Moving In Stereo
Volume 16 (In Music We Trust Magazine)
By: Darren Paltrowitz
Since Moving In Stereo: Volume 15 hit browsers, shelves, and tables around the world, a lot of worthwhile and attention-worthy releases have reached the office CD player, including:
-Orange Juice "The Glasgow School" (Domino)
-The Dictators "Viva Dictators" (Escape)
-True Love "Wings" (Not Lame)
-Ric Ocasek "Nexterday" (Sanctuary/Inverse)
-The Plus Ones "Oh Me Of Little Faith" (Insubordination)
?From The Stage
Having been part of Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and Mondo Generator, Brant Bjork commands a lot of acclaim from music writers and industry insiders alike. He may not have been part of a gold-selling act, but fans of riff-oriented, Black Sabbath-inspired hard rock know that Bjork is the real deal. Opening for Dick Dale at The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, Bjork and The Bros. played a set heavy on selections from "Keep Your Cool" and even threw in a segued cover of Cream classic "Sunshine Of Your Love." This was a show you ought to have brought earplugs to?Out on its first full headlining tour of the United States in 15 years ? plugging "Angel Of Retribution" -- the classic lineup of Judas Priest is still going at full speed. Not only was the voice of Rob Halford in peak condition at the Jones Beach Amphitheater, but the group still carries a full-scale production. Showcasing enough new material to distance themselves from the "nostalgia" banner that many metal contemporaries wear, the quintet also took a place with its semi-acoustic reworking of "Diamonds And Rust." One must hope that it will not be another decade before The Priest will be back with another headlining tour Stateside?Out in support of "We?re Not Happy Until You?re Not Happy," few ska ensembles are on the same level as Reel Big Fish. A band in tact since the early half of the 1990?s, the set-list from the comedically-inclined Aaron Barrett and crew was filled hits and anthems to the point that the majority of songs were recognizable singles. However, the band?s strong musicianship brought out new arrangements on such ? including a brief snippet of "Heartbreaker" from Led Zeppelin ? on classic tracks, so that even the players on-stage at Irving Plaza appeared to be keeping themselves entertained. Almost as exciting as the headliners on this four-band bill were El Pus. Part of the Virgin Records roster, El Pus consists of two MC?s fronting a guitarist, bassist, and drummer a la N*E*R*D. But when the act broke into a sped-up rendition of Michael Jackson classic "Billie Jean," it became clear that these are folks to be expecting big things from?Although ska-friendly Californians like Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats also hold their own by placing as much emphasis on their hooks as their super-hero personas. An exciting production at B.B. King?s in Times Square, this Aquabats show not only offered you a live on-stage musical performance, but skits and multi-media thrills on the nearby video screens. Mixing in a handful of selections from Nitro Records? "Charge!" along favorites like "Pool Party" and "Super Rad," fans were also treated to an unexpected surprise as one die-hard successfully proposed to another die-hand during the encore. It?s going to take a lot to keep me from catching this must-see band at their next Manhattan gig.
?From The Screen
Whether due to "The O.C." or years of hard work and touring over the past eight years, Death Cab For Cutie has evolved from cult status into being one of the larger indie-rock acts out there today. Chronicling this in-progress ascent, "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully" is a DVD title that mixes more than a dozen live performances with behind-the-scenes footage. As extras, viewers will be able to watch an acoustic set from San Francisco along with deleted scenes and additional interviews. More about the music than recent films about Wilco or The Flaming Lips, director Justin Mitchell helps to ensure that any fan?s appreciation of Death Cab For Cutie will increase tenfold after catching "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully."?One of the larger indie labels in the world, Saddle Creek Records has held its own by releasing albums from artists like Bright Eyes, The Faint, Rilo Kiley, and Cursive. Likely to appeal to many of the same people as Death Cab For Cutie?s new video release ? as also put out through Plexifilm ? "Spend An Evening With Saddle Creek" tells the story of the Omaha, NE-based label from its small-time launch in 1993 to its present-day success. Beyond the 90-minute documentary by Jason Kulbel and Rob Walters, there are nearly 70 minutes of accompanying extras. It will be difficult for a true fan of music to watch this film without feeling the urge to start up their own record company?Dennis DeYoung is known far more for his time with Styx than for his solo career. However, that hasn?t stopped Universal Music from releasing "The Best Of Dennis DeYoung: The DVD Collection." Kicking off with "Desert Moon," this release features four music videos from DeYoung that were previously unavailable for purchase. Unfortunately, absolute die-hards will have to keep their fingers crossed about a Tommy Shaw video collection.
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Copyright 2005 ? Column used with permission from Darren Paltrowitz. All right reserved.