Monday, October 29, 2012

STS9 (Show) 10/24/12

I will start this post by including the Spotify player for their most recent studio release. It is nice to listen to the band you are reading about to put you in the mindset.

I will begin this one with a story from Bonnaroo 2 years ago. Friday night was electronica late night with Bassnectar followed by Pretty Lights. Also, I believe that Lil' Wayne was playing and maybe Ratatat too. I chose to go hard with my friend Austin and go see Bassnectar and Pretty Lights back to back. This proved to be a good choice and a whole lot of fun, but it left me feeling tired the next day.

The next night was String Cheese Incident followed by Tribe. I had been so stoked to see tribe, but due to my dedication to the previous night, I was overcome with exhaustion about halfway through cheese. I made my way back to camp to rest before Tribe and long story short, never made it back to centeroo. I woke up the next morning yelling at my friends and trying to find out why everyone let me sleep. Turns out they had tried to wake me to no avail. So, at that point I vowed to see Tribe the first chance I got, this show was that chance!

The show was at the historic Ryman Auditorium. We had seen Umphrey's there earlier in the year and were already prepared for poor sound. The venue is beautiful, but it is never quite loud enough. We were running behind and had missed the opener, so we ended up walking in as they were starting their first song. The first thing that surprised me was how intense the smell of weed was. The Ryman is notoriously strict on smokers, but tonight they seemed to be more lax in light of the craziness that was unfolding.

The crowd was diverse, but had all the expected attendees. There were your classic deadhead style hippies, your electro kids drugged up on molly, the new wave hippy kids with flat bill hats and a wide variety of hat pins, and your in between music enthusiasts. Everyone was cool though and the vibes were excellent. What I will say for this crowd is that they came to dance and they were very happy to be seeing Tribe, as was I.

In regards to the band, I am thrilled to say that it was everything I had waited 2 years to see. They brought it. At times, their album work can be more laid back and ambient, but they play DANCE MUSIC live. Everything was adequately intricate and a nice blend between the traditional band and electro. The band is a bit older, not Cheese old, but older. However, they all looked like they were thrilled to be playing and that they understood all of the people who were so eager to enjoy their music.

My next series of comments involves the light show. Tribe uses an LED wall system that forms a pyramid behind the whole band and a rectangular panel, the width of the pyramid, between the guitarist and bass player and the rest of the band. The content that flows across these screens is magical and truly enhances the experience. Everything is synchronized with the music to some extent and really provides a unique experience. The only other time I have seen a light set up of this magnitude is with electronic artists. It was very cool to see a band doing something similar.

In closing, I will say that if you have not seen Tribe and they are coming to your city soon, GO SEE THEM! It is a hell of a party and you can't help but feel the good vibes and energy from the music.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Ascension (album)

One thing I have always liked about Coheed is their dedication to making an album that tells a story. This is something that bands just don't do a whole lot anymore. It is often difficult to listen to their songs without the rest of the album. I will admit I have not been a dedicated Coheed fan through the years. I could not tell you the story of the Armory Wars that the band's songs tell the story of, but I have always admired the band's dedication to a concept throughout their entire body of work and their ability to mix it up despite this dedication.

I had been meaning to check out this new album as I had been drawn to some of their stuff in the past, but kept forgetting to. I was in my A&R class one day a couple weeks ago and the subject of this album came up. A number of the students started commenting negatively on it, saying that it was the weakest album that they released to date and that they prefer the older stuff. The same stuff people like to say about new material that comes from many bands now days. I decided to check it out, for real this time. So, I added it to my offline Spotify playlist, and when I boarded the Megabus from Nashville to Knoxville this weekend, I started listening.

My personal opinion of this album is that it is awesome. There is the whole space theme and spoken word segments reminiscent of post-rock,and there is also the signature Coheed "epicness." Dynamically speaking, the album has all the highs and lows that it needs to take you on a journey, just as all of their other albums do. I'll admit, lead singer Claudio Sanchez's vocal style isn't the style I usually gravitate towards. That being said, it works perfectly with their hard hitting progressive rock style with metal tendencies. Basically, you need to check out this album, and I will go out on a limb and say that you also need to check out the second half of the release, "The Afterman: Descension", when it comes out in February 2013.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Train Songs

No, this is not a post about the band Train even though I can always get down on some "Drops of Jupiter" or "Meet Virginia". I have always loved the theme of trains in American songwriting and how they have always been a staple mainly in the country, folk, and blues genres. Earlier this summer, I was fortunate to land an internship with an engineering firm in Nashville, and we primarily work on the short line railroads around Tennessee and surrounding southern states. Needless to say, I have been spending a substantial amount of time out on the railroad walking the track and checking out all the cool, old bridges. During these times, I can't help but reminisce about what it would have been like to live in a different era when traveling by train was commonplace. All these artists who present trains in their songwriting paint this romanticized picture of skipping town on a light night, southbound train. Check out some of my favorites.


Justin Townes Earle - Ghost of Virginia

Mandolin Orange - Train Song

Chatham County Line - Louisiana Freight Train

Blackfoot - Train, Train

Ben Harper - Fool for a Lonesome Train

Jon Foreman - Southbound Train

Old Crow Medicine Show - New Virginia Creeper

Scott Avett - I Won't Give Up My Train (Merle Haggard Cover)

Seth Avett - Miss A Lot of Trains (Tom T. Hall Cover)

Punch Brothers - Brakeman's Blues (Jimmie Rodgers Cover)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bad Books (Show) 10/18/2012

    First off, let me begin by discussing The Mercy Lounge. If you have never seen a show there I highly encourage you to check it out anytime you are in Nashville regardless who's playing. I have consistently seen the best shows there. Even though the sound is not always the greatest, the venue provides a certain level of intimacy you don't generally find anywhere else.

    Leading up to the show, I had really good vibes about it all week long, and my friends Cory Smith and Chris Bishop were in attendance with me. Bad Books is basically a "supergroup" formed from all the members of Manchester Orchestra + the extremely talented Kevin Devine. I consider both Andy Hull (Manchester) and Kevin Devine to be two of the premier songwriters and performers of my generation. What I didn't expect was to be impressed by the two opening bands Harrison Hudson and The Drowning Men. Both kicked off the night with strong performances, bragged on each other, and talked about how fun this tour has been for them.

    When Bad Books took the stage, they demanded the crowd's attention right from the get go. They opened with the incredibly catchy song "No Reward" off their new album II  which had Kevin on lead vocals with the three guitar attack and harmonies added in by the rest of the group. After quickly trading off vocals on the next song with Andy, the opening track off the new album "The After Party", it became apparent this would be the theme for the night. All night long it was either a wave of sound that knocked you on your ass or haunting melodies that sent chills down your spine.

    What intrigued me the most was how Bad Books was completely Manchester Orchestra but also something entirely different at the same time. This was largely due to the addition of Kevin Devine (who I think should just go ahead and join the band). The way he and the rest of Manchester combined to produce this new sound was just incredible. If you are familiar with how powerful Manchester's songs are, just imagine the same level of intensity with a catchier sound and more hooks. The way they interacted with each other on stage seemed like this was their actual full-time band instead of a side project. They tossed around a few jokes like when some dudes decided it would be cool to mosh, saying they looked like they were back in '91 rocking out at a Fugazi show. Sticking with the 90's jokes, both Andy and Kevin said they had written a new song called "Let Her Cry". Little did we know they were referring to Hootie & the Blowfish which got some sing alongs and a few chuckles out of the crowd after a couple verses. Then again, Kevin said he had been working on another new song which was incredibly lyrically smart and belted out the lines "Days go by, glycerine" by Bush.

    After rocking out for a solid hour, the rest of the band left Andy and Kevin on stage to put on an intimate set of about five songs including Manchester's "Where Have You Been". Throughout the last part of the set, it was deathly silent as the crowd just stared and listened in amazement to the two of them trade off their powerful lyrics. I couldn't believe the humbleness and love they had for doing their own thing. They could have easily toured as Manchester Orchestra, a more recognizable name, and sold out the larger Cannery Ballroom downstairs. I was blown away by their performance in every single way, and all my hype about the show was met and surpassed in some ways. It was the perfect way to spend my Thursday night.

Below are links to both Bad Books' albums. Give them a listen.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's get started

So, this is Kevin Casler (left) and Cory Smith (right). We both live in Nashville, TN currently. Kevin and myself have been tossing around the idea of starting a music blog for quite some time now. We are both music enthusiasts and see shows frequently. We listen to a ton of different stuff, hence the name, and my music taste varies somewhat greatly from Kevin's. We figured it would be fun for us and hopefully informative to other music lovers if we were to give a heads up regarding stuff that we have seen live or heard recorded that we are digging. We will start out with some recent stuff we have seen or heard and maybe go back a couple months and hit some other stuff that has already happened that we like. So, this is us, passing what we like along to you. We aren't going to talk shit about anybody who is putting out an effort to do what they love. However, you may hear so heated top 40 jabs from me occasionally. Finally, we also love local music, so if you have a band or know someone in one that is kicking ass, but hasn't really been spotlighted yet, send us some tracks and we would be happy to write something.