Friday, February 19, 2010

Worldsick : Broken Social Scene

This cover art from their '05 self-titled beats all.

Somehow I say that I never have enough time on my hands to really listen to Broken Social Scene. Today I decided this must change.

They're coming out with an new album called Forgiveness Rock Record on May 4, 2010. I always associate them with the Ryan Gosling movie Half Nelson-- they had several songs in the soundtrack, if I remember correctly. It's one of my favorite movies.

In the meantime, carve out 6:48 minutes of your day and listen to their new song "Worldsick." The guitar is wonderful.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

John Mayer at the Sommet Center

Last Wednesday I had the good fortune of getting press tickets to cover John Mayer at the Sommet Center in Nashville, TN for the Belmont Vision. I'd never seen John Mayer so I thought it would be really interesting to see him and his crazy guitar skills in person.

There was a twist though-- the concert was the same day the 'shit hit the fan,' as they say, regarding his Playboy Magazine interview.

Do I think his statements were horrendous? Yeah. At the same I reserve judgment about whether his "tears" that night were real or not. I really just want to talk about some of the things I didn't include in my write up.

For one, Michael Franti and Spearhead opened and they were terrific. I've been anxious to hear "Say Hey" live since I found it over a year ago. The energy was great. Franti bounced around the audience, letting people crowd around him. I thought that was neat because artists who play the Sommet are typically "too big" to allow that close contact with fans. Also, he brought up kids on the stage at the end and it was pretty cute. The entire set was wonderfully positive and upbeat in an non obnoxious or cheap way-- it was like a Jack Johnson album! That sort of vibe but a little less fluffy.

Mayer picked a good set list. I never officially reviewed Battle Studies, but I wasn't a fan. In fact, before getting my tickets, I'd listened to it under 3 times mostly because of my disappointment. The logical assumption was that he was going to go bluesier after Continuum, not backtrack into pop. He's done well with pop, but I thought that was over. I wanted to hear really killer guitar playing, but Battle Studies did not showcase his abilities to the degree it could have, or half as well as Continuum. Basically, more of the album should have sounded like "Crossroads," the Robert Johnson cover.

Take a song like "Assassins." He's not really talking about murder when he says "you get in, you get done and you get gone." Obviously, I mean-- wow. The metaphor is so contrived and so thin it's painful. Plus, the song just sounds like it was made in the '80s. I'd classify this as mostly a bad thing.

Regardless, Mayer quickly jumped into his older songs, hitting all the big ones and mercifully leaving out "Daughters."

"Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" was killer. It went a long way to redeem him in my eyes after my near total disillusionment.

Anyway, this is my review of Mayer's concert.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting to Know Treadmill Trackstar

I get a lot of pr type emails. It's not always easy to keep up, but every once in a while I get something that seems at least halfway inspired. This post comes from one of those emails.

Treadmill Trackstar
is a 90s band (think in the vain of Smashing Pumpkins... but better) that managed to revive itself after getting dropped from Atlantic Records and not really doing anything for the next ten years.

Granted, to this point giving the old rock and roll dream a 2nd shot doesn't sound too noteworthy, but the band did something really interesting. They asked for money from old fans in order to make a new record-- and folks actually pried open their wallets.

The internet can really be a burden sometimes-- a land of unnecessary time wasters, but there's good out there. How great is it that you can take so much control over what you do instead of waiting on the powers that be to throw you a bone.

On the Treadmill Trackstar website, there's a line written by vocalist Angelo Gianni that says "Here’s the thing. We don’t want much. We just really want this music to be heard by a few humans. This isn’t a career. We don’t want anything other than to spread our music and maybe do another project. That’s it."

Sounds reasonable.

So, I gave it a listen. Their album is called I Belong to Me. You can definitely tell that this band has their roots in the 90s. The album comes somewhere around in the hour range. The most interesting feature is definitely their use of cello which adds a dimension of maturity that feels quite appropriate, especially after learning the back story. The sound pulls you in.

There's also something about their style in general that has more depth than a lot of other alt-rock that came out in the 90s. With that, there's also a darker intriguing edge that's hard to pin down. Maybe it's Gianni's sometimes raggedy vocals, maybe it's the buzzed guitar work. Either way it sticks with the listener.

At times the album runs the risk of blending into itself because the sound is so overarching, but it definitely has some stand out tracks like "I Belong to Me" and "Read You Wrong," which will bury itself in your head on loop if you're not careful.

In any case, you should take a spin around the Treadmill Trackstar website. It's a good story and they're worth checking out when you get a second.

The Musically Inclined gives major props for guts and resourcefulness, and wishes Treadmill Trackstar the best of luck.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sleepyhead : Passion Pit

Way strapped for time at the moment, but nevertheless.

This song will make you remember that you're young. It's got great life to it. What's more, the first time I heard it, I hated it and now it's my ringtone. What can I say? Check it out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Written in Reverse : Spoon

Spoon has been growing on me the past couple years. I like that front man Britt Daniel's vocals are not clean and pretty and I like that the songs I've heard have a jumpy, nervous energy. Check out "Written in Reverse" (courtesy of Pitchfork), from their latest album, Transference.