Tag: Tom Petty

Over the last half of 2016, I had written quite a bit about the Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost, and as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea”  “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, up until recently, some time had passed since I had written about the band, which had spent the better part of last year writing and recording their fourth, full-length album, How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music. Reportedly, the album finds the band continuing to move towards more complex sonic territory while the material carefully blends neuroticism and mysticism. Album single “The Danger of Belief” was a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming that seemed to draw from Tom Petty while possessing the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments, know how to needle each other, and yet they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Same To Me,” the album’s second album is a wistful track that brings to mind, a dusty, beer soaked honky tonk at 3am or so, when you’re left with that last half pint of beer, that last bit of whiskey and the lingering ghosts of regret; in this case, the song focuses on how relationships subtly change as the people within them change — but oddly enough, they’re rooted in a comfortable routine, and old memories.

 

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Over the last half of 2016, a lifetime and a half ago, based on our current sociopolitical climate, I had written about the  months, Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost. And as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea” and “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s “I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the band; but as it turns out they’ve spent some time writing and recording their fourth full-length album How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music, and interestingly enough the album reflects the band’s continuing move towards more complex sonic territory while thematically walking a tightrope between a blend of neuroticism and mysticism. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Danger of Belief” is a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming — and while seemingly drawing from Tom Petty, the song possesses the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments and know how to needle each other, and they couldn’t have it any other way. But underneath that is a bittersweet meditation on belief and in believing in anything too much; it’ll break your heart, just like everything else will.

Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] mighty voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100. Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release.

Interestingly, Sultan’s soon-to-be released Killer Under a Blood Moon was recorded over the course of four days and while it continues Sultan’s commercially and critically successful collaboration Skubiszewski, the EP finds the duo collaborating with some of their country’s brightest and talented, up-and-coming artists, including  A.B. OriginalCamp CopeMeg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about Sultan’s reworking of “Drover,” which featured Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and a muscular and anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys.

The EP’s latest single is a reworking of Killer‘s album title track “Killer” that features Meg Mac — and while the original is a shuffling yet anthemic rock song with an infectious hook, the EP’s rework turns the song into a Fleetwood Mac/Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks-styled duet that retains the hook and melody but adds a sultriness to the song’s heartfelt vibe.

 

 

 

New Audio: The Men Release a Raw Punk Rock-Inspired Bruiser from Forthcoming Seventh Full-Length Album “Drift”

Although they have one of the more difficult to Google names I’ve come across in quite some time, the Brooklyn-based punk rock/post-hardcore/psych rock/post-punk act The Men, currently comprised of founding duo Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), along with Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass, lap steel) formed back in 2008, and since their formation, they’ve released six, critically applauded albums — 2010’s Immaculada, 2011’s Leave Home,  2012’s Open Your Heart, 2013’s New Moon, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits and 2016’s Devil Music. Despite going through a few lineup changes during their ten year history, each successful album has found the band incorporating increasingly diverse elements and influences while expanding upon their sound — 2012’s Open Your Heart, which may be among the band’s more accessible albums found the band incorporating surf rock, country music and pop structures; 2013’s New Moon found the band incorporating classic rock and country rock influences, and was described by one critic as “akin to Dinosaur, Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick;” Tomorrow’s Hits found the band employing punk rock and classic rock influences; and Devil Music was considered a necessary reset by the members of the band.

The band’s forthcoming, seventh, full-length album Drift marks their tenth year as a band and a proud return to their longtime label home Sacred Bones Records, and interestingly, Drift finds the New York-based quartet exploring the openness that its predecessor helped them find while continuing with an experimental bent — with most of the material not featuring a prominent appearance by an electric guitar; however, the album’s first single “Killed Someone” is a raw, rowdy, bruising mosh-pit worthy song, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and Nots.

Drift is slated for a March 2, 2018 release. The band will be e

New Video: The Lush Swooning and Psychedelic Visuals and Sounds of Jonathan Wilson’s “Loving You”

Jonathan Wilson is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Father John Misty, Lucius, Karen Elson and Conor Oberst, contributed guitar and vocals as a member of the backing and touring bands for Roger Waters‘ Grammy nominated Is This The Life We Really Want?, and throughout that same period, the highly sought after Wilson has released two albums which have garnered comparisons to the Laurel Canyon troubadours of the 1960s and 1970s — in particular Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Dennis Wilson, Tom Petty and others; however, Wilson’s third and forthcoming album, Rare Birds, which is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Bella Union Records is reportedly one of the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s most ambitious, “maximalist” works to date featuring contributions from collaborators Father John Misty and Lucius, as well as Lana Del Rey and New Age musician Laraaji.

While much of the album’s material thematically and lyrically find Wilson meditating on a failed relationship and its aftermath, he has insisted in press notes that it’s not meant to specifically be a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.” Late last year, I wrote about the album’s first single “Over The Midnight,” which brought to mind Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears  while nodding at the lush psych pop of Tame Impala; but the song is underpinned by a swooning Romanticism, as it’s about a sacred and profoundly safe space where lovers could exist and freely be in love, escaping a world on the verge of collapse.

Rare Birds’ latest single “Loving You” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its a lush yet deeply meditative track with the bittersweet tinge of regret of someone, who’s looking back at a major relationship in his life, and of all the things he felt and believed that he should have or could have done. And as a result, it evokes the lingering ghosts of a man, who’s lived a messy and complicated life. Wilson says in press notes about the song, “One day, one of my musical heros Laraaji came into my studio to just experiment and record some music. I had the ditty ‘Loving You’ lying around, (it was a song I wrote from a feeling or inflection of a word I heard John Lennon emote in one of his songs) and I then put down a simple little drum machine beat along with the piano and vocal that you hear now. Laraaji then beautifully chanted over the song, one take … then he played his cosmic zither, undulated gracefully with his ipad, and truly shaped the scope of the track. I then added a specific drum/cymbal treatment used throughout Rare Birds, my funky Crumar bass, Lana Del Rey, a few other things and boom that was the genesis of the new album Rare Birds, that song set the tone.”

Directed By Matthew Daniel Siskin, the recently released video for “Loving You” will also continue Wilson’s run of pairing trippy and beautiful visuals to lush instrumentation. In this case the video features the renowned New Age multi-instrumentalist Laraaji floating over some gorgeous natural scenery — at points holding an old TV monitor that features a meditative Wilson singing the song. Later on, Wilson’s face and on that old TV monitor is seen in a number of New York locales, including an airport, a train station, a Manhattan intersection and so on. And interestingly, the visuals manage to further emphasize the swooning nature of the song.

New Video: The Trippy Psychedelia Meets New Age Visuals for Jonathan Wilson’s Lush New Single “Over The Midnight”

Jonathan Wilson is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Father John Misty, Lucius, Karen Elson and Conor Oberst, contributed guitar and vocals as a member of the backing and touring bands for Roger Waters’ Grammy nominated Is This The Life We Really Want?, and throughout that same period, the highly sought after Wilson has released two albums which have garnered comparisons to the Laurel Canyon troubadours of the 1960s and 1970s — in particular Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Dennis Wilson, Tom Petty and others; however, Wilson’s third and forthcoming album, Rare Birds, which is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records is reportedly one of the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s most ambitious and downright “maximalist” works to date featuring contributions from collaborators Father John Misty and Lucius, as well as Lana Del Rey and New Age musician Laraaji.

While much of the album’s material thematically and lyrically find Wilson meditating on a failed relationship and its aftermath, he has insisted in press notes that it’s not meant to specifically be a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.” And interestingly enough, the album’s first single “Over The Midnight” finds Wilson pairing British, early 80s synth pop with layered instrumentation that may bring to mind Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears but while nodding at the lush psych pop of contemporaries like Tame Impala — but with a swooning romanticism; after all, the song is about a sacred and profoundly safe space where lovers could exist while escaping a world on the verge of collapse.

Directed by Andrea Nakhla and featuring animation by Clara Luzian, the recently released video for “Over The Midnight” draws from New Age concepts of consciousness and awareness of one’s connectedness to the larger universe around them and to others.

 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

Musings: Thoughts on Las Vegas and Tom Petty

This morning I woke up to hear the news about some crazed and hateful fool shooting innocent concertgoers at a music festival in Las Vegas, just did me in. If you’ve been frequenting this site or following me through social media, you’d know that besides the Guinness drinking, the Romeo Y Julieta cigars, and the ridiculous exploits here and aboard, that I’ve probably spent close to half my adult life in darkened clubs, DIY spaces, music venues, arenas, stadiums and music festivals either covering music for various publications or this blog — or attending as a fan. And I can tell you that I’ve met some of the smartest, most talented, most passionate, funniest and kindest people in the entire world that I’ve met through music but perhaps more important, catching live music in all of its forms — whether it was a band, a DJ, a singer/songwriter and no matter the genre — has always been one of the safest, most welcoming places I’ve ever known. God, “the warm thrill of confusion/that space cadet glow . . . ” as a song says, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.

Now, like a lot of people, who are involved in music in some way or another, what happened in Vegas feels like a deeply personal affront because we love music so much to make a large portion of our lives. I can’t speak for my colleagues and friends but I can never forget that at every show, concert and festival I attend that for my fellow concertgoers that it may very well be the highlight of their year, if not their entire lives to see their heroes perform their favorite songs live. Ah, the joy and camaraderie of the live music experience; there are few things in this world that can top that. And to have that be destroyed in such a horrible fashion is heartbreaking. Of course, my thoughts are with everyone at the festival from fans, support crew and performers. It should have been a joyous, wondrous night for those catching their heroes.

Then while at my day job, finding out that Tom Petty was in dire shape? What the flying fuck is going on? Full Moon Fever and Damn the Torpedoes are arguably two of the greatest rock records ever. Don’t believe me? Listen to them and tell me how “Free Falling,” “Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Refugee” or “Don’t Do Me Lke That” aren’t classic songs that don’t fit into the “rock canon”? If you do, you’re bullshitting me. Now, I can say that I was very lucky to see Petty and the Heartbreakers many years ago at the Garden with a woman, who later turned out to be one of the worst things that ever happened to me; however, Steve Winwood (!!) opened for him, and Petty came out to do a song with him. Petty did two hours of the hits and even pulled out Winwood for a song –and every one of those songs were songs I had heard throughout my life and have loved immensely. Plain and simple, Petty is a national fucking treasure and while the news reports are conflicting, my thoughts go out to his family, his bandmates, his touring crew and friends at what clearly is a very difficult time. Tom Petty forever, everyone!