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Friday, September 24, 2010

Musician tweets of the week: Joel Madden & Rivers Cuomo

Joel Madden and Rivers Cuomo discussed upcoming Weezer concerts and Weezer's new album Hurley:

Hey @riverscuomo I'm getting my tix for the bluealbum & Pinkerton shows u should add nights 4 the greenalbum, make believe & Hurley!

@JoelMadden thanks, man. will be playing lots of goodies from the other albums too. would love to meet u at the shows.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas provided some all-important breaking news this afternoon:

there's a FREAKS AND GEEKS marathon on IFC right now!!

Big news, indeed. That show is classic!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toadies bring "new" album material to Pittsburgh

Album Review: Toadies

In lieu of being able to attend the Toadies show this Friday (9/17) at the Altar Bar, we humbly offer a review of
Feeler, their latest release. If you're looking for a good rock n' roll show in Pittsburgh, the Toadies will certainly deliver, as evidenced by when we caught them at Lollapalooza in 2008.

Overall, this effort from the Texas trio lacked the cohesive feel of a traditional album, but the album itself came to be in a very nontraditional way. Originally planned as their sophomore release, Feeler never saw the light of day thanks to record label difficulties; a few tracks made it onto 2001's Hell Below/Stars Above, though, which became the Toadies' "official" second album. The now EP-length Feeler grew into a 9-track LP by adding several songs which, up until now, were only performed live by the group. So yeah, the album seems a little pieced together for good reason.

Toadies music is simple. No synths, no vocoders, no string quartet for the sensitive ballad…just guitar, bass, and drums rocking out. In some ways, though, Feeler got a bit too simple for us. It's a short album of short tracks--the longest clocks in at 3:52 and several don't even make it to the three-minute mark. For that reason, certain songs felt as though they didn't really have time to develop lyrically or musically, with choruses often only containing a few catch words repeated over and over.

On the other hand, the Toadies aren't afraid to run away from predictable musical formulas--dissonant chords and atonal guitar solos add a level of complexity and create an eerie mood to good effect. In fact, those deliberate weird, twisting notes start sounding quite pleasing (and refreshingly different) after a few listens to Feeler.

The most notable tracks were:

"Waterfall," with its rolling 3/4 time beat creating a sense of urgency as frontman Todd Lewis explains "now is the time/the time is now."
"Dead Boy," a simple but catchy morbid punk anthem.
"Mine," a creepy stalker love song that's so wrong it's right.
"Joey Let's Go," a more sensitive song. The pleading lyrics try to convince a friend to get over a girl, saying "it was over before it began."

Feeler will more than likely remain an under-the-radar CD for rabid fans to add to their collections, and even its best tracks may not get picked up for radio play. But in a way, this album seems to have been more of an act of self-gratification after all the initial struggles the band endured in order to make its release a reality. We'll give them a pat on the back, but next time we expect a little more from the Toadies.

Grade: C-

Friday, September 10, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Dresden Dolls

Huge news this week from the Dresden Dolls' Twitter account:

Please tell friends about http://bit.ly/FALLdolls & http://bit.ly/FOTSmusic and use the #DresdenDolls tag, maybe it'll trend...more soon!

Clicking the link takes you to a YouTube video in which Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione announce they are getting back together for a brief fall tour. This has us ecstatic, as long-time readers know that the Dolls are one of our favorite bands and provided the lyrical inspiration for the title of the blog. My most thrilling moment with this blog was interviewing Amanda before her solo show at Mr. Small's in 2008.

Unfortunately, the Dolls' tour will not bring them through Pittsburgh, but we can hold out hope they'll record a new album and head out on a longer tour.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Martina McBride

Martina reminded us that the Country Music Academy nominees were announced:

Congrats to all the CMA nominees! Happy!

Perusing the list of nominees, it's pretty surprising to see that Miranda Lambert earned a leading five nominations. That's a good sign. She's even up for Entertainer of the Year, a shocking nod because women never get nominated for that award unless they do something superhuman.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Pittsburgh concerts

9/5 Lady Gaga & Semi-Precious Weapons @ Consol Energy Center
Though her Lollapalooza performance left a little to be desired, Gaga's show should work much better here, where she'll be in front of hardcore fans, not the casual fans that typically comprise festival audiences. Though Gaga's excessive banter during Lolla made the show drag a bit, there was no more exciting moment in the entire festival than when the first notes of "Just Dance" exploded through the speakers. Her infectious music speaks for itself.

9/22 Holy Fuck @ Brillobox
Holy fuck! The band is playing a live show at a tiny venue like Brillobox! This band blew me away during my first Lollapalooza in 2007, and they've only gotten better since. They are the best indie show in Pittsburgh for the month of September.

9/25 The National @ Owen Pallett @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
I've seen the National five times now and have yet to be disappointed. Even a small show a couple years back at the Rex Theatre felt like it had the excitement of a huge arena show. Owen Pallett's intriguing violin work is worth checking out as well.

Others to consider:
9/4 Nas & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley @ Mr. Small's
9/5 Rusted Root @ Hartwood Acres
9/8 Broken Social Scene @ Byham Theater
9/13 Deftones @ Club Zoo
9/14 30 Seconds to Mars @ Club Zoo
9/16 Rush @ Consol Energy Center
9/17 Nickelback, Three Days Grace & Buckcherry @ Consol Energy Center
9/17 Toadies @ Altar Bar
9/18 Alejandro Escovedo @ WYEP Rock the Block
9/21 Electric Six @ Brillobox
9/22 Aimee Mann @ New Hazlett Theatre
9/23 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ Diesel
9/24 Elf Power @ Brillobox
9/25 Margot & the Nuclear So & So's @ Brillobox
9/26 Roger Waters @ Consol Energy Center
9/28 Yeasayer @ Mr. Small's