Friday, December 29, 2006

AM – Troubled Times

AM – Troubled Times

So I was on my way into work, or what passes for it these days, and I was listening to XM 75, which happens to be HEAR Music: The Sounds of Starbucks. Say what you may about their painfully overpriced and pretentiously named coffee, but they do occasionally have good taste in music…and a nice Green Tea Latte. Anyway, the point of all this is that I heard a song I hadn’t heard before, which for me really isn’t a surprise as my musical radio time rivals that of my exercise schedule. The song was City Syndrome and the artist was AM. I liked it so much that I called my voicemail and left myself a message to look it up. I did…and here’s what I found.

AM, the guy, is from Oklahoma. He spent his teens in Louisiana, played guitar, went to Loyola and started writing songs in college. He won best Singer / Songwriter in 2005 from the Los Angeles Weekly Music Awards and has had his music placed in quite a few television shows and films. AM, the guy and his band, are now from Los Angeles and feature AM on vocals and acoustic guitar, Mark Getten on the bass, Geoff Pearlman on electric guitar and background vocals, Mike Mangan on keyboards, Bryan Head on the drums and Chris Lovejoy rounding things out on percussion. In 2005, AM released an EP of remixes of their song Mainstay and 2006 saw the release of their full length album, Troubled Times.

As it turns out, Troubled Times, the album containing my morning drive time epiphany, is a really good disc. It’s got a smooth vibe and is full of melody, with catchy hooks and unpretentious lyrics. My overall impression of the album is very clean and very cool. Full of acoustic and clean sounding electric guitars, Troubled Times showcases AM’s vocals in a band setting with dirty electric guitars and keyboards reinforcing the rhythm section, but never overpowering it.

Some of the most interesting things for me about Troubled Times were the recorded tracks themselves. I found little parts of the instrumental tracks to be like aural “Easter Eggs” similar to the hidden features you would find on a DVD. Let me give you a couple of examples. On the album’s opening track, Gone Away, there’s a tambourine doused with echo and buried in the mix that just makes me think of a sixties kind of sound. Another happens on the track So Lonely. One of the guitars plays a quick up-pick that sends me back to pop music in the 80’s. There are more “hidden” parts on the album too, but for me those little things help take good tracks and just give them that much more of a push towards being something remarkable.

As far as Troubled Times is concerned, what you’re left with at the end of the day is a ten song album full of solid songs, solid writing and a name we’ll hopefully be hearing more from in the future.

(By the way, if your searching iTunes for AM, try searching for Troubled Times, it's easier to find.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Seasons Greetings from all of us here at On the

Elizabethtown – Score by Nancy Wilson

Elizabethtown – Score by Nancy Wilson

The Elizabethtown Score is like a sketchbook into Nancy Wilson’s mind. Some of the sketches are rough and unfinished, some are full of colors, but all of them are full of ideas and the Elizabethtown Score allows the listener to actually hear a musical idea better than anything else I’ve listened to lately. Each composition contained on this album seems to be a small, delicate thing showcasing little vignettes from a life; in this case the life is that of Drew Baylor and comes to us thanks to Cameron Crowe and his film Elizabethtown.

The album itself is primarily an acoustic one, with the occasional electric guitar thrown in for color. The tone of the album is wistful and introspective. A few of the tracks, like Dirty Shirt, are fully involved band pieces; however the majority simply feature acoustic guitar and/or piano with the occasional accompanying instrument.

The music chosen for the disc is really the emotional underpinnings of the film, showcasing the music used to help convey plot and develop emotional resonance. While it may not play like a traditional album, the score delivers outstanding pieces of music that are full of melody and the space they need to bloom into outstanding individual pieces.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winger - IV

Winger - IV

When I was in High School, I loved Hairbands…I mean, come on, it was the 80’s after all. One of the bands I would, on occasion, listen to was Winger. They caught a lot of flack for any number of reasons, real or imagined, but guitarist Reb Beach and drummer Rod Morgenstein could both play and Kip Winger was…well, Kip Winger. As the band’s songwriter, bassist, vocalist and namesake, he was a great frontman; unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, he also didn’t look like he had just been hit by a truck…so there was way too much attention paid to the way he and the band looked and not to their musical abilities.

Anyway, after two albums full of hit singles, guitarist and keyboardist Paul Taylor left the band…to end up working on Steve Perry’s comeback album of all things, and Winger released Pull, which went right over my head. After that the band seemed to go away for the most part…that was 1993. In the interim, Kip Winger ended up releasing three solo albums, Reb Beach went on to play with Alice Cooper, replaced George Lynch in Dokken and then filled Steve Vai’s shoes in Whitesnake and Rod Morgenstein went back to playing with the Dixie Dregs and several other side projects.

Now, thirteen years after Pull, Winger, the band, is staging a comeback of sorts with their new album IV. With the addition of John Roth on guitar and Crenk Eroglu on keyboards; Winger, Beach and Morgenstein have released an album stylistically closer to Pull than either of Winger’s first two albums. It’s also a bit more aggressive than the band’s earlier offerings and infinitely more political.

Kip Winger seems to be talking a lot about the ongoing war in Iraq on several of IV’s eleven tracks. The album’s cover illustration even shows a soldier in desert gear encircled by three angels. As opposed to approaching the subject in an outwardly hostile and negative way, the songs on IV tend to come from the point of view of the soldier, not the onlooker or the protester. That’s not to say there aren’t question posed, but they are not quite the incitement of an administration that the songs on say…Neil Young’s Living With War are.

Sonically, IV still has that polished and produced “Winger” sound especially in the vocal department. Basically, it’s good sounds with lots of overdubs. One noticeable addition to IV is the inclusion of acoustic guitar in most of the tracks. That is in no way saying this is an acoustic album. The acoustic exists in addition to all of the electric guitars, they have not been excluded to make room. The acoustic guitar is really there as an addition to IV’s sonic landscape. Speaking of guitars, it was nice to hear Reb Beach again play in the context I was first introduced to him. His leads on IV, while outstanding, seem to better fit into the framework of the songs that hold them as opposed to the spectacle they were on previous Winger tracks.

Overall as an album, IV shows a Winger that’s dialed back from eleven a bit but is, in essence, still the same. There are things on IV that worked better for me than others, but on the whole, it’s an entertaining listen…especially for fans of the decade of big hair.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New: On the pod

New: On the pod

Andy Timmons – Resolution
Andy Timmons – That Was Then, This Is Now: The Best of Ear X-Tacy
Andy Timmons – And-Thology: The Lost Ear X-Tacy Tapes
The Cardigans – Super Extra Gravity
Chris Botti – December
Dweezil Zappa – Automatic
Dweezil Zappa – My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
Elizabethtown – The Original Score by Nancy Wilson
Halo – Original Soundtrack
Homeworld – Episode 01 Game Soundtrack
Homeworld – Episode 02 Game Soundtrack
Jack Caldwell – As Sweet As I Remember You
Joe Satriani – Satriani Live
Richard Cheese – Silent Nightclub
Soup’s On – A Benefit For The Shoreline Soup Kitchen


Augusten Burroughs – Sellevision

News: On the pod

If you managed to catch my Thanksgiving post about the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, the information below is directly related. I pulled this post from!

Soup's On! The Concert

On Friday December 1, 2006 7:30 PM at Andrews Memorial in Clinton CT, The Shoreline Acoustic Underground will present an evening of music to benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchen in their ongoing efforts to provide food and fellowship to members of the community in need.

Also on sale at the concert will be the newly released benefit CD "Soup's On!" featuring acts performing at the concert.

The concert will be sponsored by of Guilford, Neri Lutherie of Clinton and Wall Street Gallery of Madison.

All proceeds from the event and CD sales will go to The Shoreline Soup Kitchen.

Appearing will be:

Paul Neri.
Chuck E. Costa
Jack Caldwell
Sandra Lauren Lichter
Kailin Garrity -
Rod Washburn
Ian Charles
Lara Herscovitch
Other Acts Be Confirmed!
Running sound for the evening will be Jeff Stielau.

For information call 203-458-2525 or 860-669-3351.

Refreshments will be offered at intermission.

A minimum donation of $10.00 per adult and $5.00 per child is requested.

Additional donations will be welcome.

Just like the CD, this is for a great cause. Come on out and hear some music and help some people at the same time. It should be a great time.

In other news, I’m still working my way through my homemade Star Wars Audiobooks, so I don’t anticipate getting to Sellevision or any other Audiobooks anytime soon. I apologize for the lack of new Audiobook reviews lately and in the near future.

As far as upcoming music releases, there’s not too much that I’m aware of on the horizon. As it is, the Joe Satriani live disc kind of snuck up on me. I do know that the Wailin’ Jennys were set to record a show or two on this tour. Who knows, maybe a forthcoming live album from them. I did find this link to Billboard’s new release schedule:

I’m headed over there now to check out what’s on the way.

Hope your Thanksgivings were excellent and as always, keep listening.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Andy Timmons Band – Resolution

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Andy Timmons Band – Resolution

When I was in college, I took a semester of guitar lessons with Nick Bagnasco at the University of New Haven. One of the first things he did was ask me which players I liked. After some thought, I answered: Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Steve Morse and Eric Johnson. It’s been a long time since any guitar players have really impressed me to the point I’d include them on my list, the last was John Petrucci from Dream Theater. However, I’m pretty confidant in saying that I think I have a new favorite guitar player.

Not so long ago, I found a video of Andy Timmons on YouTube playing his song Farmer Sez…and I was just blown away. The song itself is a cool little “Chicken-Pickin” piece, but he and his band manage to play it way over the top by accelerating the tune to match how loud the audience gets. I just kept watching this thing, thinking that eventually someone had to screw it up. But no one ever did, it just kept going faster and faster.

I first heard of Andy Timmons in 1989 when he played on Danger Danger’s self-titled debut album, so I was kind of surprised that I had missed out on whatever had gotten him on stage for that performance. As it turns out, Andy Timmons had released several albums by that point, and his most recent, Resolution, was just released on Favored Nations (Steve Vai’s record label). I happened to see Resolution at my usual music spot on the web a few weeks ago, and decided it was about time to check out Andy Timmons a little more closely.

So, what did I think? Like I said, I think I have a new favorite guitar player.

As a player, Andy Timmons manages to take the familiar aspects of the Instrumental Guitar genre and mix it with the structure of a more commercial band setting to actually write songs. His leads are lyrical in their melody, finding both verse and chorus as opposed to one blaring solo track. On Resolution, Timmons’ tone is also outstanding, with a really crunchy and fuzzy voice that manages to still be cutting and clear at the same time.

As a whole, Resolution is an outstanding guitar album with eleven tracks that just rip from start to finish. I, personally, didn’t find one weak track; they were all unique and ranged from the bombastic to the delicate while holding on to their feeling. If guitar acrobatics are your thing, you won’t be disappointed…there is more than enough “Shred” on Resolution to make your technique loving head spin, however I didn’t feel that any of the songs were overplayed. All the lines were tasty and fit the moment they were written for. For the times on Resolution where speed is at a minimum, Timmons shows that he’s more than capable of restraint and a subtle hand.

I found Resolution by the Andy Timmons Band to be a near perfect album for the genre. It’s loaded with feeling, technique and speed; not to mention a great sounding and playing band with cool songs. What more could you want?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Soup’s On: A Benefit for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen

Soup’s On: A Benefit for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen

Ok, so I’m mere minutes away from putting a serious hurting on ye olde Thanksgiving turkey just like a lot of us are going to do. I actually wanted to say like we’re all going to do, but that wouldn’t exactly be true…and that just goes to how easy it is to forget things you don’t see (or choose not to see) every day. All of that leads me to this…

My friend Jack Caldwell sent me a brand new CD recently. It seems that Jack along with the Shoreline Acoustic Underground and a group of friends and fellow musicians got together to donate their time, talents and resources to recording a benefit album for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen. What/Who/Where is the Shoreline Soup Kitchen you ask? Well, in their own words…

“The Shoreline Soup Kitchens’ mission is to provide food and fellowship to those in need living on the shoreline. Founded in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, Connecticut, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. In 2003, 257,852 meals were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens programs. This included 243,756 meals from our grocery distribution sites; 5,268 heat-n-eat meals; and 8,828 meals served at area soup kitchens.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens offer food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Our family oriented meal sites serving hot, nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook. And, our grocery distribution sites where participants receive enough food for three meals for three days are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are frozen heat-n-eat meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens accomplishes its goals with the help of over 750 volunteers, who provided over 17,600 volunteer hours in 2003. We provide those in need with food and with fellowship, responding to all with humanity and respect.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens had its origin at a “Vision Day” at The First Baptist Church of Essex, Connecticut. To determine the need, an “experimental” soup kitchen meal was held on the Saturday before Easter, 1989, in the Fellowship Hall of the church to see if anyone would come to such an offering. Nine people came that Saturday and 14 people came the following Saturday. On that basis, it was decided to open on every Saturday thereafter.

Since that time, we have continued to grow. Eight meal sites and four grocery distribution sites throughout the Shoreline and Lower Connecticut River Valley are now provided by The Shoreline Soup Kitchens. Each meal site serves one meal each week. The grocery distribution sites provide families with groceries on a weekly basis for meal preparation at home.”

What about the disc, you ask? Well, the disc features 16 tracks by area musicians that range in styles from folk to hard rock and everything in between. Basically, Soup’s On! has at least one track that everyone can get into. In my case there were several that I found outstanding. With so many artists and styles in one place, it’s kind of hard to characterize the album as a whole, but as far as quality goes Soup’s On is excellent. All of the captured performances are great as is the individual track production which lends to the enjoyment of this varied and worthy listening experience.

So say you happen upon this disc in your retailer of choice and you wonder what would happen if you actually bought it. Well, if you read the back cover of the disc, you would find…

“By buying this CD you are making a ten dollar donation to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen…The need for this service on the shoreline might not enter your field of vision, but it is very real. This eclectic mix of songs, all done by shoreline artists, is sure to appeal to everyone’s musical tastes. 100% of all proceeds raised from the sale of this CD will go directly to The Shoreline Soup Kitchen. All of the artists have donated not only their musical talents, but the money it took to produce this CD you are holding.”

Did I mention that Soup’s On is for a good cause? I did? Well guess what, it’s still for a good cause and with each disc being a ten dollar donation, you get to feel good about yourself while getting to listen to new music to boot. To me, that’s a pretty good way to spend a Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone…now go buy a copy of the disc!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

What follows below was my submission to Finer Things Magazine for their Fall Issue. It's reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

Hi everyone, I’m Joe from On the and welcome to the first in what I hope to be a long series of music reviews for Finer Things Magazine. For our first time out we’ve got three discs for your listening pleasure. First, we’re going to start off with something a little heavy, Phobia, the new album from Breaking Benjamin. Second, we’re going to find out about “Texican Style” with the sophomore effort from Los Lonely Boys, Sacred. Finally, to cap it all off we’re going to get ready for the new fall TV season with a look back at volume one of the Scrubs soundtrack series…and away we go.

Breaking Benjamin – Phobia

Breaking Benjamin first showed up on my radar when they contributed the song Blow Me Away to the soundtrack for the amazingly successful Xbox game Halo 2 in 2004. Now, two years later they have returned with their third studio album, Phobia. Made up of thirteen songs plus an acoustic version of the albums first vocal track, The Diary of Jane, Phobia is full of heavy guitars playing intricate rhythms, a tight rhythm section and vocals that, as a rule, remain melodic over the alternative metal underpinnings that comprise the sound of Breaking Benjamin. While heavy, the album as a whole hangs in the mid-tempo range with the occasional burst of speed as dictated by the material. If you’re a fan of Breaking Benjamin or the alternative metal genre as a whole, Phobia is definitely worthy of a listen.

Los Lonely Boys – Sacred

If you think you’re not familiar with the work of the Garza brothers, you probably just don’t know who plays that song Heaven you’ve been humming to yourself for the past two years. Sacred, the second album by the San Angelo, Texas trio Los Lonely Boys picks right up where their 2004 self-titled album left off. Stylistically, it’s a seamless blend of Latin inspired rhythms, blues, pop and just a dash of the Spanish language thrown in for flavor. Musically the album is excellent. Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza (guitar, bass and drums respectively) can, in a word, play. When artists try to blend styles, rarely does it work at all much less work so well. The difference with Los Lonely Boys is that they don’t have to try. They so obviously live the music they make, that they can draw from a seeming endless well of influences to express themselves in what can only be called, as one of the songs on Sacred is so aptly titled…Texican Style.

Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One

The musical interludes during the sitcom Scrubs were always striking to me for their choice of music, so…I was thinking that since Scrubs is going to be starting its new season soon and they just released the second volume in their soundtrack series it might be fun to go back to where it started for the show musically. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One is led off by the show’s theme, Superman by Lazlo Bane. It’s definitely interesting to hear Superman, the song, in its full and unedited state as opposed to Superman, the Scrubs theme song, in the bits and pieces you hear over and over again each week. The orchestration of Superman is eccentric, containing all the usual instruments you would expect, but topped off by a Banjo and what sounds to be either a Theremin or Tannerin playing those lovely woo-woo-woo-woo-woo sounds you hear in the chorus of the song, ala Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. You could, if you were so inclined, actually use Superman and its instrumental eccentricities as a good read of the remainder of the soundtrack and, by extension, the show itself. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One album plays home to fourteen other entertaining and very listenable songs from the Eels and The Shins to the Butthole Surfers and Colin Hay, best known for fronting the 80’s band Men At Work. The mix of artists is eclectic, but the material included is all similar enough in feel so as to not be overpowering…just fun.

So there you have it, your first three reviews. I hope you found them helpful and that they gave you a couple of new listening ideas. If you liked them and can’t wait for the next issue of Finer Things Magazine, check out all of my other reviews at

Until next time, have fun and keep listening.


Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part II

What follows below was my submission to Finer Things Magazine for their Winter Issue. It's reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part II

Hi everyone, it’s Joe from On the again. Welcome back to Finer Things Magazine music reviews. This month we’re hitting Pop, Folk and Rock for you with three new albums; Ta-Dah! by the Scissor Sisters, Despite Our Differences by the Indigo Girls and The Open Door by Evanescence. Here we go…

Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah!

Ta-Dah! by the Scissor Sisters is like stepping into H.G. Well’s time machine and dialing yourself back to the VIP lounge of Studio 54 in the mid 70’s to go wild for a little over three quarters of an hour. If you’re still having a problem picturing the vibe of this album; think Roller Skates, Afros, The Bee Gees, ELO, Elton John in costume and even a bit of Queen. Ta-Dah! takes the term retro to a whole new level, and in doing so ends up feeling like an entirely authentic album with a funky rhythm section, falsetto vocals and a definite sense of humor.

Indigo Girls – Despite Our Differences

In ten albums and nineteen years, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have gone from acoustic to electric and back again, covering everything from social issues to the internal dialogue of love. Despite Our Differences marks the Indigo Girls tenth foray into the studio since 1987’s Strange Fire and continues down the well worn path of their career to date. It doesn’t break any new musical ground for the duo, but it does harvest the fruits of their talents in a way that makes the thirteen tracks on Despite Our Differences seem more fresh than rehashed. As always, the lyrics are elegantly crafted and the music follows in similar fashion. While Despite Our Differences wouldn’t be my first choice as an introduction to the Indigo Girls, fans will recognize it for what it is…the continuation of a conversation with an old friend.

Evanescence – The Open Door

Love them or hate them, it’s undeniable that when Evanescence hit the music world with their first album, Fallen, they hit it big. The album’s first single, Bring me to Life was everywhere in a big way. Fallen kept producing a seemingly endless stream of singles, all of which found their way into heavy rotation over the airwaves. Three years later, everyone’s favorite Goth Girl, Amy Lee, is back with Evanescence’s second major label release, The Open Door…it also marks the band’s first album without, Evanescence co-founder and guitarist, Ben Moody. Amy Lee fills The Open Door with her trademark ethereal, operatic vocals on top of the counterpoint of distortion and heavy rhythms…and if this were a debut album, it would be enough. However as a sophomore effort, The Open Door, while staying true to the feel laid down by Fallen, does not move beyond it. That is not to say, however, that The Open Door isn’t a solid album. The opening track, Sweet Sacrifice, and the first single, Call Me When You’re Sober, are both bright spots on the album with the remaining tracks filling the remainder The Open Door nicely. That being said though, I think fans of Evanescence will draw more from The Open Door than the casual listener.

So, there you have three new discs for you to check out this month that should broaden your aural horizons, especially if you’re a fan of the Indigo Girls and Evanescence. If you liked the reviews and can’t wait for the next issue of Finer Things Magazine to decide what else to listen to, check out all of my other reviews at

Until next time, have fun and keep listening.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guest Reviewer: Erik Remec & Queensryche

When I started On the almost a year ago, I mentioned that I envisioned having “Guest Reviewers” write for the site as well as myself. It’s taken some time, but what follows below is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of Guest Reviews.

The account of Queensryche, live at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington and all the accompanying photographs were graciously given to us by my good friend, fellow musician and Heavy Metal connoisseur, Erik Remec.

So without any further delays…

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Friday - October 13, 2006
Saturday - October 14, 2006
Sunday - October 15, 2006

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Welcome to my first concert review for so many THANKS! to Joe for the opportunity to post my little concert review on his site.

All I can say is that as I’m writing this, it’s been over 2 weeks since I saw Queensryche play three nights in Seattle and I’m still wired. The band has been on a nationwide tour performing their two concept albums (1988’s Operation:Mindcrime I and it’s sequel, 2006’s Operation:Mindcrime II) in their entireties back-to-back. When I heard they would be playing three nights in their hometown along with getting an opportunity to meet the band at a Fan Club Brunch, I jumped at the chance and made the 2,500 mile trek from Connecticut. Hey you only live once, right?!

Like a heavy metal Broadway production, the band along with singer Pamela Moore (reprising her role as Sister Mary), and a small group of actors brought the tragic tale of Betrayal, Revenge, and Redemption to life. The story centers around Nikki, a politically disillusioned heroin addict, who is lured into a conspiracy led by the mysterious Dr.X. Nikki is groomed by Dr. X into becoming an assassin for his cause, eliminating prominent political and religious figures. Nikki’s new life collides with Sister Mary, teenage runaway turned prostitute, who is saved from the streets by an abusive priest linked to the conspiracy. As they both get deeper into the plot, Nikki and Mary find that they are the only ones who can truly trust one other. Sensing the threat, Dr. X gives Nikki the order to kill Mary and the priest. After trying in vain to convince Mary to leave the life with him, Nikki finds her dead. Nikki is arrested for the murders and ends up being imprisoned (straight jacket and all) at the conclusion of Mindcrime I.

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With no opening act, the band started at a relatively early time. After the classic dialogue from the hospital that opens the first Mindcrime album “Sweet dreams…you bastard” and “I remember now …” the band launched into the song “Anarchy-X” from Mindcrime I, complete with marching drum line band Blue Thunder. For the next hour with set and costume changes, we were immersed in the story of Nikki’s indoctrination and descent into the conspiracy. For the entire Mindcrime performance, lead singer Geoff Tate (as Nikki) and Pamela Moore (Mary) did not break out of character.

There was a brief intermission before the band continued with Operation: Mindcrime II. The story for Mindcrime II picks up 18 years after Mindcrime I ends as Nikki is released from prison and he sets out to take his revenge on Dr. X. Mindcrime II centers on what toll revenge has on someone & the emptiness it brings once that revenge is satiated.

I can’t tell you how blown away I was with the band’s performance, especially by Geoff’s and Pamela’s vocals and acting. The band just CRUSHED! Did I mention how amazing Pamela looks dressed in black leather?! Although her vocals appear only on one song (“Suite Sister Mary”) from the first Mindcrime album, her role has been greatly expanded in the live performance, adding background vocals to a number of the songs including some lead vocals on “Spreading the Disease”. For Mindcrime II, Pamela is back as Sister Mary, both as Nikki’s conscience and as ghostly apparition in the live show.

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Bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield added the crushing rhythm section and guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone guitar work was fantastic. As the newest Queensryche member, guitarist Stone’s lead playing has now gelled quite nicely with the band’s sound and there was some cool twin lead guitar harmonies from the two guitarists.

I was able to get some incredible seats for all three nights including FRONT ROW for Sunday night’s show. This was the first time in my nearly 20 years of going to shows that I was able to be in the front row for any concert and I’m still speechless. You really can’t describe the feeling, especially for a show like this.

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For the encores, the band played some non-Mindcrime QR classics including “Walk in the Shadows”, “Take Hold of the Flame”, “Jet City Woman”, and “Empire”.

After Friday night’s show, I ended up at a bar across from the Moore with fellow Ryche fans in attendance. After quite a few beers and some great metal tunes from the DJ, I staggered back to my hotel truly satisfied.

There was a buzz before Saturday night’s show as we learned that Saturday and Sunday night’s shows were going to be filmed for an upcoming DVD and that the legendary Ronnie James Dio might be performing live. Dio (as Dr.X) appears on the song “The Chase” from Mindcrime II in a duet with Geoff Tate (as Nikki) as the two characters finally confront one another. Probably due to scheduling conflicts, Dio couldn’t make it to Seattle to perform live so they showed a video sequence of Nikki and Dr. X as the band played the song. Dio was able to perform live with the band in L.A. so we’ll see if they edit in his performance for the DVD.

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The Fan Club Brunch (with proceeds going to charity) took place in the Olympic Ballroom at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Seattle. There were Queensryche fans both at the brunch and at the shows from all over (including Japan, New Mexico, California, and Canada) and I got to meet lots of great people. All the fans at the brunch were treated to something really special. Each member of the band came by everyone’s table and spent time talking, signing autographs, and taking pictures with the fans. MANY THANKS to Anita & Susan at and the rest of the band for treating their fans to such an incredible experience and acting so graciously. I had a nice chat with each member of the band. I got to talk to Michael Wilton about some new guitar equipment that he’s using these days (being a guitar player myself) and had a quick chat about vocal instruction with Pamela.

For the final performance at The Moore, as I was basking under the stage lights in the front row with video cameras filming, I just had to think … what more could you possibly ask for?!

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See you on the road …


© 2006 Erik Remec

Friday, November 03, 2006

The On the Fall Music Special:

The On the Fall Music Special:

Well, it’s Fall again and I wanted to share some of my favorite albums of the season with you. Mind you most of these have nothing to do with fall, they’re more winter/holiday albums, but this is usually when I feel the need to listen to them. I don’t know why exactly, but I guess to me, they all seem to share a similar underlying feel of nostalgia mixed with a little bit of longing and…well, that will be enough of the psycho-babble. In no particular order they are:

David Lanz – Christmas Eve
Liz Story – The Gift
Jim Brickman – By Heart
George Winston – Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi
Jackson Browne – The Next Voice You Hear

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “Four piano albums and Jackson’s that work?” I’ve already said, I didn’t know. Music isn’t necessarily the most logical thing in the room you know, at least not always. Now, I haven’t dug out the Brickman disc yet this fall, but I am listening to Liz Story as I write this.

Piano For The Holidays:

David Lanz – Christmas Eve

Liz Story – The Gift

The album that has been influencing my Autumns the longest is Christmas Eve by David Lanz. I owe this all to my father actually. I think he bought this album the year it came out, back in 1994 and I promptly began to steal it earlier and earlier every year after. Christmas Eve, along with Jim Brickman’s By Heart, became staples to all of my studying for Midterms and Finals when I was in college. As an album, Christmas Eve is David Lanz interpreting the Holiday experience through music. He plays both traditional and original pieces for the season, arranged for solo piano. The solo piano manages to strip away all the things that clutter up the Holidays and gets to the heart of the season.

The Gift by Liz Story is similar to Christmas Eve in the sense that it is a (mostly) solo piano telling of the Holiday experience. However, even though there is occasional overlap in content, all similarities stop there. The differences in musical interpretation are limitless and The Gift could not be more different than Christmas Eve. Story is another gifted pianist with several solo albums and collaborations with her husband, and bassist, Joel Di Bartolo to her credit. The Gift gives a slightly more traditional treatment to the customary songs of the season she covers, but by presenting them in the solo piano setting they have a vastly different feel to them.

Both Christmas Eve and The Gift exemplify the quiet and reflective essence of the Holiday season for me.

More Piano, Less Holiday:

Jim Brickman – By Heart

George Winston – Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi

Jim Brickman’s By Heart was given to me as a gift by one of my oldest friends, Dan Milewski. Dan’s an engineer by trade and has an innate gift for music. He noticed that I was so taken with By Heart and sent it to me a short time after I first heard it at his home. By Heart held a certain sense of peace in its solo piano work that made it very influential as an album and also in my own "noodleing" on the piano. While the abilities needed to pull off this album were no doubt staggering to achieve, Brickman makes By Heart seem simple and pure. By Heart was also the beginning of his collaboration with vocalists, as is evident by the albums closing and title track, By Heart…but one song does not a vocal album make, or an instrumental album rune.

George Winston is a perennial favorite of “New Age” music fans. Anyone familiar with him may wonder how music from Peanuts gets into a Fall Music Special and not his albums Autumn or December. I guess I don’t really have an answer to that other than they did not have the effect on me that Linus & Lucy did. I guess that in addition to my love of the George Winston album, the material by Vince Guaraldi and the context given most of it by Charles Schulz has to be taken into account. Winston presents very true, yet very modern interpretations of Guaraldi’s compositions in a solo piano format. All of the tracks on the album are outstanding pieces and as a whole Linus & Lucy is just such an entertaining listen. My only wish for the album would be for it to include a rendition of Guaraldi’s Christmas Time Is Here. Who knows, maybe there will be a reissue?

Not A Piano Album…At Least Not Entirely:

Jackson Browne – The Next Voice You Hear

I know what you’re thinking, "Jackson Browne’s good anytime of the year, why is this a fall album." I grant you your point. I don’t really have a reason for this being a fall album, it’s just when I seem to listen to it the most. The entire album is fantastic, spanning his entire career up to 1997 when The Next Voice You Hear was released. My own personal take on the disc is that the money is in the first half, and if I needed to narrow it down even further, I’d feel confident in saying the first four songs. Before an iPod, where else could you get Doctor My Eyes, These Days, Fountain of Sorrow and Late for the Sky back to back. Even then you still have songs like The Pretender, Running on Empty, Somebody’s Baby and Tender Is the Night yet to come. I guess there’s just something about listening to those first four songs with a bit of a chill in the air that fits with me somehow.

Honorable Mention:

K’s Choice – Cocoon Crash

K’s Choice – Almost Happy

K’s Choice is/was from Belgium and featured Sarah Bettens on vocals and her brother, Gert, on guitar. I discovered them on a road trip to New Hampshire several years ago, when, needing something to listen to, I picked up a copy of Cocoon Crash on my way out of town. Cocoon Crash is my favorite of their albums and I could list almost all of the tracks on it as being a great first introductions to the band. Almost Happy comes in as a close second. Think upbeat, but not sugary, alternative sounding with a female singer and you’re in the general vicinity. I would highly recommend picking up Cocoon Crash for a listen, or a road trip for that matter.

So there you have it, my top five Fall albums.

Lots of “New Age-y” solo piano stuff, i know...but maybe it’s that whole "everything is dying" Fall kind of thing. The trees are all loosing their leaves, so stripping music down to one instrument seems to match the surroundings.

Who knows?

What I do know, is that all of these albums are ones that I listen to over and over again...every Fall.

Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac

Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac

I was recently watching a Trick My Truck marathon on CMT (What? At least it wasn’t the OC!) after which aired a rebroadcast of a live show they had taped. It featured Steve Earl playing with Rosanne Cash. I watched, somewhat out of character, and was thoroughly impressed, especially by Cash. I was never a fan of either her or her father in the past, having been into Country at seemingly the wrong times, but the name Cash, especially in recent years, has always been popular and respected. Regardless, I found myself drawn to the songs Rosanne Cash sang that day and decided to look for the album.

Having been out for most of 2006, Black Cadillac may not technically be a new album in the strictest sense of the term, but it is one that’s worth listening to. This is a very intimate, emotional and emotionally dark album that revolves around the death of a little girl’s father and her broken heart.

Rosanne Cash worked with producers Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne, and Kim Richie) and John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell and Cash’s own husband) on Black Cadillac to deliver an album with production that is transparent, leaving it with a clean and timeless sound. Both Bottrell and Leventhal were multi-instrumentalists on the album in addition to their production duties.

Musically, Black Cadillac works to support the sentiment of the lyrics flawlessly by both complementing and working as counterpoint. The arrangements are mostly sparse and breathy, leaving lots of room for Cash’s vocals and lyrics to float around in and gain even more gravity.

Rosanne Cash made the decision to include short clips of her father speaking to her when she was a child at the beginning of Black Cadillac’s opening and closing tracks. Johnny Cash opens the album saying “Come On” and closes it with “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The two phrases bracketing the life of his daughter, Rosanne, contained within. It’s a haunting reminder of the feelings that inspired this album; which is, in many ways, a fitting tribute to a life lost and a life that carries on.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Running with Scissors: The Movie

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I love Augusten Burroughs. I’ve read, or listened, to three of his five books so far including Running with Scissors and in all of them, he has managed to write uniquely telling and touching memoirs of a lemonade life built on a foundation of lemons. October 27, 2006 saw the national release of Running with Scissors, based on the book by Augusten Burroughs, and staring Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin and both Joseph Cross and Jack Kaeding as a young and younger version Augusten Burroughs.

The film chronicles the childhood years of Augusten Burroughs set against the backdrop of his parent’s troubled marriage and eventual divorce, his father’s abandonment, his mother’s severe mental instability, and his living with and eventual adoption by his mother’s psychiatrist. The most compelling and horrifying fact of Running with Scissors it that it is based on the real life events that made up Augusten Burroughs’ young life.

The transition from the page to the screen is rarely smooth and simple. As expected, translating a book that can be read in just short of eight hours to a film that needs to be viewed in two requires some omission. However Ryan Murphy, who both directed and wrote the screenplay, manages to hit all of the marks necessary to convey the absolute absurdness of the life experienced by a young Augusten Burroughs without making any of the characters seem anything less than human.

Murphy does take advantage of the emotional content of the material to such an extent that he almost over uses it on occasion by showing several characters trying to deal with their own, individual demons in a succession of shots that show all of their anguish at the same time. However he manages to balance that by including a certain amount of silence throughout the film and letting the events just happen without any undue influence.

The cast of Running with Scissors is brilliant. Annette Bening turns in an outstanding performance as the amazingly out of touch and occasionally psychotic anti-mother, Deirdre Burroughs. Brian Cox is also excellent in his roll as Dr. Finch and manages to capture the character much as I had envisioned when listening to Augusten Burroughs read Running with Scissors as an audiobook. In addition Jill Clayburgh, Evan Rachel Wood, Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow all give captivating performances as ghosts from Burroughs’ past.

Both Jack Kaeding and Joseph Cross are convincing as young incarnations of Augusten Burroughs…although the younger Kaeding kept reminding me of how the author David Sedaris must have looked as a child. Cross gives Running with Scissors a performance that allows the audience to place a human face on the insanity and upheaval that was the life of Augusten Burroughs.

Readers of Augusten Burroughs, even the casual, should enjoy the film for the same reasons as the book; the lunacy, the humanity, the frailty and the heart. Those unfamiliar with Burroughs will find an often humorous while heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to grow up and survive the insanity of the world around him.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

New: On the pod

New: On the pod

Arvo Part – Da Pacem
Arvo Part – De Produndis
Crooked Still – Shaken By A Low Sound
Jet – Shine On
Jimmy Buffett – Take The Weather With You
KT Tunstall – KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza
Michael Hedges – Aerial Boundaries
Michael Hedges – The Road To Return
Peter Ostroushko – Postcards
Sarah McLachlan – Winter Song
Submarines – Declare A New State

News: On the pod

This will be a quick one this time, because there’s not really too much going on. I sent in three more reviews for the December issue of Finer Things Magazine. When it comes out you’ll be able to read about Ta-Dah! by the Scissor Sisters, Despite Our Differences by the Indigo Girls and The Open Door by Evanescence.

Speaking of Finer Things Magazine, I happen to know that they have some advertising space currently available, so if you’re a business owner or just have something to advertise in general, drop them a line at I know they would love to hear from you.

I’m tossing around ideas for reviews of some of the new albums above. So far I’ve listened to six of them and they’ve all been pretty good, so it’s hard to know where to start. I’m also working on a piece about some of my favorite music for the fall. My plan is to try and work on that this weekend.

Have fun and as always, keep listening.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jonatha Brooke – Live In New York

Jonatha Brooke – Live In New York

Sometimes it’s hard to write about people you truly admire. For me, Jonatha Brooke is one such person. I have been a fan of her music since the release of her first solo album, Plumb, in 1995 and having seen her perform live this past year, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Live In New York. Listening to Live In New York is very, very close to the personal and intimate experience of seeing Jonatha Brooke perform live in person.

Live In New York showcases Jonatha playing both alone and with an amazing band at the Anspacher, part of Public Theatre in New York. The album is also available in a two disc set which contains a DVD of the performance, and in watching the show as well as listening to it, the setting seems to lend itself to capturing a performance that is at times both delicate and roaring.

The song selection for Live In New York spans Jonatha Brooke’s entire musical career; from Love Is More Thicker Than Forget all the way through No Net Below. The performances contained on Live In New York are all outstanding, full of energy, emotion and life. Alone, Jonatha turns in a haunting rendition of Deny as well as a delicate and wistful version of No Net Below as the albums closing piece. Her performances with the band; made up of Darren Embry on Bass and vocals, Rich Mercurio on Drums, Geoffrey Moore on Guitar and Ann Marie Milazzo on just about everything you can think of as well as background vocals, are full and powerful as evident on the tracks Linger and Steady Pull.

One of the highlights of the show for me is finally getting to hear a live version of the song Inconsolable from Jonatha’s album Plumb. Beyond being a great song, the end of the studio recording of Inconsolable is a piece of contained madness that reaches just over the edge of falling apart and then manages to pull itself back. While the version on Live In New York is not an exact copy of this, the inspired solo given by Geoffrey Moore is, in itself, also a piece of contained madness that manages to be almost out of control and then recovers, making it an experience in and of itself to hear.

Both the audio and video versions of Live In New York are outstanding examples of what Jonatha Brooke is capable of as a performer and a writer. If you haven’t been able to see her live, you should…trust me it’s worth it. Until you can though, pick up a copy of Live in New York to see what your missing.

Dream Theater – Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour

Dream Theater – Score:
20th Anniversary World Tour
Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Score is Dream Theater’s best live album to date…and they’ve had a lot of them. It’s the fifth “official” live album released in the US by the band following Live at the Marquee, Once in a Livetime, Live Scenes From New York and Live at Budokan (sixth if you include the second half of the A Change of Seasons disc as a live album).

The performances turned in by Dream Theater at Radio City Music Hall that have been captured on Score are exemplary examples of progressive metal at its best. Perfectly synchronized guitar and keyboard runs by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess and elaborately syncopated rhythms laid down by Mike Portnoy and John Myung, all nearly flawless, comprise Score’s nearly 156 minute entirety. The four instrumentalists of Dream Theater are all such virtuosos of their chosen instruments, that what took years of studio work to accomplish can be played nearly perfect, note for note, for over two and a half hours every night.

The biggest surprise on Score is how well Dream Theater vocalist, James LaBrie holds up for the entire performance. LaBrie is a gifted singer with an extraordinary vocal range and on Score he demonstrates that his talents are not a product of a studio environment. Vocally, he is in better form on Score than any of Dream Theater’s previous live recordings.

Score also contains a stellar performance by, as the title references, the Octavarium Orchestra. This is most notable on the 41 minute opus that is Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. Beginning with a “Hollywood” sounding instrumental piece, the Orchestra is eventually joined by the band and rockets through Six Degrees in its entirety. Many bands play full sets in the time Dream Theater devotes to just one track from this fourteen piece epic.

Score, when taken as a whole, proves an excellent way to immortalize, not only one night in New York City, but an extremely creative and prolific career of a band that has been at the forefront of a genre of music since they began playing together. To the listener, Score allows those of us who weren’t able to be there that evening to get an idea of what it was like for those who were and to get a glimpse of what it felt like for the band.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Wailin’ Jennys: Live @ The Space: Hamden, CT 10/03/06

The Wailin’ Jennys: Live @ The Space: Hamden, CT 10/03/06

What follows is the Wailin' Jennys Live in two parts; one about them and one about me...enjoy.

Part I: The Jennys Live

Yesterday, the Wailin’ Jennys played an hour and a half set, live, in my living room…ok, not my living room exactly, but close enough. I had the great fortune of seeing the Wailin’ Jennys perform at The Space in Hamden, Connecticut on October 3rd...and sitting in one of the massive couches in the front row, I swear it was like having them play in my living room.

Annabelle Chvostek, Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody glided through their set, captivating everyone in the gracious crowd with their wit as much as their stunning voices, or in Moody’s own words, One Voice. The trio played acoustic and showcased songs from their latest release, Firecracker, as well as a few songs from their previous album, 40 Days, and a couple of unrecorded band favorites.

The sheer musicianship contained within these three women is staggering. Not only did each one of them play multiple instruments, some at the same time, they flawlessly sang intricate harmonies with no more trouble than taking a long sip from a glass of ice water. If you’ve never seen a woman strap a snare drum head around her waist, play harmonica and sing all at the same time, then you really don’t know what you’re missing…much less that it can be done at all; because personally, I can barely walk and form a full sentence at the same time.

This was hands down one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had, so if you’re even a little bit interested in the Jennys, please do yourself a favor and go see them while they’re out on tour. If you’re in Connecticut and missed them this time, the Jennys will be back in Connecticut on March 3rd playing the Westport Arts Center. According to their website,, they’ll be in the area (Northeast US) for a week or so, then the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest...and then off to play a few dates in the UK.

They’ll be around, go see them.

Check the tour section of either their website or their MySpace page for the exact dates.

Part II: Five things you learn about yourself when you meet famous people.

1 – You become a raving fan-boy.

2 – You really can say, “You were amazing” too many times.

3 – You should bring someone to kick you when you start to babble like an idiot.

4 – If you write, you should tell people who you write for, not make them guess and then hand them a business card (See # 1)

5 – MySpace actually works in terms of people knowing who you are…sort of.

Steve & Jon Rogers of Mighty Purple: Live @ The Space – Hamden, CT 10/03/06

Steve & Jon Rogers of Mighty Purple: Live @ The Space – Hamden, CT 10/03/06

Steve & Jon Rogers of Mighty Purple played a short opening set for the Wailin’ Jennys at the Space on October 2nd…and were really good. I shouldn’t say that like I’m surprised, I just had no idea what to expect. Mighty Purple has been a fixture on the Connecticut music scene for several years and I, somehow, managed to never see them play. I met Steve at the Mieka Pauley show I wrote about a few months back. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, so I was interested to hear what they were going to sound like.

The first thing I realized, other than I liked the songs, was that Jon Rogers is one hell of a guitarist. He played electric to Steve’s acoustic and laid down some of the coolest accents and atmospheric lines I’ve heard played live. I had heard things like that on albums before, but not in a live setting, much less by a duo. In the context of the songs, which were a good solid mix of acoustic pop and folk, the interplay between acoustic rhythm and electric lead worked outstandingly well.

The Rogers brothers’ set was full of energy that fit the songs; sometimes restrained and introspective, sometimes more pronounced and fluid but always there to keep their songs moving and interesting.

After seeing the outstanding vocal and instrumental performances by both Steve and Jon, their longevity on the scene actually makes a lot of sense. On their website, Mighty Purple writes that the music industry never really knew where to put them. I think they found their place at the front of the stage.

Black Label Society – Shot to Hell

Black Label Society – Shot to Hell

I’ve been fan of Zakk Wylde since the first time I heard him play the opening notes of Miracle Man on Ozzy Ozborne’s No Rest For The Wicked album back in 1989. He quickly established himself as an outstanding guitarist in one of, if not the most visible slots in Rock & Roll by stepping into the shoes of Tony Iommi, Randy Rhodes and Jake E. Lee. In addition to playing with Ozzy, Wylde has recorded with everyone from Black Sabbath to Damageplan, Derek Sherinian to Dweezil Zappa, released albums as Zakk Wylde, Pride & Glory and has been the driving force behind Black Label Society and their nine albums. Did I mention that while out touring with Ozzfest, he also manages to play with both Black Label Society and Ozzy in the same night? Could Zakk Wylde be the busiest man in show business? Quite possibly.

Black Label Society has returned with the release of their album, Shot to Hell, to sonically dominate and aurally dismember all comers. Black Label Society is one of the heaviest bands in American music today, and it shows here. They’re not necessarily the fastest or the angriest and Zakk Wylde actually sings instead of screaming and yet there is something about Black Label Society that manages to cut right to the heart of what “heavy” is. I don’t know if it’s the screaming guitars with the signature Wylde squeals, the tight, tight rhythm section or the overall attitude of the band, but a safe bet would be some combination of all three.

With all that being said, there are aspects of Shot to Hell that point back to Zakk Wylde’s mostly acoustic solo album, Book of Shadows. There are moments where Shot to Hell turns the Marshall’s down from 11 and stops cracking skulls long enough to just kind of poke you with a sharp stick. Black Label Society has the amazing ability to stay heavy no matter what’s on the table; rocker or ballad, fast or slow. Mind you, ballad is not the most appropriate word to use when discussing Shot to Hell.

I think the bottom line is, if you’re looking for something dark and heavy (did I mention heavy?)…Black Label Society. If you truly appreciate the finer points of what Rock & Roll or Hard Rock or Heavy Metal is really all about, again…Black Label Society. If you want a band that not only talks the proverbial talk, but also walks the proverbial walk…you guessed it…Black Label Society. Pick up a copy of Shot to Hell, you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Soul Asylum - The Silver Lining

Soul Asylum - The Silver Lining

I was only a casual fan of Soul Asylum during the peak of their success with the Grave Dancer's Union album in the early nineties. I really began to pay attention when I heard their follow-up, Let Your Dim Light Shine. It had its hit songs like Misery, but then a song like String of Pearls with its circular narrative…I dug it. When I was done listening, I wanted to hear more of what Dave Pirner and the band could do so I waited the next three years for the album that would eventually become Candy From a Stranger. I think I picked it up on the day it was released, got in the car, popped it in…and never listened to it again. I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t get it. The album as a whole escaped me and as I began to forget about Candy From a Stranger, Soul Asylum seemed to disappear as well.

After eight years, Soul Asylum has released their latest album, The Silver Lining. It is, in my opinion, the album that I was waiting for after 1995’s Let Your Dim Light Shine. The dirty guitars, hooky melody lines and the organized disarray of the band’s earlier albums are back; along with a certain maturity that is both natural, giving their eight year absence, and that was forced upon them by the striking death of founding member and Soul Asylum bassist, Karl Mueller to cancer in 2005.

While The Silver Lining doesn’t offer anything quite so iconic as either Black Gold or Run Away Train, the twelve songs it does offer are consistent and solid and, in turn bring into being a consistent and solid album. The tracks themselves range from full on rockers to more bluesy and R&B influenced tracks; all with that trademark Pirner delivery, both lyrically and vocally. The recorded instrumental performances are outstanding also, and help shape the feel of the songs themselves.

As I am not terribly familiar with Soul Asylum’s early albums, I don’t want to speak for those fans, but if you enjoyed Grave Dancer's Union or Let Your Dim Light Shine...or both, you should find yourself right at home on The Silver Lining, just like I did.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New: On the pod

New: On the pod

Black Label Society – Shot to Hell
Blue Murder – Blue Murder Demos (All Original)
Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith (Various Live Tracks)
Crooked Still – Shaken By a Low Sound
Diana Krall – From This Moment On
Dream Theater – Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour
Evanescence – The Open Door
Indigo Girls – Despite our Differences
Jake Shimabukuro – Gently Weeps
Jake Shimabukuro – Walking Down Rainhill
Jeffrey Foucault – Miles from the Lightning
Jeffrey Foucault – Stripping Cane
Jonatha Brooke – Live in New York
Journey – Sleep Train Amphitheater (Sacramento, CA – 08/27/06)
Michael Penn – March
Old Crow Medicine Show – Big Iron World
Old Crow Medicine Show – Old Crow Medicine Show
Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac
Scissors Sisters – Ta-Dah!
Vinnie Vincent – Guitars from Hell
Within Temptation – Enter
Within Temptation – Mother Earth
Within Temptation – The Dance
Within Temptation – The Silent Force


Max Brooks – The Zombie Survival Guide

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
The Zombie Survival Guide:

Complete Protection from the Living Dead

Max Brooks – World War Z

World War Z:An Oral History of the Zombie War
World War Z:

An Oral History of the Zombie War

News: On the pod

Well, we’ve got more new stuff on the pod as you can see. I’m kind of excited about a few of the titles. New Dream Theater is always a treat, even if it is yet another live album. From what I’ve heard of it so far, Black Label Society is pretty kick ass. The Within Temptation albums were given to me by my good friend, Irfan. His take is that they’re similar to Evanescence and Lacuna Coil…but better. Speaking of Evanescence, I’ve got their second album and so far so good…took them long enough though. I also managed to find new discs from my old favorites the Indigo Girls and Jonatha Brooke and my new favorite Ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro…so I’ve definitely got my listening cut out for me.

In the Audiobooks section, you might have noticed The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I’m about half way done and can already say, with some authority, that this is the most in-depth, exacting look at what you can and need to do in order to protect yourself and your family from the inevitable and rapidly approaching zombie Armageddon. What more can you really say?

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

I submitted the first in what I hope will be a long line of music reviews to Finer Things Magazine last week. I reviewed Scrubs Soundtrack Volume One, the new Los Lonely Boys and the new Breaking Benjamin albums. You should be able to find the October issue of Finer Things Magazine at any of the below listed establishments around New England soon:

Diva’s Nightclub-492 Pleasant Street-Northampton
Northampton’s Pride & Joy-20 Crafts Avenue-Northampton

Triangles Café-66 Sugar Hollow Road-Danbury
Women’s Center of Greater Danbury-2 West Street-Danbury
Subrosa Magick-15 Foxon Boulevard-East Haven
Best Video-1842 Whitney Avenue-Hamden
Alchemy Juice Bar Café-203 New Britain Avenue-Hartford
Chez Est-458 Wethersfield Avenue-Hartford
Cinestudio-300 Summit Street-Hartford
The Comet Lounge-267 Farmington Avenue-Hartford
Parfume Du Jour-231 Asylum Street-Hartford
Enchantments-464 East Center Street-Manchester
The Magick Mirror-321 Post Road-Milford
AIDS Project New Haven-1302 Chapel Street-New Haven
Artspace-50 Orange Street-New Haven
Atticus Bookstore/Café-1082 Chapel Street-New Haven
BAR-234 Crown Street-New Haven
Book Trader Café-1140 Chapel Street-New Haven
Café Nine-250 State Street-New Haven
Fair Haven Furniture-72 Blatchley Avenue-New Haven
Gotham-130 Crown Street-New Haven
New Haven Gay & Lesbian Community Center-50 Fitch Street-New Haven
168 York Street Café-168 York Street-New Haven
Lovecraft Tattoo-1538 Whalley Avenue-New Haven
Partners Café-365 Crown Street-New Haven
Rimage’-1210 Chapel Street-New Haven
Sogno-83-B Audubon Street-New Haven
Style Forum-1674 Quinnipiac Avenue-New Haven
Walker-Loden-258 Church Street-New Haven
Yale Repertory Theater-1120 Chapel Street-New Haven
Garde Arts Center-325 State Street-New London
Golden Street Gallery-94 Golden Street-New London
Greene's Books & Beans-140 Bank Street-New London
Triangle Community Center-16 River Street-St. John River View Bldg.-Norwalk
Georgina’s-290 Boston Post Road-Orange
Club Mor-29 Atlantic Street-Stamford
Fletcher's Café-52 East Main Street-Waterbury
Elbow Room-986 Farmington Avenue-West Hartford
Curious Goods-415 Campbell Avenue-West Haven
The Cedar Brook Café-919 Post Road-Westport

Well that’s all for now, so as usual, thanks and keep listening…