Browsing All Posts published on »July, 2009«

Birdsongs of the Mezosoic – back together with Roger Miller after 22 years (Phoenix, 7.22.09)

July 23, 2009

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“People liked Birdsongs shows more than they liked Burma ones,” Miller remembers. “Burma shows were notorious for being completely misunderstood and irritating, but Birdsongs was so obviously outside of the mold that it was easier to assimilate.” Miller, Lindgren, and Scott flaunted reckless minimalism and a gleeful, aggressive use of every knob on whatever stone-age effects boxes they could find. The results suggest the missing link in among Terry Riley, the Residents, and Battles. Everything was fair game: some of the drum-machine breakdowns on Cycads would sound at home on Purple Rain; others sound like John Zorn doing prog-metal. To everyone’s surprise, it worked.

Frank Black’s Grand Duchy — “Just turn on the radio” (Herald, 7.18.09)

July 23, 2009

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Black and Clark released their first album, “Petit Fours,” in April. It sounds very much like Black’s best work - unassuming, unhinged, full of eerie science and myth, all couched in a crunchy mix of scrappy ’80s beats and pop vamping. Clark’s smoky croon more than holds its own against Black’s vocal theatrics. The album isn’t the most groundbreaking thing he’s ever done, but it’s a welcome spin on the formula.

HOMEGROWN 4-Day Psychfest in Boston (Phoenix, 7.16.09)

July 20, 2009

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"To me, it's any music that is made using, enjoyed by people using, or made to create the effects you might feel while using drugs," says Shea. "I mean, I don't want a negative connotation, but look at the flyer this guy made. It's got purple mushrooms and marijuana plants on it."

Biff Rose Comes to Boston (Phoenix, 7.10.09)

July 17, 2009

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When I talk to Rose, now 71, over a cellphone from his home in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, I find a sweetly mannered voice far from the all-caps steam he maintains on the Internet. "When I got this e-mail from this guy Jesse, I said, 'This is it, man,' " he says in a whiskery Cajun accent. "That's a Biff Rose tour for you. I'm just waiting to get my Social Security check so I can go get my Amtrak tickets." Rose, who paints faces for cash outside Saints games in the fall, walks the line in performance between gentle and barbed, weaving beatnik tangents through heartbreakers like "Molly" and "Shell of a Man." He's a fleet-fingered Broadway cherub as much as he is a less polite George Carlin with an ear for Bartók dissonance. "Down in the Christ-haunted South, they say you can't be saved without Jesus Christ," he says. "But every 20 years someone goes into a Shoney's and shoots 24 people anyway. I think a little bloodletting, a little at a time — that's excellent." As for his performances: "I play piano and I improvise, that's it. I'll play some notes and do some one-liners. There's one song that goes, 'You make the bed and I'll put the rifle in the window,' but that says it all, so I don't need more words than that."

The New Germs Guy — “It’s down to about one hater per night.” (Herald, 7.1.09)

July 17, 2009

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“On our first tour, 80 percent of the crowd every night was negative about me filling in,” West said. “Now it’s down to about one hater per night.” They did one show three years ago with fellow reunited punk grandpas the Dead Kennedys (also touring with a new singer after a falling out with founder Jello Biafra). “I was really comfortable at that show,” West said. “The hatred everyone had toward them and their new singer was a lot more than what they had toward me. I loved it.”

Talking to Def Leppard’s Phil Collen (Herald, 6.29.09)

July 17, 2009

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Now based in Southern California (Poison’s CC DeVille lives just down the street from him), Collen also uses his time on the road writing new material and recording demos on his laptop. “I use Garageband on the computer just like any teenager nowadays,” he said. “A lot of really interesting stuff is coming out now that people have easy tools like that to do what they want. That said, I’m glad we came up when there was actually still a music industry around and people could still throw big bucks at us.” Those big bucks helped build the band members’ retirement accounts, thank you very much, but Collen and company have never really given up the grind. The group continues to push forward by releasing new records every few years and trying everything from a set full of covers (2006’s “Yeah!”) to a team-up with country crooner Tim McGraw (on last year’s “Songs from the Sparkle Lounge”). “There are always new people appearing in the world to win over,” Collen said. So don’t expect Def Lep to deliver a blatant rehash of your ripped jean jacket days at the mall. Even their show’s lights and moving LED screens get updated every year. “It’s like, ‘The new iPhone is coming out this Friday!,’ ” Collen said, “except it’s some new piece of equipment we have to dodge.”

Tristan da Cunha feature (Boston Phoenix, 6.23.09)

July 14, 2009

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The music seems show-offy. They dress as if they'd just come from choir rehearsal. The songs are hard to process and harder to retain (not to mention describe). Is the problem that they've made their music difficult to understand? "Absolutely," says Budney. "I want it to be like something carved into a mountain thousands of years ago that you have to decipher. People say, 'This song took us five minutes to write!' Okay, fine. This song took us three years to write. It might take you three years to understand. If you don't want to take the time, get the hell out of our way." Which is to say he's not exactly worried about the haters. Kim sees it a bit differently: "I thought we were writing pop songs. We said, 'Let's write a vocal line that's memorable.' I think they are."