Stranded In Stereo: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Band of the Week: Falcon

How many bands form with a finite amount of material? Really, think about it. How many bands form knowing, from the start, what the songs already are, and that there will never be another one? It's a problem tribute bands must often face. But what if the tribute band's songs have never even been heard before?

Enter Falcon.
Falcon is not a tribute band.
Falcon plays all new material.

But... Falcon will never write another song. In fact, they never have.
Let me explain. Every Falcon song has already been written by the band's namesake, Jared Falcon.
However, Mr. Falcon is not in the band.
From 1986-88, Jared Falcon attended Petaluma Junior High in Petaluma, Ca.. He played baritone sax in the orchestra and did not do particularly well in school. However, he was a songwriting prodigy, writing close to a song a day and recording each onto a Fisher Price tape recorder. This practice started in January 1987 and ended, 336 songs later, in February 1988 when Mr. Falcon was institutionalized.

Luckily for us, however, Jared Falcon's classmates from Petaluma Junior High, Shannon Ferguson and Neil Rosen, have those tapes. Both now living in New York City, Neil and Shannon have finally formed the band that will bring these amazing songs to life. Neil (vocals, guitar) and Shannon, who also plays guitars with New York band Longwave (RCA), recruited bassist Christian Bongers (Helmet, Botanica) and drummer Jason Molina, also of Longwave.

"It was easy once they heard the songs," Rosen said of finding band members who hadn't grown up with Jared. "The material really speaks for itself. The other guys were excited about it before I even told them the story behind the songs."

Mr. Falcon entrusted his audio tapes to his friend Shannon who has kept them safe and sound since receiving them. "It took me about two seconds to realize I'd found something special," Ferguson said of his first listen.

Surprisingly contemporary while simultaneously alien, it seems impossible for the material to have come from the mind of a fourteen year old.

"A lot of the songs are about animals. And many don't have what one might conventionally think of as a chorus, or the standard pop structure," Rosen says about the songs, some of which are barely two minutes long, "but once we arrange [the songs] and bring them to life, they really work. Songs this good have a life of their own."

Determined not be too precious with the material, Falcon has taken the fragile recordings of a boy with an acoustic guitar and transformed them into fully realized, often epic arrangements. Falcon has used these songs to build a strong fan base in New York City. Their live show has brought them to New York clubs like The Mercury Lounge, Pianos and Luna Lounge. They have also toured Scandinavia, played in London and have had Entertainment Weekly call the songs "marvelously dreamy."

Download: "Q of T" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday Morning Newsletter (9/28/08)

This week singer Clay Aiken outed himself to the world in People magazine, confirming that he was a homosexual. Aiken, stated "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that." Did anybody actually think he was straight? What surprised Jose is that he knocked some broad up with a turkey baster.

Currently the former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM a.k.a. Adam Goldstein are hospitalized as a result of burns and other injuries that occurred during a plane crash last weekend. The medical director of the Augusta Burn Center says both men should make a full recovery. The musicians plane crashed in South Carolina killing four people last Friday. The dead include pilot Sarah Lemmon, co-pilot James Bland, Barker's assistant and bodyguard, Chris Baker, and Charles Still. The wrong people always die first.

Chris Cornell's new album, Scream, is slated for a November release date. Famous Hip-Hop producer Timbaland produced the effort and the duo intend to do a short tour together to support the release. The eight planned gigs will begin in Denver on October 17, ending in Seattle on November 2. Jose thinks it sounds like Michael Jackson covering Cornell's last solo album.

Kid Rock is about to end up like Billy Carter. Kid has signed a deal to develop and market his very own vanity beer with Drinks America Holdings. CEO of Drinks Americas J. Patrick Kenny stated, "Kid Rock is a reflection of great American rock and roll music and the American spirit, and we think we can create a beer in that same image." I can only assume that image translates to strong and cheap.

Kanye West is now entertaining a hobby in pedophilia by producing a new children's puppet show. The program
Alligator Boots has been described as "Hip-Hop meets the Muppets." Alligator Boots is not yet a series, but only a hopeful pilot being shopped to Comedy Central. Strangely the stink ends with Jimmy Kimmel who owns Jackhole productions, the executive producers on the program.

50 Cent has been hard at work with
Activision developing a video game, 50 Cent: Blood In The Sand. Recent Wallstreet news indicated the game could be cut because of an impending merger with Vivendi. Blood In The Sand still has a targeted release date of March 31, 2009. Jose says don't truck wit' fiddy. He shoots people for real.

Another dead rapper is on the verge of releasing a hit record. The long-dead TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes drops her new record
Eye-Legacy on November 11. It features previously unreleased tracks from Lopes, and collaborations with Missy Elliott among others. How do dead people collaborate? Jose will not be writing music reviews from the grave I promise you that.

Yes vocalist Jon Anderson has been replaced on tour due to
acute respiratory failure. The rest of the band is continuing with the tour while he recouperates. He has stated that he is "disappointed that they were not willing to wait till 2009 when I'm fully recovered."

The Pretenders, are releaseing a new album, Break Up The Concrete, on October 7. Their
ninth studio albu, will include a limited run of eco-packaging that comes with seed paper. This paper can be planted and may sprout Afgahn Polm in about four weeks. Fucking hippies.

Friday, September 26, 2008

SIS Giveaway: The Life & Times of Tim Flash Drive

Last week it was Little Britain USA and this week, we give away another Flash Drive based on another of HBO's great upcoming shows! This week, it's the new zany cartoon The Life & Times of Tim. Conceived and written by Steve Dildarian, this new half-hour long animated series chronicles the misadventures of Tim, an average guy whose instincts always lead him down the wrong path. Enter this week's contest and our lucky winner will get a flash drive shaped like Tim himself!

Click here to enter to win!

In Cineplexes This Weekend: Choke

A few years ago, an ex-girlfriend of mine lent me Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. If I remember the month of May that year, I turned 19 and could not stop reading this book. It had left such an impression on me and still does years later.

This weekend, life gets that much better when the film adaptation of Choke finally hits theaters, starring the illustrious Sam Rockwell in the lead role of med student dropout / sex addict / backbone of Colonial America, Victor Mancini. I read a pretty favorable review on the commute to the office today only exciting me even more about seeing this twisted tale on the big screen.

What's even better is the rather rad soundtrack which ATO released this week digitally. Besides having great contributions from Radiohead, Fiery Furnaces, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, it also features some nifty unreleased and rare tracks from Blitzen Trapper, Buzzcocks, Shout Out Louds and the original version of that Spoon hit "Don't You Evah" from the Natural History.

Choke is out this weekend via Fox Searchlight. Here's a nifty video with Ben Kweller and his song "The Rules" with some clips from the movie:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Band of the Week: FM Belfast

Although FM Belfast started out at the end of December '05, they didn't become a full-fledged live until until the summer of '06 when they performed at an art opening in cave in the Faeroe Islands. By 2007, they had established themselves as one of Iceland's premier live bands, playing the closing set at that year's Airwaves festival. The band's membership ranges from three to eight members and they are preparing for the release of their debut album, How to Make Friends, this fall.

Download: "Synthia" [mp3]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Stranded Local Q & A: The Brew

The Brew is one of those bands that show you that hard work pays off. The group formed and started recording in 2003 in Boston’s North Shore. That’s when they began playing up to five times a week at local venues and bars, doing all age events in an effort to embrace everyone.

By 2005, they didn’t have to be the openers anymore, as they began to see their popularity reach beyond ole Beantown and throughout New England.

Taking the feel of jam bands, and the more structured approach of classic rock, The Brew brings a sound to people that is refreshing and very easy on the ears.

As soon as this weekend, y0u can see for yourself what's going on with the Brew, as they're playing a show at the Paradise, this Saturday (September 26th).

It’s not often (or ever) with Stranded in Stereo that I get an entire band to individually to sit down and answer the questions. That was the case this week. A big thank you is in order for the band.

To get you acquainted with the band, let me introduce everyone to you, so you can follow our conversation:

Chris Plante, vocals and keyboards
Kelly Kane, Drums
David Drouin, Guitar & Vocals
Joe Plante, Bass & Vocals

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

Joe: The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts) is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.

David: A good band is a good band no matter where they are from, but in Boston, you are allowed to say words like “wicked,” “pissah,” and “chowdah,” and still be cool

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:

Chris: Paul McCartney, The Police, Tom Petty

Kelly: Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Coldplay, Rat Dog

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

Everyone, but Joe: The Paradise Rock Club

Joe: Harper’s Ferry

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.):

David and Kelly: Classical

Joe Plante: Folk, Reggae, Funk, Rock, Everything…

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

Chris: Benny’s Headie Veggie Slush Stand

David: Anyone with Guinness

Kelly: The Shaskeen in Manchester, NH

Joe: Bevie B’s

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Release Tuesday (9/23/08)

Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty
Thanks to us blogger folk, 2006 was the year for these California boys. When seeing them for the second time at Lollapalooza in 2007, I was excited to hear them play new songs, especially "Dreams Old Men Dream" which made it on to their latest, Loyalty to Loyalty. First single "Something Is Not Right With Me" is standard CWK fare, while "Welcome To The Occupation" is good, but no REM cover. Either way, I'm just glad their back to take over another fall of my music listening.
Stream: Loyalty to Loyalty [here]

Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
Only a mere 18 months after last year's dark Because of the Times, the Kings settled in to make a full on arena rock assault with this year's Only By The Night. Lead singer Caleb Followill finally uses his pipes to his advantage, bringing them up in the mix to complete the big guitars ("Sex On Fire"), super heavy fuzz bass ("Crawl") and to serenade us as well ("Revelry").
Read: Only By The Night review [here]

TV on the Radio - Dear Science
It took me awhile to come around to Return To Cookie Mountain a few years back, but this time I was hit and hooked in right away with the Brooklyn band's latest opus. Cleaning up the production and trading in the indsutrial Cookie sheen for Michael Jackson ("Golden Age"), fucking funk ("Red Dress") and songs about, well, fucking ("Lover's Day"), this album, like many others I have mentioned this year, is now in contention for my album of the year. And, maybe it's me, but does anyone else here Bloc Party in "Halfway Home"?
Read: Dear Science review [here]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can't Stop Spinning: Wash Out by The Arch Cupcake

Our friend Eavvon O'Neal checks in this week with what he has been listening to ...

Dexterity. The subtle or drastic change of hand on a cross fade, or turn of a resonance knob can transform the whole attitude of a party, and you’d never even know unless the DJ fucked it up. DJs are the nimble hand that moves crowds. Without them, the opposite sex would be paying a lot more attention to your conversational skills than to your moves. When judging the talents of how a DJ mixes (it’s not always about what they play, but more so about how transitions are made or how sweet the tension builds. Fred Sargolini, aka The Arch Cupcake, delivers with a fresh batch-o-jams for shakin’ it.

If his original work & debut the Wash Out EP, is any indication, Mr. Cupcake knows the art of DJing to the point where scratching, blending, and interlacing progresses naturally and seems as easy as riffling through a vinyl bin. “El Gato Attacks” is a smooth jaunt through deep panned, high-end drums juxtaposed with 808, and allows enough space for the percussive movement to double as the melody. This back and forth between more melodic tones and heavier drum presences is the biggest emblem of the Cupcake’s worth, and carries into “Sunday Gravy Boat” and “Wasabi.” The latter has a new wave feel that is very in line with the sounds coming from the Santogold camp, and also holds tangible similarities to Fatboy Slim’s big beat feel. These chops that he has honed make noticeable appearances in his Ugly Sweater Party Mix.

This mix is not going to avoid a comparison with Girl Talk, so let’s just get this out there: “It’s a mix similar to something Girl Talk would do.” The cuts, each very much in taste now, are all your favorite mainstream party breaks. Justice, Santogold, MIA & Boyz Noize are all present, but what’s interesting is how the mix is less about the actual songs and 80’s throwbacks, and more about how well they piece together. This distances from Girl Talks’ method of pop cultural commentary, and makes it more about a consistent party vibe.

Admittedly, Girl Talk does both reference and solidify his jam structure through constant moving track work, and breaks up beats more with flash and pomp that calls attention to the transitions, Arch Cupcake and his Wash Out EP & Ugly Sweater Party blends and solders each song together. Better cohesion is the sign of confidence, and the feel that the DJ has everything under control——a reassuring thought for those dedicated to fulfilling the party element.

Monday Morning Newsletter (9/22/08)

Politics continue to permeate our music news. Former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann have signed on to headline a fundraiser for Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania this October. Though some members have appeared together previously, all four have not shared a stage as a group since their 2004 tour. The Change Rock Event is October 13th at the University of Pennsylvania. McCain tried to schedule a competing fundraiser concert, but then discovered that Frank Sinatra was dead.

Disturbed will be releasing a live album, titled Live & Indestructible, exclusively through iTunes on September 30th. Their Music As A Weapon tour is scheduled to begin in March of 2009. This should be about as exciting as Milli Vanilli’s live album.

The Chicago Cubs, a team that hasn’t won a World Series for 100 years, now has their own theme song.
Eddie Vedder, vocalist for Pearl Jam has released a song for the Chicago baseball franchise. It's called "All the Way." It’s crap.

Richard Wright died this week due to cancer–related complications. He was 65. Wright was one of Pink Floyd's founding members, playing keyboards in an early incarnation of Sigma 6. Wright was fired from the group in 1979, but returned for the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. He last performed with the group in 2005 for Live 8.

One of the most bad-ass drummers in rock n’ roll died this week.
Earl Palmer was a session drummer for an unnameable number of hits including such classics as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin," Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" and "I Hear You Knockin'" by Smiley Lewis. He was 84. Palmer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Chiodos is releasing a limited edition CD, Bone Pallace Ballet: Grand Coda, on October 28. This augments their original Bone Pallace Ballet album from last year with four new songs, 2 acoustic versions, and a 30-minute DVD.

It was revealed this week that 39-year old rapper Nate Dogg has had another stroke. He was hospitalized on September 5 and degraded to the point of requiring life support. He has stabilized but is paralyzed on the left side of his body. A spokesperson claims that this is due to his bad eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. José would like to know what the hell Nate Dogg is eating that is so dangerous?

Also reporting from the ICU is vocalist
Natalie Cole. She been hospitalized due to complications arising from her chronic Hepatitis C. Her current location is currently undisclosed, but a spokesperson concedes that she likely contracted the disease through her drug use years ago. Dr. House says that Hep C requires blood-to-blood contact so “drug use” means smack. José says smack is wack babe.

One of the creators of the Motown sound died this week.
Norman Whitfield died Wednesday after a long battle with diabetes. His producer credits included "I Heard It through the Grapevine,” by Gladys Knight, "War" by Edwin Starr, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by the Temptations, and "Car Wash" by Rose Royce. In 1973 he left Motown and founded his own eponymous label where he released early albums by Junior Walker among others. He was 67.

If you saw the cover of Vibe this week, you may not have seen what you thought you did.
Ciara (who graced the cover naked), claims that she was not naked at the photoshoot. In her version of the story, artists removed her panties digitally, as opposed to using rum. Vibe contends that the girl was butt naked and they have the pictures to prove it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Locksley Video, Choose or Lose Tour

Fresh off the re-release trail of last year's Don't Make Me Wait, Locksley will now hit the campaign trail as part of this year's MTV Choose or Lose tour. The band have also just released the video for their new single, "All Over Again", which recently premiered on MTV where they were also just featured as the network's Band of the Week. Looks like everything is looking up for these New Yorkers.

Choose Or Loose dates:
Oct 5 Boston, MA - Café 939
Oct 6 State College, PA - Lulu's
Oct 7 Pittsburg, PA - Rex Theater
Oct 9 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
Oct 10 Madison, WI - Barrymore
Oct 11 Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen*
Oct 13 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville News
Oct 14 Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
Oct 15 Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
Oct 16 Denver, CO - Hi Dive
Oct 17 Salt Lake City, UT - Avalon
Oct 19 Tucson, AZ - Hotel Congress - Patio Show
Oct 20 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
Oct 22 Albuquerque - Launchpad
Oct 24 Austin, TX - Emo's Lounge
Oct 26 Dallas, TX - House of Blues
Oct 29 Atlanta, GA - Vinyl
Nov 1 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
*w/Throw Me The Statue

Buy: Don't Make Me Wait [here]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SIS At The Club: The Dandy Warhols

The Wilbur Theatre is located in the Theatre District in Downtown Boston, a block away from the Boston Commons. It's very glitzy on the inside; the carpeted floors and regal looking balcony and mezzanine would better house a traveling production of Annie Get Your Gun than a rock concert. But then, The Dandy Warhols, they came to town, and they transformed it from playhouse to rockhouse (or Monkeyhouse, if you wish to insert the word from their 2003 album, Welcome to the Monkeyhouse). And although, the soundsystem was very lack with only a row of speakers on each side of the stage, the Warhols seemed to make due for their two hour set.

Spanning almot their entire career, save for anything off of their 1995 debut,
Dandys Rule OK?, the quartet surprised me when five songs in they performed "The Beast Of All Saints" from this year's magnum opus, ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... T'was an interesting choice for a slowed up sonic rocker so early in the set, but people would soon get what they wanted. Gears were shifted quickly, though, as die hard fans and those only familiar with their larger hits were then treated to a one-two punch of "Bohemian Like You" and "Get Off" from 2000's breakthrough Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia. Head Warhol Courtney Taylor-Taylor had then taken a moment to greet the crowd, once again commenting on the lack of speakers, saying their sound man had said it would be a great place for banjos. "Love Song" would be played later, but without Taylor squared's diatribe about how Steve Martin wouldn't playng the twangy instrument, leaving them with Mike Campbell and Mark Knopfler instead.

It was halfway through when the funniest moment (at least to me, standing up in the front) had occured. Key bassist, keyboardist, and sexiest Warhol since 1994 Zia McCabe stepped off stage for a moment along with drummer Bret DeBoer while guitarist Pete Holmstrom held that sustained note that begins "Godless". And right when the song should've launched in, from sustained notes to guitar strums and tambourines, DeBoer was still missing, and a few chuckles came from the crowd and the band as the one known as Fathead, now complete with handlebar mustache, returned to the stage.

When the heavy rocking, seizure-inducing-from-strobe-lights-strobing "Wasp In The Lotus" was played, it was a fury. Heavy guitar licks melted and mixed perfectly with the harmonies of singing cousins DeBoer and Taylor-Taylor. And when they played that song, the one that made me the fan that I am and one they apparently 'had not played in a really long time' noted Taylor-Taylor ("Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth"), I just had a moment. McCabe and I made eye contact and she just smiled at me as I snapped a picture of her. They would then launch in to "Boys Better" before the we-don't-leave-the-stage encore of "Country Leaver" that was just the come down for the night. After two hours, the band was done and they left the stage, and we were left with memories.

As I left and headed back out in to the theatre district, I ran in to the band as they were talking to other fans. DeBoer talking about the sound, Taylor-Taylor snapping photos with fans, checking their cameras to make sure they were good enough to have, or he would just have to pose again. I ran in to Zia, and she declared "I smiled at you, yes! You just seemed so familiar. Had a good time?" Good time, I believe, was an understatement.

Set List:
Mohammed / We Used To Be Friends / Welcome To The Third World / Mission Control / The Beast Of All Saints / You Were The Last High / All The Money or The Simple Life Honey / Bohemian Like You / Get Off / Love Song / Godless / The New Country / And Them I Dreamt Of Yes / You Come In Burned / Good Morning / Now You Love Me / Wasp In The Lotus / The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers / Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth / Pete International Airport>Boys Better / Country Leaver

Read my interview with Zia McCabe

: "The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Stranded Local Q & A: The Brightwings

People who really understand the music industry today realize it’s bigger than album sales and radio play. This is something The Brightwings know very well, as this Boston group has licensed a number of their songs to some hit TV shows you’ve probably seen. A short sampling of that resume includes NBC’s Medium CBS’s The Ghost Whisperer, E!’s Keeping up with the Kardashians and MTV’s Real World.

That’s not all that characterizes this Boston four-piece. The group formed in 2004 when the four college friends from Northeastern and Berklee came together. Drawing inspiration from groups of yesterday like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Eagles, and Tom Petty, The Brightwings take that sound and make it modern with smooth three part harmonies and introspective lyrics.

The group have become grizzled veterans of the show and touring circuit, playing over 340 dates and appearing on bills with Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Matt Nathanson, and The Alternate Routes.

But my favorite part about the group may just be the fact that they got their name from "The Wonder Years." Fred Savage was a muse for someone.

Vocalist/Bassist Matt Rafal is in the Stranded hot seat this week.

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those n,on-Boston bands because:

We know how to pronounce places like “Worcester” “Peabody” and “Gloucester”.

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:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

The Paradise

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.):

Country Music has always been a huge influence to this band, both from a songwriting perspective and (at times) stylistically.

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

Recently, it’s the new Brighton Beer Gardens. We basically camped out there during the Celtics playoff run.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Blackmarket Video: "Sheila"

All summer long, whenever "Sheila" would come on the stereo here at the office, I was all sorts of happy. It made me interested in what was on the rest of Blackmarket's first EP. And you know what was on there? A bunch of great, catchy songs with infectious melodies and hook-y choruses that get caught in people's heads all day long. Or at least mine.

To celebrate the release of the full-length debut, The Elephant In The Room, the Arizona rockers have made a video for one of my favorite singles of the summer that includes footage of them at this summer's Mt. Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. I certainly believe that people over here will soon be as crazy about them as they are over here.

The Elephant In The Room is out November 11th.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Band of the Week: Fires of Rome

Fires of Rome might be coming from the future, but they have not forgotten about all of the great names of the past. This New York group has been knocking about for a couple years and a few people have noticed, including the well-respected chaps at the New York Times. The end of 2008 will see them gear up for the big time, including an appearance at our CMJ party (10/22! be there!) and a debut album called You Kingdom You. It is destined to be a classic.

Download: "Set In Stone" [mp3]

Hello, Hot Lava

A few weeks ago, my co worker had an album for me to hear. "I think it's very Rusty," he had said. Not rusty, as in "it's a little rusty-sounding," but it's Rusty, proper noun, meaning that it would be something I could get in to in a heart beat. The band's name in question was Hot Lava and their new album, Lavaology, was definitely Rusty-centric.

The Richmond based four piece have made an album that, like the rest of the other great albums I've mentioned this year, falls on the side of brevity. The 10 songs that make up
Lavaology come in at not even 30 minutes. The songs are super catchy, super poppy and best of all, super awesome. It's a lo-fi fresh breath of air, yet it sounds so warm, so familiar and so inviting.

Lavaology is out on Bar/None October 7th.

Download: "Apple+Option+Fire" [mp3] // [Buy Here]

Monday Morning Newsletter (9/15/08)

The RNC continues to use music without seeking the permission of its copyright holders. Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar recently commented: “Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given to use Right Now.” McCain use the song “Right Now” at a rally in Dayton, Ohio just a week ago. Perhaps Ted Nugent will license him a little something?

has announced their first world tour since 2001 will kick off October 28 in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The tour will begin with a set of arena gigs in America. Dates for South America, Europe and Asia are to be announced shortly. Bad news for Abba fans; the highly anticipated Abba museum will not open as planned next year. Organizers maintain that the project will proceed as planned, but will be unavoidably delayed. The city of Stockholm is obviously disappointed as this was their only hope for tourism beyond academic research groupies.

will be releasing a self-described “coffee table book” this October. The tome 21 Nights will document his 21-night run at London's O2 Arena. The collection of candid photographs comes packaged with a CD, Indigo Nights.

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington will be releasing a solo album early next year. Since 2005 he’s been squirreling away tracks since 2005 for the side project. The working title is “Dead By Sunrise” but that’s so terrible Jose expects it to change.

Hi Fi Recordings will be releasing a new album from
Todd Rundgren September 30th. The LP, Arena is Rundgren’s first studio album in four years. The album is rumored to be his first guitar-focused rock album since 1993’s No World Order.

Kanye West
was arrested at LAX International Airport and then released this week. Apparently a TMZ photographer got up in his grille and his body guard broke the man’s video camera. West and his bodyguard are expected to be charged with vandalism and battery. TMZ has already posted the video.

Avenged Sevenfold
has canceled the remaining dates on their U.S. tour due to vocal fatigue. Vocalist M. Shadows first experienced problems a week ago at a show in Huntington, WV. He was diagnosed with vocal fatigue days later. The tour will resume on October 15 in Japan. José recommends laying off the blunts.

’s new album Dig Out Your Soul will be out this October. The LP will be also be released as a collector's edition which includes a bonus disc of remixes and b-sides, a DVD, a vinyl copy of the album, and a hardcover book. The collectors edition weighs about 11 lbs.

The long rumored
White Zombie 5-disc box set will see a release late this year. Rob zombie himself describes the compilation as complete and unadulterated. This rumor dates back to 1996, but it appears all the legal obstructions have aligned and Mr. Zombie has a green light. No information on the label as yet.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In Cineplexes Now: Burn After Reading

After last year's epic No Country Old Men that found brothers Joel and Ethan Coen winning many an Oscar, the boys return to their comedic routes with this weekend's Burn After Reading. Besides John Malkovich looking to be at his best since Being John Malkovich, the film also features what looks to be some rather comedic turns from Brad Pitt and George Clooney. This entire equation is so unbalanced; I don't know if I want to see it more for the performances within or because I'm such a huge Coen Brothers fan. I guess it will just be an entire win/win package.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Kanye West: "Love Lockdown"

Or: How I hate to admit that I really like this song

So, amidst the 12 hours worth of football I watched on Sunday, it was during the night game where the Bears visited the new Colts stadium, that I flipped over to the MTV Video Music Awards for a bit here and there. I could easily go on a tirade about how times have chnaged, much different from the piece I wrote on the amazing 1999 VMA's that took place on 9/9/99 for my high school newspaper, but this is not about that. It sort of is in that the grand finale of the evening was Kanye West premiering his new song, "Love Lockdown", to the world. I'll be the first to admit, I've always very publicly denounced him and his primadonna ways, but there are a few of his songs ("Good Morning" being the one that comes to mind), that I actually do like.

So, anyway. 'Ye premieres this new song "Love Lockdown" Sunday night, and I was just floored. The melody instantaneously stuck to my head. My ears, they were shocked to hear him not rapping his words, but rather singing them. A deep groove and a sparse piano finished out the arrangement before tribal meets marching band drums stomped their way in for the chorus. I hated admitting, but I was a fan.

So, yesterday, West takes to his blog to post the finished version that will be included on his upcoming fourth (and might I add awesomely titled) 808's & Heartbreak. The beat and the music are all the same; the vocals sent through a vocoder for effect while the piano carries the rest with the 808 in tow. The chorus is the most interesting part - while Kanye sings the line some what off kilter, as if he couldn't carry a tune, comes in a syncopated handclap that sounds so out of place yet like it belongs at the same time. Very lo-fi hand clap is how I can best describe it, and it's what makes me ever so curious to hear what his Heartbreak has to offer.

808's & Heartbreak is out December 16th(?) on Interscope.

Stream: "Love Lockdown" [here]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Stranded Local Q & A- The Prime Movers

This week’s Stranded in Stereo Q & A comes from veterans of the Boston scene. And I do mean veterans (in the most respectful and praising way). The Prime Movers formed in 1981 and were opening for bands like Ministry and The Bangles before I was born.

Things seemed to be setting up nicely for the Prime Movers and they were ready to go tour Europe and get their records there. However, things were slowed down and soured by legal issues. The group was sued in an international court by a band with the same name, preventing them from touring or distributing records in Europe. The group eventually disbanded in 1988.

That wasn’t the end however, as the band got back together in 2003, and finally got to record their first full length LP in 2006. Their dreams to tour Europe were realized in 2007, free from the legal constraints that plagued them in the 80’s.

The Movers’ frontman Dick Tate spoke with us this week to answer the Stranded 5. I’m going to call the questions the “Stranded 5” from now on, to pretend like it’s a group of guys that busted out of prison. To add character, ya feel me?

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

We don't expect anything in return for our music.

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 Who, The Hoodoo Gurus and Cheap Trick.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

The Middle East Upstairs

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.)

Late 60's, early 70's power pop like the Raspberries or Big Star.

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

Even though I work there, I still like the Middle East because I'll always run into someone I know and like.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

High Places Set Tour

Ever since I fell in love with the compilation track "New Grace" and I saw them open for Abe Vigoda this summer, I've been mildly obsessed with Brooklyn's High Places. I mean, the actually made me dance quite a bit when I saw them, and I hadn't let a crowd see me dance like that since I saw last saw LCD Soundsystem well over a year ago. There's just something about Mary Pearson's vocal beauty, contrasted with the warm sounds created by her and band mate Rob Barber that just make me melt. Deep bass lines and other exotic moments have combined to make some of the finest music of the year.

They've already won us over with the singles comp
03/07-09/07, and now Thrill Jockey is releasing their self-titled full length debut on September 23rd. In honor of such a momentous ocassion, the boy and the girl are hitting the road in the states including some west coast dates with Ponytail. Please, do yourself a favor and go see them. You will not be let down, I promise.

09/16 Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox
09/17 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
09/18 Grand Rapids, MI @ Division Avenue Arts
09/19 Madison, WI @ Forward Music Fest
09/20 Champaign, IL @ Pygmalion Festival
09/21 Rock Island, IL @ Huckleberry's Pizza Parlor
09/23 Chicago, IL @ AV-aerie
09/24 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
09/25 Grinnell, IA @ Gardner Lounge at Grinnell College*
09/26 Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
09/27 Denver, CO @ Rhinoceropolis
09/29 Salt Lakt City, UT @ Kilby Court*
09/30 Missoula, MT @ The Badlander*
10/2 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge*
10/3 Anacortes, WA @ Department of Safety*
10/4 Vancouver, BC @ Richard's On Richards*
10/6 Portland, OR @ Backspace*
10/8 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill*
10/10 Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell*
10/12 Phoenix, AZ @ Modified*
10/15 Austin, TX @ Emo's*
*w/ Ponytail

Download: "Head Spins" [mp3]

Tyler Carmody & Von Murphy

I was on vacation. It was desperately needed. I’d been too cranked up for too long and was starting to get that deep misanthropy I’m so prone to. So I locked up the firearms, packed a bag and drove about as far north as one can in this time zone. I listened to nothing but CBC Public Radio in Francais and I tried to avoid indie rock.

Like a psychopomp, indie rock came lumbering out. Even there in the furthest reaches, the most rural of places it found me. I was at a farmers market and there by the door two dirty teenagers in grey hoodies were selling slightly used rock posters and a short stack of zines with a CD-R inside attached with a piece of masking tape. It was entirely unlabeled - no band name, no track listing, no label, no nothing.

It was brilliant and horrible at the same time. MC Tyler Carmody raps over beats by himself and Von Murphy. There is a tape manipulators math in this like Steve Fisk or Black Moth Super Rainbow. Tape Manipulation it it’s furthest extreme just rips the ferrous oxide from the cellophane backing. Of course today Tyler and Von Murphy probably recorded directly to a hard drive making the lo-fi Casio bleeps and blips all the more charming. The fact that they manage to create, and sustain a melody makes it magic.

Download Here

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Morning Newsletter (9/9/08)

It’s been a very political week in what will surely be a political year. McCain managed to find some hot redneck babe in Alaska who was more conservative than himself and more tied to oil companies. Obama picked a dude as old and white as McCain. Hell, the police riot on the first day of the RNC was way bigger than the one at the RATM show. Jose says when in doubt vote brown.

The singers of the band Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson, have issued a cease-and-desist letter to the RNC. They are demanding the RNC cease all use of the song "Barracuda". Apparently the Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song… again. If you recall they went through this just a few weeks ago with artist Jackson Browne. I guess he’s having a senior moment.

Travis Stever, guitarist for Coheed And Cambria, will be releasing his solo project Davenport Cabinet on Equal Vision. The CD mixed by Mike Major Sparta, Nostalgia In Stereo will be released on October 14, 2008.

After five years of lawyers stealing all the money, Great White will pay out $1 million to settle it’s remaining lawsuits. If you recall in 2003, 100 people died at Rhode Island nightclub fire including the group's own guitarist, Ty Longley. The blaze was started by stage pyrotechnics igniting soundproofing foam on the ceiling. Earlier this year, the town of West Warwick and the state of Rhode Island agreed to pay $10 million for each victim to settle all claims of negligence. When you burn the club down nobody remembers the opening band.

Kim Kardashian said last week on the E! satellite radio show that she would like to try her hand at singing. I quote: "I would be down, if it was something fun. I love music, so it would just have to be the right thing." On the upside this puts her that one-step closer to the nude pictorial / career comeback.

Fallen British rock star and pederast Gary Glitter is on the loose! Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, has been freed from a Vietnamese prison after completing his three-year sentence for the most recent time he was convicted of molesting two young girls. Glitter, now 63, was arrested back in November of 2005 at Ho Chi Minh airport trying to flee the country. He has announced his intention to return to the UK. Keep your eyes out for a touchy feely guy that looks like James Carville but with huge white shoulder pads.

The Osmonds are back as well! I’m not sure what’s more terrifying extreme wholesomeness or abject pedophilia. Donny and Marie Osmond are about to begin a 26-week stretch in Las Vegas. Their run at the Flamingo Showroom starts tomorrow. This will be their first stretch in sin city in 29 years. Don’t we all miss the days when the town was run by mobsters not baby boomers.

Los Angeles businessman Allan Brown is suing Kiss front man Gene Simmons for fraud and slander. Brown further accuses Simmons of excluding him from a marketing deal with the Indy Racing League. The lawsuit claims that Brown played a key role in negotiating the agreement whereas Simmons only wrote their theme song "I Am Indy.” Those MBAs get so jealous when they’re jilted.

Scott Weiland has announced to release his 2nd solo album. The CD, titled Happy, finds a release on Weiland's vanity label Softdrive. The disc should land November 18th, a full decade after the smack-head put out 12 Bar Blues, his previous solo effort. Jose admits the thing was under-rated.

Speaking of under-rated, Alice In Chains has announced plans to enter the recording studio this October. They will be starting work on their first album of new material with vocalist William DuVall. DuVall replaces Layne Staley who was also a little smack-head who died in 2002 of an overdose. In the intervening six years Jerry Cantrell tried his hand at vocals which was an equally bad idea.

Friday, September 5, 2008

SIS Giveaway: Johnny Flynn Tix & CD

He's already built up a loyal fanbase in the UK, and now he'll take on the task of making a name for himself in the US as Johnny Flynn is heading to America! He'll be hitting the road for the first time in the states with fellow Brit and Mercury Prize nominee Laura Marling. For our fellow Bostonians (or anyone who may be in the area), Johnny will be playing the ICC Church on September 13, and we want to send you there! Send us an e-mail and we'll pick a winner at random who will receive a pair of tickets to the show and a copy of his Lost Highway debut, A Larum.

Here is Johnny and Laura covering Jeffrey Lewis and Diane Cluck's "Travel Light"

Click here
to enter to win!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Hot Chip Video: "Wrestlers"

So last week I might've mentioned that I feel like Hot Chip's
Made In The Dark didn't even come out this year. But then I find the video for "Wrestlers" this morning, and all I want to do is listen to Dark again. This black and white clip is hilarious - as funny and tongue-in-cheek as the actual song is. It also features a cameo from LCD Soundsystem main man and DFA fighter James Murphy. Also, it appears that we find out what the real meaning of DFA is - and I totally want that shirt. First person to get me one wins a prize.

Buy: Made In The Dark [here]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stranded Local Q & A: a'tris

A’tris has steadily climbed into the consciousness of fans around New England, and increasingly around the country. Hearing about the band quite a bit the last couple months, I have little doubt in their work ethic. They’ll be taking all that to Los Angeles soon to begin recording their new album with renowned producer Geza-X at Satellite Park Studios.

But for all the work they’re putting in, and all that’s about to happen to them, there will always be one a’tris story that will stand out to me: Mason Taylor, the group’s frontman, found his love of music through a Sesame Street keyboard, where he found himself pushing only the Oscar the Grouch key.

For those less familiar with a’tris, their current album, Lensing, is in stores now, and available online. Check out the group’s MySpace for more info.

Mason recently took the time to answer the Stranded Q&A. Check it out.

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

We are better able to handle aggressive drivers on tour. :) We also have a lot of experience parallel parking our club wagon into extremely small spaces. Additionally, we've grown accustomed to staving off meter maids.

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:

Radiohead, R.E.M, and Eddie Izzard.

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

The Berklee Performance. We just played there a couple of days ago and had an amazing experience. The sound was incredible and the crew was extremely kind and helpful!

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.)

I don't believe that there are necessarily categories of film, music, or literature that influence the creation of a'tris' music. When writing I often take a magpie approach to the material.

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

Unquestionably the Pour House in Back Bay. The Pour House has the best clam chowder in and around Boston. I know that many people believe otherwise; but they are wrong. I also love the atmosphere and the burgers there. Next time you're in the area drop by and grab a Hawaiian. You won't regret it.

Janelle Monae Behind the Scenes at Zune

A few weeks ago, Janelle Monae came to town for a gig at the Viper Room. First off, the Viper Room is a complete fucking dump, but for her entire set, Janelle Monae made me forget that. The room was packed, I was uncomfortable and the staff lacked manners, but as Moane tore through her recently released EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition), I saw an amazing musician that more people need to know about. If you could mix up Kelis, Kool Keith and Outkast's "Hey Ya!," this would be the spawn.

Zune Social: Janelle Monae

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Free Hugh Cornwell Album. Download Now.

In keeping with the latest trends and traditions of how to distribute music, former Stranglers frontman
Hugh Cornwell has a new album he wishes to share with you. For free.

Hoover Dam, Cornwell is currently giving the entire album away as a digital download on his website. The record was produced by Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios in London, the same place the White Stripes tracked Elephant (which also produced by Watson). For those in need of the real thing, you can also pre-order the CD which includes a DVD of the documentary Blueprint, which finds Cornwell performing the album in its entirety in the studio. This will be out September 29th, while the LP version will be made available on September 8th.

Trailer for

Buy: Hoover Dam [Here]