Monday, May 22, 2006

Live: Starlight Mints/Dios Malos

Record Bar || Kansas City, Mo. || May 20, 2006

Went for Dios, was redeemed by the Starlight Mints. Saturday night's set at the recordBar was a study in contrast. I had known a little about Dios Malos going into the night and was looking forward to seeing how they played out; my feeling now is that Dios is one of those bands that is well suited for the recording studio with their brand of melodic, too-indie-for-The OC Cali rock. Live, the vocal melodies that define the records take a back seat to the muddled sounds of the band's playing. I've come to trust recordBar's sound system for its quality, so there was something in the Dios mix that didn't quite gel.

The kicker is that there are some really interesting songs I've heard on the albums, so it was dissapointing to have them sound so one-dimensional at the show. On the plus side, I've never seen rhythm guitar played exclusively on a 12-string.

The feeling of dissapointment was short-lived, however, as a band I knew nothing of before their set, proved to be immensely entertaining. The Starlight Mints play light-hearted indie pop, that is too weird to be mainstream, but too infectious to be dismissed. The stage show was impressive, as the Norman, Okla., five-piece played with multi-colored background images that moved and changed to the music, turning the recordBar from intimate dive to de facto art house.

The Mints' energetic pacing played nicely following Dios' stoner-friendly plodding, making the Mints' set feel that much more fresh. However, while Dios is a band I'll still check out on CD (okay, download), I'm nervous that the Starlight Mints lose something in a singular-media format. The songs were good, but the mixed-media presentation gave them more depth.

In all, it was a night that inspired compound adjectives, good and bad. In the end, that's all you can really ask for from your $8.

Hear the Starlight Mints on myspace
(check "The Bandit").
Hear Dios Malos on myspace (check "Feels Good Being Somebody").

Friday, May 19, 2006

Gomez on KEXP

I failed in ripping Gomez on Morning Becomes Eclectic this morning (ugh!), but I did capture the Ben, Ian and Tom's in-studio performance on Seattle's KEXP a few weeks ago. The set is pretty standard, but does showcase a good portion of How We Operate. I'm a big fan of "Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol."

Live on KEXP (March 21, 2006)
1. How We Operate
2. Hamoa Beach
3. Chasing Ghosts
4. girlshapedlovedrug

Check out the streaming performance from MBE here. The live, extended "How We Operate" is worth a listen. Songs played were: Notice, See the World, HWO, Interview, Hamoa Beach, gsld and Chasing Ghosts.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Live: Gomez

I've been really enjoying the new Gomez effort, How We Operate. The band has created a strong set of songs that sound very refined, but without sacrificing the essence of what has made them a great band -- the songs are polished, but Gomez sounds very loose. The band's signature diversity is still present, but is presented in a way that doesn't isolate a song or group of songs as prior albums had at times. After four proper albums, Gomez finally play to their stregths all the way through, namely Ben Ottewell's raspy vocal and a strong sense of melody.

ATO Records has done a strong promotional job behind the release as well, something Gomez deserves after Virgin glossed over it last two efforts. The title track, and lead single in the U.S., is one of the band's best songs to date. I'm still not sold on the lead U.K. single (and presumably the second U.S. release) "girlshapedlovedrug." The album's lone plateau, the song isn't catchy enough to make it stand out from its competition on radio, nor enough of the band's signature sound to further the Gomez brand. A fine song, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't shine like so much of the album. A record label wouldn't be brave enough to release it, but I think "Cry On Demand" would be a stellar choice to release to radio. It isn't Ben sung, but it's both interesting and poppy enough to be a player on the major rock radio formats. My release schedule would be as follows (planned U.S. releases in parenthesis):

1. How We Operate
2. All Too Much (girlshapedlovedrug)
3. Cry On Demand (See the World)

Grand Emporium || Kansas City, Mo. || May 15, 2006
On Monday night, I had the chance to see the band play live, packt like sardines in the tiny Grand Emporium. The band was dynamic as always and proved itself to be one of the better live bands around.

Setlist: Shot Shot, All Too Much, Silence, See the World, Nothing Is Wrong, Ping One Down, Notice, Blue Moon Rising, "Who's taping Grey's Anatomy?", How We Operate, Ruff Stuff, Hamoa Beach, Girlshaped, Detroit Swing 66, Tear Your Love Apart, Fill My Cup, Get Myself Arrested.
Encore: Chasing Ghosts, Devil Will Ride, Whippin' Piccadilly.

"How We Operate" is already an amazing live song, the band take it for a little walk when the song-proper winds down; it also served as the marker when the night really started to pick up some momentum and the Monday night crowd started to loosen up, a bit. "Ruff Stuff" and Ben's brilliant delivery on the "Come backs" was the tipping point and the remaining laggards in the crowd were overwon.

Tomorrow, I'll put up some live stuff from recent radio sets. I'll also try to update more steadily. It's hard to think what I'm listening to is post-worthy, since it's either Gomez or albums that I didn't dive into when they were released (Elbow, Bloc Party) or have covered already (Both Sides of the Gun).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Gomez Tonight!

I'm going to see Gomez tonight. Full report tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tuesday Boozeday...

At least, if you're from Detroit...

Steve Yzerman exits the ice after what may be his last NHL game.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Martin Sexton Bottleneck mp3s

As promised, here are some mp3s of Martin Sexton's amazing performance from Friday night. "Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You" is one of those songs that has stayed out of the limelight for me off of Martin's Black Sheep album. It really demanded attention on Friday night. Martin really dug into the vocals and played up the blues angle. "Glory Bound > She Cries and Sings" was a huge highlight for me. One of my favorite songs, it was my first chance to see "Glory Bound" live. Thanks to KCMoeJoe for taping; please visit to grab the full lossless show.

Martin Sexton live at the Bottleneck
Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You
Glory Bound >
She Cries and Sings