Category Archives: Music News

Focused specifically on what’s of interest in the world of Rock News.

Radio Review – The Spectrum

Tractor Tunes are our 30 minute radio station reviews. So, grab an Old Milwaukee, slide on your headphones, hop on the tractor, and decide if this one is for you…

SIRIUS|XM‘s The Spectrum, Channel 28

The Spectrum features five decades of rock music targeted to listeners of adult rock.

They feature bands like Dave Matthews, U-2, Coldplay, REM, Wilco and Tom Petty. In truth, it is a fairly diverse cross-section of generally softer rock and roll, but this is clearly not music to put you to sleep. They play some brand spankin’ new stuff like The latest from The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Arcade Fire, and then quickly slide back 40+ years for something from a classic icon like Van Morrison.

There’s a nice mix between mainstream hits and some much lesser known tunes.  I guarantee you’ll hear something you’ve never heard before, an old favorite, and a deep cut off a great album (and probably a few that make you grown).

Overall, it’s good stuff, and would probably make a great soundtrack to a day at the office, or on a dock by the day.

  • Bodeans – Dreams
  • Sheryl Crow – Steve McQueen
  • Broken Bells – The High Road (live)
  • Elvis Costello – Watching the Detectives
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  • Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
  • Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
  • Wilco – Heavy Metal Drummer
  • Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey
The day I listened, Jenny Eliscu was the DJ. She was the perfect host, adding interesting tidbits throughout the show, without being the least bit annoying.

Stats:
Date: August, 2011

Music: 98%
Chatter: 2%
Commercials  0%

Bonus Tip: Celtic Crush, hosted by Larry Kirwan. A great diverse mix of Celtic music from a guy who knows what he’s taking about. Kirwan is the front man from the fantastic Irish band Black 47.

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Rock Music Musings – Rancid, Hazard…

Last week, I saw the following concert line-up: Rancid, Blink 182, Against Me! and My Chemical Romance.  Are you kidding me? Those four bands on the same bill? The folks in Vancouver had a great night! Four of today’s best punk and alternative bands under one roof.  Nice! Hard to believe, but next year is Rancid’s 20th Anniversary, and they are planning a big tour to celebrate. We’ll provide more details as we get them.

Here’s one of my favorite Rancid tunes to whet your appetite: “Red Hot Moon.” Great tune, which is made even better by the site of the video shoot.  This was filmed in front of the official favorite all-time club of RARA’s Farm, the now departed, CBGB’s. I still remember those sticker-clad, graffiti-covered claustrophobic backstage spaces, and miss them 🙂

Watch the video it really captures the essence of the band and the club.

Listening to Sirius XM’s 1st Wave, I had a flashback to some great years in the Philly live music scene. First, they played Robert Hazard’s “new wave” hit “Escalator of Life” and followed it with Joe Jackson’s “I’m The Man.” I realize Joe Jackson was a Brit, but the rocking title tune off of his 1979 album was covered fantastically by an under-appreciated Philly band, The Chasers.

As with many other Philly bands from the 80’s and 90’s, The Chasers and Robert Hazard were great live, and tore up the local stages for many years. Add in a host of other great live bands like The Hooters, Beru Revue, The A’s, The Daves and Tommy Conwell, and we were blessed with one hell of a good local music scene.  Great days indeed!

Today, I’ll leave with you a cover tune that I stumbled across on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Remember Ronnie James Dio and his hit “Rainbow In The Dark?” Check out this cover from Paola. I think she’s Swedish, but the internet is not exactly flowing with information about her. I can tell you that the song was released in 2003.  Not sure how I missed it until now..  Enjoy – “Rainbow In The Dark.”

Later – Cretin

Of Journey, Cars and Poppy Fields

Admit it, as Rock and Roll Animals, we all discriminate against old folks. Right?

You can deny it, but it’s true.  Journey is touring again this year. They are supporting Eclipse, their new studio release, and playing each night in front of thousands of fans, yet no one has bought the album or heard any of the new songs. Eclipse has been out for four months, written by long-time members Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain and featuring the vocals of Amel Pineda (who sounds as good as old Steve Perry).  Have you heard any of the tunes? Of course not.  Why? Because they band members are old now.

Radio stations treat them as an oldies band playing their old hits, and fans aren’t much better. (For the record, the album is decent middle-of-the-road Journey stuff). We’ll all go out there and sing the Glee-ly rejuvenated “Don’t Stop Believing,” and then run to the beer counters and bathrooms when they kick into their new rocker “City of Hope.”

The Cars have also released Move Like This, their new album this summer, . “Sad Song” was the first single and it’s an excellent song. But, you’d have to take my word, because no one plays it. I have a feature on my XM radio that notifies me when a favorite band is played anywhere on their network,  They have about a dozen stations where the song would fit the format.  Since setting The Cars as a favorite, I’ve seen about 100 notifications that they were being played. Only once was the notification for “Sad Song” and the station that played it? Out – their gay music station. Maybe you need to be gay to appreciate the old rockers out there? (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

If they had marketed that song as Rick Ocasek’s son and his hot new band, we’d have Ryan Seacreast fawning all over it. Take a few minutes to listen to it, and see if it’s not carbon copy 80’s hit music. Half of the new bands are trying to emulate 80’s rockers, and now we have the real thing emulating themselves, and no one is paying attention???

So, this all gets me started reminiscing about the curious English band the Poppy Fields.

Back in 2004, they came smashing onto the UK music scene with an infectious punk rock tribute to the Clash called “45 RPM.” The group put out a video featuring the early 20 punk rockers bouncing around the stage.  The song took off. All fo the big Dj’s across the pond loved it,Virgin Music Stores sold out all of their stock, and it hit the charts at #28.  The young lads had captured a sound similar to the popular Welsh band The Alarm, with vocals eerily reminiscent of Mike Peters, The Alarm’s original front man.

Word somehow leaked out that there was good reason for the similarities. The guys in the video were actors, the real musicians? Mike Peters and The Alarm! So what happened when everyone learned of the old switcheroo? Radio stopped playing it, people stopped buying it and it became another new song by an old band.  The music never changed, but the image of the guys strumming the guitars, beating the drums and belting out the lyrics changed.  That’s kind of sad. Sad, and a lame reflection on the music buying public (us).

Mike Peters mentioned afterwards that consumers assumed old guys couldn’t write meaningful new songs anymore (he was in his early 40’s), and he was afraid that image trumped talent.  He was right.

I found this Mike Peters interview about the whole incident. As you watch the music video snippets, they’ve interspersed the original video with the young actors, with the real 40 something band.  Oddly, the music sounds the same in both cases.

So, let’s try to change this a little bit, ok? Give a listen to the new stuff by the older bands, especially if you’re going to be seeing them live on their next tour. C’mon that’s the least we can do, right? Ah, forget it, we’ll all need a respite from the hits at their next concert for our race to the concession stands…

Journey: Eclipse

The Cars: Move Like This

The Alarm performing 45 RPM
Cheap concert tickets

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Musical Musings

Monday Morning Musical Musings – or abbreviated, we could go with “Mo Mo Mu Mu?” I know it sounds stupid, but maybe it will grow on us?

Today a few thoughts on the Handsome Furs, Matt Mays, Y&T and a new Florida band: Innercoastal

I mentioned how much I liked The Handsome Furs a few weeks ago when they released a cool new tune “What About Us,” a catchy danceable song eerily reminiscent of the great alt rock I danced to back in the great Philly after hours club, The Revival 20 years ago.  Their brand new release is “Repatriated” and it is just as good.  I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but that’s next.  If you like dance rock, check this Canadian duo out now. If your in the Midwest, Texas or California, you may be in luck, as they are touring those areas over the next two weeks.

Keeping with our Canadian theme, one of our contributors from North of the Border, Luc,  just got turned on to a band call Innercoastal. They are a new band from Central Florida who are playing around Orlando. According to Luc, “If you ever get a chance, LOOK THEM UP! I checked it out and liked the ska feel to their music.

I heard Matt Mays on the radio over the weekend and couldn’t help but think how under-rated this Canadian artist is. He’s had a handful of great well-written songs that never got a sniff of commercial airplay on the vast wasteland of US commercial radio.  He continues to put out great rock ‘n roll, despite the lack of attention. Check out “On the Hood,” “Travellin,” “Cocaine Cowgirl,” “City of Lakes” or the just released “Digital Eyes.” Good stuff with a unique sound.

OK – and this one has nothing to do with Canada, but it’s fresh in my feeble mind, and if I don’t write about it now, I’ll probably never remember.  Y&T’s “Summertime Girls.”  Is it the best crank down the windows, cruising to the beach, stereo blasting, sing along, feel good summer song ever?  I just love that song from the hard rockers from California (who still tour today). Lead singer Dave Meniketti never got his just due as an excellent rock voice. Here’s a copy of the video to keep you entertained for a few minutes (just ignore the horrible outfits the band is wearing – that was really the style 25 years ago): Summertime Girls

 

Radio Review – Hair Nation

Tractor Tunes are our 30 minute radio station reviews. So, grab a Schlitz, slide on your headphones, hop on the tractor, and decide if this one is for you…

Sirius XM’s Hair Nation, Channel 39

Hair Nation features “Hair Bands” from the 1980’s, in fact their slogan is “Vintage Rock From the Big Hair Eighties.”

It seems that every time I tune to this commercial-free Sirius XM station, I hear Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Poison, but they do spread the wealth and dig a little deeper into the album cuts.  It’s definitely not non-stop “Blaze of Glory,” “Dr. Feelgood” and “Every Rose Has a Thorn.” You’ll notice in the playlist below that they played one of my favorite, and under-appreciated Poison tunes.  It’s a good mix between the hits and the rest of the stuff, but the songs really are hit or miss. 

In my opinion, there’s really not enough good hair band music to justify a dedicated full-time station. It would probably be better suited for a recurring weekend show, or special holiday weekend special.

  • Poison – Cry Tough
  • Dangerous Boys – Teasin’ and Pleasin’
  • White Snake – Here I Go Again
  • Badlands – My Last Time
  • Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You
  • Cinderella – Push Push
  • Motley Crue – Primal Stream
  • Faster Pussycat – Babylon

Stats:
Date: July, 2011

Music: 98%
Chatter: 2%
Commercials  0%

 

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Thursday Thoughts at the Trough

Just a few random thoughts:

  • In an interview earlier this week with Eric James of The Last Royals, be mentioned Arcade Fire being the band at the top of their game right now.  Hard to argue with that. I love the band and was happy to see them win the Grammy for Album of the Year for their album Suburbs earlier this year.  Although Suburbs is indeed Grammy worthy. I think their 2008 release Neon Bible is better yet.  For fans of the band, SiriusXM’s and the band are sponsoring a free show in Montreal on September 22nd.  If you are not in the area, the show will also be broadcast live.
  • Say It Isn’t So – Van Halen is really planning a tour and new album with David Lee Roth, and without Michael Anthony? No way this turns out good. I’m a big fan of reunion tours, but this one just seems destined for disaster.
  • Former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri was charged with four felonies after a fight with his ex-girlfriend turned into a four-hour standoff with police. Oliveri was holed-up with his ex-girlfriend inside his apartment. When the 39 year-old was taken into custody, the police found a full-loaded rifle along with cocaine and meth-amphetamines. Not smart – it’s getting easy to understand why he was tossed from the band. He’s looking at 15 years in prison.
  • You’ve heard us mention The Dodos a duo out of San Francisco and their unique version of rock and roll. Well, they’re offering free tickets and downloads at their website.  Check it out at: The Dodo’s 
  • One of our Twitter followers sent us a link to listen to some new music from a Finnish band: Siberian Jay. It’s a little raw and under-produced, but there’s lots of potential there. Check it out, and thanks to FooFightHans for the suggestion. Follow us at Twitter: rarasfarm or Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and get immediate site updates.

 

Monday Night on the Farm – Random Musings

Random Thoughts on a Monday evening.

Today is the 50th Birthday for both Richard Allan Ream and for David Howell Evans.  If you don’t recognize the names, keep on reading…

Cage the Elephant’s “Around My Head” is my favorite song right now. I’ve liked most of their music the past few years, but this one is their best yet.  They are playing on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show tonight (Tuesday, August 9th).  Not sure what they’ll be playing, but you know what my vote will be for.

My Sister-In-Law turned me onto her cousin’s band, Walk The Moon. They made a big showing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, playing three shows over the weekend.  Check out this song, and it’s quirky video on Youtube and see if you can’t get the lyrics out of your head.  Fun Stuff: Walk The Moon’s” Anna Sun” 

I realize that it’s a few years old now, but Mother Mother’s “Hayloft” is pretty damn fun. Sort of like the strange spawn if The Red Hot Chili Peppers and B-52’s had a little baby band.

The birthday boys? You’d know them better as the drummer from Poison and guitarist from U2. Happy Birthday to Rikki Rocket and The Edge!

 

HOB – Orlando Review

The House of Blues – Orlando

This venue located in Downtown Disney became my home away from home in 2009. That summer, I had the chance to see four alternative rock concerts. The wide variety of bands that performed at this venue led to a wide variety of experiences.

The sound quality in this venue is excellent! The voices of the artists are easy to hear and the bass is at perfect volume to where you feel it throughout your body. During changes in acts the venue plays current hits to keep the audience entertained.

There are a few different options for viewing the shows at the two story House of Blues. The upper floor tends to be more VIP seating with nice cushioned booths in a balcony jutting out towards the stage. There is also general admission standing room upstairs and bar seating – for those who are trying to escape the crowds and wish to listen as opposed to watch the show. Downstairs is usually very crowded and depending on the artists performing can become very aggressive. I strongly advise wearing close-toed shoes! The area in front of the stage known as the “pit” is the most crowded of the entire venue, this is an all standing section and is the best way to get close to the stage. Mosh pitting, fighting, and pushing generally take place in the pit so beware!

One of the my favorite aspects of the venue is how many opportunities you have to bond with the bands… many bands chose to stand outside the venue after shows and sign autographs, many also stand at their souvenir tables before they perform. I had a chance to see Boys Like Girls and Parachute at the HOB-Orlando and both lead singers performed their last song in the middle of the pit and stayed around to mix with their fans afterwards.

Fun Facts:

  • Two large bars around the perimeter of the venue. Friendly staff and cups of water are readily available for… free!
  • Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office (no service charge), or day of show if the show isn’t sold out.
  • The bathrooms are covered in band stickers and tend to be small and overcrowded – with the mayhem taking place in the bathroom there is a women or man (depending on what bathroom you are in) sitting by the door offering warm cloths to dry your hands, perfume to freshen up, tooth paste, or an abundance of other items – all for a hope of a tip.
  • Parking is free and within a short distance of the venue, There is a large lot for all of Downtown Disney so depending on the night and attractions some nights are more difficult to park then others.
  • No smoking is allowed inside the venue.
  • Bouncers are placed strategically around the venue and are extremely quick to break up any fights and very helpful in helping people escape the crowds and mosh pits – generally very friendly people.

Bottom Line: This venue will give you an up close and personal experience with some of your favorite bands.