3.27.2008

Langhorne Slim TV TREAT

Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles made their Television debut on David Letterman. Wow and what a fine job they did! While this footage is very formal their live shows are anything but.

So for now just enjoy this TV TREAT and make plans to see them on the road. Spring tour dates on MySpace.

3.21.2008

Langhorne Slim On Letterman

Happy News for Langhorne Slim! I'm crazy about this band!

The band Langhorne Slim is a rockin folk / blues / rock / outfit that have been wowing crowds across the US and Europe with their exuberant stage presence and rollicking sound. Stirring audiences to stomp, clap, dance and sing along in a frenzy of glee.


Langhorne Slim has now found a home with the label Kemado Records and will unleash a self-titled full-length album with bonus tracks on April 29th 2008. The recordings reflect the live rip-roaring high-spirited feel and acoustic gems that warm the heart.

For other articles about Langhorne Slim (press labels).

3.08.2008

Jukebox the Ghost / Wows @ Piano’s

Jukebox has the have factor. What takes other bands years to develop they already have. The learning curve for this band has been working at mock speed. A full house of enthusiastic fans came out on a Thursday night to see this lively trio work their intuitive magic. The audience clapped, sang along, smiled and moved happily soaking in the spirited set.

Ben Thornewill on Keys/vocals, Tommy Seigel guitar/vocals and Jessie Kristen on drums exude warmth, connectedness and unpretentious ease of performance. They take their music seriously but don’t burden the audience with insecurity. They can enjoy a good flub of a lyric; laugh shrug and continue to play.


The incredibly catchy mix of dance/ rock/pop/ compositions is integrated live with smart lyrics to match.
Ben Thornewill’s music conservatory background is apparent. He has serious chops without an attitude, but his facial expression are Oscar worthy. His vocal range like Freddie Mercury of Queen can be smooth like butter or ecstatically charged. While rocking with his guitar Ben Seigel gawkily jerked and one footed the stage with innate charm, devoid of pomposity. His lead vocals added a welcome diversity to the overall gestalt. Jessie Kristin’s drumming was impressive holding together the changing rhythms that are a complex part of the Jukebox sound.

They went through much of their new recording Let Live and Let Ghosts including the three part "Fire in the Sky"/ "Where Are All The Scientists Now" / "A Matter of Time” that feature Siegel’s quirky vocals with Thornewill doing back up. Crowd favorites: Good Day, Hold it in, Victoria were also in the mix and wonderful live.

Building on the party atmosphere, Ben introduced a cover song as an Indie guilty pleasure. Pleasure it was, but I was too enthralled to remember the name.


When the set was over the audience begged for an encore, some screaming suggestions. They chose the last grouping of songs on The Beatles Abbey Road. Easing into the beautiful "Golden Slumbers" the audience swayed and cooed. “Carry That Weight” was an awesome sing along. “End” was the closing and Tommy moved stage left leaving Jesse Kristin in full view for a great drum solo moment. This just killed.


Tides in music have a way of changing fast. Jukebox The Ghost’s refreshing personalities, undeniable musicianship and the dynamic pop and roll will sustain them. Making a buzz a breakthrough. They have it!
Jukebox The Ghost

3.02.2008

Deer Tick, War Elephant; hard to forget /review

Deer Tick’s debut release War Elephant on Feow Records is hard to forget. The melodies are countrified confessionals reflecting the lineage of legendary folk, alt country, grunge and blues. War Elephant respectively pays homage to the styles and songwriting of yesteryear; Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and in the vein of Tom Petty, Bright Eyes (alt country) Two Gallants, to name a few.

The songs feature the stellar songwriting and vocals of John McCauley. With lyrics worth remembering concerning unreciprocated love, romantic notions, self-reflection, self-doubt and religious reference that bridge a broader discourse. In the songs “Not So Dense”, / now the kids are making models of god in papier mache / and “Christ Jesus”, / its your face I don’t see / he opens the discussion.

McCauley’s worn weathered tobacco laden voice blends in perfect tandem with his smart lyrical notations. The tone, rawness and delivery likened to Kurt Cobain. His words defy his age, and are indicative of an old soul.


The quality of Deer Tick's musicianship gives the songs tang and a homespun sound of familiarity. Strongly melding melody driven finger picking on acoustic guitar, throwback electric (John McCauley), drum brushed snare shuffle and clanging cymbals (Dennis Ryan), dramatic double bass (Chris Ryan) and the violin for romantic and aggressive treatments (Sine Jensen).

Opening with the beautiful “Ashamed” a classic folk ballad that conjures social commentary; / the eternal testament to how your so animalistic / and / you should have seen how the arches tumbled / they are golden no more / the beguiling chorus rise in angelic contrast as they join McCauley singing / oh oh oh / oh oh oh / oh oh / what a crying shame / what we became /.

The full jug band glory and a two-step rhythm in the songs “Art Isn’t Real (City Of Sin)", “Diamond Rings 2007” and “These Old Shoes” bring the melody to fruition. Making the upbeat tempo of songs about unrequited love a welcome dichotomy. He declares his lovelorn circumstances inventively… / I know of a city of sin / and that’s the place I want to see you in / romancing, go back to the beginning / and / I’ll stay the whole night through / and I’ll turn from black to blue / I’m choking after you /.
“Standing in the threshold” comes on like a grunge storm, building intensity with the bass and electric guitar and plowing through the songs entirety. / you and me / created something special / oh you and me / oh we’re standing at the threshold /. The anguished screams and strained vocal provoke the finality / I fall apart from the inside out / and die…..

“Nevada” is a soft bitter sweet love declaration as
violin heart strings accompany McCauley’s voice imploring his love to / stay here and wander beside me / and ending on a sour note. / I spill my gut / if I had your trust / oh, believe me but you leave me crushed /. The haunting “Christ Jesus” is forbidding. The bass, crashing cymbals and McCauley’s impassioned voice are equally pronounced creating a jolting resonance.

McCauley shows off his phrasing abilities in a campy cover of an old standard “What Kind Of Fool Am I”. Beginning with a clank snare and cymbal that leads into a Bossa Nova arrangement. It emphasizes the sad but comedic self-deprecating lyrics. / What kind of clown am I / what do I know of life /. The song ends on an optimistic note cleverly kicking in piano and violins to bring home the ultimate sappy true romantic within. Appropriately closing War Elephant with a hoot.

With not one misstep, all 14 tracks on War Elephant display their influences proudly and lovingly. It is a music assemblage of caliber and a rewarding listening experience.

Music Blogger reviewer rant…

I love writing reviews and give it my all! Of course I write about music I love, so that part is easy. Reviewers on staff often have too much that they are required to listen to. I don't have to endure listening to music that is mediocre for the sake of review. I think that might just ruin music for me. I would become jaded.

In that regard it must be complicated being a paid reviewer and almost impossible not to be subjective.
The controversy surrounding the reviewer for Maxim who rated the Black Crowes’ forthcoming album Warpaint without really listening is disturbing. I’m sure it is common.

Bloggers also have their own set of difficulties. Posting regularly keeps a Blog viable and maintains reader interest and loyalty. I have read many reviews lately that are of the cut and paste variety.
Part of the problem is the promotional material and goodies sent as bait to peak Bloggers interest.

The written promotional resources sent to me are helpful but are the point of view of another writer or publicist. Often it is misleading and not about the music. Mainly, it contains buzzwords to encourage interest. That is why reviews often have similar key words and phrases written out of context.


Lately, I’ve been receiving music online. One might think that having done several favorable reviews of Peasant that I might have received his recording in the form of a present with a ribbon or via e-mail. Well I didn’t and like most music I love, I gladly pay for. Some music I have received is already on my radar, either I have purchased the EP or have seen the group live. I also write about groups that are not on anyone’s radar. That is something I take pride in.

So why read my reviews? I believe I have a point of view. I trust my instincts. I guarantee my readers that I really listen before writing. I listen (obsessively), absorb, and write. I will not write about music I don't love. I will write about music that has a point of view, or has the potential of moving music culture forward.

Listen to Diamond Rings 2007 from
Deer Tick! my latest obsession! War Elephant review, to post very soon! I paid for this one!!