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11 August 2009 @ 07:30 pm
Kids of Survival are a power pop/punky band out of Rockaway, Queens. They’re a four piece, two guitarists (Vin and Frank), bassist/vocals (Gary) and drums (Dylan). This is their second record, and there’s a marked difference between the two. The first record (Good ‘Til Your Heart Pops), in a lot of ways, seemed to follow a lot of the music and lyrics choices of the nouveau punk bands of the moment, which ain’t such a bad thing, if you like that sorta thing. The record came out in 2005, and the four years since then really show. The time spent touring and woodshedding bears out in the product. The drums pop, especially on tracks like “The Code and the Key”, where Dylan switches up the straightforward rhythms of the first record for something that sounds more like rhumba or samba. Vin and Frank often divide the sonic territory, Vin occupying a higher, trebly-er register, and Frank claiming a lower, growlier frequency, almost into bass territory. “Always True” really strikes me in this way, you can hear Vin playing the same riff on top of the song, and this lower end guitar sound underneath it. Gary’s vocals, though, are often the real star. He comes over the top of the music with this amazing baritone that even strays into falsetto on occasion.

And the song titles. They really get to me, especially “The Only True Currency In This Bankrupt World Is Stuff You Share With Someone Else When You’re Both Uncool.” I loved Almost Famous, and this is one of the lines Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Lester Bangs laid on Patrick Fugit’s character in the movie. It means that you share something important and awesome with someone, especially at your worst moments. This record occurs to me as something the band wants to give the kids who like them, almost as a gift. Something to say “Yeah, this is gonna be awesome! You’re gonna love this!” This is a record they made for their fans and for themselves as well. Open up. You’re gonna love it too.

Song samples can be found at http://www.shockhound.com/albums/298577-kids-of-survival-mp3s-deliver-the-message
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Current Mood: cheerfulgrungeariffic
This isn't my post, but I want everyone who can to go to emusic.com and check out the "Play" compilation of children's music. Mudhoney do a song on there called...wait for it. "I LIKE TO MAKE NOISE AND BREAK THINGS."

04 July 2009 @ 12:10 pm
Celebrate by listening to "Independence Day" by Bruce Springsteen.

I thought this could be on o' them "High Fidelity Days" that we don't seem to do anymore, but with, like, just me. So, I present My Personal Top 10 American Rock 'n Roll Bands/Artists:

1. Bob Dylan
2. Drive-By Truckers
3. The Raconteurs
4. The Stooges
5. The Flaming Lips
6. Uncle Tupelo/Wilco (don't want to make myself choose)
7. Pavement
8. Bruce Springsteen
9. Buffalo Springfield (OMGZ!!!!!!! Neil was Canadian!!!!!! Get over it.)
10. The Hold Steady

Hon. Mentions: The Black Keys, Dinosaur Jr.

Feel free to post your own lists in the comments! If anyone still reads this!
I think we've all got that band in our heads. You know. The one we wish we could see live. I know I do. I wish I could have seen the original Stones lineup. Or the Sonic's Rendezvous Band. Or the Kinks. Fact is, though, as long as members are still alive, there seems to be a chance that they'll get back together, these days.

I think that part of it is the Coachella phenomenon, at least for the more indie rock bands. Not that there haven't been big rock fests since the beginning of rock music, but Coachella and even Lollapalooza in its prime have attracted a more indie sort of act. Coachella attracts bands that have been broken up by paying them a ton of money and getting them onstage. Here are some examples over the years: Jesus and Mary Chain, Throbbing Gristle, Portishead, Rage Against The Machine, Happy Mondays...the list goes on. The general idea is that Coachella seems to get acts that might not reunite otherwise. So, reason one: Fame and Filthy Lucre (thank you mister lydon)

For some, however...I think the driving force is the passing of Joey Ramone. I remember right after Joey passing in 2001 there was speculation that a lot of bands were considering getting back together, and several did. Indeed, the big one for me at the time was Mission of Burma, and I recall Roger Miller relating that Joey passing made them all go "Wait, we were great, no one will remember, and we could die too!". Well, more or less that, anyway. Joey was...not a muse, but certainly an inspiration for a lot of the bands of that time period. Indeed, Clint and Roger bonded over freaky dancing to the Ramones. I could be overstating this, but I think it's a factor.

There is also the gunslinger mentality. You've all seen that old western film, let's say...Unforgiven? Part of the inspiration for getting back on the road is "can I still do it like i used to?" It's a legit question. Especially because some of these bands never really got the exposure that they would not. Can you imagine Mission of Burma or Black Flag or the Minutemen being underground as long as they were now? I can't. It makes for legendary status for bands that never really made it. As an artist, it makes you think. Has to, doesn't it? You wonder if you were as good as these kids with tour support, a record label with real distribution, cds instead of vinyl of uneven quality (there are stories about record labels in Detroit that had tire chunks in the vinyl. eeew), and better publicity. I think the dude to ask would be Mike Watt. I'm curious to see what he thinks!

One of my personal favorites was the Pixies reunion, about five years ago. The music was great...but the documentary was even better. None of them seem really happy to be touring together. They all seem on the verge of saying something to one another...and I'm curious to see what would have happened if there were no cameras. I guess, like any breakup, there's a reason it happened, and a reason you didn't get back together before now. You know?
27 June 2009 @ 04:30 am
It’s been a while since I blogged here at The Eclectic Six, I’ve had a lot going on and not a lot of time to ruminate about music as of late, but today something hit me. This something is something that has been apparent to me for a long time but just has not come to the surface as noteworthy until now.
Intrigued? Read on...Collapse )
20 June 2009 @ 05:43 pm
Greetings from my glorious, liberating weeklong vacation in London! Amidst said setting, I'd like to share a very brief revelation regarding the Kinks.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Kinks. I LOVE the Kinks, for both their immeasurable influence and for the genius of Ray Davies. However, if asked to list my top 10 favorite bands, I don't think the Kinks would make the cut.

Why not? Because they are SO FUCKING ENGLISH and I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ENGLAND. I'll take some America with my rock, thank you.

Maybe that is a weird thing to say, but then again I've been drinking quite a bit this week. Rock 'n roll is an American invention, and thus America is where good influences originate. Great bands from other countries always acknowledge this, and usually set their songs in ambiguous, or at least relatable, geographical locations. Ray, on the other hand, is content with singing explicitly about British people.

That said, Village Green Preservation Society sounds fucking great strolling along the banks of the Thames (this sentence is grammatically incorrect, but I don't feel like fixing it).

God bless America (and the Queen)!!!!!!!!
15 June 2009 @ 09:28 pm
In order to get back into the Eclectic swing of things, I'm writing a variation on the "Put your music player on shuffle" meme that was running around recently.

1) Baby I'm Drunk-The Reverend Horton Heat

Horton's a psychobilly freak from Texas, and this is a fantastic track trying to explain to his ladyfriend why, indeed, he cannot explain what happened that evening. Thus, the title.

2) Out from the Inside-The Wildhearts

The Wildhearts are really, honestly, sui generis. I heard about these guys when they were opening for the Darkness. It's hilarious, the descriptions of that tour, because apparently they attracted their fans as much as those of the Darkness. And they are one of those bands whose fans get rather agitated when you are ANY other band than the Wildhearts. This record is one of their more accessible pieces of work, the others being...less poppy and more...metal insanity? Worth checking out.

3) Night Time is the Right Time- Bettye LaVette, Andre Williams.

What people forget, with the advent of the Motown sound, is that there were artists and record labels, even in Detroit, that played soul music. Motown soul was cleaner and more accessible than their competitors. Artists like Nathaniel Mayer, Bettye LaVette, and my badass uncle Andre made music that was funkier, sexier, and much much dirtier. This is a live joint from a concert at Southpaw a number of years ago, an old soul music revival show emceed by muthafunkin' Rudy Ray Moore himself. The bad bad Dolemite! Worth your time to pick up, kids.

4) Whatever Happened To-The Buzzcocks

See, whenever anyone talks about pop punk and talks about blink 182 or Good Charlotte, and uses the term as a pejorative, I want to put on the singles comp "Singles Going Steady" and explain that while the former is crap, this record is amazing pop punk that should be the example. Hooky, accessible, and sparkling. This is the first Manc band to capture me, personally. Some of the songs on here have been in commercials. Think about how much of the first gen of punk rock has made it to that kind of mainstream acceptance.

5) Mirror in the Bathroom-the English Beat

Ah, two tone. Ska. I was never a big fan, but I've gotta be honest, this shit is dance music. Just lose your inhibitions, put on some shades, and SKANK MOTHERFUCKER! I really dig the singing on this, it's so rhythmic and it's as much an instrument as anything else in the band. Singin's just another solo! I love it.

6) Fire on the Moon-The Bellrays

You probably don't know her, but the singer of the Bellrays, Lisa Kekaula, is the best singer in America. I'll put her against anyone you want. C'mon. Renee Fleming vs. Lisa Kekaula in the octagon. I would pay for that show. C'mon. $35 for that? You'd do it too. Admit it fucker.

7) I'm Through With White Girls-The Dirtbombs, live in 2002.

Enough has been written in this blog about the 'bombs, so I'm not gonna go into them as a group. The singer on this joint, however, is worth mentioning. Unca Jim Diamond, folks. He's an amazing dude. Some people who like the White Stripes and other bands have some issues with his business methods, but I've personally never had an issue with the dude. He was the one who sold me a copy of the second motor city ghetto blaster comp, notable for its ko and the knockouts tracks and some hot tracks by the 'bombs and the paybacks. Jim Diamond, however, seems to me to be one of the good guys.

8) Swamp Thing-Chameleons UK

I bought a college rock comp from rhino a number of years ago, and I honestly think I've never listened to this through. It reminds me of a lot of the stuff that came out on 4ad in that time period, though-atmospheric opening, guitar mixed low, drums right up front, a little synth (which is good for the soul). This feels like music I could ignore really easily. If I'm gonna listen to something like this, I'd opt for Bauhaus, and Bela Lugosi's Dead in particular. They manage to increase the tension in a way where I want to listen to all nine or so minutes of the track, where this just makes me wanna change it.

9) It's Only Money-Thin Lizzy, Live UK Tour '75

Rollins describes TL singer Phil Lynott as his "perro del camino", his road dog. Phil seems like a dude who was destined, even if he'd lived, to have the walkin' blues. Wander the world, have adventures, be a live action version of Kwai Chang from Kung Fu (RIP dave). I've already talked about the drugs, so I don't need to do it again. But I will say that I believe Thin Lizzy is the best band to come out of ireland, and that Phil would rope a dope Bono into submission. WITH HIS AFRO.

10) Gimme the Car-Violent Femmes

We close with yet another one of the songs about sex on my mp3 player. No young man in his right mind would tell his dad about the fact that he's gonna get this girl high and fool around with her while she was unconscious. Gordon Gano, there was a reason you weren't getting any when you were fifteen!

06 June 2009 @ 09:51 am
OK, so I'm gonna try to get people to start posting again. Thus, I present to you my last ever article for my high school paper (I'm graduating on Thursday!!!), concerning forthcoming releases by Wilco and Son Volt. I also thought my title for the article was very clever: "New Albums by Wilco and Son Volt Prompt Lazy Journalists to Revive 15 Year Old Alt-Country Rivalry."

Wilco loves ya, babyCollapse )

Somewhere along the line, rock criticism became a gigantic load of bullshit that exceeds even the “90% of everything is crap” rule. I think I read an entirely solid and knowledgeable rock review in a legitimate, respected publication about as often as I wear that tie-dye shirt my parents brought me back from San Francisco because they thought it was so cool. That is, very fucking rarely.

Hooray for the internetCollapse )