Archive for July, 2010

29
Jul
10

Print o’ the week #4 – Powerhouse Factories : Revho print

Thought that this was a cool print from artists Powerhouse Factories.  This print they did for a Reverend Horton Heat show in 2006.  Only 2 prints remain out of an edition of 75, so if you want one you’d better hustle.  The print costs about $50, so not bad at all and is 24 x 18.

Powerhouse Factories is more than just a group of artists making gig posters, they seem to also have a strong graphic design service as well.

Regardless, check them out and the many cool prints they offer, sadly most are sold out.  For the Reverend Horton Heat print and many more, click here.

28
Jul
10

Pigeon Poop, Poncho’s and Kings of Leon

I’m sure that many readers have already learned about the recent Kings Of Leon show in St.Louis, MO where the band walked off stage after three songs due to a deluge of pigeon poop.  Although I agree that being pooped on by a bird at any time is disgusting and revolting, in rock n’ roll you can’t just wimp out and stop playing a show! When the tickets cost $50 (jeez, are these guys really worth $50 in this economy to see live?) you tough it out and give the people their money’s worth.

Regardless of the ticket price, you don’t cancel a show due to bird poop, even it you get a drop on your cheek; just wipe it off and rock on.  As one fan stated over the cancellation ” I’m sure these guys deal with worst things back stage as rockstars, and like it too!”, funny right? 

I think band has proved themselves to be a bunch of primadonna’s that are more concerned about getting their Armani black t-shirts dirty rather than worrying about the multitude of people who fought traffic jams, stood in line for tickets, and waited weeks (if not months) for a show in their home town, just to see them play.

 The thing that struck me the most is that these guys are millionaire’s (several times over I’m sure), none of the roadies could have zinged out to Wal Mart, Target, or some tourist trap in St.Louis and snagged some $2 plastic poncho’s?  I think the fans would have thought highly of the band if they stopped playing, dissed the venue and the promoters for the disgusting conditions, donned some poncho’s and played on.  Make a positive out of a negative and retain your fan base; clearly the Kings of Leon are ok with playing in dingy dives, stapling paper flyers on telephone poles promoting their next gig, and eating peanut butter sandwiches for dinner again out of their car.  Remember Kings of Leon, you’ve got the dream job of getting paid tens of thousands for 3 hours playing your instruments…I have no sympathy.  Think about the janitors that get $7 and hour cleaning the venue bathrooms after your show, tell me who’s got more of a gripe to walk off the job?

I recall the 1994 Woodstock show when people were flinging large amounts of mud and sod at Green Day and those guys took it in stride, actually playing as it hit their faces and instruments, they knew the fans ate it up and regardless if they sounded horrible, the show must go on.  Clearly the Kings of Leon need to learn from this and hopefully regain the attention of St.Louis fans.  I say boycott the band in St. Louis until they play free show in the park, what do you think?

Is that a real poncho or is that a Sear’s poncho?”  – Frank Zappa

20
Jul
10

print o’ the week #3 – dirk fowler

No pun intented, but this print really caught my “eye” and I felt it was worth mention on the blog for my “print o’ the week” pick.  Dirk Fowler and his wife Carol are based out of Lubbock, Texas where they work as graphic designers; on the side they produce some mighty fine concert prints like this one for the band Deer Tick. 

I like what these two are doing with their designs and you will notice that they never seem to stick to one type of pattern, so they really create some vibrant and electric designs that really grab your eye.  Good luck getting any of their Wilco posters, apparently they are quite the item on their site.

The featured print is an edition size of 50 and they only have 20 avialable to sell, so for a mere $25.00 you can grab yerself’ one!

Check out this print and some other great art these guys are creating by clicking here.  And don’t forget to tell us which one is your favorite!

You can read more about this great art medium in my post The “Art” of The Music Business and see other “prints o’ the week” by clicking here and here.

16
Jul
10

HiFi Celebrates 20,000 hits and counting..thanks!

 Thanks for the interest everyone and thanks for making making the HiFi Central offices worth coming to every morning! 20,000 hits let’s us know somebody is reading.

Check out store out and grab a shirt!

15
Jul
10

MIDLAKE – The Courage of Others (2010)

On Monday I posted my second installment of Print o’ The Week and some have emailed me asking what the Midlake in the print meant; good question right?  The print is actually concert poster created by Portland, Oregon artist Dan Stiles for a Midlake show in that city.  But, clearly more of an explanation and album review of the band Midlake would be appropriate.

I stumbled upon Midlake when I began to get interested in Iron and Wine; I had been a die hard Elliot Smith fan for years and the natural progression to these bands makes sense since to a degree they follow a similiar formula and would be catagorized in a similiar genre of music.  In my opinion if you are familiar with the bands Dolorean, Kingsbury Manx, or Chatham County Line and like indie-folk-rock, you will also find Midlake appealing as well. 

Midlake is not a new band by any means, they have actually been together since 2001 and have released 3 albums prior to The Courage of Others (2010).  Midlake’s previous album Trials of Van Occupanther (2006) brought the most notoriety for the band; although remaining relatively an underground album it did gain them a larger loyal following.

Mellow and serene, lying on your back on a sunny day staring at big puffy clouds and dreaming about life and what it all means would sum up what listening to Midlake is like.  Lead singer Tim Smith has a Thom Yorke  (Radiohead) quality to his singing, but defines himself with a lullaby quality that is complimented by the always apparent folky flute and piano balladesque indie-folk-r0ck tempos.   The Courage of Others takes the band down a similiar path as Van Occupanther, however, there is a greater sense of sincerity in this album.  The first song Acts of Man is a deeply moving, honest and just a simply fantastic arrangment highlighting the use of harmony that the band  mastered and created as a signature of their music.  Winter Dies starts off with a faster tempo that is quite unexpected and then regresses into a solid mellow mood that just continues to keep the album together. Songs like Small Mountain,  Core of Nature, and Rulers, Ruling All Things exemplify Midlake‘s wholehearted and ernest attention to detail writing songs over the course of four years between albums.  Like their songs, it is apparent that their work is not taken lightly and not rushed into with wreckless abandonment; clearly the band wants every album to be worthwhile to the one listening.

Midlake’s music is consistently mellow, this is not rock album by any means.  Midlake keeps the mood  and tempo consistent throughout every song.   That is not to say that Midlake’s music is monotonous or repetative, it’s not, however Midlake does keep to a pretty consistent formula never really straying one way or anothe.  In many ways this album, and their previous releases, feel like a story and each song is a the next chapter.   Midlake is not for everyone, for some they might find themselves absolutely bored to tears with this album; others might find it a true gem.  Yet, as I mentioned earlier, if you do like mellow folky-indie sounding  singers or bands you should like Midlake. They fall in between Nick Drake and Dolorean I guess.  If you are able to pick up a copy of The Trials of Van Occupanther do yourself a favor and check it out as well, it is a landmark album for the band.

Midlake is currently touring in Europe and I hope they swing back in the US for some dates.  The band hails out of Texas, so I’m sure upon their return they will play there first.  Check out Midlake’s website at www.midlake.net to hear a few songs in their entirety.

You can also listen to a dozen or few samples of Midlake’s music from various albums by clicking here .

14
Jul
10

REM – “Fables” 25th Anniversary CD set (1985/2010)

The past few weeks I’ve been motivated to blow the dust off of my CD collection (yes, I still have those physical discs), usually I rely on my Ipod for most of my collection to listen to these days, but upon going through the hundreds of discs I became reaquainted with an old friend, REM’s Out of Time.  This album is not only nostalgic to me in many ways, it also has a timeless quality which is clearly a hallmark of REM albums in  general.  

This past Tuesday (July 13th) REM released a 2-disc 25th anniversary edition of their landmark album Fables of The Reconstruction originally released in 1985.  I must admit I’ve never taken the time to listen to this album; somewhere I must have skipped it between Reckoning and Life’s Rich Pagaent; two other REM favorites as well.

From past reviews of the album it is considered mediocre in their discography. Fables is not a particularly memorable album for fans or the band, drummer Bill Berry had actually thought the album “sucked” compared to their previous efforts.  Some fans also consider it the last true REM album.  In retrospect and after many listenings by fans, perhaps it is now considered a “turning point” in the bands sound.  This album marked the first time the band decided not to record in their home town of Athens, GA and instead recorded in London, England. 

The 25th Anniversary Edition offers disc 1 with 11 remastered recordings  and disc 2 with 14 demo and alternative versions of the album recorded in Athens, GA before they departed to London.  The demo versions have never before been released and there is one song “Throw Those Trolls Away” that has never been released; so for a diehard REM fan I’m sure this will be something new and refreshing.

REM is working on a 15th studio album slated to be released next spring 2011.

12
Jul
10

Print o’ the Week #2 – Artist: Dan Stiles

The second installment of my “Print O’ The Week” posts is a print by artist Dan Stiles.  Dan is based out of Portland, Oregon and he comes up with some very cool, clever, and original designs for his prints.  His website is fun and you will find a plethora of band prints to choose from; most are from shows in the Portland area where the bands played. 

This print for the band Midlake I thought was eyecatching and very appealing…and hey, it’s a steal!  A limited edition run of 90, signed by Dan and only $24!  I think I might have to grab this one myself this afternoon.

Tell us what you think of the print!

Check out all the cool prints Dan Stiles has to offer by clicking here.

Check out my May post entitled The “Art” of the Music Business to learn more about this cool medium.

09
Jul
10

2010 Led Zeppelin Tour Thingy…thing..

About two months ago it was reported that Jason Bonham (son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham) would be putting together a 30 city tour of Zeppelin classics with his..ahem…”All-Star” band (gulp, uh oh! See previous post). 

The idea is a tribute to his father and his fathers death 30 years ago in 1980; 30 years = 30 tours so I’m sure you see where this is going.  I think it’s a neat idea and the show might be fun, but I’m cringing at 1. the ticket price and 2. who will be forming the band and especially the lead vocals.   Please don’t go digging up David Coverdale in some nursing home, just let him be.  Who would you pick to replace Plant HiFi readers? 

If you are lucky enough to see the first show I would assume some “special guests” might arrive, often things like this are rather predictable, no? 

After the much hyped possible Zeppelin Reunion Tour after they Atlantic Records Anniversary O2 arena gig in London a few years ago; this pales in comparison for announcements.  And we all know how awesome that tour was..ur..never was. But hey, Bohnam’s tour does at the very least provide us some solace that a Zeppeliny tribute thingy (in which someone related to a Zeppelin band member is…er… involved covering resembling Zeppelin) is in the works…but perhaps this Zeppelin-related thing too doesn’t count, or does it?

Does the son of a Zeppelin band member covering his fathers band count as a cover band?   Yes I guess to a degree.  Then again so what; he’s been living off his fathers legacy for years (and why not I say!), good for him.  My father sells flooring for a living, so man if you can make money off of your dads name (clearly I won’t be) as one of the most prolific drummers in rock  history, so therefore go for it. 

Update 9/23/10 – To any one who has read this blog and the previous information about the “supposed” line up for the Bonham project I sincerely apologize for the bogus information.  I had honestly believed (per what I considered a “credible” source) what the actual line up would be; clearly new information has developed that they were joking (and apparently had been all along, I simply did not get the humor at the time).  Our blog is intended to be factual and reliable for information, sorry for misleading anyone or creating rumours.

HiFi Central Sr. Management

08
Jul
10

Ringo Starr or Ringo “Space Cadet”?

I was talking to a friend the other day and he asked me if I was going to make the trip to see Ringo Starr on tour this summer at Radio City Music Hall in NYC and the answer would be a flat “no”!  

But, this question lead me to pay some thought to Ringo and his solo work…did I like it or not?  Honestly, when I think of Ringo the first thing that comes to mind these days is the movie Caveman; certainly not the highlight of his career but there isn’t much that Ringo has done that has really made me really pay homage to this ex-Beatle.

Yes, Ringo did contribute It Don’t Come Easy, With a Little Help From My Friends and Octopus’ Garden, and they are timeless classics in their own right, but what has he released in the last 10 albums?  For the past decade or so Ringo has toured with his “All-Star band”, which honestly are more “all-has-been’s” rather than “All-Stars”.  For instance, when was the last time you heard Rick Derringer (his big hit –  1974’s Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo) or Edgar Winter (his hits –  1975’s Frankenstein and Free Ride)?  Neither have rocked the charts for nearly 40 years, so “All-Stars” I think not.  Perhaps Ringo Starr and the 70’s One Hit Wonders might be a more appropriate  don’t you think?

I know that this entry will receive a plethora of hate mail and well, that is the risk that I am taking trouncing a former Beatle.  But in retrospect there is not much you can really say that Ringo has contributed past those few songs.  I like Ringo, I really do, but there is a part of me that just rolls my eyes that people consider him worthy of spending $85 – $110 to see,him and his band, yikes!  Unlike George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and of course, John Lennon Ringo’s contributions to music fare in comparision.

Perhaps it’s the simple fact that he was a Beatle with a cool name that appeals to people to spend the money; I really don’t know.  As a drummer Ringo was mediocre at best, even Lennon was asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world he replied jokingly “he’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles”.  It must be mentioned that Lennon later did point out that Ringo’s ability was far underated as was Paul’s bass playing. So , clearly whether you consider him the luckiest drummer in the world or a virtuoso in percussion one thing remains…he was a Beatle and there’s no point in arguing that fact.

I still wrestle with the fact that Ringo has been able to survive all these years, touring and making albums that really no one buys and no one really seems to take the time to listen in earnest.  Clearly Ringo is also  the luckiest musician in the world and perhaps just being a former Beatle is justification enough to keep going and milking the legacy. With the performers that Ringo surrounds himself they are clearly a draw for a much older generation of listeners; and listeners who are eager to see Winter and Derringer believe it or not, ugh. 

If you see a Ringo show please let us know what you think and whether it was the price of the ticket, here at HiFi Central we are very curious.

Happy 70th Birthday Ringo!

07
Jul
10

kiss my bluegrass!

Just having some fun on this Hump Day.  I’m not a big KISS fan, but I’m still undecided if this is better or worse than the original KISS song:




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