Category Archives: Music News

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It’s What’s Inside That Matters – Musical Essentials

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Alright, I’m back with my semi-regular look at must have music if you want to impress your friends.  Most of the stuff is new, but once in awhile I’ll throw an olden nugget to impress you. You know how this works a RARA’s Dozen’s worth of cuts to choose from.

Let’s start with three very diverse videos:

The Live Aid Set – Queen: This is an old one, in case you couldn’t tell by the fact the lead singer died twenty years ago. Still get goosebumps remembering watching this concert live and the amazing fan reaction, despite the fact that we were staring at a big screen at JFK stadium while Queen played Wembley across the Atlantic.

Lost and Found – Katie Herzig: A beautiful video, of a beautiful song, from a beautiful artist with a beautiful voice. Check out our beautiful album review, too: The Waking Sleep

Vehicle City Blues – The Swellers: This was a previously unreleased track from their Good For Me sessions recorded at The Blasting Room. It might remind you a bit of Propagandi. Released as a 7″, it sold out all 1,000 copies before it was delivered.

Enough of the eye candy, now here’s some ear candy.  These links take you to iTunes where you can either sample the song or take that RARA’s Farm leap of faith and snag a few:

When I Write My Master’s Thesis – John K Sampson – Something new from the former lead singer of Propagandhi (when’s the last time you read an article with two Propagandhi references?) and The Weakerthans. Reminds me a bit of Death Cab For Cutie. This one will be a hit.

Quiver – Davie Allan & The Arrows – Our next cut is a lost nugget from the 60’s.  It’s great surf rock from an under-appreciated guitar virtuoso. Most 60’s surf rock was great, this is greater.

Monarchy of Roses – Red Hot Chili Peppers – The latest single off of I’m With You, the same album that gave us the 2011 Song of the Year. This one has got a cool psychedelic vibe.  Definitely a hip new feel for RHCP.

Headlights – Morning Parade – Here’s a cut off of this British quintet’s self-titled debut album. Rock fans of all genres will dig this one and find it hard to shake from your memory.

What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way) – Wolf Parade – Another favorite on Sirius XM’s  The Verge. These Canadians made lots of great music, including tihs quirky tune from 2010.

This Summer -Superchunk – These Indie rock veterans prove that there are some cool rockers from the heart of ACC basketball territory, Chapel Hill, NC.  This one features some punk flashbacks and killer guitar work.

Summer of ’89 – Butch Walker and the Black Widows – Walker is a great producer (like Lit’s latest) and a damn good artist, too.  This is a fun little ditty that throws in a few gratuitous Bryan Adams’ references as a bonus.

Fire It Up – Thousand Foot Krutch – This one is a few years old, but it’s a great one to blow out the speakers Canadian Christian Rock style…

Wasted Days – Cloud Nothings – Cleveland Rocks! This one is eight plus minutes of raw, powerful, miserable rock ‘n roll.  It’s great stuff, too, from one of today’s most interesting new acts.

Loro – Pinback – A cool song to chill to.  My son turned me on to these fellows from San Diego.  Worth a listen.

Rock On – Cretin

 

 

Central Florida June Concert Calendar

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Another great month of diverse Rock and Roll across Central Florida, highlighted by the Drowning Men in Orlando, as well as The Cult, Against Me!, Coldplay and The Rocket Summer.

Orlando

6/4, Two Door Cinema Club – These Alt-Rockers are all over the airwaves on Sirius-XM and for good reason. Check them out at The Beacham. They’re also touring with a nice opener: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

6/5, The Drowning Men open for River City Extension at The Social. Check out these guys. We loved their last album Beheading of the Songbird, and have heard they are great live! Here’s our album review to whet your appetite.

6/5, Bon Iver at Hard Rock Live

6/6, John Waite at The Plaza Theater.  The former Baby’s front man puts on an excellent show and sounds great still today. We caught him last year. Check out our review, and don’t miss Jackie Bristow who opens, beautiful voice…

6/6, City and Colour at The Beacham

6/13, Puscifer at Hard Rock Live

6/16, BoDeans at The Plaza Theater

6/16, The Cult with Against Me! tear up HOB.  Both bands are fantastic live; required attendance for all of you Rock and Roll Animals!

6/16, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. Both bands are playing at Universal Studios, which requires park admission. Might be worth going if you already have passes.

6/16, Roger Waters. The legendary guitarist from Pink Floyd performs The Wall. It will be a great show, but break open your piggy bank for this one.

6/18, G. Love and Special Sauce, Beachside Tavern in New Smyrna Beach

6/20, The Rocket Summer at The Social

6/28, Eric Johnson at The Plaza Theater

Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

6/3, Styx at Ruth Eckard Hall

6/5, City and Colour at The Ritz Ybor

6/6, Two Door Cinema Club at The Ritz Ybor with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

6/7, Bon Iver at Carol Morsoni Hall

6/8, John Waite at Capitol Theater in Clearwater with Jackie Bristow

6/11, Puscifer at Ferguson Hall

6/14, BoDeans at Jannus Live in St. Pete

6/17, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at Tropicana Field

6/19, The Rocket Summer at The State Theater in St. Pete

6/28, Coldplay in support of their fantastic Mylo Xyloto album comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum

6/29, Boston at Ruth Eckard Hall. This one intrigues as I’ve never had the chance to see “this local band out of Boston…”

6/30, Def Leppard and Poison at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This one is a guaranteed fun time.

Jacksonville

6/8, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at St. Augustine Amphitheater

6/27, Eric Johnson at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

6/29, Rinog Starr and His All-Star Band at St. Augustine Amphitheater. Ringo’s touring with Steve Lukather and Todd Rundgren among others.

6/30, Chevelle at Mavericks. Check out our album review here.

Musical Manure – The Break-up Edition?

Two not so surprising announcements this week offered by a few of our favorite rockers from totally different ends of the spectrum.

Van Halen announced that they were cancelling about 30 tour dates, and the Handsome Furs said good-bye forever.  If I had to wager at this time, I’d say the likelihood of you seeing the Handsome Furs again after this summer is considerable stronger than Diamond Dave and the family Van Halen sharing the same stage.

The “official” reason for VH canceling their last 30 shows, those after June, was that they needed a break.  It may indeed be that they still play their asses off every night and age is starting to catch up. These guys do not just walk on to stage, strum their guitars and collect a paycheck like more than a handful of their fifty-plus aging rocker peers do night after night. My guess is that it is more likely that this marriage simply was just not made to last. These guys just don’t get along, and have not for many years. My guess is that after this June, they’re done forever, or at least until the 2014 Van Hagar reunion tour.

Switching genres, Indie Alt-Rockers, The Handsome Furs shared the following on their website last week:

The End.
May 17th, 2012 – With a heavy heart the time has come to let all of you know that Handsome Furs are no more. The most important thing that needs to be said right now is how extremely grateful we are to all the fans all over the world that showered us with love and support over the years. Thank you for everything! It’s been an incredible 6 years and we owe it all to you.

The H-Furs had canceled their summer tour two months earlier for unspecified health problems, and rumors of the Montreal band’s demise were running rampant. The band is comprised of husband and wife duo Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. It’s a bummer because after six years of marriage and touring, they were finally gaining some well-deserved national notoriety. If you like danceable rock and roll, here are two downloads you need to add to your iPod: What About Us? – Sound Kapital (Bonus Track Version) and Repatriated – Sound Kapital (Bonus Track Version)

A few other random musings:

    • Denver’s The Amends has a nice new EP available for cheap. These guys make good music, and it’s worth checking out their stuff on Bandcamp:  Signal (EP)
    • Recently stumbled across a new acoustic version to Ball Park Music’s “It’s Nice To Be Alive.” It’s quirky, yet cool. Check out the original and the acoustic versions. Fun stuff.
    • Shirley Manson and Garbage have emerged from years of hiding, and that’s a groovy thing. Their new single “Blood From Poppies” has got a nice fresh sound, and brings back some of their early career ska roots.

Rock On – Cretin

Your iPod – It’s What’s on the Inside that Matters

Recently, I was talking to an old friend who grumbled that there was no good new rock music on the airwaves.  Oh, how wrong he was.  There’s plenty – you just need to know where to look.  Hint: Sirius XM is a good start: XM Radios Starting at $29.99

In reality, there’s lots of damn good new music out there.  Here are 10 new tunes that are clearly worth a listen, probably even worth digging $1.29 out of your piggy bank (follow the links to visit iTunes). Download these to your iPhone or iPod and begin to impress your friends.  I’ve added in a few older tunes, too, for your consideration, giving you a nice Farmer’s Dozen.

Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well – A Silent Film – This song is addictive.  The first single from the band’s forthcoming second album reminds me a bit of the Killers.  Great stuff from these lads out of Oxford, England. I have a feeling this one is destined to be one of those classic songs that ends up being a defining song of that summer.

Stay Useless – Cloud Nothings – Great Indie Rock out of Cleveland. This is pure, rough alternative with a punk flare.  It’s a ton of fun, and unique in today’s marketplace. Want to sound cool to your friends, play them this song.

Away Frm U – Oberhofer – The Beach Boys meet Oingo Boingo.  It’s a unique, cool sound from 21 year old Brad Oberhofer and his band. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, that’s impressive!  Based on this first single, the band has a ton of potential.

Girls Like You – Naked and Famous – Another hip cool band out of New Zealand.  This one has been out for a few months, but is just now starting to get airplay.  Thom Powers’ vocals are fantastic and the synth-laden song is a perfect alt-rock dance track.

That Old Black Hole – Dr. Dog Fun, fun stuff from the suburbs of Philly. It’s got a reggae, ska, funky feel and is just a blast to listen to.  Surprised this band has seen more success over the past decade. They are playing at the Hangout Festival in Alabama next month, with the next band…

Apartment – Young the Giant – The album is a year and a half old, but the third single is just now getting airplay.  It’s as good as the two predecessors “My Body” and “Cough Syrup.”  I’m truly bummed I missed the chance to catch these guys touring with Grouplove earlier this year.  Highly recommend this one.

Simple Song – The Shins – They’re a guilty pleasure, this quintet out of New Mexico. They play kid rock (that’s, kiddie rock, not Kid Rock), alt rock and bubble gum pop, but it’s all pretty damn good.  This one is a nice simple love song.  I love it…

Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) -Silversun Pickups – I was a huge fan of these guys three or four years ago.  They’re prolific, and continually release new stuff.  Think it might be time for a break.  I find this track to be absolutely mediocre.  Check it out for yourself and see if you agree…

Rocky Mountain Way – Godsmack – It’s a nice cover. You’ll find a few of the staples from Joe Walsh’s original masterpiece as well as a few unique Godsmack-like touches.

Sirius XM’s Octane is featuring Egypt Central’s “Enemy Inside” as featured new music.  It’s a great tune, that we featured last year.  Check out Kerri’s review: White Rabbit

Life’s a Song – Jets Overhead – This one is about five years old now, but new to me.  Love the sound of this Canadian Quintet.  The lyrics are cool, too.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Ramones – It’s a timeless classic off of their Adios Amigos album.  Probably the best guitar work on any Ramones tune.

Your Love – Outfield – This song crosses a few genres of Rock, and it’s really an under appreciated classic.  Tony Lewis’s vocals on this 80’s hit are timeless.

There you go; thirteen tunes worth checking out, adding to your playlist and dazzling your friends, family, co-workers, and that dude at Starbucks.  Guaranteed you’ll like at least seven of them. OK, there’s no guarantee, but you’ll like most of them. Trust me…

Rock On – Cretin

Orlando Jai Alai Fronton – Historic Rock ‘n Roll Venue

When I heard that the Marshall Tucker Band was playing the Orlando Jai Alai Fronton I was surprised. I never picked it as the right atmosphere for a rock show. So, when I trekked out to Fern Park to review the band, I was just as curious to check out the venue as I was the show. As it turned out, it was an excellent experience. (Check out the concert review here)

The Jai Alai can accommodate around 1,200 fans, with every seat fairly close to the stage. The stage is set-up on the playing surface, with the seating area being narrow and wide. The result is that there are only about 20 rows of seats, giving the venue an intimate feel. I’d strongly recommend the seats within the first 10 rows or so (anything under Row G) as the seats are huge and comfortable with copious leg room.

During the Marshall Tucker show, the sound system was excellent. There were a few issues with a buzz on one of the guitars, but that appeared to be an issue with the band’s equipment.

After returning from the show, I researched the Jai Alai venues after hearing Marshall Tucker front man Doug Gray comment about playing the venue in the 70’s. I was surprised to learn that huge acts such as Bruce Springsteen, U-2, Kiss and David Bowie have played there. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for another opportunity to see a show here and hopefully catch some other future rock legends.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • Plenty of free parking on-site
  • There were about a dozen seats available literally on the stage
  • Decent bar selections at decent prices
  • Security strongly discouraged folks from standing during the show

Central Florida April Concert Calendar

After a rocking March, we’re in for another great month for Rock And Roll Animals who love live Rock ‘n Roll  There are a few interesting shows headed to Central Florida, as well as a cool festival in a beautiful part of the state.

Van Halen

Yup, they’re still together after six weeks on the road.  I’m surprised, but that’s good news for Floridians.  They’re one of the rare big acts to hit all three major Central Florida venues. Thu, Apr 12 in Orlando at Amway Center, Sat, Apr 14 at Tampa Bay Times Forum and Mon, Apr 16 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. When they are on top of their game they are one of the best acts around.

Orlando

4/12, Daughtry – saw him just after his American Idol success and the band put on a good show. He’s at The Hard Rock Cafe for those folks not headed out to see Van Halen.

4/13, Marshall Tucker – the classic rockers are at The Orlando Jai Alai.  Interesting venue selection, but sometimes these shows are nice surprises.

4/19 – 4/21, Florida Music Festival – Diverse festival at locations around the area. The Dirty Heads, Filter and Candlebox are the big attractions, but there’s tons of offerings for new and emerging artists, too such as two of our favorites The Dropa Stone and Jackie Bristow. Check out their site here: Florida Music Festival

4/25, Say  Anything – they’re at The Beacham with Kevin Devine and Fake Problems

4/26, Lit – this month’s Velvet Sessions at Hard Rock Hotel is a good one.  These guys rock and put on a great show.  And you know how much we love this intimate little gathering place.

Tampa Area

4/11. Daughtry – Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater

4/12, Marshall Tucker – this time they hit the fairground circuit with WAR.  Sounds cool to us; Manatee County Fairgrounds

4/20, Candlebox – they hit Jannus Live in St. Pete.

4/20, Dick Dale – this one is intriguing.  Dick Dale is the greatest surf rock guitarist ever, and is just basically a guitar god.  He’s at State Theater in St. Pete.

4/21, Filter – Another good live act with a powerful show. You can catch them at State Theater, too.

4/24, Elvis – This guy is hit or miss. We’ve seen Mr. Costello rock and also seen him kind of suck.  If you want to roll the dice, he’ll be at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater.

4/27, Lit – State Theater

4/28, 98 Rockfest – The Tampa Bay Times Forum will be rocking. Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence headline this big show.

4/28, Sister Hazel – Gainesville rockers head West.  They usually put on a solid show.

4/28. Greg Lake – fantastic and under-appreciated musician. Highly recommended. He’s also at The Capitol Theater in Clearwater on the 30th.

Jacksonville

4/6, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Fun, fun stuff, and a BIG sound. They are a blast and you can see them at Cafe Eleven

4/10, Candlebox – Maverick’s

4/15, Daughtry – Moran Theater

4/27, Elvis Costello – Florida Theater

4/28, Rise Against – Help is on the way, Jacksonville! Get your hard rock fix at St. Augustine Amphitheater

4/29, Greg Lake – continues criss-crossing the state; he’s at Florida Theater

4/29, Welcome to Rockville – take Tampa’s 98 Rockfest and kick it up a notch or two by adding Korn and P.O.D. Powerful.  They’ll all be at Metropolitan Park.

Rock By The Sea

How about a rock festival with a good line-up, a great cause and a fantastic location? It’s Rock By The Sea in Panama City. Sister Hazel and Shawn Mullins are two headliners, but we’re really stoked about Stroke 9. These guys rarely play in Florida and are phenomenal live.  They alone might be worth the trip.  Get more information on the festival and this year’s charities at: Rock By The Sea
Cheap concert tickets

Back Booth – Orlando Cool Coziness

I had a chance to check out BackBooth when Lovedrug bright their Wild Blood tour to Orlando recently.

The small club formerly in the UCF area is now located downtown on Pine Street just off of Orange.  The venue accommodates around 350 people and is a truly intimate place to see a show.  Despite the relative small size, they still get a good mix of national and local acts.

There are a few stools around the place, but it is generally a standing room kind of place, yet site lines are pretty good throughout.  There’s a riser towards the back of the room, and a small balcony, both offering nice views of the stage.

It’s a tight room and the sound mix is a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly, the sound was pretty good for the room configuration.  Not the best sound system you will find in the city, but more than adequate for this club. Overall, it is a great cozy place to see a show.  You’re never more than fifty feet from the stage, there’s always a clear view and the sound mix is decent.  Definitely a good place to catch a show and a cool crowd to spend a few hours with.

Offering about 20 diverse beers on tap, they have a fantastic draft beer selection. It’s fairly priced, and they also offered cheap deals with PBR oil cans.

The one down side – short set lists.  They seemed to be in a rush to get the bands off the stage to start a late night dance party.  I’d rather see fewer bands play longer sets if they need to clear the crowd out early in the night.

Miscellaneous Ramblings:

  • The staff was friendly both at the door and behind the bar, and they graciously let us sample some of the more unusual brews.
  • Ticket prices are reasonable.
  • For the show, the room was non-smoking, but pretty sure that ban is lifted when bands are not performing.
  • Parking available and plentiful at local garages ($5 to $10)

Bottom line: Worth a visit, and definitely check out the beer selection!

Central Florida Concert Update

Lots of good music headed our way as we hit Spring in Central Florida, as March wraps up with a ton of great shows.

Orlando

Tonight, Friday March 23rd, it’s Ohio’s Lovedrug at Backbooth.  They are playing in support of their excellent new album – read our review here: Wild Blood review.  Cretin will be there to review the show.  You can also check out Cretin’s interview with Lovedrug’s Michael Sheppard here.

For you 70’s Rock And Roll Animals – the Guess Who are at Epcot all weekend.  Those shows are typically fun, but do require park admission.

On Saturday, it’s Alternative rockers Blue October at House of Blues, and more interesting to me, Chuck Ragan playing “The Revival Tour” at The Social. We saw Ragan open up for Social Distortion in November, and he put on a great show. His album, Covering Ground was also in our Top albums of 2011. The guys are in Jacksonville at Jack Rabbit’s the following night.

On Monday, it’s Atlanta’s The Black Lips at The Social, and they are supporting their latest album Arabia Mountain, and they are rumored to be fantastic live.

Thursday Hard Rock Live features Snow Patrol, and over at the main Hotel, it’s Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions with Tonic; then they visit Williams Park in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Friday 3/30, you HazelNuts can catch Sister Hazel at House of Blues.  It’s the perfect-sized venue for the semi-local crew from Gainesville, who usually put on a good show.

Then on Saturday, The Red Hot Chili Peppers close out the month at the big house at Amway Center.

Tampa

Friday – two different ends of the spectrum, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing at Tampa Bay Times Forum and the aforementioned Black Lips at Orpheum. We’ve seen Bruce many times, and he’s great live, but I’d be inclined to check out the Black Lips this day.

Sunday you can take a “Slow Ride” with Foghat at Screwy Louie’s Porpoise Pub.

Wednesday 3/28, it’s hot Alt-Rockers The Naked and Famous at State Theater in St. Pete.

Thursday, RHCP hits Tampa at the TImes Forum.

Friday, the 30th, Blue October hits the West Coast with a show at Jannus Live. All of The Parrotheads will be inland at the Ask-Gary Amphitheater in Tampa. Here’s our review of last month’s Buffet Show in Orlando to whet your appetite.

Enjoy the Rcok – Mike G.