There aren’t many bands who I will buy tickets to see by only knowing the band’s lineup. But if the rhythm section is Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones? I’m there. Add in Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and you get Them Crooked Vultures, who sounds something like this:
Jim DeRogatis was at their US debut: Them Crooked Vultures at Metro, “The best show by far of Lollapalooza 2009 really was part of Lollapalooza in name only: the after-show at Metro in the wee hours of Monday morning that marked the world premier of Them Crooked Vultures, the new supergroup featuring Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl and the legendary John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.… During an amazing 12-song, 80-minute set, Them Crooked Vultures went on to prove it is one the rarest things in rock: a supergroup that not only deserves that appellation, but which actually is greater than the sum of its storied parts.”
Them Crooked Vultures play Roseland on October 15.
NPR’s A Blog Supreme is asking contributors and readers to name five albums you would recommend to somebody looking to get into modern jazz.
Here are my picks: The Bad Plus – These Are the Vistas. Already the one album I’ve seen mentioned the most on these lists and for good reason. It may capture the best of modern millennial jazz music. Equal parts lyrical and dischordant in the best ways, The Bad Plus swagger through this record with driving force and relentless energy. It’s as punk as any acoustic jazz album. For the cross-over crowd, covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” are accessible but full of enough restless energy to subvert expectations. Is “These Are the Vistas” the most timely jazz album of the decade? David Binney – Welcome to Life. This is probably my single favorite jazz album of the decade. Binney assembled a group of musicians who all lead their own groups and bring their distinctive individual styles to elevate Binney’s sinewy and intricate compositions. Brian Blade’s drumming constantly propels the music forward while accenting unexpected places and always building tension. The interplay between Binney’s alto sax and Chris Potter’s tenor shifts subtly from unison melodies to interesting harmonies that diverge and intersect with the piano of Craig Taborn and guitar of Adam Rogers. Each of the sax players contributes solos that have particularly strong narrative arcs. Brad Mehldau – Largo. Mehldau’s sparse arrangements, deliberately delicate playing and first rate production (courtesy of Jon Brion) make it a good entry point from listeners who enjoy music in the precious NPR indie darling category. And the covers of songs by Radiohead and The Beatles Chris Potter Underground – Follow the Red Line. Chris Potter may be the most impressive sax and woodwind player in jazz today, because he approaches his playing with unrestrained musicality. In personnel, Potter’s quartet is almost like an abridged version of David Binney’s group, with Potter working again with Craig Taborn (Rhodes) and Adam Rogers (Guitar.) But where Welcome to Life is more subtle and intricate, Follow the Red Line is raw and visceral. Both are products of the same New York scene but lets each leader make his own artistic statement.
While Bruce and Patti aren’t hosting their usual Halloween display because its popularity was overwhelming their neighborhood, the Boss does have a new song (and video) available online, “A Night With the Jersey Devil”: “If you grew up in central or south Jersey, you grew up with the ‘Jersey Devil.’ Here’s a little musical Halloween treat. Have fun!”
Given the length of time that it’s been rumored to be close to completion, I always figured that the release of Guns N’ Roses “Chinese Democracy” would be preceded by the emergence of Chinese democracy as a political system. But here is Axl’s single, Chinese Democracy
There is another month until the release of the album, but I wouldn’t count on China becoming any ore democratic in that time.
But at least you, the American music and soda pop fan, can get a free Dr. Pepper, thanks to Axl finally letting the world in on his album.
The CMJ festival rolls into town next week. While we’ll have some number of posts about shows during the week, one of the best parts of these big festivals is looking through the list of bands for trends in band naming. Colors
Black dominates this category with 10 bands. White is a strong second with 5. Blue defeats Red for third place with 3 bands claiming allegiance. (OK, one band is both black and white and another is both red and blue.)
The number one threat to CMJ is bears! Or bands named after bears. 8 groups look to the bear for their names. Tigers have 4 band names. Various birds combine for 5 names. Horses, Apes and Whales also inspire multiple bands.
Over at Ear Farm, Goes Cube gives up on From the Inside Looking Out: Goes Cube (premiere of “Clenching Jaws”) : EAR FARM :: music information helps grow ears: “Not long ago, we decided that ‘Goes Cube Song 58’ should be called ‘Sorry, Were You Sleeping?’, ‘Goes Cube Song 59’ should be called ‘Read Right,’ ‘Goes Cube Song 61’ should be called ‘Loose Ends,’ ‘Goes Cube Song 62’ should be called ‘Gravestones Like Chess Pieces’ and ‘Goes Cube Song 63’ should be called ‘Clenching Jaws.’ ‘Goes Cube Song 60’ will change, too, but it’s an instrumental and not recorded, so we’re taking our time picking out a real interesting title for that one.”
I will be horribly disappointed if they never get around to writing and recording “Goes Cube Song #√-1” (square root of -1, in other words, the imaginary number i)
The NY Times reports on a rare occurrence at the Met– an encore of an aria, Ban on Solo Encores at the Met? Ban, What Ban?: “After the tenor Juan Diego Flórez popped out his nine shining high C’s in “La Fille du Régiment” at the Metropolitan Opera on Monday night, the crowd rose and cheered. Mr. Flórez obliged with something not heard on the Met stage since 1994: a solo encore. He sang the aria “Ah! Mes Amis” again, nailing the difficult note — a kind of tenor’s macho proving ground — nine more times. It was one of those thrilling moments that opera impresarios live for.”
The Journal goes behind the stage to explore the rarely-seen world of opera prompters– which aren’t screens scrolling libretti, but people prompting the singers, It’s Not Over (Yet) for Those Who Cue Divas: “The prompter’s job combines the skills of a conductor, musicologist and linguist, with an unusual ability to listen to the orchestra, keep time with the hands and deliver the singers’ lines a moment before the downbeat.”
The culinary highlight of day 3 was lunch down at Polvos south of downtown. If nothing else, SXSW is a great excuse to eat a diet consisting exclusively of BBQ and Tex-Mex.
As far as music, the most notable day party was the Mercury Records one where I went to meet up with Mr. F and caught a couple of bands. The first, whose name I didn’t catch, is worth noting for no other reason than they do have a sax player in the band. Represent! And while I never caught up to Vampire Weekend (with a stake), the buzziest act I saw at the festival was probably Duffy. Pitched as the next Amy Winehouse, Duffy has the vocal chops to fill that role, but her backing band didn’t have anywhere near the soul of the Dap Kings.
Went over to catch up with Brooklynites Gold Streets who were sounding good, despite some equipment troubles and a venue that didn’t seem to host rock bands outside of SXSW week.
Ran from there over to the WFMU show to see The Homosexuals (the touring lineup includes members of NYC’s Apache Beat and the Unsacred Hearts.) This was a great energetic set that felt like it was in fact time-shifted from decades ago.
After having to consult iPhone’s maps a bit too much, ended the night over at the After the Jump house party to see These United States again — in a yard in a residential Austin neighrborhood. Outside on a Friday night, this was amplified music going on with other houses nearby and it wasn’t shut down by the police just after starting. Wow. Here, saw Salt & Samovar, Oliver Future, These United States and The Lisps.
And that was it for BRR at SXSW 2008. Because of waiting too long to book flights, the only reasonably priced flights I found required returning to NYC on Saturday morning. On a connecting flight, through Chicago.
The Two Man Gentlemen Band bring their old-timey song style to video, with this snappy song about the only person to serve as both President of the US and Chief Justice of the US. And the only President whose girth enabled him to get stuck in the White House bathtub.
Chico Fellini plays flamboyant dance rock. They’re from Kentucky. We joined them for a show here in NYC at the Mercury and one in their hometown of Lexington. Since I’m thrilled to have my camera back from Fuji repair, here are some photos in lieu of words.