October 28, 2001

Rocket from the Crypt, Murder City Devils, Botch, and American Steel @ Great American Music Hall, 10.27.01

I bought tickets to this show ages ago, having learned my lesson last time Rocket from the Crypt played Great American, when I strolled up thinking I'd get day-of-show tickets. Needless to say, I was denied.

But the fifth-to-last ever Murder City Devils show? No freakiní way I was gonna miss this. Nuh-uh. So tickets were acquired, and exorbitant service fees were paid to guarantee entry.

Thanks to hordes of bridge-and-tunnel making the pilgrimage to San Francisco for Halloween-related hijinks, we rolled up just as local heroes American Steel were finishing their set. Happily, that meant Botch were up next, bringing their own brand of "car-crash music," as my friend Scott calls it, to San Francisco.

And boy, did they. Botch punished the crowd with an unrelenting metalcore assault, aided by a low-tech but highly effective light show. And as intense as the music was, it was met, if not surpassed, by the coiled-spring fury of the band members. Other bands of Botch's ilk, notably Thrice, posture and pretend to be hardcore, but Botch is the real deal. They're tentatively scheduled to return to San Francisco on December 7th with Converge, and if you're a fan of car-crash music, I implore you not to miss 'em.

Ahh, but the Murder City Devils. If you don't get it, you won't get it. They're sex, they're danger, they're rock 'n' roll incarnate. Relying heavily on material from the new Thelema EP, MCD ripped through a brutal 50-minute set. And even without recently departed organist Leslie Hardy (competently replaced on this tour by Nick DeWitt), MCD were flawless.

And even piss-drunk, singer Spencer Moody is twice the frontman of any other rock singer out there. He mangled lyrics, forgot entire songs, kissed his guitar player on the mouth, and basically rocked the joint. High points for me were his drunken rant about how Iggy and the Stooges were the best rock band ever (duh) and the extra two verses he sang of the closing number after his band had stopped playing and left the stage. Time stopped, Spencer preached, and the lucky among us worshipped at the altar of rock 'n' roll. Transcendent's not too strong a word. Not at all.

And how could Rocket from the Crypt follow that? Well, they couldn't. Even lead vocalist/guitarist/romantic lead Speedo, one of the most charismatic showmen in rock, couldn't rise to the occasion. It was obvious that Murder City Devils had set the bar too high for anyone else to clear. And the fact that RFTC's first half-dozen or so songs were off the Group Sounds LP, which I still havenít heard, made it tough for me to feel it. So rather than try to gild the rock 'n' roll lily, we left, memories of a historic moment fresh and intact.

October 19, 2001

NPR has seemingly come through with some music programming that doesn't suck. This may be old news for Left Coasters, but KCRW/Santa Monica's syndicated Sounds Eclectic program hasn't quite hit the Northern Tundra yet. So when I found out that all of their 2-hour programs are archived and ready to stream at their site is as good to this Minnesotan as a deep fried candy bar.

Sounds Eclectic's two hours mainly highlight new artists of all genres - structured around a 5-6 song set of their featured in-studio artists of the week. Past features include Remy Zero, Pete Yorn, The Actual Tigers, and San Diego's The Incredible Moses Leroy.

SE is a perfect Limewire companion for finding new mp3's to check out and to make us all feel like we're a little bit cooler. God knows we need that.

October 17, 2001

New Yorkers against violence

Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys announced a special benefit concert today....

'in the midst of this madness adam and mike and i got together to discuss what we might be able to do that would be constructive. and we decided to put on a benefit concert called "new yorkers against violence." we (beastie boys) will do a short hip hop set with mix master mike. also on the bill will be the strokes, B-52's, cibo matto, saul williams, rival schools and rahat fateh ali khan. i hope that anyone that has the time and is in the neighborhood will be able to come and join us. it will be taking place at the hamerstein ballroom in manhattan sunday, oct 28th. and tickets are available at: artistdirect.com and weds oct 10 at ticketmaster.com, all ticketmaster outlets, and the hamerstein ballroom box office.'

all profits raised from the show will go to two funds created to help people affected by the WTC tragedy of sept 11. one created by New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) and the other by New York Women's Foundation (NYWF). if you feel inspired to donate to those funds directly you can connect to them through these links. NYANA and NYWF.' More concert info at: Milerepa.org.

October 12, 2001

French DJ, Kid Loco released 'Kill Your Darlings' in the US on October 2nd. The album will be released the 23rd of October. everywhere else except in Japan (December) and in England (February) .

Bay Area DJ, DJ Shadow has been promising a live chat ever since he launched his new website. Now he's delivering on the promise. DJ Shadow will chat live for 1 hour on Sunday, October 14th at 2:00 (pacific standard time). Visit www.djshadow.com to participate in the live chat.

October 05, 2001

Back in August I recommended the Short List of Music as a great way to discover new music. Dan Nakumura! Dave Grohl! Touré! These are people who know their stuff, whose recommendations I'd heed.

The finalists have been announced, and they are, well, uninspired. There's not one artist who is new to me (and while my music knowledge is up to date it's far from comprehensive), and some of the albums that made it aren't even that good.

The special ten: Talib Kweli and Hi Tek, "Reflection Internal"; Gorillaz, "Gorillaz"; Nikka Costa, "Everybody Got Their Something"; Ryan Adams, "Heartbreaker"; Dandy Warhols, "Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia"; Bilal, "1st Born Second"; Air, "10,000 Hz Legend"; Sigur Ros, "Agaetis Byrjun"; PJ Harvey, "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea."

Even passive music aficionados know that the latest Dandy Warhols and Air albums were disappointments. Is this the best these esteemed music mavens could find? Better question: Is this the best music out there right now?