Category Archives: Music News

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

Musical Manure – Random Crap from the Farm

OK – It’s been a few weeks since I emptied this fragile mind, and there are a slew of little tidbits threatening to drip out and disappear forever. With a full-day Jimmy Buffett tailgate experience looming, I need to free up some room for the insanity I’m sure to witness.

It seems like the rumors of a Queen tour with Adam Lambert on vocals is about to become a reality. TMZ is reporting it, so it has to be legit, right?  I love Freddie, and think he’s one of the greatest rock and roll performers ever.  His voice was powerful, passionate and unique, and no one will ever be able to replace him.  Still, Adam might just be the best choice to follow. I think he’s a better fit than Paul Rodgers who gave it a shot years ago. The greedy folks at MTV have some good video of the new incarnation but it’s a bear to access. Try Youtube for some lower quality snippets.

I recently stumbled across Sleeper Agent’s “Get It Daddy.” They’re a young garage band out of Kentucky with a ton of potential. The sixsome is led by 24 year-old singer-guitarist Tony Smith and features riveting vocals from 18 year-old Alex Kandel.  Check out “Get It Daddy and the rest of their album, as our album of the week: Celabrasion – Sleeper Agent.  And, here’s a nice bonus find, follow this link to get to know the band a little better: Prison Sessions

The Kaiser Chiefs exploded onto the rock scene at the end of the last decade and then just disappeared. The Brits took a hiatus.  Now they’re about to release a new album in March.  The first single, On the Run has hit the streets.  Good stuff!

Listening to Slow Poison The Bravery’s 2009 release.  I’m surprised it was never a bigger hit. Great song by an excellent band. Here’s the video which is actually pretty damn good, too: Slow Poison.

Remember The Neon Trees from their gigs opening for The Killers a few years ago?  They’re back with the first single Everybody Talks off of their forthcoming album, and it absolutely rocks.

About a month ago, RARA’s Contributor Kari wrote an interesting piece about the Emergence of the Banjo in rock music today.  Since then, I seem to hear it everywhere, particularly with music from the Great White North, with bands like The Acorn and Elliott Brood. It’s a welcome addition.

OK, that’s enough for today.  Have a great week, and look for my post-Parrothead tailgate experience shortly…

Of Monsters, Men and a Nashville Muse



A friend of RARAs Farm recently made us aware of a nice offer for fans of Alt-Country / Folksy Rock. In advance of the release of her forthcoming album, Kate Tucker is offering a free download of her latest EP, Ghost of Something New, beginning today, January 9th. The talented singer songwriter from Akron, Ohio has relocated to Nashville where her music has taken a bit more of a country feel.

The first song on the EP, “Revolution”is fantastic. It’s got a great driving beat, excellent guitars and most of all superb, memorable vocals from Tucker. All-in-all, it’s a nice collection of songs from a talented singer songwriter.  Dwonload the EP for free during the month of January at Noisetrade.

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After downloading the EP, make sure you check out Tucker’s poignant cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” This video also features RARAs Farm favorite Michael Sheppard and his Lovedrug band mate Jeremy Michael Gifford.

In the same genre, Of Monsters and Men, a young band out of Iceland have found a bit of notoriety over the past few weeks.  Sirius XM’s AltNation has added their wonderful new single “Little Talks” into their rotation, and the single was the Free Single of the Week on iTunes (linked on our Free Music Friday page). The band reminds me a bit of Mumford and Sons, and even more of the under-appreciated and immensely talented English band The Beautiful South. Keep your ears tuned for this quintet – big things are on the way.

From these two hot new bands to the other end of the spectrum: Van Halen returns to the airwaves with Diamond David Lee Roth, nearly three decades from his last album.  The new single “She’s The Woman” is rumored to be released in the next few days. It’s actually not all that new, as it was originally recorded by the band in 1976.  Here’s Rolling Stone’s review of their preview show at NYC’s tinyCafe Wha last week.

I stumbled across this Youtube channel recently from FrontStepGames, where they feature good new Indie rock each month: check it out, good stuff: Songs You Wish You Found

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2012 – Not Just the End of the World

I took a quick tour around the internet to capture some of the items we have to look forward to before the impending end of the world.

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Here’s a primer for the next few months:

  • In the first five weeks of the year, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr release new albums.
  • As they announced from Times Square on New Years Eve, Van Halen will release their first album with David Lee Roth since 1984 (that’s 28 years for those of you counting at home). They’ll release their first single and start selling tour tickets on January 10th.  The odds of them finishing the tour? 12:1.
  • Albuquerque’s The Shins  will release their Fourth album, Port of Morrow this March

Heavily anticipated 2012 releases with unknown dates:

  • Punk legends Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid all have new stuff on the way.
  • Six of today’s top bands will return to the charts in 2012: Muse, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, MGMT and Linkin Park
  • Classic Rock fans will see new albums from legends Bruce Springsteen, Rush, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Guns and Roses (Slash has an album on the way, too).
  • Hard Rockers Metallica, Alice in Chains and Marilyn Manson deliver new goods.
Two RARAs Farm favorites have new albums o the way:
  • Lovedrug
  • The Last Royals
A few other artists who may be of interest to RARAsFarm readers:
  • Adam Ant
  • Alice In Chains
  • Bad Religion
  • Garbage
  • Keane
  • Kiss
  • Queensryche
  • Soundgarden
  • Suicidal Tendencies
All told, lots to look forward to, while we still can, of course…
Mike G – January, 2012


Simply Sick of these Wonderful Christmastunes

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C’mon – I know it has only been 6 weeks, but it feels like six months of the same Christmas songs repeatedly pounded into our aching heads.  In the car, in the office, in the stores, in the can, pumping gas, on television, at the strip clubs (so I am told) – there’s no escape.  It wouldn’t be so bad if they played a few new selections once in awhile or some of the many decent under-played rock songs.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas and like the concept of Christmas music, but when you start playing them the week after Easter, they kind of lose some appeal by the time Ole St. Nick squeezes through the chimney.

There’s truly a ton of interesting and sometimes even good Christmas songs floating around the digital universe.  But, for some reason we’re subject to the same forty tunes ad nauseum. Hey, Mr. Radio Station Programmer, can we limit Jose Feliciano to once every thirty minutes? Maybe, squeeze in some Joan Jett, Pogues, Alan Mann, Pretenders or God forbid some Alice Cooper? Those bands all have great versions of Christmas classics that remain unplayed. Heck, I’d settle for some of the deeper cuts off the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas trilogy.

Check out our Facebook page for some of the better and less played Christmas tunes available for our battered ears.  You’ll notice that we started sharing them the week before Christmas.  I think that’s about right; one week to sample the offerings, 51 weeks to enjoy all of the other wonderful music available to us.

In closing, I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart…

Rock On – Cretin

Bobby Long Concert in the ‘Burgh

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So, after some prodding from the editor, I finally have a show to write about for RARA’s.  I recently moved back to the Pittsburgh area, so am in the process of developing a social life and finding fun places to go for live music.  Going into this show, I didn’t have any intention of writing an article about it, as I knew very little about Bobby Long. A friend of mine asked me to go to the show with her as she had stumbled across his music while wandering around the internet one night, and I agreed, because I love discovering new people and I adore British singers for some reason.

I was optimistic… the location of the concert was absolutely my speed, a small bar in the South Side of Pittsburgh called Club Cafe. It only holds about 100 people max, and was set up with small tables and some bar stools. We sat in the second row, and I love having the chance to be up close and personal with musicians.

After the opening act, Bobby Long got on stage. Just him, his guitar and harmonica. The best description of his music that I can come up with is a cross between rock, blues and folk. It’s not a hard rock sound by any stretch, but his faster songs will have you tapping your foot to the beat. His lyrics are heartfelt and seem to hint at experiences beyond what a normal 24 year old should have. He told stories in between songs that were funny and gave some insight into his personality. His guitar playing is impressive both live an on cd.

Two of his songs really stuck with me, one titled “Who Have You Been Loving” and “Penance Fire Blues” (video of it live from a different show. The second is the most he rocked out during the evening and is just a great song overall.

At the end of the night, after playing for about an 90 minutes straight, he was done for the evening, and went to a small table to sell shirts, posters and CDs. After that show, I knew I wanted a CD, so after a brief wait in line, I bought my copy and Bobby signed my CD and posed for a picture.

This young musician is just starting out, and I personally think that this is someone a lot of people will be talking about in the next one to two years. So I’ll hold on to my picture and autographed CD (that also has my name spelled correctly on it!) so that I can say that I saw him before he hit it big.

Kari

Wednesday Evening Random Thoughts

So – Orlando Calling has come and gone.  We asked for press access to the inaugural event so that we could dazzle you with our amazing coverage, but the Festival organizers ignored us.  Truthfully, I can’t really blame them, we’re still a small player on a huge stage.  You can help us for next year – follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. Then tell your friends to do the same thing.  And finally – post on our Facebook page, share your pictures, provide your thoughts, and offer tips on new music, beer tasting and your favorite Modern Family episodes.  OK – got it?

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As for the first iteration of Orlando Calling, we’ve talked to a bunch of people who were there, and all of the reports have been positive.  Personally, Day 1 was much more appealing with The Killers, Gogol Bordello, Pete Yorn and The Pixies among the many bands spread across their five stages.  Day 2 had a totally different vibe with Bob Seger, Kid Rock, The Doobie Brothers and Blake Shelton headlining.  Truthfully a little schizophrenic.  Next year, they need to decide what they want to be when they grow up and have the entire weekend gel better as far as the line-up is concerned.  Seriously, what would a Bob Seger fan think when they saw the antics of Gogol Bordello???

Although we weren’t there, a few of our website members (oh yeah – you can register there, too) did attend, and we’ll be sharing some reviews shortly.

We’ve reviewed a bunch of great new music lately to tide you over.  Here are quick links to the last handful, if you want to check them out:

They were all good – honestly (we are not just schmoozing for more free music, although we are certainly open to that).  My favorite was Grouplove’s effort – and fortunately, they’ll be hitting the Sunshine State shortly for a few shows in early December.

We also had a great interview with Lovedrug’s Michael Shepard.  The band has a great story, a unique sound and their talented front man is a helluvanice guy.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this little tidbit from The Last Royals, who we interviewed a few months back.  Here’s a recording studio that is truly a “head” of its time: Crystal Vases

 

Monday Afternoon Rock Thoughts – 90’s Alt-Edition

I’ve got a few tidbits from some of the greatest 90’s Alternative bands in this post, and a few of the bands are still featuring great new music…

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The more I hear it, the more I love “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” Flea said in a recent interview on Sirius XM that he came up with the bass line and couldn’t stop playing it. He went into the studio and the band loved it, too, resulting in the creation of this addictive song.  The bass is fantastic, and the song gets better with each listen.  “Monarchy of Roses” will be released as the second single from the album I’m With You next month.

Speaking of “Maggie” songs; are there any crappy ones? This one is great, Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” is a masterpiece, Rockin’ Rod’s “Maggie May” is a classic and The Door’s “Maggie McGill” doesn’t exactly suck either.  So, for any new bands out there, it appears a secret to success is to throw “Maggie” in your song title.

Jane’s Addiction is also about to release a new album, but to much less fanfare.  The new single, “Irresistible Force,” is a different and more progressive sound from these lads from L.A.  Perry Farrell’s vocals are better than ever, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of The Great Escape Artist.

For you Morrissey fans, the ex-front man of The Smiths will be touring the United States ever so briefly later this fall.  Check out the dates here: Morrissey Tour. Fellow 80’s/90’s Alt Rock/Dance/Synth legends New Order will also be hitting the stage again soon. New Order will only be playing a few charity events across the pond, and will do so without bassist Peter Hook who still does not get along with his old mates.

Finally – A-ha, the one of the greatest palindromic bands form Norway ever, played a reunion show in Dublin last night.  10 Bonus RARA’s points if you can name two of their songs.

 

Social Distortion – On the Road Again

Social Distortion, or as they are more commonly known by their passionate fans, Social D, is back on the road for another world tour, and they’ll be back in the United States this weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival.  The band has made a nice transition from Punk ambassadors to a solid, energetic, hard-driving rock act.  The sound of their new music is still punctuated by Mike Ness’s distinctive and powerful vocals, a hard-driving rhythm section and crisp guitar riffs.  They play ACL Sunday night and then hit 24 more cities over the next two months.

While you wait for the band to hit your neighborhood, check out this great interview from BunchTV with the band’s fantastic front man Mike Ness.  He’s interviewed by an interesting “Folk/Punk” British artist Frank Turner.  Turner was touring Germany with Social D at the time, and you can tell from the interview that he and Ness are quite comfortable together.  It’s a great peek into the mind of the legendary front man, who has been the face of Social Distortion for the past 30 years. (There’s a quick 15 second German commercial up front, but after that it’s all in English)

The band is touring in support of their first new album in seven years, Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes. The album is the first produced by Ness, and in the interview with Turner, he notes that they’re currently working towards a follow-up.  The interview is 30 minutes, but well worth the time, and it wraps up with a question regarding the five songs he’d provide to aliens once aboard the mother ship; some surprising answers including a surprise from one of their early influences The Clash.

So, follow the link below and watch the interview, buy some tickets and go see them live, this tour.  You won’t be sorry.

Mike G.

Related Links:

Mike Ness Interview