The Hooters: Both Sides Live
Unless you’re a diehard fan, or unless you’re talking about landmark albums like Frampton Comes Alive, live albums are usually disappointing across the board. As for the Hooters’ latest, Both Sides Live, their songs are so catchy that it’s near impossible to disappoint. There are two different experiences on this double set—one electric and one acoustic—that just manages to show why this band has such a cult following well beyond their Philadelphia home. The first set, recorded at the Electric Factory in Philly, has hits like “All you Zombies,” “And We Danced” and “Johnny B,” as well as tracks from 2007’s Time Stand Still (“I’m Alive,” the title track, and their cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” to name a few). But it’s the acoustic set, performed live for “friends and associates,” that really showcases the songwriting prowess of Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman. Most of the songs are same on both sides, but that makes it easy to compare each version of them. If you were into this band in the ‘80’s, Both Sides Liveis a must-have. (Hooters Music 2009)
The Hooters MySpace page
Herclues And Love Affair: Sidetracked
Hercules and Love Affair are the dominant force in the drive to bring disco back to the dance floors in America. First with their insanely great self-titled debut and now with Sidetracked, a DJ mix arranged by Hercules’ creative force Andy Butler. Not surprisingly, Sidetracked is predominately a disco record, either with classic disco-era tracks like Todd Terry and Class Action’s
“Weekend” or with retro-sounding tracks such as the new Hercules & Love Affair track “I Can’t Wait.” Acid house and straight-up old-school house also make cameos on Sidetracked early on with tracks by Dubwise and WestBam, but by the halfway point they’re gone, making the way for vintage disco extravaganzas such as Studio X, Ray Martinez and the Rainbow Team. This isn’t Nu-Disco, this is straight up ’70s and early ’80s old-school disco, and that’s not a sound that has aged well for some, no matter how much they like modern dance music. If you were around back then or just want to hear what your parents did coke to back in the day, then you’ll probably eat this up. But for those of you more interested in dance-punk, DnB, or other more 21st century dancefloor sounds, you probably won’t find much of note on Sidetracked. (Renaissance Recordings 2009)
Hercules And Love Affair MySpace Page
INF: The Go Round
Breaks records are usually intended for DJs, when they can be mixed and sampled with other tracks for DJ sets or remixes. Once in a while, though, one can break through to more mainstream audiences. DJ Food did it with their Jazz Brakes series, and now it looks like INF might with The Go Round, an infectious collection of ’60s-influenced loops, grooves and beats. The Go Round sounds like some magical out-of-place artifact from 1960s London, combining groovy instrumentals with modern beats to create a soundtrack to the best crime movie Michael Caine never made. One can imagine Mini Coopers tearing through the streets to the pulse-pounding beats of the title track, a romantic interlude to the gentle guitar strums and eastern drum beats of “The Boogie Man” and the final fight scene to the awesomely named “Power Move, Baby.” The Go Round is brief, clocking it at just over half an hour, so it’s not a lot of bang for your buck. But it’s still a fun listen that would serve as great background music for a party, dinner, or car chase. (Beats Broke 2009)
INF’s MySpace Page
Pete Yorn talks “Back & Fourth,” singing with Scarlett
The hype surrounding his music has died down considerably since he made his Sony debut in 2001 with musicforthemorningafter, but even as the choruses of “next big thing” have subsided, Pete Yorn has set about building a career out of one solidly crafted, well-reviewed album after another — and he’s looking to add two more to the catalog this year: the recently released solo set Back & Fourth, and an upcoming duets set with Scarlett Johansson, Break Up. Having just completed a string of dates opening for Coldplay, Yorn is ready to hit the road in support of Fourth, and was nice enough to set aside some time on a day off for a chat with Bullz-Eye’s Neil Carver. Their talk touched on the new albums (of course), his newfound love for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” what inspired him to work with Scarlett, and how his songwriting process has changed over the years:
“In the old days, I wouldn’t really write much on tour. I’d come home and everything would come to a grinding halt, and then I would start to get really restless and freaked out. That’s when I’d start writing the songs.”
To read more of what Pete Yorn had to say in his Bullz-Eye interview, follow this link!
Fuse presents Kanye West: Live from the Chicago Theatre
His blimp-sized ego gets at least as much attention as his music, but underneath all his huffing and puffing, Kanye West ain’t such a bad guy; matter of fact, he’s used some of that superstar cash (and cachet) to spearhead the unsurprisingly named Kanye West Foundation, which works to help reduce the dropout rate. (And if that isn’t enough to raise your opinion of the guy, how about knowing that the West Foundation’s mission was undertaken to help fulfill a dream of the star’s dearly departed mom? Yeah, we thought so.)
To help support the foundation — and entertain your ass in the bargain — Kanye hosted the second annual “Stay in School” benefit concert at the Chicago Theatre a few weeks ago, and the event has been turned into an hourlong special by the Fuse Network that will be airing tomorrow night (that’s August 25) at 8 PM EST/7 CST. Want more details? Here you go:
The show marked the first major event for the Kanye West Foundation since the 2007 passing of its founder Dr. Donda West, and is the first concert Kanye has performed in the city of Chicago in over a year. The Kanye West Foundation (KWF) was established to help combat the severe dropout problem plaguing America’s communities. Approximately 3,000 students from the Chicago area who demonstrated marked academic improvements attended a special pre-show sound check before the evening concert where Kanye performed and talked about the importance of education.
Check your local listings to find Fuse on your TV dial!
Bad Boy Bill: The Album
Bad Boy Bill has been a DJ for what seems like forever, starting in the late ’80s and churning out amazing mix after mix ever since. His Bangin’ the Box series and House Connection albums (with Richard ‘Humpty’ Vission) are legendary collections of Hi-NRG house that never let up, sometimes mixing over 40 tracks in the course of an hour. It’s amazing that it has taken him this long to create an artist album comprised entirely of original material. It’s even more amazing that it’s not all together that good. Instead of focusing on the frantic house that made Bill a standard in dance clubs worldwide, Bill’s decided to embrace standard dance-pop for The Album. Some of it is great, like the throbbing “Headlock” or the single “Fast Life,” but the rest of the songs are too derivative, annoying or just plain boring. Even worse is his pointless cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” which takes the song’s classic hook and buries it with annoying fader effects, giving you a maddening taste of it before cutting it away. The best tracks on The Album will probably show up in a Bad Boy Bill mix eventually, and will probably sound even better, so there’ s no point in picking up this very unfortunate misfire. (Nettwerk Records 2009)
Bad Boy Bill MySpace Page
Polly Scattergood: Polly Scattergood
Polly Scattergood is the latest graduate of the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology to end up with a record deal. Past graduates from prestigious London school include Amy Winehouse, Imogen Heap, Adele and every member of the rock group Noisettes. It seems that school in “Fame” has nothing on this place. Her self-titled debut shows the promise of the school’s past alumni, even if it is a bit uneven at times. Most of that potential shows itself in “I Hate The Way,” a seven-minute confessional of an opening number that shares the details of a failed relationship with brutal honesty, stark imagery and sonic beauty. It’s an amazing song and a brilliant introduction to the album, so brilliant that nothing that follows has any chance of living up to it. Pitfalls that follow include “Please Don’t Touch,” a strange pop song about obsessive men, and “Bunny Club,” which features the befuddling refrain of “I’ve got a dog and a gun and I’m living in London.” Many of the lesser tracks on Scattergood’s self-titled debut try to confine her quirkiness to an electronic-pop sound, she works much better when she embraces her wild side, with bold and daring tracks like “Nitrogen Pink” and “Untitled 27” where she lets her voice and her powerful lyrics loose without restraint. It may not be perfect but the potential here is off the charts. Fans of Kate Bush and Emmy the Great should definitely take notice now. (Mute, 2009)
Polly Scattergood’s MySpace Page
Jace Everett: Red Revelations
Jace Everett is billed as a singer/songwriter, and he is one, yes. But since singer/songwriter has become a genre that usually implies a single person with a guitar or piano, it’s probably more accurate to just call Everett a rocker in the Americana vein. Everett is best known for being the dude behind the song “Bad Things,” which is the opening theme for HBO’s “True Blood” (and this album’s closing track), so the guy already had somewhat of a launching pad for his career. Which brings us to Everett’s new (and third) album, Red Revelations, a serviceable collection of tube amplifier- and Fender guitar-charged rock songs. At various times, Everett channels Elvis and Johnny Cash and Mellencamp and Springsteen, but most closely resembles Chris Isaak, and while the songs are rocking and entertaining enough, it’s not likely that you’re going to be humming most of them a few minutes later. And Everett also drops into that Elvis “Thank you, thank you very much” lower register a bit too often than he needs to. Regardless, there are a few standouts, like the upbeat “More to Life (Cmon, Cmon),” which has gang harmonies that give the track a Huey Lewis & the News feel, and “Little Black Dress,” which features some pretty slick guitar work. (Weston Boys 2009)
Jace Everett MySpace Page
Posted in: Americana, CD QuickTakes, CD Reviews, Country, Rock
Tags: Americana, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Isaak, Elvis Presley, HBO, Huey Lewis, Jace Everett, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, Red Revelations, singer/songwriter, True Blood
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me: 15 Great Bands We Used to Hate
They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression…unless you’re a musician, of course. In what other world can you hate something with the white-hot fire of a thousand suns, only to discover one day that a switch involuntarily flipped in your head that makes you think, “You know what, I really like these guys!”? Truth be told, it happens to us nearly every day, and most of the time it’s with a band or artist that we as music reviewers are supposed to love unconditionally but, for whatever reason, we just don’t. Or at least didn’t up until recently.
Call this the companion piece to our list earlier this year of bands that we just don’t get – which was almost universally misinterpreted as a staff-wide condemnation, rather than each writer speaking for himself – only with a much more positive vibe. The Bullz-Eye writers bare their souls and confess to previous biases that have since turned to heartfelt crushes (or at the very least, tolerance of a band’s existence). The list of acquired tastes is a who’s who of Hall of Famers, critical darlings, and…Cobra Starship? Who let that guy in here?
My first exposure to the Flaming Lips was seeing the video for “She Don’t Use Jelly” on MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead” show, which immediately pegged the Lips as a novelty in my mind (and not one that I even enjoyed all that much). How could one not see novelty in a song with a character who spreads Vaseline on her toast? This was kid stuff, and yes, I could be a silly kid, but where I drew my lines of tolerance for silliness were admittedly very arbitrary (example: I unironically enjoyed Mister Ed). As such, I completely shut out the Lips.
Fast forward five years later: I was just about finished with college, working at a record store, yet still very skeptical when a respected friend and coworker slipped me an advance copy of The Soft Bulletin in 1999 (10 years ago already?). His taste was generally pretty spot on, so I gave it a shot. From the first song, I heard a completely different band, one that was drawing inspiration from one of my all-time favorites – Brian Wilson. I came around almost instantaneously upon hearing “Race for the Prize,” and even grew to dig “She Don’t Use Jelly” too. How stupid could I have been all that time? Blame it on my youth. – Michael Fortes
Guided by Voices
The buzz was loud and clear on Bee Thousand, the lo-fi masterpiece by Dayton alt-rockers Guided by Voices. This was the record that everyone positively had to own, so I borrowed it from a friend of mine…and totally didn’t get it. The songs aren’t finished! Are these demos? When lead singer Robert Pollard – whose last name should be a synonym for ‘prolific’ – saw a song to its completion, as he did on “Tractor Rape Chain,” I was definitely into it, but too many of the songs felt like piss takes to me, so I politely stayed off the bandwagon. Five years later, he made “Teenage FBI” with Ric Ocasek, which I loved, but still didn’t buy any of their records. Then they dropped Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, a compilation of Pollard’s more, ahem, finished songs, and I finally bit, and the disc scarcely left my CD player for months afterward. And then, of course, the band broke up just when I was beginning to appreciate them. Luckily, they recorded 16 albums in 17 years before calling it quits. The only question now is: which one do I start with? – David Medsker
To read the rest of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me: 15 Great Bands We Used to Hate,” click here.
Posted in: Alternative, Artists, Lists, Pop, Power Pop, Psychedelic, Rock
Tags: Aimee Mann, bands we used to hate, Belle & Sebastian, Bruce Springsteen, Bullz-Eye, Cobra Starship, Coheed & Cambria, Flaming Lips, Guided by Voices, I'm gonna make you love me, Kings of Leon, Leonard Cohen, MC5, Sleater-Kinney, The Raspberries, Tom Petty, Velvet Underground, Ween
I Swear I’m Gonna Make You Love Me: 15 Great Bands We Used to Hate
Chances are, you don’t love all the same music you were passionate about five, 10, or 20 years ago. Some artists seem like a perfect fit for us at first, but we slowly outgrow their work — and with others, it’s just the opposite, and the stuff we couldn’t stand to listen to winds up becoming some of our favorite music. It’s a common experience among music lovers, and one shared by the Bullz-Eye music staff in a new feature called “I Swear I’m Gonna Make You Love Me: 15 Great Bands We Used to Hate.”
Taste is subjective, of course, and we have all sorts of odd reasons for being rubbed the wrong way by music, whether it’s the vocals (in his essay about coming around on Coheed & Cambria, James B. Eldred describes lead singer Claudio Sanchez as sounding like “the bastard lovechild of Geddy Lee and Neil Young”), subject matter (Michael Fortes dismissed the Flaming Lips as “kid stuff” after hearing “She Don’t Use Jelly”), or even an allergic reaction to hype (Mike Farley was tired of Kings of Leon before he even heard a note). But it’s funny how our tastes change over time — we burn out on some stuff, experience new things, and develop an appreciation for what once drove us up a wall. Hence Jason Thompson’s slow-burning love for the Velvet Underground (“Life without them now would be pointless”), Taylor Long’s hard-earned Sleater-Kinney fanhood (“I like them so much now that I’m embarrassed it took me so long to “get” them”), and Jamey Codding finally overcoming his “irrational aversion” to Tom Petty.
And those are just a few of the artists mentioned in the article. See how the Bullz-Eye staff’s tales of musical evolution match up with your own by following this link!