Genre Archives: Rock

Joe Satriani

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Joe Satriani had an admirably productive workingman’s holiday, forced time away from the road that ultimately produced his 19th studio album, The Elephants of Mars, as the final result.

The guitarist challenged himself to create a “new standard” for instrumental guitar albums to be measured against, one which would work from “a new platform of his own design,” as he terms it. “I want to show people that the instrumental guitar album can contain far more complexity of creative elements than I think people are using right now.”

Satriani and his touring band, all recording remotely in separate areas of the world during lockdown, answered that challenge in spades. The Elephants of Mars crackles with an exciting new energy, briskly traveling through stylistic roads that feel freshly updated, viewed through new eyes.

From the gripping, sci-fi madness of “Through A Mother’s Day Darkly,” to the isolation felt in a decaying urban landscape, as depicted in “Sahara,” to the general endorphin levels that peak as the elephants finally roar in the title track, The Elephants of Mars offers up an album length journey that never dulls.

It’s one that, thanks to the pandemic and no constraints, truly represents the album that Satriani himself hoped he could deliver with his band. “We did everything. We tried the craziest ideas. And we entertained every notion we had about turning something backwards, upside down, seeing what could happen.”

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

PRESALE: Thursday, March 29th at 10am – 10pm, password: TIME2018

Having sold over four million tickets in concerts that have taken place in 35 countries, The Australian Pink Floyd Show is rightfully hailed as one of the most in demand touring entities currently operating; The Times described them as “The Gold Standard”. This act is so good they were even engaged by David Gilmour to perform at his 50th birthday celebration!

In 2008 the band celebrated its twentieth year as the shows kept rolling and the band kept on doing what they love. The tours continued to extend, the audiences increased and the venues became larger, with the band playing Wembley Arena for the first time in 2009, followed by London’s O2 Arena in 2010. The 2011 dates saw the debut of some remarkable 3D projections, the first time this had been attempted extensively by any touring band. This Year also saw the band enlist the talents of David Domminney Fowler, Alex McNamara and the backing vocalists Emily Lynn, Lara Smile and Lorelei McBroom. Lorelei was also one of the backing vocalists who performed on Pink Floyd’s ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder Tour’ In the same year Guy Pratt made a guest appearance with the band at Hampton Court Palace.

The following 3 years saw the band perform at major European rock festivals and go on to produce 3 DVDs of their shows. In 2013, the 40th anniversary of “The Dark Side Of The Moon” was celebrated with a brand new tribute to the classic album, performed to capacity audiences in Europe and at the band’s first ever concerts in Russia.

TAPFS have constantly striven to seek out new audiences and turn in jaw-dropping performances to reconnect people with the music that they love. Next year will bring more innovation, hard work, and great crowds, demonstrating that it is still all about the great music of Pink Floyd and delivering the absolute best performance each and every night.

Rock Awards Winners’ Circle

DON’T MIND DYING

“Genre tags are played out, but if you had to slap a label on Don’t Mind Dying, neo-classic rock would be apt. The Columbia band bears resemblance to everyone from The Black Crowes to Black Sabbath yet plays with an uncaged urgency that puts it squarely in the moment.” – Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Tribune (Mar 06, 2014)

“A rare gem found in a field full of fluff. Don’t Mind Dying has the musicianship, the vocals, the just plain raw talent and energy that’s been missing from almost everything else you’ve heard in the commercial market in the last decade. If you’re a fan of soulful, guitar-driven rock with a bluesy and ballsy edge, you need this album!” – iTunes review (Feb 15, 2014)

By reading just these couple of reviews of Don’t Mind Dying’s self titled EP from earlier this year it’s easy to say that the Columbia MO band has come a long way since it’s formation in 2008 by bassist Graham Greer and vocalist Brian BC Craig. During the first four years of their existence Craig and Greer, along with guitarist Kurt Otto and drummer Jeremy McCalister (later to be replaced by Jason Stegall), formed what would be the back bone of DMD’s sound by hashing out a heavy and dark blues foundation based mainly around somewhat unconventional cover tunes that ranged from Muddy Waters to the Beatles and everything in between. In 2012, shortly after the addition of keyboardist Rudy Brynac, DMD parted ways with Otto and Stegall and brought on board drummer Brian Kent and guitarist Jason Caton. It was at this time that the real magic started brewing! With the new members firmly in place the band adopted a truly powerhouse sound and started filling up local venues like The Bridge, Mojo’s, and Roxy’s on a weekly basis and soon had built themselves up as one of the biggest drawing bands in the area. At the end of the summer of 2012, after the release of the their first official recording and a string of successful local shows, they were asked to perform at Columbia’s famous Root’s N Blues N BBQ festival and shared the bill with the likes of Al Green, John Mayall, Marty Stewart, and Esperanza Spalding. It was at this time that the real sound of Don’t Mind Dying started to emerge in the way of a string of hard driving original songs which would lead to the recording of their newest album, the before mentioned “Don’t Mind Dying EP”. Shortly after, Brynac departed the band and was replaced by Travis McFarlane on keys which rounded out the current line up. Caton, Craig, Greer, Kent, and McFarlane continue to blaze the trail of their local legacy and are currently playing live shows and working on new songs for a soon to be recorded full length LP which should be available sometime in early 2015.

 

SHADES OF I

Shades of I is music. Music is magic. Magic is life.
-Jimi Hendrix… only said the last two thirds of that quote, but it still applies.

 

BETWEEN ELSEWHERE

4 piece alternative band out of Columbia Mo

A Very Decadent Halloween

It is no secret: Halloween is DECADENT NATION‘s favorite holiday. For year’s DN has made an annual tradition of throwing the most festive Halloween parties in Mid-Missouri. This year, they return to Rose Music Hall for the latest iteration of A Very Decadent Halloween alongsideVIOLET & THE UNDERCURRENTS and MADORA! DN’s set will be flanked by the sultry undead booty shaking of the MONSTER DOLLS DANCE TROUPE! Think you’re going to have the best costume in Mid-MO this year? Grand Prize winner in our costume contest will win $100 cash money! The most raucous and decadent costume ball in CoMo awaits you. Will you survive the night?

HIGHLY SUSPECT

Festival-storming trio Highly Suspect returned with second album The Boy Who Died Wolf on November 18th, 2016. The moving, jubilant LP from the Brooklyn alt-renegades follows two Top 10 Mainstream Rock hits (“Lydia,” “Bloodfeather”) and two Grammy nominations (Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album) just one year from the release of their 300 Entertainment debut, 2015’s Mister Asylum. For the follow-up, the band —  Johnny Stevens (guitar/vocals), and fraternal twin brother rhythm section Rich (bass/vocals) and Ryan Meyer (drums/vocals) — are reappearing stronger, livelier and more mature. The effort earned the boys a third Grammy nominated for “My Name Is Human” (Best Rock Song.)

“The title The Boy Who Died Wolf, it’s like, we were so young and now we’re adults,” says Stevens. “I went through a lot of issues that I had to sort out and sometimes I can’t believe that I’m alive. And now here I am traveling the world with my best friends, making music, and living the exact dream that we had set out to accomplish a long time ago … We’re learning a different lifestyle. And it’s good, it’s positive. But it’s also hard to let go of everything that happened in the past.”

That new lifestyle comes in the wake of success that’s snowballed since 2014, featuring Grammy nods; radio smashes; stops at major festivals (Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Reading and Leeds and so on); tours alongside Scott Weiland, Chevelle and Catfish & the Bottlemen to name a few; tours around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK as well as multiple headlining tours in the United States one of which is currently underway. The feeling of celebration infuses The Boy Who Died Wolf, while still heading into haunted regions of Steven’s past, yowling somewhere between the metronomic robot metal of Queens of the Stone Age, the bluesy wallop of Jack White and the feedback-shrieking noise-pop of In Utero-era Nirvana.

To record the LP, the band traveled far from their New York comfort zone to Bogotá, Colombia, recording with Mister Asylum producer Joel Hamilton (The Black Keys and Wu-tang, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello,).

“Normally we would record in New York or L.A., and when we’re in those places we just have too many distractions, too many friends,” says Stevens. “When you’re trying to make art.. pure art, it’s good to be secluded. So we were literally in a fortress, 20-foot walls all around this compound in the middle of Bogota.”

“The energy around you, the culture that you’re taking in, will affect the songs,” he continues. “We were really enjoying ourselves. So I think there’s a little more step to this album. There’s happier tones. There’s some dark stuff too but there are simply more uplifting moments on this album.  I think we finally realized we are supposed to be here making music. That people like what we do. We had more trust in ourselves and each other and just let the music come out.

The upbeat vibe begins to show its face lyrically in the lead single “My Name Is Human” (“I’m feeling the way that I’m feeling myself”), and then appears full force on the blazing desert-rock dynamite of “Postres” (“I’m havin’ fun for the rest of my days”), but takes a back seat in their dreamy cover of Real Life’s 1983 new wave swooner “Send Me an Angel” and on the anthemic “Little One” which reminds us all of the hopeless, lovelorn pangs that most have undoubtedly felt in the pit of their guts somewhere along the lines. But even the more serious songs are steeped in an unrelenting optimism. A great friend of theirs took his own life while the band were in Colombia, to which they responded with “For Billy,” a beaming post-grunge burst.

“The song is not a downer, it’s sad, but it’s a charged up anthem,” explains Stevens. “It’s what he would have wanted. It was a really sad moment but he was such a happy person. So that song is something he can blare through his Harley speakers wherever he is now .”

Johnny describes Billy as an “original crewmember” of MCID, the collective shouted out on Highly Suspect’s jackets, hats, lyrics and tattoos. “That’s our ethos,” says Johnny of the acronym that stands for “My Crew Is Dope.” “We’re trying to invite any and all positive people to what was once exclusively for us. We’ve realized its bigger than us; as long as you’re not a racist, not a homophobe and you have good intentions then we welcome you to join the family and spread the love.” In turn, Wolf’s “Viper Strike” namechecks MCID in a venomous, knives-out attack on bigots: “We’re all equal except for you/’Cause you’re an asshole with an ugly point of view”
“It’s a family of positivity that we’re really trying to build,” says Johnny. “Our whole purpose is not just about being some famous fuckin’ band, but kind of making a movement. Making a difference for our generation who are so constantly misled. We barely made it out of the wrong mentality. We want to help. We’re no fuckin hippies, those days are gone. The irony is that now you have to “fight” for positivity. Which is crazy but so be it. We’re strapped and ready to defend free thinking. When you come to our shows, it’s kind of like this family affair.”

THE PUSH STARS

Boston alternative popsters The Push Stars are led by songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Chris Trapper, with bassist/keyboardist Dan McLoughlin and drummer Ryan MacMillan rounding out the lineup. The band debuted in 1996 with an album for the now-defunct Imago label, “Meet Me at the Fair”; from there, they self-released the 1997 EP “Tonight” and landed a spot on the soundtrack for the popular romantic comedy, “There’s Something About Mary” with the song “Everything Shines.”

As the buzz grew on the band, Capitol Records signed them up, issuing their major-label debut album “After the Party” in 1999. “Opening Time” followed in spring 2001. As each member of the band approached 30, The Push Stars took complete creative control. They signed to the San Francisco imprint 33rd Street and joined producer/engineer Greg Collins (No Doubt, Matchbox Twenty, Jewel) in spring 2003 to begin recording The Push Stars’ fourth album. Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas heard the band’s work in progress and was so impressed, he brought the Push Stars on the road for Matchbox Twenty’s fall tour of North America.

In March 2004, the band released “Paint The Town” to much critical acclaim and fanfare. After more than a year of touring in support of the album, the band decided to go on indefinite hiatus. Since that time, Chris Trapper has recorded and released nine albums and toured the world over as a solo acoustic performer. Dan McLoughlin currently owns a recording studio in Hoboken, NJ and is much sought after as a producer and engineer. Ryan MacMillan now works as a session drummer/drummer for hire and has toured and recorded with several high profile bands, most notably Matchbox Twenty and Tonic.

While the band never officially broke up, live performances have been few and far between in recent years. However, talk of a new album and fresh tour dates have re-energized the trio’s still-passionate fan base, demonstrating the band’s lasting appeal and enduring legacy.


Brent Shuttleworth is a Nashville-based artist whose music is an effortless mix between Americana and Hip-Hop. He has toured with and opened for such artists as: George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, Pete Yorn, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Sixpence None The Richer, Kellie Pickler, K-Flay, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Emerson Hart (Tonic) and Saul Williams.

NAOMI PUNK

The 25 tracks on ‘Yellow,’ conceived as a 2XLP double album from day one, were self-recorded steadily throughout 2015-2017 at various locations. Much of the material was derived from what the group called ‘The Scorpion Suite’, a state of mind reached only by the alternative version of Naomi Punk they call ‘The Scorpions’ (disambiguated). Many ‘Scorpion Sessions’ were conducted by The Scorpions, each member performing their predetermined roll in a project half-aspiring to the register of licensing music, half-aspiring to musical novelty.

The self-referential musical language of The Feeling (2012) was wrung out into the starker, live-informed Television Man (2014). On ‘Yellow’ this language becomes a means, not an end.

Integrated into the album are glimpses of live recordings, sounds of equipment being pushed around, hard rock sample libraries, sounds of the flapping wings of the album’s host (“I Found My Angel Wings” is embedded in thematic variation throughout), windy field recordings, emulsive synthetic woodwinds, a busted car stereo, a few four-track acoustic ballads, and more than a few puzzles and jokes.

Yellow begins with two introductions. The first sound of the record is a sample of a bass guitar, an instrument that those familiar with Naomi Punk will know doesn’t exist in their lineup. The stage is set with alien props.

The pair ‘Cookie’ and ‘Cardboard’ are hot off the assembly line culminations of the prototypes designed by ‘Television Man.’ They are exceedingly agile pop constructions with drumwork designed to throw off the bots, and guitars assimilated into the machinations of Coster’s notably present, proto-philosophical spoken verse. This is CGI Beefheart resurrected in post-production for a few scenes.

‘Tiger Pipe’ demands the user, “destroy all money.”

Much of the record conjures this notion of the undoing of ‘society’, at least in a western societal sense, and its supercession via the natural world; the revenge of Mother Earth.

‘Gotham Brake’ illustrates this particular crux of ‘Yellow’ in an interesting way — a requiem for humankind’s ‘harmonious’ relationship to the natural world. Industrialized society has reached a level of atrophy so severe that it must be completely dismantled. Walden’s Cesspool. ‘Gotham’ is an advocation for a new way forward. The fourth way. You can hear the sounds of the gears shifting, wheels turning. A narrator’s voice steps in then and again from the vantage of Mother Earth. Breaking out of the stasis.

‘Scorpion Glue’ is a chimera of many of the species encountered in ‘Yellow.’ Its contorted guitars and drums are tangled with synthetic mirrored versions of themselves, in dialogue, neither coming to primacy.

On first listen ‘Chains’ appears like a monolith in the darkness of side-C. On repeat listens its stark minimalism is revealed to be almost crystalline in form, shifting chords beading against a vantablack passacaglia, a trio for the end of time. Coster drags us into the grinding chorus in androgynous deadpan: “Ecology … doesn’t follow your system … so I’m chasin’ … chasin’ my dreams.”

If Rock and Pop music are instruments of the Neoliberal period, then they must be repurposed and reorganized. Not just formally, but politically. Coincidentally, the structure of ‘Yellow’ (in spite of the so-called difficulty of its 2xLP format) is no different than recent confessional documents from Frank Ocean, Solange, Kendrick, etc., thus owing much more to the Pop format than its length would suggest. ‘Rock’ and ‘Punk’ have become so conservative that they are rendering themselves obsolete as they fail to provide new ideas and solutions for anything other than ‘self-expression’ and fake posturing. The ‘Yellow’ structure constructs a three-dimensional listening experience, and while it does not pretend to know all the answers, it at the very least (and perhaps most importantly) posits a serious alternative.

Naomi Punk are from Olympia, Washington.

CHON

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