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Jan 272011

Upon entry I was greeted by Portland, Oregon’s Billygoat in the middle of their set. It was gorgeous, haunting, ambient music created with drums, guitar and the vocalist working a synthesizer and an array of other electronic equipment. This was set and synchronized to some of the most stunning digital animation I’ve seen at a show like this.

little-dragon_yukimi_orlando-music-blog_kisses-and-noiseSeeing Little Dragon live is a neck breaking collision of soul, electronica, and rock ‘n roll. Their last appearance at BackBooth in 2010 brought out about 60 rabid fans. This time around the venue was packed. I guess appearing on a Gorillaz album does wonders for publicity – being completely awesome helps a lot too. Vocalist, Yukimi Nagano, who seemed a tad shy on the last time out worked the room with a strengthened charisma while the insanely talented gang of Swede’s that comprise the band ripped a hole in the time-space continuum that pulled the BackBooth into a swirling vortex of energized dance rock. No, I was not on acid.

little-dragon_orlando-music-blog_kisses-and-noiseThese guys are on the verge of something huge. They have the right mix of unique sound, talent, charisma, musical arrangement, live presentation, and mass appeal. They deliver their smooth electro neo-soul like a rock band. The volume was crushing and they often turn 3-minute singles into 10 minute exploration jams. The vibe was fun and intense. It is one of the few shows I’ve attended where it is packed shoulder-to-shoulder but everyone is dancing like it’s a club. When I say everyone, I mean everyone including guys … white guys! Nearing the finale there were moments reminiscent of Radiohead with bassist / sampler, Fredrick Källgren, hunched over his devices twisting knobs and warping sound along with a pulsing house-like disco party freakout brought on by Erik Bodin’s clever drum work and Håkan Wirenstrand‘s driving keys that shook walls and made it feel like an Ibiza ecstasy party. I nearly had a pants-off dance-off with myself.

New Music: I think they said the song was “Bitter Tears“  “Summer Tears” from their forthcoming album …

Jan 262011

Signed Vinyl of the Score to Adventureland

Signed Vinyl of the Score to Adventureland

On Tuesday night the godfathers of indie rock swept into The Social on the heels of Rain-a-geddon – more commonly known as a thunderstorm in these parts – and proved why they maintained their status for over 20 years. They embody everything that “indie” stands (stood) for. Besides being eligible for a pension from Matador Records they are quirky, fun, somber, experimental, sweet, and can flat-out rock when necessary powered by Ira’s roaring guitar rig.

They opened the show by announcing that there would be 2 sets, the first being determined by the spin of a Wheel of Fortune inspired wheel. Pure chance would determine what Orlando got to hear. It was to be spun by a member of the audience and YLT would have to play whatever the fates imposed. There were 8 categories including: Dump (James’ solo recordings), Sounds of Science Pt.1 OR Pt. 2 (the instrumental recordings of Ira and Georgia), “S” songs (YLT songs beginning with the letter “S”), TV sitcom (they would act out a sitcom, which would be very interesting), and Condo Fucks (YLT’s cover band alter ego) to name a few.

This concept is basically a band saying, “We’ve been playing for over 20 years … fuck it. Let’s make it interesting” It is extremely impressive for a band to have that many songs at the ready and just be able to slide into a set based on the spin of a wheel each night. The second set, a  more traditional setlist, will not be repeated from night to night either.

We got “S” songs.

The show exemplified YLT’s style with quiet moments, sing-along moments, low-key and intimate banter followed by flashes of epic rock.

Jan 242011

washed-out_live_backbooth_orlando-music-blog_concertErnest Green called the show about 5 or 6 songs into their set Saturday night. “I’m having some problems with my computer if you haven’t already noticed,” he bemoaned. I guess he couldn’t get Garage Band open. Beach ball! This time around he brought out a band: a rhythm section, and another dude on synthesizer to accompany Ernest and his computer along with a girl that dipped in and out to play tambourine and synth. Several people noted that the performance was much better than his last trip where he played as a one man band (computer). I thought the bonus of bringing on musicians and 4 or 5 synthesizers would be that you could play through and around songs that failed to open on your laptop?

Jan 192011

lost-in-the-trees_the-social_orlando-music-blog_kisses-and-noiseAt the urging of a friend I went to see North Carolina band  Lost in the Trees. I never heard their music and was glad I got to check them out. Their symphonic indie folk was elegant and brooding. Singer / songwriter, Ari Picker’s ghostly falsetto was supported by his acoustic guitar (with distortion), 2 cellos, a violinist, drums, bass (the bass player also busted out a tuba periodically), and a stunning multi-instrumentalist that moved between floor tom, xylophone, French horn, trumpet, and harpsichord (I think that is what it was) while commanding a powerfully trained backing vocal.

Jan 142011

of-montreal_live_orlando_firestone_kisses-and-noiseI think I may have been playing it safe when I used the word pageantry to describe Of Montreal‘s live performance. It was more like Liza Minnelli’s dream Vegas show if she was twisted up on acid. Baby skeletons, giant pac-man dragon caterpillar things, phallic figures spewing confetti feathers, sequins, pig people riding inflatable rafts across the crowd, glitter, strobes, costume changes, fish head creatures with gas masks, and more spandex full-body unitards than the icecapades.

of-montreal_lpigs_ive_orlando_firestone_kisses-and-noiseThe band was comprised of about 7 musicians, a score of dancer / performance artists, and a roadie / musician in a leotard with a giant dildo (I hope it was) trying to rip through his lime green figure skater garb. Kevin Barnes was in rare form as he danced, pranced and sashayed across the Firestone stage. The music was rock driven and even psychedelic at points with an extended jam here and there. He reminded me of an indie rock Prince (with less guitar prowess), then they busted out a cover of Prince protege Apollonia 6‘s “Sex Shooter” and moved straight into “Gronlandic Edit.” Pretty nifty.

Jan 132011

of-montreal_orlando_firestone_kisses-and-noiseThere is something in the Athens, GA water that nourishes alternative music or something. From the breakthrough sounds of the B-52′s and R.E.M to the country rock of Drive-By Truckers or the new pop of Danger Mouse to the hip indie power of Neutral Milk Hotel Athens is home to a wide range of great musicians. Of Montreal adds a little swagger and glam pageantry to the mix. For some reason I’ve missed them by minutes at several festivals and spaced on their last 2 or 3 visits to Orlando. I will try to end the streak this week and see wildman Kevin Barnes and company touring behind the adventurous False Priest. This album is more organic compared to the ultra-catchy electronic pop of Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and that combined with lights, stage antics, and costume changes that made them festival favorites will make for a great show.

The newer stuff has a more organic instrumentation than previous albums.

Jan 062011

The swagger, misogyny, antics, tight Lip Service pants, and even the hairless, chubby/skinny Vince Neil-ishness of Steel Panther’s lead singer completely capture the pomp of 80′s hair metal. This satirical comedy act comes so close musically to a Sunset Strip metal band that they could pass for one of them at quick glance. Songs like “Fat Chicks,” “Asian Hookers,” and this one “Death to All but Metal” are hilarious comedic performances that have me simultaneously pissing myself and yearning for a youth full of Headbangers Ball, Metal Edge Magazine and Dial MTV (also a time when I pissed myself).

“Fifty Cent’s a fag / So is Kanye West / Shootin’ hot sperm / On each others chest” – priceless

Jan 022011

kisses-and-noise_year-end-rundown_the-coolest-song-ever-right-nowThe Coolest Song Ever! … Right Now is basically a recurring feature of Kisses & Noise that allows me to highlight a song. Sometimes these songs are yet-to-be-released, brand new, a few months old, or from a completely different decade, but all are deserving of attention. Some may be new to you or an old favorite, but they are all noteworthy in some way. That’s what I say and that’s all you need. Heed thy words! This playlist is a review of songs covered in 2010 so enjoy a disparate, disjointed, and motley collection of randomness that actually makes for a good listen.

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