Friday, May 30, 2008

Spiritualized - Live @ Gagarin 205 (23/5/2008)

Jason Pierce aka Spaceman @ Gagarin 205 (23/5/08)
The world is about to get Spiritualized again and just a few days before the official release date of the excellent new album "Songs in A&E", Jason Pierce (aka J Spaceman) and his crew found the perfect music space to launch their live journey from: the stage of the Gagarin 205 club in Athens. Five years after the last studio album and a near death experience later, Pierce is on fire once again and the Spiritualized live experience is a rich two-hour space odyssey, with past and future hits bolstered by gospel harmonies and propelled by intense guitar meltdown. Highlights of the evening included "You Lie You Cheat", "Come Together", "I Think I'm In Love" and there was even a few Spaceman 3 tracks on offer ("Lord Can You Hear Me?", "Take Me To The Other Side") to complete the out-of-body experience. The title of "Track I Wished They'd Played But Didn't" goes to "Death Take Your Fiddle". Maybe next time?

Spiritualized @ Gagarin 205 (23/5/08)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Killer Tracks: To Fix The Gash in Your Head

Introducing the Killer Tracks series of posts: Every now and then, when we discover one of those rare, addictive tracks that we think deserve special attention, we'll include them in our Killer Tracks series and if there happens to be a video for them, you'll be able to watch it here.
A month ago we raved about "Swords of Truth" by These New Puritans (the unofficial premier of Killer Tracks, see previous post), now it's time to highlight "To Fix The Gash in Your Head", the new single off last year's excellent eponymous debut by Brooklyn noise makers A Place To Bury Strangers. The band has been declared by some as "The loudest band in New York" and NME recently reported that the "red noise levels" on the master tapes of the track caused the pressing plant manufacturing the 10-inch single to malfunction. The song itself sounds like the product of an out of control chain reaction, caused by the mix of Automatic-period Jesus And Mary Chain menace, with Sonic Youth feedback and early 80s Sisters Of Mercy drum machine death rattle. But don't take our word for it, just click below to see and hear for yourself:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Gutter Twins - Fuzz Club Live (2/5/2008)

The Gutter Twins @ Fuzz Club (May 2, 2008)

The Gutter Twins make the perfect music for drinking your sorrows away in a dark bar, but they are also perfect for a rock'n'roll night out. Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli have an impressive history behind them (Screaming Trees and Afghan Whigs respectively, two of the finest American bands ever in my opinion) and haven't stopped creating great music either solo or collaborating with others (Dulli fronts The Twilight Singers and Lanegan seems to be everywhere; just for his most recent appearances in Athens we've seen him with The Twilight Singers, Isobel Campbell and Soulsavers). Their combination also works perfectly; Lanegan is the calm at the center of the storm, the anchor of the Gutter ship, while Dulli is the whirlwind rotating around the stage, one minute playing guitar or piano, the next heading into the audience, mike in hand. "Idle Hands" is naturally the highlight of the evening, a song that can hold it's own next to any anthem of the grunge era, "All Misery / Flowers" and "The Stations" follow close. Except for tracks off "Saturnalia" we also get to hear material from the front men's illustrious past, with Screaming Trees' "Shadow of the Season" gaining the loudest applause. Despite of the venue's less than stellar sound quality this has been a great rock'n'roll night out, regardless of whether you want to drink your blues away or kick out the jams!

The Gutter Twins @ Fuzz Club (May 2, 2008)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Best of the Month - 04.2008

Favourite albums and songs for April:
Top 15 Albums
1. Antidotes - FOALS
2. Beat Pyramid - THESE NEW PURITANS
3. Consolers Of The Lonely - THE RACONTEURS
4. Midnight Boom - THE KILLS
5. Box Of Secrets - BLOOD RED SHOES
6. Elephant Shell - TOKYO POLICE CLUB
7. Walk It Off - TAPES 'N TAPES
8. Oracular Spectacular - MGMT
9. Accelerate - R.E.M.
10. Real Emotional Trash - STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
11. Kensington Heights - CONSTANTINES
12. Do It! - CLINIC
13. None Shall Pass - AESOP ROCK
14. Svn Fngrs - BLACK FRANCIS
15. Mountain Battles - THE BREEDERS
Top 20 Tracks
1. Swords of truth - THESE NEW PURITANS
2. Red socks Pugie - FOALS
3. The dirty dirty - TAPES 'N TAPES
4. Salute your solution - THE RACONTEURS
5. Hook and line - THE KILLS
6. Walk it off - THE BREEDERS
7. Living well is the best revenge - R.E.M.
9. Doesn't matter much - BLOOD RED SHOES
10. I sent away - BLACK FRANCIS
11. The witch (made to measure) - CLINIC
12. Black cat - LADYTRON
13. 39 Thieves - AESOP ROCK
14. Electric feel - MGMT
16. Trans Canada - CONSTANTINES
18. Naked and red - COLOUR REVOLT
19. Miles of seas - JADE McNELIS
20. Explode - UH HUH HER

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New York Chronicles

Just back from a week's vacation in The Big Apple doing the usual tourists' staff (paying 20$ to see the view from the Empire State Building - see pic left, taking a walk in Central Park, seeing Broadway shows, visiting museums, browsing for cds in record stores - remember them?) and going to a few gigs round town. The first one is in the Bowery Ballroom on April 24th, the day of our arrival in "the world's greatest city" as they say here, where Foals are playing. Still jet-lagged from the long trip, running on coffee and sheer will-power, we enter the venue and crash on the upstairs seats (it's 9:00 pm local time, but the biological clock says 4:00 am tomorrow). A couple of Brooklyn bands kick-off proceedings, Telepathe (The Slits meet trip-hop experimentation) followed by The Epochs' electro-pop. Foals are in excellent form, giving the short of performance that is capable of raising the dead (that's us that is, the biological clock now says 6:00 am) and proving that the buzz emanating from the hype-friendly British press is totally justified this time.

Foals @ Bowery Ballroom (April 24th, 2008)

The next day it's 80's indie rock nostalgia day. Three bands from that heroic era for underground rock Big Dipper, Antietam and The Great Plains are joining forces at Brooklyn's Southpaw venue. I'm not familiar with Great Plains, but I can confirm that Big Dipper's 1987 debut album "Heavens" (on Homestead) is one of the hidden treasures of the late 80's guitar sound, an opinion obviously shared by the good folks at Merge, who just released "Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology" (triple cd of the Big Dipper's Homestead recordings), the reason for this reunion. Antietam, the band not the 1862 battle, have been going on almost non-stop since the early 80's (1985's "Antietam" and 1986's "Music from Elba" both on Homestead are highly recommended) and have just released the double cd "Opus Mixtum".

Big Dipper @ Southpaw (April 25th, 2008)

Antietam @ Southpaw (April 25th, 2008)

After paying our respects to a couple of our guitar heroes from another era, we are back at Southpaw the following day for an evening with The Fiery Furnaces, one of the most prolific bands of this decade. The Friedberger brother-sister team (with greek roots as revealed in the "Rehearsing My Choir" album they did with their grandma Olga Sarantos - also, the lead singer from Foals, Yannis Philippakis, is greek and we're from Greece as well; see a pattern developing here?), helped by a drummer and a second keyboard player for the evening, play an excellent 90-minutes set that starts with "Single Again" (one of their finest singles) and includes tracks from almost all of their albums (other highlights: "Up in the North", "My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found", "Ex-Guru", "Clear Signal from Cairo"). On this evidence, their upcoming live album "Remember" should be great too.

The Fiery Furnaces @ Southpaw (April 26th, 2008)

Our New York rock'n'roll adventures come to an end at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge the following day. Here we meet again with our old pals American Music Club, promoting their new album "Golden Age", but also finding time for some of the old hits ("Johnny Mathis' Feet", "Hello Amsterdam" renamed "Hello Brooklyn" for this evening inspired by last night's miserable, according to Mark Eitzel, Brooklyn show). Support came from locals Frances and Charles Atlas. Good times with a moody twist for our last (for now) NYC show.

American Music Club @ Mercury Lounge (April 27th, 2008)