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Mar 302012

bloody_jug_band-coffin_up_blood-album_art_kisses-and-noise-blogThe first time I saw the Bloody Jug Band was at Orlando Calling. Instantly, I was attracted to what seemed like an Outlaw Country meets Marilyn Manson approach. Their soon to be released Coffin Up Blood reveals much more than my early comparison denotes. Macabre themes are intertwined with the edgy country that embodies an outlaw vibe, but the music is more of an Appalachian horror story – like Bill Monroe joined The Misfits.

The songs are rooted in bluegrass tradition, delivered with rock attitude, and smeared with ghoulish themes. They do to bluegrass what Tiger Lillies do to cabaret: make it dark and visceral. The first track, “Graverobber Blues” stomps out of the gate with the usual bluegrass toolkit: guitar, mandolin, harmonica, washboard, and even a washtub bass, but the thudding backbeat and driving rhythm guitar add a modern rock dimension. The scene imparted is less about tracing her little footsteps in the snow and more about following a trail of blood through the swamp to a pile of corpses.

“Chained to the Bottom” is bolstered by the powerful backing vocals of Stormy Jean – one of the stronger contributors to this 7-piece band. Producer, Justin Beckler – one time member of Thomas Wynn & The Believers and producer for Matt Butcher and The Lonesome City Travelers to name a few, does an incredible job blending the large band together into a cohesive unit with a unique sound. Cragmire Peace’s throaty growl is counterbalanced by Jean’s classic, yet ghostly country croon and the incredibly adept bluegrass band is mixed together to create a very new sound. If musicianship is being credited, Bloody Rick Lane’s freight train harmonica is worth the price of admission alone. This dude blows harp and singlehandedly pushes this outfit into the realm of heavy hitters.

“Boy Named Lucy,” is something of a Grimm’s Fairytale adaptation of “Boy Named Sue” and is something you would expect from a band like this, but other tunes such as “Reaper Madness” and “The Pain” highlight Bloody’s talent and Beckler’s spot-on production. These songs push out of a niche genre and have a nearly cross-over pop quality. These guys are doing something cool here – from cartoonish horror to killer country – Coffin Up Blood demonstrates what BJB has to offer.

Reaper Madness by The Bloody Jug Band

The Bloody Jug Band are having their CD Release Party at Will’s Pub on Saturday, March 31st at 9:00 pm. Check them out and pick up a fresh copy of Coffin Up Blood.

The Bloody Jug Band Official Website

Bloody Jug Band on Facebook

Written for Tampa’s Premiere Music Blog, Suburban Apologist @SubApologist

Mar 252012
photo by Michael Chavarria

photo by Michael Chavarria

Laptop rock can go a few ways in the indie world: hot chick (Phantogram), add howling guitars (Sleigh Bells), rock it out with a full band (Caribou), or add a single multi-instrumentalist for depth (Active Child). I prefer Caribou’s style, but both Youth Lagoon and the opening act, Dana Buoy, chose the latter.

Dana Buoy served as a worthy counterpart and opening band. His electro pop that swayed from indie rock leanings to all out dance music complimented Youth Lagoon in sound and style.

Youth Lagoon is able to achieve an epic and expansive sound with such sparse instrumentation that I cannot help to wonder what Trevor Powers could achieve if he were backed by a well-arranged 4 or 5 piece band. It could be monumental. It was still nice to see YT recreate that somber, slow-building ambiance that is captured on The Year of Hibernation. He’s found a tone that strikes a primal human emotional chord making Powers seem older than his years. A large crowd of kids hung on every word as the duo deftly moved through album highlights like “Afternoon,” “Cannons,” “Montana,” and the latest release, “July.” Trevor’s voice showed signs of stress and hoarseness – possibly from the tour – but it added a little gristle to his charming oompa-loompa style falsetto. A sampler or synth shit the bed during the closer, “July,” and stole the thunderclap drum beat from the climax but a howling Powers pounding on the keys and an enthusiastic clapping audience filled in the gaps nicely. This was a really good show – intimate and well paced – for a first time out and only one album’s worth of material. The concert proved YT’s songs in front of an audience further laying the groundwork for what could be an interesting musical career.

Originally written for Tampa’s Music Blog, Suburban Apologist

Mar 212012

youth_lagoon-plays_at_the_social-kisses_and_noise_blogTrevor Powers found a voice for his chronic anxiety and the indescribable feelings swirling around inside of him in Youth Lagoon and the aptly titled debut album, A Year of Hibernation. When “Montana” first came my way I was instantly drawn to the dreamy melancholy floating out of the speakers. “July” has that same feeling; a song that, despite its intentions, builds a soundscape that defines a distant emotion more than creating a catchy melody. It’s like something that would be piped in as your deathbed mind flashed through the disparate chain of memories that is your life. That’s a pretty bold statement considering this Boise native is barely 20 and made this album by himself.

This is the second video directed by Tyler T. Williams who seems to have a knack for underscoring Powers’ uncanny ability to build a slow song into an epic crescendo out of seemingly nothing.

Youth Lagoon – July from Tyler T Williams on Vimeo.

Youth Lagoon is playing at The Social tonight

Mar 192012

kasabian_the-beacham-in-orlando_kisses-and-noise_music-blogI saw Kasabian blow the doors off the Social in aught 5 as part of the Anti*Pop Music Festival. Although young, they were a sensation and stadium headliner in the UK. They spared no pomp or volume in cramming their show into an oversold Social. The club was a sardine can and Kasabian roared. Last night’s show was more of the same. It wasn’t quite as packed in the larger venue but the Brit alt-pop flexed with all its might. The floors rumbled at the combination of bass drum and bass guitar while the walls shook from arena-ready vocals and guitar.

They can be dismissed as self-indulgent new cock-rock neo-cock rock, but who cares? The world needs it right now. Kasabian’s musicianship is spot-on for what they do and their songs are polished and anthemic, delivered with the slightly subdued cocky swagger the Brits perfected. Unlike Oasis, Kasabian can back up their cheekiness with a longer list of worthy recordings AND they actually finish their shows. Kasabian might not have glowing 5-star albums, but they do have enough good tunes on each record to put on a hell of a show.

Mar 152012

of_montreal_plaza_live-orlando_kissesandnoise-comThe glam-y glitter bomb from Athens, Georgia known as of Montreal sashayed into The Plaza Theater in Orlando last night.  Opener, Kishi Bashi, caught me by surprise with a powerful folk-y orchestral chamber pop with an Asian twist. I heard the final song as I made my way through the lobby and thought the The Plaza was just piping in some killer interlude music. Kishi was followed by a funky Prince-like dude named Roman Gian Arthur.  He was interesting, but used far too much backing track accompaniment to really engage me. Roman did do a pretty cool cover of Radiohead’s “High n’ Dry.”

Of Montreal took control over the stage just after 11 PM. Early parts of the performance traded some of the theatrical antics for movie screens and psychedelic projection gimps. These guys, clad in spandex gimp suits, used sheets, umbrellas, and their bodies as projection screens adding to the trippy pop carnival that is of Montreal. Claire Boucher aka Grimes (who is incredibly cute in person btw) was in attendance at the show and going apeshit for Kevin Barnes and company. She was with a clan of French Canadian counterparts who were easy to identify because of the seamless blend of pushy, obnoxious, and smelly only French Canadians can attain. I kid. I kid because I love. I wonder if the know of Montreal isn’t really of Montreal?

They played nearly all of their new album, Paralytic Stalks, and ended the first set with a monstrous “The Past is a Grotesque Animal.” Montreal ended the show with another epic 10 minute-plus Skeletal Lamping medley that slid into “Gronlandic Edit.” As a casual fan I’m still caught up in Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? but Barnes has an impressive catalog of music to draw from and is not afraid to sissy smack you upside the head with it.

Mar 142012

hank_williams_III-at_the_plaza_theater-orlando_music_blogI have already declared Hank III as one of the coolest live music experiences around right now, especially if you love music. Both kinds: country and metal. What movie? His 3-set assault starts with straight-up outlaw country. His voice is the uncanny ghost of his grandaddy. The next set is the patented Hellbilly sound – a sort of rockabilly / metal hybrid, and is followed by the jaw smashing hardcore of Assjack. This year, Tricephus added ADD – Attention Deficit Dysfunction – a sort of stoner rock, White Stripes meets Sabbath thing.







I didn’t stay for Assjack this time because I’m old and it was a school night. Follow the link above for Assjack action from aught 9.

Mar 052012


Guns n’ Roses 2.0 (maybe 3.0?) roared into the House of Blues on Saturday March 3rd as part of their little publicized Up Close and Personal Tour. Early reviews of the band along with their sound and appearance at Rock in Rio scared me away from paying $100 to see them at the Amway Arena. Axl looked fat and the band looked weak, but reports from the Amway show and the rest of the tour were of a tightly wound incarnation of Guns. Early reviews from the club tour noted the band stepped it up even more and indeed they pulled off a well-oiled arena show inside a medium sized club. Gn’R positively thundered through their 3-hour plus set.

The last time I saw Guns n’ Roses was almost exactly 20 years ago at the Citrus Bowl touring with Metallica and Faith No More. In classic Axl fashion, the band did not come on for nearly 2 hours after Metallica – featuring a one-handed James Hetfield (infamous pyrotechnics accident) – finished their set. So I didn’t flinch when friends said that Gn’R didn’t take the stage at the Arena until nearly midnight and played until 2:30. The same at the House of Blues. Axl and company took the stage just after midnight and played straight through until 3:30 AM. Disney apparently lifted their curfew until 3 AM and Axl still told them to fuck off. If it were a “school night” I’d be like, “fuck Axl!” but since it was Saturday it was pure old school rock and roll attitude. This is the band that came out of cock rock drenched LA in the late 80′s with a stripped down dirtbag rock sound that kicked mascara-wearing bands in the glitter laden cod piece. Guns n’ Roses was the stepping stone from hair metal to the anti-glam of grunge – for me anyway.

Now it is just Axl – who looks to be in much better shape and sounded better than I ever remember him sounding live – with a crew heavy hitting hired “guns” that know how to put on a serious rock show. The setlist highlighted Guns brief, but prolific and illustrious early catalog with some of best parts of the powerful, but mostly overlooked Chinese Democracy sprinkled throughout.

I played the same game I always play at a sold out House of Blues show. This place could be the most poorly constructed music venue on the planet. I spent the evening traversing the entire building to find a decent view. Unless you are front and center on the floor or on the loge it is nearly impossible to see anything because of incredibly poor placement of massive wooden pillars and a low, overhanging 2nd deck. Everywhere you move you battle with a load bearing column for a direct sight line. Usually you end up watching the show on a shitty TV screen placed on the pillar. Lame. This could be a Boston Garden type scenario where the “venue becomes part of the experience” but fuck all that – especially when you paid $100 to SEE a band. If I wanted to stare at columns and joists all night I’d hang out at Home Depot for free.

Mar 052012

Radiohead kicked off their tour supporting The King of Limbs in Miami and crept in to Tampa on February 29th. The show felt like an intimate performance because it was the first time I’d seen them indoors. Once dedicated to playing only under the stars in destination settings like festivals and amphitheatres, Radiohead is embarking on a mostly arena tour. The show was undersold leaving tons of room on the floor to maneuver close to the band. At first I was astonished that the biggest band in the world – Gen X and Gen Y’s U2 – drew such a small crowd but some of it had to do with group’s desire to keep their shows modest. There was no excuse for the semi-lackluster energy in the crowd. Maybe because it was Tampa, maybe because it was a weekday? I’m not too sure.

The setlist was crafted to support the latest album which seems to have a polarizing affect on fans with critiques that range from genius to meh. I think the live performance really brought King of Limbs to life. The show opened with the dreamy, frenetic keyboard sequence of “Bloom” which slid into the charging slunk of “Little by Little.” Other songs that seem so electronic on the album like “Staircase” and “Feral” sizzle as the band comes together working on any combination of instruments. Radiohead is mesmerizing on their records, but live – aided by some of the best lighting in the business – they are a powerfully original rock band.

“Lotus Flower” which took some time to get used to is really standing out in concert and aided by the addition of a second drummer (journeyman Clive Deamer) typifies the rhythm heavy approach of the last two albums.

They busted out “Meeting in the Aisle” for the first time ever on this tour.

In Rainbows, Weird Fishes / Apreggi is another song that takes on a new soul in concert.

The band played with classics like “Idioteque,” “Everything in its Right Place,” a swirling “Myxamatosis,” and ended with a one-two punch of “Karma Police” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” They were missing some straight up guitar rockers like “My Iron Lung” and “Paranoid Android” but the setlist possessed a certain flow that made it feel like a different kind of show.

All videos except “Meeting in the Aisle” and “Reckoner”captured by the KWAX