Tag Archive | Album Cover

Video Clip of The Week: Tweens, “Be Mean”

I wonder if Cincinnati’s Tweens realize how much their awesome song “Be Mean” sounds like 1979-era Buzzcocks as fronted by Lydia Lunch. Does vocalist/guitarist Bridget Battle even know who Lydia Lunch is? Who Cares?! These kids rock!

Tweens embrace a BubbleGum Punk ethic that resists any trace of smarm, which I appreciate. Fleshed out by Peyton Copes on bass and Jerri Queen on drums, the trio’s self-titled debut album, from which “Be Mean” is culled, was produced by Eli Janney, whom I still associate more with being the bassist for Post-Hardcore band Girls Against Boys than for his long-standing reputation as a studio genius, so what does that say about me? I haven’t heard the full record yet, but just based on this one song and that Eli Janney association, I  am going to guess that it is amazing.

Check out Tweens’ bitchen website at This Link and buy the album on April 8th! Enjoy!

Tweens Album Cover

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Lady Gaga’s ArtPop Pop Up Gallery Comes to NYC and LA!

Lady Gaga Art Pop Evite

ARTPOP POP UP: A LADY GAGA GALLERY is a special three day event that will take place only in New York and Los Angeles from November 11 to 13th, 2013.

The Gallery will be open from 12:00 Noon – 9:00 PM at the following locations:

In NYC: 417 West 14th Street

In LA: 1538 N. Cahuenga Blvd

Come celebrate and experience the release of Gaga’s latest CD, ARTPOP with Music, Interactive Experiences, actual Gaga props and outfits, and much more! ARTPOP is available everywhere 11/11/13.

I’ll be “popping” by the gallery space on West 14th Street on Monday November 11th and will post pics of all the hot action right here upon my return.

Brewhemian Rhapsody

Queen 2 Brewhemian Rhapsody

Queen II Cover Likeness And Coffee Pun By Continuum Coffee. Photo By Gail

Apparently, the coffee at this place is pretty good. Rhapsodic, Even.

Also, This:

Bicycle Race Sign

Because they are big Queen fans as well as Baristas!

Photographed at Continuum Coffee on Avenue B near 12th Street, NYC.

Houses of The Holy Turns 40!

Houses of the Holy Album Cover

Led Zeppelin released its fifth studio album, Houses of the Holy, on this date, March 28th, in 1973! It is the first Led Zeppelin album comprised of all original material. While a song entitled “Houses of the Holy” was recorded during sessions for this album, the song actually appears on the band’s sixth album, Physical Graffiti.

Recommended Listening: Johnny Marr, The Messenger

Johnny Marr The Messenger CD Cover

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, starring comedian David Cross, ran for two seasons on the IFC cable channel. An absurdist dark comedy centering on the cringe-inducing adventures of the hapless title character – a criminally clueless American “businessman” living in London – Todd Margaret was portrayed as a blundering child-man, the consequences of whose utterly havoc-wreaking decisions progress from comic inconveniences to bringing about full-on global annihilation. It was a great show. One of the best parts of tuning in each week was getting to hear the Todd Margaret theme song, “Life Is Sweet,” written and performed by former Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr. Featuring cascading waves of Marr’s signature, chiming guitars and an adhesive refrain whose Morrissey-esque, fatalist lyrics promised “Things are gonna get worse,” the song is two minutes of pure aural bliss. For ninety-nine cents, “Life Is Sweet” is the most-valued purchase I made from iTunes last year.

Other than “Life is Sweet” and his brief, cameo appearance on the most recent season of Portlandia, I haven’t been paying much attention to what Johnny Marr has been up to, because Modest Mouse is not my thing. So, I am currently all over Marr’s new album, The Messenger, which is just insanely great. For those seeking comfort in the familiar, The Messenger sounds infinitely more akin to Marr’s definitive work in The Smiths than his previous solo outing, 2003’s Boomslang (with his band The Healers, whose rhythm section was comprised of Zak Starkey and Alonza Bevan). A brilliant collection of diverse tunes that came off like a Mancunian version of Sly & The Family Stone, Boomslang, puzzlingly, found itself on the receiving end of almost universal critical backlash, and fans didn’t seem to know what to do with it either. That said, if Marr’s guitar playing in The Smiths is what drew you in and hooked you, you won’t be able to stop listening to The Messenger.

Showcasing as much as it does Marr’s “Class of One” resonant guitar tone, this is not to suggest that the guitarist doesn’t adequately stretch on The Messenger. More here than on any previous recording I’ve heard, Marr sneakily incorporates some of his widely varied influences. The intro to the album’s lead track, “The Right Thing” sounds like it could have been lifted off The Who’s Quadrophenia before it shifts into an exuberant, sixities-esque call-and-response anthem. People are always saying that such and such a song is “like a drug,” but in the case of “The Right Thing,” it’s like an aural shot of your favorite upper. If you can’t find your groove to this song, you’re probably dead from the neck up.

The super-adrenalized “I Want the Heart Beat” dabbles in a minor chord, almost industrial feel without ever loosening its roots in pure ‘80s dance pop. “Upstarts,” the album’s first single, reminds me of those classic, early singles by The Undertones, which is probably not an accident, because those guys were sort of the Kings of Post Punk/New Wave Protest Songs, and I’m sure Marr was /is a fan. “Lockdown” is a rich, sonic blast of classic British rock, with Marr experimenting with a bit of a Big Country meets Def Leppard-esque chord progression – very nice!

Both “European Me” and the somewhat mournful, Bryan Ferry-tinged title track harkens back to the best of The Smiths (“William It Was Really Nothing,” “Panic”) with Marr’s vocals, as drenched as they likely are in reverb, as appealing and charismatic as Bono’s most earnest, pre-Messiah complex work with U2. Later on, the way Marr builds a creeping mood of foreboding on “Say Demesne” makes me think he should be (his contribution to Inception notwithstanding) writing soundtracks for James Bond films. Geesuz god, what a versatile player!

What I really love about The Messenger, as a complete work, is that it takes no initial “breaking in” period before each song claims its own identity. There are twelve tracks on the CD and each one is amazing in its own way. Unless Tame Impala release an album this year, I am pretty sure The Messenger will top my list of favorites for 2013. Johnny Marr FTW!

Grade: A+

RIP Roger Prigent, Photographer of Love It To Death Album Cover

Alice Cooper Love it to Death
Original, Banned Cover With Alice’s Thumb Emulating a Penis

Photographer and renowned antique dealer, Roger Prigent, who snapped the infamous cover of 1971′s Love it to Death, the breakthrough third album by the band Alice Cooper, has passed away at the age of 89.

Primarily known for his fashion photography, Prigent became a prominent Manhattan antiques dealer when his eyesight began to fail three decades ago. Prigent died in New York City on Saturday, December 15th, 2012 after suffering a recent stroke that left him in a coma. Read more about Roger Prigent’s life and career at This Link.

Warp Records Previews New Eno CD, Lux, In Midtown Church

Lux Brian Eno Cover Art

The Church for All Nations on West 57th Street was the super secret location for  today’s premiere US listening event for Brian Eno’s upcoming new album, entitled Lux. Lux is Eno’s first solo album on Warp Records and his first solo album since 2005’s Another Day On Earth. If you are familiar with Eno’s classic ambient works, such as Music For Films, Music For Airports and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks then the themes and sonic textures of Lux will sound very familiar to you. It certainly reminded me a lot of Music for Airports crossed with a denser ambient work such as Jeff Pierce’s The Hidden Rift, which is one of my favorite atmospheric albums.

According to Warp Record’s website, Eno sees the album as a continuation of his Music for Thinking project that includes Discreet Music (1975) and Neroli (1993).

The album is broken down into four sections as follows:

Track Listing
1. LUX 1 (19:22)
2. LUX 2 (18:14)
3. LUX 3 (19:19)
4. LUX 4 (18:28)

Lux will be released in the US on CD and as a Download on November 13th, 2012, and on Vinyl LP on December 10th, 2012.

Eno Lux NYC Listening

Recommended Listening: The Sheepdogs

Sheepdogs Self Titled Album Cover

Back when I used to eek out a few bucks writing about music, one particularly hard ass editor accused me of being “not a real Rock Critic.” This was likely due to my unwillingness to indulge in the widespread practice of pondering the sociopolitical leanings of a band in the context of a record review rather than just basing my critique on how the music sounded to me. I never really got that approach. I’m not interested in reading paragraphs of turgid, impenetrable prose and rock-crit wankery. Just tell me how the music sounds so I know if I want to buy the record.

Along those lines, The Sheepdogs are a band that’s easy for me to write about, because their music sounds amazing. This Canadian Classic Rock quartet (who in 2011 won a contest making them the first unsigned act ever to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine) have three independent albums under their belts and an EP released on Atlantic last year, but this record is their major label debut (produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys), and it’s beyond impressive.

“Laid Back” and “Feeling Good,” the first two tracks on the disc set the tone for the entire album: This is an exceptionally great feeling album of groove heavy tunes performed by a band that embraces an extremely lyrical approach to their playing. Lead singer Ewan Currie (whose voice has been compared to The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings) delivers the kind of quietly confident, effortlessly powerful vocal performance that is the mark of true natural talent. Guitarist Leot Hansen is doing wildly innovative stuff on the guitar while paying homage to tone masters such as George Harrison (“Never Gonna Get My Love”), Duane Allman (“Javelina!”) and of course Jimmy Page (“Sharp Sounds”). He’s amazing. Drummer Sam Corbett varies his drum feels to serve the song and his rhythm section partner, bassist Ryan Gullen holds down the bottom end while layering in adhesive hooks. This means that The Sheepdogs are just as vibrant and tight live as they are on disc, and you can’t say that about many acts these days.

What’s most impressive about The Sheepdogs is the band’s ability to integrate their influences so seamlessly that the songs are instantly familiar without sounding derivative. “Is Your Dream Worth Dying For?” feels pleasantly infused with tiny reminiscences of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light”, “While We’re Young” comes off like a revamped version of “Shapes of Things” and “In My Mind” captures the same kind of transcendent, euphoric quality as a song like Cream’s “Badge” without sounding anything like that song. As an aside, at least half these tracks indicate that The Sheepdogs should have a ready-made fan base in anyone who ever cited The Grateful Dead as a favorite band.

In their review of The Sheepdogs, Rolling Stone wrote, “Listening to the Sheepdogs is like having good luck finding classic rock stations on a long road trip.” I agree with that sentiment, but to me it feels fresher than that: as if it were possible travel back in time and actually hear new songs from a ‘70s band. It’s a refreshing reminder that the most vital benchmark of what constitutes good music is (or should be) that the music just sounds good.

Grade: A

Bauhaus Release The Sky's Gone Out

Skys Gone Out Cover Art

On this date, October 19th in 1982, Bauhaus released its third studio album, The Sky’s Gone Out. The album included a different mix of the single, “Spirit”.