Thursday, March 27, 2008

Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd. CD Review

This is the second cd for Panic At The Disco coming out 3 years after the first one. So we will see if they will hit the sophomore slump or continue to have success with is one. Pretty Odd is a bit odd over all but it really takes a lot of those 60's style stuff the Beatles and Beach Boys did and tries to relive that style.

I wasn't really sure if I would like this one or not. But I've got to tell you it's pretty good. They do really like to take a single song and change up the style of the song sometimes multiple times like a Rock Opera type song.

I really can't place them as a comparison of anything else out today. They really are a mix of several different bands all in one. That's what makes them unique. I've never seen them live, but if they can pull off all the changes in the songs on stage they are pretty talented. Hopefully I will see them some day live.

Overall it's a pretty good cd with a good mix of styles in the music and it certainly has a little bit of the 60's rock style in it. I like this one and certainly would recommend picking it up.

Track List:
1. We're So Starving
2. Nine In The Afternoon
3. She's A Handsome Woman
4. Do You Know What I'm Seeing?
5. That Green Gentleman [Things Have Changed]
6. I Have Friends In Holy Spaces
7. Northern Downpour
8. When The Day Met The Night
9. Pas De Cheval
10. The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know
11. Behind The Sea
12. Folkin' Around
13. She Had The World
14. From A Mountain In The Middle Of The Cabins
15. Mad As Rabbits

The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely CD Review

The new cd from The Raconteurs is certainly a lot different from their first one, but it's fantastic. It has a pretty good mix of music on it and stretches the the band and shows their talents. Consolers of the Lonely is the first track on the cd and it has a nice beat, mixes it up a bit but pretty up tempo all the way through. Solute Your Solution moves from the start and keeps a fast beat going and towards the end gets a bit of a funk beat, pretty cool.

You Don't Understand slows it down a bit and is a nice soulful recording. Old Enough gives you a little more of the talent and brings in some fiddle to the mix. This one reminds me of a lot of early 70's type stuff.

The Switch and the Spurs is a good little story adding some horns to the mix and feels like more of a story as you listen to it. Hold Up gets back to the rock, it has an interesting start and makes me think of something off of The Who's Tommy for bit, but just slightly. Top Yourself brings you back to a little slide guitar mellow type song. It's a nice tune and has a great beat.

Many Shades of Black brings back the horns up front and moves into a mellow beat like something out of the 50's - maybe even a song that could be in Grease :-)

Five on the Five is back to the start of with a really rockin' song - getting Jack White to play a little more of the White Stripes style. Attention starts of with a deep bass and drums then kicks into your typical rock song.

Rich Kid Blues is the ballad style song reminding me of many of the old Who rock songs telling a story and changing up the beats through out. It's a pretty cool tune. These Stones Will Shout starts off with a nice accoustic riff and gets a little more rockin' as it goes along.

Carolina Drama finished off the cd with a ballad song telling a story about a disfunctional family and it's life and drama. It's a nice mix of music styles through it all.

I was really impressed with the overall music on this cd. I would certainly pick this one up, it's pretty enjoyable. I wasn't a big White Stripes fan at first and really let them grow on me. The Raconteurs take it a step further and really have put out some good music. I still like the music Jack White did for Cold Mountain. It shows the versitility of his music and what he can do. The band over all work well together and are really talented. Pick this one up for sure.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Sessions CD/DVD Review

Almost 20 years after the original recording were done in The Church of the Holy Trinity, The Cowboy Junkies have returned in November 2006 along with some special guests to do a new recording of the sessions. This was captured on CD and DVD so that you not only get to hear the lovely new versions of the songs, but you get to see the making of the sessions as well.

The Cowboy Junkies brought along a few friends to help them enhance the sessions this time. Ryan Adams, Vic Chesnutt, Natalie Merchant & Jeff Bird all joined in to the sessions and did well contributing to various songs.

The original sessions were recorded in one day on November 27, 1987 and really were the start of good things to come for The Cowboy Junkies. The original cd was a good interpretation of cover songs done in a country, blues type format. The new revisited versions are even more polished up and in some cases expand on the originals. "Sweet Jane" the Lou Reed cover goes from a 4 minute song to nearly 9 minutes. "Working on a Building" grows as well to be over 6 minutes in length. Natalie Merchant backs a few songs and sings a beautiful version of "To Love is to Bury". Ryan Adams as well contributed through out the sessions, but takes the lead on " 200 More Miles" and does a fantastic job with it. Vic Chesnutt gives a good refreshing change to "Postcard Blues".

It's really great to hear the band go back and fill in the sessions with some of what they may have felt was left incomplete. This really is a fantastic cd and the DVD that captutes interviews, the sessions and more is really nice to watch. Pierre & Francois Lamoureux directed the docutmentary and did a great job. It's easy to find a copy of this in stores for about $17 or get it from the price is about the same.

Track List:
1. Mining for Gold
2. Misguided Angel
3. Blue Moon Revisited
4. I Don't Get It
5. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
6. To Love Is to Bury
7. 200 More Miles
8. Dreaming My Dreams
9. Working on a Building
10. Sweet Jane
11. Postcard Blues
12. Walking After Midnight

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BSG - Season 4 - April 4th - Are You Ready!

Season 3 arrived last week on DVD, Friday Sci-Fi Channel kicks off the new season with a review of the past to catch people up to get ready for the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica.

I just picked up those season 3 DVDs last week and have been getting my fill of one of the best shows on TV. If you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica I would highly recommend setting the Tivo and going back starting with the Mini-Series and catch up through the first three seasons. I think it's been one of the best written shows and has one of the best casts out there right now.

Without giving anything away to those who have not watched the series, but plan to. Battlestar Galactica in a quick summary is about the Humans building Cylons to help do the dirty work and then one day the Cylons revolt and destroy the 12 colonies and those who survive decide it's time to look for the mythical place called Earth. This is the journey and it's awesome.

You have some amazing people in this series over the years. Edward James Olmos plays Admiral Adama, Mary Mcdonnell is President Roslin, Grace Park is Boomer, Katee Sackhoff is Starbuck and there are many others including the original Lee Adama - Richard Hatch as well as Lucy Lawless and Dean Stockwell. This show has been awesome from one end to the other and has had some good twists and turns in time. You won't regret watching it, you will be hooked.

Tune in April 4th to the Sci-Fi Network to see the start of the final season.

AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem

Now this is one I would wait until it's on cable - not sure it's even worth seeing this one on DVD. There really is no story at all, it's all about the action and killing. That's apparent when they kill a kid off in the first five minutes and then have an alien explode from his chest.

I honestly don't know why I'm even writing a review of this one. It had no story it left room open for us to be tortured by more of these horrible high priced B movies.

I honestly can say that there is nothing in this movie that was even worth the 90 minutes of watching. Aliens invade and Predators destroy, most people die except the few lead roles.

This movie blows.

Rating: 0 out of 4 stars

Once - Movie Review

This movie was recommended by a friend and I finally got around to seeing it. It's an interesting film that deals with one mans messed up situation of living with his father after a break up and never seems to be going anywhere. He sings on the street corner to get his songs out and for a few pounds here and there. Glen Hansard plays the Irish street singer/vacuum repair guy. He meets this woman played by Markéta Irglová who sells flowers on the street and lives at home with her mother. She really likes his music and challenges him a bit to sing and as they build an odd sort of relationship, he gets her to open up and sing as well.

The story really follows the sort of dry progression of getting the two to start playing music and eventually recording a group of songs with a backing band. It gives the Irishman his motivation to go to London to try and make it as a musician. Without telling the whole story we will leave it there.

I enjoyed the film mainly for the music more than anything. It had a sort of Before Sunrise feel to me that the man meets the woman and has a limited time to spend with them. It's slow at parts and awkward, but the music really makes the movie hit the spot. For that I would recommend seeing it.

I don't own the soundtrack, yet, but will probably pick it up as they really sounded great playing in the film.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Friday, March 21, 2008

Horton Hears A Who! - Movie Review

If you have young kids this is one you want to go see. Horton Hears a Who! is a Dr. Seuss classic brought to the big screen with Jim Carrey as the voice of Horton and Steve Carell as the mayor of Whoville. The annimation in this film is fantastic. The creators of Ice Age were involved and if you have seen that, then you know what you will be seeing.

There are a few parts that might get a 2 year old covering their eyes, but for the most part it's a fun movie and keeps the interest of the kids from the start to the end. I certainly would say it's enjoyable for adults as well.

So this weekend if it's raining, find yourself a good theater to go and see this movie.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Bridge - Review of a Almost Disturbing Documentary

After watching this documentary, I'm not sure I will ever look at the Golden Gate Bridge the same again. Filmed over the course of one year, 2004, The Bridge tells the story of several of those who decided to end their lives with one giant leap.

The Bridge is directed by Eric Steel. It is a collection of interviews with the families and friends of those who had jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge as well as one person who survived the jump. It was pretty apparent from the family and friends who are interviewed through out the documentary that the people who jumped had long thought through the process before doing so. In several cases, it wasn't the first time the person had attempted to kill themselves. In others, there was depression and bi-polar issues for many years.

I think they were trying to capture the why. Why the Golden Gate Bridge of all places? What makes it a place that people want to end their lives. The obvious answer is that it is almost certain death. Not many have survived the fall and not many will.

I found the documentary to be really interesting because of how they were able to locate the families and tell a bit about these people we are about to see jump off the bridge. The one thing that bothered me a bit was that you actually do see these people being talked about standing on the bridge and then eventually as their story unfolds they show them taking the leap. Not all of them, but a couple of them. It was really strange to see this, really morbid.

I think that this one is worth seeing if you have a good open mind, but don't get any ideas of heading to San Fran and having a leap.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Counting Crows - Saturday Night & Sunday Mornings CD Review

Now here we go again with a classic band and a five year break since their last studio recording. The Counting Crows have been a favorite of mine for many years and even though they have continued to tour and play along the way, it's refreshing to hear them put out a new cd.

Saturday Night & Sunday Mornings starts out pretty rocking then settles in a bit and falls in line with most of their other tunes. I think I saw them last about 5 years back at The Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, CA. It was an acoustic show, but fantastic. They sounded great and played some great songs in the time they had on stage.

This cd comes with 14 songs ranging from rockin' to ballad. Adam sounds as great as he did on August and Everything After. I really dig the songs in the middle of the cd, some a little more mellow, but they just bring out the the sweet sound of the band. 1492 starts it off with the rolling drums and guitar coming in, gets you jumping off the chair, a nice tune. Hanging Tree starts off strangely and changes tune a bit, then comes back to a typical Counting Crows beat. What more would you expect than to have a song about California called Los Angeles. Nice guitar work through the song. This works into a pop type tune called Sunday. It's a fun little upbeat tune.

Insignificant brings it all together with a nice some good guitar work and Adam flowing smoothly along into the song. It's a great centerpiece to the cd. There are some really nice tunes in the middle like Washington Square, On Almost Any Sunday Morning and I Dream of Michelangelo. Some good acoustic and harmonica tones in these songs. well harmonica in Sunday at least. On Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago is a nice little piano ballad. Finishing it off with Come Around bringing out a jamming start and flowing back to a nice little tune.

Track Listing:

Hanging Tree
Los Angeles
Washington Square
On Almost Any Sunday Morning
When I Dream of Michelangelo
Anyone But You
You Can't Count on Me
Le Ballet Dor
On a Tuessday in Amsterdam Long Ago
Come Around

Overall I'm pretty impressed with this new cd from Counting Crows. They have waited a bit long to put a new one out, but it's a good one for sure. I look forward to seeing them next month at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS it should be a good show in a nice small venue.

R.E.M. - Accelerate CD Review

Well we have a new REM cd for the first time in four years. Seems like they are trying to get a little back to the roots of their old days and play some good old alternative rock. I'm not really a fan of the first two tracks on the cd. I feel like they are trying to be something they shouldn't be. From that point on I really like the track selection. Supernatural Superserious reminds me of the good old days of Document or Lifes Rich Pageant. Following it up with Hollow Man kind of keeps me thinking of those good old REM days and it really follows through in the next few songs as well. Mr. Richards is a little different in style, but I like the style with some good guitar going through as Michael Stipe sings a good constant song.

Over all, I really like the new cd. I lost touch with REM for a bunch of years because after Out of Time I really felt like they lost what I liked about them. So I sort of just walked away and didn't pay much attention to them. When I heard the new cd was coming out I had a listen and really enjoyed it after I got past the first two songs. I really feel like they decided to get back to what made them good.

Track Listing:

1. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
2. Man-Sized Wreath
3. Supernatural Superserious
4. Hollow Man
5. Houston
6. Accelerate
7. Until The Day Is Done
8. Mr. Richards
9. Sing For The Submarine
10. Horse To Water
11. I'm Gonna DJ

The first time I saw REM was on the Document tour back in November of 1987 in Madison, WI. It was a fantastic show and Michael Stipe just blew me away with the intensity of his performance. He had long hair and wore about 6 layers of clothing and slowly made his way down to the final suit. I really wish that they would have recorded a DVD of one of the performances from that tour. I would love to see that tour again and relive the good old days. I have seen them a couple times since, but nothing was ever as good as that tour for me.

I see they have a DVD out from 2003 and it looks like they went back to playing some of the good old classics. I may get that one and report back on that next.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Wilco - 9:30 Club Washington DC - Audio Review

Wilco played a gig live two weeks ago at the Riviera in Chicago which was the 4th night of their homestead series as they are a band from Chiccago. This was broadcast on WXRT and was an amazing show. You can certaily find copies of it floating around like at the date of that show was 2/19/2008.
Now, just over a week later they played the 9:30 Club in Washington DC and it was broadcast by NPR's All Songs Considered live concert series. You can listen to it for yourself at All Song Considered Live: Wilco.
All Songs Considered has done a number of quite amazing shows over the past couple of years and has now made many of them available as poscasts. When you go to the like and click on podcast you will see many great artists live shows out there like Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, Neko Case, The New Pornographers, The Decemberists, Art Brut, Nickel Creek, Iron & Wine, Okkervill River and many more, some 60 or so shows currently available. I really hope that this one will make it out to the collection as well.
As there are alread some really nice audience recordings of this show, it would be great to have the one directly from All Songs Considered. Not sure if that will happen as this is actually the 3rd time they have done a live show for NPR according to it's website.
This is a fantastic one to listen to, well over two hours of fantastic songs from all the years they've been together.
Sky Blue Sky is the latest cd to be released by Wilco. It certainly takes them back to more of their original style in music, when they got started. I've been a fan of Wilco for many years and I really like the sound of the new cd.
The setlist for this show was as follows:
Sunken Treasure
Mountain Bed
Company in My Back
You Are My Face
Side with the Seeds
She's a Jar
Shot in the Arm
Handshake Drugs
Pot Kettle Black
Roses Bloom
Impossible Germany
Someday Soon
Box Full of Letters
Always in Love
Jesus Etc.
Hate It Here
I'm the Man
Humming Bird
On and On and On
Via Chicago
California Stars
Casino Queen
I'm a Wheel
The whole show was a highlight to me. Personally I loved how it started of with Sunken Treasure going into Mountain Bed. Some other greats Handshake Drugs, Impossible Germany, Jesus Etc., Walken and Casino Queen were all great.
The last time I saw them in Kansas City this past October, many of these same songs were played and it was an awesome show to have been at.
If you can't make it to see them live, I would highly recommend listening to some of their live shows like this one on NPR as well as the WXRT show from Chicago. They put out a double live cd Kicking Television a couple years back in 2006 that is certainly worth going out and buying or downloading from iTunes.
Wilco have always been an impressive live band to see and I hope someday, if one doesn't exist, they will do a full show concert DVD with HD Sound Quality. That would be amazing.
Go to the link above and have a listen - give yourself some time as it's a good long show.