Caravan – The Gorge

Dave Mathews Band have been playing at the Gorge, one of the most beautiful places on each for over a decade and play three nights in a row for over three hours. This year they decided to invite plenty of their friends to make it the first ever Caravan which toured throughout the states, reserved for particularly spectacular venues.

I was a virgin to the Gorge and thought this would be a good time to trade in my card for a chance to see DMB along with Golgol Bordello, The Roots, Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zero’s, The low Anthem, Dispatch and many more positive, life is beautiful and a hell of a good time kind of bands.
DMB remain one of the most interesting bands to me to this day. Made up of some of the best musicians on the planet, they’re granted at times hindered but the way they decide to expose that to the world is phenomenal.

Due to their peculiar talent mash up, they have a great diversity of fans mostly made of (to be completely judgy) Hippies, business men and frat boys. This made for a divine group to party with for three days to their authenticity for activities which varied from Tippy Cup to Sun salutations. Dave and the crew put on four sensational shows, three with the band and one with just the man himself partnered with Tim Reynolds (a personal fav). Each song became it’s own entity, a whole universe touching each audience member in a different way. They also invited many talented folks onstage including Warren Haynes who contributed to an epic (in every sense of that word) version of Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer. Although some moments were slightly irritating I knew that was just the music snob in me that I am attempting to beat down without becoming spineless.

As for the rest of the performers I was heavily impressed. While my counterpart and I ran down the amphitheatre with reckless abandon to hear Golgol Bordello, who were buried in a sea of flailing arms, we knew right then it was going to be a great weekend. They emanated the energy of Gypsy punk paradise while remaining poised and poetic.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s stood out. Touring for two and a half years with more or less one album must have it’s moments of blandness for any other band, but not these folks. Every second was filled with authenticity without any drop of pretentiousness. It was romantic, electric and lithe. The entire crowd were jaw-dropped impressed and elevated to a land of inspiration and sweetness.

We very happily accidently stumbled upon the Rhode Island based Low Anthem. Truly an exquisite experience; sitting on the grass with the other thirty people who happen to be so lucky so grace upon the festival’s smallest stage. The beautifully talented, diverse and original band played a generous set filled with cut-throat emotion and brilliance. Everybody in the four piece band played everything including the saw and the banjo with a bow. The energetic resonation from a band is crucial at a music festival as it can inspire you to take psychedelics, nap, write a song yourself or maybe tell that person how much you truly love them. Whatever it is, it will contribute to your experience which you will likely remember for the rest of your life. The Low Anthem inspired me to make my own music which ended up being one of the most successful sessions I have ever experienced. Do yourself a favor and check them out; you’ll cry stars.

Other knockouts were the Cave Singers who actually practice in Caves (great acoustics I imagine), the smooth and sultry Roots who perform with sincerity and boldness and the lovely John Butler Trio.

The setting could not go better with the band experience; The Gorge is truly an unbelievable setting. So DMB sharing it with the lovely others was a great call and besides all the bureaucracy that comes with most festivals I am entirely grateful to have been a member of the official first Caravan tour ever.

Wooden Shjips – West review

San Fransican Wooden Shjips (pronounced shyips) pay om-age to the psychedelic distorted reality in which the four ubiquitously exude with their messy, guteral and somehow ethereal music. West is album number five for these four sloppily (the best kind) talented musicians.

Although each song projects an ear bending mind numbing they also manage to uplift listeners into the world of marshmallow clouds and overpowering flashes of Atlantis.

I have always had a soft spot for psychedelic Rock but feared the genre was dying, West proves this entirely false. Every song seems to blend together into a surreal and inviting fog but standouts are “Crossing” with the haunting vocal effect and “Lazy Bones” which is the most creative version of this song I have ever heard.

Dive into the west world where everything is amplified and high.

Her Space Holiday – Her Space Holiday review

I always appreciate a proper introduction to an album, one that somehow grasps the feeling of what you are about to experience while emanating mystery and excitement. “Massive Expressive Enter” is a beautiful gatekeeper into this nine tracked moniker recording of the multi talented Mark Bianchi.

Bianchi is one of the few “indie electronic” artists out there, a genre I have come to fully appreciate after I figured out what the hell it is. Listeners are then exposed to “Lydia” which features subtle and sexy male and female harmonious whispers that surf along the electromagnetic beats. Her Space Holiday’s relationship with electronica is mathematical, well timed and pre-meditated which concludes in a clean and fresh outcome.

His relationship with Indie (which I realize is an ambiguous title for music styling, so let’s call it folk rock in this case) is dreamy and ethereal. The duration of the album consists of heartfelt, energetic and relaxing tunes which make you dance slowly while thinking which is entirely refreshing in contrast the most others that make up the world of overly MDMA infused electronic music.

A Particularly interesting piece is “The Ringing In My Ears,” in it’s softness, and “Hassle Free Harmony” in it’s instrumental diversity. “Perfect on Paper” is the most honest portrayal of admittance around tormented love I have heard since Wilco’s “Radio Cure.”

The use of violins are featured throughout the album which always give me the chills, as does Bianchi’s patient voice. Lyrically the album is symbolic and contains a perfect mix of introspection and melancholy. In respect to the beginning of the album, Her Space Holiday (which by the way, is a perfect title for this musical endeavor) is concluded with an outro titled “Manic Expressive Exit” which is so humble, it actually thanks the listeners and after spending time with this gem you will want to thank it several times over. Enjoy your journey into space; don’t forget a good pair of headphones.

Trivum – In waves review

The loud and proud Florida born, Ottawa based (the back bone homes of metal) metal band releases In Waves making it album number four for this foursome.

Trivium would fit into a few of the many umbrellas of metal which are titles that only make sense and matter to metal heads (whom I respect in great detail) and that would be: industrial, speed and power. The three sub-genres create a wall of sound effect. In Waves is like running into a giant thunderous wall that you can’t find your way of until the 13 powerhouse songs are over and you are left with 13% less hearing ability.

The boys of Trivium wail on the instruments like no tomorrow, energetic musicianship is omni-present. The album mostly molds into one big song (which has been done in the history of metal more than once) with breaks to remind you to breath and enjoy a guitar solo. Particular standouts are the simply titled “Black” and “Forsake Not The Dream” with their audacity and speed.

If you’re not into metal, In Waves sparks your interest at the least as everything that Trivum touches turns into a howling and blistering pentagram. But if you are, then enjoy this lost genre that Trivum is keeping up with style, go Florida!

Boston Spaceships – Let it Beard review

Boston Spaceships are the metallic and melodic medley of the talented Robert Pollard, John Moen (Guided by Voices) and John Moen (the Decemberists). the Three have been rocking for some time Let it Beard is their ninth album.

The album begins heavy and strong and carries this form all the way through. A sense of lessons, nostalgia and internal recognition is the overlying tone of the album. This is particularly clear on “Tourist UFO,” which encourages the importance of patience and the haunting. Worth mentioning also is “Let Light Into The House,” an unwearied outlook towards loneliness. The guitar style is textured at times but tends to lean back on power chord strumming both of which compliment the exasperated lyrics and vocals.

Although for the first time to my detection Boston Spaceships seems to be using some recycled material and sounding more and more like R.E.M. However, they remain an authentic trio through song formation and lyrics which bite you in the core of your heart through recognition of harsh memories and vulnerability.

Additionally this 26 piece record progresses and becomes harsher like a good story. Standouts include “Chevy Marigold” which expose their diversity, and “Red Bodies” which is everything you want in a modern day rock song; unapologetic, catchy and witty. “Inspiration Bites” serves as a great ending to the journey as it features beautifully complex instrumentals, an impressive guitar solo and a subtle satirical outlook.

Although falling back on some clichés, Boston Space ships expose a generous and rock and roll gem worth the patience it requires both in mental reflection and fist pumping.

Boabinga and Co – Joint Ventures review

This Manchesterian producer gets invites all of this talented and creative friends to make a song with him, compiling a 16 super-tune LP. My first reaction was envy as recording “Joint Adventures” must be one hell of a party.

Joint adventures is not one thing or the other due to Binga (a.k.a Boabinga’s) ability to share the ball are shine a light on his guests talent. However an element of fun and experimentation are ubiquitous for the duration of the album. Things get shaking with “Glinz” which is a little to headache educing for my liking but this is due to two things: not being in the proper headspace to enjoy the sound of glorified bubbles and the reoccurring jealousy of not being invited to the recording party! An Array of simulatanious sound engineering, turntablism and heavy bass are all mished mashed into the variation of tunes spitting out of this energetic sandstorm.

Standouts include the two songs featuring Guido, the two work well together creating more polished and inviting tracks. Jack Sparrows tune “Transpennie Express” is a true gem. The rest of the album recreates the glorified bubble sound with hints of too much cotton candy, however this caters who kingdom of fun folk. Additionally you got to respect Binga’s ability to work with other and give them each they credit they deserve.

Afrobeta – Under The Streets review

Well, after sucking down the new Afrobeta album like a whiskey shot after a night of too much tequila I find myself sick and regretful. I will admit this, pseudo-electronic dance floor disco music is not my bag, but even this estranged genre is capable of pumping out better groups than Afrobeta.

The Miami Beach- based band show their roots in their party obsessed fake like an orange tan lyrics. It is hard for me to believe that people actually care about what Afrobeta sings about for example: “You wanna play house and make babies, you must be crazy what you thinking baby” or simply “Do You Party” sung repeatedly in the self-explanatory tune “Do you party” Afrobeta’s first full length album is filled with party tunes that seem to get worse consecutively, like falling further and further into a swamp I don’t belong in. “As Long As You Like It” stands out as the pickle in this crap sandwich which attempts political responsibility in between shallow ramblings.

Not only does the duo care about the core of vanity but have made it their objective as a band. However, I suppose they have a following in the world of dance floors, sunglasses indoors and falling drunk on the floor. Photos of Afrobeta prove the group is quite performance based-marinated in sequence and neon colours which only have a place on the stage because their currently ultra cool decided by American Apparel and Ray Ban advertisements.

Either I missing the irony and Afrobeta is truly genius or disco died along time ago and doesn’t wish to be resurrected.

Samiyam – Sam Baker’s Album review

Michigan born talent machine releases his widely anticipated second full length album simply titled the Sam Baker Album. Mr. Baker is no stranger to experimental trip hop as he creates it himself and produces a variety of artists such as Flying Lotus.

The album is a long-winded exploration into relaxation and inspiration. Listeners are greeted at the beginning of the temple with “Escape” a slow sludgy welcome, this is followed by the sexy “Bedtime” which begins the cycle of perpetual ambience. The soft and slow continues until the masculine and regenerative track “Brick” hits which sounds like the feeling those who enjoy the affects of being mega stoned experience. A generous string of experimenting, sexy smoothness and relaxing rhythm continues with no hint of repetition.

This is what it sounds like when an experimental producer makes an album after years of personal musical experience, he is able to listen to his bizarre yet polished music objectively and realize what is satisfying to the human ear.

Throughout the album a variety of samples ore offered including some pieces from “Trailer Park Boys” which is possibly a piece of social commentary or just his personal shout out, either it works and contributes to the many textures we here in this journey through sound.

Pop Evil – War Of Angels album review

Five piece Michigan rock-pop band release their latest; War of Angels. Pop Evil is one of the many bands that will always confuse and concern me. You see Pop evil consists of musicians, “real” musicians, and I don’t mean that in a, “Whoa dude, you’re real” way, but in the sense that they know how to play their instruments, write catchy songs, and a vocal range is present with front man Leigh Katkaty. However this all gets horrifically lost in the midst of slimey record producers and the mass media who have lost their brain cells to microwaves and the primitive sound quality on Rock Band. All that being said, this album blows, this band blows, their music videos especially blow and it’s too bad because a sense of musicianship is somewhere in there, drowned in Slash nostalgic guitar riffs and octaves that should be saved exclusively for blowjob groans.

The talent is prevalent in the song “Monsters You Made” which is slightly more subtle lyrically and compassionate in subject matter, this deserves respect no matter what. “Next Life” contains some serious guitar licks as does “I’ll Do Better Next Time” which also contains sincerity.

For the most part “War of Angels” is a long session of obnoxious and repetitive lyrics that plant an ear parasite. Over that you have too cool for school power chords lost in a drum machine. If Linkin Park, Nickelback and Seether had some disgusting threesome this album would be it’s groaning love child.

All Time Low – Dirty Work album review

I feel the title of this band and their latest album are completely appropriate. All time Low contributes to the world of pop punk and like their colleagues, sing in a drowning manner through overdramatic lyrics backed up my mediocre instrumentals. It is unfortunate yes, but I suppose there is a calling for this genre which typically comes in the form of blue striped hair 14 year old girls with septum piercings and an identity crisis. That being said, All time Low’s first full length album is by no means good.

Particularly horribly designed songs are “Do You Want Me (dead)”, the need for the bracket over the term dead is both unnecessary and hilarious, perhaps their inspiration came from the mid nineties where brackets where all the rage. Along with another nasty piece “Time Bomb”, which consists of embarrassingly bad metaphors such as “It was like a time bomb, set in a motion we knew we were destined to explode”. This style of songwriting is evident of a world who have lost ideas and any degree of intellectual inspiration. It isn’t fully their fault. This style continues and together collects as a self righteous, whiney and repetitive pile of greasy pseudo-feelings.

The band explains the titled their album “Dirty Work” not because they’re aware it is a piece of garbage but that even though making an album is a lot of fun it is also hard work and they miss their loved ones, tough hey? They will get eaten alive and hopefully make an album off of the experience, now that would be something worth listening to, “Dirty Work” isn’t.