Friday, October 20, 2017

Full Show Friday: Tool Governors Ball 2017

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Tool!
RtBE loved this bands first two releases but while the group has only soared in popularity we have fallen out of touch. A good way to get back in touch is a video put together by the bands rabid fans from their very recent Governors Ball set here in NYC.

We missed the Ball this year, after covering it in years past, so this is a nice way to spend this fall Full Show Friday. The video has various sources, but the sound is rock solid. Enjoy:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Warren Haynes Christmas Jam Announces Lineup for 2017

Every year one of the hardest working men in rock and roll puts on a dynamite show in Asheville, NC. This year is no exception as Warren Haynes recently announced the lineup for the 29th Annual Christmas Jam on December 9th.
This should be a great night of music and guest sit in's as everyone from Trey to Taz will be on hand to play with Haynes and crew. Each year the show gets taped and released so if you can't make it to Asheville on the 9th fear not, a tapper will have your back (or ears I guess).

Until then, enjoy some of these acts live on the internet:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Album Review: Jay-Z - 4:44

** and 1/2 out of *****

There is a reason that hip hop lives in the realm of outlandish boasts and braggadocio; everyone wants to be the best, everyone loves a good party and in 2017 everyone wants to share and no one seems to want to think too hard. Jay-Z’s newest release 4:44 is confessional, thought out and personal...yet somehow still feels distant and cold, especially for those not following his every twitter/tabloid rumor or family life.

The Reasonable Doubt hustler could have never envisioned the billionaire CEO who is rhyming on 4:44. After hearing some of the complaints on a song like “The Story of O.J.” the young J would probably comeback super hard on the MC who wants us to connect with him through statements such as:
“Wish I could take it back to the beginnin’/I coulda bought a place in DUMBO before it was even DUMBO/For like 2 million/That same building today is worth 25 million/Guess how I am feelin? Dumbo"
How is someone who is struggling to get by supposed to hear those lines? Is their empathy there, especially via the flat delivery? The track is the most societal thinking song on the album, speaking directly to black people but still gets caught in a woah-is-me void, talking about his investments in fine art as well. Granted hip hop MC’s brag for whole albums, but these are more cold statements of fact that fall flat:
“You know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit/You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America/This is how they did it/Financial freedom my only hope/ Fuck livin’ rich and dying broke”
Along with the personal revelations about his mother on “Smile” (which shows off his amazingly dexterous flow) and the twitter bound title track (which will be dissected for as long as he is married and beyond or until the next scandal) Jay-Z opens up and is happy for his mother and apologetic to this wife, both who contribute vocals to the album.

Surely the therapist (who he also references) is happy that J’s art has addressed his personal life and in 2017 that may count as a huge breakthrough, but those confessions don't always make engaging art or repeated spins on the headphones no matter how cathartic it is for the artist. 

Wealth and business is at the root of this but not in making it rain ways; Prince’s family gets called for selling out in “Caught Their Eyes” but rather than feeling shocking it feels like a business seminar, CEO advice.

Jay’s rhymes never sound tired (except on the thin “Moonlight”) and his dip into reggae on “Bam” with Ziggy Marley along with the breezy half hour plus run time is all commendable. Even greater is the dynamic and rich production in an old school vibe that never feels stale or redundant. No I.D. deserves major recognition as the producer whose musical background and beats are gorgeous from the opening siren and strings on “Kill Jay Z” to the horn drenched closer “Legacy”. 

The album talks directly to black culture about money, family legacy and the next generation while also tackling Jay’s out-in-the-open personal life and while Beyonce’s vocals ring out proud on the title track as she is (literally) backing her man, Lemonade turned her rage into a career defining album while 4:44 never breaks through. We live in a world that where all personal details are explored on social media so perhaps this is the perfect way for Jay-Z to make a record in 2017, but 4:44 will never rank with the legends best efforts.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Album Review: Gary Clark Jr. - Live / North America 2016

Gary Clark Jr.
Live / North America 2016
*** out of *****

Gary Clark Jr. is a must see live act. Melding blues rock, soul and grooves he consistently delivers, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Live / North America 2016 works well. What is surprising is that he felt the need to release yet another live documentation after 2014’s double album Live.

Alternating live albums with studio releases may be the game plan, but when his studio releases disappoint, a lot hangs on the live disks. While this is a fine documentation of Clark in his element it seems superfluous.

“Church” gets some added texture with nuanced harmonica playing while “Shake” is a fun rave up featuring Leon Bridges and Jeff Dazey. His choice of cover tunes this go around is pitch perfect with Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” and the blues standard “My Baby’s Gone” by Elmore James.

The two best tracks here are “When My Train Pulls In” and closer “Numb” which also happen to be older tunes that were both released on Live as well. “When My Train Pulls In” is Clark’s signature song and allows him to explore sonic textures, fret board acrobatics and grooving slowdowns; it is central to who is as an artist and this version delivers the goods. “Numb” ends the disk with fuzz pedal fireworks as the groove gets deep as mud and just plows ahead.

Newer tunes don’t fare as well both “Cold Blooded” and “Our Love” go the smooth R&B route with Clark singing in a high register without the desired effect while “The Healing” is a slow slog. All are good-hearted though and in each tune when it comes time to solo, Clark shines.

We have mentioned before, but Clark seems firmly entrenched with other amazingly talented live players like Robert Randolph and Trombone Shorty who have yet to put it all together for a killer album or even a standout single. However, by constantly releasing live albums he is at least playing to his strengths and giving fans mementos of each of his tours.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dylan Cover #297 The Yardbirds "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, The Yardbirds doing a cover of "Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine" 

Thoughts on Original:
It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. Those are the phrases that Dylan himself used to describe the sound that he wanted on Blonde on Blonde. Safe to say he got it and perhaps never more so than on "Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine". That whirling organ that sounds like it may actually take flight, the tempo, the cutting lyric, man this song is a joy. We actually got to see him open a show way back with this one and it was a hoot, not as good as the original, but a gem to see live and hear anytime.

The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We dip into 60's rock and roll for this cover with a spry Yardbird lineup. They were never our favorites from the era but their talent is undeniable.

Thoughts on Cover:
Wow this is a fun super fast version of the tune. It teeters on the edge of falling apart like the best garage rock does. A really dynamite cover to kick off this week.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Full Show Friday: The Doors 1969

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...The Doors!
This is from 1969 and is a PBS television capture of the band. RtBE aren't huge Doors fans, but we love PBS. To be fair, The Doors live was not just a concert it was an event. Without the crazy crowd though the PBS show is a bit more tame.

Peep the video below and Enjoy!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Album Review: The Men - Devil's Music

The Men
Devil Music
***1/2 out of *****

The Men are a band that loves to defy expectations and craft engaging music based around their ever expanding influences. On their excellent 2013 release New Moon there were dips into Americana and folksy piano runs while 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits injected classic rock and a bit more mainstream sheen into their lofi sound but all that is gone on Devil Music. Now the band go back to their roots by putting their collective head down, slamming hard while blasting ahead with full force and fuzzy garage rock fury.

Where on recent releases the band would careen from one genre to the next, here they are in their original stripped down raucous element. The first three numbers all link together into one long distortion filled burner, signaling the bands intent, ending with the best of the trio “Ridin’ On” which contains a fluid and understated guitar solo to finish the successful run. “Lion’s Den” amps up the squawking aggression and the noise rock chaos while “Patterns” keeps the lofi influences but ups the swagger from the low end combo of Rich Samis (drums), and Kevin Faulkner (Bass) turning in the most grooving track on the album.

Lyrically things are muddled as a layer of sound covers every attempt by Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys), Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar) to cut through the muck. Vocals and lyrics have never been a strong suit for the Brooklyn four-piece as they lean more towards soundscapes and vistas.

“Violate” drops some screeching guitar work with splashes of speedy punk thrown up for tempo injections before crashing into a brick wall while the honking “Hit The Ground” sprinkles in saxophones under the chaos, twisting things into bubbling pretzel of sound. The come down fear and stripped vocal yearnings flow through “Gun” before the album ends with metallic clanging of “Fire”.

The Men pride themselves on their raw, recorded live (including the vocals) four track sound and Devil's Music is an album they wanted to make so they could go back and listen to themselves. Fortunately fans of grimy garage rock with attitude will want to check this out as well.
This review got lost in the machine somewhere, and even though the album came out last year, we thought it was worth posting this as we dig The Men and Halloween is this month (Devil Music Indeed). We still like New Moon the best of theirs though.

Support the band, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video: