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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beale Street Music Festival preview

This weekend is the first big event in our Summer Road Trip series - the Beale Street Music festival in Memphis. The lineup is eclectic, almost bizarrely so. Here are some of the names we're looking forward to seeing.

Ten years ago, I worked security at the Post-Gazette Pavilion and had the chance to attend a James Taylor show, but I declined and I've regretted it ever since. James Taylor's music is so sweet and soothing. I could listen to "Carolina On My Mind" forever and not get sick of it. I have high hopes for this performance.

Snoop has been playing a lot of festivals lately - he's finally discovered that's where the money is. The hip hop shows I've seen are generally not that impressive - just a lot of demands to "throw your hands in the air" and shit like that. But Snoop has a catalog of hits that's almost unmatched in the rap world. Hopefully he'll bring something original to this show.

It's Memphis, and the Reverend Green will be glad to see me when I haven't got a prayer. Al Green is just one of those people you have to see once in your life.

Somehow, this man is still kicking. He's 73 years old and he can barely string together a coherent sentence, but he's still up there on stage getting his paper. And it doesn't matter if he's nearly senile, because rock n roll as we know it wouldn't exist without Jerry Lee Lewis. He is the ultimate legend, and I can't wait to see him play.

These two bands are happy to fill my quota of emo-pop for the weekend. Fall Out Boy's reign of skinny pants and run-on song titles is just about over, but they've left us with a ton of catchy tunes. The Rejects aren't quite as good but the kids love to sing along to "Move Along" and "Dirty Little Secret."

Also playing: Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton & P-Funk, Rise Against, The Steve Miller Band, 311, The Roots, Elvis Costello, KoЯn, Katy Perry, John Lee Hooker, G Love & Special Sauce.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lyrics game volume 2 answers

Here are the answers to the last lyrics guessing game.

1 Kids – MGMT
2 Last Kiss – J. Frank Wilson/Pearl Jam
3 Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera
4 Purple Rain – Prince
5 Be Near Me – ABC
6 15 Step – Radiohead
7 Video – India.Arie
8 There is a Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
9 A Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos
10 Flood – Jars of Clay
11 The Underdog – Spoon
12 Mrs. Officer – Lil Wayne
13 Rush Rush – Paula Abdul
14 Erotic City – Prince
15 Sex and Candy – Marcy Playground
16 She Bop – Cyndi Lauper
17 Bad Reputation – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
18 Nothin But a Good Time – Poison
19 Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band
20 Umbrella - Rihanna

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lyrics game volume 2

Here’s the second edition of our lyrics guessing game. These are the first lines of 20 songs from all different genres – see how many you can get without Googling...

1 You were a child crawling on your knees toward it
2 Oh where, oh where can my baby be?
3 I feel like I’ve been locked up tight for a century of lonely nights
4 I never meant to cause you any sorrow
5 The message is perfectly simple, the meaning is clear
6 How come I end up where I started
7 Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
8 Take me out tonight where there’s music and there’s people and they're young and alive
9 On my way up north, up on the Ventura I pulled back the hood and I was talking to you
10 Rain, rain on my face, hasn’t stopped raining for days
11 Picture yourself in a living room, your pipe and slippers set out for you
12 When I get up all in ya, who can hear the angels callin us?
13 You’re the whisper of a summer breeze, you’re the kiss that puts my soul at ease
14 All of my purple life I've been looking for a dame
15 Hanging round, downtown by myself
16 Well I see them every night in tight blue jeans in the pages of a blueboy magazine
17 I don’t give a damn about my reputation
18 Not a dime, I can't pay my rent, I can barely make it through the week
19 He wakes up in the morning, does his teeth, bite to eat and he's rolling
20 You have my heart, and we'll never be worlds apart

Friday, April 17, 2009

Green Day unveil their new record in live performance

Rolling Stone has a report on Green Day’s recent concert in which they unveiled their new rock opera, 21st Century Breakdown. (I thought American Idiot was a rock opera?)

RS refers to the show as "stunning." I have to give Green Day credit for not resting on their laurels. They could have taken it easy after American Idiot, but they’re still trying to break new ground. Who would’ve guessed that the band responsible for Dookie would be one of the most innovative mainstream rock acts into the 21st century?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Current listening - How Do You Sleep

On those rare occasions when I listen to top 40 radio (pretty much only in the car), I still get excited to discover a new song I like. The great thing about radio is it provides anonymity for the artists. You can hear a song and start to like it without knowing who recorded it.

That's the case for "How Do You Sleep." I was surprised to find out the singer was Jesse McCartney. I'm glad I didn't know this at first, because I might never have given the song a chance. But it's one of those fun summer pop songs with an easily relatable lyric.

And it's got a cameo from Ludacris! Luda has pretty much established himself as the greatest cameo rapper of all-time. His work in this area is unparalleled. His verse on Usher's "Yeah!" may be the best cameo rap ever. Someday perhaps I'll do a blog post about this.

Video: Jesse McCartney featuring Ludacris - How Do You Sleep

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dave Matthews Band previews 'Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King'

The Dave Matthews Band sat down with Billboard to discuss their upcoming album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, their first new studio recording since 2005's Stand Up. Big Whiskey was produced by Rob Cavallo, and based on some early previews of the new material, expectations are that it could be the band's best work since the '90s.

During the recording process last fall, saxophonist Leroi Moore died tragically due to complications suffered in an ATV accident. The band carried on and dedicated the album to him. The album opens with a solo Moore recorded before his death.

Below is the video clip from Billboard, which contains a portion of the album's first single, "Funny The Way It Is," which hits radio on April 14. Go here to read a lengthy Q&A with Dave.

Here's a short clip highlighting the Leroi Moore solo that opens the new record.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This will be a better year (a batch of MP3s)

We haven't posted a ton of MP3s lately. Blogspot has been maniacally removing MP3s left and right from its bloggers' pages (Note: If you're thinking of starting a music blog, don't choose Blogspot as your host!) Here are a few quality tracks that are artist-approved:

MP3: John Vanderslice - Fetal Horses (from Romanian Names)
Song from John's upcoming album, which hits stores May 19.

MP3: White Rabbits - Percussion Gun (from It's Frightening via Pitchfork)
Terrific new song from a great band. You can never have too much percussion!

MP3: Harlem Shakes - Strictly Game (from Technicolor Health)
The best track from this band's latest effort. It sounds great live as well.

MP3: Grizzly Bear - Cheerleader (from Veckatimest)
New song from their forthcoming album. Sounds just like Grizzly Bear. Imagine that.

MP3: Voxtrot - Trepanation Party
I had no idea what trepanation was, but its Wikipedia page is fascinating.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Single reviews: April '09

LADY GAGA: Poker Face
One of my friends speaks disapprovingly of Lady Gaga as a ripoff of Peaches. I agree - but I see that as a positive thing. Lady Gaga took Peaches' edgy electro-dance style and made it more mainstream. For that she deserves credit. My problem with "Poker Face" is that it sounds like she's singing "My my my booger face." Grade: C

SEETHER: Careless Whisper
On occasion, hard rock bands can remake uncool pop songs and make them better - "Land of Confusion" by Disturbed and "Kiss Me" by New Found Glory come to mind. But this version of "Careless Whisper" is just stupid. It's almost identical to the original recording by Wham! Featuring George Michael!, with a guitar in place of the sax, which means that it's just a lame rock ballad. I personally love sappy ballads, but that's clearly not what Seether were going for. Might as well stick with the superior Wham! Featuring George Michael! version. Grade: D-

PLAIN WHITE Ts: 1,2,3,4
How do you follow up "Hey There Delilah?" With a simple song called "1,2,3,4." No, this is not a Feist remake. It's a breezy little acoustic number that reminds me of Merril Bainbridge's "Mouth" with the way it's so happily lightweight. A nice carefree summer song. Grade: B-

I don't get why anybody pays attention to Lily Allen. She had one minor hit on her last record ("Smile" peaked at a pathetic #49 in the U.S.) Yet she gets to appear on the covers of magazines and people act like she's some kind of star. Why?? The concept of this song (a lover who is great in every way except the bedroom) is interesting, but the chorus is pretty weak lyrically, so the idea never realizes its full potential. Grade: C+

Monday, April 6, 2009

Summer Road Trip concert series

Here's something we're excited about: We're set to launch our "Summer Road Trip" concert series. This summer, I'm hitting the road, traveling around the country and taking in shows wherever I go. I'll be reporting on them in this space.

Most of the shows for this series are TBA, but we can confirm three major festivals that we'll be covering: The Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis on May 1-3, the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on July 17-19, and All Points West in New Jersey on July 31-August 2. We expect to announce further shows in the near future from all over the place, Alabama to California, Georgia to Oregon.

We'll be bringing you concert reviews and photos from every show we attend. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Archive of Unrescuable Schizo concert reviews

Fiery Furnaces, Bonnaroo 2008

We have to clean up the sidebar a bit, so we're moving these out of the sidebar and into their own post. Here's the current archive of Unrescuable Schizo concert reviews, along with some of our more memorable photos and videos:

Amanda Palmer, November 2008
Matt & Kim, November 2008
The Hold Steady & Drive-By Truckers, November 2008
New American Music Union Festival, August 2008
Lollapalooza full review, August 2008
Warped Tour, July 2008
!!!, July 2008
Bonnaroo full review, June 2008
Mike Doughty, April 2008
New Pornographers & Okkervil River, April 2008
John Vanderslice, April 2008
Tokyo Police Club, April 2008
St.Vincent, February 2008
Dresden Dolls, December 2007
Ghostland Observatory, December 2007
Pipettes/Nicole Atkins, November 2007
Polyphonic Spree, November 2007
Fiery Furnaces, November 2007
Dave Matthews Band, August 2007
The Ike Reilly Assassination, June 2007
Girl Talk, May 2007

The Academy Is..., Warped Tour 2008

Cansei de ser Sexy, Lollapalooza 2008

Cobra Starship, Warped Tour 2008

Nicole Atkins, Lollapalooza 2008

Solomon Burke, Bonnaroo 2008

Video: Kanye West rambles about computers and his ego at Lollapalooza 2008

Video: The Go! Team - "Titanic Vandalism" at Lollapalooza 2008

Video: Tokyo Police Club - "Nature of the Experiment" at Lollapalooza 2007

Video: Nicole Atkins - "Maybe Tonight" at Lollapalooza 2008

Video: Pete Yorn - "Young Folks" cover (short clip) at Lollapalooza 2007

Video: Joan Jett - "Crimson & Clover" (short clip) at Warped Tour 2006

Video: Cypress Hill - "Insane in the Brain" (short clip) at Bonnaroo 2006

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Pittsburgh concerts


4/22 Kings of Leon & The Walkmen @ AJ Palumbo Center
There's a lot of good stuff going down in Pittsburgh this month, none better than the Followill brothers playing on the campus of Duquesne. Kings of Leon have been smoking lately, from earning high-profile festival gigs to winning a Grammy for "Sex on Fire." And while I think the Walkmen are massively overrated, they do bring a bit of star power to the opening act slot.

4/4 The Academy Is... @ Bigelow Boulevard/Pitt campus (free)
Emo-pop may not be everyone's bag, but the Academy Is... do it as well as anyone. I'm partial to the remix of "Black Mamba", though it's doubtful you'll hear that version live. They haven't achieved as much mainstream success as their homies Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes, but the Academy Is... are still worth seeing. Especially when the show is free!

4/7 Andrew Bird @ Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland)
The first time I saw Andrew Bird live, he started whistling and I thought, Oh this is kinda cool. Then he whistled again in the next song. And the next one. By the end of the show I wanted to punch him in the face. Needless to say, I will not be attending this show. But if he's your cup of tea, by all means make your way to Oakland.

4/14 World/Inferno Friendship Society @ Mr. Small's
We've sung the praises of the World/Inferno Friendship Society before and even interviewed their fearsome leader, Jack Terricloth, months before the New York Times did. (That's right, we scooped the New York Times - we're not playing around here.) Their anarchist circus punk is entertaining stuff. Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione is still along for the ride - yet another reason to check them out.

Others to keep in mind:
4/1 Blind Pilot @ Club Cafe
4/1 Black Label Society & Sevendust @ Club Zoo
4/3 Ray Lamontagne @ Palace Theatre
4/4 Freezepop @ Anime Convention/David L. Lawrence Convention Center
4/4 Gay Blades @ Modern Formations
4/6 Jon Lajoie @ Improv
4/6 Bitch & the Exciting Conclusion @ Shadow Lounge
4/7 k.d. lang @ Benedum Center
4/8 hed(pe) @ Diesel
4/10 HR (of Bad Brains) @ 31st Street Pub
4/11 Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin @ Brillobox
4/11 Charlie Musselwhite @ Rex Theatre
4/12 Cloud Cult/Margot & the Nuclear So & So's @ Mr. Small's
4/13 G. Love & Special Sauce @ Mr. Small's
4/16 Diplo @ Diesel
4/17 New Pornographers/Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ CMU Lawn
4/18 Arlo Guthrie @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
4/19 Headlights @ Brillobox
4/21 Rachael Sage @ Club Cafe
4/22 Felice Brothers @ Mr. Small's
4/24 Buddy Guy @ Palace Theatre
4/28 Disturbed, Lacuna Coil & Killswitch Engage @ Petersen Events Center
4/29 Alkaline Trio & Saves the Day @ Club Zoo
4/29 Dr. Dog @ Mr. Small's
4/30 HorrorPops @ Diesel