Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three Albums You Might Have Missed....

As the weather starts to warm up (well, not in Knoxville this past week) and the cover comes off of the grill, here are three semi-new releases from DestroyerThe Avett Brothers, and the Trashcan Sinatras that embody the mellow mood of a nice spring day.  Enjoy with a wheat beer and wedge of orange for full effect!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why does love have to be so sad? Layla turns 40...

Meat Puppets to release new album

Country/punk pioneers, Meat Puppets, have readied their next album entitled Lollipop for April 12th. This marks their 13th album since the release of the self-titled debut in 1982.

Wholly original, and almost without peer, Meat Puppets have been creating beautiful, quirky, engaging and evolving music for thirty years.

Curt Kirkwood is a great guitarist and songwriter, and there's something wonderful/weird about the vocal harmonies between him and brother/bassist Cris that just feels good.

The first single, "Damn Thing," looks to continue into the territory they've staked out since Cris rejoined the band in 2007.

Stream "Damn Thing" below, or submit an email address for a free download!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Album Review-Radiohead "King of Limbs"

Radiohead's, latest album, The King of Limbs, takes an eerie and darker course from their last album, In Rainbows.  As is common with most of their discography, Radiohead's albums require multiple listens before you can truly absorb and appreciate their true brilliance.  Many fans and critics instantly loved 1997's OK Computer, despite that record being a departure of sound that people had grown accustomed to with The Bends.  Then again, The Bends was a departure of sound from Radiohead's debut, Pablo Honey.  There were songs on OK Computer that I enjoyed immediately and others that took a while to sink in.  Much like the experimentation of Kid A and Amnesiac, there are many subtle, new, and different sounds on The King of Limbs that will certainly demand a listener to totally immerse themselves in the short, 37 minute and moody journey that this album is.

Upon my first listen of The King of Limbs, I was rushed and impatient, wanting it to sound a certain way.  It just wasn't meeting my anticipated expectations. This is not an album you put on for background noise while cooking dinner.  This is an album that you must pay attention to and take time out of your day to actually digest.

After repeated listening to The King of Limbs several times in its entirety, I have come to the conclusion that Radiohead is once again challenging the way we (the listener) relate to music.  Much of the hype that surrounded their last album was the delivery method, as fans were able to pay what they thought was fair to download In Rainbows from the band's website.  This album ends so soon that it makes me wonder if this is only a prelude to something bigger.  Whatever the case, it's a daunting task to review an album that changes on repeated listens and evokes different emotions each time , which proves how and why Radiohead remain one of the most relevant bands on the planet.

Showbiz Kids Rating: 7.8 out of possible 10

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"It was 40 years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play"

March 27, 1970

This entry is the beginning of a monthly post that will highlight albums released on today's date 40 years ago. Why 40 years ago which would be 1970? Well...because it's the year I was born of course!

I don't think there could be a more perfect first entry.  It is appropriate on many levels...its the first real post Beatle album released and the title of the entry is taken from a Beatles lyric, albeit with a slight change to the number of years ago. Plus the album is titled Sentimental Journey.  
It may not be the most acclaimed or recognized release by Ringo Starr or any Beatle, but you may enjoy some history behind the album anyway.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Quaker's CD Release Party-April 8th, 2011

The Showbiz Kids received an advance copy of Earth Quaker's forthcoming album, High Times In Early Life and the band sings "Don't Call It Rock & Roll," but we assure you that rock & roll is alive and well in Knoxville, TN.

High Times In Early Life is a diverse collection of rock-best played loud.  We are eager to hear these songs played live and plan to attend the cd release party at Preservation Pub in Knoxville, TN on April 8th.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Classic Albums Reissued: The Replacements "Let It Be"

The Replacements
Let It Be

The Replacements' 1984 garage masterpiece Let It Be may not have garnered critical acclaim at the time of it's release, but it's impact on the landscape of American rock is undeniable.

In the span of only 33 minutes, The 'Mats rip though an alcohol-soaked set of songs that capture youthful uncertainty, include an obscure KISS cover, a ballad or two for good measure, and Springsteen inspired punk that feature topics that range from androgyny to getting your tonsils removed.

R.E.M. guitarist, Peter Buck, lends a brilliant solo to the lead off song and single "I Will Dare" which sets the tone for the rest of the album. "Favorite Thing" is a rough around the edges scorcher and "Gary's Got A Boner" rival the Motor-City Madman's "Cat Scratch Fever" for a suggestive rocker.

It's notable that Let It Be was ranked number 239 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and also ranked 15th for the same magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80s."

Rhino released the stellar reissue of Let It Be along with the entire Replacements' catalog in 2008.  Each disc is remastered with new CD liner notes and the Let It Be reissue includes six additional bonus tracks.

Sometimes you eat, sometimes you get eaten.

You know, there's a whole lot of crazy going on in the world right now.

It's almost hard to remember when times were good. When there wasn't a recent or looming economic/humanitarian/geological/nuclear/political/environmental crisis every time you turn on the news or read a paper. Like 1986, for example.

Well, in a cursory internet search, I see that 1986 wasn't without it's own crises and tragedies. But I was 25 years younger, and perhaps wasn't as tuned in to everything going on around me as I am now. But, if nothing else, 1986 was the year that Rhymin' Paul Simon turned out the Graceland album.

The Music Intelligensia at the time - you know, hipsters who listen to bootleg recordings of Dead Can Dance rehearsing backstage with the Gyuto Monks - derided the album as wholesale theft of the African culture, and Simon for breaking a cultural boycott on the apartheid regime in power at the time. But this album held a lot of new sounds for me at that time. Looking back, I can clearly see Graceland as a gateway album, paving the way and priming my ears for Weather Report, Romantic Warrior, Henry Threadgill, and John Zorn. 

Many years later, I was fortunate to hear Extra Golden. 

Extra Golden is, as Wikipedia puts it so succinctly, "a musical ensemble founded by two Americans and one Kenyan." To be honest, I don't know a lot about this group. What I do know is that they create music which, for me, is a direct descendant of the Graceland album. And because of that, my ears were ready and, I think, starved for this sound again.

I'll let you do the research if you like. For me, the music speaks volumes. 

Extra Golden - Ok-Oyot System

Please buy music, and support touring artists.

New Adventures in Vinyl

Over the past week and half, I had the luxury of stopping by three of my favorite record stores in Knoxville- Lost and Found, Disc Exchange, and the newly re-opened Raven Records.

Being in full R.E.M. mode, I found a couple of their early I.R.S. classics-Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, and Dead Letter Office, Talk Talk-It's My Life,  Joe Jackson-Look Sharp, P-Furs-Mirros Moves, INXS-Listen Like Thieves, Yes-90125, and The Cars-Candy-O.

Last but certainly not least,  I picked up The Strokes' latest release, Angles, which could easily be confused for a vintage 80s release with the rad album artwork.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Album Review: The Strokes Angles (2011)

The Strokes finally return with Angles, their first new record in over five years.  A lot has transpired for the New York based band since they ushered in the new wave of alternative garage rock with their classic debut, 2001's Is This It.  The band took some time off from being a "band" after the tour behind First Impressions of Earth and four of the five members of The Strokes released their own solo album during the sabbatical.  The band re-grouped in 2009, taking a new approach to their writing and recording process that involved each member contributing more to the creative process.  Angles took almost two years to complete, which included throwing away the first set of sessions with producer Joe Chiccarelli and the band opting to re-make and produce the entire album on their own.  The anticipation has been high for the new album and The Strokes deliver a near 33 minute, 10 song masterpiece. 

Angles is the best and most ambitious album the band has released since their debut with major steps forward in the expansion of the band's trademark sound.  The opener, "Machu Piccu" begins complete with a percussive and rhythmic sounding "Talking Heads-esque" dual guitar before lead singer Julian Cassablancas rips into the chorus, signaling the band's return and new found swagger.  "Under Cover of Darkness" is the most infectious single this side of "Last Night" or "Someday" without being a retread of past glories.  "You're So Right" is a fun and interesting departure for the band with a memorable and robotic phrasing throughout.

Other highlights on the album include "Two Kinds of Happiness," Gratisfaction," and "Life is Simple in the Moonlight."  As a whole, Angles is nearly flawless with the only regret being that it ends too soon, leaving the listener wanting's to hoping that The Strokes don't make us wait another five years until their next album is released!      

Showbiz Kids Rating: 9.0 out of 10.0 "Highly recommended"

Album Review: Colin Hay Gathering Mercury (2011)

After listening to Colin Hay’s tenth solo album Gathering Mercury, it’s hard to decide which is a prettier instrument…his voice or his guitar?  Colin’s voice is warm and smoky but yet worn in just right to give the notes traction.  Touches of his subtle vibrato at the end of his phrasing are not only reminiscent of past days but a characteristic of his vocal DNA that is uniquely his.
The album begins with “Send Somebody” which has a melody that will pull you close on the first acoustic notes from his guitar.  The chorus then expands to allow Colin’s voice to soar to higher notes that you will want to hear him sing over and over again.  A good songwriter can tell a story that travels from their music through the stereo to the listener and guides one to reflect on their own memories and visions.  On “Family Man” and “Dear Father” this songwriter makes that connection for us.  The title track “Gathering Mercury” and “Half a Million Angels” are other melodies that will stick with you all day until you’re back home and able to plug in your headphones for a closer listen.
Our local record store in Knoxville, Disc Exchange, was fortunate enough to make available the Limited Edition version of the album Gathering Mercury as well as producing Colin Hay in person to perform in the store.  This Limited Edition is the one I suggest you get your hands on because there are stripped down bonus versions that brings the house lights down and slowly illuminates a solo spotlight on his voice and guitar work.  Colin Hay is a songwriter and we are the audience.  Be thankful Colin has answered my original question.  Both his voice and guitar share equal billing, so there is no need for us to decide which the prettier instrument is.
Showbiz Kids Ranking: 9.0 out of possible 10

Friday, March 18, 2011

Album Review: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now (2011)

The fifteenth album from the Athens, GA veterans is one of their strongest and most cohesive efforts in several years.

The opening track "Discoverer" could have found a home on their 1988 release "Green" as the chords bring their classic "Turn You Inside-Out" to mind.  The band rips into "All The Best" before letting off the gas a little to drop into the mid-tempo driver, "UBerlin," which is arguably their most memorable single in the post Bill Berry era.

Things slow down a bit with the ballads "Oh My Heart" and "Every Day Is Yours To Win" but the electronic drum machines have been replaced with drummer Bill Riefling (Ministry, Nine Inch Nails) so there is more of an organic feel to all of the songs on the album.

Other highlights include the infectious "Mine Smell Like Honey" and the vigorous "That Someone Is You" which is proof that in the case of R.E.M., you can still rock with relevance after thirty years.

"Collapse Into Now" harkens back at the some of the best highlights of the band's past while moving forward, as the band has nothing left to prove at this point in their career.

Showbiz Kids Ranking: 8.0 out of possible 10


Pleased To Meet Me (Us)

If you are reading this, we are glad you found us and we welcome you to our Blog site! This little project was created with the idea of discussing and promoting music. Plain and simple, we are two guys in our late thirties, okay, one of us is actually forty, that are fans of artists and bands from all genres and decades. We are kindred spirits/friends that live a few doors down the street from each other in the same neighborhood and can often be found combing the local music shops in Knoxville, Tennessee in pursuit of vinyl, remastered recordings and new indie releases. While we share much of the same interests in music, we often have different perspectives and take different musical journeys. There have been many occasions that we have hung out and just listened to music, reminisced and shared tunes with each other, so why not take our passion to the next level and publish it online?

We have some great ideas that we are excited to share with you here on the aptly titled "The Showbiz Kids." (And yes, the Steely Dan reference is intentional.)

So far, we have determined that this Blog will be host to reviews of new albums and reissues, interviews with local musicians and artists, videos, photos, and other odds and sods planned for you, our readers. As this brainchild grows and evolves, please share your feedback, comments, and ideas with us; we would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for checking us out!

-The Showbiz Kids