northwest before they continue on their solo world tours.

Leo Kottke’s innovative finger-picking style and unconventional tuning has always put the artist in a special category of musicians. Widely known as a folk artist, Kottke’s influences from blues to jazz meld together naturally with his own unique style. As a result of being pressured to be a singer-songwriter early in his career, Kottke’s baritone vocals are featured on a handful of his early numbers. One would be very lucky to catch the musician singing a song or two at any of his performances.

In the ukelele’s recent resurgence in popularity, 35 year-old Jake Shimabukuro couldn’t be in a better spot. The Hawaiian native was already hailed as a virtuoso of the four-stringed instrument in his 20s. Starting his career playing in local Hawaiian venues and coffee shops, it wasn’t long before Sony Music Japan showed interest in the ukeleleist and things were taken a step further. But it was the now-famous YouTube clip of Shimabukuro playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Central Park that sent the young musician’s career sky-rocketing.

Come on out for a special performance this Friday evening, June 29, at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. The show begins at 7:00pm. GA tickets are $24.00, reserved seating is $44.00. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the Oregon Zoo.

Electric Sun premieres Gibson studio sessions

ELECTRIC SUN PREMIERES GIBSON STUDIO SESSIONS ON PUREVOLUME

Electric Sun recently recorded a 3 song set in NYC’s legendary Gibson Studios as part of Gibson’s Live Studio Sessions series. Part 1 of the series, which features the track “Don’t Look Back,” premiered today over at PureVolume. Be sure to check back with PureVolume over the next few weeks to see parts 2 and 3 featuring “Fuel To The Fire” and “Green” respectively. All tracks can be found on their debut EP The Gilded Cage out now.

Electric Sun is Vlad Holiday (lead vocals/lead guitar), Amanda Carl (keyboards/backing vocals), Steve Kellner (bass guitar/backing vocals) and Dave Tantao (drums). After a year and a half of writing songs about optimism, something Holiday explains he found “by sitting back and viewing other people’s negativity” he presented the material to his long time friends. Holiday’s goal is to “inspire people to do great things…I want to add soundtracks to their lives and give them a bit of extra fuel to get through the day.” Carl, Tantao, and Kellner all backed Holiday’s vision and ES was formed.

Upcoming Shows:
6.27 – The Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
6.29 – Jersey Stock 2012 – Paramus, NJ
7.14 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY

Mumford & Sons Announce Summer Tour Dates Tickets On Sale Friday, June 29

“Gentlemen of the Road” Stopovers Already Sold Out

Mumford & Sons are pleased to announce the details of a summer tour across the US, beginning on August 1st in Hoboken, NJ. The band will likely be performing new material from their forthcoming album, due out in the Fall. The tour will go on pre-sale this Thursday, June 28, and general on-sale to the public will begin on Friday, June 29. For a full itinerary, please see below.

August will also see the band performing at their “Gentlemen of the Road” Stopovers, which quickly sold out after being announced. These one-day, outdoor events will take place in four carefully-selected and unique locations across America, including the Eastern Promenade in Portland, ME; downtown Bristol, VA/TN; Page Park in Dixon, IL; and the legendary Fairgrounds in Monterey, CA.

Mumford & Sons Upcoming US Tour

August 1 – Hoboken, NJ @ Pier A (No Fee Ticket)

August 4 – Portland, ME @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover

August 6 – Providence, RI @ Providence Performing Arts Center

August 7 – Canandaigua, NY @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts

August 9 – Portsmouth, VA @ nTelos Wireless Pavilion

August 11 – Bristol, VA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover

August 13 – Louisville, KY @ Louisville Waterfront Park

August 14 – Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion

August 18 – Dixon, IL @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover

August 20 – Lincoln, NE @ Pinewood Bowl Theatre

August 21 – Laramie, WY @ Gryphon Theatre

August 22 – Magna, UT @ The Saltair

August 25 – Monterey, CA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover

August 28 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

September 1 – Snowmass Village, CO @ Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival

Deleted Scenes Premieres New Single ‘English as a Second Language’ Readies East Coast Tour Dates

“If Deleted Scenes isn’t the best rock band in Washington, it’s certainly on the
very short list.” – Washington Post

“[Deleted Scenes] make playfully unpredictable songs that veer in unexpected directions while remaining completely infectious.” – NPR

Stream the ‘bedbedbedbedbed’ (Vacationer Remix)

Washington DC art-rockers Deleted Scenes has premiered the first single “English as a Second Language” from their genre-tweaking, sophomore full-length, Young People’s Church of the Air, due out July 10th on Park The Van Records. Streaming at Paste, the single’s “lyrics are dark, even profound…the song’s looping melodies are addictive.” The new album follows the band’s debut Birdseed Shirt LP, available now at NoiseTrade, which also includes a special bonus track of “The Days of Adderall.” Deleted Scenes is readying East Coast dates this July in continued support of the LP, including NYC and Washington D.C. dates with The Spinto Band.

Their newest collection of songs originated in frontman Daniel Scheuerman’s basement and was recorded at the Garden Center in Hockessin, DE, with Nick Krill (The Spinto Band) and Birdseed Shirt producer L. Skell. Young People’s Church of the Air mixes themes of family, love, death, and joy, incorporating studio sounds and home-recorded lo-fi noise. It’s an album that “seeks to transcend ugliness, both personal and aural and more often than not, it succeeds on both counts” (Pitchfork).

Deleted Scenes has shared the stage with Cursive, Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda, The Antlers, Tennis, Hospitality, and Matt and Kim among others, and has performed at SXSW, CMJ, and Pop Montreal.

Deleted Scenes Tour Dates

7/11 – New Haven, CT – BAR
7/12 – Cambridge, MA – The Middle East Cafe
7/13 – Northampton, MA – The Basement
7/14 – Burlington, VT – Signal Kitchen
7/15 – Ithaca, NY – Lot-10
7/16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Shadow Lounge
7/18 – Philadelphia, PA – Silk City
7/19 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge*
7/20 – Brooklyn, NY – The Rock Shop
7/21 – Washington, D.C. – The Red Palace*

* w/ The Spinto Band

Deleted Scenes

Young People’s Church of the Air Track listing

1. A Litany for Mrs. T
2. The Days of Adderall
3. Bedbedbedbedbed
4. A Bunch of People Who Love You Like Crazy
5. Nassau
6. Burglarizing the Deaf
7. Baltika 9
8. English as a Second Language
9. Ordination Day
10. The Demon & the Hurricane
11. What an Awesome Backhanded Compliment
12. Bonus track: “Future of Hair Metal”
13. Bonus track: “Challenge Club”
14. Bonus Track: Acoustic Version of “Bedbedbedbedbed”
15. Bonus track: Vacationer remix of “Bedbedbedbedbed”

Muse’s Brand New Track “Survival” Chosen As Official Song Of The London 2012 Olympic Games

TRACK WILL MAKE WORLDWIDE RADIO PREMIERE TONIGHT

Muse’s brand new song “Survival” has been adopted as the official song of the 2012 Olympic Games that will take place in London this summer. The track will make its radio premiere tonight and be available in iTunes around the world shortly thereafter.

“Survival” will be played throughout the sporting sessions in all London 2012 venues during the entire Games, when athletes enter the stadium, the lead up to the medal ceremonies and it will be made available for international broadcasters of the Olympic Ceremonies to use in their broadcasts.

The band appeared at the official London 2012 press conference today, launching the “Rock The Games” music program, which “Survival” is spearheading.

“It’s a huge honor to have the track chosen as such a major part of the London 2012 Olympic Games,” said Muse’s Matt Bellamy. I wrote it with the Games in mind as it expresses a sense of conviction and determination to win.”

Muse is Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme. Since forming in 1994, they have released five studio albums selling upwards of 15 million albums worldwide. The group’s last album “The Resistance” reached Number 1 in 19 countries around the world, and they have won numerous awards around the world including a Best Rock Album Grammy Award and an American Music Award for “The Resistance.” Muse will release their new studio album “THE 2ND LAW’ in September and will tour the world in support of it.

Black Lips announce world tour dates will extend to the Middle East

BLACK LIPS ANNOUNCE WORLD TOUR WILL EXTEND TO THE MIDDLE EAST

FLOWER PUNK PROGENITORS HEADING ON TWO WEEK TOUR OF EGYPT, IRAQ, JORDAN, AND MORE

The gloriously notorious flower punk quartet Black Lips, in an ongoing attempt to leave no stone unturned in their effort to spread their music globally, are treading a path few Western bands have traveled with a run of dates planned for the Middle East this Fall. “We want to play everywhere on the planet, and the opportunity came up. We couldn’t say no,” states band bassist and vocalist Jared Swilley. “Anywhere that we haven’t been excites us. Not many western bands have toured the region and to be one of the first is amazing. Adventures are the best.” With tours in Australia, Thailand, Portugal, India, and huge festival appearances at the likes of Coachella, Primavera, Bonnaroo under their belts, the band are looking to expand their horizons and spread their message of peace, fun, and rock and roll as far as it will go. “People like music and having fun and I think that’s pretty universal,” adds Swilley.

The dates are in continued support of the semi-appropriately titled Arabia Mountain (it is actually named for a mountain just outside their native Atlanta), the 2011 Mark Ronson-produced masterwork which landed them on the cover of SPIN, and earned high praises from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, among several other distinctions.

SEE FOOTAGE OF BLACK LIPS’ RECENT TOUR IN THAILAND

BLACK LIPS MIDEAST SHOWS:

9/14/12 – Amman, Jordan – TBA *

9/19/12 – Larnaca, Cyprus – Savino Live *

9/21/12 – Cairo, Egypt – Culturewheel *

9/23/12 – Tunis, Tunisia – Le Squat *

9/26/12 – Dubai, UAE – Music Room *

9/28/12 – Hawler, Iraq – TBA

9/29/12 – Sulamaniah, Iraq – TBA

10/6/12 – Beirut, Lebanon – Metro Al Madina *

* with Lazzy Lung

Time and Space Society – Welcome Inside My Head album review

Indie rock outfit Time and Space Society’s 2012 album Welcome Inside My Head, is the bands first release since its 2007 debut. Once again utilizing English lyrics, the Hamburg/Berlin-based band completed an intimate album about the inner workings of the mind, one that chronicles the quick progression from happiness to sadness, confidence to self consciousness. Opening with “White Lights,” the album begins with a buoyant track that acts as a nice introduction to front man Claas Hoffman’s gaudy voice and Time and Space’s guitar-driven rock. With a whistled opener and a barrage of drum and bass, the song is fully realized with catchy guitar riffs and the repeated use of the line “White light inside everything.”

As Welcome Inside My Head evolves its sound becomes softer and slower, but its tone subsequently becomes darker while offering an introspective view of the human through process. “Castle In the Cloud” discusses an ideal state of mind, one that’s clean and clutter free, as Hoffman begs the questions, “What’s all this rubbish in your suitcase?” and commands listeners to throw everything away. The tone begins to shift during “Paradise,” which offers a more realistic view into the band’s seemingly unaffected thoughts. On top of quick-paced guitar riffs, Hoffman claims “In my personel parallel universe nothing hurts” before admitting “In my personal parallel country side I can hide,” ultimately suggesting an artificial facade of peace of mind.

The album reaches a low point in “I Cant’ Sleep,” as Hoffman points to the addictive self-medicating habits people adopt to relax and feel good. Between the grinding sound of slow, reverberating guitars he lists the harmful things people use to fall asleep, including alcohol and cigarettes, in a self-deprecating manner. The album closes with feelings of self-doubt and the feeling of crashing down into reality after blissful ignorance, literally repeating “come down, come down, come down” and alluding to the highs and lows of drug use and life. Despite the angry tone that Welcome Inside My Head ends on, Time and Space Society offers an accurate illustration of the mind and how quickly human emotions shift from one to the next.