Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fruit Bats

So, yeah, the Fruit Bats ...

I just recently got introduced to the band thanks to the AV Club's "Undercover" Webisode series, where the band did a cover of Hall & Oates One-on-One.

Today, a Rhapsody promo/Web series caught my eye on's Rock & Roll Daily blog. It features video of Fruit Bats' frontman Eric Johnson doing solo acoustic versions of Fruit Bats songs as well as an interview. The session was co-sponsored by Northwestern University, where, apparently, Johnson either hangs out or goes to school (I can't determine which based on the short synopsis beneath the video).

Either way, I thought I'd share the link here because I like it and I think soon most people will too. It's a smooth blend of The Shins (who the Fruit Bats have been touring with) and Wilco (like Wilco, the Fruit Bats are Chicago natives, but are now based in Portland).

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hall & Oates: Rock and Soul

Can somebody please tell me: What is it with Hall & Oates lately?

Granted, I have "Maneater" and "Rich Girl" in rotation on the iPod, but it seems like the 70's era soul brothers are really getting hot of late.

I first questioned what is it with Hall and Oates when Umphrey's McGee bassist Ryan Stasik donned a Hall and Oat's T-shirt and was quoted as saying: "I enjoy tanning, surfing, red wine, and Hall ‘n Oates."

Then, I see this video on AV Club of the Fruit Bats doing a sweet cover of Hall & Oates tune One-On-One.

But the straw that broke the camel's came when I saw "She's Out of My League" in the theaters the other night. A very funny movie in a place where I shouldn't have to worry about being threatened by Hall & Oates. But one of the characters, who was your token d-bag, played in a band that played exclusively Hall & Oates covers. When asked to play something other than Hall & Oates, like "maybe some other rock-n-roll hits," the band simply looked at eachother and shook their heads.

Maybe it's because it's baby making music by a couple white boys or maybe it's just John Oats' 'stache. Either way, I need more Whole Oates in my diet ...

(p.s. The cover band in the movie plays Kiss is on My List and Everytime You Go Away, both off the CD Voices.)


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Phish 3D to be shown in Burlington on 4/20

Rolling Stone today had the scoop on Phish 3D, which was filmed live at Festival 8, Phish's Halloween festival in Indio California this October.

According to the Rolling Stone blog post, "on April 20th, fans in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., Raleigh and, of course, Phish’s native Burlington, Vermont, will be the first to experience Phish 3D, with a rollout to other markets starting April 30th. Phish 3D will only be in theaters for one week."

The film will be previewed at Majestic 10 in Williston, VT on April 20 (4/20).

Check out the theatrical trailer on Glide Magazine's Hidden Track blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pheonix: Live in Sydney (free download)

Wow, cas:ev is turning into a music blog!? Most of my info is jacked from other blogs, but a select few I feel compelled to post. Go with the flow I guess.

Anyway, Follow this link to download eight free live Pheonix tracks from their Web site. Sweet!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MGMT: Congratulations

MGMT's highly anticipated new album, Congratulations, leaked and the band has been streaming it in full on their site here (stream their new single Flash Delirium at right of this page).

Congratulations album art

While MGMT's live sound includes a drummer, bass and backing guitar/vocals, MGMT (formerly "The Management") was formed by Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, a couple of spacey chaps that met at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, in or around 2004. They used to do 20-minute electronic/psych-rock shows in their dorms and later released the EP Time To Pretend that earned them instant fame and opening gigs for the likes of Radiohead and Of Montreal.

However, they didn't go straight from mini-fridges and George Foreman's to big arenas. They've played many small venues in the Northeast, including Higher Ground, in Burlington. I went to see them at the SoCo Music Experience in 2008 (sponsored by Southern Comfort) in Altamont, NY. It was a free festival and included Justice, Lotus and The Whigs, with MGMT headlining, but they were a no-show. We were told their drummer dropped something on his foot ... It don't matter, the other bands were great and there was more Southern Comfort than you could shake a stick at, in addition to Bag-O tournaments and a screen printing exhibition.

MGMT has been embraced by the rebellious youth, partying college kids and 20-somethings like me. Their rise to stardom has been the subject of some debate ... a pretty cool one at that: What makes a band an instant hit with the masses?

Here's my theory:

1. They have hooks. You don't find as many in Congratulations, but Oracular Spectacular was full of catchy melodies.

2. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden have "the look." They look like rock stars and they play the part. They sleep with models, kick around Brooklyn clubs and wander around backstage at festivals in a drug-induced haze. That, along with their 70's era clothing and Ray Ban sunglasses make them poster boys of restless youth.

3. It's eclectic and mysterious. Their music is an acid-wash mix of The Beatles, The Kinks, surf rock, neo-folk and dance rock. VanWyngarden's vocals rarely take center stage, rather blending cohesively with the synthesizers. This all adds to the intrigue. Of course, we love what we don't understand ... it scares us and we like it.

Because of the mass appeal, and despite the leak, Congratulations will be a big seller and will get plenty of radio play. But, since they've gone off and explored new territories and didn't offer many radio singles (the song Congratulations is one for sure), it won't match the success of Oracular Spectacular.

MGMT is one of those bands that controls their own destiny. It will be interesting what they choose to do with it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

World Water Day, Earth Hour

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

A friend tipped me off that today (March 22) is World Water Day.

Check out this Nat Geo photo album (one is above) dedicated to water preservation and awareness.

Also, this Saturday (March 27) at 8:30 p.m., support "Earth Hour" by turning your lights off and not using other energy (unless wind power or some other kind of alternative energy). People are designing lanterns out of different stuff to promote.

Here's a site dedicated to Earth Hour.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More stufff to look forward to.

Let's hope I can keep my mind in the present:

1. New Band of Horses! Infinite Arms is due out May 18. Should be nothing short of spectacular from the Seattle-based band. Band of Horses have left the Sub Pop label for this, their third, record -- arriving at Brown Records/Fat Possum/Columbia; home to the likes of Andrew Bird, The Black Keys, Crocodiles and other lesser-known bands. BoH will tour the U.S. in May, supporting Pearl Jam. Madison Square Garden on May 21 is the closest to my neck of the woods ...

For more, visit their Web site.

2. New Neil Young documentary I love all things Neil, so I was excited to hear about "Neil Young Trunk Show," hitting select theaters (which means nowhere near me) on March 19.

Check out the trailer!

3. Phish! It was just announced today that Phish's summer tour will make a stop within my radius: a two-night stand at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 19 and 20.

Check out their summer dates.

They will also be releasing a 3D movie filmed at the Halloween fest, Phish Festival 8, in Indio, CA. Sounds pretty cool. We'll finally know how hippies look in 3D ...

Other notable news:

The Barrelhouse Brothers (the band I play in) got a Peavy P.A. system and will soon be announcing a 'It's Spring: Time To Come Out of Your Hole' show.

The Adirondack Park will not be closing this summer to balance the budget!

... and today is St. Patrick's Day. Happy St. Patrick's Day if you're Irish. If not, enjoy celebrating beer anyway.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Survey: Would you use rail transportation?

My friend Mark is working on his thesis as a grad student at U Albany and needs your help!
Take five minutes to fill out his survey, linked below.

Here is his e-mail he sent:

"I need your help. I'm a University at Albany Graduate student working on my thesis in which I need to develop a business plan for a new venture. I decided to do something out of the box and have begun working on a business plan that can be used to develop a light rail system in the Capital Region. I've always believed that a light rail system, one like the TriMet system of Portland, Oregon, would provide a big boost to the Capital Region economy as residents could easily commute to and from work, shopping centers, schools, and other places of interest. The potential light rail system would be costly, logistically difficult to plan and implement, but well worth it in the long run for the area's growth.

A banner promoting Portland, Oregon's, new TriMet: MAX Green Line.
Why doesn't upstate New York have a light rail system again??

Before I jump headlong into writing my thesis, I need to determine the actual demand for a light rail system in the Capital Region. For that reason I've developed a short, 10 question survey that will take you no more than 5 minutes to complete: If you have additional questions or comments you'd like to pass along, please do. The survey software limited the amount of questions for this survey.

Please take the time to complete the survey and if you'd like, feel free to forward to other colleagues, friends, and family members in the Capital Region. I'm hoping to receive enough responses to make this survey statistically significant.

I thank you for your time. Your participation is appreciated and is essential in my development of a convincing thesis.

Best Regards,
Mark "
Right on Mark. I hope you get good participation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Take Action, Get Tunes

Hey y'all,

Head Count, the environmental advocacy group that uses music as its springboard, e-mailed me and tipped me off to a pretty cool deal: E-mail your state senators urging them to vote in favor of climate change legislation and get a 17-track compilation CD, "Best of Bonnarroo."

Included is music from Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Gov't Mule, Phish, moe., Phil Lesh & Friends and many more bands, all of which pledged their allegiance to Head Count and do their part to promote climate action while on the road each year.

Here's the catch: Head Count provides a canned letter you can send without any thought and you'll be done if five minutes. However, they urge you to express your own thoughts about climate change. Include specifics like the town where you live and businesses around you that do their part to be green. Include these in the first few lines to maybe get the attention of the senators if they actually peer over the e-mails.

In my e-mail, I noted where I lived and that I look around me every day and see people who really care about the environment and would be devastated if they couldn't share the wilderness with their children and grandchildren.

That said, click the link below to do your part and download the MP3's: