Stranded In Stereo: August 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Stranded Local Q & A: The Sterns

Some of The Sterns’ biography reads like a Boston kid’s dream: Playing in a rock band that’s played a show at Fenway Park, sharing bills with the Meat Puppets and The English Beat, and a feature on one of the most popular video game franchises in years.

Line-up changes at one point threatened the success of the group, which solidified itself recently with original members Alex Stern and Emeen Zarookian adding drummer, Zak Kahn to the mix.

The trio is now riding high, a far cry from their humble beginnings, making the cover of Performer Magazine for August 2008, and just announcing their single “Supreme Girl,” will be featured on the upcoming Rock Band 2 video game. To add to those solid endorsements, The Sterns have earned respect from the music world, landing two nominations for Boston Music Awards.

Alex Stern recently gave us a few minutes to briefly answer the Stranded in Stereo Local Q & A.

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because:
I can conduct an entire rehearsal in my "joe from revere" voice and get laughs.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you'd love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well:
The Aggrolites, Morrissey and Squeeze.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:
Its a toss-up between Great Scott and The Middle East Downstairs.

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can't hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is:
I try to never not be doing music, but, I love Deep Ellum!

New Blitzen Trapper: "Furr"

It was about a year ago now that Dany Sloan sent me the link to the video for "Devil's A-Go-Go," the Blitzen Trapper jam that made me run out and buy their stellar Wild Mountain Nation. Because I had Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga sitting in the same stack, it kind of got overshadowed. This year, I make the vow that the second I get my copy of Furr that it will be the only thing I listen to for quite some time. This is just basing it off of the amazing title track which is, unlike the herky jerky motion of "A-Go-Go," a rather catchy acoustic camp fire singalong. Download it, put it on repeat and agree with me, would you?

Furr is out on Sub Pop September 23rd.

Download: "Furr" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Formative Years: How Does Your Garden Grow? by Better Than Ezra, 1998

Insert your best "What the fuck" right here I suppose, but, yes, I will now defend a Better Than Ezra album.

It's funny that I decided a few days ago to revisit this album for this column. When I was giving a preview to the best friend yesterday, I thought I couldn't of timed this post better. This week is 10 years exactly since the album was released. Sometimes, I have a good thing with timing and sometimes I don't. I'm happy this one worked out at least.

1998 was an interesting time for alternative rock. In the year prior, The Chemical Brothers came out of nowhere with Dig Your Own Hole and the smash singles "Setting Sun" and "Block Rockin' Beats". The question on the mind of every prominent musician and music fan was that of "Is this it? Is electronica the next big movement?" This paved the way for bands to rethink their rock and roll approach: The Smashing Pumpkins did it in June of 1998 with their dark opus, Adore, and in 1999 Blur would trade in their "Woo-ooh's!" for melancholy, malaise and keyboards and drum loops on 13. And in between these two releases, in August of 1998, Better Than Ezra emerged with a collection that no one could've seen coming. An album that was a critical landmark and a commercial flop, a fish out of water, gasping for its last moments of air.

It was in 1998 that a Sunday night tune-in to Modern Rock Live, the syndicated new music show where Max Tolkoff interviewed bands with new album's who would sometimes play in the studio, would bring us to where we are now, to this tale. Max talked with the trio from N'awlins and it was the song "One More Murder" that just blew me away. I had my worn out copy of Deluxe, thanks to the alterna-hit "Good", and I also enjoyed the track "Rosalita", but nothing had moved me in their catalog like this song did. It's dark piano started it off: it sounded like it was going to be a trip-hop number until the drums kicked in. And there was no guitar, it was all keyboards, samples, programmed elements. Kevin Griffin sang of chalk line profiles, times spent in the slammer, all while speaking it in a gruff deep in the right channel of the mix.

There was no "Good" on this album; no "Desperately Wanting" to be found among the 14 tracks on an album subtitled A Series of Nocturnes. There would be songs that would hark back to their earlier rock-infused roots like "Pull", but you wouldn't know from the opening moments of the album. The first song, "Je Ne M'en Souviens Pas" let the listener know they were not getting a sequel to their first two albums. Starting off with drum loops, keys and samples would enter the fold before treated vocals would deliver a muffled line. Eventually, Griffin would start to ramble low in the mix, like any other man in BTE's beloved home of New Orleans. He kept talking while he started singing while that inital first line came back in. I'm sure most people turned this off right away, being confused by what in the hell was going on, but I was just floored.

And while at most times experimenting with the trip-hop and the electronica that was being dubbed the music of our futures, they did know how to step back for a minute and try to fuse both past and present for a future sound. The very minor hit "At The Stars" was a solid radio hit, as if they had to go back at the 11th hour and add that one in, but everything else found ways to incorporate what they were and what they wanted to be. The best examples would be that of the epic "Particle", with it's drum loop intro and programmed elements throughout that fought for their time in the six-minutes of the song with strings and guitars.

What brings it all together is the closing pair of tracks. There's the mini-suite "New Kind Of Low" - "a) Low" was 80 seconds of just loud rock guitars, fuzzy sludge bass and barked out lyrics, which then is met with samples firing off, signalling the transition in to "b) Coma". This part was a rollicking slow blues jam without BB King's guitar, just wurlitzers, keyboards and introspective lyrics. It showcased a fully realized idea of what this three men were trying to accomplish, throwing their names in to the rocktronica hat. And you think the album would there, but instead it goes in to "Waxing Or Waning?" It was a three-minute afterthought, a jazzy epilogue with 12-string guitars, muted horns and a near-waltz created by the bass drum and hi hat. I'm convinced there's no snare in the mix at all.

Die hard fans of this band easily cite this the best album in the band's catalog, and it's pretty obvious why.
It's also an album that completes the trifecta of albums released in 1998 on Elektra by bands that got dropped soon thereafter (the other albums? Nada Surf's The Proximity Effect and Superdrag's Head Trip in Every Key. Duh.) Serene and experimental, it makes you wish they would've made another album like this, but they didn't. Like all great bands who experiment, they eventually denounce what they were trying to do as an artistic statement and go back to their old ways. Sometimes, maybe they should just stay true to what they wanted to be as opposed to going back to play the same dog and pony show that is comfortable.

: "One More Murder" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Department of Eagles Takes us In Ear Park

Earlier this year, I totally really got in to Grizzly Bear. When I was in college I was all over
Yellow House like the rest of us were in the fall of 2006, but it just really hit me this spring when I revisited the record after spending too much time with that Friend EP. More recently, thanks to their stellar performance at Lollapalooza, "Two Weeks" has been on repeat in my head and at my home. Not so much for the bouncy rhythm and Ed Droste's lyrics, but more for Daniel Rossen's backing vocals of "oh's" and additional occassional words.

So I then found out that before becoming a member of the ol' G-Bear, Rossen and college roommate Fred Nicolaus had a little band called
Department of Eagles. I kept reading about them and their new album In Ear Park, now in my possession, I feel is the best transitional record from summer in to fall. It's dreamy and peaceful, splendid guitars filling up the mix overtop of interesting loops innerspersed with both men's contagious vocals. This is going to slowly become one of my favorite albums of the year, mark my word. Either slowly or super fast, only time will tell.

Their second album under the DoE moniker, 4AD will release the album on October 7th. I know Rossen is busy recording the next Grizzly Bear album, but maybe he can find a moment to play a few shows so I can catch them live (please please please please please.)

Download: "No One Does It Like You" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (08/25/08)

With the Fritz out on vacation this week, I thought I would do my best to fill his shoes to come up with this week's newsletter. Odds are I will not do nearly as good a job as him being witty and all, but I am willing to give it a try.

Mac McCaughn's other band, Portastatic, will release a two-disc compilation of odds and sods on September 9th entitled Some Small History. The 44-song set includes covers, alternate versions and previously unreleased material. I'm just ecstatic there's a place where all can finally get his awesome rendition of Hot Chip's "And I Was A Boy From School". Merge is letting you stream the entire thing for a limited time right now, so get on that.

It wouldn't be right of me to take Fritz's place and not discuss his beloved Metallica. The band offered up a stream of their new single "The Day That Never Comes" on their MySpace page last week. The 8-minute track does indeed sound like the old-school Metallica of the 1980s that the San Francisco four-piece promised their new album,
Death Magnetic, would harken back to. They successfully achieve this by rehashing the melodies of earlier songs "Fade To Black" and "One" in the same song. Good job, assholes.

Famed produer Jerry Finn passed away last week at the age of 39. Finn suffered a brain hemorrhage in July and was taken off life support earlier this month. Finn's family will announce plans in the near future for a scholarship in his honor. Finn produced many acclaimed records over the last 15 years, including Rancid's
And Out Came The Wolves, Morrissey's You Are The Quarry and Blink-182's Enema of the State. The one album people keep neglecting to mention in obituaries is his tremendous production work on Superdrag's 1998 masterpiece, Head Trip In Every Key. His last work known was his production on the new Morrissey album, Years Of Refusal, which is due out next year.

Some Neil Young guy is going on tour for the umpteenth time this fall in the United States of America, and has drafted Death Cab For Cutie and Wilco to support him on the separate legs. You might remember Young doing this in the early 1990s, i.e. building his indie cred, by asking bands like Sonic Youth and R.E.M. to join him on the road

If you live in the NYC area and have nothing to do tonight, might I suggest catching a one-off reunion of the original line-up of And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead at Santos' Party House. I guess it's not a reunion really, but just the original duo of current members Conrad Keely and Jason Reece. Either way, I'm sure it will be a pretty cool time and better than staying in and watching the U.S. Open.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Animation Show DVD GIveaway

You know, Mike Judge isn't just known for Beavis & Butt-Head and King Of The Hill and Office Space. He's also known for crafting some other pretty cool animated shorts. Along with some great pieces by other animators like Don Hertzfeldt and Bill Plympton, The Animation Show DVD set compiles some of their best works. One grand prize winner will win all three volumes of the collection, while two runner's up will win the recently release Volume 3.

Click here to e-mail us and win!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bloc Party. Intimacy. Hear It Now.

Earlier this week, it was David Byrne and Brian Eno who gave us their first album in nearly three decades via the internet. And it was at 4AM east coast time was when the world was invited to the most private sector of Bloc Party land when they unleashed upon the world Intimacy, their third album.

The band announced on Monday that, surprise, our record is done and you can buy in this Thursday. The album won't be in stores until October 28th, but you can buy it digitally this instant. I won't lie,
A Weekend In The City wasn't my favorite Bloc Party album, but the open drum and bass and buzzsaw guitars of "Ares" have me reeled in. I still can't get in to "Mercury" though. Even after seeing them play it before 50,000 or so people at Lollapalooza, Kele Okereke looping and manipulating his own vocals, the song .. wait, I already mentioned this in my Lollapalooza write-up.

It appears that the album's title comes from Okereke's brutally honest lyrics this time around, after going through a break up last year. Maybe we'll finally get an album as good as their landmark debut,
Silent Alarm. I'm finding out right now as we speak.

Stream: "Mercury" & "Trojan Horse" [here] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Stranded Local Q & A: Muy Cansado

You would expect a group calling themselves Muy Cansado to do something to earn that name. After listening to them, you’ll understand why the group may be “very tired.” Take the energy of 90’s alternative rock, mixed with a modern sound and energy, and you have Muy Cansado.

The Craigslist formed band (this is a common method of band formation in SIS, huh?), hails from Boston and has gained a respectable following in the northeastern since their founding.

The band is prepping the release of their debut album Stars & Garters later this month. Even better for everyone in Boston is the release party they’re planning for the album at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville, on August 15.

As always, we asked Muy Cansado to take a few minutes to answer the Stranded in Stereo questions you know and love by now. Front man Chris Mulvey took the liberty of answering for his bandmates, however they chimed in when they felt Chris wasn’t representing them.

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because:

Boston has a rich history in its music scene, but the small size of the city allows you to connect with a lot of other local artists in a way that would be more difficult in a bigger city. I’m sure that people from most cities say this about their city, but there’s a great sense of community in Boston.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well:

Spoon, Radiohead & The Press. This was the list we all agreed on. Lucky for us we’re playing with the Press on Saturday (and have played with them many times before). They’re pretty awesome.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

Right now I’d have to go with the Abbey Lounge. It’s not the biggest, but it’s the most fun to play. Good people, good sound & good times every time we play it. They’ve got a great thing going on. Dave & Lisa agree

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

So many – I’m big into most different kinds of music in one way or another. Oddly enough I think Beethoven is a big influence on me conceptually. Beethoven forced me to accept the idea of not running from your influences. You have to conquer them. I haven’t done that, but I’m trying.
David said, “Mexican Mariachi music, because I appreciate the phrasing.”
Lisa said, “Opera because I like the dramatic delivery and emotional display. I also like the juxtaposition of the various parts and how they flow into/interact with one another.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is:

Tough question – I’d go with the Independent or PA’s Lounge right now, but it changes (I go to a lot of bars).
Dave was solidly in the Independent camp.
Lisa went with ZuZu.
If, like Voltron, we combined powers, we’d have to go with the Independent. It’s like home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Takka Takka "Silence" Video, Tour Dates with Oxford Collapse

I know I've already brought it up, but Migration is shaping up to be one of my favorite albums that will be a part of my fall soundtrack and we can thank Takka Takka for that. My jam on that record is definitely "Silence," and as luck would have it the band have a video for the track. Check it out!

How it's put together kind of, sorta reminds me of the album cover for the new Oxford Collapse album that I also love, Bits. Luck would have it that these bands have just announced a handful of east coast dates where they will play together, back to back even. Oh my I am excited. More excited than I am about a new Bloc Party album.

Takka Collapse or Oxford Takka, take your pick:
09/22 - Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
09/25 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
09/26 - Philadelphia, PA @ M Room
09/27 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (08/18/08)

Jackson Browne is suing presidential candidate John McCain! Apparently in these early stages of alzheimers McCain forgot about copyright law. The somewhat senile Republican nominee has been using the Browne’s 1977 hit "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad without permission. The suit names the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party as defendants, seeking an injunction and $75,000 in damages.

In other exciting legal maneuvers, Virgin Records is suing 30 Seconds to Mars for $30 million. Apparently Jared Leto has failed to deliver the 3rd album required to complete their 3 album contract. The band's last album, "A Beautiful Lie," was released in 2005. Jared Leto intends to make a film about the lawsuit to bring attention to the plight of exploited corporate lawyers.

Classic rock super group Big Noize will be trekking out to Iraq to perform for the troops. Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple, Phil Soussan from the Ozzy Osbourne band, Carlos Cavazo of Quiet Riot and Simon Wright of AC/DC will hit the desert this September. The tour will continue into Kuwait, Dubai and Hindustan over the fall. Turner actually will be taking the opportunity to pimp his new solo album tentatively titled Don't Shoot, I'm With The Band.

In a daring digital move, The Walkmen have released their new album, You & Me, exclusively on Fans can purchase the album for only $5, all proceeds will be donated to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. José has a five-spot burning hole in his pocket.

After all that talk of a new record, The Allman Brothers are now suing UMG for $13 million. The suit is alleges two things. 1. Improper payouts on CDs, and 2. It asks for a 50% royalty on digital formats. Many artists now are realizing that the royalties paid out on digital downloads are unfair as they’re structured based on the shipping of a 10-inch fragile shellac record on horseback.

Avenged Sevenfold will be releasing a CD/DVD set Live In The LBC & Diamonds In The Rough a compilation of live cuts and rarities. The set will be landing September 16th through Warner Bros. Records. José is amused how early in a band’s career these rarities comps are starting to come out.

In Malaysia the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (an Islamic political group) is pressuring the government to cancel a concert by Avril Lavigne. They actually complain that she is "too sexy." The ruling Islamic party Parti KeADILan Rakyat retorted that she was about as sexy as a 10-year–old boy. Lavigne, had planned to start her Asian tour in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 29.

José would like to thank Rihanna this week for her new single "Disturbia." As atrocious a pop single it is, it ended Katy Perry's seven-week plague called "I Kissed a Girl. Perry is not the first women to get attention by pretending to be gay, nor will she be the last.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Soundtrack Giveaway

It's a week of contests here at the blog isn't it? Outside of the autographed Albert Hammond Jr. LP, we also have a contest for you fans of things from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

This week saw the release of the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the new animated feature based on the legendary film series. In celebration of its release, we're giving you the chance to win yourself a copy of 67-minute soundtrack, packaged with an awesome fold out poster. My Yoda senses are tingling that someone will win. Wait a minute, nothing tingles in Stars Wars lore ...
Either way, the force is still strong with this one. Promise!

Click here to enter to win the soundtrack, and make sure you see the movie which is at your local cineplex this weekend.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Albert Hammond Jr. LP Giveaway

We've totally been bonkers for ¿Como te Llama? since Albert Hammond Jr. unleashed it upon the world last month. His latest collection of songs easily trumps last year's Yours To Keep, and maybe even, gasp, the Strokes catalog!? Either way, the record has this great retro vibe to it, and to celebrate it's awesomeness we're giving one lucky blog reader a chance to win an autographed copy of Llama on vinyl.

To enter, all you have to do is e-mail us, but note that your e-mail address will be added to Albert's mailing list. Best of luck!

Download: "GFC" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SIS Club Night. August Edition.

Man, where has the summer gone? I feel like just yesterday we announced our first SIS Club Night way back in February, and here it is the end of August. We’ve now reached our seventh club night, and after last month’s awesome surprise of Ambulance Ltd warming up for their gig at the Bowery, we’re in full back to school mode. This month, three bands who are going to break it big, and it’s still only $3 as always

SIS Club Night – Wednesday August 20th – 8PM - $3
at Rehab (formerly Club Midway) - 25 Avenue B - NYC
F or V to 2nd; F, J, M, or Z to Delancey/Essex

Mirror Mirror (915)
Brooklyn-based Mirror Mirror has earned a reputation for its curious blend of music and performance, as well as its polymorphous membership. Chief songwriters David Riley and Ryan Lucero met in 2003 and quickly recruited percussionist Matt Bagdanoff, guitarist Jill Kaufman, and a rotating cast of friends, performers and guest musicians. Their unpredictable live shows incorporate theater, visual art, video, design, and even food. MM has played sold-out shows at rock venues and clubs, as well as site-specific shows at galleries and art spaces, where they have been known to construct mazes, offer massages to strangers and lead their devoted followers in song.

The French Exit (1000)
Recalling Chan Marshall's collaborations with The Dirty Three, The French Exit combines the bluesy, smoky songwriting of Chicago native Mia Wilson with the atmospheric and colorful palettes of guitarist Henri Harps and drummer Bryan Sargent (formerly of the math rock trio, Drill For Absentee). Together, the band writes and performs tunes with extreme dynamic shifts of sonic beauty. With a vast array of influences ranging from down home dirty blues to avant-garde jazz, The French Exit explores facets of many genres and brings them together for a sound uniquely their own.

nOISE cIRCUS (1045)
nOISE cIRCUS started as a recording project in April 2007. In the short, but artistically fervent time since, they have miraculously honed a style their own, considering how many musical genres get used up along the way. Not similar to, but not so different from Beck, one would be hard pressed to describe their elusive sound. Electronic, New Wave, swing, folk, hip hop, punk, dance music- it's all of the above. It's on top of this template that singer/lyricist, Daniel Kelly, might recite some odd, free associations and alliterations or maybe he'll tell a linear story about the zombies inside his head. The point is it's always different, and always exciting and always, well, unique. And also familiar in that I swear I've heard this but never quite in this context kind of way. The truth is, you'll be singing along in no time to songs about ghosts, devils, and robots. Trust me- these tunes are quite infectious.

The Stranded Local Q&A: The Gulf

How far would you go to record your first album if you were doing it all on your own? Would you pony up a few thousand dollars for studio time, or would you secretly construct a studio at a school in Chinatown and record at night? Boston’s The Gulf opted for the latter.

The ingenuity paid off for the band, as their aptly titled debut album, Chinatown, was picked up by Starbucks’ in-store network, and two songs were placed in rotation in 2007. That was a big moment for The Gulf, who came together in 2003 after founders Adam Brock and Adam Garland found each other on Craigslist. After a few lineup changes, the duo added bassist/pedal steel player Dave Barbaree, trumpeter Brian McGrath, and drummer Steve Turcott to solidify The Gulf’s lineup.

Recording by nightfall in a language school wasn’t the only resourceful thing The Gulf did. The group created their own label, Ultracold Records, to distribute Chinatown.

Now with an album, record label, and multi-state tour on their resume, The Gulf is set to release the follow-up to Chinatown, titled Spymaster, Yes!

The group’s frontman, Adam Brock, was kind enough to bother himself with our Stranded in Stereo questions this week.

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because:

It doesn’t make us any better. Actually it’s kind of a disadvantage because Boston’s living costs means everybody in the band must work full-time; time that could have been spent making music. We don’t feel any sense of competition with other bands or other cities.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well:

Calexico, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Neko Case, Lou Reed, Dr Dog

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

Was the Paradise Lounge, but I heard it’s closed. Lizard Lounge has a great vibe. TT’s can be great.

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

There’s a strong classical influence. You’ll hear it in our instrumentation—no synths or drums machines. Most rock bands don’t have piano, trumpet or sometimes pedal steel. We like warm, organic and acoustic sounds. That’s the kind of music we were all raised on.

I grew up playing Rachmaninov and Bach on the piano (badly) and a lot of these harmonic concepts became engrained. Ideas like using 6/8 minor keys, building chord progressions from descending bass lines, pedaling a single bass note over different chords, rising inversions of the same chord…those are concepts I learned from playing classical music badly. They’re much easier to apply when writing on the piano, because it’s all there in front of you. It’s much harder to pull off on a guitar.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sinister New Longwave Album Announced

It has been three years since
There's A Fire came in to my life. The album's title track got repeated plays by me in the summer of 2005, and even to this day those opening drums pound the memory of working at my old job and driving around on humid summer nights. And now with the announcement that Longwave has finally wrapped work on their fourth album, Secrets Are Sinister, I know that "No Direction" will be the song to make my cold winter days feel and hot and sticky.

Recorded mostly in their studio in the bowels of Brooklyn with the famed produced Peter Katis,
Sinister also found the band teaming once again with Strangest Things producer Dave Fridmann who chimed in his production cues on "Life Is Wrong". The album features the quartet's trademark sound, matching epic arena sized guitars with dreamy landscapes.

The band is currently mapping out fall tour plans, but in the meantime will play a free show this Friday, August 15th, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Secrets Are Sinister hits stores November 11th through Original Signal Recordings.

Sinister Songs:
1. Sirens In The Deep Sea
2. No Direction
3. Satellites
4. The Devil & The Liar
5. Life Is Wrong
6. Eyes Like Headlights
7. I Don't Dare
8. It's True
9. Shining Hours
10. Secrets Are Sinister

Stream: "No Direction" [here]

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rosebuds Go Life Like on New Album

So I'm back from vacation. I loved being without the internet for a week, it was magical, but once I had access again I was told of a new Rosebuds album. Oh the things I miss when my Mac can't check e-mail and other assorted things.

So it's been a year and a half since the amazing face melting time that was
Night Of The Furies and even less time since the remix album that paid tribute to it. And now, on October 7th, we will have the newest chapter in the Rosebuds tale, Life Like. The album apparently is more like album's previous to Furies; judging from the preview video the band uploaded, it reminds me quite a bit of Birds Makes Good Neighbors. Kelly and Ivan Rosebud tracked this one at home in Raleigh, and then had friends like touring drummer Matt McCaughn and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon chime in here and there. What excites me even more is that the 10-track set closes out with "In The Backyard", quite possibly the greatest unreleased Rosebuds jam.

And as I write this, I notice that the band has uploaded several tracks to their MySpace page. You should check them out!

Life Like:
01 Life Like
02 Cape Fear
03 Border Guards
04 Bow to the Middle
05 Nice Fox
06 Another Way In
07 Concordia Military Club
08 Hello Darling
09 Black Hole
10 In the Backyard

Teaser vid:

Monday Morning Newsletter (8/11/08)

The Stranded in Stereo Blog survived all week without any responsible adults around. I’d like to thank our loyal readers for allowing be to be a full-time bad-influence on their behavior. That said, on with the slander!

Soul singer Isaac Hayes died over the weekend at the age of 65 of an apparent stroke while running on a treadmill. In the terminology of Scientology, his personal belief system has gone “clear” and is a Number 5 state man. Hayes had his first stroke in 2007. Fellow cult member Tom Cruise said “It was a bummer when the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard made him stop being chef.”

Calexico has announced that their next album, Carried to Dust, will drop September 9th via Touch & Go Records. The album features guest appearances from Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and Douglas McCombs of Tortoise. In support of the record, Calexico has scheduled 3 weeks of European tour dates beginning in Dublin.

On October 7th These Arms Are Snakes will be releasing Tail Swallower And Dove, on Suicide Squeeze Records. The group recorded and mixed the album at the Red Room in their home town of Seattle. The sessions for this, their third LP, were engineered by their drummer Chris Common.

Suicide Squeeze has also recently signed super-group Seattle's Past Lives. The group is comprised of former The Blood Brothers members Jordan Billie, Morgan Henderson, Devin Welch of Shoplifting, and Mark Gajadhar of Neon Blonde. They will be putting out the band's first EP Strange Symmetry on November 4th. José calls dibs on this one for review.

In industry news the Pennsauken-based independent CD press Disc Makers has purchased the independent online music seller CD Baby. The purchase is the culmination of a seven year partnership encouraging commerce among mediocre bands. Tony van Veen, President of Disc Makers said “I’m also pressing Derek to get a better haircut. This shaolin monk thing has gotta go.”

On September 16th Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta will be releasing a double LP vinyl edition of his solo album Calibration. N20 Records has the honors on this round. It’s certainly a step up from their previous work putting gout Jamaican mash-up compilations.

This week the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation recommended the former home of Chuck Berry for inclusion on the National Register. The home at 3137 Whittier Street in St. Louis is a modest, one-story red-brick house that Berry bought in 1950. Berry sold the house in 1958. Billy Joe at the Slurp N’ Gulp a block away said Berry and his family lived in the during his most productive early songwriting period. For the record the dude is still alive and rocking.

Dr. Dre is launching a personal line of cognac and vodka this October. This promotional effort is tied into the release of his new album Detox. The album which has been in the works since 2004, is rumored to be his last. The marketing scheme is a joint venture between Drinks America Holdings Ltd. and Interscope records.

Andrew WK has announced a spoken word performance stream at London's Madame JoJo's on September 19. This is his first visit to the U.K. in four years but the visit includes no musical performances. One can only assume that this will somehow elaborate on hi previously well-documented stance on partying hard.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lollapalooza 2008, Part Two

When we last left our faithful blogger, he had lost track of his friends and took a fist on the chin during Rage Against The Machine. We pick up this Lollapalooza recap already in progress.
(photo by C. Bologna)

The first time Rage Against The Machine had to be stopped was halfway through “People Of The Sun”. I was able to look up on the big screen and saw a security guard getting the band’s attention to stop the song. Zack de la Rocha urged his brothers and sisters to look out and take care of one another, and that we all should take five to ten steps back to help those injured get out of the crowd. The same remarks would be made a song or two later, as more people needed to get out of the disaster. I saw people running by me on their way out of the pit. Some of them were the girls who hauled ass to run up past me at the beginning, who were now trembling in fear, a look on their face as if they had seen a ghost walking out towards open air. It seemed halfway through that people finally got their act together, rather, the group of people who wanted out got out so the rest of us could let out our urges and continue on without another incident. I was convinced and 24 hours later someone else rang my remarks: if there would’ve been another stop to that show, there would’ve been a plug pulled and a riot I would not have wanted to see. Thankfully, that did not happen. Instead, Morello wore a Cubs hat, de la Rocha urged Obama to pull troops out of Iraq immediately if elected, or he had some brothers and sisters he knew who would turn DC in to a war zone.
(RATM photos by C. Bologna)

They went a few minutes past their scheduled 10PM ending, but that was all right I guess since they were delayed here and there throughout. We would finally all find one another across the street from the main entrance. Gianni was one who actually walked out of the crowd at one point and watched everything from a distance. Chuck got pushed forward in a corner and was now doused in water, not sweat. His cell phone was done. We walked back to the metro, and people just walked right in the streets yelling and shouting as if we just won a war, and we sort of did. The Battle of Chicago took place on Grant Park that night and we came out victorious, battle scars and all. It was a sight I had never before seen, and I don’t know that I want to ever again. Gianni, younger than me, said of the crowd during the show, that he was too old for this shit. I concurred, but I’d be just as likely to put myself in that situation. Maybe even 24 hours after the fact?

(photo by C. Bologna)

Day Three was a breeze. Like last year’s final day, there was not nearly that many a band we wanted to see. We arrived in time for What Made Milwaukee Famous at 1PM and they concluded 45 minutes later. This left us two hours before Iron & Wine would take the stage. The shade was where you could’ve found us, eating food and just laying there sprawled out like people who were pulled out of the big game. I was bouncing back from a small bout of dehydration from earlier that morning, but was just about up to par. I also did not want my scalp to burn anymore than it already had.

When 4PM finally rolled around, and we had heard both the John Butler Trio and Amadou & Miriam played to packed crowds, Iron & Wine took the Bud Light stage. This was not what I wanted right then. People were dancing around, sharing the love like a damn Grateful Dead concert. I sat, face in hands, in and out of consciousness. Chuck summed it up bet when Sam Beam and his burly beard left the stage. ‘That would’ve been great if there was some pot and a couch involved.’ Songs seemed to take forever, I’m convinced was either 20-minutes long or just several songs connected by intricate segues. It was worse than Mason Jennings the day before, sadly.

At this point in the day, I was about to do something I never did. I referred to my Lollapalooza Official Program and I weighed my options. While the rest of the group went over to the Playstation 3 Stage for Flogging Molly, I just walked forward to stake out the best spot for us to see Nine Inch Nails later that night. I know Float inside and out, but I’m a fan. So I sat, dead center in front of the Bud Light stage, and just listened. I would later be told the crowd down in front for their set was just as bad, if not worse, than that of the Rage crowd from the night before. Who knew it was the cool thing to do, hurting people intentionally? I thought we had all grown up a bit, but I guess not.

Love & Rockets would take the main stage next, but would not play their biggest hit, “So Alive”. Perry Ferrell introduced them, I was mad. I had gone all weekend without seeing him, until that moment. Him smooching the members of the band that also made up three quarters of Bauhaus. So lame. I guess, without him we wouldn’t have the festival though. Daniel Ash had a silver guitar that shined as loud as he played. It even had a sticker on it that was the logo of the Irish band, Ash. I all of a sudden thought to myself, ‘they didn’t name themselves after him, did they?” Their hour-long set played for an eternity – I recognized “No New Tale To Tell” and that was about it. The last song went on for the majority of said eternity, equipped with three white creatures that would come on stage that were striped black that did a little dance. Gianni was convinced this was to keep our attention, but they then started to freak us out. They all sat, Zen-like and still, as the band held the same notes for a minute or so. They would then jump up, grabbing light bulbs that they used as mics, singing with the band. It finally ended and I couldn’t of been happier.

The next hour was painless. While watching the set up for Nine Inch Nails take place, The National played across from them. I sat, listening to them play all the songs they usually play. “Slow Show”, “Apartment Story” and “Squalor Victoria” never sounded better. They are another band who come off as a well-oiled machine that I could see play time and time again. The screens and lights were blinking and flashing tests of what we were going to be a part of. Chuck had a fake seizure; Gianni bit his nails in anticipation. Someone finally started a ‘fuck Kanye’ chant and “999,999” started to blare. It was time.
Josh Freese started playing the 4/4 beat that started “1,000,000” from
The Slip as each member joined in one by one before Trent Reznor took the stage. Dressed in black from head to toe, Reznor had the rock star stance. Standing ever so militant for the next hour and 45 minutes, his legs were spread apart just right as he marched the crowd through the classics and the rather recent. The crowd kept control until they launched “March Of The Pigs” and we all went in to a pogo-ing and shoving frenzy. I rather enjoyed it, though, as no one punched me that night. “Wish” caused the same reaction, as did “Head Like A Hole”. It was the latter that almost found me in a moment like the night previous. In front of me once again was an open pit of people running amok, and I walked right through it at one point to get that much closer to snap some pictures. A guy ended up running right in to me but that was it. A few more photos were snapped and I moved back to where I was. The stage show rivaled that of the Radiohead paranoia expose: the band was behind a screen at times, using its shadows to cast a net during some songs, while being in front of it for songs like “Vessel” and “The Warning”. They would then pull the front screen up to unveil a slightly different stage set to present some of the instrumental passages from Ghosts I-IV. The screens now portrayed images of desolation that fit perfectly with the songs that were the soundtracks for these landscapes presented.

The encore was perfect. After “Echoplex,” Reznor took a moment to show his gratitude for being there in front of a packed house, playing a festival that he was a part of during its very first incarnation the early 90s. He then apologized for his voice being shot, and went in to “Hurt”, a song that gave us chills and made me almost tear up for some reason. It was then in to the final song of the evening, “In This Twilight,” from last year’s
Year Zero. As the screen behind them showed the skyline of an unknown city, the band closed out the festival for the thousands in the north end of the park. And as they entered, they would exit member for member, each stopping their part, bowing and waving in gratitude, leaving only Reznor on the piano. He waved once more and off in to the night he went. Lollapalooza 2008 was over and ended on the right note, with easily the best performance of the entire weekend.
We walked out on Jackson Boulevard to more people chanting their disdain for Kanye and hollering in the streets again commenced. The Battle of Chicago Part 2: Electric Boogaloo was a success. We walked down the steps to get on the Blue Line once more, and headed back to our hotel. We were sore and felt defeated, but really it was us who were the winners in the end.

The Stranded Local Q&A: Bear is Driving

I casually mentioned to SIS writer Töm Jönze that I was the guest-proprietor of the Stranded in Stereo Blog for a week. No matter what else you may think about the world’s all-time drunkest music critic you must also recognize that he is loyal to his people.Even through his beer haze and bloodshot eyes he managed to murmur the name Bear is Driving. He did not jolt to life; he more stumbled to the brass rail and began to ramble his way through the full breadth and depth of their absolute tasty proggy goodness.

Even mostly sober the following day Jönze insisted that they be interviewed. Contact info and one-sheets were exchanged, press agents bribed, managers sedated and the deal was done. They were press virgins, so we began slowly and I tried to be gentle.

What's the present line up of Bear is Driving?

Chris: corrupts guitars
Erik: channels bass
Dan: dispenses keyboards, samples and terror
Corey: federates drums and deep skillet

Was there any big changes between Olde Club and Bear is Driving?

Olde Club had two guitarists who tended to play warm, melodic and loopy space rock. Bear is Driving has one guitarist who plays with the strength of three oxen. The guitarist and bassist of Bear play much more dynamic math/prog rock.

The Philadelphia Weekly described you as stoner rock. Do you agree with that description?

We prefer the label of "Brutal Prog." We associate stoner rock with slow, brooding blues-metal and Bear is Driving with dynamic, busy compositions consisting mainly of jazzy scales, thus we suspect that the author was stoned when he wrote his review. We appreciate the press nonetheless.

Is this your first LP as Bear is driving?

Yes it is. Our previous endeavors have included the world famous BID Demo A #1, and an EP called Underground Epiphanies at High Speed Prove Fatal.

How did the recording process go?

It was long and painful. We first tried to record live with Adam Katz in the famed Danger Danger House. Phase two involved us recording ourselves in our studio, The More Goofy Foot. Phase three involved the complete re-recording of Drums and Bass with some minor work on Guitar and Keyboards. The album was mixed by Bruce Howse at Red Planet Sound over the span of 5 or 6 days.

What are you doing around the album release?

We hope to set up a release party sometime in early October. It will most likely happen in West Philadelphia.
There are a number of “Bear" bands right now, The Himalayan Bear, Minus the bear, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, Bear Vs. shark, Clan of the cave bear, Panda Bear, Podington Bear, Bear hands… Do you get any brand confusion?

While the Bear-brand explosion has been troubling, stocks and trading were largely unaffected. It took the subprime lending crisis put a dent in our quarterly net income. Fortunately, stocks have bounced back as we, like Bear Stearns, received a multi-billion dollar bail-out from the government and have experienced increases in loss-reserve reductions on the direct residential mortgage-backed securities portfolio. The tumultuous credit markets continue to negatively impact the estimated impairment value of a few of our CDOs, however, Bear is Driving will continue to strive for economic omnipotence.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lollapalooza 2008, Part One

I’m now four days removed from this year’s Lollapalooza, and I find myself thanking God that nothing happened to me that would project flashbacks a la Vietnam. I still have matching bruises on my knees, albeit they are fading. My jaw, which suffered a blow from what I’m pretty sure was an unintentional fist thrown, has recovered. I’m now writing this finally, days later, in a car after a much-needed rest on the shores of New Jersey. You could now refer to this part of my vacation as Part One Million: The Sickening. My throat, sore and scratchy from the most yelling I have done in 24 years, finally gave way to a snotty head cold, probably from living in a hotel the past seven days surrounded by germs, air conditioning and cigarette smoke.

But what brought us here? What has brought us to a moment that, a week after we touched down in Chicago, finds me even more under rest than before?


I had never seen a line like this. It might as well have just gone around the entire diameter of Grant Park. It wasn’t like this last year; honestly Gianni and I don’t remember it being this bad. The mass of people outside of the Lolla locale was nothing like I had see before in my life. Maybe it was because nine hours later, Radiohead would grace the AT&T stage and would go on to play an amazing two hour set to somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000. What was the biggest downfall was after reaching the front gates, people were just walking in: we didn’t need to wait in line anyway.

We missed Bang Camaro start the day off, but we headed to the South end of the park anyway. Holy Fuck was the first band on the AT&T stage; people were already drinking their $5 Bud products, passing J’s and lord knows what else as turntableism was in battle with a furious live drum kit. I honestly had never been so hot in my life and I’m pretty sure day one, known in my group as The Bitchening, was the hotter than any day Gianni and I took in last year.

We planted are hooves and then asses in front of the MySpace stage, trying to stay cool as we awaited Rogue Wave to get their set started. I knew it was probably going to be the best Rogue Wave show I had ever seen – the band have many a time professed a love for the Windy City, as evident in the track “Chicago X 12”, a song about playing in Chi City. Before they even took stage, the Q101 DJ’s who introduced them had already made reference to the fact that the band, who had a song called “Lake Michigan”, was playing right before it. The set was odd: they opened with typical closer “Love’s Lost Guarantee” and closed on the assault of “Harmonium” which just signaled a great day was ahead for all. I also probably had sweat out five or so pounds, but I really didn’t seem to mind at all. I just did my best to stay hydrated and in the shade when I could.

Conveniently, as in up the steps on the other side of the bushes on the Citi Stage, Louis XIV was the next band on our to see list. Before that, I did manage to let my ears pick up on a few moments of Yeasayer’s set from the AT&T stage and it actually really made me want to sit with All Hour Cymbals. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. I wasn’t sure where Louix XIV was from – I thought they were either from across the pond because of Jason Hill’s snide and snarky vocals, or Detroit. They’re actually from San Diego, but apparently hang out with their friends in Las Vegas that moonlight as The Killers from time to time. I thought I’d notice some of the songs from The Best Little Secrets Are Kept since it was all over during my college radio tenure, but really the only song I noticed was their minor hit “Finding Out True Love Is Blind”.

A sausage and Sweet Leaf lemonade later, we headed to the North end of the park for the first time all day so Gianni could catch the Black Keys tearing it up on the Bud Light stage. We got there right in time for them to start, missing every last possible second of Duffy’s set on the Playstation 3 stage. They catered to their fan base, not only playing their most recognizable songs like “Your Touch” and “10 AM Automatic”, but also songs form their Danger Mouse produced
Attack & Release.

And as quickly as they had started and we had arrived in that end of the park, we vanished and headed back south in time for Grizzly Bear. I had been wanting to see them perform since not going to that TV On The Radio / Grizzly Bear tour in the fall of 2006, so this was one performance I was not going to miss. The band never looked more cool and confident. Adorning shades, polo shirts and shorts, it was Ed Droste that got me entangled in a momentary conversation with another fan. He said that if he were 10 or 15 pounds lighter, he’d wear those shorts, too. I just confessed that if I were in a band, that would be my wardrobe for a summer event like this. Really, Will Sheff and Jason Hill I’m talking to you, the three-piece suit is not appropriate in terrible heat. Thank you. New songs were tested and sounded fabulous, as was my jam, “Knife,” which of course Droste would then be keen to point out that CSS was up after them (their rendition of “Knife” was featured on last year’s
Friend EP).
We then headed over to the AT&T stage for the rest of our Friday, trying our best to stake out a spot for Radiohead, and we did succeed in my opinion. Before them, though, we had to get through Bloc Party. It would be the fourth time I saw them, and I really wasn’t looking forward to it, but I must say I’m happy to have caught them again. The band played a set like it was a greatest hits tour, playing the best songs from both
Silent Alarm and A Weekend In The City, an album I’m not super fond of, but live the songs finally transpired for me. Sadly, they wasted a few minutes of our evening by playing new single “Mercury” which, sadly, does not hold over well at all. Sorry, Dany Sloan.
All day, I had been making predictions of what Radiohead was going to start with. This being the first night of the second leg of their US tour for
In Rainbows, I referred back to previous set lists for pointers. “All I Need” and “Bodysnatchers” were frequent openers, but it would actually be “15 Step” that would get the night started. The thin lights were in place, dangling from the rigs and placed around members of the band. They would eventually light up the night sky, competing with the city’s skyline. The screens behind the band were long, with cameramen up high, focusing in on each member so we were not to miss a note or a sneeze for the next two hours. They would play all of In Rainbows, breaking it up with some of the best songs of their career. Ganni was overjoyed with “Paranoid Android” and “Fake Plastic Trees”, I was happy there was no “Creep” and that “The Gloaming” snuck in the middle. “The National Anthem” was a multimedia assault; the red, white and blue lights flashed amidst samples that made me feel like we were eavesdropping on people on phones and other modes of communication. Maybe we were and I don’t even know it. But what might’ve been the clutch moment was the second encore of “2+2=5” in to “Idioteque”. After that, it was 10:01 PM, and we could all say that it was easily the best performance of the day. The real question was how would it stand up to the rest of the weekend? Was there someone else who could challenge, even defeat the ‘Head?
Day Two, known among this year’s travel collective as The Insultening, was a drastic change in temperature and scenery from Day One. The humidity was gone as the festivalgoers were treated to a lake effect breeze and clear skies. This would prove to be our busiest day, with nothing but two hours that would were spread out that featured no one we wanted to see.

We started off on the North side this day, catching Does It Offend You, Yeah? as they played to a rather large crowd on the Bud Light stage. We were nice and close to the front for optimal photo opportunities. Going in to it, I was nervous since I had read their live sets were pretty much amazing or horribly awful. Lucky for us, the band was on the spot. There were some off moments, like the unplugging of a mic here or the breaking of a string there, but who cares, they had the crowd’s full attention. I was so enthralled by the fact that they were performing my favorite song off of You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into (“With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You)”), that we missed one of the band’s members throw up. After that, I was excited to run over to the Playstation 3 stage and catch Mason Jennings, but was sadly let down. After five or six songs, and not a one off of this year’s pristine In The Ever, I was ready to walk away. Something about DIOYY in to Mr. Jennings just didn’t work for me. A bad transition I was not ready for.

Something else I was not ready for, rather not expecting, was who was next. For many a month now, I could not get in to Foals to save my life, but their set that afternoon on the Citi Stage gets the award for Most Surprising Set To Be Rather Enjoyed By Me. Their musicianship was tight: they played like they had been doing it for centuries, not missing a step or a beat. I guess I need to track down Antidotes now.

Down the steps we trekked after the infamous Chicken On A Stick, and saw what had to be the biggest crowd at the MySpace stage all weekend for MGMT. Rather than scoot up in to that, we took the advantage of the AT&T stage being somewhat empty and getting a good spot for Brand New.

Brand New. Brand New. Tsk tsk. Almost two years ago now, Gianni bugged me, begged of me, to listen to
The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Of Me. When I finally did, it came in to my life at the perfect time and I can still listen to it and enjoy it. I was about as excited as he was to see them, being his first time seeing one of his favorites. What we ended up being treated to was something we were not expecting. Maybe it was something we were not even ready for.

The crowd was huge. Were they all Brand New fans or were there people staking out a spot for Rage Against The Machine that night? Whatever the case, lead singer Jessie Lacey was none too pleased. Between two songs, he asked the crowd “Why are you not seeing Explosions In The Sky?” referring to the fact they were playing at the same time as them a mile away. “You should be seeing them, you’re all fools.” A song later, they introduced the following number as “Go See Explosions In The Sky”. Was Lacey surprised and upset by this many people seeing him? Was he upset because his guitar was totally out of tune for part of “Sowing Season”? Did somebody forget to take their meds? Whatever the case, they started “You Won’t Know,” introduced as “Bomb Track”, a Rage Against The Machine song. During the song’s bridge, Lacey finally cracked a smile, swaying back and forth as he belted out the line ‘Cause you’re the apple of my eye anyway,’ but I’m convinced that was all sarcasm. Moments later, his guitar came off and he threw it right in to the drum kit. I was surprised no one was hurt. 15 minutes before they were due to end, it was all over. Were there more songs, no one knows. Chuck caught a glimpse of the out of focus set on the big screen like I did, and that could’ve been it. We were all convinced that it was a premature finale. While MGMT played and we sat and listened, right before their first song they stated “We are Radiohead, thank you for coming to see us play,” which I found hysterical, but for some reason, Lacey’s ungratefulness didn’t sit so well with me. This would lead me to a great joke later on about him joining Joy Division at the BMI stage.

We stopped for a round of beers as we headed over to catch Broken Social Scene on the Bud Light stage. Two years ago, many easily deflected that the Canadian superpower were the performance of the entire weekend, mainly in part to the hot indie sex dream of Feist, Amy Milan and Emily Haines altogether on the same stage. Would we get an encore this year? Of course not. The band took the stage as the sun hid behind the Sears Tower and Brendan Canning immediately caught my attention. It was not his burly beard and safety goggle glasses, but more his colorful tank top, white pants and matching shoes. I declared it was a rather indie Elton John look he had bestowed upon the crowd. I guess I was right. “Pacific Theme” would start the show off, leading in to “Cause = Time”. Amy Milan would eventually join them to sing Feist’s part of “Shoreline (7/4),” and they would end an hour later with a gut wrenching take on “It’s All Gonna Break”. As a long time fan, I was a bit let down they ended a festival set with the 10-minute epic that closes out their self-titled album and would’ve loved for them to close on “Ibi Dreams Of Pavement” but it was still good none the less. They did, after all, play “Love Is New”.
And it was back across the park we headed, that long mile we were all so familiar with by the end of that day, for Rage Against The Machine. We staked out a spot on the right, and inched in a bit to the left. I was convinced that maybe the crowd wouldn’t be so nuts back that far, while the rest of my friends said I might be surprised. We could hear the Toadies playing to their masses, running through “Possum Kingdom” and “Tyler” from the MySpace stage, as the camera started to focus on the crowd in front of the AT&T stage. The crowd was already shifting and moving, and the red star hadn’t even been erected yet. But once the lights went out and that banner came up as the backdrop, and the band took the stage, it was coming. Tom Morello’s never to be replicated guitar style ripped open and Brad Wilk started the drum roll that would introduce “Testify”. The crowd surged forward, the song launched, and so did all of we. And then, a fist clocked me right across the chin. I also lost track of two of my closest friends. The next 90 minutes would be interesting for all.

To Be Continued.