Led Zeppelin Guitarist Jimmy Page celebrates Seventy (70, Wow!) years on the planet today, January 9th, having been born in the year 1944. Happy Birthday Jimmy, You Are the Best!
Comprised of Melanie Krahmer on drums and vocals and Rich Libutti on guitar, Sirsy is a Rock & Roll force to be reckoned with! Their new video for the awesome song “Cannonball” is lots of fun in that it was shot entirely at live shows by fans using cell phones! I mean, I hate cell phones, but…Cleverness! I totally love Melanie’s smoky, sassy powerhouse of a voice that I would compare favorably to groundbreaking female rock vocalists like Brenda Lee and Dusty Springfield, but also modern soul singers like Duffy. And High Fives all around to Sirsy for being able to put so much swing into this tune with only drums and guitar — what a couple of badasses. “Cannonball”– from the CD Coming Into Frame (on Funzalo Records) is Super Groovy! Sirsy will be releasing a new EP with a new single and some live material in early December, 2013! Enjoy!
Most people know the name Kim Gordon for her prominence in the music industry as the vocalist and guitarist for Sonic Youth, but Gordon is also an accomplished artist and filmmaker, having graduated from LA’s Otis College of Art and Design in the 1970s. Gordon is currently exhibiting a collection of her Paintings, Sculptures, Installation, Performance Art Documentation and Films in a show called Design Office with Kim Gordon – Since 1980, at White Columns Gallery in downtown Manhattan.
Gordon has also written extensively about art and music, and several of her books and articles are also part of the exhibit.
Design Office with Kim Gordon works well as a career retrospective of Gordon’s body of work from 1980 to the present, and while it is impressive for revealing her willingness to experiment with a variety of mediums and the obvious passion she has for her artistic expression, it reminded me very much of the student art exhibits I attended in college.
My favorite quote attributed to the late great Andy Warhol is “Art is What You Can Get Away With.” I see a lot of art and all I can add is that I believe he was correct.
The highlight of the exhibit for me was the ten minutes I spent in a small screening room watching part of the film X Girl Movie (1995), in which actress Chloë Sevigny roams the city, eventually crashing a Marc Jacobs Fashion Week event, looking for a man named Guy Lionaise who works at The UN. It’s more interesting than it sounds.
I also liked her Twitter Paintings, which reminded me of the word art of David Shrigley, a tree branch painted with ice-blue glitter and one or two other isolated pieces, the best of which I’ve shown here.
That said, I’d tend to recommend this exhibit for fans of Kim Gordon and/or Sonic Youth, only.
Design Office with Kim Gordon – since 1980 will be on exhibit through October 19th, 2013 at White Columns Gallery, Located at 320 West 13th Street (Enter on Horatio Street, between Hudson and 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10014. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 12 Noon – 6:00 PM.
Thanks to Leah Cevoli for telling me about this:
“My name is Brad Carter. I am an actor, artist, occasional stand-up comedian and a guitarist from Macon, Georgia now living in Los Angeles, Ca. In the past few months I’ve had two surgeries on my brain to help me play guitar again. Maybe you saw it on the Today Show or your local news. I never knew any of that was going to happen. All I wanted was to be able to play guitar for a few years longer. I have a disease called Essential Tremor. This is a progressive neurological disease and there is no cure. My doctors think it could very well become Parkinson’s in the near future. I want to make the most of the time the surgery has given me by recording an album and sharing my story with you. Thank you for becoming a part of this Kickstarter project. It means the world to me.”
Please visit Brad’s Kickstarter page at This Link to watch Brad’s very moivng video, to get more information on Brad and to donate to his very deserving campaign! Thank You!
Earlier this week, I attended a party at The Cutting Room and ran into my friend Billy Amendola, who I got to know during my 13 years spent writing for Modern Drummer magazine. Billy is not only a fantastic writer and editor, but he’s also quite an accomplished working drummer, having racked up a couple of dance hits during the 70s with the band Mantus, as well as playing drums on many of Debbie Gibson’s hits. Billy told me about a project he just completed called Influenced, featuring a song he wrote with a couple of his industry friends called “She Does.” He turned me on to the video, and I was instantly blown away by how much this track sounds like The Beatles.
Actually, The Beatles comparison is not at all surprising, when you consider that they recruited producer Mark Hudson for lead vocals. I remember having a ridiculous crush on Mark Hudson when I was probably 13, and he and his two brothers, Brett and Bill (father of actress Kate Hudson) had a summer replacement television series, The Hudson Brothers comedy variety hour. I even owned a couple of the Hudson Brothers excellent albums, which I absolutely adored because all of their songs sounded so much like The Beatles.
In his career, Mark has worked with huge hit makers including Ringo Starr, and I know Billy is also a huge Beatles fan, so, again, the similarity is no surprise. What’s also a standout on this track is how guitarist Vinnie Zummo (formerly with Joe Jackson) completely channels George Harrison’s Elmore James-influenced slide guitar.
The track was produced by Billy’s son, Matty, who I used to fondly refer to as “Matty’s Fro,” owing to his impressive Afro hairstyle! Matty has gone on to become quite adept producer and multi-instrumentalist in his own right, and it’s fantastic to hear father and son working together on such a solid track. Please enjoy!
Neal Smith, drummer for the original Band called Alice Cooper sent me the link to this video a couple of days ago and told me it was a clip he had never even seen before. Knowing how many fans of that awesome band I have as readers, I knew I had to post this as soon as I could get it together. This clip is especially great because you get to hear Neal and guitarist Michael Bruce have a very candid conversation about whether Neal or bassist Dennis Dunaway will provide the voice of the little girl in the song’s introduction. Neal twirls his sticks a lot and Kachina the snake also makes an appearance! Enjoy!
It is indeeed a sad time in the Metal Community today as it has been announced that Slayer founding member and Guitairst, Jeff Hanneman, passed away on May 2nd, 2013 at just 49 years of age. Cause of death is reported as liver failure, though Hanneman had suffered with the extremely rare but serious condition Necrotizing Fasciitis (popularly known as flesh eating bacteria) since contracting it possibly through a spider bite in 2011. What a horrible way to go. RIP, Jeff and just remember, God Listens to Slayer.
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young was born on this day, March 31st, in 1955. Happy Birthday, Angus!
Well known on the NYC rock scene as the guitarist and primary songwriter behind retro garage-pop quartet The Friggs, Palmyra Delran is a bit of a local music icon. While The Friggs never broke commercially, they opened for legendary bands such as The Ramones and Cheap Trick, earning a devote regional following as well as solid professional props for being an “all-girl” band that could rock as hard as any group of guys. In her second solo venture, Delran stays close to the layered pop sound she helped to hone in The Friggs, while continuing to demonstrate innovation with regard to arrangements and intriguing personal storytelling in songs that draw the listener into her very relatable world.
If Palmyra Delran isn’t the coolest chick on the block, I don’t know who is. Seamlessly blending the guitar rock grit of Joan Jett with the pop sensibilities and subtle humor of Blondie, You Are What You Absorb will feel instantly familiar to fans of the classic Girl Groups, Sixties Psychedelia, Surf Rock and the very best of the early eighties New Wave movement. There’s not a lot of timeless music being made today, but the twelve memorable tracks on You Are What You Absorb certainly qualify as such, being packed with lyrical hooks sharp enough to draw blood and retro musical flourishes, such as sitar and organ, that establish Palmyra’s reverential connection to the past while bringing her music into the present.
A favorite track among many is the single “Shy Boy” – an endearing love song to a reluctant wallflower that will melt the coldest heart. I also dig the way that the propulsive drumbeat and furious guitar outtro of “Lies For You” dig deep to fondly recall the Nick Lowe-penned Elvis Costello classic, “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love & Understanding.” Bringing other unexpected influences the forefront, Delran’s expert guitar playing on “Never to Be Back Again,” especially, recalls Jeff Beck’s distinctive riffage on The Yardbird’s “Heart Full of Soul,” and I don’t think there is much higher praise to give than that. Palmyra also shows her stylistic versatility on “The Turtle,” which successfully flirts with sixties lounge jazz.
Although it’s still pretty chilly on the East coast, as New York fights hard to break into spring, you need to grab a copy of You Are What You Absorb right away, so you can get ready to take it to the beach with you, add it to Party Mixes and slap it on the car stereo for long drives with the car top down as these songs become the soundtrack to your Best Summer Ever.
Palmyra Delran’s You Are What You Absorb is out now and available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon.com and wherever quality rock is procured.
View the acclaimed video for “You’re My Brian Jones” Below:
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!