Monday, April 27, 2009

The Dead Come Alive In Hartford

The Dead are touring for the first time in five years and Hartford was lucky enough to be one of only 23 shows of their 2009 Spring Tour. The show at the XL Center appeared smack-dab in the middle of the tour, so any live kinks would already be worked out.

After having 24 hours to asset the experience and replaying the show on CD (CDs of the show were available at the venue) the band was in a very giving mood. They gave much respect to their influences by performing some amazing covers like "All Along The Watchtower" (Bob Dylan), "The Weight" (The Band), "Tomorrow Never Knows" (The Beatles) and blazing version of "Little Red Rooster" (Willie Dixon). The Dead were also very giving to their fans by performing some of their classics for the first time on this tour. Songs like "Row Jimmy" and "Black Peter" have never sounded better.

The Dead were so giving that they almost went overboard with a version of "Space" that went too far out for some of the audience. But, "King Solomon's Marbles" and "Viola Lee Blues" brought the audience back, before blowing the roof over the XL Center with an amazing version of "Samson And Delilah" that ended the second set.

After Phil Lesh's short "Donor Rap", The Dead returned for one more song, which came in the form of the 1970 classic "Ripple", that had the audience swaying as one. With the performance clocking in at over 3 1/2 hours, all of the members of The Dead gave the Hartford audience a glimpse of why they were and still are one of the premier bands touring America.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CD Review: Before The Fall’s Slow Decent Is Anything But Slow

Fellow New Englanders, Before The Fall, have released their latest hard-rockin' album, "Slow Decent". Before The Fall have been hailed as one of the premier Boston bands to see live. Their buzz-saw guitar sound rips through heavy drum beats with lead singer Misty Silva’s singing pulling it all together.

Their latest release is a 12 song attack that rocks. Silva's voice on the opening song "Vicious" grabs hold of you and pulls you in. Once inside, you'll be subject to deep lyrics, pounding drums, and grinding guitar solos. The songs are sung with a passion that goes to the brink of a scream before sustaining the notes. The dual guitars on the song "With You" keeps the band's edginess while hitting the solos. "Control" has the band running on all cylinders with its pulsating drums and bass groove. The dark lyrics of "Save Me" and "Vein" give way to the heavier sounding "Brutal" and closing song "Shut Up And Take It".

Before The Fall's formula is similar to Evanescence with its hard rock sound and sultry singing. If you're in the Boston area, be sure to catch their live show. The band's next show is April 24 at Maximum Capacity in Chicopee, MA. For more information about the band and song samples, please visit www.beforethefall.net.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Gathering In Meriden

Where else will you find 34 bands performing live next to 600,001 daffodils? Nowhere except at the 31st Annual Meriden Daffodil Festival.

On Saturday, April 25, there will be 20 bands performing on 3 separate stages. So, the music will be playing all day from 10:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night. There will be performances by local favorites The River Street Band and The Langley Project along with festival staples The Manchurians and The Frank Critelli Band. Also, Vanguard Records recording artists, The Alternate Routes will make an appearance.

Sunday, April 26, will feature the remaining 14 bands beginning at 10 am with the Maloney High School Jazz Band. The day will also feature The Bad Reps, The Ivory Bills and Lo-Fi Radiostars. Closing the Bandshell Stage will be Straddledaddy, Winners of 2008 Hartford Advocate's Grand Band Slam.

And let's not forget the wonderful food and local businesses that help make this one of the premier festivals in the state. For more information on this year's Meriden Daffodil Festival, please visit www.daffodilfest.com.

Stage By Stage Lineup- The 31st Annual Meriden Daffodil Festival
provided by Rob DeRosa (www.myspace.com/thinmanmusiclabel)

Saturday April 25

The Jeff Crooms Welcome Stage
11-11:45 Bird 'n Boys
12:15-1:00 The Sawtelles
1:30-2:15 Big Fat Combo
2:45-3:30 The Furors
4:00-4:45 Bottle Up & Go
5:15-6:00 The Reducers
6:3o- 7:15 Bear Hands
7:45- 8:30 Article 19

The Food Tent Stage
10:30-11:30 Carlos & Roy
12-1:30 The Gonkus Brothers
2:00-3:00 Can Kickers
3:30-4:30 River City Slim & The Zydeco Hogs
5:00-6:00 The Monthei Brothers
6:30-7:30 Glenn Roth

The Bandshell Stage
12:30-1:15 Noah Fresh & Co.
1:45-2:30 The Frank Critelli Band
3:00-4:00 The Alternate Routes
4:30-5:15 The Manchurians
5:45-6:30 River Street
7:00-8:30 The Langley Project

Sunday April 26

The Jeff Crooms Welcome Stage
11:00-11:45 M.T. Bearington
12:15-1:00 The And Band
1:30-2:15 titles
2:45-3:30 The Mountain Movers
4:00-4:45 St. Bernadette

The Food Tent Stage
10:00-11:00 The Maloney High School Jazz Band
11:30-12:30 Swing 39
1:00-2:00 Jesus Pagan e su orquesta
2:30-3:30 Wild Notes
4:00-5:00 Sean, Kelli & Wayne

The Bandshell Stage
11:30-12:15 The Bad Reps
12:45-1:30 The Ivory Bills
2:00-2:45 Lo Fi Radiostars
3:15-4:00 Straddledaddy

Friday, April 17, 2009

Play The Percentages

With the approach of Record Store Day and other stores downsizing their music & movies departments, now is the time to save. Many independent record stores will have sales going on this Saturday, April 18. Redscroll Records in Wallingford, CT will have 20% off new & used CDs and vinyl. Newbury Comics will have 30% of their entire stock of used CDs & DVDs and 20% off vinyl.

But, if you can't make it the record store tomorrow, Borders Books & Music is featuring 50% off their music and movies. A great way to get some of those CDs and DVDs that you've been waiting to get.

The large retail stores are downsizing their music sections, which is why we need to support the "mom & pop" record stores. So this Saturday, go out of your way to visit and support your local record shop by buying your music in a store rather than online.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Record Store Day Is April 18! Don't Miss It!

The 2nd Annual Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 18th. This event is held every third Saturday in April.

What is "Record Store Day" you ask?

It is when all of the independently owned record stores across the country band together with musical artists to celebrate the art of music. This day will feature special in-store performances, giveaways, sales on CDs and vinyl, as well as new items released specifically for this day.

Where will this event be held?

This event will be held only at independent record stores around the country. This event will not be held at any of the big chain electronic stores (ie. Best Buys, Wal-mart, Target etc.). One local record store, Redscroll Records (www.redscrollrecords.com) in Wallingford, CT will feature 20% off of everything in their store (except Rega Turntables). They will also have FREE goodie bags (while supplies last), plus they will be open special Saturday hours from 10AM to 9PM.

What are some of the "special releases" featured this day?

Some of the items available on this day are rare, one-time-only releases by Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and many more. There will also be rare CD and DVD releases and Record Store Day only t-shirts designed by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Death Cab for Cutie, Jason Mraz and others.

For more information or to find local stores in your area, please visit www.recordstoreday.com.

Friday, April 10, 2009

September 9th Shall Be Known As Beatles Day

Now, I know that September is a long ways away, but the news broke this week that finally the Beatles' catalogue will be remastered on CD. It has been 22 years since the Beatles' music was remastered for the "new at the time" compact disc format. But, finally fans will be able to hear their favorite Beatles songs in pristine sound quality. From "Please Please Me" to "Let It Be" will be available in state-of-the-art sounding CDs. Each CD will be housed in a gate fold cover replicating the U.K. album artwork and include a booklet featuring the original and newly written liner notes and rare and never before seen photos of the band. Also included on the CD will be a short video about the making of each album.

With the Beatles catalogue, there was always the argument on which was better, the stereo version of the albums or the mono versions. Well, now you can own both and decide for yourself. Each album will individually available in its stereo version and for the collectors and Beatles' enthusiast, the mono versions of the albums will also be available as a box set. Most of The Beatles' albums will make their official mono form debut on CD with this box set.

But, that's not all. Also coming out on Sept. 9 is the long awaited "The Beatles Rock Band" video game. Somewhat similar to the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica series, players will be able to follow the Fab Four from their club days up through their studio wizardry. A definite must-have for fans of either Rock Band or Guitar Hero franchises.

So, September will be a busy month for Beatles' fans. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CD Review: Horse Feathers' Acoustics Give House A Home

"House With No Home" is the sophomore release from the Portland, Or band Horse Feathers. Singer/songwriter Justin Ringle began writing and recording demos back in 2004. The demos found their way to multi-instrumentalist, Peter Broderick who helped flesh out the songs for the band's debut album, "Words Are Dead". After a year of touring, the band singed with Kill Rock Stars Records to record their follow-up, "House With No Home".

The songs on their second album are very rich with sound with only the basics needed to achieve this goal. "Curs In The Weeds" sets up the layout of the album with its gentle lyrics and strumming guitars. The acoustics of guitar and mandolin quietly begin the songs "Albina" and "Rude To Rile", before the song gets taken over by the haunting vocals of singer Justin Ringle. The harmonizing between Justin and vocalist Heather Broderick really stand-out on such songs as "This Is What" and "Working Poor". The gentle simplicity of the songs "Helen" & "A Burden" puts the listener in a relaxed state of mind. Heather's cello performance in "Heathen's Kiss" gives the song a fuller, more orchestrated sound and fills in the acoustic gaps. The laid-back, relaxed feeling continues through to the end with "Father" and "Road To Ruin".

With the recent success of the Robert Plant-Alison Krauss collaboration, Horse Feathers taps that same vein of Americana music. Horse Feathers really makes you listen and enjoy instrumentation and lyrics of every song on the album. They will be performing live on April 25 at Wesleyan University. Tickets are available at the university box office. Visit the band's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/horsefeathersmusic) for more information about their new album and tour dates.