Friday, October 26, 2007

i heart rock and roll.

i started the night as a couch potato, and ended it as a drop kick queen. my thanks to The Dudes and a good friend who saw my potential as more than a motionless television-watching vegetable.

a concert-esque pub-crawl started the evening’s musical journey at mavericks for some harmless pop punk. we were supporting friends and the local scene, sort person, not financially. i smudged some eyeliner along my wrist to mimic the entry stamp and made a noteworthy stealth entrance. while i was nowhere near the right frame of mind to enjoy three chord progressions to the extent of the crowd around me, i couldn’t help but appreciate the energy of the bands on stage.

ducking out after two half-sets, we headed to stop number two. i believed our mission entailed solely a post-concert social visit. however, to our surprise, Jet Planes of Abraham were just finishing up their set, meaning we were just in time to catch The Dudes. i would like to take this opportunity to note: i fully condone any/all support and concert attendance of Jet Planes. I had the opportunity to see them play a show last week with Do Make Say Think that was auditory heaven.

back to The Dudes, who are The Dudes? they are one of few bands i am willing to classify as legitimate rock and roll. without delving too deep into debates of genre, i will say their live show was energetic. (btw. according to Microsoft Word, full of beans is a synonym for energetic…) their sound was impeccable, and the crowd loved every minute of it. they were tight. the kind of band you can tell has been playing with each other long enough to sound like gold, but not long enough that they don’t care anymore. mostly playing upbeat and danceable tracks, even slower songs like Don’t Talk came across louder and heavier. i was standing rather close to the speakers, so that statement is relative. nonetheless, their recorded sound definitely translated into a kicking live show. the combination of witty lyrics and defined sound made every song stand on it’s own.

the interaction between crowd and band culminated during the encore. covering the legendary Bob Dylan is not an easy feat, but they covered I Shall Be Released and well. The Dudes invited lyric-knowing audience members to join them on stage for the song. two souls were brave enough to step up. the rest of the audience danced, danced and danced, compelling the band to play one last song. all in all, a great show and a great night. i’m glad i got up off the couch.

so said The Dudes,

i heart rock and roll.
(reprinted with permission of author. originally posted on The Snob Machine.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

for the love of mix, long live the demo.

b-sides and demo’s, beginnings and maps of the creative process involved in producing an album. perhaps more…they are an auditory glimpse behind the studio door, into the unmixed talents of artists we love…or hate. but the ability of a band to produce demo tracks that warrant listening and loving on their own merit speaks volumes about the talent who created them. this is a trend that i hope more artists start setting: it not only attests to a band’s ability, it is an invaluable marketing tool.

fans of Brand New were tided over between their three year album hiatus with 9 leaked demo tracks. those demos became an album of their own for me, and remain still. the changes that accompanied demo 8’s transition into sowing season morphed the same chords and words into something different but equally enjoyable. i listen to and love both. the most defining aspect of these tracks as a collective stems from the decision of the BN boys not to mix all of them into the final release; unintentionally solidifying them into an unofficial, technically unreleased lp. yesterday, one of those unmixed and unreleased demos made the leap into production. (fork and knife), otherwise known as demo 7 or The Piano Song, underwent some lyric changes, and the addition of a stellar bridge. it’s different, produced, enjoyable. keeping the melodic piano progressions and hint of hollow drums, the mix gives the track more depth. the clarified vocals give the lyrics more meaning and the song more balance.

another demo-friendly band is Jimmy Eat World. they released a dual disc of both the mixed and demo versions on their last studio album Futures. prior to the release of their new album Chase This Light, i was privy to a demo version. while the album is not Clarity, and i’m starting to believe none of their albums ever will be, there are some very addictive tracks, some extremely radio friendly ones, and one or two hidden gems. an instrumental demo titled Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues was definitely one of those gems. i had hoped it would remain instrumental, however it was given a voice in the end. to my surprise, the vocal additions actually made the track more epic. i have room in my heart for two versions, and am glad i had the opportunity to hear both.

i love the mix, but long live the demo.

(reposted with permission of author. originally posted on The Snob Machine.)