|Strong Live: Skybombers/Charles Bradley/Persephones Bees
|May 16th, 2011 by Bruce Rave
Fans appreciate Bradley's energy and warmth
It seems like LA is a home away from home for Melborne's Skybombers. They've recorded their two albums here and love the Viper Room, which was full. On their way back to Australia following their tour with Rooney, the boys delivered as always with strong songs, great energy, and fine playing. The following day, we had them visit the Moheak Radio studios for a live session. All were having so much fun that we kept the party going for 90 minutes rather than the original 40 that were planned. They truly love what they do, and it shows.
Soul original Charles Bradley thrilled friends of mine at SXSW so it was imperative that I catch his sold-out Echo show. He's 63 this year and is a Daptone Records labelmate of Sharon Jones. The band is tight and played a few songs before the likeable, sincere Charles came out. The man may not have had a string of hits back in the day, but he's now making up for lost time and the crowd had a great time.
Persephones Bees were a fave band a few years ago, both live and on record. They've finally resurfaced and came through LA to headline the Bootleg Bar. The venue's subpar sound didn't help their intricate playing. They still play great and put on a good show, although it was rather short. Only one song came from their debut album Notes From the Underworld, and I was hoping for more. P's Bees are one band that has the knack of being able to extend their songs into jams that remain engaging. Their style is now a bit less quirky. The new songs are interesting and will require some more listening time to be fully digested.
|Friday the 13th Go Deep Show and Playlist as Heard on Moheak Radio
|May 14th, 2011 by Bruce Rave
Here you go, fellow Ravers. The weekly show runs Fridays 1-3p Pacific, 9-11p GMT on Moheak Radio. Yes, the Friday the 13th bug did hit me at the end of hour 2, as my music files suddenly disappeared from the computer just as I was about to start a new set around 2:40. We randomly stuck in an old Undertones cult fave, which was a cool coincidence. I worked with them a bit during my A&R years at Capitol Records.
Arctic Monkeys - Reckless Serenade (Third track from June album)
The Strokes - Taken For A Fool (New single)
The Postelles - 1 2 3 Stop (NY band discovered by Strokes' Albert Hammond, Jr. )
Foster the People - Call It What You Want (From album out May 24)
The Vaccines - If You Wanna (They're back in the US in a few weeks, touring w/ Arctics)
Wavves - Idiot (Need my bi-monthly fix of this song)
My Morning Jacket - Holdin On to Black Metal (Band will stream live on You Tube May 31)
The Joy Formidable - Whirring (Single doing well for them)
The Wombats - Schumacher The Champagne (Rave's Fave of the Week)
Lykke Li - Unrequitted Love (She loves her sad songs)
Elbow - Open Arms (Band staying in Europe for summer)
Cold Cave - Icons of Summer (Dancier track on very deep album)
TV on the Radio - Repetition (Great LA show this week)
Beady Eye - Beatles and Stones (Not many summer dates posted)
Bright Eyes - Triple Spiral (In this case, Go Deep has a sports meaning)
Yeasayer - Swallowing the Decibels (Beginning of Hour 2)
Glasvegas - Euphoria, Take My Hand (Segues beautifully into this next Kills tune)
The Kills - DNA (Jay Leno last night)
Black Lips - Modern Art (From next album)
Cage the Elehpant - Around My Head (Won't be able to play it after it becomes a hit)
Raphael Saadiq - Radio (Album came out this week)
Eastern Conference Champions - Atlas (Love the drums)
Friendly Fires - Hawaiian Air (Entire album now streaming online)
Justice - Civilization (Second album coming later in year)
Santigold f/Karen O. - Go (Former A&R woman, so we need to talk)
The Undertones - Teenage Kicks (Tech problem caused us to dig out an older cult fave)
Steve Goodman - Go Cubs Go (Die-hard fan rubs it into the Cardinals)
Skybombers - One For Two (Played live at Moheak on May Day)
|Recommending Airborne Toxic, Fleet Foxes, Wombats CD's
|May 11th, 2011 by Bruce Rave
Wombats album one of year's best
Three bands released second albums that hit the spot:
The Airborne Toxic Event--All At Once...No sophomore slump for these guys. Their "Changing" single is now top 10 on the national alternative radio airplay charts. Most of the album is strong and their live show backs it up. Dave Sardy produced this one and the sound is bigger this time around. There was a certain spontaneity last time that is lacking on All At Once, but that often comes with a band's maturity even if it's an element that we miss. Track trips are "Numb", "Welcome to Our Wedding Day", and title track "All At Once".
Fleet Foxes--Helplessness Blues...No sophomore slump for these guys, either. Leader Robin Pecknold warned us that this album would be darker and while that might hold true for the lyrics, the music and harmonies have the same beauty and warmth that work so well for the band. The songs are a little less obviously hooky this time, but I'm most liking "Battery Kinzie", "Grown Ocean", and title track "Helplessness Blues".
The Wombats--The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch...Hard to believe that this is also a second full-length release for these Brits. It feels like there's been more, but the debut dropped in June, 2008 which songs like the UK smash "Let's Dance to Joy Division". This is a great album! The Wombat humor remains intact, although their sound has softened around the edges. Their single "Toyko" has done well in the UK. "Techno Fan" and "1996" show a humorous restraint while "Anti-D" and "Schumacher the Champagne" are total surprises. The band has been touring in Australia and drawing 2,000-3,000 nightly. US dates are coming very soon.
|May 9th, 2011 by Bruce Rave
Musexpo is the annual international music conference hosted by Sat Bisla and his fine team at A&R Worldwide. The event features a combination of panels and showcases. Most major industry topics are covered, and up and coming artists appear from all over the world. Helpful but general knowledge is dispensed, and much of the content can be found in music business guides. Many panelists are careful about what they say. A couple of key points included the advice that artists should take their time to make sure they get everything right. Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records (Phoenix, Mumfords, Temper Trap) talked about how he slowed down the process for Two Door Cinema Club. Another advice highlight was that artists should remove all mental and creative limitations in order to achieve their potential. Sire Records founder Seymour Stein was honored for lifetime achievement. The man singed a ton of great artists, including Madonna, The Ramones, and Talking Heads. When asked how it was dealing with people on drugs, he replied, "I was on drugs too! I'm no angel." Another expert reflected on how there's only a one-letter difference between "shit" and "hit". The most often-mentioned artists were Adele and Mumford & Sons.
A&R Worldwide has been working with artists such as Sydney's All Mankind and Liverpool's Luke Fenlon for awhile, and it's nice to see them progress. UK band One Night Only has a song in a Coke commercial and they impressed live. Antoine from Montreal was a blast, and was described as Elton John and David Bowie together on acid. The Scottish Abagail Grey soothed us with a progressive set by a band that included two harps. Norway's pop-alternative group John Snow is young, talented, and promising. A Million Years is a straight-forward Brooklyn alternative band with high potential, that played a high-energy, precise set.
|Worldwide Radio Summit
|May 1st, 2011 by Bruce Rave
The first annual Worldwide Radio Summit has concluded. Turnout was strong for a first year event, and kudos to to the folks at All Access and A&R Worldwide. A few highlights would include the revelation that Pandora would rank a strong #11 in the huge LA market if it were included in the ratings. Powerhouse alternative station KROQ was saying they don't get enough really good rock records to consider in their music meeting. The VP of Promotion from a successful indie label was telling me how hard it is for an indie to even get a song considered by mainstream radio. He said the same amount of effort by a major label will land that record in the top ten. Online radio streaming would be 5-6% of total listenership at any time, but 20% of all listeners check out a stream from time to time. In LA, 62% of those hear a stream and listening to an out of town station. There were good pointers not only for on air presence, but online as well. Artist awards were given out, and Mumford & Sons cleaned up. Melissa Etheridge played at the Day 2 luncheon and was also interviewed. It was a conference highlight. A&R Worldwide's Musexpo begins tonight and runs through Wednesday night. Lots of fine artists from around the world are performing every evening during this 6-day marathon.