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Monday, May 31, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Brian Jonestown Massacre

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Think the one dude will be a dick onstage?
  • Think the one dude will be a dick onstage?

Over the past decade and a half, singer Anton Newcombe and his revolving door of acid cases in the Brian Jonestown Massacre have sculpted a cool indie career and a loyal fan base that hews slightly above cult status. They simultaneously look backward (to the Rolling Stones’ sonic tripping of the late ’60s), less backward (to ’80s psych-gazers like Echo and the Bunnymen and the Church), and forward (as a low-fi band with boundless ambition, balls, confidence, and wild-eyed creative ability). Brian Jonestown Massacre’s early outings ran the gamut from shoegaze and garage rock to straight psychedelia, twangy acid blues, and increasingly expansive cinematic soundscapes, with each evolutionary notch clearly defined by Newcombe’s unhinged brilliance. On their newest album, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, Newcombe and the latest version the band combine their love for psychedelic exploration with their recent filmic perspective, while adding a new sonic wrinkle: a contemporary trance/techno pulse. Like most of Newcombe’s musical hybrids, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? isn’t merely a new idea tacked onto the front of an old structure, but a fascinating blend of stylistic directions that expands Brian Jonestown Massacre’s range while retaining a consistent identity. It’s further evidence of Newcombe’s ability to incorporate new sounds into his existing sonic profile and to produce a new yet familiar musical experience. Brian Jonestown Massacre, with Elephant Stone, play the Beachland Ballroom at 9 p.m. Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. —Brian Baker

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What to Do Tonight: GZA

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Thats Mr. GZA to you
  • "That's Mr. GZA to you"

When you’re known to friends and fans as “The Genius,” you have a lot to live up to. And for nearly 20 years, the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA has been proving himself time and time again. He may not be as bombastic or as colorful as Wu affiliates Ghostface Killah, Method Man, or Raekwon, but GZA’s lyrical skills wipe out the need for such theatrics. Flow alone has earned GZA his place alongside hip-hop’s best. From 1995’s Liquid Swords to 2008’s Pro Tools, GZA has excelled at crafting clever similes and vivid street vignettes. With a relaxed, battle-rap style, the MC settles perfectly into the role of Wu-Tang’s wise older brother. The RZA-produced Liquid Swords 2 is scheduled to drop sometime later this year. GZA, with Muamin Collective and All Day Recess, play the Grog Shop at 9 p.m. Tickets: $15; 216-321-5588.—Matt Whelihan

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Dokken

Posted By on Sun, May 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Rockin like ...
  • Rockin' like ...

Dokken came out of Chicago in 1983 with Breaking the Chains, which established wailing singer Don Dokken and hard-rocking guitarist George Lynch as major metal players. Cut from the same musical cloth as the Scorpions and Blue Öyster Cult, Dokken relentlessly played the arena-rock circuit and delivered platinum hits like 1985’s Under Lock and Key. But the band called it quits in 1989, a couple of years before Nirvana would have made it obsolete anyway. Dokken reformed in the mid-’90s and have been on a roller-coaster ride since (Lynch left the group, and the rhythm section was completely restructured). The band’s latest album, 2008’s Lightning Strikes Again, is a halfhearted attempt to return to its former glory. L.A. Guns, Trixter, and Danger Danger round out the ’80s-oriented lineup part of today’s Great American Rib Cook Off & Music Festival. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Amphitheater at Tower City. Tickets range from $8 to $25. —Jeff Niesel

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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Swingin' Anniversary

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Um, swing on in!
  • Um, swing on in!

You could drive right by the House of Swing and never notice this modest storefront.

But inside is a repository of jazz history — the memorabilia covering the walls and the 15,000-album collection that belonged to the late Lou Kallie, who started the club 33 years ago.

Kallie died in 1995, but his wife Linda has kept the doors open, with a mixture of DJs spinning those records and live bands playing mostly blues.

The club will celebrate its anniversary tomorrow night with guitarist Alan Greene, a mainstay of both the club and the local blues scene.

Music runs from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. —Anastasia Pantsios

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Coming Soon: Sleepytime Music!

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Greg Slawsons music is kinda like that
  • Greg Slawson's music is kinda like that

Pianist Greg Slawson, who led classical/jazz quartet Kassaba from 2002 to 2008 with his wife and fellow Cleveland Institute of Music grad Candice Lee, released a CD earlier this year called Waterflow: Music for Relaxation.

The new-age style mood music, which incorporated sounds of nature, was intended for therapeutic purposes, in line with the duo’s current focus.

He’s now releasing Waterflow II, a new collection of music with a similar vibe.

“Waterflow II includes sounds of water from the Canadian Rockies and the Gulf Coast of Florida to Northeast Ohio,” proclaims Slawson's website. “Greg enjoys conveying the spirit of these inspiring natural places to listeners. May this recording bring you peace and healing.”

You can check out the tracks “Calm Rain,” which features Asian percussion and koto, and the nearly 20-minute “High Lake,” inspired by Lake Agnes in the Canadian Rockies, here.

The CD will be released next week, but it’s already available at Whole Foods at Cedar Center in University Heights, in case you can't wait. —Anastasia Pantsios

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WTF Is This Band Doing Opening for Drake?

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM

As the curtains rose to reveal the opening act at House of Blues last night, a strange band took the stage.

The audience, anxiously awaiting the arrival of hip-hop artist Drake, didn’t know quite what to think when four white pop-rockers — with wild hair, black leather jackets, tight black pants, and sunglasses — walked on.

These four out-of-place dudes (although not completely — they produced a track on Drake’s upcoming album, so there's your connection) are Francis and the Lights, and the while the environment wasn’t exactly conducive to a rock performance, I was surprised to find that their music was so excellent.

After thoroughly enjoying their short 40-minute set last night, I wanted to hear more.

Having perused YouTube for quite some time this morning (all in the name of, um, work), I came away even more impressed.

Hailing from New York, the Lights’ music is smooth and laidback, but in a good way, invoking '80s pop mixed with funky new-age synths.

Francis, the singer, has a captivating voice — a mixture of Kings of Leon's Caleb Followil and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, especially the way he hits high notes.

Check out their video “Darling, It’s Alright” above and be sure to watch until the end, when Francis busts out his extremely weird but amazing dance moves.

They alone make the band totally awesome. —Jordan Zirm

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Trent Reznor Is Giving Away Free Music Again

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 10:30 AM


You cracked the rumors. You watched the video. And on Tuesday you can download the music.

Like he did with the past couple of Nine Inch Nails albums, Trent Reznor is making his new band's EP a free download on June 1.

How to Destroy Angels' six-song self-titled debut EP will be available as a free download at the band's website. So sit tight.

For you old-schoolers, a physical CD will be available on July 6. And for you old-old-schoolers, a vinyl version will eventually be released.

Reznor's latest project is a collaboration with wife Mariqueen Maandig (who does the singing) and Atticus Ross. The songs on the EP are "The Space In Between," "Parasite," "Fur-Lined," "BBB," "The Believers," and "A Drowning."

So now you have something to look forward to after your long weekend of doing nothing. Pretty cool way to start summer, huh? —Michael Gallucci (follow me on Twitter @mgallucci)

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