Infinite Shuffle

April 26, 2015

214 – Radical Dads

Filed under: Brooklyn, R — assman41 @ 3:21 pm

It wasn’t until about a month ago that I first heard of Radical Dads. And that was only somewhat in passing when they were mentioned in a Paste article about creative album cover artwork.

Shortly after, a friend mentioned listening to them, so I figured I’d give them a try. And, thankfully, I persevered through the first couple of irredeemable tracks and found something more inviting on the other end.

Universal Coolers, which came out Feb. 25, is the third album by the Brooklyn-based trio. It’s also the best offering thus far as they’ve taken the best qualities of their first two discs — 2011’s Mega Rama and 2013’s Rapid Reality — and synthesized it into something more palatable.

That’s not to say the earlier offerings were hard to listen to. They were just inconsistent with more filler than standouts. “Walking Wires”, off Mega Rama, was probably the best example of their overall sound on that album. Other notable tracks are “New Age Dinosaur” and “No New Faces”, the latter of which is reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky — but with vocals.

The group took a half-step back on the follow-up, cramming it with too much filler and unnecessary distortion. The few worthwhile tunes include the title track and “Stampede”.

Which brings us to the latest disc. The only possible reason I could see wanting to listen to the first two tracks is to make the rest of the album sound that much better. Radical Dads put the best stuff in the heart of the order in tracks 3-5 — there are 10 tracks, so we’re obviously likening this to a slow-pitch softball team not an MLB squad.

“Slammer” and “In the Water” are the first signs that this could be a band worth paying attention to in the future. Then along comes “Don’t Go”, and you start thinking, “Man, this might be an album I come back to sporadically for years to come.” It’s probably not accurate at all, but it feels like this is the band’s first song with a normal verse-chorus-verse structure. It won’t be topping any best-of-the-year lists, but it may be worthy of an honorable mention.

Next up is the title track, which is another strong entry before things start to wane a bit. Thankfully, the album closes on a high note with “Cassette Brain”, a previously released single.


June 24, 2014

208 – Run River North

Filed under: Los Angeles, M, R — assman41 @ 2:12 am

In the fall of 2011, Of Monsters and Men quietly released their debut album, My Head Is an Animal in Iceland, and it slowly made its way around the globe. Arguably one of the best albums of 2012, it went platinum and eventually peaked at No. 1 in Australia, No. 3 in the UK and No. 6 in the United States.

Since then, fans have been clamoring for more, and, according to a recent interview, a new album is on the way, but a release date has yet to be announced.

In the meantime, there have been plenty of bands vying to usurp their indie-folk/pop thrones, but few have managed to ascend to the top. But there’s one that is just starting to gain steam — barely a blip on the radar now but destined to become the next new “it” band on the indie scene. And, coincidentally, before a name change, it even had “Monsters” in its moniker.

The group, Run River North, shares many musical similarities with their Scandinavian brethren, right down to their quiet-loud-quiet song structure, beautiful blend of male and female vocals and the communal vibe they give off.

Of course, it’s the differences that make them stand out. There is nary a horn to be heard on the group’s self-titled debut that came out in February. Oh, and then there’s the fact that Run River North is made up of six Korean-American 20-somethings from the San Fernando Valley.

That is the original video for “Fight To Keep”, which, as you can see, was recorded exclusively in the band members’ Hondas. The video went viral and caught the eye of Honda executives, who decided to surprise the group — then known as Monsters Calling Home — by lining up a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in September 2012.

(If you can’t get enough of that song, check out the professionally shot video starring Diedrich Bader — from The Drew Carey Show and Office Space fame — that is rather dark and may have been influenced by the movie, Surviving the Game.)

The group formed in 2011 when singer/songwriter was hiking with friend and future bandmate Joe Chun and they talked about their shared experiences of growing up in an immigrant family. That discussion stirred a lot of emotions in Hwang and eventually spewed forth in the form of the song “Monsters Calling Home”. (Yes, the band’s original name. It gets kinda confusing.) He then recruited friends from church to fill out the roster.

The band members discussed their upbringing and how it affected their music during recent interviews on Acoustic Cafe and Here & Now. (One interesting tidbit you’ll glean is that two members are classically trained violinists and the drummer came up in the punk and heavy metal scene.)

After gaining some much-needed exposure, Run River North signed with a label and set forth recording an album. Influenced by such bands as Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses and The Shins, the group was fortunate enough to work with Phil Ek, who produced albums for all of those well-established acts.

Ek’s magic touch can be heard throughout the album, including on the third track, “Lying Beast”, a slow-burning tune in which Hwang does his best Conor Oberst impersonation.

There’s a dearth of filler here as just about every track has the ability to get stuck in your head. Some of the other more notable songs include “Run River Run”, “Somewhere”, “Excuses” and “Foxbeard”.

Run River North are crisscrossing the country this summer and fall, including a stop at Schubas Tavern in Chicago on July 21. Now is your chance to check them out before all of the hipsters catch on.

October 15, 2012

133 – Rah Rah

Filed under: R, Regina Saskatchewan — assman41 @ 12:39 am

At some point a couple of years ago, I stumbled upon the website Noisetrade. It’s main purpose for existing is to help under-the-radar bands get their music out to the masses.

The site provides free downloads of albums or samplers. (Of course, it gives listeners the opportunity to donate a few bucks when they download the music — but how many people out there actually cave to the pressure?)

After my first download, I started getting several emails a week trumpeting various bands who had music available on the site. Generally, I’ll skim through the emails, see the descriptions of the bands and decide it’s not worth the time or effort to download the music.

But, on occasion, I’ll see a description that piques my interest. And that’s how I came to recently discover the band Rah Rah.

In this particular email, at the end of a brief, boastful band bio, there was this:

“For fans of: Wilco, Built To Spill, Best Coast, Arcade Fire, Neil Young and Crazy Horse”


While the comparisons were enticing, they were also false. There’s the occasional hint of Built To Spill and maybe some Arcade Fire and Wilco. But Rah Rah’s real contemporaries would be bands such as fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene and New Pornographers and British acts Los Campesinos! and Noah and the Whale.

The above link provides a download that includes a mix of songs from all three of Rah Rah’s three albums, including The Poet’s Dead, which officially hits record stores next week and is already out in digital form.

On the three albums, which include 2008’s Going Steady and 2010’s Breaking Hearts, listeners will discover a band full of solid musicianship, energetic male-female harmonies, enduring lyrics and catchy indie-pop/rock tunes.

The above song comes from the debut album and is a great example of everything Rah Rah bring to the table. The album is mostly upbeat and makes the band’s name seem very apt. There are some slower/darker points on the album, but even those moments are delivered in a way that still seems upbeat.

Other strong tracks include “Betrayal Pt. 1”, “Duet For Emmylou and the Grievous Angel”, “Our Hearts Don’t Match Up” and “Cuba/Peru”, which will likely be stuck in your head after the first listen.

Breaking Hearts is similarly upbeat, but the band displays a tighter sound throughout. It also takes things to a slightly heavier level. All of the songs are solid, but the only real standout is the opener, “Arrows”.

The Poet’s Dead is clearly Rah Rah‘s strongest effort to date. They’re still energetic, but gone are the constant six-piece harmonies. More often, the vocals are focused on one or two singers. But since everyone in the band can sing, it results in a more eclectic mix of songs.

The standout is “Prairie Girl”, which sounds like something that belongs on one of Feist’s albums.

Other songs of note include “Dead Men”, “Run” and the title track.

Rah Rah will be in New York this week for the CMJ Festival, then head west for a quick tour through the States before heading to the Great White North for several shows.

They’ll be an opening act when they stop in Chicago at the Double Door next week. Alas, I won’t be able to attend the show. My guess is, by the time they return to the Windy City, they’ll be the top band on the marquee.

February 15, 2012

Random thoughts: The end of music decades

Filed under: R — assman41 @ 2:09 pm

For several years, the main quote on my Facebook page was: “I hope to live to be 100, so I can experience a whole new round of ’80s music.”

I’ve since replaced it with a plug for this blog. But the quote reappeared in my mind the other day, and it got me thinking about the future of music and how many different waves there would be in the rest of my lifetime.

Then I had an epiphany — musical decades are on their way to becoming extinct, if they haven’t already reached that point.

To clarify, when I use the term “musical decades,” I’m referring to the way that popular music of each decade from the latter half of the last century had its own distinct sound. The ’50s saw the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the ’60s were filled with psychedelic rock and folk, the ’70s had disco and a more progressive rock sound, the ’80s saw early punk morph into New Wave and the rise to prominence of the synthesizer, and the ’90s was something of a hodgepodge of grunge, hip-hop and forgettable pop music.

Obviously, all of that is a pretty big generalization. There was plenty of other stuff going on underground and outside of the mainstream. But when the average music listener thinks back to those decades, there’s a common sound that permeated and has held strong over time.

That really can’t be said for the music of this young century. If you ask 20 random people on the street to describe the sound of the ’00s, you’re likely to get 20 distinctly different answers. And, undoubtedly, it will be that way for the foreseeable future.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but the two that stand out the most are the fragmentation of genres and greater access to more and different music.

For the longest time, popular music was limited in its breadth. Whatever you could find at the record store or heard on the radio was pretty much all you had to choose from. But as technology has opened up the world in all sorts of ways, it’s also enabled people to discover new music from places they never would’ve been able to — even as recently as 15 years ago.

And as more and more people are getting their music to the masses, more styles are being created — several new genres seem to pop up on the internet on a daily basis.

Trying to keep up with it all can be dizzying at times. But it can also be really exciting — you never know, your new favorite band could be just a click away.

The cat’s out of the bag. No use trying to wrangle it back in. Just enjoy the music.

Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section.

November 28, 2011

91 – Real Estate

Filed under: Brooklyn, R — assman41 @ 7:52 pm

There is nothing I like more than finding new music to add to my Trance Mix playlist. It can get a little stale falling asleep to the same 40-50 songs all the time.

That’s why I was so pleased to hear Real Estate‘s new album, Days. It’s tailor-made for relaxation — just like fellow Trance Mixers Beach Fossils, Lower Dens and Wild Nothing.

The band really doesn’t stand out from those aforementioned groups. But no bother; the tunes are still great.

That little ditty was the big hit from Real Estate‘s 2009 self-titled debut. The five-piece band from Brooklyn — by way of Ridgewood, N.J. — made some waves on the indie scene with that release but then seemed to fade away just as quickly.

Since then, they have been doing their thing, touring with acts such as Girls, Kurt Vile and Woods, and even played at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2010.

The new album dropped last month and has been getting a lot of positive reviews. The first single, “It’s Real”, should hopefully draw in some new fans like it did me.

November 4, 2011

89 – Royal Bangs

Filed under: Knoxville Tenn., R — assman41 @ 3:53 pm

In preparation for seeing Royal Bangs a few days ago in Chicago, I downloaded all three of their albums but only had time to listen to one in advance of the show. Naturally, I picked the most recent, Flux Outside, which came out this past March, since I figured that most of their set would come from that release.

For the most part, it sounded like some tight, solid indie rock. And early in their live show, things were going well. Playing between opening act Bear Hands and headliner We Were Promised Jetpacks, they managed to keep pace with those formidable bands.

But I quickly lost interest as their set devolved into little more than a cacophony of sound. And, as it turns out, that’s a pretty good way to describe their first two albums.

The Knoxville, Tenn., trio’s 2008 debut, We Breed Champions, is pretty rough around the edges — and at the core for that matter — but you can tell there is some potential.

Royal Bangs – Handcuff Killa

Just about every song includes glimmers of hope. Unfortunately, there are way too many superfluous sound effects. They need to just strip things down to the basics.

Things do get a little more accessible on 2009’s Let It Beep. But only a little. The band does a better job of focusing on its instruments, but it still messes with the distortion pedal and the effects too much.

Royal Bangs – Shit Xmas

After the first listen, I kept comparing the group to The Strokes. But upon a subsequent listen, I realize that such a label is doing a great disservice to The Strokes.

Thankfully, Royal Bangs finally start to tighten things up on Flux Outside. The first two songs, “Grass Helmet” and “Fireball”, start things off well, and they’re followed by a few other strong tracks, such as “Silent Steps” and “Faint Obelisk Two”.

Royal Bangs – Fireball

I would say more about this band, but I don’t really have the words. Royal Bangs are an acquired taste, and I don’t know if I have done so yet.

October 9, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Rise Against and Flogging Molly

Filed under: Concert, F, R — assman41 @ 4:00 pm

When: October 4, 2011

Where: Thunder Bay (Ont.) Community Auditorium

Headliner: Rise Against

Opening act: Flogging Molly

It has become something of a tradition. Every time emo-punk band Rise Against put out a new album, my friend, Sean, and I invariably make our way to one of their shows.

It started in 2007 while the Chicago-based crew was still touring on the heels of their album, The Sufferer & The Witness. Sean and I were working at a newspaper in Central Virginia at the time, and we decided to make the trek to Norfolk to see the  group. It was definitely a solid outing.

A couple of years later, just days before Thanksgiving 2009, Sean and I met in Detroit to see the band play new stuff from Appeal To Reason. Rise Against headlined a show that included The Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio and Thrice, and it absolutely rocked. For a while, that was my favorite concert-going experience.

Fast-forward to last week. Sean just returned to the States after a six-month stint in Jamaica. The last time I had seen him was when we went on our epic SXSW trip. The way the timing worked out, Rise Against was just wrapping up their tour for the album, Endgame, and the only date that worked out logistically was their show in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

I’d picked up my first passport earlier this year, so I was more than happy to break it in. Sean set out from NYC on Sunday and made the 12-plus-hour trip to South Bend. Then we embarked on our jaunt early Monday morning. The plan was to hang out with a friend in Milwaukee and crash in Duluth that night, head to Canada on Tuesday for the show, then make our way back to Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

I’ll skip all the minutiae, and just mention the highlights of  the trip before delving into the concert itself:

  • Meeting our friend, Audrey, for lunch in The Kee and walking around the grounds of UW-Milwaukee.
  • Stopping off in Osseo, Wis., at Norske Nook Kaffe Hus and sharing four of the most amazing slices of pie I’ve ever had.
  • Enjoying a tasty Oktoberfest meal (complete with proper brews) at Pickwick Restaurant in Duluth.
  • Hiking along the shore and taking some amazing photos at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park near Two Harbors, Minn.
  • Eating some awesome Havian BBQ Chicken pizza at Sven & Ole’s in Grand Marais, Minn.
  • Walking around the quaint and bucolic downtown of Grand Marais.
  • Driving through the Canadian countryside before sunset, marveling at the foliage and mountains.
  • Realizing Ontario is on Eastern time and racing to find the concert venue.
  • Rocking out to Flogging Molly and Rise Against.
  • Stopping at a convenience store in Thunder Bay and smirking at all the subtle Canadian differences.
  • Being detained at the border because the officers couldn’t understand why we traveled to Canada for a rock show.
  • Stopping at a beef jerky factory outlet store in Minong, Wis., for several packages of jerky and a few packs of tasty Madison-brewed beverages.
  • A return trip to Norske Nook for four more amazing slices of pie.
  • A frenzied search for a cooler large enough to keep a banana cream pie cold for a few hours.
  • A home-cooked dinner at Audrey’s followed by some bluegrass music and tasty brews at a neighborhood bar in The Kee.
  • Skipping breakfast and holding out until we reached Portillo’s for lunch Thursday before returning to South Bend.

Now, back to the concert itself.

As I mentioned above, we were running late for the show and had no idea where the venue was located. My smart phone turned pretty dumb after crossing the border and I was unable to look up anything on a map.

Thankfully, we didn’t care at all about the opening act — Black Pacific — because we eventually found the place and walked in at about 8 p.m., just as the second act, Flogging Molly was taking the stage. They immediately tore into their most popular tune, “Drunken Lullabies”, as Sean and I found our seats.

Yes, I said seats. The show was taking place at Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, which had nothing but seats and a small orchestra pit. Much to Sean’s chagrin, we were not allowed access to the pit and were forced to thrash about in the small space between the rows of seats.

It was not ideal, but we made do.

I had never seen Flogging Molly before, but they absolutely killed it. There was just something totally badass about seeing six seasoned musicians lined up across the stage in front of the drummer, rocking out on their instruments. The way the were dressed to the nines and how expertly they played, they just looked like some sort of all-star team whose sole purpose was to rock my socks off.

Mission accomplished.

To be honest, even though I only recognized a few of their songs, I think I might have had more fun watching Flogging Molly than I did the headliners. That’s nothing against Rise Against, but I’d already seen them a couple of times, so I guess the novelty has worn off a bit.

That being said, Rise Against still definitely brought it. I was jumping up and down within minutes and zeroed in on the band for the entire show. I will admit that I have a few critiques with the setlist.

They played 16 songs, followed by a three-song encore. After they set the place on fire with “Prayer of the Refugee”, they slowed things down with “Swing Life Away” and “Hero of War”.

During the latter, frontman Tim McIlrath had a string break on his acoustic guitar, which took a few minutes to fix.

So, after that extended period of tameness, they followed it with a medium-paced song, “Audience of One”, which ended up creating this long lull in the show. They only had one song, “Architects” before closing out the set with “Ready To Fall”. Normally, the place would be shaking at that point, but because of that lull — not to mention the confining seats — the crowd wasn’t as lively as it could have been.

The encore was average. They did play “Give It All”, which is one of Sean’s favorites, but they played it second and closed with “Savior”. I would’ve closed with a hit to send the crowd out on as high a note as possible.

But these are minor nitpicks. I still enjoyed the show immensely and can’t wait for the next album — and, of course, the ensuing tour.

May 8, 2011

68 – Rival Schools

Filed under: NYC, R — assman41 @ 12:01 am

For as long as I’ve been paying attention to music, I’ve always felt that, for the vast majority of bands, there are only a couple of possible career trajectories.

There’s the “bell curve” — where the band has a pretty similarly paced rise to and fall from popularity. Or there’s the “shooting star” path — where a band gets big after its first or second album and then basically falls off the grid.

Sure, some bands can string out their decline a lot longer — like Pearl Jam, U2 and R.E.M. — but the one constant that generally holds true is that the longer a band is active, the further it is from the peak of its greatness.

As far as I was concerned, that was just a fact of life. That is, until I discovered Rival Schools.

— — —

During my recent trip to Indy, I made sure to hit up Luna Music on my way out of town. The first time I visited a year ago, I found out about Two Door Cinema Club. Needless to say, I was eager to see what new band I would discover on this trip.

Bouncing from one listening station to another, I heard some good music, but nothing really caught my ear until I put on a disc by Rival Schools called Pedals. I’d never heard of the band, but I liked the name and figured I’d give it a spin. I was immediately welcomed by catchy rock-pop that sounded both new and familiar at the same time.

Since purchasing it, I’d listened to Pedals about five or six times but still couldn’t put into words what I thought of it or why I liked it. So I headed over to Amazon to see what other fans were saying about the album.

And that’s when I found out about the band’s past.

— — —

Apparently, Rival Schools was something of a hardcore supergroup when it formed in 1999. The band, based out of New York City, consisted of Walter Schreifels on vocals and guitar, Ian Love on guitar, Cache Tolman on bass and Sam Siegler on drums. According to Wikipedia, the various members had come from such ’80s and ’90s hardcore bands as Gorilla Biscuits (Schreifels), CIV (Siegler), Youth of Today (Schreifels and Siegler) and Iceburn (Tolman).

The band’s awesome name — as well as the title of its first album — came from a video game called Rival Schools: United By Fate. After releasing an EP, the group put out its debut, United By Fate, in 2001.

The band dissolved within a couple of years, but, despite only releasing the one album, Rival Schools eventually became regarded as an influential force in the post-hardcore scene.

The various members all went on to do their own thing for much of the Aughts before eventually coming together again in 2008. They performed at a handful of festivals overseas and in the States and eventually headed into the studio to work on a new album.

Finally, after nearly 10 years of waiting, fans were treated to new music when the band released the single “Shot After Shot” in November 2010. Then came Pedals in March of this year.

And this is where my previously held philosophy on career arcs is shattered. The album the band put out in 2011 is way better than what it released a decade earlier. In fact, it’s almost like listening to two different bands.

I suppose that’s to be somewhat expected. With most bands that stay together for the long haul, you’re able to hear the gradual progression of their evolving sound. Since Rival Schools don’t have anything to bridge the gap, their transition seems much more abrupt.

It’s a good thing I didn’t hear United By Fate when it originally came out, as the post-hardcore sound rubs me the wrong way and I probably would’ve written off the band and never cared about any subsequent releases.

But as it were, I’m definitely digging their current alt-rock sound that I’m going to dub “post-emo.”

The funny thing is that the music the band is making today reminds me a lot of the stuff I listened to around the turn of the century. The one group that seems most comparable is Jimmy Eat World. You can hear their sound on such tracks as “Racing To Red Lights”, “A Parts For B Actors”, “Big Waves” and “The Ghost Is Out There”.

Rivals Schools – A Parts For B Actors

Most, if not all, of the tracks here conjure up memories of the best parts of the early ’00s — those that never got old or dated. I can definitely imagine listening to “Wring It Out” or “69 Guns” or “Small Doses” while hanging out in my dorm room.

Rivals Schools – Small Doses

The group is doing some touring now and will even be at Lollapalooza this year.

And here’s to hoping that fans don’t have to wait another 10 years for the band to put out new music.

April 28, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: The Rural Alberta Advantage and Lord Huron

Filed under: Concert, L, R — assman41 @ 12:01 am

When: April 23, 2011

Where: Radio Radio (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Headliner: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Opening act: Lord Huron

All along, my friend, Drew, and I had been planning to go to the New Pornographers show on a Friday night, then just hang out in Indianapolis the following night.

But as fate would have it, while doing research for one of my latest posts, I saw that The Rural Alberta Advantage would be in town that weekend. Not only that, but they were touring with Lord Huron, one of the bands I’d discovered at SXSW.

Needless to say, I was quite giddy.

And as an added bonus, the venue was located just outside of downtown in the Fountain Square district, a couple of blocks from a Thai restaurant Drew was a fan of.

The neighborhood, itself, looks like it was at one time cool and has since been a little rundown. But judging from some of the businesses there, I feel like it is on the brink of a resurgence.

If it happens, Radio Radio will definitely be a key component. The place is on the small side, but not too small. There is a circle of cozy sofas located on either side of the entrance. Past those were the bar on one side and an ample amount of tables and stools on the other. Then there was the dance floor leading up to the stage.

There is no real “backstage.” The artists’ area isn’t linked from the stage, so band members have to walk through the crowd to get there. It all just adds to the cozy quality of the place.

Within a few minutes of our arrival, a couple of dudes, who looked nothing like the guys I saw in Austin, took the stage and started performing. The guitarist was solid, but their music was mostly boring. I have no clue what their name was, nor did I care. I was just worried there was another band out there named Lord Huron and I got the wrong one.

As it turned out, that was not the case.

Lord Huron

As I noted in my last post, Drew and I have pretty different musical tastes. So, when we discussed Lord Huron’s Mighty EP, it was no surprise when he described the title track — my favorite — as the most annoying one on the disc.

And much to Drew’s disgust, the band actually opened their set with “Mighty.” I found it surprising, as most bands will save their big single for later in the show.

But no biggie. It definitely grabbed the audience right off the bat and had it hooked from the onset.

I didn’t keep count, but they probably about five to seven songs. The one thing that really struck me was how different they seemed compared to when I saw them at SXSW.

I think it’s because during their Indy show, they stretched their songs out a lot more and did more jamming. That’s understandable, as they were on a pretty strict time limit in Austin and were probably just trying to play as many songs as they could in order to let the fans hear their sound.

The Rural Alberta Advantage

While I could only pick out one particular song of Lord Huron’s, I recognized nearly all of the tracks in The RAA’s set. I suppose that’s because I’d listened to their two albums about four or five times during the weeks leading up to the show.

And although I was mildly torn on the awesomeness of their most recent release, seeing the songs performed live erased any doubt as to whether it’s one of the best albums of the year so far.

From researching the band, I knew that all or most of the songs were based on growing up in rural Canada. But I guess I didn’t realize the extent until lead singer Nils Edenloff gave us some background details before playing a lot of the songs.

Nils Edenloff sings his heart out while Amy Cole (left) bangs the tambourine and Paul Banwatt (right) pounds the drums.

The band had just played in St. Louis the night before, when some powerful tornadoes ripped through the city and did some major damage, including to the airport. Edenloff brought that up as he introduced the song “Tornado 87”, which was written about a tornado.

Another song of theirs is based on a natural disaster as well. “Frank AB” is about a landslide in Frank, Alberta, that killed nearly 100 people in 1903.

My favorite song on their second album, “Barnes’ Yard”, came to Edenloff when he thought back to his days delivering newspapers and the yard of one of his subscribers, Mr. Barnes.

That song was the second of four that the band played during their encore, which was prompted not only by clapping and cheering but also foot stomping.

The final song of the evening, and the most rocking, was “The Dethbridge in Lethbridge”, which, as one might guess, alluded to an actual bridge.

The show was definitely a rollicking good time and is one that should be seen.

But just as great as the show, was the after-party that Drew and I took part in.


At a lot of shows I’ve been to, bands will hang out at the merchandise table after their set and sell their wares and greet fans. But on this night, the members of Lord Huron and The RAA did more hanging out and fraternizing than I was used to.

Drew and I naturally took advantage of this to talk to most of the guys — and girl — about their music and backgrounds.

Drew decided he’d give the members of Lord Huron a piece of his mind and let them know that they should stick to the more melodic and downtrodden stuff and get away from the island sound.

Thankfully, they took everything with a grain of salt and seemed to actually be amused by Drew. We proceeded to drink some more with the bands and followed them to a nearby bar.

The RAA left a little early — probably because of Drew’s creepy obsession with percussionist Amy Cole’s ear lobes.

But it was definitely a solid night and makes me want to try to get to know more of the bands I see in concert.

April 24, 2011

Outroversion threeplay #3

Filed under: B, Dublin, Lake Worth Fla., Los Angeles, Outroversion, R — assman41 @ 12:01 am

In my latest installment of goodies that I found over at Simon’s site, I give you a band that needs to stop making music, another that already has and one that has yet to put out an official album.

Billy Boy On Poison

When you hear, “On My Way”, the opening track on Billy Boy On Poison‘s 2009 debut, Drama Queen Junkie, you’re immediately sent a few years back in time when the band Jet ever-so-briefly ruled the world.

Billy Boy On Poison – On My Way

However, just like their Australian counterparts, BBOP don’t have much staying power. It quickly becomes apparent that they are just a one-trick pony, churning out glam/garage-rock that conjures up thoughts of bands such as The Subways and Living Things.

Although this five-piece band hails from Los Angeles, at times you would swear that it was borne out of the same scene that begat British rockers the Arctic Monkeys and the Fratellis.

They do try to slow things down on occasion, and do so successfully on the introspective “4 Leaf Clover”. But, aside from a couple of good tracks, this album is a throw-away.

The group, which takes its name from a quote in A Clockwork Orange, is said to be working on a sophomore album. But if it’s anything like the first one, don’t waste your time on it.

The Rocking Horse Winner

I begin this entry on a sad note. After putting out two very solid albums at the turn of the century, The Rocking Horse Winner has since disbanded. But their music lives on, and I shall now attempt to describe it.

Fronted by the soft, angelic voice of Jolie Lindholm, TRHW sounded like a less-rocking Shirley Manson fronting Dashboard Confessional. In fact, Lindholm has sung on several of that emo band’s recordings.

Evoking memories of The Sundays in their heyday — and perhaps the Cranberries without the accent — TRHW deliver emotionally raw tunes that uplift rather than depress, like their emo brethren.

The Rocking Horse Winner – When Songbirds Sing

The Lake Worth, Fla., outfit formed out of the ruins of the band As Friends Rust. Lindholm joined as the vocalist and, after making a split demo, they released their debut State of Feeling Concentration in 2001. They put out Horizon the following spring, but within a couple of years, they had called it quits.

The various band members have since gone their separate ways. In fact, unsurprisingly, guitarist Henry Olmino is now touring with Dashboard Confessional.

Meanwhile, Lindholm is fronting a new band, Popvert, which released its second album in 2009.

You can still hear some The Rocking Horse Winner’s songs on their MySpace page.

And, on a sidenote, the band’s name is derived from the title of a short story by D.H. Lawrence. I actually had to read it in high school and watched the movie. It was an interesting one. You should check it out.

The Riot Tapes

It’s difficult to make a good comparison for The Riot Tapes, mostly because there aren’t any well-known acts out right now that sound like them.

This female-fronted pop-rock five-piece from Dublin are most similar to what you might’ve heard on the radio around the late ’90s and early Aughts.

That sound is most prevalent on their first single, “Photograph”, where they sound a lot like Garbage, with Elaine Doyle playing the role of Shirley Manson.

“Open Eyed Dreams” starts out slow, with Doyle baring her soul about a lost love — I think. And song ends with that late ’90s vibe.

That retro label isn’t meant as a bad thing. The Riot Tapes definitely have modern feel as well, especially on the more electro-based tracks “Sun Keeps Beating” and “Everything Is Local”

The Riot Tapes – Everything Is Local

As of yet, The Riot Tapes have only shared some demos online and have not yet put out an album, but when they do, it should be pretty solid.

You can hear six tracks, including a live one and a remix of “Photograph”, on their MySpace and Facebook pages.

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