Archive for the 'Rockabilly' Category

01
Dec
11

Last.fm

In the digital age we live in music has excelled, not beyond anything we thought it might become, but in how it’s delivered to us. The past 20 years saw the decline of the cassette tape, compact disc, and physical formatting is now all but dead.

So as physical media phases out we turn to more convenient ways of obtaining music (not always done legally now is it?) from services such as Morpheus, Kazaa, Limewire, and most famously: Napster.

So we learned that the RIAA severely dislikes not making money on album sales… so we downloaded even more, torrenting sites becoming more and more popular, The Pirate Bay, for example.

Now I don’t know about you, but in my education I’ve found out that artists usually sign a contract and make most of their money up front. A label will give you, say, $2 million, to buy equipment, record, produce, create music videos, and finish an album. How much of that gets spent on production is usually at the band and manager’s discretion. They are then, most of the time, offered some ridiculously low royalty percentage that means even less after you divide it up between band members and management.

So artists generally don’t make that much off of album sales, but usually off of touring. Ever notice that’s why Bruce Springsteen doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about putting out new albums but will sell out stadiums on a yearly basis? Or that U2’s music has been in steep decline since the late 80s but still manage to have gigantic concerts where they rake in obscene amounts of fans a.k.a. money? (And they don’t even pay taxes to the Irish government!)

Before my tenure at Hi-Fi started I was dealt several cease and desist letters for uploading music just to my former blog’s domain just for personal use. Talk about touchy by the record companies!

So where’m I going with all of this? Well, today’s digital music playground is found through music streaming services such as Spotify, Grooveshark, iTunes, SHOUTcast, Pandora and the least famous… Napster.

I’ve tried using all of those, and iTunes, while on my home computer is fine, because I have my library there too, is not viable on the road. With the rest of these you can build and tag artists/genres you like, but c’mon, that’s a huge hassle for us to list all the bands we like and may have an itch to hear.

Last.fm takes care of that. They have a nifty piece of scrobbling software that will record what songs/artists you play the most, it even makes charts! But by far the best thing is, is that you can take your library with you wherever you go. For free. They offer your library streamed to you, they also offer your library with suggestions for similar artists. Which keeps the likes of Maroon 5 the hell out of my easy listening playlist and doesn’t turn me into a fit of rage.

So, if you’re going places, constantly on the move and let’s say maybe you’re trying to preserve some hard drive space, Last.fm is the way to go, take your own music with you and still gives you a taste of similar artists or you can just play a channel as you would on those other streaming sites.

It gives you everything… and what’s yours.

04
Nov
11

Ye Upper Crust – true Rock Nobility

After reading the last post about the band Shpongle and then watching the video I began to chuckle when I saw the chick with the mask and white wig; thoughts all started streaming back about a band I use to see in Boston from time to time named Upper Crust.  With band members  such as Jackie Kickassis, Count Bassie, Lord Bendover, and Duc D’istortion, how can you not love these guys?

Although the make up, wigs, and baroque  schtick was pretty outlandish; these guys actually can play a pretty solid set of punkish rock and rock-a-billy style songs, always entertaining and always full of non-stop energy.  It’s been years since I’ve seen them and I guess they do play from time to time.  Although I’m no die hard fan perse, I felt compelled to mention Upper Crust for the hell of it.  If you want to learn more about these privileged and pompous Earl’s of electric audacity, please check out their website by clicking here.

08
Oct
10

Southern Culture on the Skids – On tour now!

I saw these guys a couple of years ago in a now defunct local dive (Revolution Hall – Troy, NY) and really enjoyed the show.  Southern Culture On The Skids (or SCOTS for short) is basically rockabilly meets country meets  B-52’s meets something entirely unique unto itself.

The band has announced some new tour dates and sadly they are not coming to Albany once again this year.  I find it amazing that so many bands overlook Albany (the capital city of  New York for God’s sake!), then again most people outside of the state think New York City is the capital.  The band Midlake, who’s album I reviewed a few months back, just got back from a tour of Europe and played a few cities in the US.  They only local appearance was 1.5 hours away in Syracuse …and they jumped right over Albany and went to Boston for the next gig, gee thanks!  To be fair, Albany does get its share of good shows but many of the bands that I would like to see often jump right over my beloved city, bummer.

If you are curious about seeing SCOTS on the road now’s the time; check the following dates and git’ yer’ tickets!

10/8       Richmond, VA  —  Plaza Duckpin Bowl
10/9       Washington DC  — 9:30 Club
10/10     Harrisburg, PA  —  The Abbey Bar
10/12     Marietta, OH  —  The Adelphia (At The Gallery)
10/13     Pittsburgh, PA  —  Diesel Club
10/14     Philadelphia, PA  —  World Cafe Live
10/15     Brooklyn, NY  —  The Bell House
10/16     Hoboken, NJ  —  Maxwell’s
10/29     Johnson City, TN  —  Casbah 
10/30     Buford, GA  —  Hell On Wheels Beerfest
10/31     Birmingham, AL  —  Zydeco
11/3       New Orleans, LA  —  One Eyed Jacks
11/4       Mobile, AL  —  Soul Kitchen
11/6       Tampa, FL  —  Skipper’s Smokehouse
11/7       Jacksonville, FL  — Jack Rabbits Live
11/26     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
11/27     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
12/3       Charlotte, NC  —  Visulite Theatre
12/4       Carrboro, NC  —  Cat’s Cradle
12/18    Raleigh, NC  —  The Berkeley Cafe

09
Mar
10

Reverend Horton Heat Tour 2010!

Per The Reverend Horton Heat website there are a slew of new dates that have been added for Summer 2010; included on the list is Hi-Fi’s hometown of Albany, NY on Sunday, May 23rd @ Northern Lights (Clifton Park, NY).  God knows we’ve been in need of some Rockabilly for sometime so in May we get our revival!

I’ve been to several RHH shows and I’ve never been dissapointed; always high energy, long sets and great encor’s.  The ticket prices have become a bit steep at $25 but I’m willing to shell it out for these guys, especially since I know that these guys play for every penny, trust me.

If you have not done yourself the service of seeing this true Rockabilly legend, please do.  Warming up on this tour are the bands Cracker and Miss Derringer.  Personally, I’m not thrilled with the warm up acts; my advice would be grab dinner and some beers prior to the show and arrive when The Rev hits the stage.  If Nashville Pussy, Backyard Tire Fire, SuperSuckers or Tiger Army were warming up, I would be there way early.  Cracker is the band that had the hits Euro-Trash Girl and Low in 1993; and I believe the members are ex-Camper Von Beethoven guys so it might be ok to catch, but I’m still not impressed, sorry.

Regardless, all the matters is that RHH is coming and I’ve been waiting.  Here’s the link for the touring schedule for The Rev, enjoy!

05
Nov
09

Reverend Horton Heat – Laughin’ & Cryin’ (2009)

Revho_cryinI was pretty excited when I picked up the recent release from The Reverend Horton Heat Laughin’ and Cryin’ on iTunes.  I got into Revho about 10 years ago when I saw them at a club called The Paradise in Boston; Nashville Pussy warmed up and it was an unforgettable show; no doubt I was hooked that night.   At that time they were basically touring to support the release of Holy Roller which was their first “best of” album (an album I highly recommend if you want to get into Revho!). 

Laughin’ and Cryin’ takes the Reverand Horton Heat listener back to Smoke em’ If You Got em’ (1991) days.  It is very reminiscent of that album and that it why I like this album, nostalgic all the way. Laughin’ and Cryin’ contains elements of country, rock-n-roll, rockabilly, and hardcore “punkabilly” that really put Revho on the map in the first place.  The first song Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes sets a great tempo for the album, and each song that follows compliments the next.  Ain’t No Saguaro in Texas , basically the Rev’s attempt to recreate Marijuana for this album, although its not a replacement it’s a decent song none the less.  Death Metal Guys is a great song and reflects that The Rev has not forgot how to kick the band into high gear and produce a killer rockabilly song.  I would say that this might be the best rockabilly song since Generation Why off of the long forgotten album It’s Martini Time (1996).

To  listen to a sample of The Reverand Horton Heat’s Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes click here.

Songs like Don’t Take the Baby to the Liqour Store and There’s a Little Bit of Everything in Texas are classic Revho signature songs; songs like these can be found on most of the other albums they have done before.  It’s not a negative aspect of the album,  instead it simply reflects that the same formula the Rev has used in past albums still sounds cool.  Some reviews from other listeners have labeled this album as “too country” and to a degree they are right; Laughin’ and Cryin’ does offers quite a mellow assortment of songs, yet I like that and think you will too.  The mellow songs actually provide a nice balance for the album and supports some of the stronger rockabilly songs.  All in all, it’s a really decent album yet does not indicate a new direction for The Rev and his music.

At this time in the Rev’s career he’s got nothing to prove to nobody and he knows it.  The band has a very loyal fan base and they’re known for a relentless touring schedule that makes every fan happy (hey, what’s not to like since they usually come to your town twice a year!).  

Clearly, the Rev is making the music that makes him happy.  He’s not looking for a homerun breakthrough album and I think he’s pretty comfortable with his current label YepRoc Records. 

Revho is the crown jewel of the rockabilly scene and has been for many years.  Without question all rockabilly bands today will agree that The Reverand Horton Heat is the standard that they all aspire to be like; yes, Revho is just that good.  The Rev is currenly on tour and if you have never had a chance to see him, spend the $15 and go, you won’t be dissapointed, trust me.

The Reverend Horton Heat’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ gets 4 out of 5 stars.