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Archive for May, 2011


Circuital

by My Morning Jacket
ATO Records
Produced by: Tucker Martine & Jim James
Engineer: Kevin Ratterman
In Stores: May 31, 2011



One thing you can always expect from a new My Morning Jacket album is a redefining of all their previous work’s styles. On their sixth installment, Circuital, they continue to raise their own bar with more Pink Floyd-like experimentation of their sound, and this time opting to record in a Highlands’ church gymnasium instead of a traditional recording studio.

The opener, “Victory Dance,” starts somewhat creepy with the onset of Bo Koster’s gothic-like working of the keys, dare I say Nine-Inch-Nails’ish instrumentally, perhaps an immediate indication of how the Church’s surroundings influenced this album’s creative direction. James’ mellow vocals greets quickly, Two Tone Tommy lays in a dark and steady rhythm section, and Carl Broemel incorporates some fuzzed out guitars. All of the sudden, your lost in their canticle.

Six minutes later the opener fades right into the beginning of the title track “Circuital,” a 7+ minute epic song which shows their more whimsical and melodic side of song writing. Drummer Patrick Hallahan finally is able to turn loose a little on this song. Logging plenty of instrumental showcases for each member, James’ paramount tenor decrees how they are “ending up in the same place that we started out.”

An emotional roller coaster begins to take shape on “The Day is Coming,” another darker, more mysterious melody that Koster’s keyboards instrumentally take the lead on. Two Tone Tommy is impressive again on setting the rhythm.

Circling back once again to their musical past, “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” is straight out of any album’s past with the slow and subtle sounds of James’ vocals and his acoustic guitar the focus.

“Outta My System” offers candid admissions from James lyrically (“they told me not to smoke drugs, but I wouldn’t listen…”) along with a dominant string section that keeps building on the climatic arc of the album. Your attention still firmly in place.

“Holdin‘ On To Black Metal” offers the album’s wildest climax, with a young female choir joining James during the song’s chorus in a jaunty manner.

The back half of the album carries through, still solid MMJ song-crafting, but not as easy to get lost in like the first half of the album. The album’s closer, “Movin Away,” yet another song that Koster’s keys establishes the melody for, also has some impressive steel guitar work by Broemel, while James’ cardinal aria soothes. Yet again, My Morning Jacket astounds.

Interview with Bo Koster on 5-26-2011

Circuital Track List:

1.    Victory Dance
2.    Circuital
3.    The Day Is Coming
4.    Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
5.    Outta My System
6.    Holdin’ On To Black Metal
7.    First Light
8.    You Wanna Freak Out
9.    Slow Slow Tune
10.    Movin’ Away

** This album review is also published at Louisville.com

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The Deftones are no strangers to Louisville. In fact, they make their way through our city at least once per year, and most recently on Friday, May 27th at Expo 5.

Also performing that night was Dillinger Escape Plan. I never offer any more coherent words on my review than the band has to offer during their set. That being said, I’ve only got 3 words for you: Obnoxious. Incomprehensible. Sketchy.

Now for those of you who’ve never seen a Deftones show before, you missed out on one of the most fervent live performers in metal music today. And, might I add, whose lyrics you can actually comprehend. For those of you who did catch them this past Friday, I’m sure your ears are still ringing from their raucous, nearly 3 hour performance. The sound was as loud as I’ve ever experienced it in Expo 5, and although rather intense, it was balanced almost perfect. The powerful guitar chords that are central to the Deftones sound ignited the jam-packed venue and fueled the audiences‘ intent to crowd surf and sustain what looked like a pretty chaotic slam-dance circle, something virtually every Deftones show never seems to go without.

Hardcore Deftones’ fans couldn’t have been more pleased as the band took their time playing through one hit song after another from a compilation of six albums going back to 1995. They played everything from “Engine #9” to “My Own Summer” to “Digital Bath” to “Change (In the House of Flies)” to “Minerva” – which brought the crowd singing in unison with lead vocalist Chino Moreno to – and “You’ve Seen The Butcher” just to name a few. The encore song came with “7 Words,” one more track from their debut platinum album Adrenaline.

Once the sound went null, the Deftones cleared the stage, and lights came on, the audience was a little reluctant to leave. I think some of them probably thought their was going to be yet another encore song, because believe it or not, their were still a few songs Deftones left on the table like “Around The Fur” and “Back To School.” But, hey, not many bands who perform as intensely as Deftones have the endurance to play 2+ hour sets, so we should cut them some slack, I suppose. Not to worry though, because between the Deftones’ substantial local fan-base, and local concert promoter Terry Harper, a Louisville hiatus is not likely to happen anytime soon. Bet on it.

Interview with Frank Delgado of Deftones on 5-27-2011

Photos by JasonAshcraft

** This review also posted at Louisville.com

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Multi-platinum and grammy award winning recording artist Deftones will make a tour stop in Louisville this Friday at Expo 5. Supporting Deftones on the bill is The Dillinger Escape Plan and Le Butcherettes.

The Deftones, a post-grunge alt-metal band are one of the most emotionally charged musical acts to emerge since the 90‘s. And having been to many of their shows over the years I can contest that their live performances always deliver an ambitious set list deriving from an arsenal of six albums and multiple hit songs. And while it is hard to classify the Deftones to one particular genre, musically they are one of the only metal bands that have an ability to mix more or less pop-like choruses with intense percussion and fuzzy guitar rifts and power chords that are suggestive of their post-grunge roots.

As a band, the Deftones have a reputation for being a pretty close-knit group of guys, with original and founding members Chino Moreno (vocals), Stephen Carpenter (guitars), Chi Cheng (bass) & Abe Cunningham (percussion) all still part of the band. After making appearances on the band’s first two albums, Frank Delgado (turntables/keyboards) was officially added to the roster in 2000. However, in 2008 Chi Cheng was tragically involved in a serious car accident which has since left him in a minimally conscious state. A charity website has been setup to collect and raise money for Cheng’s medical expenses at www.oneloveforchi.com. The website also serves as a resource to keep up-to-date on his on-going recovery.

Sergio Vega (formerly of Quicksand) has since filled in on bass and has both played and recorded with the Deftones since 2009. Their latest studio album Diamond Eyes, was released in May 2010 on Warner Brothers Records. In April 2011 they released an LP called Covers, which contains their versions of everything from Lynyrd Skynnyrd’s “Simple Man” to The Car’s “Drive” to Sade’s “No Ordinary Love.”

** Check back here at LouisvilleScuttlebutt.com after the show to hear my interview with Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham.

Deftones / The Dillinger Escape Plan / Le Butcherettes
Friday, May 27th

Expo 5
2900 7th St.
7:30 pm
$25


Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Records

** This review will also be published at Louisville.com

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Photos, Video & Editorial by Lara Kinne of Huevos

Lucero - Photo by Lara Kinne

Lucero

The legendary Krazy Fest was rarely heard of in the last ten years, but 2011 brought Louisville’s ultimate punk rock weekend a promising future. In addition to bringing bands like Anti-Flag, Bane and Against Me, Sunday consisted of a differing lineup, from blues rockers Lucero to hardcore heads like Coalesce and rocking in the old school with Bouncing Souls. There was a brief stint of rain in the afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to stifle spirits among festival go-ers. 

"Chop The Chicken" game-players

Coalesce - photo by Lara Kinne

Coalesce


This review also published at Louisville.com

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BassDrumAliens- “Straight Up” (feat. B Simm)
by LouisvilleScuttlebutt.com

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Ahh, the Kentucky Derby season in Louisville. That time of year where for two weeks most the city’s population negates work, drink the days and nights away all in the name of horse racing’s classiest two-minute affair. As exemplified below by my little drunken buddy who I found all snuggled up in a concrete nook near the corner of 3rd Street and Muhammad Ali at about 11:30 pm.


At least he wasn’t driving, right?

So, I too wandered about my hometown on its most glorious weekend – a little more coherently than the average Joe, I might add – but nonetheless to see a few random Derby party-spots.

Thursday, May 5th: Kroger’s Festaville at Waterfront Park

Waterfront park took on a new meaning to its name as receding flood waters left much of the ground oozing with river-aroma’d black mud. Now add an inability to get your favorite beverage/cocktail of choice in 20 minutes or less, and you get a disgruntled crowd. Although many were patient enough to bear the wait time, I decided standing in a line for 20 minutes or more for a drink was not something I can do if I’m going to properly review the event. Maybe someday these large waterfront concert organizers will figure out the service staff to guest ratio, because this night they clearly hadn’t. If you wanted a beer or cocktail you had better be patient and be willing to watch the concert from the line. Bummer.


The drink ticket line


One of three stage-area watering holes

Luck-fully the entertainment for the night were a pair of Kentucky’s most popular bands, Louisville’s The Pass, and Bowling Green’s Cage The Elephant. Event organizers hit the nail on the head by booking these two rising musical stars from Kentucky, otherwise I’m not sure people would have braved the mud and long lines.

The Pass initiated the first true crowd roar upon walking out on stage and seemed a little surprised at the audiences gesture. They opened with “Treatment of the Sun” and somewhat initiated a dance party that would carry out for the remainder of their 45 minute set. An 80’s style dance party in mud I might add. The only bummer was they didn’t play, what I think is one of their best songs, “Criminal.”

Cage The Elephant almost didn’t go on. At least that is what I started to think when I saw an ambulance with its lights on drive backstage 30 minutes after The Pass had completely vacated the stage. All of the sudden I started thinking about my phone interview with lead-singer Matt Schultz last March, which I thought he was comatose’d during. There is no way this ambulance is here for any CTE member I thought to myself.

Then, finally, at about 9:45, a whole 45 minutes late, the Bowling Green, Kentucky-boys finally emerged from backstage to a shrieking and impatient audience. They quickly grabbed their instruments and belted out one of their hits “In One Ear.” The opening words to this song; “They say we ain’t got the style, we ain’t got the class…” proved to be oh-so-appropriate at this particular moment. But, musically, they do, and those lyrics really hit home for a home-state audience.

All of the sudden the wait seemed worth it as they opened with a bit of a bang, and then treated the audience to songs like “Back Against The Wall,” “Shake Me Down,” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” amongst others. 

The enitre band had quite a rambunctious stage presence the entire night and lead-singer Matt Schultz became reminiscent of how Jim Morrison of The Doors used to drunkenly stagger around stage, dodging his fellow band members. He was crowd surfing by the second song I might add.

One thing was for sure; CTE didn’t have to wait 20 minutes or more for drinks.

Part 2 of 3 coming soon….

Photos & Videos by Jason Ashcraft

** This review also posted at Louisville.com

Friday, May 6th: The Vernon Club

Ok, so let’s recap from part 1 of this review. There were zero beers realistically available for me at the Cage The Elephant & The Pass show the night before on Thursday. That being said, Friday night is going to be different. It’s Derby-eve, and I’ve got the VilleBillies penciled in on my schedule for the night’s festivities. And these damn VilleBillies have built a reputation for having plenty of booze flowing at their shows, their rehearsals, their backstage gatherings, and their post-show parties. Pretty much anywhere they go they throw down so to speak. And given that I’m reviewing their show on this night, there is no way they’re going to allow me to not drink with them.

To no surprise, they packed in the Vernon Club to near capacity. And once they to the stage, the VilleBillies seized their audience from the first song, and had the entire room chanting their lyrics during their entire set.


VilleBillies – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Celebrating nearly 10 years of being together as a band, the VilleBillies continue to prove they haven’t lost their energy, their onstage swagger, or their ability to keep writing heartfelt, Louisville-loving, country-rock-hip-hop anthems that you can’t help to find yourself chanting, even if only in your head.

Most VilleBillie fans are hardcore fans and know the song lyrics as good as the band does, so it’s interesting to hear the constant echo of a nearby fan trying to keep the vicious lyrical pace of the song being performed. Not surprisingly, VilleBillie fans also drink about as much as the band does, so it made for quite a loud and somewhat hectic environment. But not a dramatic one. Everyone behaved on this night and the security staff didn’t even break a sweat.

Post-show a few people headed upstairs to the bowling alley for a few drunken ball tosses down the lanes…including myself. But after managing to only knock down one pin on one try, I called it a night and drank beer with Tuck and some of his cousins. All’s well that ends well.

Photo & videos by Jason Ashcraft

Saturday, May 7th: The Seelbach Bar, MTV’s “Hottest Derby Party” at Frazier Museum.

The Seelbach Bar inside the Seelbach Hotel hosted its house jazz band The Dick Sisto Trio, with of course, Dick Sisto on piano and vibraphone, Tyrone Wheeler on bass and Jason Tiemann on percussion. Jazz is a good music to sit and space out to when, perhaps, you don’t want to hear or listen to anything else. You can get lost in its composure and random bursts of energy, and the Dick Sisto Trio delivers the total live jazz experience.


Dick Sisto. Photo by John Nation

On this particular night, the Seelbach Bar was brimming with seemingly partied-out derby out-of-towners, along with a few locals here and there, most all still in their Derby attire. The mint julep’s were flowing although I settled for an Espresso Martini. And while the Seelbach has a history of attracting a few celebrities during Derby, this time they were no where to be found. I was fine with that. The last thing I want to be thought of is the paparazzi.

MTV’s “Hottest Derby Party” actually rivaled being the “Coldest Derby Party” if you ask me. Either this event was thrown together way to quickly, or it lacked sufficient Derby-caliber entertainment, or Derby party-goers have zero interest in becoming MTV’s next Snooki, or a combination of all three. There was also no sign of MTV’s Tyrus, no indication of a casting call for a reality show taking place, nor did it even look like any live-performance by breakout artist Jim Phebe was in store.


The main ballroom at 11:30 pm. Photo by Jason Ashcraft

But, on the flip side, at least the event service staff had no issues serving the very few guests (or themselves) a drink in less than 20 seconds. That’s because they far outnumbered any party-goers. 

Given the expensive admission cost of $45+ to get in, an average cost of $15 dollars per drink, and the lack of a high-profile guest list or musician performing, this party never really had a chance. Back to drawing board on how to properly plan a Derby party for MTV I suppose.

**This review also posted at Louisville.com

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The VilleBillies 2011

To say the eight-member hip-hop-alt-country-rock band the VilleBillies are busy these days would be a drastic understatement, especially for two of the band’s most prolific members, Demi Demaree and Dustin “Tuck” Tucker, who are also in the midst of debuting and promoting their new hip-hop project called BassDrumAliens.

As for their self-proclaimed mothership of all projects, the VilleBillies are heating up once again after a two-year stint with a new album titled Appetite For Dysfunction (due out this summer) along with a few high-profile shows recently announced. The first will come Derby-eve on Friday, May 6th at The Vernon Club , and also the following Friday, May 13th, where they’ll be kicking off the Paddock Concert Series at Churchill Downs. At the Derby, on Saturday, May 7th, the VilleBillies will have a booth in the infield where they’ll be passing out free tickets to the May 13th show in the Paddock inside Churchill Downs.  No plans yet confirmed on whether they’ll be hitting the road for a tour to celebrate the release for Appetite for Dysfunction.

VilleBillies on the red carpet at Churchill Downs' opening night

‘Talk To Me’ is the album’s first single, and was debuted during their HullabaLou performance last summer, along with a video that followed shortly thereafter. If you haven’t yet seen the song’s video, it will more than likely leave you scratching your head once you do.

“The song is a dark song. It’s not happy like it sounds,” Tuck commented on the subject of ‘Talk To Me.’

Demi also added, “It goes through the emotions of love, from the most beautiful purest piece of it, to the darker side of it.”

Aside from the VilleBillies, other members of the band are also involved with a number of side projects like BassDrumAliens, Plan of Man, Gentlemen Hounds, Million Dollar Records, and Melted Clock Studios. Melted Clock Studios is a video production company that shoots and produces music videos for artists – including all the VilleBillies’ own music videos – along with a number of comedy skits that both Demi and Tuck are sometimes featured in. Just google “Melted Clock Studios” and let yourself be entertained.

As for what’s next for the VilleBillies, the focus right now is for the band to concentrate on finishing and releasing Appetite for Dysfunction this summer.

“We just have a lot of fun with this stuff, you know? Anyway we can be creative is what we’re going to do. We’re not stuck to one thing,” Demi commented on the band’s various side projects. “There is just so much creativity in us, and so many goals, and so many things we want to accomplish that if we weren’t working on new stuff, then we’d be depressed.

Tuck went on to say, “I’m happy where I’m at right now because I can make, record, and listen to my own music. If I couldn’t do that, then I’d be really depressed. All the other stuff is just bonuses. But I’m not going to lie. I’d really like to take it to that next level.”

**Please note this video was recorded prior to a recent venue change announced for the Derby-eve show on Friday, May 6th.

Churchill Downs Paddock Concert Series
The VilleBillies  


Friday, May 13th 

Churchill Downs

700 Central Ave.

8 pm 

All Ages

FREE

** This story is also published at Louisville.com

Photos: Courtesy of the VilleBillies

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