Thursday, June 29, 2006

Black Holes and Revelations.

What happens when a band exudes awesomeness on a large scale then disappears for almost two years? They come back and knock your socks off again (why did you even bother to put them back on...you knew this would happen, right?). I’ve just listened to the new Muse album, Black Holes and Revelations, in its entirety since it’s streaming on MySpace. And I’m in awe. They’ve stuck to their signature sound on this one. Matthew Bellamy still sings with long, drawn out, and highly robust vocals, and in some instances, the music mirrors that of the last album they released, Absolution.

There are many things going on for your ears to enjoy over the course of this record. This is why I love Muse...they can sound distinctive, but cover a multiplicity of sounds from one song to the next, and Black Holes is a definite testament to that fact. Three tracks toward the beginning immediately popped out at me as sure winners. On "Starlight," you have clean drumbeats and keys with a tune that lightens a mood. I also loved "Supermassive Black Hole," because it sounds really sexy and reminds me of a Lenny Kravitz-like guitar, only it has a dance beat to go with that I really think DJs are going to cream over. My other favorite is "Map of the Problematic" because it has a feel to it that might be compared to New Order and older Depeche Mode in the way the music sounds, because if you’ve ever listened to Muse, then you know Bellamy rocks the high-pitched vocals rather than a baritone.

With a strong use of cymbals in some areas, and really potent strings in others, this album gives me a visual. I’m going to try and describe it. It’s like that ray of light that shines down into a pitch black hole (maybe that’s where the album name came from?), making you think that some higher power is lifting your soul. Muse is the higher power, and they’re successfully showing you that the bland crap played on the radio is so far beneath them that you need to be rescued, and they’re just the guys to do it.

You can catch them August 6 at the Tabernacle, but be prepared to pay out the ass since Ticketmaster is in charge. As you can tell, I am not happy about this. But I’ll still be there. The album hits stores on July 11th in the US, unless you happen to be in the UK, because then you can get it on July 3rd.

Monday, June 26, 2006

You Want An Update? Here.

Okay, okay. I'm so terribly sorry. I completely suck. Since I got back from New York, I've been in a cloud of delusion in thinking that I may be able to miraculously get a job so I could actually move there like I've been wanting to for the past five years. If anyone wants to help me out with that, e-mail me. We'll talk. I'm open for something in Atlanta, too.

In the meantime, I'm going to highlight a band I don't think I've really tapped into yet on this blog. Today, I've landed on Trances Arc because they are headlining the 10 High on July 7th, and that's probably the next show I'll be attending in the coming weeks.

With a recent change in the line up with addition of Danny Silvestri on the bass (formerly of Atlanta rock/hip-hop band Heavy Mojo), Trances Arc is coming on full force with new material on the Buona Fortuna EP that packs a much harder punch than their already established Save The World EP, which is now available on iTunes for only $4.95. I picked up Save The World at Smith's Olde Bar one night around a year ago, and I was hooked on the first single, "Champagne." This song is very catchy and easily has radio potential with lingering vocals and clean beats. It's always a crowd favorite at shows. I seriously have never heard anyone say anthing other than, "I love this!" after initial listen. If you go to their website, you can sample my other favorite, "Eggshells," which has more of a rock-inclined guitar to go with Eric Toledo's quivery vocal range. The lyrics are kind of angry and really hit me in the gut, except that the music that's coupled with the words is much more soothing than the message I gather.

I highly suggest getting out to the next show that I mentioned above. You have an established 99X friendly band available to you at your mere fingertips for a tiny $7. This band will surprise you, because you'll listen to the songs and expect a mellow performance, so you're not going to be prepared to witness Ledo jumping all over the stage pulling you in until you can't deny that you're in love with Trances Arc. If they managed to get me, then they'll get you, too. Let them. I promise it doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New York, I'll Always Love...

I'm headed to New York today for a mini-vacation, so I'm going to have to miss a couple of good shows this week. On the other hand, I'll get to see a couple, so that completely makes up for it.

Atlanta

-->Thursday, June 15th: Southeast Performer is showcasing a couple of bands at the EARL tonight. It's only $5, and you can check out The Beggars' Guild, Summerbirds in the Cellar, and Manchester Orchestra. Summerbirds hail from Florida, and have a retro sound to them that's kind of airy and light. The Beggars' Guild from Atlanta are opening up, and they're pretty much worth the entire show if you're into the whole folky-pop thing like I seem to be lately.

-->Friday, June 16th: I know there are a couple of things going on, but the only place I'd want to be is at 10 High to see Zero Chance and Rantings of Eva. I've seen Rantings many times before, and with a new album in the works, they have a ton of new material to display. If you haven't seen or heard them despite all of my positive tidbits on them, now's your chance. I have not checked out Zero Chance yet, but I'm curious since they just released an album and seem to have quite the list of supporting gigs. All I've heard is an uber poppy rock, so I'm interested in the live show. $7.

New York

-->Thursday, June 15th: I have been waiting for this for over a year. The chance to see Jared Scharff play again. I was lucky enough to catch him at Arlene's Grocery last May, and he of course has not made it this far south in that time, so I'm really excited to see how far it's come. The band goes on at 9:30 at the Knitting Factory.

-->Saturday, June 17th: Another happening that I found out about after I booked my plane ticket...except this one made me do cartwheels out of pure excitement and anticipation. Rhett Miller is playing a free show for the Central Park SummerStage series. I cannot believe my luck. Opening up for him is Teddy Thompson, who I've been told to look out for.

So, there you have it. A little tour of what you can check out this weekend if you're not lame. Hopefully I'll be coherent enough to remember what I'm going to see to relay the awesomeness when I return.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Help Some Brothas Out.

If any of you have happened to be subjected to the greatness that is the Athens-based band Boulevard, then you will be happy to help them out in getting to CMJ this year. For those not in the know, CMJ is a huge showcase festival type thing held in NY every year, and it's a super way for unsigned bands to gain some kind of exposure. Boulevard deserves to be there, because they're a very refreshing act in a sea of utter crap.

So, go to this site and then click on "Vote For Bands" and give them your birthday and e-mail. (FYI - They don't spam you...I used this site to vote them into the first round, and that was months ago, and still, no spam). It literally takes all of one minute to do this. And you can do it every day until August 20th! I bookmarked it so I'm sure to check it daily. So, yeah, go do that now.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Big Show Friday Night.

Tomorrow night there is a really awesome bill over at Vinyl that you should most definitely check out if you so desire to hear music that doesn't suck.

I'm putting a little Internet flyer here, but please note that Big 10-4 will NOT be playing, and instead, Beautiful Mess, who have just relocated to Atlanta from Jacksonville, FL, will be opening the night up for Variac and Second Shift. I'm anxious to finally see them since I think they've only had one show since the move.

So, let's recap - tomorrow night (June 9th) @ Vinyl, $8.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Twilight Singers.

Have you ever been to a show and become highly irritated with the person in front of you because they seem to think that screaming a conversation over loud music is acceptable? Have you ever wanted to yell at them to shut up? Well, what if the artist actually did that for you? I saw this last night, and I couldn’t help but laugh, and clap, of course.

The Twilight Singers, headed up by none other than The Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, came through Atlanta last night and played a very loud set at Smith’s Olde Bar. To be quite honest, I don’t really know much of their material, but I wanted to check it out anyways because I have only heard wonderful things. This was an energetic and intimate show. Dulli likes to talk to the crowd and feeds off them, and it was amusing and admirable at the same time.

In an overly crowded smoke-filled room with the lights dimmed the majority of the time, I caught myself closing my eyes for extended periods of time, more to get the full effect of the music rather than the fact that I was exhausted. The overall sound is a poppy, yet angry, rock coupled with some blues inspired undertones. I actually really liked it from only hearing a couple of the songs from the new album. At one point, Dulli became aggravated with a guy in the crowd who was snapping pictures and talking. He stopped singing, looked at the guy, cursed at him profusely while threatening to kick his ass, then asked what he did for a living and how would he like it if he went to this guy’s job and acted rude like that. Then he told the guy he’d give him his money back if he would just get the eff out of the room. It was great.

At the encore, Dulli came back out with the band and did a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” which I thoroughly enjoyed, and ended it with another cover, this one of the Zombies’ “Time of the Season.”

I will definitely try to catch these guys again in the future. I'm going to bring earplugs next time, though.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bands On Demand.

I would've discovered this much sooner if I weren't too cheap to have digital cable. But, since I am, hanging out at my parents' house is the first taste I've had of this really great outlet for learning about local Atlanta bands. Anyone that has digital cable with Comcast can access this super exposure of local bands by going to the On Demand feature, picking "Get Local," and then clicking your remote on "Bands on Demand." It's hosted by Jay Harren of 99X's Sunday School, and spotlights some of the more pronounced acts in the area.

Right now, you can check out mini interviews and footage of Bain Mattox, Morning State, Alan Yates Band, Second Shift, The Swear, and Y-O-U. I'll tell you one thing I've learned from watching a couple of the interviews is that artists prefer playing Smith's Olde Bar more than any venue around Atlanta, and as a listener, I'd have to agree that going to a show there is my favorite.

This little feature really gives you insight on the personalities of the artists, and having met some of them, it amused me and made me smile to see them showcase themselves off the stage and outside of the music scene as a whole. Check it out when you're cruising On Demand.