Saturday, November 30, 2013

THE TOP ALBUMS OF 2013

TOM B.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
01. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, Disarm the Descent
02. GHOST, Infestissumam
03. IN SOLITUDE, Sister
04. THE NATIONAL, Trouble Will Find Me
05. SAVAGES, Silence Yourself
06. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS, Push the Sky Away
07. DEAFHEAVEN, Sunbather
08. BOYSETSFIRE, While A Nation Sleeps…
09. CORRECTIONS HOUSE, Serve or Survive
10. INTEGRITY, Suicide Black Snake

TOP 10 SONGS OF THE YEAR
(in alphabetical order)
• “Higgs Boson Blues,” Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
• “The One That Got Away,” The Civil Wars
• “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen,” Ghost
• “Sister,” In Solitude
• “The New Awakening,” Killswitch Engage
• “Unspoken,” Kylesa
• “Fireproof,” The National
• “City’s Full,” Savages
• “They Rode On,” Watain
• “Woodbine,” Windhand

RYAN D. 
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
01. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, One of Us is the Killer
02. INTEGRITY, Suicide Black Snake
03. COLISEUM, Sister Faith
04. CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe
05. KYLESA, Ultraviolet
06. TRUE WIDOW, Circumambulation
07. DEAFHEAVEN, Sunbather
08. MORNE, Shadows
09. BLOOD ORANGE, Cupide Deluxe
10. WINDHAND, Soma

GREGG R.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
01. LLOYD COLE, Standards
02. WAVVES, Sail to the Sun
03. SUPERCHUNK, I Hate Music
04. JOSH RITTER, The Beast In Its Tracks
05. EDITORS, The Weight of Your Love
06. THE JOY FORMIDABLE, Wolf's Law
07. FRIGHTENED RABBIT, Pedestrian Verse
08. BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, Specter at the Feast
09. BLACK SWAN LANE, The Last Time in Your Light
10. KITCHENS OF DISTINCTION, Folly

TOP 10 SONGS OF THE YEAR
• “Relax and Breathe,” Black Swan Lane
• "Super 8,” Jason Isbell
• "Calling Cards,” Neko Case
• "I Wish It Would Snow,” Kitchens of Distinction
• "Joy to You Baby,” Josh Ritter
• "Mantra,” Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor & Josh Homme
• "Dharma and the Bomb,” Bad Religion
• "Myrtle and Rose,” Lloyd Cole
• "Pendulum,” Pearl Jam
• "Inhaler,” Foals

Monday, August 26, 2013

R.I.P. JOEY LACAZE | AUGUST 2013


R.I.P. JOEY LACAZE | AUGUST 2013

While on the road last week, I learned of Joey Lacaze's sad and untimely death at the age of 42. Besides his notable presence as the phenomenally powerful drummer for NOLA legends, Eyehategod, Joey was also a husband, a proud father, and an incredibly kindhearted person. He will be missed not only by the fans but by his family, band mates, and friends.

I worked closely with Joey, Jimmy & Co. in EHG during the late-90s when I was director of North American A&R at Century Media. Their contractual situation was an absolute nightmare so, together with the band, I put together a plan for a rarities record ("Southern Discomfort"), a live one ("10 Years of Abuse [and Still Broke]"), and their last studio album to-date ("Confederacy of Ruined Lives"). This released them from their contract and allowed them to create music wherever, whenever, and with whoever they wanted. I also designed the packaging for both the rarities and live records as well as teaming up with Mike for additional art on the studio album. From my years at CM, my work with EHG is one of the things I'm most proud of.

I had tickets to see them on in less than a month for their 25th Anniversary shows and was especially looking forward to sitting with Jimmy & Joey. Their music is pure, raw, unbridled power and Joey's drumming gave it that special groove. In the live setting, I always loved watching Joey warm up to hit those first blasts of the night as he channeled the musical energy needed for all things known as the one and only, the almighty, Eyehategod!

(top) Joey w/Blake Judd of Nachtmystium, Philadelphia (2010)
(middle) Joey, Philadelphia (2010)
(bottom) Jimmy, myself, Mike & Joey at the Century Media offices (2000)

Note: Click on images to enlarge.

Monday, June 24, 2013

SAVAGES (ARE WELL WORTH THE HYPE)



If Siouxsie Sioux, East Bay Ray, Peter Hook and Paul Ferguson formed a band – these are the sounds they would make. Savages, Silence Yourself. Check out this video of the band performing "City's Full" on Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KILLSWITCH STYLE!



It was my 44th birthday and the guys in Killswitch Engage called me to the front of the stage toward the end of their set, said many far-too-kind words about me, and asked the sold-out crowd at one of my favorite venues of all-time, the Trocadero, to sing a surprise "Happy Birthday" to me -- which they did in true Philadelphia kick ass fashion! Midway, Josh came on stage with cake that was decorated with "Happy Birthday Shutter Bug"! How much do I love these guys? The answer is very, very, very much so!

Monday, June 10, 2013

SPRINGSTEEN LIVE AT THE VILLAGE! (06.22.84)


Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Live at The Village Nightclub, Lancaster, PA
June 22, 1984
Streaming Audio available, HERE.

Set-List:
1. Out on the Street
2. Prove it All Night
3. Glory Days
4. Hungry Heart
5. Dancing in the Dark
6. Rosalita

In 1984, while working on tour production with nearby Clair Bros., Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band stopped in to The Village night club. After hanging out for a while, they took the stage for an impromptu live set lasting nearly 40 minutes. Their appearance at The Village is not only a story of lore here in Lancaster but a unique performance by the band. This is largely due to two factors: 1. The Village holds only 200 people and Born in the U.S.A. had just gone double-platinum at the time, and 2. the band played the instruments of the night's headlining band, The Sharks. Due to The Sharks being a new wave band, you'll be able to hear electronic drums as well as 80s keyboard tones that "Prove It All Night," "Dancing in the Dark" and "Rosalita" were never performed with before (or since). The below details are from Lancaster Online's article documenting the event:

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Glory days 
The night "The Boss" and members of the E Street Band walked into the Village has become local folklore.



The date for Springsteen filling fans' hungry hearts in Lancaster was June 22, 1984, and as Photis recalls, Dana Dieter Murr, a lifeguard at the old Host Town, which became the now-razed Days Inn on Keller Avenue, brought "The Boss" in. The band was staying at Host Town while working with Clair Bros. in Lititz in preparation for the band's "Born in the USA" tour.

"We typically had 100 to 150 people on a Thursday night. She brought them in and everyone ran for a telephone, and this was before cell phones," Photis says. "In a short time the club was packed.

"


I called the newspaper and told the editor that answered that they might want to send someone down here, that Bruce Springsteen was about to perform. The editor said, 'Gus, my staff is already there.'

"

Springsteen was just one of the guys, Photis says. People came up and he signed autographs.



The Sharks, one of the most successful bands to call Lancaster home, were playing that night. About midnight, they invited the legendary band to take the stage. Springsteen and his band mates picked up the Sharks' instruments and started playing "Out in the Street." They kept playing for about 35 minutes.



"There was such an air of excitement and energy," Photis says. "You felt their stature. You realized you were listening to one of the best bands to ever perform. It was unbelievable."

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For more, go HERE.

Monday, May 27, 2013

THE TIME-MACHINE CONCERT TOUR!

All of these are real shows, researched by yours truly and listed in alphabetical order by artist. Naturally, this is just a select few of the shows I'd go back to if I had a time machine. Oh H.G. Wells, how I need you so… – Tom b.


ARTIST: Bad Brains
DATE: February 25, 1981
CITY/VENUE: New York, NY / CBGB

While I love the Bad Brains' reggae, I love me more this era of their hardcore heyday. Still dripping with the swagger of young punks changing the face of music – long before pits, jocks and the mainstream hit the Bowery.


ARTIST: The Band
DATE: July 10, 1970
CITY/VENUE: Los Angeles, CA / Hollywood Bowl

Their first two albums are so amazing and this show was the height of both their fame and creative influence (they were the cover of Time magazine this year). Under the stars, hopped up on wine and pot with Robbie, Levon, Rick & Co. taking me and the crowd down to Dixie via N. Highland. Simply a must.


ARTIST: Black Sabbath
DATE: March 10, 1972
CITY/VENUE: San Francisco / Winterland Arena

Touring on what would be their last "perfect" album with Ozzy, Vol. 4 (even though many classic songs were still to come… "Dirty Women," anyone?), I'd love to catch this band before cocaine took them over completely and while their evil riffage was still at its height.


ARTIST: Iron Maiden
DATE: December 23, 1981
CITY/VENUE: London, England / The Ruskin Arms

This was a secret club show, the final concert of the Killers world tour – only with new vocalist Bruce Dickinson on vocals who joined the band just 3 months prior. The band also treated the fans to two new, yet-to-be-released songs in "Run to the Hills" and "The Prisoner" that night. The Ruskin Arms was where they got their start before signing with EMI, so it was a "thank you" gig to their heartiest of fans. So yeah, enough said.


ARTIST: Joy Division
DATE: May 2, 1980
CITY/VENUE: Birmingham, England / High Hall

While not the band's final show, they played their rare track, "Ceremony," at this concert (the concert was recorded and released on Still). Sadly, the band were history only 16 days later after Ian took his own life. They had only just begun.


ARTIST: The Misfits
DATE: August 9, 1978
CITY/VENUE: New York, NY / Max's Kansas City

The Static Age line-up featuring Glenn, Franch̩, Jerry and Mr. Jim playing at the legendary Max's Kansas City in NYC several months before they play their highly-bootlegged Max's Christmas show. No Doyle, no speed Рjust some of the greatest songs ever written, sloppily performed by a bunch of reckless novices. Pure greatness.


ARTIST: The Ozzy Osbourne Band
DATE: March 6, 1982
CITY/VENUE: Birmingham, AL / Boutwell Auditorium

Randy Rhoads' third to last show before his untimely death. This concert offers me a chance to see them play in a town I lived in while also seeing one of rock's most talented line-ups perform the best material from two of metal's greatest albums. One only needs to say "Randy" when talking guitar for someone to know you're talking about Mr. Rhoads. Now that's a legend.


ARTIST: Pink Floyd
DATE: July 3, 1977
CITY/VENUE: New York, NY / Madison Square Garden

Sure, seeing them tour on DSOTM would be awesome but with the band having both Wish You Were Here and Animals out as well, the live set still sees the entire DSOTM and most of the newer two albums being performed. Plus, most of this tour was in outdoor stadiums, which diminishes the experience, so seeing them in an arena is about as cozy as it would ever be again for Pink Floyd.


ARTIST: The Smiths
DATE: October 30, 1986
CITY/VENUE: Manchester, England / Free Trade Hall

The Smiths in their hometown touring on The Queen Is Dead. Talk about "enough said." An essential time-travel concert if there ever was one. Can you please play "The Draize Train"? Oh, yes they can.


ARTIST: Van Halen
DATE: July 20, 1981
CITY/VENUE: Philadelphia, PA / The Spectrum

A rock and roll city, the venue of my childhood rock 'n roll dreams, and a band touring on their last great album, Fair Warning. Sure, I could have gone back in time to see them at the Whisky on New Year's Eve of '77 but then I wouldn't have heard "Unchained," "D.O.A.," "Everybody Wants Some" or "Mean Streets."

And how about you, my friends?

Monday, May 13, 2013

REVIEW: GHOST "INFESTISSUMAM"


Artist: Ghost (or Ghost B.C.)
Album: Infestissumam
Label: Loma Vista Recordings 
Release Date: April 16, 2013

Rating: 9.5/10

The problem with reviewing records before, or as soon as, they come out is that the reviews are rushed, based on merely 2-3 listens, and without the evolution of the listening experience intact. That said, after reading several early reviews from last month – most notably those by Decibel & Pitchfork, I wanted to offer up an alternative perspective.

Without debate, everything about Infestissumam is more expansive, more intricate, more daring, and more mature than their debut full-length, Opus Eponymous. When I go back and listen to Opus…, it's without a doubt a smaller, gloomier hard rock record that still burns extremely bright in the underground. However, Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Alice In Chains) handled production on Infestissumam and unquestionably helped the band achieve their goal of making "an album that sounds like an expensive record that came out in 1978."

That said, it doesn't truly matter what an album sounds like unless it has great songs on it, right? Well, Infestissumam delivers on every single track – top to bottom, left to right. Was this obvious at first? No. In similar fashion to how I felt when Pixies Bossanova came out, I was also both confused and disheartened by what I heard on Infestissumam. This often happens to fans when a band follows up such a (deservedly) hyped predecessor. With each subsequent listen, however, no longer did just "Secular Haze" and "Year Zero" excite me, but tracks like "Jigolo Har Megiddo," "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen," "Body and Blood," and "Depth of Satan's Eyes" came together in a big way for me. And eventually, this happened with every… single… track.

From the borderline Trans-Siberian Orchestra-esque opening instrumental, "Infestissumam" to the ballad-like "Ghuleh" that melts into the surf rock/hard rock offerings of its second half, "Zombie Queen," the Satanic disco beat of "Year Zero," the wake-up-every-morning-singing-this-song's melodies of "Body and Blood," and the closing ritualistic mass that is "Monstrance Clock" – Infestissumam is a carnival ride of influence, style, and burning brilliance.

Ghost are not a one-trick pony and Infestissumam is proof. To sell them, or this album, short would be a grave mistake.