Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

White Rabbits perform live in Spin offices

Music magazine websites pretty much suck. Have you checked out blender.com lately? Even though the print edition is gone, we were promised that the website would live on. But there's nothing there, except for archived articles and a "blender blog," which is updated every couple of days. It looks as if the site is run by one person these days.

Spin.com, meanwhile, is one of the better music sites. They're always offering exclusive content, such as this video of White Rabbits performing live in their offices. I'm digging the new material - they're really taking that two-vocalists thing to extremes on these new songs.

I'm always happy to promote artists who we've interviewed over the years, so go check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Potty-mouthed country act hits #1

Those country artists are so darned clever, aren't they? Sugarland's new single "It Happens" raced up the charts because of its chorus: "Shhh... it happens!"

They're really pushing the envelope with that one. Nevertheless, it's currently the #1 country song in the nation.

YouTube: Sugarland - It Happens

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My 5 favorite bands, May 2009

Every six months, I do a rundown of my favorite bands. This time, there's not much change from the last list, so instead of writing the same little blurbs about each band, I'm going to provide YouTube links to my favorite live clips from each artist.

Video: "Gobbledigook" live with Bjork

Video: "Electric Feel" live

Video: "Please Drop Me" live

Video: "Use Somebody" live at Brit Awards

Video: "All Along the Watchtower" live

Others earning consideration: The Go! Team, Taylor Swift, Ghostland Observatory

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Road Trip visit: Sun Studio, Memphis

During our trip to Memphis, we took time to stop by Sun Studio, the birthplace of rock n roll, where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and many others got their start.

I highly recommend checking out this landmark. Musicians still use it all the time to make records. In fact, during the hour-long tour, Elvis Costello and blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin stopped by to chat.

They have a microphone that dates to the 1950s which was used by Elvis, and many other original pieces of equipment from that era.

Check out Sun Studio if you are in Memphis.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is this 1956? Elvis and Jerry Lee rule Memphis

Jerry Lee gets his groove on

CONCERT REVIEW: Beale Street Music Festival
Memphis, Tennessee

May 1-3, 2009

“We may be wet, but we’re not dead.”

Leave it to Jerry Lee Lewis, not exactly king of optimism, to put a positive spin on the 2009 Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. The Killer was one of the highlights of a soggy weekend which featured performances that often matched the dismal weather.

The 73-year-old belied his grumpy, unpredictable reputation with a cheerful demeanor despite the rain. He smiled, cracked jokes, and enthusiastically performed a 12-song set with a voice stronger than should’ve been expected from the aging legend. Lewis kicked things off with "Roll Over Beethoven" and predictably sent the crowd away with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” walking offstage to thunderous applause as the latter played out.

The weekend's other standout performance came courtesy of Elvis Costello, who almost never fails to impress. Snoop Dogg also got the crowd moving with most of his hits over his 15-year career, including "Gin and Juice," "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Nuthin' But a G Thang."

Elvis Costello performs with Los Lobos

George Clinton's presence wasn't necessary for Parliament Funkadelic's set; the frontman sang about one out of every 20 words and let the backgrounds singers do the rest. The same was true, to a lesser degree, for the Reverend Al Green, who attracted attention with his bright white suit but spent as much time passing out roses to audience members as he did singing.

The Steve Miller Band were a big disappointment on Friday, playing just one of their hits ("Abracadabra") during the first 70 minutes of their set, opting instead for little-known blues covers, just because they were in Memphis and thought it was appropriate.

The Bar-Kays rock the house

James Taylor's set was a bit too low-key for this kind of affair, though "Sweet Baby James" and "Carolina On My Mind" are impossible to resist. The latter was difficult to hear, because at the same time on an adjacent stage Hinder was playing their godawful ballad "Lips of an Angel."

Rise Against's Tom McIlraith heads into the crowd

A bunch of boring rock acts performed, including Shinedown, Theory of a Deadman, and Saving Abel. The one worth checking out was Rise Against, whose punk political diatribes got the crowd moshing.

Fall Out Boy closed out the weekend, and while they're not the greatest live act in the world, they deserve respect for being willing to open their set with an obscure album track, rather than catering exclusively to the teen girls who just want to hear the hits.

Overall, it was a fun weekend, despite the weather and some lackluster performances. Well worth the $65 ticket.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Pittsburgh concerts

5/11 TV On the Radio @ Mr. Small's
The innovative Brooklyn rock band makes another local appearance on the heels of last year's acclaimed Dear Science. I've seen them live only once, at Lollapalooza in 2007 (pic above), but the power and might of their live sound was stunning. Swedish electronic act Little Dragon is an intriguing opening act.

5/4 Shwayze & Mickey Avalon @ Mr. Small's

Both of these hip-pop acts fall under the label of "so stupid, they're awesome." Shwayze's rhymes about weed & women are hilarious. If you aren't already high, you'll be inspired to get there. Mickey Avalon raps about his seedy past as a male prostitute. His unique style is endearing.

5/19 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ Mellon Arena
What more needs to be said? One of the all-time great frontmen and all-time great backing bands are back in the Burgh. Expect a memorable 3-hour show.

5/30 Coldplay & Pete Yorn @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
Coldplay have obviously constructed an impressive body of work over the past 10 years, but I'm just as excited about opener Pete Yorn. He's fallen off the radar in recent years, but the guy who was once compared to Springsteen has some great songs - his 2002 effort Musicforthemorningafter is one of my favorite rock albums of this decade.

Others to keep in mind: 5/1 Silverstein & Bless the Fall @ Club Zoo
5/1 Haste the Day @ Mr. Small's
5/2 Toad the Wet Sprocket @ Carnegie Library Music Hall (Homestead)
5/2 Maia Sharp @ Thunderbird Cafe
5/2 Manchester Orchestra @ Mr. Small's
5/3 Freezepop @ Pegasus
5/4 Serena Ryder @ Club Cafe
5/5 Cursive @ Diesel
5/6 Cut Off Your Hands @ Brillobox
5/7 Kevin Rudolf @ Mr. Small's CANCELED
5/8 Gwar @ Mr. Small's
5/8 Obscura @ 31st Street Pub
5/8 The Dears @ Diesel
5/9 John Doe @ Thunderbird Cafe
5/9 Forever the Sickest Kids @ Diesel
5/11 Gavin Rossdale @ Gateway Clipper
5/13 The Veronicas @ Diesel
5/14 Madina Lake @ Mr. Small's
5/15 Birthday Massacre @ Diesel
5/16 Ting Tings @ Mr. Small's
5/16 Low vs. Diamond @ Club Cafe
5/27 Cracker @ Hard Rock Cafe
5/31 Carbon Leaf @ Rex Theatre