Track 3: “May” by The Yarrows

I’m currently reading the zombie novel Monster Island by David Wellington. I checked out Wellington’s website to see if there was any possibility of the book being turned into a movie when I discovered a link to a site with a very cool premise. The Page 69 Test asks authors to open up to page 69 of the book they have written and are currently promoting and has them giving some background to the content that is on the page. Is it relevant to the rest of the story? If people read this page first, would it give a good glimpse into the style and tone of the rest of the book? Seriously, you can spend days reading all the entries on this site, it’s that good. The site gave me an idea.

My old college roommate Geoff used to buy CDs and say that he could tell everything he needed to know by listening to track 3 first. “If this isn’t the first single, it’s the best single on the CD,” he’d say and maybe 7 out of 10 times he was totally on mark. So mixing Geoff’s theory with the Page 69 Test site, I’d like to introduce you to the new column … Track 3. I’ll be sending bands the following three questions and asking them to apply the questions towards the third track on their current release:

  • Is track 3 representative of the whole CD?
  • What’s the story behind the song – from the lyrical content to the way it was written and recorded?
  • Was there a particular reason you placed this song in the #3 spot on the tracklisting?

The first band I asked to take part in this new feature was The Yarrows, an indie rock band with members spread across three states – New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Setting the bar for future bands who take part in this feature, EACH member of the band offered their input into “May,” track 3 of their new CD, Plum.

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Free music Friday

More goodies to load up on your iPod as you head out this weekend.

Film School – “Lectric” (MP3)
Adam Franklin – “Seize the Day”(MP3)
Speck Mountain – “Hey Moon” (MP3)
The Lonely H – “The Meal” (MP3)
Via Audio – “Presents” (MP3)
Eulogies – “One Man” (MP3)
Schoolyard Heroes – “Dude, Where’s My Skin” (MP3)
Bowerbirds – “In Our Talons” (MP3)
Dan Deacon – “The Crystal Cat” (MP3)
Deer Tick – “Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin)” (MP3)
The Bosch
– “Brooklyn Cars” (MP3)
The One Am Radio vs. Lymbrc System – “Astrology Days” (MP3)
The Menzingers – “A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology” (MP3)

Van Halen set to announce tour says the Van Halen tour announcement is coming on Monday (August 13) and that Van Halen will play 50 arena dates starting in October. Some people are bitching that Michael Anthony won’t be joining the reunited Van Halen but the fact of the matter is, as good as Eddie Van Halen is, David Lee Roth is the voice and I’d be willing to plunk down cash to see DLR run through Van Halen’s greatest hits with a 22-year-old guitarist filling the shoes of Eddie.

EDIT: Just to address the comment from LOL in the comments section … feel free to send me an MP3 of you doing your best David Lee Roth impersonation and I’ll toss it up here for people to check out. We’ll put it up against David Lee Roth and see if people can tell the difference.

Meanwhile, here’s a video of a kid jamming out to “Panama” and sounding pretty damn good.

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And here’s the premiere Van Halen tribute band, Atomic Punks, doing “Unchained”. Not bad, but if I close my eyes and listen, I can tell that it’s not David Lee Roth singing.

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Queens of the Stone Age line up Fall tour dates

… and Biffy Clyro is set to open!!!! Now, you probably have no clue who Biffy Clyro is and that’s cool but, finally, I’m just as excited about the opening band as I am the headliner. I mean, I’d love to see Bloc Party, and I don’t even mind Smoosh, but the teenage sisters don’t really make me say, “I HAVE to buy tickets to this show NOW.”

Biffy Clyro hail from Scotland and are tough to describe – they have certain emo tendencies (ala Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate) but they mix it with this explosive post-hardcore sound with thrashing guitars and the occasional screaming vocals. It can be rather jarring at time but it keeps the listeners on their toes. Their U.S. touring has been rather limited but it seems like 2007 is the make-or-break year for the band on this side of the ocean as they are currently playing on the Warped Tour, hitting a number of cities they’ve never played before.

Here’s Biffy Clyro’s “Folding Stars” video

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The tour runs October 10 through October 31 and a few of the dates have started to surface.

Oct.10 – Lupo’s (Providence, RI)
Oct. 12 – Orpheum Theater (Boston, MA)
Oct. 20 – Lifestyles Community Pavilion (Columbus, Oh)

TiVo Alert – LA INK

Get the TiVo fired up and make sure to pick “season pass” for LA INK which premieres on Tuesday night on TLC. The show is a spin-off of Miami Ink, the show which first introduced tattoo artist Kat Von D to a national audience. Things didn’t go so well in Miami so Kat moved back to L.A. where she set up shop with a talented group of artists including my old friend Kim Saigh (pictured at left).

Now, to put it in perspective, I haven’t seen Kim in probably 12 years but for a year or two we hung out a lot, mostly due to our common interest in hair metal. One of my greatest concert memories (a 2-day stretch of seeing Spread Eagle at the Real Flash Gordon’s in Cleveland and the Akron Agora in Akron) involves seeing those shows with Kim and hanging out with the guys from the band.

Kim’s music tastes and mine always seemed to match up (though I think she preferred Motley Crue over Warrant) back in those days and when Nirvana came along and killed the hair metal genre, we both hopped aboard the grunge bandwagon and started listening to bands like Soundgarden – always trying to outdo each other with our discoveries (I will gladly lay claim to “discovering” Mindfunk … ha ha! … while Kim introduced me to Primus). In fact, if it wasn’t for Kim, I’m not sure that I would have ever had the opportunity to develop a close friendship with Blind Melon. Kim was going to drive to Columbus (from Cleveland … about a 2 hour drive) to catch Soundgarden at the Newport Music Hall. Trying to impress her, I said that maybe I could use my *cough cough*  “status” at a college journalist to interview Soundgarden and get us both backstage to meet Chris Cornell. When I discovered that Soundgarden wasn’t talking to lowly college reporters, I went to plan B … interview the opening band with the hope that if I could hit it off with them, THEY would invite us backstage where we could weasel our way into Soundgarden’s dressing room.

As it turned out, this band that didn’t have a record out – Blind Melon – was opening a short string of dates for Soundgarden and were all too happy to get some press early in their career. I hit it off with Shannon Hoon when I spoke to him on the phone a week before the gig and we became friends based on that conversation. I was able to hook us up with free tickets to the show but Blind Melon didn’t have access to Soundgarden so we fell short of meeting the band that night. But we did get to hang out quite a bit with Blind Melon both that night and the following night in Cleveland where we were just a closed door away from meeting Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Sheppard, and Matt Cameron.

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