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May 25, 2006

Sleepless in Seattle (Because of all the Embryonic Devourment going on)

I'm heading up to Seattle tomorrow for a wacky Memorial Day weekend of border to border driving. One of the bonuses is getting to see friends in Oregon and San Francisco. The friends in Oregon we meet up with at a Beck and M. Ward concert, and based on that good fortune, I looked into the bands that were playing in Seattle and San Fran just to see if we might get lucky in two more cities.

And not only did we not get LUCKY, we got completely, 100% screwed, because the day after we have to leave Seattle in order to get home in a healthy, non-speed requiring manner, the Northwest Death Fest is playing at Fenix in Seattle. Seeing that such a festival is taking place, with such a wide variety of abominable band names is quite the curiosity provoking event.

The guy on the left from Sadus needs to work on his metal face

Check out this lineup:

Belt Fed Weapon
Ceremonial Castings
Damage Overdose
Deeds Of Flesh
Doom Lit Sky
Embryonic Devourment
Fallen Angels
In Memoriam
Near Life
Non Existence
Passive Aggressive
Scorched Earth
Severed Savior
The New Plague
Try Redemption
Wake The Dead

I have a few questions regarding death metal fests such as these:

1. How does this endless succession of blaring death metal not get old? Do people talk in the line for the bathroom saying "Wow, Deeds of Flesh was great, and Doom Lit Sky was even better, but believe me, Embryonic Devourment is going to blow them all out of the water."

2. Are band names tossed out of the band name selection process? If so, what are the ones that are left on the chopping block in favor of ones like Meatshits and Shitstorm?

2a. If those two bands formed an Audioslave/Velvet Revolver type supergroup, would they even have to discuss whether to call the band MeatshitStorm?

3. If a normal looking guy like me wearing a tshirt without a prominent skull or corpse were to show up at this event, what would be the reaction? What is the death metal equivilent of a needle scratching across a record as the music suddenly stops?

4. As a parent, wouldn't it be just infinitely more troubling to learn that your seemingly normal, A and B student is sneaking off to the Northwest Death Fest instead of going to play Wallyball at the rec center like they said they were than to find a bag of weed in your kids room and learn that occasionally they are getting high and listening to Dark Side of the Moon?

All these questions will unfortunately go unanswered. But as a final thought, everyone who writes about San Diego mentions how a bunch of people pegged it as "the next Seattle" during the mid 90's. Maybe, just maybe, this prediction not coming true was not such a terrible thing.

Enjoy your Memorial Day.

May 24, 2006

Tom Waits Storytellers: At Long Last, The Songs

A month or two ago I posted just the stories from Tom Waits' VH1 Storytellers episode. People dug them, and demanded the songs. I completely forgot about it until today, when somebody posted a comment and I remembered that I still had yet to post the songs. So here they are!

The storytellers episode is great: the song performances are top notch from an artist that rarely performs live, and as I said before, the stories are just as entertaining on their own. They kind of remind me of the SNL "Neil Diamond Storytellers" sketch starring Will Ferrell - a fantastical story, featuring unbelievable situations and ridiculous characters that launches into a seemingly unrelated song that could have in theory been any song in the artists repertoire. That video is below, actual videos of Waits' Storytellers performance and the story MP3s can still be found here.

If you want the whole show, download a zip file here.

1. Tango Til They're Sore
2. Hang Down Your Head
3. Ol' 55
4. Strange Weather
5. Hold On
6. Picture In A Frame
7. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work
8. House Where Nobody Lives
9. Get Behind The Mule
10. Chocolate Jesus
11. What's He Building In There
12. A Little Rain
13. Downtown Train
14. Black Wings
15. Jesus Gonna Be Here
16. Jersey Girl
17. Chocolate Jesus (Alt.)
18. Tango Til They're Sore (Alt.)
19. Hang Down Your Head (Alt.)

May 23, 2006

Songs of Summer on Muzzle of Bees


Songs of Summer on Muzzle of Bees

Ryan over at Muzzle of Bees is doing a Songs of Summer feature, where he is soliciting opinions from music bloggers about their archetypical summer song. Would you believe that my summer song kicks off the series?

Just in case after reading my entry you wanted to hear the other three songs I mentioned as being contenders for the summer song throne, here are One Minute Man, Mrs. Potter's Lullaby and Mr. Chin.

Concert of the Week: Voxtrot & Elefant at the Epicentre


The perils of not having enough band members to spell out the band name with fireworks

There could be a free Street Scene this weekend featuring every band we had hoped would be there and this would still be the concert of the week. This is partially due to the fact that I will be going out of town on Friday afternoon, returning home late on Monday and thus would miss any exceptional concerts that would happen to be taking place. But the rest of it is because I just started listening to Voxtrot a few days ago and have gotten excited for the concert that takes place Thursday night at the Epicentre.

From what I gather, Voxtrot has been around and loved by people for quite some time. Their page of streamable/downloadable music on The Hype Machine shows you all you need to know about how much people with music blogs like the band. What speaks even more about their popularity is this funny little coincidence: the band has released two EPs on Cult Hero records, but preliminary google searches for that record label turn up this exchange at http://www.cult-hero.com/:

Where is Voxtrot's CD?
While we hold lots of respect for Voxtrot and we like their music, they are on a DIFFERENT Cult Hero Records. We have tried various ways (email, cease and desist letters from lawyers, etc) to get them to stop using the name since we believe we were the first to use the name in Commerce, but have had little luck.

So they generated enough press for the wrong Cult Hero records label that they had to put up that disclaimer. I guess that's hilarious. I just imagine the guy finally putting up that disclaimer after a few weeks of being like "well, this influx of emails and phone calls about Voxtrot will die down any minute now" and then begrudgingly updating the website while glaring at anyone who walks by. What's even better is that I can't find a page for the Cult Hero records that they are signed to...But wacky label mishaps put aside, the band is really good, and deserves their hype. They've got a poppy sound that I wouldn't hesitate to compare to The Apples In Stereo or Belle and Sebastian. I don't like Belle and Sebastian, so I'm surprised that I would make the comparison, but Voxtrot has that extra something that makes it less something that girls like and more something that I like. I don't know what that would be, but someone should figure out a name for it.

So listen to this MP3 from their Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives EP, it is called Soft & Warm and decide whether you want to go see them on Thursday night at the Epicentre. They are opening for Elefant, who I'm told are good too.

Tickets are $15 and available here.

Voxtrot home page
Voxtrot myspace
Elefant home page
Elefant myspace

May 22, 2006

Two Songs That Remind Me of Three Muppets


I heard Humble Pie's cover of "Honky Tonk Woman" on XM today today. Then I heard it like seven more times, each time louder than the next. It rules. Humble Pie, for those of you who were as unaware as I was before today, was a band that included Peter Frampton, among other people, and also Steve Marriott, the former singer of the Small Faces. Their cover of Honky Tonk Woman just blows the original out of the water. The singer can wail, the guitarist alternates between the riff and shredding solos, and the drummer...The drummer is just insane. Just bashing the shit out of the drums for the entire song, letting up for maybe 15 seconds tops, and then going right back into just drumming like nothing I've ever heard before. He somhow plays the crash cymbal on like every beat while still managing to pretty much solo the rest of the song. There's no way that you could hear this song and not instantly imagine Animal, the drummer for Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem Band on The Muppets playing the drums while shackled to his kit. Tremendous.

It's probably also important to note that the song has been covered by Joe Cocker, The Meters, The Pogues, The Black Crowes and The Rolling Stones themselves, and despite many impressive versions by an equally impressive lineup, no version can touch the Humble Pie one. Lest you think Humble Pie is some kind of one trick wonder, I present to you Thirty Days In The Hole. My friend Richard rightly insists that there is no way that this song should have not been included on "The Spaghetti Incident". As someone who has argued that every song would sound better sung by Axl Rose, I have to agree that it would have been perfect. What an Injustice. Ironically, Guns N' Roses has also played Honky Tonk Woman live, and I can't seem to track it down...After "Thirty Days In The Hole" they could just as easily be a two hit wonder. I haven't heard anything else. If there's other good Humble Pie out there, let me know.

waldorf and statler.jpg

After getting the mental pictures of Animal bashing the drums in my head, I found it impossible not to spend the rest of the day thinking about the Muppets. I realized that there was another song that I've always associated with a specific duo of Muppets. And though it may not be as good a song, and have nowhere near the energy or repeat listening value of Humble Pie's "Honky Tonk Woman", I challenge you to listen to Simon and Garfunkel's "Old Friends" and deny that that picture of Waldorf and Statler sitting on that park bench will be forever etched in your mind whenever you hear the song again. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Muppets did some sort of music video for that song where those two "Old Friends" were "Sitting on a park bench like bookends" because otherwise, it's just an astonishing way to bring that song to life.

Any other songs out there that make Muppets spring to mind?

Humble Pie - Greatest Hits Live

Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

Guns N' Roses - The Spaghetti Incident

Interview With Street Scene Founder

The UT interviews Street Scene founder Rob Hagey, who does not call him retarded: check it out.

May 21, 2006

Guns N' Roses @ The Hammerstein Ballroom 5-15-06

Axl Rose - Still Reassuring, Even Underwater

Guns N' Roses just played four sold out shows in New York. Though they won't be coming this way anytime soon, I think it is reassuring to know that they are out there. Knowing that Axl and the band are performing somewhere in the world gives me the same feeling as every time I glance down at the bottom of my firefox window and see the picture of Abe Vigoda, indicating that he is still alive.

The MP3s that have surfaced of the show are not the best quality, but I've posted the new songs from the show on the fifteenth below, just in case you've missed them so far. Also, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row joined Axl to sing My Michelle, Dizzy Reed got a chance to shine playing a piano solo of The Beatles "Something" and each guitarist got to indulge in song length "Eruption" style guitar solos. Brooklyn Vegan has some terrific photos of the show on the 12th. This one is my favorite. Halfway unbuttoned leather jacket and sunglasses at night indoors underneath a projected stained glass window. God, it's like looking into a mirror...

UPDATE: Links have been removed, sorry!

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It's So Easy
3. Mr. Brownstone
4. Live And Let Die
5. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal Guitar Solo
6. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
7. Better
8. Robin Finck Guitar Solo
9. Sweet Child O' Mine
10. Something (Piano Solo)
11. The Blues
12. Out ta Get Me
13. Richard Fortus & Robin Finck Guitar Solo
14. Rocket Queen
15. My Michelle w/Sebastion Bach
16. Madagascar
17. You Could Be Mine
18. November Rain
19. I.R.S.
20. Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
21. Nighttrain

22. Patience
23. Chinese Democracy
24. Robin Finck Guitar Solo
25. Paradise City

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