Moving In Stereo
Volume 19 (In Music We Trust Magazine)
By: Darren Paltrowitz
Since Moving In Stereo: Volume 18 hit browsers, shelves, and tables around the world, a lot of worthwhile and attention-worthy releases have reached the office CD player, including:
-Nada Surf ?The Weight Is A Gift? (Barsuk)
-The Village Green ?EP? (Hidden Peak)
-Biology ?Making Moves? (Vagrant)
-Jettie ?Heading For Mornings? (Astro Magnetics)
-Somerset ?Pandora? (PNR)
?From The Stage
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary of centralizing the music industry in New York for nearly a week, this year?s CMJ Music Marathon featured its usual thrills and excitement. While time prevented this writer from catching many of the great acts slotted to play (i.e. We Versus The Shark, Maria Taylor, The Firebird Band), a few hours of careful navigation did allow for Fountains Of Wayne at Alice Tully Hall, The Kingdom at Pianos, Ahleuchatistas at 169 Bar, and Limbeck at Crash Mansion. If only more Friday nights around Manhattan could be like this?Participants in the previous year?s CMJ events, The Presidents Of The United States Of America are indeed back in action. On the road in support of the self-produced ?Love Everybody,? the Seattle-based trio wrapped up their U.S. tour with a stop at New York City?s Irving Plaza. Now featuring touring guitarist Andrew McKeag in the fold, vocalist/bassist Chris Ballew and drummer Jason Finn put on a live show that can best be described as ?one of the best you?ll see all year.? Sure, the group does their hits and brings out the fan favorites, but the members seem to be able to read one another so well that spontaneous extended versions of songs ? with built-in covers, audience chants, and otherwise witty banter ? are to be expected and flawlessly executed. Even if The Presidents did begin as a novelty act, songs like ?Lump? and ?Mach 5? absolutely stand the test of time as pop-rock anthems. Besides, you will rarely find a band that is able to bring an entire concert crowd down onto its knees during a cover of ?Shout? ? Y&T is best known for ?Summertime Girls,? but Dave Menketti and crew ? featuring Phil Kennemore, Leonard Haze, and John Nymann from the classic lineup -- are still out there delivering the goods around the world. Beyond recent guitar-oriented solo releases from Meniketti, ?Unearthed Volume 2? is the latest from the quartet, as featuring previously unreleased demos between 1974 and 1989. With Twisted Sister?s Mark ?The Animal? Mendoza among the concertgoers, one must hope that it does not take another 10-plus years for the quartet to return to Long Island?A few nights later at the same venue as Y&T, Farmingdale?s The Crazy Donkey, Allister came through town as the headliner of the annual Drive-Thru Records Tour with Day At The Fair, Houston Calls, and a reunited Fenis TX filling out the bill. In support of the just-released ?Before The Blackout,? Allister played a set that mixed in ?Blackout? tracks with most of 2002?s ?Last Stop Suburbia? -- one song from 1999?s ?Dead Ends And Girlfriends? was also thrown in for good measure. Top-notch, radio-ready pop-punk any way you look at it.
?From The Screen
There is never a shortage of new products related to The Beatles, but Eagle Rock Entertainment has released an interesting new one titled ?From Liverpool To San Francisco.? Chronicling The Fab Four through international television appearances, press conferences, and on-the-road chatting between 1963 and 1969, this release ought to make you remember why you were so intrigued by this band in the first place. Beyond the aforementioned rare footage, a documentary titled ?Beatles Across America? is also included as a Bonus Feature. Also recently released through Eagle Rock are titles featuring Frank Zappa, Testament, and ?The Man Show,? as featuring Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla?An alternative approach to vocal instruction, ?The Zen Of Screaming? is an entertaining and informative video from Melissa Cross. A teacher who has worked with Andrew W.K., Thursday, Slipknot, and Melissa Auf der Mar, Cross educates you in ways that your old choir teacher wouldn?t dare to. But as promised in the press release for this DVD/CD, there is ?tour-bus humor? and ?backstage commentary? to be found beyond said instruction?Hella may have a limited fanbase as a noise-oriented, Nintendo-inspired instrumental duo, but their new CD-EP/DVD release ?Concentration Face/Homeboy? features an especially interesting documentary that?s nearly three hours in length. Chronicling a 2004 tour of Japan for the group ? comprised of guitarist Zach Hill and drummer Spencer Seim -- performance footage is mixed in with narrator-free sight-seeing and visual-art collages. While not easy to watch in one sitting, I have never seen such an honest portrayal of an English-speaking band on the road in a non-English-speaking country. Although dizzying at times, you actually feel as if you?re up-front watching a show or walking down busy city streets, only without the jet-lag.
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Copyright 2005 ? Column used with permission from Darren Paltrowitz. All right reserved.