PHOTOS: TOREY MUNDKOWSKY | On Wednesday night, one of the more high-energy rock concerts currently touring came through DC. Brandon Flowers belted out a fun, hour and a half set at Echostage that had the crowd buzzing well after the show ended.
Brandon Flowers achieved notoriety as the lead singer and keyboardist for the Las Vegas rock band The Killers, whose success began with their debut album which reached triple platinum status and has continued in the decade since. The band made it clear that Flowers’s first solo album, Flamingo in 2010, was a project in addition to The Killers, not a departure.
While Flamingo was a successful release, Flowers really found his footing as a solo artist with his second album released earlier this year, The Desired Effect. The credits feature Bruce Hornsby, Tony Levin, and other notable musicians who add a dimension that was lacking from the first album. Over half of the songs on the LP are potential singles, and he showcased many of them during his set.
Flowers displayed his Vegas roots as he hopped on stage and donned a shimmering gold suit jacket, bowed to his audience, and ripped into the first track from The Desired Effect, “Dreams Come True.” Flowers’ accompaniment, which included two backup singers, a small brass section, along with the standard guitar-bass-keyboard-drum set up, was shrouded in smoke and shadows, allowing Brandon’s high energy showmanship to run the night.
I think that John Mellencamp might be the coolest guy on the planet. He’s the personification of the most interesting man in the world. He’s got the stories, the songs, the women, the style, and an entourage of brilliant musicians and producers to back it all up. He’s the very definition of Americana and often cited as the only roots rocker who matters to his generation and pretty much my lifetime.
Touring in support of his latest record Plain Spoken, Mellencamp treated a sold out Paramount Theater to a stellar performance of both his classic and new songs. I loved the fact that Mellencamp only peppered in the “hits” during the first half of the set so that he could focus on the newer material right out of the gate.
Opening up with “Lawless Times” and then straight into “Troubled Man,” both cuts from the brilliant new record, was the perfect way to set the stage and the mood for the evening. Here’s a guy who continues to evolve as a songwriter while not forgetting to celebrate his past. Later on in the set would be another track from the album, my absolute favorite, “The Isolation of Mister.” If you don’t have this record yet, it’s the best thing he’s done in the past ten years in my opinion. I would have been OK with him simply playing the new record in its entirety.
All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.
Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.
“No, you weren’t thinking about listening to a barber shop quartet today, but here you are getting ready to push “play!” You’ll be glad you did, too. Group harmony—and barber shop quartets—aren’t always music that people search out, but once they get hooked and entranced in their tight, mystical, alluring and meditative sound, it’s an almost religious experience. It’s performing music the way that music was first performed, by utilizing the one musical instrument that we are all born with: the human voice. Talk about analog!
A cappella music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when folks think about music from New Jersey, but that’s the point. You never know what you’ll be listening to when you listen to music from the Garden State. So, join us and listen to the vocal group that shares the namesake of this very show: Garden State Sound on ‘Garden State Sound.'” —EZT
“Vinyl to me is like caviar, the Taj Mahal of the musical experience. A fully formed love affair, beautiful and elegant. It’s the full sensory experience.”
“I suppose my first memories of vinyl records are from visiting my aunt and uncle when I was very young. They had an old wooden milk crate full of the classics. I was in love with Diana Ross’s voice from the second I heard it at 3 or 4 years old and all those old Motown tunes were the soundtrack of my early childhood.
The thing that sticks out the most to me from that period was the covers of the albums in relation to the music. You got this huge picture of a person and that was who was coming out of the speakers. It really leaves a lasting impression on a young mind when it’s presented like that. I remember rocking a bandana everywhere I went when I was a little guy just because Willie Nelson had one on in his album cover and Willie was my main man when I was a toddler.
Vietnam: a war fought against ghosts, amidst the phantom voices in the mist rising above the rice paddies, involving ambushes sudden and lethal followed by air strikes that lit up the jungle like a carnival ground gone mad. No rhyme, reason, or rationale, a conflict fought by children who neither knew nor cared about the hows and whys, an endless scrimmage against wizards and demons waged by means of counter-magic and amulets, a string of human ears worn around the neck.
It was a war carried to an invisible enemy in hot LZs and during night patrols, a war of slow attrition that finally broke America’s young men down, and led them to unleash their impotent rage against innocent women and children, leaving mutilated bodies piled and bloated in a ditch in a village called My Lai. It was the first war with its own drugs and soundtrack, and one day it just vanished, poof, like a magic trick where the man sawed in half really gets sawed in half, but somehow manages to make it home, with his bright burden of unspeakable memories, shadowed by his own cast of unshakable ghosts, bathed in the night sweats brought on by secrets never to be divulged.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call the Black Angels’ Passover a Vietnam War concept album, but it sure sounds like one to me. Listening to it, I can almost see the phantom shadows of Charlie hiding in the high grass, hear the mortar rounds, see the Huey gunships swooping in low over the rice paddies, 2.75 inch rockets obliterating everything—water buffalo, ancient farmers in pajama pants with wispy beards and primitive hoes—in sight. It’s a dark LP, phantasmagoric and psychedelic and dirge-like, and it evokes the feel of paranoia and dread—the prevailing emotional realities of Vietnam—as well as anything I’ve ever heard. It’s also beautiful, as beautiful as the deadly jungles the grunts patrolled so long ago, and it’s that beauty that keeps me coming back to Passover, like a guy who signs on for a second tour of duty without having the slightest notion why.
Vinyl Tuesday gets its launch: “Vinyl Tuesday is an international initiative started by independent retailers to highlight and promote vinyl record releases every Tuesday. Furthermore, it’s a way to support and celebrate physical retail in this digital age where information on new vinyl releases can easily be overlooked or forgotten by the consumer.”
Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger team up for record label drama, Set in 1970s New York, Vinyl will explore the drug-fuelled music business at the dawn of punk and disco, starring Olivia Wilde and Jagger’s son James
Paul McCartney Preps ‘Tug of War,’ ‘Pipes of Peace’ Reissues: “Along with the various multi-disc versions, both albums will be reissued as two-LP sets on 180-gram vinyl. The reissues of Tug of War and Pipes of Peace are available to pre-order now. They mark the latest installments in the ongoing Paul McCartney Archive Collection, which began with the re-release of McCartney and Wings’ 1973 LP, Band on the Run.”
Vinyl ruins, There may be some gold records to be found in Thrift Trader’s giveaways: As previously reported by the Reader, the mezzanine in the Hillcrest location of Thrift Trader collapsed early in the morning (around 4 a.m.) on June 22. The collapse was due to the weight of vinyl records and caused considerable damage to the building. The incident sent albums and other debris pouring onto the adjacent University Avenue sidewalk.
‘A Vinyl Affair’ – Wellington’s record fair – 29th August 2015 at San Fran! Fast becoming a fixture in the Wellington music lover’s calendar, ‘A Vinyl Affair – Wellington’s record fair’ is back again this month at San Fran on Cuba St.
ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON 4/17/15 | Greetings from Indio, California!
Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:
“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”
Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?
PHOTOS: ELENA HIBBS | This year’s edition of Forecastle Festival proved yet again that it is one of the country’s most enjoyable, user-friendly musical gatherings. Part of that is due to host city Louisville, Kentucky, an art-friendly upper South enclave huddled along the Ohio River. Its Waterfront Park, the festival’s location, is an inviting 85-acre greenspace that lends itself perfectly to Forecastle’s four stage set-up.
The majority of the festival’s success can be attributed to the excellent staff who, in partnership with AC Entertainment (the folks who bring you Bonnaroo), are focused on producing a unique cultural experience. This land-locked Love Boat keeps good vibes and good music flowing throughout its annual three-day cruise.
Heavy rains and flooding in the area over the last few weeks had caused the Ohio River to reach near-record heights, requiring some of the stages to be moved a little further inland from the river bank. The heat also played a bigger than usual role this year, with temps getting into the upper 90s. Forecastle handled the climate conditions in stride, providing free water refilling stations and multiple points offering free sunscreen.
If you needed a break from solar assault, there were plenty of shaded areas in which to cool down, including the circus tent-sized Bourbon Lodge. Speaking of which, I accidentally discovered that Four Roses Single Barrel and Gatorade Lemon-Lime makes a surprisingly refreshing cocktail. But I digress.
“One of my first memories, or experiences of vinyl was around 20 years ago—I was only 8 years old.”
“My dad was (and still is a little bit) an “old skool” DJ. He’d take in his homemade double deck from the shed along with a dozen boxes of vinyl. It was mostly 7″ singles. He once told me that he bought everything in the Top 40 every week for years. I found this quite fascinating. I can’t be distinct about which songs I heard first but I remember hearing songs like “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” and ZZ Top’s version of “Viva Las Vegas.”
Then about 5 years ago I asked my old man, “Hey, where are all those records you used to have?” He was storing them in an old leaking shed out the back! I think most people will be aware that records are not happy in cold damp spaces. So, I made a day of it and sieved through all the vinyl—some good, some bad, and some fucking awful. I took all the stuff I was into at the time, every Gun, Metallica, and a Maiden 7″ I could find.