Friday, April 30, 2010

Dead Weather @ the Pageant 4/24/10

After a day of tornado sirens, the Dead Weather energized the audience as they took the stage last weekend at the Pageant in St. Louis, MO. The supergroup is the newest Jack White musical experiment (this time he's on the drums) and brings together past Raconteurs band-mates Dean Fertia and Jack "little Jack" Lawrence. The band is fronted by non-other than Kills singer Alison Mosshart, who White introduced as "The raven-haired beauty from the deep, deep South: Baby Ruthless." Mosshart hypnotized the crowd as she stood on the monitors writhing with the music. "I can take the trouble," she sang before leaning over the crowd and screaming, "I'm 60 feet tall!"

The band ran through a mix of old and new material including new tracks "Jawbreaker," "Blue Blood Blues," "Gasoline" and the amazing "Hustle and Cuss." As great as the show was the true highlights were the few songs were Jack White stepped in front of the drums and picked up a guitar. You could sense the energy rise in the already excited crowd as the string-master cut through a cover of Van Morrison's "You Just Can't Win" from his early years in the band Them. White again took up the guitar during "I Can't Hear You," the second of a scorching three song encore. Mosshart danced around on stage casually smoking a cigarette before jumping into the last song of the night, "Treat Me Like Your Mother."


1. 60 Feet Tall

2. Hang You From the Heavens

3. You Just Can't Win (Them cover)

4. So Far From Your Weapon

5. I Cut Like a Buffalo

6. No Horse

7. Jawbreaker
8. Blue Blood Blues

9. Gasoline

10. Rocking Horse

11. Hustle and Cuss

12. New Pony

13. Will There Be Enough Water?


14. Die by the Drop

15. I Can't Hear You

16. Treat Me Like Your Mother
Thanks to for the set list!

If you are unfamiliar with the Dead Weather I highly recommend you do a little research. This is one amazing group, formed almost by accident during one fateful Kills/Raconteurs show where Mosshart was asked to fill in for a voice-less White on a few songs. The band had its first live performance before even putting out its first single and booked its first tour before releasing its first album. Music critics everywhere have been hailing the Dead Weather as the next 'big thing' for awhile now... so if your not already, its time to jump on the Dead Weather band wagon. Their second album, Sea of Cowards, drops May 11 and I for one will be picking it up the day it's released.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Earl Greyhound - Suspicious Package

Heavy, dark and groovy; these are the three best words to describe the trio of Brooklyn rockers known as Earl Greyhound. After the release of their debut album in 2006, Earl Greyhound has built a reputation for their amazing live shows and they have done a great job of capturing that aesthetic on this record. Frontman Matt Whyte, bassist Kamara Thomas and drummer "Big" Ricc Sheridan embrace both the sound and the style of the 70s. With influences including Led Zeppelin, Heart and Pink Floyd this band simply oozes the 'classic rock' vibe.

Decked out in vintage apparel Whyte has the lanky, long haired look straight out of Woodstock while Thomas sports an impressive old-school afro. Throw in Sheridan's staple sleeve-less denim shirts and you could imagine this trio of classic rockers were misplaced in history. This group isn't all style and no substance thou, with instruments in hand they have a timeless quality to their music that rocks just as much now as it did in the 70s.

On their sophomore album, Suspicious Package, the group delivers a mix of Detroit power rock, bluesy hard rock and old-fashioned soul in a tight 40 min package. Album opener "The Eyes of Cassandra (Parts 1 and 2)" starts out slowly with Thomas' cool vocals before spinning off into a six-and-a-half-minute psychedelic romp. There is a definite early-Floyd vibe flowing through the first part of the album that walks a fine line between influence and imitation.

The two standout tracks on the album have to be "Shotgun" and "Holy Immortality." Both tracks show off the great vocal talent Thomas and Whyte are capable of. There is also a level of garage-band recording value at work here that gives the album a great 'live gig' feel. It's easy to imagine the trio recording in an rundown shed as you listen to the screaming guitar riffs, driving drum lines and blues tinted lyric. I can almost feel the vibration of the bass during the first few chords of "Shotgun" as if I were in the room with them... and I love it!

The rest of the album isn't too shabby either and holds plenty of musical gems to peak any classic/hard rock enthusiasts' interest. The bluesy "Oye Yaya" and "Ghost and the Witness" both immediately jump to mind as must-hear songs. The haunting "Out of Air" is another track I find myself landing on frequently. "Flood won't let it fall, Sea's too deep for wrecking ball," Whyte sings, "I'm almost out of air, Can I start again?" The writing on Suspicious Package is top notch with plenty of variety and invention that requires multiple listens to really appreciate. Overall a very strong album from a band I'm sure will be on many 'best of 2010' lists later in the year.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Cassette Player" Photoshop Illustration

In the spirit of semi-vintage rock and my childhood spent creating mixed-tapes, I present what I'm calling "Cassette Player." Created in Photoshop over the course of one day, this piece is in homage to artist Scott Hansen and his piece "Tablet Space." No real deep meaning other than some practice in digital art and Photoshop techniques.

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies

In 2009 the synth-rock duo Phantogram released an addictive 5-track EP that landed the NY band on every watch-list and college radio station in the country. Keyboardist Sarah Barthel and guitarist Joshua Carter have since built a solid fan base opening for the likes of Ra Ra Riot and Yeasayer as well as creating a new genre they call 'street beat psyche pop.' Full of addictive electronic loops and trip-hop beats, the group has been favorably compared to every band from Massive Attack and Metric to Portishead and Sonic Youth. "We wanted to incorporate all our own influences creating our own sound that's a combination of Serge Gainsbourg, sampling and Detroit hip-hop," Barthel often says, "we sound like a combination of Kanye West and Radiohead."

Originally calling themselves Charlie Everywhere, the upstate New York band formed after Barthel returned home following a dissatisfying experience in visual arts school. Working on some song ideas with her childhood friend Joshua Carter, the duo began performing in the Saratoga Springs area on the local label Sub-Bombin Records. The duo quickly became local favorites known for their energetic live performances and psychedelic light shows. Positive reviews lead the band to sign with BBE in early 2009, changing their name to Phantogram and releasing their self-titled EP.

In February 2010 the duo released their first full-lenght album Eyelid Movies to universal praise. Equipped with a guitar, a keyboard and a lap top the duo wrote and recorded the record in a barn 45-min upstate from their home. An extension of their 2009 EP, Eyelid Movies features the hit singles "Mouth Of Diamonds" and "Running From The Cops," the two tracks most responsible for their growing hype last year. With the addition of some newly recorded material Phantogram has created a solid collection of electronic influenced indie rock gems full of spaced-out synths and catchy guitar riffs.

Eyelid Movies starts off strong with the magnetic beat of "Mouthful Of Diamonds," weaving Carter's tranquil guitar riffs with Barthel's silky lyrics. A beautiful song about bad relationships and the willpower to walk away. "The world is not around because of you." Barthel sings, "You know I'm not around because of you." The synthesizer hums in the background complementing her voice without overpowering. Easily one of the best tracks on the album, "Mouthful Of Diamonds" is already in heavy rotation on college radio stations.

Another of my favorite tracks is the vintage flavored "When I'm Small," a mix of upbeat dance and downhearted lyrics. Synth drenched ethereal vocals are layered on top of old-school drum loops and Carter's groovy guitar riff. "Take me underground, take me all the way," Barthel sings, "Bring me to the fire, throw me in the flame." Phantogram's best moments are often when Barthel is allowed to put her voice front and center. "I'd rather die," she continues, "I'd rather die than to be with you." Carter takes lead vocals on several tracks as well, such as the synth heavy "Running From The Cops," but to be honest his wavering distorted delivery pales in comparison to Barthel's sultry voice.

There are plenty of great songs on this album, ranging from the wavering synth of "Let Me Go" to the electro-soul "As Far As I Can See." While rough around the edges, Phantogram has a nice vintage quality to their records that never feels over produced. The album ends with the slow-burning "10,000 Claps" a beautifully strange track combining light piano, warbling tones and audience applause as surface noise. A great debut from two incredibly talented musicians, Eyelid Movies is perfect for jaded electro and indie rock fans who have been complaining about the lack of quality in the genres.

Phantogram is currently touring the country with a stop at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL on Saturday, April 17th opening for the Antlers.