Thursday, January 31, 2013

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Coheed and Cambria clearly doesn't want their fans to wait any longer for songs off their new record.

The prog rock quartet from New York has been slowly releasing songs as the record's release date next Tuesday nears. The double album titled The Afterman was split into two parts with two separate release dates, with The Afterman: Ascension dropping back in October, followed by The Afterman: Descension set for release in early February.

Most recently, the band began streaming Descension's "Number City" at, a UK music publication. Earlier in the month, the band appeared on Conan to play "Dark Side of Me," which they had previously released to fans to stream from the band's website. Right here in Tucson, the band debuted their first single from Ascension, titled "Domino the Destitute," during an Aug. 7, 2012 show at the Rialto.

This has been a running trend with this record, as frontman Claudio Sanchez uploaded a video to YouTube playing an acoustic version of "Sentry the Defiant," a song off the second half of the album, the studio version of which has yet to be released. In the past, the band has been known for using mysterious countdown clocks that appear on their website and count down to album release dates or other big news from the band. With only nine songs total on the remaining half of the album, it seems like Coheed's not leaving much left to anticipate.

Though there aren't any plans for another Tucson show, Coheed and Cambria will make one Arizona stop during their North American tour, playing Tempe's Marquee Theatre on Feb. 26, with Russian Circles and Between the Buried and Me. Tickets can be purchased at the Marquee's website.

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Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I must confess, I'm a bit of a movie soundtrack geek. The first album I ever bought with my own hard-earned allowance was the A View to a Kill soundtrack, the James Bond movie with Duran Duran performing the theme song. I was a junior Duranie, I had to have it.

Beyond the theme song was the film score, composed by the legendary John Barry. I fell in love with the tone and mood of the music, and afterwards my ears perked open every time I watched any movie, always taking note of the score and how it matched the action on screen. A soundtrack aficionado was born.

I love soundtracks so much I have a show on 91.3 KXCI dedicated to them.

Imagine my delight when I found out the Loft Cinema is having a spaghetti western triple feature this Saturday, Feb. 2. Not just any spaghetti western triple feature, this is the Holy Trinity of spaghetti westerns, the "Man with No Name" trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. All three of them are directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood and with music by the king-daddy film composer of all time, Ennio Morricone.

The award-winning maestro has well over 500 credits to his name, but it's the innovative spaghetti western scores he'll always be most well known for. Taking the "kitchen sink" approach to the films, Morricone threw in gunshots, whip cracks, whistles, music boxes, shouts, church bells, horror movie organs and surf guitar along with a sparse orchestra. The music, rather than being listless background fodder or cues for stock horse chases, gets first billing in the films. Morricone's score is always in the forefront, punctuating action or ratcheting up tension. Who can forget the scene in the graveyard at the end of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach and Eastwood in a Mexican standoff while "The Ecstasy of Gold" builds up the momentum to dizzying heights? It's no surprise that Leone actually directed the films to Morricone's scores, choreographing the actors every move to the whims of the music.

While I'm super excited to watch these great films on the big screen, I'm even more excited to simply listen.

The triple feature kicks off appropriately at High Noon. Ticket prices, individual show times and other information can be found at the Loft Cinema's website.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 1:46 PM

For those country music fans who can't make it to Country Thunder this year, or are just not interested in some of the featured artists at the festival (or just the four-day festival itself) the 2013 Country Megaticket might sound more appealing.

While it's a list of five different shows between May and October, it's definitely a better lineup than that of April's music festival in Florence. All five shows will be at the Desert Sky Pavilion in Phoenix.

- Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley will be headlining the May 16 show accompanied by Randy Houser and Joanna Smith.

- Luke Bryan, Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line will be performing July 27.

- Rascal Flatts and Band Perry is performing Sept. 12 followed by...

- A Sept. 29 show featuring Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch.

- And Jason Aldean, Jake Owenn and Thomas Rhett will be in Arizona on Oct. 17.

The shows may be spread out which means Tucsonans have to get multiple days off work, spend gas on five trips to Phoenix, but at a range of $125 to $675 I'd say it's worth it. I mean, what country music fan doesn't want to see the gorgeous Keith Urban perform live, am I right ladies?

And for those who have enough money to pay for Country Thunder and the 2013 Megaticket, why not have the most amazing country music experience this year?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Rolf Venema
  • Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Rolf Venema
As a music enthusiast, I always debate whether I should fully commit to my music obsession and purchase a record player, or if my iTunes purchases played over the car stereo or my computer speakers are satisfying enough.

There’s something really hipster-ish and cool about having a record player and records, like it's proof that says you’re really committed...or at least that’s what it says to me. That imperfect, static sound that emanates off the player when the needle glides across the shiny vinyl signifies to me that you've really achieved something. It indicates that you are truly dedicated to the sound of the music and not just one piece of a band, but the entirety of an album you may find particularly awesome.

If you do decide to commit, though, where do you start? Do you go hunt down the old, classic albums at thrift stores and music shops, looking for special editions and rare finds? Or do you start with the new stuff that maybe you are listening to now, that might be a tad bit simpler to find in stores like Urban Outfitters?

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 10:18 AM

As it typically goes every year when the Coachella lineup is announced, the anticipation, rumors and hype leave room for some to be disappointed, and this year is no different. A number of critics have commented on the shrugs and yawns that came from the Stone Roses' Friday headlining spot, as well as the foiled talks that the Rolling Stones would be there.

But if you needed any reason to get excited about the bands that were slated on Thursday to play the festival, allow me.

Just from the standpoint of indie rock, the first night has a great stack of artists, all in a row. As far as I'm concerned, it all starts with Tegan and Sara, whose new record "Heartthrob" drops on Tuesday. Taking the stage after them is Band of Horses, coming off a tour after their latest record release from about four months ago. Down the line sits Local Natives, another band who has a record due out on Tuesday, immediately followed by Of Monsters and Men, who stopped by the Rialto last May. Japandroids, a newly discovered personal favorite, rounds out the start to a great weekend, and it's only Friday.

The rest of the festival doesn't have as tight a grouping of really solid acts as the first day, but there are still plenty of great artists scattered throughout, including Grizzly Bear, Two Door Cinema Club, the Airborne Toxic Event and the Gaslight Anthem. I also expect Rodriguez to see a huge turnout for his set, thanks largely to the spectacular documentary released last month about the folk singer's failed music career and its subsequent, epic revival.

So, while the Rolling Stones won't be making an appearance, there's still plenty to look forward to for the two weekends in Indio. Thanks to a presale that started less than a month after last year's festival was over, the general admission festival passes have long since sold out, so if you haven't picked up tickets yet (which you can try to do here), you'll have to either buy passes with a shuttle pass, or poke around eBay and pay an outrageous amount for someone else's profit. Regardless, depending on what acts you catch, the money could be worth every penny.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM

And it looks pretty damn good.


I'm pretty damn excited about this line-up, with Blur, the Stone Roses, Phoenix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining (though I tend to be jazzed for anything involving the Chili Peppers), but I still can't get my head around the inclusion of 2 Chainz — I get that he's got the Kanye West connection, and that he was nominated for a Grammy, I just don't get his music. Whatever.

We've got the full line-up in text form below the jump if you couldn't read the image. Tickets go on sale Sunday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. Good luck.

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Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM

File #2: Band of Susans, Here Comes Success (1995, Restless Records)


Band of Susans: the iron fist in the velvet glove; beauty and brawn; Sonic Youth and the Rolling Stones. All the elements that make Band of Susans truly great also make their relative obscurity baffling. Emerging from the same No Wave scene in New York City that spawned Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca, and with a deliriously rusty sound that encompasses both, Band of Susans lasted only a decade, but left behind a veritable bounty of great music. Despite their ability to assault listeners and audiences alike through sheets of distortion and the gravelly crunch of throbbing percussion, Band of Susans’ music succeeds by embracing contrapuntal melody. It’s a neat trick, and the balance between the dark corners and the spritely stretches is partially indebted to the Stones—a group they liked enough to cover (twice).

In sum, Band of Susan enthrall through its elastic, yawning guitar-driven sound, pulsating rhythms, and ability to work within and press beyond typical song structures. The group has been called shoegaze, which is fine, but it’s also acceptable to label them a rock band, albeit one that favors the complexity and repetitive rhythms of post-punk or avant-rock. As a Band of “Susans”—one of the more interesting factoids is that the group did start with three Susans, but various lineup shifts meant losing two of the three Susans (guitarists Lyall and Tallman); to say nothing of picking up and losing guitarist Page Hamilton, who left to create metal-grunge heavyweights Helmet—the name, perhaps fittingly, became ironic by the time the group hit its stride.

Yet, irony doesn’t comfortably fit Band of Susans, which doesn’t mean the group is humorless. In fact, calling your most challenging (in terms of patience required) and last album Here Comes Success, as well as a general proclivity for a silly song title (“The Last Temptation of Susan”), suggest the group embraced an easygoing approach to its seriously brilliant music that all but guaranteed a niche audience. Regardless, led by principles Robert Poss (guitar/vocals) and Susan Stenger (bass/vocals), Band of Susans went on a bafflingly great three album run before closing up shop. Starting with the group’s gorgeous, buzzing third album, The Word and the Flesh (1991)—the most accessible and perhaps finest hour by the Susans—the group went sonically more ambitious on the smoky, terse Veil (1993) before pushing even further with Here Comes Success.

Whereas The Word and the Flesh opened with a roar of guitars, and Veil began with a cascade of ricocheting guitars, the final album in the group’s vaunted triptych opens with a low guitar figure, gently played. Only after three minutes of a slow burn does the nine minute track, named for a victim of Jack the Ripper (“Elizabeth Stride [1843-1888]”), build into something more looming and monstrous. The song’s opening drawl and title only hint at the malice and menace enacted by its rampaging dénouement. It’s a shot across the bow, and the rest of the album is a colossal tour de force that consistently ups the ante. Here Comes Success is such an astonishing culmination of the band’s strengths and experiments, an incredibly difficult balance to execute, that it would have likely rendered any follow-up (however strong) pallid by contrast.

Throughout Here Comes Success, Poss never gilds the lily with his hammer-fist vocals, and Stenger’s bass never loses prominence amidst the guitar-heavy atmosphere—her funky, serpentine opening to the otherwise cacophonous and pummeling “Hell Bent” is remarkable. Many of the album’s highlights lean toward the lengthy side. At eight minutes “Dirge” is a beautifully droning ballad, while the 10 minute instrumental “In the Eye of the Beholder (For Rhys)” allows for fits and bursts of manic energy between generous stretches of locked down shoegaze. Still, the jaunty twists of “Two Jacks” and the funneled drive of closer “Sermon on Competition, Part 1 (Nothing is Recoupable)” offer glimpses of the tight, melody rock group buried under the layers of distortion. An unequivocally fantastic album from an equivocal Band of “Susans,” Here Comes Success is ripe for rediscovery.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 5:53 PM

I posted an interview last week that got to know the Phoenix band, Blessthefall, in a little more depth, after their recent feature in Alternative Press magazine's issue, "Most Anticipated Music of 2013."

I found out in that interview that Blessthefall will be on Warped Tour's main stage this year, which was released later that day (Friday) on a show called "Warped Roadies" on Fuse.

Shortly after it was announced that they would be on the main stage, Blessthefall posted this funny, yet epic video about it to show their excitement and get the fans pumped.

Here's the video:

For more about the band, check out the other article here.

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Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

If you're tired of waiting for the Coachella lineup to be announced or for the tickets to go on sale so you can watch them sell out in half an hour, a March festival a bit closer to home might tide you over until those weekends in April.

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Phoenix is gearing up for its ninth year for a weekend of performances from March 22-24.

This year's lineup runs the gamut of genres, and includes a handful of mainstream artists as well as plenty of bands from the Phoenix area. Indie rock band The Shins will headline the festival's first night, their first show in two months after coming off their 2012 world tour. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will have the stage before them. The second night's main stage will see Jimmy Fallon's house band and neo-soul group The Roots after a few performances by Deer Tick and Iration, among others. The festival's final performances include psychedelic rockers Dr. Dog, the progressive bluegrass Yonder Mountain String Band and progressive rock band Umphrey's McGee.

Since its beginning, the festival has supported family-based charities, and all proceeds will be donated to Ear Candy Charity, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Centers.

Tickets went up at the beginning of the year, and prices will stay at their lowest until the first of February. Day passes currently sit at $40, and ticket packages for the entire festival start at $120. Tickets can be picked up at the festival's website.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Those rumors going around about The Postal Service reuniting to perform at Coachella just got a little more realistic.


In a press release sent out by Sub Pop, which released the band's only album, Give Up, in 2003, the label announced that not only would Sub Pop be putting out the Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition in various formats on April 9, but that the band would be announcing tour dates soon. (You can bet they won't be returning to Solar Culture Gallery, where they performed their second-ever show on April 5, 2003.) No word yet on whether collaborator Jenny Lewis will be joining the band on the live dates.

From the press release:

Sub Pop is thrilled to share the news that The Postal Service, the much-beloved, long-distance collaboration between Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, will reunite this spring to celebrate the 10th anniversary and deluxe edition reissue of their universally acclaimed release, Give Up. The Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition will include the original 10-track album along with 15 bonus tracks (including the 2 brand new songs "Turn Around" and "A Tattered Line of String," a previously unreleased live recording, and every other official recording the band has ever released—as well as cover versions of Postal Service classics by The Shins and Iron & Wine) and was mastered by Grammy nominated engineers Emily Lazar and Joe Laporte. Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition will be available as a 2xCD, 3xLP and digitally on April 8 in the UK and Europe and April 9 in North America via Sub Pop. A very limited “Loser” edition of the 3xLP will be pressed on colored vinyl.

Fun fact: Give Up is only the second album in the Sub Pop catalog that has sold over a million copies. The other is, of course, Nirvana's Bleach.

Track listing after the jump:

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