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Category: Rock
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Metal Monday: Cool Off With Cold Weather Jams By Black Thai, Voyager, Black Sheep Wall, And More

It’s summer, which means it’s hot. Really hot. In fact, this is one of the hottest summers ever so far. What does this mean? It means what you need now, more than ever before, are some really solid jams to help you keep your cool. Luckily, we’ve got a handful of metal songs here that should definitely do the trick. Lots of slow, heavy songs—perfectly matched for lazing about in the shade on a blazing day. Now go grab a cold beverage because there’s only so much music can do to beat the heat!

Ben Folds Five Set September 18 Release Date For First Full-Length In 13 Years

Ben Folds Five have announced that September 18 will be the official release date of their first full–length album since 1999′s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. A lot has changed since the group called it quits at the turn of the millennium, but Folds, bassist Robert Sledge, and drummer Darren Jessee haven’t missed a beat. Taking advantage of the new surge in crowdfunding popularized by sites like Kickstarter, the band has financed their entire new record, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, through PledgeMusic.com.

A few months ago, we got the chance to talk to Folds about the making of the album and the funding process, and we’re excited to see the project finally complete. Folds’ close friend Amanda Palmer also recently made headlines for her massively successful fundraising project on Kickstarter. Last week, Folds took to Facebook to share his thoughts on her upcoming album, Theatre Is Evil, which is also due for release in September.

Listen to “Do It Anyway,” the first single from the new album, below.

Do It Anyway by Ben Folds

Wake Up

The City Never Sleeps

Though the members of The City Never Sleeps hail from all corners of New York state—Albany, Middletown, and Oneonta—none live in the city to which their name refers. The irony ends there, however. Musically, TCNS is all about earnestness delivered via tight, stylized songs with snap. On “Mr. Hide” a percussive bass, jutting guitars, and glossy boy-girl harmonies create a taut little rocker buffed to a shine, with a gnarly guitar solo to boot. “Return to Sender” features an exhaustive revue of guitars that stretch, scribble, grunt, and thrust all over the pop rock melody. But on “Crumble At The Fault,” the band switches things up, sewing a bit of jazz into the blissed-out ballad. Glistening guitars nip and synths sigh as singer John Glenn admits, “Sometimes I feel just fine.” We know the feeling, dude.

Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The Grateful Dead Come Alive in ‘Dark Stars and Anti-Matter’

For many people, The Grateful Dead have always been a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. The band’s slavishly devoted army of Deadheads (which still exists today, turning up to see Furthur, the band that includes erstwhile GD singer/guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh) connects to the jazzy fluidity of the band’s instrumental improv, the killer catalog of classic songs penned by Jerry Garcia, lyricist Robert Hunter, and company, as well as the slightly stoned sense of bonhomie that has always emanated from the psychedelic warriors’ core. The Dead’s detractors, on the other hand, deem the band’s jams overlong and sleep-inducing, abhor the hippie aesthetic the group always embodied, and take issue with their hit-and-miss approach to vocal intonation. Apart from those who have never heard them, almost everyone has a strong opinion about The Grateful Dead, winding up either in the love or hate camp sooner or later.

So if someone’s going to write a critically-balanced book about the band, who better than one of the few music fans—and certainly one of the only rock critics—who has found himself on both sides of the fence at various points? Granted, veteran music journalist Gene Sculatti (author of 1982′s seminal Catalog of Cool and 1985’s San Francisco Nights: The Psychedelic Music Trip, among others) isn’t exactly objective when it comes to the subject, but among rock writers, he’s in a unique position to discourse on the Dead—he was there from the start. “I always get caught in the middle,” says Sculatti, whose new Rhino eBook bears the self-explanatory title Dark Stars & Anti-Matter: 40 Years of Loving, Leavin, and Making Up With the Music of The Grateful Dead. “Because I saw them in the beginning, and most of the records I still evaluate in terms of, ‘Does this resemble the way it was then, live?’”

Sculatti first saw the band at San Francisco’s famed psychedelic-era venue The Avalon Ballroom in the spring of 1966, about a year in advance of the first Grateful Dead album. “That’s one of the greatest gifts anyone ever gave to me,” says Sculatti, “to be there then and see that. You’re 18 or 19 years old…this brand new thing that’s never been before is springing up and you happen to be there a couple of feet from it. It’s just incredible to read in the paper about some group with a crazy name like Big Brother & The Holding Company or something and go to this place where it was and see it with light shows and everything that accompanied it. And that’s when I started writing, because there was a little paper there in Frisco. That was my impetus too for writing about the Dead this time—there were things I hadn’t said about seeing them at that time.”

Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The Grateful Dead Come Alive in ‘Dark Stars and Anti-Matter’’

Coheed & Cambria Frontman’s Comics To Be Made Into Movie

Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, producers of “Boardwalk Empire” and “Entourage,” have obtained the rights to the graphic novel series The Amory Wars by Claudio Sanchez, singer, guitarist, and mastermind of the prog-rock concept band Coheed & Cambria. According to Variety.com, the team will be turning the futuristic sci-fi fantasy saga into a live-action feature film.

Sanchez’s comics are an ongoing series about a family in an alternate universe and their battle to end the reign of Wilhelm Ryan, a superhuman dictator with ruthless power. These comics were originally written to accompany the parallel on-going story of Coheed & Cambria’s concept albums, but have clearly developed into much more. They have garnered attention and respect from Comic-Con fans and famous comic book writers such as Peter David (The Incredible Hulk, Aquaman), who penned 2010′s The Year of the Black Rainbow, an origin story to accompany the band’s fifth full-length album with the same name.

Whether or not Sanchez or his band are to be involved with the scoring of the film has yet to be announced, but one can only assume that there must be some talk of this involvement, considering the albums and the graphic novels are practically one in the same.

Coheed and Cambria have a new album coming out this fall and a North American tour with Iron Maiden starting on July 24th.

 

Ben – Sorry, Benjamin – Gibbard Announces Debut Solo Album ‘Former Lives’

Ben Gibbard has been a staple of the indie rock scene for years. He’s a twee everyman. If you were a sensitive kid in high school, there’s a good chance that Death Cab For Cutie, Gibbard’s main musical project, soundtracked some of your most vulnerable moments. He’s also a frequent collaborator with other members of the indie rock cognoscenti. And let’s not forget The Postal Service! Finally, for those of you that are totally not dialed into the world of Rock, he’s also that scruffy chap who was married to Zooey Deschanel for a bit. But for the first time in his career (since he got famous, at least), Ben is stepping out on his own with Former Lives.

The debut album from Gibbard is going to be released through Barsuk Records. Barsuk, the label which first signed Death Cab and has put out releases from the likes of The Dismemberment Plan, Ra Ra Riot, and Mates of State, is indie as all get out. Gibbard is also recording and releasing under his full name, Benjamin Gibbard, for what it’s worth.

Gibbard dropped some hints about what we should expect from Former Lives in an interview with Stereogum, saying that the songs on the record come from a number of different periods of time during his music career. “I think that people will kind of see past the fact that one song has a mariachi band, the next song is acoustic — it’s all over the map,” says Gibbard. “But I’m really proud of the tunes and how they came together in the studio, and I’d like to hope that that’s enough to carry and justify the record.”

Former Lives is out in the U.S. October 16th with tour dates in the fall to be announced. Visit Gibbard’s offical website for more updates.

Metal Monday: It Lies Within Shedding Their Chrysalis

2012 is looking to be a pretty good year for the guys in It Lies Within. Having signed to Luxor Recordings late in 2011 and playing a lot of big shows in the midwest, they are on track to continue this touring trend. This summer they’ll be releasing Chrysalis, which will be their first release with the new label. And in terms of OurStage success, It Lies Within have also been doing consistently well in the metal and hard rock videos channels this year.

Musically comprised of catchy hooks, raucous breakdowns, and meaty riffs, It Lies Within make for a really fun listen. The first single from Chrysalis (“Home Is Where The Heart Is”) is a perfect summation of the sort of things It Lies Within bring in full force. They’ve played shows with bands like All That Remains, We Came As Romans, Times of Grace, War of Ages, Carnifex, Oceano, Within the Ruins, As They Sleep, Chiodos and Asking Alexandria—they’re a great fit with all of these bands, too. It’s time to hop aboard the bandwagon now and enjoy the sweet sounds of their metalcore music. Check out the video for “Home Is Where The Heart Is” below, then go buy some merch and/or the new album!

Touring By Train, What’s Up With That?

When was the last time you even rode a train? Think about that for a second and then consider the news that Skrillex, Diplo and some of their friends are touring in one?

Indeed, the Full Flex Express Tour is set to take the great white north by storm over the next few days. The six date run is going to hit every major market in Canada, starting in Toronto and wrapping up in Vancouver. The lineup, consisting of Skrillex, Diplo, Pretty Lights, Grimes, Tokimonsta, KOAN Sound, and Hundred Waters, is a stacked mix of the best and weirdest that the EDM scene has to offer. We even came across a computer generated simulation of what the tour will likely sound like.

But the whole train thing? What inspired this ragtag collection of DJs and producers (and Grimes) to traverse the great white north via locomotive?

Continue reading ‘Touring By Train, What’s Up With That?’

Charlie Sheen: “Axl Rose Will Be Homeless. Also, Remember How Much Coke I Did?”

Charlie Sheen has never been a man to mince words. The gloriously candid actor who brought phrases like “bi-winning” and “tiger blood” into the cultural lexicon recently turned his caustic sense of humor on a not-entirely-undeserving candidate: Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose.

At the Hollywood Walk of Fame induction of former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, Sheen noted, “It’s quite fitting that Slash is getting a star on the very street Axl Rose will one day be sleeping on.” He added, “This star is going to be stepped on more than the coke we did in the Eighties.” Bravo, Charlie.

Now, some might argue that Rose is too easy of a target for Sheen, whose words could seem like an unfair low blow to the beleaguered aging rocker. Yet, when you consider that Rose routinely shows up hours late for performances and that his management has banned fans from wearing Slash t-shirts at Guns N’ Roses concerts, well, Sheen’s jibes don’t seem totally unwarranted.

At least Slash clearly enjoyed them, turning and apparently stifling a laugh during Sheen’s characteristically outlandish speech. It’s the least we can expect from the wild actor who, among other strange boasts, has recently attested that he can see the ghosts of dead relatives. We’re going to let that one slide.

 


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