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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pre-Show Q&A: !!!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 10:00 AM

!!! are gonna dance this mess around, after they put on some clothes
  • !!! are gonna dance this mess around, after they put on some clothes

Few rock bands create great dance music — funky club-floor anthems that mix disco, house, dub, and electro atmospherics — played onstage by a six-piece combo made up of guitars, drums, keys, horns, and dueling male and female vocals. It’s the distinct glam magnetism of the dance-rock collective !!!, usually just pronounced Chk Chk Chk. The funky punk purveyors have been transforming rock halls into raves spots since 1996, led by curly haired crooner Nic Offer, who has some of the sweetest dance moves you’ll ever see onstage. !!! are currently touring behind their fourth album, the recently released Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, and transporting listeners to a fog-filled club floor for mass ass boogie, using electro R&B (“Steady As the Sidewalk Cracks”), synth goth (“Jump Back”), and psychedelic pop (“Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass”). Offer talked with us about the big tour, the dark energy that pulsates through the band's new album, and about doing an entire tour without showering. —Keith Gribbins

!!! has been touring throughout September, hitting hot spots all over North America before going to Europe and Asia. How’s the tour? It looks like you have almost more European dates than American. Is the band’s dance rock sound more popular at European clubs?
The tour’s going well. We’re all having a good time and the shows lately have been some of the best we’ve played in years. I wouldn’t say the dance rock sound was more popular necessarily, but dance music in general is more popular. We kinda hit over there right at a stale moment for dance music and it seemed like the raw punk/indie energy was exactly what they needed to freshen up. Let’s just say we spent the first half of our career teaching American indie rockers how to dance and we never had to teach them how to do anything in Europe.

Speaking of Euro club vibes, a good portion of your new record, 2010’s Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, was recorded in Berlin — Europe’s seedy club capital. Did the album find inspirations in that city’s distinct discothèque sounds?
Absolutely. Not necessarily in a superficial way. Well, maybe, I guess that’s not for me to say, but playing dance music all day, then going to clubs and dancing to music all night changes how you approach dance music when you come back to play it the next day.

You talk about a dark energy that emits from this album — nine voodoo grooves that transport listeners with strange and hypnotic rhythms — sounding like Bauhaus to LCD Soundsystem to the Stone Roses. Perhaps you can expand on this “dark energy” that courses through Strange Weather, Isn’t It?
I wish I knew why the attraction to it. It’s just where we seem to end up. I remember reading someone say that people are attracted to the dark energy because it doesn’t provide answers. It’s questioning what’s there. I’d like to think we’re still questioning.

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Money Where Your Mouth Is: Studbulls Disco Biscuit

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM

This is the part where C-Notes lets a band explain why you should see them this weekend. Because we’re tired from the Roger Waters show. Today’s pick is Studbulls Disco Biscuit, which is the band for you if you’re into metal, punk, zombies, and poop. —D.X. Ferris

Band: Studbulls Disco Biscuit

Website: myspace.com/studbullsdiscobiscuit

Hometown: Cleveland

Sounds Like: “Sleazy Listening.”

Fun Fact: “We didn’t open for Kiss at Blossom.”

Playing: 7 p.m. Saturday at Peabody’s

Why You Need to See Them: “The show is free. This time we're paying to see you!” —Mister Shatterhand

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What to Do Tonight: Tim Kasher

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Tim Kasher spots a fluffy bunny down the hall
  • Tim Kasher spots a fluffy bunny down the hall

Tim Kasher enjoys one distinction among his indie-rock peers: he’s released more concept albums than any of them over the past decade. Inspired by his divorce, Kasher’s band Cursive first made some noise with the uncomfortably personal Cursive’s Domestica in 2000, and he recorded the album of his career three years later with the cello-aided, meta-megalith The Ugly Organ. Cursive followed that up with another concept record, the horn-fueled small-town indictment Happy Hollow. Meanwhile, Kasher’s other band the Good Life chronicled a breakup month-by-month on Album of the Year and augmented a self-penned film script with Help Wanted Nights. Ever inexhaustible, it should surprise no one that he’s finally outpaced his sidemen with a solo album, The Game of Monogamy, which comes out next week. Revisiting his refusal to grow up (last heard on Cursive’s 2009 album Mama I’m Swollen) along with Happy Hollow’s horn section, Kasher is as black-humored as ever. “When I was young I believed in love/But hey, I also believed in God,” he sings at one point. But he’s also super catchy. “Cold Love” and the uncharacteristic peppy “I’m Afraid I’m Going to Die” are a long way from his tortured slow songs. Tim Kasher, with Good Morning Valentine and Brian Straw, plays the Grog Shop at 9 p.m.. Tickets: $10. —Dan Weiss

Going to the show? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Concert Review: Roger Waters at Quicken Loans Arena

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Whoa man.
  • Whoa man.

On his second attempt, Rogers Waters has truly built an impressive version of 'The Wall.' The stage show he visited the Quicken Loans arena with last night, particularly the huge state-of-the-art video projections, helped to dramatically illustrate and expand the story featured in Pink Floyd's famous 1980 rock opera.

Waters has been given nearly sole credit for the creation of 'The Wall,' and it's clear he's both rightfully proud of his work and meticulously dedicated to presenting the show exactly how he hears and sees it in his head. Problem is, the whole thing felt a bit too planned out, a little cold, despite the best efforts of the highly talented backing musicians Waters brought with him.

Granted, the show's themes of isolation and loss don't lend themselves to a celebratory performance, but for all his many talents, Waters is simply not a dynamic frontman. His vocals were spot-on all night long, almost suspiciously so give how little his body moves while singing some of the high notes, but he frequently appeared to be either hitting his marks or basking in the attention rather than telling a story.

The second half of the story, especially the trial scene, remains a bit of a narrative muddle and a more charismatic on-stage presence might help pull the listener through it better. It was still a fantastic spectacle, but what if he let the next generation, perhaps some irreverent young Broadway performers, tear up his finely crafted work a bit next time? — Matthew Wilkening

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Neil Diamond Celebrates His Rock Hall Nomination

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

neil-diamond.jpg

Neil Diamond was so excited by the announcement today that he's a Rock Hall nominee that he cracked a nice, cold Coke, then posed for this dark, dark picture that he tweeted out to his fans.

We assume he'll continue the celebration later with some pornography. Oh, what a perfect segue to the famous "Storytellers" SNL sketch, which you'll find after the jump. (Also, Diamond is probably not celebrating with porn, but you never know.) —Vince Grzegorek

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This Just In: Cleveland Concert Announcements

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Hide the little ones! Lady Gaga returns to the Q
  • Hide the little ones! Lady Gaga returns to the Q

Arsis/Powerglove/Conducting From the Grave: Fri., Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m. Pirate's Cove.

Automatic Love Letter/the Graduate/He Is We: Fri., Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m., $10. Peabody's.

Aloe Blacc (How to Make It in America)/the Grand Scheme: Sun., Nov. 14, 9 p.m., $10 ADV/$12 DOS. Grog Shop.

Drop the Lime: Thu., Oct. 14, 9 p.m., $5 ADV/$10 DOS. B-Side Liquor Lounge.

Vince Gill, at An Evening with Scott Hamilton and Friends: Ice show and concert. $24.50 (www.TheQarena.com), Sat., Nov. 6, 5 p.m. Quicken Loans Arena.

Hed PE/Critical Bill: Thu., Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m., $13 ADV/$15 DOS. Peabody's.

Lady Gaga: Wed., April 27, 7:30 p.m., $52.50-$178 (LiveNation.com). Quicken Loans Arena.

Lights: Sun., Nov. 7, 7 p.m., $12. Musica.

DJ Pauly D (Jersey Shore)/the Goldfather/DJ Koshercuts: Sat., Oct. 9, $20 ADV/$25 DOS. Tequila Ranch.

Social Studies (live)/misterbradleyp: Sun., Oct. 17, 9 p.m., free, 21+/$5, 18-20. B-Side Liquor Lounge.

Tezo/Smokescreen/Keyel/Erika Kayne/Kickflip B: Fri., Nov. 5, 10 p.m., $8 ADV/$10 DOS. Grog Shop.

Tinsel Teeth /Short Dark Strangers/Dianne Arbus (members of Roue, Freedom, and Jerk)/Dreaded: O 10/4 (Providence Lunatics on Load Records) @ Now That's Class. Now That's Class, 11213 Detroit Ave., 216-221-8576.

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Rock Hall Announces 2011 Nominees

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM

No sleep till Cleveland!
  • No sleep till Cleveland!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum just announced the nomination list of artists eligible for induction in 2011. It's filled with the usual mix of legends (Tom Waits), leftovers (Alice Cooper), and longshots (Donna Summer).

The most surprising thing about this year's list of 15 nominees is that so many of them were eligible before. The Rock Hall's rules state that an artist's first record must be at least 25 years old before they're eligible for induction. Several artists on this year's list date further back than that.

Let's run down the full list and their odds of getting in, shall we?

Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper (band, frontman, whatever) has been eligible for a few years now (the band's first album came out in 1969). Everybody loves an Alice song or two, but the group's discography gets spotty over the years, especially once Alice became a person and not a band.

Chance of getting in: 45 percent.
Essential listening: Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits

Beastie Boys
The trio's first year for eligibility and they're pretty much shoo-ins for a spot. They've had a long career, they've made some awesome albums, and they occasionally play ball (for one thing, they're pals with HOF inductees like Elvis Costello). Plus, they can take this year's designated hip-hop spot.

Chance of getting in: 90 percent
Essential listening: Paul's Boutique

Bon Jovi
These New Jersey knuckleheads so want a spot in the HOF. And someday they'll probably get one. But for now too many voters remember the '80s and the awful records the band made back in the day. Bon Jovi think they're above their hair-metal roots, but they're not completely washed out yet.

Chance of getting in: 40 percent
Essential listening: Cross Road: Greatest Hits

Chic
Disco band that even disco haters love. That's because they came up with the killer riff that was sampled by everyone from pioneering hip-hoppers to Queen. But they're still a disco group, so they don't get the props they deserve. Plus, they've been eligible for several years now.

Chance of getting in: 50 percent
Essential listening: Risque

Neil Diamond
The much-loved singer-songwriter has been eligible forever. And eventually the HOF voting committee is going to break down and just let the guy in. He deserves it for a number of great songs he penned in the '60s. He doesn't deserve it for all the maudlin crap he sang in the '70s.

Chance of getting in: 55 percent
Essential listening: The Essential Greatest Hits Collection

Donovan
Dylan bitch-slapped him on camera in Don't Look Back, and that's pretty much how everyone has treated this Scottish troubadour. He's been kicking around since the '60s, so if he isn't in by now, this year probably won't be much different. Still, the dude has some great singles.

Chance of getting in: 35 percent
Essential listening: Donovan's Greatest Hits

Dr. John
Dr. John is a peripheral character on the rock scene. He was big in the early '70s, when people smoked a lot of pot and dug deep into his N'Awlins voodoo swamp-rock. He's regained some relevancy lately with a pair of great records about his doomed hometown. But he's too minor of a player to make the cut.

Chance of getting in: 25 percent
Essential listening: Gris-Gris

J. Geils Band
Another band that has been eligible for quite a while now. They're a great party band, and frontman Peter Wolf is a friend of all the right Hall of Famers (he shows up at a lot of the events). So they'll probably make it in someday (the Rock Hall likes artists who play nice). But really, when it comes down to it, they're a bar band. But a good one.

Chance of getting in: 45 percent
Essential listening: Best of the J. Geils Band

LL Cool J
He's a rap pioneer. He released a series of great albums in the '80s. But he hasn't quite sustained that initial blast. But the HOF feels obligated to get a hip-hop guy in there every year now, so LL might be their man. Then again, the Beasties have a better chance, and there's no way voters will let two hip-hoppers in the same year.

Chance of getting in: 60 percent
Essential listening: Mama Said Knock You Out

Darlene Love
Springsteen champions her. She was one of the biggest voices on Phil Spector's great run of singles. And she's the voice on one of the greatest Christmas songs ever. But Love has been around forever, and her solo career is spotty at best. Still, the HOF loves her. And so do we.

Chance of getting in: 60 percent
Essential listening: the Phil Spector box set Back to Mono

Laura Nyro
Like Donovan, Nyro is a '60s folkie with a very spotty career. She's written some good songs covered by others (most notably, the 5th Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues"), but her own solo albums aren't all that popular with voters or music buyers.

Chance of getting in: 30 percent
Essential listening: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

Donna Summer
Bad Girls (next to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack) may be the greatest disco album ever. And Summer recorded some crucial songs in the mid '70s that blended Euro-electro funk, old-school R&B, and discofied pop. But she's primarily known as a disco singer. And she's been eligible for about 10 years.

Chance of getting in: 35 percent
Essential listening: Bad Girls

Joe Tex
Obligatory old-school soul singer with a big set of pipes and some great singles ("Hold What You Got," "Show Me"). But Tex isn't a very memorable singer and often gets shuffled away with many of his peers from the era. And he's been eligible since the HOF founded 25 years ago.

Chance of getting in: 15 percent
Essential listening: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974

Tom Waits
Waits has been eligible for more than a decade now, but as his stature grows, so does his chance of getting in. His early beatnik records can be tough listens (though there are some great songs buried on them). But once he got weird in 1983 with Swordfishtrombones, there was no turning back.

Chance of getting in: 65 percent
Essential listening: Rain Dogs

Chuck Willis
A R&B pioneer who made some great singles in the '50s ("It's Too Late," "C.C. Rider"). But no one knows who he is. And he's been eligible forever. The dude should make it in on some early-influence loophole or something, but there's no way enough voters care to get him in.

Chance of getting in: 20 percent
Essential listening: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974

What do you think of the list of nominees? Any glaring omissions this year? And which five do you think are ringers when the winners are announced in December? Let us know in the comments section. —Michael Gallucci

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