Monday, April 28, 2008

Kate Voegele

There has been buzz about Kate Voegele for a long time now. Hooking up with Myspace Records was certainly a promotional bonanza for this young artist, as was her multi-episode arc on One Tree Hill, playing a musician and showcasing her own real-life songs.

Too much buzz can be a hard thing to live up to in my opinion, and upon first listening to “Don’t Look Away”, I was afraid she had indeed failed to live up to the hype all the way up till the acoustic bonus tracks. The rest of the record paled as over-produced and common compared to the startling simplicity and chilling power of the stripped down acoustic versions of “I Get It”, “Only Fooling Myself”, and “Wish You Were” . This was where she truly shined.

It’s a shame that they’ve tried to make her fit in when it seems she was made to stand out. I look forward to some future opportunity to see her live as my impression from the record is that she is likely to be quite good live.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eudora


What can I say about Eudora? I originally saw them a few years ago, as an opening act at Chain Reaction, and thought they were a really good band with alot of potential. Those few years since have brought them lineup changes, including a new singer, time to build a fan base, a Warped Tour gig, and now an upcoming cd release. I have the demo disc of two of the songs on the upcoming record and could not possibly be more psyched waiting for this thing to come. A new singer is too often the kiss of death for a band but the addition of Brandon Ball has done the exact opposite for these boys - it has pushed them from good to great. I'm looking forward to watching the label bidding war commence once this disc goes public.


If you are in So Cal - get your tickets for this now before they sell out. You can say you knew them when.
And to check them out now, including a newly posted song:

http://www.myspace.com/eudoramusic

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Endeverafter






October 2007 finally brought the release of long awaited “Kiss or Kill” by Endeverafter. For those not familiar, these boys are the second coming, as far as hard rock is concerned. They take the best of old school 70’s and 80’s hard rock and bring it screaming into the future. Having suffered from a lot of label drama, but then who hasn’t these days, I was glad to see this disc finally see the light of day.


This is a band whose entire image just screams SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL! Best be locking up your daughters when these boys roll through town. But unlike some bands who try to cultivate that sort of thing, all surface and no substance, these boys back it up with some of the best guitar work seen in recent years. Watching front man and guitar god Michael Grant play guitar is something that has to be experienced in person. There are only a handful of people in rock today who play like they were born holding a guitar and he is definitely one of them. Adding to having some serious chops, is the fact that these are genuinely nice guys, despite all the serious attitude displayed on stage. This is one of those bands where all the boys want to be them and all the girls want to be with them.


Produced by the uber talented Stacy Jones (American Hi-Fi) and contributed to by Butch Walker, among others this is a disc that needs to land in your collection. I’ve attached some stills from the “I Wanna Be Your Man” video shoot, shot by Preston, and edited by me. The rest of the photos from the shoot can be seen both on http://www.myspace.com/endeverafter and http://www.myrockstargallery.com.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tommy Lee

Guess I’m feeling the old stuff still. Here’s another one to add to your collection.

Tommyland the Ride, by Tommy Lee and friends...arrived on the scene back in August of 2005. At the time it didn’t seem to get a lot of press beyond MTV taking some interest in the video for “Good Times” which was a nice mellow song for summer. I happened to have advance knowledge that Andrew McMahon had worked on the album with Tommy, along with a bevy of other collaborators so I was greatly anticipating this one, and was not disappointed. With an endless list of collaborators including not only Professor McMahon (inside joke) but also Joel Madden, Carl Bell, Butch Walker, Derick Whibley and tons more, you get the immediate feeling that all these guys just had a blast hanging out and making this record.

One of the tracks definitely worth checking out is “Tired” with Joel Madden in which they embrace both glee and a little melancholy as they make fun of the disposable nature of the celebrity relationship. This song actually becomes even funnier today since Joel and brother Benji are currently involved with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. But for me the reason to buy this record was my desire to try and own everything Andrew McMahon involves himself with. While having worked on multiple tracks it is “I Need You” that is the stunning, breathtaking standout here. So buy this record, put on headphones, and when you get to this track I guarantee the hairs on your arms will stand up - it’s that good.
BUY THIS RECORD

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009KF4IO?tag=myspace08-20&link_code=xm2&camp=2025&dev-t=D2WQY839001DMT

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marvelous 3

Today I had my 7,472,323 conversation with someone who said they really hadn’t bought any cds or followed music particularly since high school or college. In investigating the why behind such absurdity I got the same answer I always get - I don’t know what’s good and don’t have time to look into it. So I’m going to make it simple for those of you out there in this same boat and tell you what to buy. The only thing I ask in return is to hear from you as to what you think once you own it. That’s a fair deal I think. We’ll start off with an oldie but a goodie that happened to be in my cd player today.

I have been in love with Butch Walker for years. 1999’s “Hey! Album” from his old band Marvelous 3 has been in constant rotation for me ever since “Freak of the Week” first hit the radio waves. While Butch has long since moved on to numerous producing gigs, performing and recording as Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, and recently 1969, this is an album you must seek out. You can find anything on the internet these days so don’t complain if your local store doesn’t have it. I just checked and it’s available on Amazon both for purchase of the disc and download of individual songs. If you are gonna cherry pick individual tunes be sure to hit “You’re So Yesterday”, “Freak of the Week”, “Every Monday” and “Vampires in Love” - though really every track on this disc is strong. This is as fresh now as the day it came out - power pop(yes Butch I know you hate that word)/rock that will live forever. If you long for the days when bands like Cheap Trick were playing The Forum this disc is for you. This man lives and breathes catchy, commercial rock tunes - a large reason he is in such demand as a producer. There is nothing wrong with commercial. All that means is that it sells and lets you continue doing what you love for a living. And what the hell has ever been wrong with that?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Middle Class Rut


So yeah, I'm still raving about them and telling anyone who will listen that they have to go catch them live. I think the show review I submitted for the Spin contest kinda says it all:



I have, as yet, never walked away from a show at Chain Reaction without a new discovery of a band I either love, like, or at least see some potential in. The Perfect Victim show was no exception. Openers Middle Class Rut, down from Nor Cal on their way to SXSW have firmly kept my streak intact. Having never seen them before, and watching them set up, I was thinking nobody but The White Stripes really pulls this off successfully. I was wrong. They were amazing. Zack Lopez and Sean Stockham are industry vets who obviously know a thing or three about where they are going and how to get there. Their sound is raw, with just the right amount of crunch, and the interplay between both the two of them and their audience is nothing short of pure energy. They played to what was probably the biggest crowd of the night as a lot of kids bailed before the headliners, but that was okay since they stole the show anyway. Look for big things in the future from Middle Class Rut who I’m sure are on a lot of people’s short list following four shows at SXSW.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Arena Rock

A recent argument got me thinking about arena shows. Like most true music fans I would rather cut off my right arm than be forced to attend most arena shows, with very few exceptions, and I’ll get to those later. Now I know, you’re saying that all musicians aspire to be so hugely successful that they get to play arenas. The Foo Fighters and Linkin Park being two examples of arena shows that have come through here recently. Does this mean they “made it”? Does this mean they are successful despite the fact that the industry is tanking? In some ways, yes. But personally I much prefer the route bands like Social Distortion have taken to play extended residencies at places like The House of Blues(a club size venue).

At some point I think the beauty of what a musician does is lost when the scale becomes so large. Unless you’re at the very front of a large arena show, immediately close to the stage, you are not watching a show….you are watching other people watching a show. If you are far enough back to see the video screens often utilized in productions such as these then you may as well have stayed home and watch a concert dvd. Now some shows do attempt to rise to the occasion such as Panic At The Disco and their circus themed tour complete with acrobats and the like. They made a valiant attempt….however, having seen them at much smaller venues prior to that tour I can definitively state that they are a much better band without all the hoopla. The notable exception of recent years was AFI’s set at the 91X Christmas show a couple years ago which was hands down the best show I’ve ever seen. My hat’s off to Davey and the boys for doing it better than all the rest.

Now of course I realize that graduating to arena shows is oft times an economic necessity but too often it just erupts into lazy, unmotivated performances. After all, how do you really connect with and audience of 20,000 + people. The answer is simple. You don’t. Now granted, a lot of people don’t know what they are missing. Their only concert experience is arena shows. They don’t know the excitement of discovering an unknown band playing for 20 people in a dive bar and following them on their path to success. They haven’t been at a 250 person club when their favorite singer climbs into the crowd on the hands and shoulders of the kids. I forgive them their ignorance. But, at the same time, pity them for what they are missing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It’s a thin line between love and hate. I love that music has become so accessible via the internet, but I hate that people have stopped collecting cd’s. By relying solely on downloading, and frequently only one song of an album, too many people are missing an essential, tangible part of the experience. The only comparison I can think to make would be to tell someone that they don’t need to see a great work of art, the Mona Lisa for example, because they’ve already seen a photo in a book. Or even more accurately that they only need to see one twelfth of the painting in order to have an accurate vision of what the artist was trying to say.

For many people music is an essential building block to the person they will become. To me relying on downloading has diminished that person into only a part of the whole they otherwise may have been. I can quote literally hundreds of examples of cd’s whose best tracks are not those likely to be downloaded these days. That’s a crime - more so than the downloading. People often send me songs or links to songs. If I like them then my very first thought is that I want to go buy the cd and hear the rest of what the artist was putting out there. If I like that I tend to then buy the artist’s entire catalog so that I can crawl further into their artistic mind.

Buying the actual disc, not the download is an essential part of the experience, whether online or at a retailer. I’m really sad that so many music retailers are gone now. I miss the record store experience. I detest the fact that Walmart has now become the biggest retailer of cds. Instead of relying on some of the coolest kids in the neighborhood to recommend the newest up and coming bands you can buy edited versions of whatever crap gets played on the radio from some jackass in a blue vest that wouldn’t know good music if it crawled up and bit him on the ass. That’s sad.