Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Devil Wears Prada’s New live Album/DVD, ‘Dead & Alive’

Following their release of their album Dead Throne, The Devil Wears Prada decided to film a show at The Palladium in Worcester, MA and release it as a Live DVD/Album. To say the results came out well is a truly an understatement. The band sounds well-rehearsed, tight, and most of all like they were having fun. To me it was also awesome that the band released the audio to that show as a live album.

Let’s dig into the set the band played that night. Opening the night you had the song, “Dead Throne” off the album of the same name. To me it is a good opener because it’s a very groove oriented heavy song that can get a crowd going. The second track was entitled, “Untidaled,” to me this was also a good choice because it is off their new record and because it’s very high-tempo, which is what you want when you’re trying to grasp on to an audience. The third song, “Escape” was the first appearance of anything off of one of my favorite TDWP releases, Zombie.

Jumping up a couple of tracks we had my all-time favorite TDWP song, “Mammoth.” The song which is very heavy starts off with a very simple chugged riff, but what I love about this song is the clean vocal chorus, there’s something very uplifting about it.  Next up is the song “Kansas.” This song starts off slow, but you know it’s the calm before the storm, only to climax and come back down and provide amazing contrast to the crowd pleasing, “Hey John, What’s Your Name Again?”

One of my favorite things about TDWP is their amazing lyrics. One of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard comes from their song, “Vengeance,” when  Jeremy DePoyster  sings, “It’s gone a little too far to turn back now./ It’s gone a little too far to turn back./ Always running I am the outcast./ Keep running, keep running away.” That simple verse says so much about so many situations. It’s clear that the audience clearly related to the lyrics, as they can be seen during the song moshing and singing every word.

Next up was, “Outnumbered” another groove oriented song from, Zombie. Although it’s not my favorite on the album it’s definitely up there with some of TDWP’s best material.  As is the song, “Chicago,” which can be found in the encore section of the set. I like the dynamics in the song because it slowly builds up and leads into, “Constance” perfectly. The last song on Dead and Alive, is the crowd pleasing, “Danger: Wildman” which was a perfect way for the guys to end the set.

I’d also like to take note of the terrific production. It’s very hard to get live recordings to sound good, but it seems like the sound engineers and producer got the mix just right.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Live Performance of “Vengeance Below”:

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dave Matthews Band Release, “Mercy”

Dave Matthews Band is back, with their new song, “Mercy” which is the lead single from the band’s upcoming album, Away From the World. It is also the band’s first new studio release since 2009’s, Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King. It is also the band’s first recording without the late, LeRoi Moore.

 Now when I heard this song I was impressed. Whether it was the melody, the message, or the vibe, DMB got it right with this track. One thing people seem to overlook lately is the power of music and the lyrics in said music. Dave Matthews in particular always puts in a stellar performance vocally and lyrically. The lyrics in “Mercy” focus mostly on social change. I was very impressed with lyrics like, “Crying won’t save or feed a hungry child/ Can’t lay down or wait for a miracle to change things.” It seems as though Matthews is an activist calling other people to join him in doing good work for others. I also liked the overall feel of the song, but I felt that it was very reserved. The saxophone and bass add a very march like feel to the song, but the overdubbed electric guitars starting at the 2:08 mark give the song a very fluid feel. Thus this made the accompaniment a mixed bag for me. I did however enjoy the smooth jam band part at the end of the song.

Overall I feel like this was a good track, but I also feel as though the DMB could have done more with it musically. It feels very safe instead of exploratory like most of their earlier efforts, but I enjoyed it because it still had the familiar DMB sound.

-B. Harlow

Check Out “Mercy” Below:

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Down Comes Out With New Song, “Witchtripper”

There’s nothing quite like the five guys that come together to form the New Orleans based super-group, Down. It’s actually quite the potent mixture that combines members of Pantera, Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, and Eyehategod. Since their formation in 1991 the band has released three full length records, all with their own unique flavor. Recently the band announced they’d be releasing four EPs. The first new EP the band is putting out is appropriately named, EP One, and will feature six songs.

Recently via Rolling Stone the band released a new song called, “Witchtripper.”  I enjoyed the track a great deal because there’s one thing you can always be sure with when it comes to Down, and that’s that they’ll bring the riff. “Witchtripper” is no differences, as it starts off with a great Pepper Keenan penned riff. This then leads into a great vocal by Phil Anselmo. On this track Anselmo sounds equal parts himself as he does a low register, Sabotage era Ozzy. I have to give it up to Keenan and Kirk Windstein who stay incredibly tight. I also have to give it up for bassist (and Down’s newest member), Pat Bruders for his incredibly tight and punchy bass playing. Drummer Jimmy Bower also puts in a great performance pounding the skins in steady time, as he helps keep the riff kings in check.  Truly a great performance all around, I hope the EP has more of this amazing music.

Down definitely comes from an odd pedigree, but they make great music, and that’s all that matters. I’m looking forward to this string of EPs, as should you!

-B. Harlow

Check Out “Witchtripper” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Killswitch Engage’s New Song, “No End in Sight”

One of the biggest surprises in the music world was when former Killswitch Engage singer, Jesse Leach re-united with his former band after vocalist Howard Jones stepped down. To many in the music world it was a shock as Leach and Killswitch guitarist Adam D. had a very successful side project called Times of Grace. Many also wondered what this new/old lineup of Killswitch would sound like. The release of their new song, “No End in Sight” gives us some insight into the direction the band is going, and I have to say I’m enjoying it immensely.

The track starts off like many of the tracks on Times of Grace’s Hymn of A Broken Man with a spoken intro with a riff played under it. The riffing continues into a verse in Leach’s typical sing/scream voice. This is then followed by a very melodic chorus featuring Leach and what sounds like Adam D. on harmonies. This leads into a more dissonant verse which adds a great deal to the musical structure, as it builds significant tension. The chorus comes in again, and this leads into the typical breakdown, but instead of just palm muted guitars, this is more of a riff.

I hope that Killswitch continues writing music like this, as I believe it’s musical and lyrical content will speak to the masses. It’s also great to see Leach back in the band, but I still will miss Jones. I’m looking forward to hearing their new material and seeing them live on August 18th.

-B. Harlow

 

Check Out The Song “No End in Sight” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Artist Profile: ZZ Ward

If you watched the British Open this weekend, you would have noticed some particularly interesting music. Upon further research I found out that the artist behind these unique sound was Oregon’s, ZZ Ward. I also took some time to download her four track EP, Criminal, and was blown by its overall style and soul. It had modern hooks like those you’d hear from Adele or Grace Potter, but also the sole of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Big Mama Thorton. Needless to say I was impressed.

Her song, “Til the Casket Drops” was what originally drove me towards Ward, but once I discovered her song, “Put the Gun Down”, I was hooked. She has a unique energy that is all her, but takes modern music and combines her blues influences that were instilled by her father at a young age, and creates a magical mix of new and old, a perfect combo. By far my favorite track that shows Ward’s melting of the two styles is the soulful, “Criminal” which features a hip hop like beat, but keeps a very classy R&B feel.

Hollywood Records has something special on their roster with Ward. I hope they let her grow as an artist in a natural way. She has a lot of talent, and I also believe she will have a great deal of crossover appeal. It’s rare to see that combination, but Ward has it and knows what to do with it.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video for “Put The Gun Down” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aerosmith Live At The TD Garden (Boston, MA) 7/17/12

If one were to turn on any radio station in the Boston are this week they would have heard D.J.’s talking about giveaways for the sold out Aerosmith show on Tuesday night at the TD Bank North Garden. In fact most media outfits were buzzing. Local radio station, 107.3 WAAF was even handing out special commemorative bumper stickers.

The streets lining the Boston Garden looked very different from when the Celtics and Bruins play there. Instead of the Bruins black and gold, or the Celtics green and white, people were wearing their Aerosmith t-shirts. And at 6:30 PM were waiting patiently for the return home of the Bad Boys from Boston.

The show started promptly at 7:30 as Cheap Trick took the stage. They played for an hour, but didn’t get the response from the audience that they clearly deserved until they played their hits. They played a set that included many hits including; “Surrender,” “I Want You to Want Me,” and “The Dream Police.” On the last song, “Goodnight” guitarist, Rick Nielsen brought out his 5 neck, and played it to the audience’s delight.

You could tell that anxiety and excitement was building in the Garden after Cheap Trick was finished. You could tell that everyone was anxiously awaiting Aerosmith’s homecoming. Around 9:00PM the house lights went out, and then Aerosmith’s intro tape went on. That’s when the audience jumped to their feet and the band launched into “Draw The Line.”  That was quickly followed by the 1989 hit, “Love In an Elevator” which really drew in the crowd, and had them screaming, ‘Oh’ and ‘oh yeah’ during the breaks in the verse. Next up was “Back in The Saddle” which was amazing as Joe Perry was playing his six string bass and Brad Whitford was playing lead.

Aerosmith fans are divided into three camps. There are people who like 70’s Aerosmith and hate the rest, or people who love Late 80’/90’s Aerosmith. Then there are the people who like both, which I fall into. So I was excited when they played “Living on The Edge” and “Cryin’” and so were the 90’s Aerosmith fans.  They then played “Jaded” which was great and had the audience singing along.

Aerosmith then played one of their new songs off the eagerly awaited album, Music From Another Dimension. The song was called “Oh Yeah,” and I was surprised how well it went over with fans. I was also amazed at how well “Legendary Child” came across live, and was even more surprised that people knew the song and were singing along.

Next up was a bluesy improvisational number by Whitford who showed his masterful fretwork to the masses. He then launched into the arpeggiated intro to the 1976 jam, “Last Child.” Joey Kramer followed this amazing performance with a stunning drum solo, featuring a spectacular saxophone solo by Mindi Abair. This was followed by the bluesy number “Rag Doll” which featured Perry on lap steel.

They then played the instrumental “Boogie Man” which lead into the Joe Perry fronted song, “Combination” from the 1976 album, Rocks. Next up was a real surprise for me with “What it Takes,” but Steven Tyler’s vocal performance was spectacular. The band then played “Legendary Child” as aforementioned this was followed by the classic, “No More, No More” which was spectacular. Perry started off playing his Fender Telecaster, but then halfway through the song he switched over to his ‘Billie’ guitar, all while still having his Telecaster slung behind his back. This is a move that Perry has been doing since the 1970’s, but it still is fresh and looks cool. The band then finished their set with “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way” which were both amazing and got the crowd going again.

As the band left the stage, The Garden got dark, and all you could see were the fans lighters and phones waving in the air screaming for an encore. After a short while a piano started to rise from the cat walk, and sitting behind it was Steven Tyler who then launched into “Dream On”. The songs performance was truly amazing, as Perry played his guitar solo on top of the piano.  After “Dream On” was finished the band immediately launched into “Train Kept a Rollin’”, and with that the show was over.

The Bad Boys from Boston put on a spectacular show that I was thrilled to be at. All the members were on their A-game, and they left everyone in the audience with a great show. Aerosmith’s homecoming was a great success.

-B. Harlow

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yelawolf’s New Mixtape, ‘Heart Of Dixie’

Alabama Rapper, Yelawolf has seen his world change in the last couple years, especially after getting signed to Shady/ Interscope records. Even though recently Yelawolf has expressed some hostility towards Interscope records and their ability to release and promote singles. But even with that frustration he’s back with another mix-tape, Heart of Dixie.

Heart of Dixie is a great mix-tape, and is a return for Yelawolf to his Trunk Muzik  sound which is completely different from the overly produced mainstream debut, Radioactive. I mean Radioactive had some great cuts, but Yelawolf’s stripped down dirty southern sound was what drew many of his early fans. It turns out DJ Frank White hosted and M16 produced project is a sample of what’s to come on Yelawolf’s forthcoming album Trunk Muzik Returns.

There are some great tracks on this 10 track mix-tape. The first track, “Howdy” is a great track with many in depth lyrics that make the listener think. What particularly stuck out was the line, “Passionate like a political poet in an artist lounge. /Hungry like a poor daddy with a gun and a starving child.” Another great track that stuck out was the second song on the mixtape, “Let Me Out” which stylistically is a real return to form for Yelawolf. Another stand out track was the eighth track, “Out My Face” which features Rittz and Shawty Fat. I particularly enjoy Rittz’s verse, but also enjoy Yelawolf’s verse about Tyler the Creator. In my opinion the best track on the album is “Father’s Day” which is an ode to fathers and the struggles of being a father and an artist.

I loved Radioactive, but I have to say that I am even more impressed with this mix-tape. Check it out I don’t think you’ll be sorry especially if you’re a hip-hop fan.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Mix-Tape HERE

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baroness’ New Album, ‘Yellow and Green

One of my favorite bands that has recently emerged is the Savannah, GA sludge-metal band, Baroness. As a band Baroness have been performing since 2003, and have released two full length albums. Today (July 17th) they will be releasing their third record entitled Yellow and Green, which is a great piece of work that mixes many different influences into a double album consisting of 18 solid tracks. Since this is such an expansive piece of work, what I’m going to mostly focus on are my favorite tracks, and highlight why I enjoy them.

The second track on the first album of the double LP is by far my favorite. It is entitled “Take my Bones Away,” and was the first track that I heard off the record. I enjoy it mostly because of its fluid nature during the riff, verses, and chorus. The track just runs smoothly, while still having that sludge driven sound. The next track I’d keep my ears pealed for is “Little Things” which in my opinion is driven by the bass line. At first the track reminded me of Black Sabbath mixed with U2, and upon further examination the track is masterfully layered much like a U2 track. “Twinkler” is the fifth song on disc one, and in my opinion shows how tremendously versatile this band is. It was truly like listening to a lullaby. “Back Where I Belong” is another one of my favorite tracks on the record, to me it is because of the odd rhythm, and the very out there lyrics and melody. What I did find disappointing was that they never made the track truly climax. I think they could have done more with it.

The second disc of this double album starts out with the track, “Green Theme.” This song is a very impressive of instrumental work that is both ambient and rocking. It totally mixes the two sides of what Baroness does best, which is show that light and shade dynamic. The next track I really sunk my teeth into was “Mtns. (The Crown &Anchor)”   which is an awesome track that is a straight out blues-rock jam, something I was not expecting off the album. “Stretchmarker” is another great track that I really did not expect to find on the album. Compositionally it’s very Folk like in the way the chords work. This whole folk feel is then reinforced when the acoustic guitar comes on and finishes the track.

This is a great album by a great band. If you’re a music fan I think it would be wise to pick up this very diverse album and take a listen to its very dynamic and well thought out presentation.

-B. Harlow

 

Check Out “Take My Bones Away” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Rolling Stones Celebrate 50 Years

July 12th 2012 was a very special day in the music world, as it signified The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary. A truly amazing feat considering the copious amount of drugs and alcohol the band has consumed. In-fact it’s amazing that four of the five original members are alive, and that three of the five are still touring to this day. The Rolling Stones have survived so much, and I believe that it is necessary I pay homage to these legends. Instead of giving you biographical mumbo-jumbo I think it would be more fitting to explain what The Stones mean to Rock and Roll.

When Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts got in the room for the first time I’m sure they never thought that they’d have a 50 year run. More importantly I don’t think they knew the impact that they would have on music forever. If you look at many of the top musicians like Slash, Joe Perry, and many others they will tell you how important they were to their own development as musicians.

One of the things people forget about The Stones is that they are communicators, not only of their own music, but of past music. You can’t listen to a Jagger/ Richards composition without hearing it’s deep roots in blues. You can’t help but hear legends like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, and Scotty Moore coming through in Richard’s playing. You also can’t help but realize the Mississippi Delta musicians whom Jagger modeled his vocal approach after. They took what was, and then added a new layer to it, thus making it their own. Jagger and Richards also set into notion the song writing team, this was later utilized by Led Zeppelin in the form of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and later in Aerosmith by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.

Along with being tremendous innovators and musicians, The Stones defined what it meant to be a ‘Rock-Star’ and took it to the nth degree. They took excess and indulgence to another level, one only reached by few without dying first. No one will ever forget the stories of Jagger and Richards antics especially in the late 60’s and early 70’s. One of the stories that sticks out to me is the stories that come out of the recording of the 1972 classic, Exile on Main Street which was recorded at Villa Nellcôte a home rented by Richards, and was the launching pad for many notorious parties.

It is important to recognize The Stones, as they did it first. They took the blues, and took it to the next level. They defined the definition of ‘Rock-Star.’ And they did this all in the name of the one thing they loved more than anything else, Rock and Roll.

-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#FREERANDYBLYTHE

Sometimes I get extremely mad at certain situations. This was the case when I heard about the detainment of Lamb of God front-man, Randy Blythe. It infuriated me so much that this man was falsely accused of manslaughter, and to add to that paid his bail, but was not released. Apparently the Czech bail system isn’t as smooth as ours is in the U.S.  Thus Blythe has been sitting in a Czech jail cell, and been learning mandarin.

My tenure as a Lamb of God fan started around 2006 with the release of their album, Sacrament. By the time their 2009 album, Wrath came out I was a huge fan with all of their albums and both DVD releases. Around that time I also got to meet Blythe and the other members of the band. They all were extremely nice and talkative except Randy whom was very soft spoken until he felt he needed to interject into the conversation. I also had a long talk with Lamb of God’s bassist, John Campbell. After that meeting I was so thrilled I had a bunch of signed merch, a couple of stage used picks, and pictures with all of the members of the band. I was thrilled.

On that same tour supporting Wrath Lamb of God also played a gig in Prague, Czech Republic. During this show a fan came up onstage three times, and was thrown off the stage by a security guard. The fan in questions name was Daniel. About a month later said fan died of injuries.

Jump ahead to two weeks ago, Lamb of God is set to play a show in Prague, and then the police show up and take Blythe into custody and proceed to charge him with manslaughter. They set a bail hearing for Saturday, June 30th. Bail is set at $200,000 and Blythe’s management post bail. Yet Blythe is still not released even though there is clear video showing that Blythe was innocent.  Was this a tragedy, Yes. Is it a crime? In my opinion, it is definitely not.

I hope Blythe gets out soon. It’s not fair that he is imprisoned for something that he did not do. I feel bad for Blythe, his family, and his band who never saw this coming. I also feel bad for the Czech metal fans as I believe that many bands will re-route tours around the Czech Republic to avoid heinous charges like those pressed against Blythe.

But what can we do?

  1. Sign this official petition HERE
  2. Help Randy with his legal expenses HERE
  3. Keep spreading awareness of the situation by using #FreeRandyblythe

Keep Randy in your thoughts and hope for a speedy resolution! #FREERANDYBLYTHE

-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,