Free music Friday

The Goodnight Loving“Doesn’t Shake Me”
Franz Nicolay“This is Not a Pipe”
DD/MM/YY“Van Tan”
Pepper Rabbit“Older Brother”
Thank God“Ice Age”
Dominant Legs“About My Girls”
Like Bells“Follow the Birds”
In Granada“Distance and Temptation”
Abner Trio“Let Go of the Dream”
El Guincho“FM Tan Sexy”
Deer Tick“Piece by Piece, Frame by Frame”
Tamaryn“The Waves”

In My Ear – Week of August 15

On tour this summer to promote a brand new album (their first in 10 years), Ratt rolled into Columbus on Friday night to play what I’m calling an “economical” set lasting about 75 minutes. Rumors are that things haven’t been great in the Ratt camp, especially with drummer Bobby Blotzer releasing a “tell-all” book a few months ago that cast some negativity on the band and, in particular, lead singer Stephen Pearcy. I will say that it was awesome hearing some arena rock classics (“You in Love”, “Lay it Down”, “Wanted Man”, “Round and Round”, etc.) in the intimacy of an (sold-out) 800-person venue. Highlight for me, actually, was seeing Carlos Cavazo (ex-Quiet Riot) serving as second guitarist.

Local (Columbus) band that has been inactive for 5 years due to a couple of the guys in the band settling down and having kids. In 2005 they had started a new album but broke up before it was finished. Earlier this year Kopaz decided to complete work on the album (about 85% was already recorded and mixed) and they held a CD release party this past weekend. Think Sunny Day Real Estate meets Juno meets Shiner.

Download: Kopaz – “Teeth Like Cities”

Climber – The Mystic
Can’t get enough of this one. This Portland band reminds me of The Standard (maybe not so coincidentally from Portland as well). The vocals are a bit nervous sounding, a bit shaky, a bit paranoid. The first track on the new album – “The Simians Speak” – sounds like an MGMT song. Here’s the thing, I have NO IDEA how/where you can buy this – the publicist sent me a copy (maybe it’s not available yet … I haven’t checked iTunes yet). Definitely one worth tracking down if you can.

Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
The new album is due in stores in mid-September. I’m a little late to the party but if you’re into Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Black Angels, Verbena, this’ll make your “Best of 2010” list.

Guns N Roses – Revisited EP
I’ll let the site that posted this EP explain what it is: “DJ 5agge has combined Axl Rose’s vocals from Chinese Democracy with tracks from Velvet Revolver (featuring Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner) and Slash’s new solo album. You can tell by these remixes that a new album from Axl and Slash would totally rock and would beat anything either has done post 1993.” I’m not really sure this is what a 2010 original line up Guns N’ Roses would sound like but I concur that it’s better than anything Axl or Slash have done in 17 years.

DOWNLOAD: Guns N Roses – Revisited EP

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway readies solo album

Philip Selway’s first solo album, Familial, will be in stores next week. So what does music by the drummer of Radiohead sound like? Selway’s made a few songs available to check out to give you an idea and I’m not at all surprised by the sounds. More early Radiohead than experimental Radiohead, the drummer’s just not going to be able to shake the Radiohead comparisons even though this is all just something that he’s doing on his own. I actually think – based on these tracks – that I’m going to enjoy this album more than Radiohead’s most recent releases.

Philip Selway – Familial (Album Sampler) by Bella Union

An open letter to John Mayer

Dear John –

My kids listen to the local pop radio station. Every time I hear the very opening of “Half of My Heart”, my heart does a quick skip and jump … Now, I know that you are far too big of a rock star to listen to unknown bands and, let’s face it, there are only so many strings on a guitar and only so many notes you can play so you’re bound to play something at some point that sounds an awful lot like another band. I’m cool with that and I’m not even accusing you of lifting the opening of “Half of My Heart” from the opening of The Damnwells “Everything”. It’s just one of those lucky coincidences.

That being said, John, since there are some similarities between “Half of My Heart” and “Everything” which, after you hear, I’m sure you’ll admit to, I think you should download The Damnwells 2009 release, One Last Century. The band, being in that tough spot of not having a record deal, made the release – which features “Everything” – available for free to their fans in exchange for nothing more than an e-mail address. Don’t worry John, if you’re afraid of giving them your personal e-mail address, I’m sure you can find somebody who doesn’t mind sharing their e-mail address with you. Personally, I’d recommend you check out “Like It Is” which I think would make a great song for the Dixie Chicks to sing vocals on. Maybe you can pass it along to the girls and see if they’d be interested (note: The Damnwells opened 2 or 3 Dixie Chicks shows in Canada a few years back).

I promise you’ll like One Last Century and after you’ve fallen in love, make sure to pick up Bastards of the Beat and Air Stereo as a way to prepare for The Damnwells new CD which hopefully will be out by the end of the year.

You don’t owe The Damnwells anything. It’s just a coincidence. But, hey, why don’t you throw the guys a bone and take them out on the road with you and let them play music that your fans will undoubtedly dig?

Thanks, John.


In My Ear – Week of August 8

1. Azure Ray
Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink haven’t made a record together since 2004 but after a one-off reunion performance in 2008 decided maybe it would be worth working together on new material. Azure Ray’s new album, Drawing Down the Moon, will be released in September and I’m not sure you’ll find more beautiful female vocals (x 2!) on any other CD this year. If September feels too far away, you can pick up a preview 3-song EP now to tide you over.

2. Blonde Redhead
I have to admit that I’ve never listened to Blonde Redhead before. Penny Sparkle, the band’s eighth album, is due out in September and it sounds like I’ve got a discography to catch up on! Blonde Redhead’s giving away a free track from the new album and it sounds gorgeous. Check the trio out on tour this September and October.

DOWNLOAD: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”

3. Filter
Rumor has it the new Filter CD, The Trouble with Angels, finds Richard Patrick revisiting the post-industrial sound of Filter’s earliest material (think “Hey Man Nice Shot” more than “Take a Picture”). The album is available in stores today so make up your own mind. In the meantime, check out the title track.

4. The Wackers
Read about this ’70s Canadian pop band on a few different blogs and thought the description, which read something like “the harmonies of The Beach Boys with the pop elements of The Beatles”, made this something worth seeking out. Sadly, like so many bands of that time period, The Wackers never achieved much commercial success and are now just the type of band that bloggers occasionally mention in passing.

5. We Are Scientists
Made the choice to see Warrant this weekend instead of We Are Scientists and I’m sure that I made the right decision – the Warrant show was great. But, it was a tough decision considering how much I’ve been playing WAS’s latest album, Barbara, on my iPod. There’s a strong ’80s new wave flavor to many of the songs and at times I’m reminded of Duran Duran, which is never a bad thing, right?