Monday, September 21, 2009

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Review

Released exclusively through iTunes and Target, Pearl Jam has started a new chapter, by leaving their record label and putting Backspacer out independently. The other cool thing they did is they give you a link to get two free live convert downloads. So be sure to load the CD to iTunes or buy it at iTunes and put it in the player and click on the CD cover and it will bring you up to a web link where you can click on the pictures. Check them all out, but the train in the upper left will link you to choose from 2 of 11 live shows. Hint - if you have multiple email addresses, you can register on each one and get more free live shows! Also on iTunes they give you a free video of The Fixer as well as a 10 minute making of the CD movie that's really neat. I would highly recommend checking both of those out even if you don't own an iPod.

The first few songs really rock you out pretty good in typical Pearl Jam style. I have to say I'm really impressed with the new CD and the style in which they recorded this one. Check out the iTunes video for sure just to get a glimpse it's well worth it.

Gonna See My Friend starts you off with a jamming tune and keeps going through Got Some and The Fixer. All of them have that Pearl Jam feel to them and are just good fun tunes to listen to.

Just Breathe slows it down, but really is an awesome song. It shows the diversity of the band with their ability to change it up. The guitar work is nice as well as the backing musicians that play on it. This one is my favorite on the CD.

Amongst the Wave is another nice song that's a little on the slower side, but makes me think of my days hanging out on the beaches of Southern California. Just the line "riding high amongst the waves" puts me back in my SoCal days and this is sort of a ballad type song in a way, that really finished off pretty strong.

Unknown Thoughts again starts you out with a little guitar and Eddie singing and build up with some piano and drums kicking in along as it rolls. Then Eddie starts getting into it. It really shows his passion in his voice and again is a nice fit to the last couple of songs and gels well.

Now we kick it back to Supersonic that gets the feet thumping and gives you a nice classic jam. Not sure who to compare it to, but it really just keeps going and is a nice tune with some good guitar solos in it.

Slowing it back down a bit with Speed of Sound you get a nice little slow ballady type song. Somewhat Neil Youngish to me, but could also be just a good PJ slow one. Force of Nature makes you think Joe Satriani or guitar wizard is ready to jam one out and then you hear Eddie and it kicks in to a regular PJ standard song. It Has nice guitar work through it and jams out nicely.

The End finishes the Cd off really nice. A good mellow tune with a start of guitar and Eddie and adds some good backing strings along it. You really hear how nice Eddie can sound as he has a symphony style backing. I bet he would do well singing Pearl Jam songs with a symphony in the back, that would be awesome.

I missed Eddie on the solo tour, but that's because no one seems to come to Kansas City much. Once in a while we get lucky. So I hope to sometime hear Eddie solo and even though I have seen Pearl Jam many times in the past 20 years, I would love to see them come to town as well. There are some great 2009 Bootleg shows for sale on their website for $9.99, check them out for sure. Chicago night two is really awesome. Go to and you will see them either in the store or just on the top page.

A really great CD. If I did give out stars on CDs this would get 5 for sure.

Track Listing:

1. Gonna See My Friend
2. Got Some
3. The Fixer
4. Johnny Guitar
5. Just Breathe
6. Amongst The Wave
7. Unthought Known
8. Supersonic
9. Speed Of Sound
10. Force Of Nature
11. The End

Friday, September 11, 2009

Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked Nick Hornby's latest work of fiction tells a brilliant tale of a couple Annie and Duncan who share a love for the musical artist Tucker Crowe, who fell off the face of the earth twenty some years back. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker's music and the moments he had in those years. When they return from a trip to the US to follow Tucker, from the place of birth, the break up with Juliet to the Toilet that is said to be the place that he last was before never being heard from again, a package awaits Duncan. Now Duncan is gone and ignored his mail, so Annie opens the letter to find a copy of Juliet, Naked a demo of the original Juliet songs as well as a couple unreleased. She contemplated waiting for Duncan to listen or does she listen before.

Duncan arrive home to Annie listening and comes to realize that this is a new almost never heard CD of Tucker's music and Annie has violated it by listening to it first. So from there the story takes it's way into what becomes a pretty interesting book in a typical Nick Hornby style.

If you read the cover or the description on the web, you know there's a break and through posts of Annie's Tucker reads them and corresponds and they both learn from this experience.

Overall I really enjoyed the concept of where Nick was going with the book, but for some reason I still feel a little at a loss at the end. I feel that even though he did add closure to the characters, that I really wanted more.

Still it was a fun and relatively easy read. I couldn't put the book down as I wanted to see what was going to happen next and he jumps from the different family situations and the bringing them together. I have a tendency to be a little like Duncan having the blinders on with certain artists and when other criticize, I wonder what the hell are they thinking. Still overall in the end you start to realize the same flaws or thoughts.

As enjoyable as it was to read, I just kept wanting more details, more development of the characters and all that surrounded them. I think I just was wanting a 500 page novel that went on and on and after two nights of reading this 249 page book it was over. Getting to the end of a book can sometimes be an amazing thing and others making you want to scream for more. This one I wanted more and that's because Nick did such a good job bringing the characters together I was waiting for something big to happen and in the end what I wanted wasn't there. Still I loved it and loved how he showed the obsession of one person and the coming together of an unlikely pair. It was certainly in lines with his other works and I would recommend picking it up and having a read.

It will be out in the US September 29th and has already been released in the UK. Here's where to get the UK version: and the US version at:

Click here to view Nick's website and also find out when he will be out on his book tour. I really would love to see him stop in Kansas City, but I did have the pleasure of meeting him at Book Soup in Los Angeles a few years back on one of his previous reading and signings.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - Through the Devil Softly

Not until I read the product description on have I ever heard Hope Sandoval's music referred to as California psychedelic dream pop, but it has a really nice ring to it.

Through the Devil Softly is the second full length CD by Hope & The Warm Inventions since Bavarian Fruit Bread in 2001. I still wonder what Hope has been up to for the past eight years. I know she has done a few things from time to time with different bands, but until recently nothing major.

There are three songs off this CD that are available in a single format. "Blanchard" can be downloaded from iTunes, "Wild Roses" is on an Air France soundtrack and "Trouble" is a free download for those who sign up for Hopes newsletter at or on her myspace page. She also has a Facebook fan page to get information as well. Technology today gets the word out there pretty quick. Hope will be out on tour for the next couple months. Once again as it seems ever band I want to see decides to pass up on Kansas City and go from Denver to Minneapolis or Chicago. So Hope, I hope you decide to fit us in along the way, I would love to see you live.

"Blanchard" is the first song on the CD and it would certainly come across as California psychedelic dream pop to me. A good mellow tune that will lead to what will be a lot more of them along the way. This is a nice song to start the CD off with. "Wild Rose" is just as dark and is one that can be heard on the Air France CD. Another really nice song to hear.

"For the Rest of Your Life" has a haunting sort of glow to it with almost a chanting voice coming from hope. The electric guitar sort of rings out through the song. A beautiful song with a dark side to it.

"Lady Jessica and Sam" keeps the mellowness going with Hope and an acoustic guitar playing. A nice song with good guitar work and Hopes beautiful voice fills your ears. "Sets the Blaze" adds some different instruments and some backing vocals, the violin plays another nice melody finishing off with a windy sort of coldness.

Listening to this CD isn't going to get you to jump out of your chair and dance a jig, but maybe a nice cigar or glass of scotch with this on in the background would be suited fine. I personally like to listen as I work. It gives me a nice calming feeling as I listen through it.

"Thinking Like That" is another Hope plus acoustic with a continuous pattern for the first half and adds a few instruments and a little more sound. sort of makes me feel like I'm halfway between a musical concert and a symphony mix. "There's a Willow" brings back an electric guitar with a classic old style sound to it, kind of that 50's beat of the mellow sort and echoness to it.

"Trouble" gives you the full band sound again with the hauntingness to it. I almost feel like it's going to jump from the mellow tones into a raging California beach sound, but it stays mellow with Hope and gets a little speed and goes right back, very balladry, if that's a word.

"Fall Aside" I think has Hope playing the Glockenspiel at the start, unless it's someone else. My guess is it is Hope. Same vocal tempo as most of the CD. Pretty nice little song, almost makes me want to get up and March around. "Bluebird" makes me feel like something out of Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut". A good song that just keeps moving and still remains in place.

The CD finishes off with "Satellite". As you hear the start you wonder what is going on. It has a sort of a feel like you are listening to a 45rpm from the old days. Different but pretty cools sound. I'm sure that was the effect they were going for.

Overall as I said before, this is one you want to listen to as you are just hanging out and doing stuff. Maybe put it on with some candles going in the low light or maybe listen to at your office so you keep your blood pressure down.

I know Hope likes to play live in a soft lit room with the lights coming from behind. I think that as you listen to her you just imagine what a beautiful person it is up there that you can't see. She really is a beautiful person and has an outstanding voice. This is a CD I would recommend as well as her works with Mazzy Star and the first CD Bavarian Fruit Bread. Also check out "Sometimes Always" with The Jesus and Mary Chain on Stones and Dethroned Hope sounds awesome!

Please pick up the CD and support the Band, it's a brilliant one and a must to have in the collection.

Hope - Please come to Kansas City, I would love to see you perform.

Here's the track listing of the new CD:

Through The Devil Softly

2.Wild Roses
3.For The Rest Of Your Life
4.Lady Jessica and Sam
5.Sets The Blaze
6.Thinking Like That
7.There's A Willow
9.Fall Aside
10.Blue Bird

Phish - Joy CD Review

After a five year break Phish came back out and toured and now have put out a new studio CD, Joy. This Cd was produced by Steve Lillywhite and many of the songs have already been heard on the tour in live format. I personally have never been a huge fan of Phish's Studio CDs compared to the live material, but still you have to start somewhere.

This is one studio CD that has been growing on me as I've been hearing the tracks on it. There are some catchy tunes that really have a nice beat. "Backwards Down the Number Line" is a good tune to jump right into it. Fun song, a little pop tune, but pretty cool.

I really dig "Ocelot", good song with a good beat. Keeps me just wanting to hear more as I hear it. That goes into "Kill Devil Falls" which again is a good road trip tune. Nice speedy rhythym to it and another good one to hear. "Light" slows it down at the start and sort of goes into a ballad type song.

"Time Turns Elastic" came from Trey's little symphony project that he worked on this past year. It's a longer song about 16 minutes, but a good jam and really fun.

Page sings a few songs on the CD and are both pretty fun, bluesy tunes. "I've Been Around" and "Sugar Shack" are his songs on the CD.

"Twenty Years Later" finishes it off and it keeps you wanting to hear more. How you can fit 10 Phish songs on a CD takes someone like Steve Lillywhite. If it wasn't for him, I bet this would be a 90 minute jam session.

Fun CD that has a couple bonus songs on the iTunes version and if you buy the Deluxe version from the Phish website, you get a full bonus CD and a DVD of highlights from the June 2009 tour dates.

I really enjoy this one and would recommend picking it up for sure.

Track Listing:

1. Backwards Down the Number Line
2. Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan
3. Joy
4. Sugar Shack
5. Ocelot
6. Kill Devil Falls
7. Light
8. I Been Around
9. Time Turns Elastic
10. Twenty Years Later

Monday, September 07, 2009

Blink 182 - Weezer 09/04/2009 Bonner Springs, KS

Friday Night September 4th was the annual 96.5 Buzz Beach Ball at Capital Federal Park, Sandstone Amp, Bonner Springs, KS. The show featured 11 bands, but the main show of the night was Weezer and Blink 182. I arrived just for the set of Weezer and then Blink 182. So my review only consists of the two bands.

It had rained all day and was a bit of a mess out in the grass, but overall by 7:45pm when Weezer came on, everyone was there and ready to go. The place wasn't sold out tonight, probably closer to 17k instead of the 18k needed to sell out. Pretty big crowd for Sandstone. The last show I was there for was Jack Johnson and that was sold out.

Weezer came out all dressed in USMT Track Suits and jammed out Black Sabbath's "Warpigs" and jammed it into "Hash Pipe". They jammed out some good songs and put on a pretty entertaining show playing some of the classics like "Undone: The Sweater Song", "Buddy Holly" and "Beverly Hills". I know they have a new CD coming out, but not sure if any of the songs were from it. They had a fun time and had the crowd dancing and singing for the whole set. They finished it off with "Should I Stay or Should I Go" a Clash tune that I love. They did a good version of the song. Weezer are a bit of a nerdy band, but fun. I thought they put on a really good performance and judging from the reaction of the crowd, I think they were well liked.

Shortly after 9pm Blink 182 was ready to take the stage. Wang Chung was playing on the loudspeaker and then the curtains opened and Blink 182 was out and jamming "Dumpweed" and really got the crowd up on their feet and going. They jumped right into "Feel This" from their self titled CD and then took a break to spew out some typical potty mouth comments about penises and F'ing their moms and all that as usual. If you ever have listened to The Mark, Tom and Travis show unrated cd, you will have heard some pretty bad one liners tossed back and forth between Tom and Mark.

The set continues strong with "Rock Show and into "What's My Age Again?". They started to get a little mellow for a few songs or at least start mellow and then jam in. During the show at times I think either Tom was just off or the sound man was off, not sure which. To me it sounded more like Tom was off at times, just not catching right with Mark during the songs. Still overall they did sound like they were in good form and having fun.

What blew my mind was all the 10-12 year old kids who were allowed to be at the show with all the sex talk and F words flying around. Yes I know they have all heard it before, but still, just doesn't seem right. Especially when they are singing every single song for this band who started a good 20 years ago.

Tom told some silly stories and acted a bit silly through most of the show where Travis just jammed out on the drums and Mark was a little less mouthy as Tom. They played "I Miss You" and "Stay Together for the Kids" with "Down" and "Always" to follow. Jamming in "First Date" and "Man Overboard" were some good highlights to the show.

Later Tom yelled "This is a song about all the guys penises out there" and jumped into "All the Small Things" always a fun song to hear. From there they continues a good mix of songs and really played a nice set. I personally really wanted to hear "
Aliens Exist", but it was not to be tonight.

The set lasted about 90 minutes or a little longer and they played some good songs and talked some really stupid potty humor through the show. Tom kept sitting on the ground during jams and I kept thinking it's because he's out of shape and needs a break. Mark was bouncing all over the stage and seemed like he was in top form and really having a good time out there. That's the one thing I like about Mark and hope to eventually see him with his next side project if it's +44 or something else, I'm sure it will be awesome.

Hopefully Blink will stay together for a while and do another Cd as expected and then maybe the boys will continue their side project. I don't know that Angels and Airwaves has achieved the heightened success that Tom wants, but they are a fun band to hear and +44 is really entertaining.

So not Blink at their best from the old days, but a really good show and a fun time out at Sandstone Amp. Next time I hope they play Crossroads or Uptown, something smaller and more to my liking. We will see if they last after this one.

Blink 182 SetList:
Dumpweed, Feeling This, The Rock Show, What's My Age Again?, Obvious, I Miss You, Stay Together For the Kids, Down, Always, Stockholm Syndrome, First Date, Man Overboard, Going Away To College, Not Now, All The Small Things, Reckless Abandon, Josie, Anthem Part 2. Encore: Carousel, Dammit.

Weezer Setlist:
Warpigs/Hash Pipe, Troublemaker, Undone (The Sweater Song), Surf Wax America, Perfect Situation, I Want You To, Say It Ain't So, My Name Is Jonas, Island in the Sun, Why Bother?, Pork and Beans, Beverly Hills, Buddy Holly, Should I Stay Or Should I Go?