When I first hear of Tame Impala last year a few years back, I presumed they were some electronica band from the Philly suburbs – I mean, who else would name their band after a Chevrolet sedan? Then I heard the single for “Solitude is Bliss” and instantaneously googled the fuck out of them. Ahh, an impala is a type of antelope form the band’s native Australia – Ok, now that aligns more with this ideal mesh of 70′s acid-trip and 90′s indie rock that I can’t stop playing on repeat. And while the accompanying 2010 album Innerpeaker was fantastic, 2012′s Lonerism is straight-up amazing. While I ranked it as #13 on my Top 50 list for 2012, I probably listened to that record more than anything else in the past few months. And again, while the “Solitude” video is great – witty, very Aussie, and a wonderful portrayal of the song – I’m more psyched that so far their video releases for Lonerism make you feel like you just ate a vintage black-light poster off the wall.
If you somehow haven’t yet seen the video for “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” then go watch it immediately, and prepare to combine your memories of your first time eating mushrooms with what you remember 3-2-1 Contact looking like as a child. The video posted a few days ago for “Mind Mischief” is even better. It’s essentially a complete contrast to Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick in the Wall” – like you dove straight into the daydream imagination of one of those British kids getting screamed at to eat his pudding. It’s brilliant, and heartwarming. But careful if you wash it while at work, because it will make you instantly want to go rip a joint in the bathroom.
First things first – this is a pro-Phish statement. When the most over-analyzed band on the planet opened up their New Year’s Eve gig last week at Madison Square Garden with Ricky Nelson’s mellow, country-tune “Garden Party,” many presumed it was a reference to the astro-turf lining the stage and floor that night. But as the fake grass would later turn out to be intended for the golf gag accompanying the 3rd set, the song cover was obviously much more of a statement from the band about their constant over-analyzation – “You see you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.” Thank fucking God they’ve finally vocalized this in one form or another. There was a time, in Phish’s mid-90′s heyday, when the foursome strived to be the greatest band in the world. And during those times of intense desire and practice, many would argue that they achieved just that. But these days, nearly 20 years later, their main intent seems to just be continuing their dream life of having fun on stage with their best friends, and letting the music goes wherever fate takes it. The joy and playfulness of all 4 nights of this past MSG run showcased that this is a band doing whatever the fuck they want to, as they essentially have always done, but becoming more and more oblivious to ignorant complaints from an overly-critical audience that wants to place them on a pedestal upon which they have no desire to ascend. Relax, the band sounds great – so just have a good time already. I attended all 4 nights of this past MSG run and was befuddled and amused to read the reviews of one specific Phish blogger who has chosen to devote his life solely to this one band and nothing and no one else, and was thus let down by these shows not reaching their most epic level of fruition. This is a guy who apparently abandons his family at home to attend all 37 Phish shows across this country this year, and as far as I can tell only really enjoyed 5 of them. Maybe it’s time you rearranged your priorities bud – or at least tried listening to another band for once. And yes, I know I hated like hell on one of the San Francisco shows I saw this Summer – but that’s because not only was the music piss poor, but the band was clearly not enjoying themselves on stage. So rather than review these 4 shows myself, I thought I’d list the Top 4 things that are wrong with Phish’s audience, as I noticed at the gigs last week.
1) Talking During the Show – Now I’m not referring to talking with your friends, or even the occasional ranty convos that go a little too long. I’m talking about these dumb folks who want to strike up an idiotic conversation with you because they don’t really care at all about what’s happening on stage. Case in point: this withered middle-aged hag from California who I’ve never met, but have frequented the same parties with, who is well known for hating Phish ten years ago. But now she’s finally realized that Garcia really isn’t going to be reincarnated, so she pretends to enjoy this band so that she can have a place to do drugs with her friends. Listen bitch – we’re on the floor standing 50 feet from the band – it’s the jam in “Reba” – I’m clearly focused on the stage and the music, and enjoying all the things that I’ve paid $70 to be here for. I really don’t need you to turn your back to the stage while standing directly in front of me, and try to talk to me about how there’s too many glowsticks on the ground because your friends have gone to the bathroom and you have no one to talk to now. Why don’t you try paying attention to the music for once, and mind your own fucking business? I promise nobody will think you’re not cool becasue you’re being quiet. Moving on…
2) Lying About How Many Shows You’ve Seen - Listen, I really don’t judge Phish fans by how many shows they’ve seen. And I’m truly more impressed with the kid who has only been to 12 shows and is raging his fucking face off, then the kid who claims he’s been to 200 but only wants to talk about the after-party during “Tweezer.” If you’re lying about the past, then it only means that you’re not enjoying the present, and again, maybe you should go find something better to do with your life. I’ve seen people on numerous occasions jump from 60 shows to 160 in a week’s time. Why? Because you think I or anybody else is suddenly going to give you more respect? Live your own fucking life and embrace your own past.
3) Chicks Who Think Fucking the Bassist Gives Them Street-Cred - Now there’s no argument that Mike Gordon is a ridiculously talented bassist. But he is also an incredibly haggard and odd looking man. If you’re going to tell me that you don’t really like the band that much but that Gordo gave you free tix because of a late night rendezvous you had with him, then honestly any iota of respect I had for you as a woman has just been completely thrown out the window. It’s one thing if you LOVE the fucking band, and would do anything to express your infatuation to them. It’s a whole other thing all together when you say you’re not really that familiar with the music, but you know it gives you good street cred when you say you get tickets from the band. Put your tits away, or at least throw them in the face of someone you admire. Again, have some fucking self-respect people.
4) People Who Wonder Why The Band Doesn’t Play “Steam” – Wanna know why? Because the song is boring. It’s got 3 chords, a redundant lick, and no interesting changes – but everyone wants to hear it because it’s got a good funk groove. Sure it’s fun to dance to, and Kuroda hits the steam shit on the stage, but if you watch any videos of the band playing the song though, Trey looks bored as all fuck. I think the band realized that they wrote the song to appease fans looking for a new groove tune, but that it doesn’t really bring the constructive dynamics that they want to showcase at this point in their career. It’s not that it’s a bad song, it’s just a step in the opposite direction of any kind of growth the band could show.
It’s not high-school anymore everybody – you don’t need to be the coolest kid in the room. Grab one friend and go find a good spot in the building to really enjoy the show. That’s what all those “custys” and “noobs” are doing, and I assure you, they’re having the time of their lives.
Shit, remember when Kimock used to melt your whole essence and was the de facto post-Jerry guitarist for non-frightening psychedelic release? Those days are long fucking gone my friend. Thank God I was on the guest-list for this one, because no amount of alcohol would have made me content with paying the $30 cover. Read the full review HERE at State of Mind.
…There was a time when seeing Steve Kimock play was an exploration in delicate psychedelia — when the entire audience would gracefully join him in weaving through his complex compositions and he seemed like the only logical heir to embrace Jerry Garcia’s once fabled guitar tone. That time however‚ is not 2012. The NorCal Mecca of Arcata gets about 3 quality concerts a year‚ and thus the heads came out of the redwood-work in full force for this show. In terms of per capita ratios‚ this crowd was probably more learned in the Kimock back catalog than any you’re bound to encounter anywhere in the world‚ let alone California. Fiending for the transient licks and familiar melodies that had once spawned a myriad of self-spun ruminations‚ and also looking for launch-box fulfillment to accentuate pre-show medications‚ the folks at Humbrews were beaming with expectations. Unfortunately‚ SKB didn’t seem to take the stage this night — rather it was the Bernie Worrell Band featuring Steve Kimock on rhythm guitar…
If you paid any attention to my earlier posts, you know I was incredibly weary about seeing this band. I’m a fake-Jerry hater all the way – it’s just not what I’m looking for in my GD echoes. But luckily I caught em on a good night, although one night is definitely all I need of this band.You can read the full review HERE over at State of Mind.
…And yes‚ John Kadlecik does try to bring in more of his own voice both vocally and on the guitar in this band then he did while in Dark Star Orchestra. But let’s kindly call a spade a spade — he got hired for the band because he sounds like Jerry. Personally‚ as someone who just narrowly missed seeing the real fat-man in person‚ I’ve always felt that listening to someone try to play precisely like Garcia is like framing a poster of the Mona Lisa on your wall — an odd depthless replication. Regardless‚ I decided to approach this show with as little preconceptions as possible. I went to Edgefield this night with the intention of listening to this music like they weren’t songs ingrained in my soul‚ but rather just familiar echoes of blissful times passed…
...The backup singers are completely unnecessary and add to the slight Vegas-shtick vibe‚ but other than that it’s a top-notch band that Phil and Bobby have assembled. The one grand realization I did have however‚ is that with the formation of this band they have officially acknowledged that they are playing to a crowd that is primarily made up of people who didn’t ever see the Grateful Dead. It’s a younger crowd‚ and it’s a crowd that doesn’t have the same hang-ups as I do about synthetic Garcias. And you know what? That’s fine…
I first got into the Grateful Dead in 8th grade…let’s see when was that? 1993 if I do so believe. Which also meant that a couple years later I had just turned 15 when Jerry died, and wicked horribly never crossed that threshold to see the Fat-man swing. The scheduled show October 23, 1995 would have most likely been my first gig, but as is life. I of course did see my first Phish show on December2, 1995 at the New Haven Coliseum to assure that I didn’t miss out on any other ridiculous bands in my life, but that’s another story. Anyway, due to fate of circumstance I have thus always carried this overly-critical judgement about any Grateful Dead music I hear performed. And it sucks. Because GD music is supposed to be this eternal tradition which will surpass us all, and the main reason of that is how universal the songs are. But what’s worse is that I’m far more critical of the musicians’ sincerity on stage than the actual sound of the music.
And yes, if you know me, this is all an even more absurd notion of mine since I’ve been playing in well-established Grateful Dead cover bands for nearly 10 years. So maybe that gives me more of this inner, twisted relationship with hearing the music being played or maybe I’m just an overly-critical, and occasionally jealous asshole. And maybe I am just an asshole, but I always have this inner feeling of, “Oh, Jerry’s dead and this is what I’m pretending to like?” But everyone else around me has the notion of “Oh, Jerry’s dead so let’s have as much fun with what we got!” Believe me, I wish I could have that sensation. I almost feel like a disgrace to the name of the music by demanding so much from its resonant echoes, but I’m just not into it when the musicians seem into it for the wrong reasons. That’s why I started a Dead cover band – to establish a solid framework of incredible musicians who could play the fuck out of the music, and not have some odd delusion that they actually were the Grateful Dead. And please don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some amazing post Jerry, GD oriented concerts in the past 17 years, but I’ve always seen a slew of BS GD desecraters.
Sorry, I rant, but why? Well tonight one of my heroes, Melvin Seals from the Jerry Garcia Band is playing a few miles away from me. But when I saw him play with JGB a couple months ago, his and the whole band’s performance was rather sub-par. And tonight he’s just playing with some random Jerry cover band that I have no clue who they are, and who have the massive nuts to be charging $18 to get in. It’s not that the money would take food off my table, but I can’t feel justified in paying it without some guarantee of sincerity. Sure, all of my friends are there havign a friggin’ blast and I’m writing a late-night blog post, but I can’t shake the need for truth and balance. Yet this notion frightens me even further as 6 days from now I will be seeing Furthur for the first time. Now I love Bob Weir, and I love Phil Lesh, and also have great affection for the other members of the band except for their fake Jerry. The thing is that when this band started a couple years ago, up until that point no member of the band had played with a fake Jerry. All the fill-in lead guitarists had either been well-known players who already had their own definitive sound which they brought to the music, or they were lesser known guys who could reinterpret the guitar leads into a whole new twisted fashion. But now they’ve got the fella from Dark Star Orchestra – the fella who spent yearspretending to be Garcia, and I’ve always felt scoured of my insides when I saw him and the rest of the band try to mimic the band’s movements as well as their music like they were in some Vegas tribute show.
Obviously the answer is yes, I am a self-loathing Dead-head. Will I look like a cynical asshole next Friday? Quite possibly. So here’s my personal mission – I will fully cloud all my pre-judgments of this band and approach it with a completely clean slate. I will listen to these songs with no prior thoughts of visions to compare them to. I shall succeed and feel justified in paying $75. Yes, I shall succeed.
With most of my favorite bands I reach a point where my level of dedication wanes to some degree. But there are still 2 bands out there that I want to hear every possible note and song I can from – Dr. Dog and Radiohead. And with Radiohead kicking off their U.S. tour the other night in Miami, I’ve been watching crappy video after crappy video trying to find some good footage of the two new tunes they debuted. But holy fucking shit, it is completely bonkers how much some of these people are talking at this show. These tickets sell out instantly and they’re kind of expensive – you obviously have to go through some degree of effort to get into the concert. So why the fuck are you gonna ramble on about complete bullshit while you’re there? Just so you can tell your friends you saw Radiohead? Well guess what, you didn’t see Radiohead – you stood in the same building while the band played and you acted like an obnoxious asshole. Sweet, make sure you save that ticket stub. Seriously, I’m going to see them play April 9th in Seattle, and I am very not afraid to tell people to shut up directly to their faces. Let alone if they’re cramping my space on the general admission floor. You’re not at some dive bar watching your cousin Joey play AC/DC covers – you’re at a friggin’ musical event. You ever watch The Song Remains the Same and whenever they show the crowd, they’re just standing in utter silence and amazement at what Led Zeppelin is doing before them? Well, if you’re not dancing, then you should be doing the same exact thing at Radiohead. This music is amazing, and complex, and memorizing. But so many people have been dumbed down by piles of shitty music, and are so oblivious to what the art and magic and power of music is all about, that they can’t distinguish one of the greatest bands of all time from Pauly D playing the new Britney cut off his iPod. Don’t be afraid to give in people! Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in music! Who gives a flying fuck if one of your friends takes a weird picture of you dancing and puts it on facebook? At least the world will be able to see you’re not a fucking android.
Anyway, here’s 3 videos from Sunday in Miami. The first is “Meeting in the Aisle” off the Airbag/How Am I Driving EP – they released the song in 1998, but have never played it live til now. It’s one of my favorite deep cuts from the band, and an epic part of this new rhythm-heavy setlist they’re rolling with.
Next we have “Identikit” – this new one drifts over a repeating drum fill and has the potential to be huge.The video is a little shaky at times, but at least you can’t hear anybody yapping.
Lastly is the other new one, “Cut a Hole.” It’s slow and has that dramatic movie soundtrack feel – definitely seems like a Johnny Greenwood tune. There’s some gabbers on this one, but not so bad.
The twisted electro-folk noise-rock sing-along squad adored by both The Hipster and The Hippie alike, Akron/Family have just recently posted a handful of live audience recordings from some of last month’s tour. You gotta admire a band that not only encourages folks to record the show, but also goes so far as to post them on their own website. It’s definitely a move much akin to the rest of their game-plan and their music, which is to combine the DIY mentality of modern indie-bands with the “we’re all in this together” vibe of the Grateful Dead or Phish.
When I first got into this band several years ago, I dug what they were doing but was slightly turned off by a tinge of the “Holier Than Thou” syndrome. It seems a few years of not blowing up has potentially humbled them a bit, and I’ve allowed them back into my life. All the albums are fantastic, but I’d start with Set Em Wild, Set Em Free if you need to start somewhere.
Here’s the link to their download page – I haven’t checked them all out but I did download the Brooklyn show and the sound quality is quite good.But be minded, shit does get insane at some parts – so while you might be able to get your girlfriend into the more song-oriented portions, make sure she doesn’t hear the noise explosions, or else she’ll never want to go with you to see the band.
And here’s a clip of “Silly Bears” from the Raleigh show on January 7th.
Here’s the link to my review of The Lips playing the greatest set I’ve personally ever seen them before – a transcendent live rendering of their masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin. A warm, crisp summer night on an island in Montreal is the perfect place to get a little spun and hear a band perform one of your favorite albums – I highly recommend it. It was fucking beautiful, and got really, emotionally heavy at times. Wayne Coyne cried, I cried, and he gave an amazing speech halfway through about how he, as an in-tune and intelligent human-being, is aware that we are all haunted by the eternal sadness – the darkness that lies in the underbelly of all reality, and how music, and friends, and orgasms are the real way to rise above that. Twas dope. If you’ve given up on The Flaming Lips, now really is the time to get back in touch with em. Here’s a clip of the review, a link to it, and a clip of his amazing laser-hands:
“So as the band emerged from the vagina of a giant, naked woman pounding a cymbal and flying through space, I got one of the biggest shit-eating grins I’ve ever friggin’ had. As this show occurred a fortnight prior to their million-dollar lighting rig getting destroyed in an Oklahoma thunderstorm, (what the fuck was up with stage collapses this summer?!?!), their audio-video syncopation was at an epically high crescendo. While past Lips gigs have left a bad taste in my mouth due to a misdirected focus on the visual aspect of the show, this night was a harmonious boner of everything this band knows and dreams they can be. And lest anyone be confused, guitarist/keyboardist/live sonic wizard, Steven Drozd was beyond human in what he was musically doing on that stage.”
So there’s only one band that can really leave me both so amazed and exhausted that it deters me from writing on my music blog for 2 weeks. When Phish is on, as they were for this entire 3 day period, it’s so thrilling that it takes a solid fortnight’s worth of my energy to fully experience it, and thus just as much time to recover. Here’s a clip of and the link to my full review:
I know, 2 posts in a row about guys named Panda but whatever. Panda Bear(aka Noah Lennox), one of the key elements of Animal Collective is actually much more or a revolutionary force on his own than with his band-mates. Sure, AC is great, but they can be a little intense sometimes and not really crafters of fall-back albums to listen to regularly once you’ve gotten the idea. Noah solo though, melts this total Brian Wilson drift-off mentality with a new glitchy layering that is all-at-once beautiful, intense and soothing. 2007′s Person Pitch was one of my top 10 albums of the 20′Oughts, and is essential listening for a true understanding of where modern music has turned and is going. Tomboy isn’t quite as breathtaking, but it’s still amazing. Here’s a clip and link of my full album review, as well as a clip of Panda Bear performing one of my faves off the album “Last Night at The Jetty.” The video sucks, but the audio is amazing – there’s better videos to actually see how it pulls it all off live – basically runs a beat trackwhile he plays his guitar on crazy reverb wobble and runs the echo on his vocals to full overdrive.
”This quasi-organic‚ half-digitized self-layering pattern shouldn’t work anywhere near as well as he makes it‚ but again‚ that’s all part of the allure — embrace the escape. If you listen really closely to the ending growth-pocket of “Bracelet‚” there’s a moment where you completely forget who you are. Tomboy calls for the listener to lose themselves‚ and Lennox has proven again that you’re safe to do so in his hands.” http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1285/Panda-Bear—Tomboy/