they are women, hear them roar!

Back from my near week-long sojourn into the ether, I have indeed returned, my dear friends!

Early last week, I witnessed a truly fun show put together by the members of the band, Electric Chariot to appreciate and highlight local female fronted bands. When I was told of this idea, I thought it was definitely a show that I should check out and so I did!. The show took place at Public Assembly here in Williamsburg and it was a fun time had by all who chad come down to support the bands and the concept itself.

Psychedelic Disco Angels

Leading off were the Psychedelic Disco Angels.  They are a local duo whose sound was an interesting blend of Mazzy Star and Portishead. The eye-opener during their set lay in the fact that the male guitarist seemed to have a greater role than the female bassist. Aside from that minor quip, theirs was an enjoyable set and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Next up were a band called Audio Fiction. Theirs was a fun set if you enjoy hearing straight-forward pub rock.  I’m not saying this is a knock to the band’s sound at all as they do have the pieces intact to be a fine act and they excuted quite well. It just left me with a feeling where if one were to close their eyes, it would be feasible to imagine this sound emanating from any given band playing in any given bar in any given region at any given time.

Hank of Hank & CupcakesDSCN0237Hank & Cupcakes

Next up was my discovery for the night, a band called Hank & Cupcakes.  A bass and drums duo made up of Cupcakes on drums and vocals and Hank on the bass with help from really cool synthesizer effects.  Their set was definitely an eye-opener and so much fun as they truly had the audience eating out of their hands with the band’s brand of infectious tunes. They even threw in a great rendition of Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control for good measure. The band recently had a party this past Friday at Piano’s to celebrate the release of their EP, Pleasure Town. I regret that I was not able to attend but this is definitely a band to keep your eyes on. Remember the name…Hank & Cupcakes.

Electric ChariotElectric Chariot
Last but most certainly not least, the headliners, Electric Chariot. The alt-rock outfit is simply getting better every time they hit the stage and it’s simply a pleasure to watch them as they evolve. Led by the siren of New York rock, Victoria Schwartz, the band blistered through their set of head-bashers and even premiered a newly penned track, Cheshire Cat.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening.  Some quality tunes, some promising new talent and a good time had by all!

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who doesn’t love friendly fires?

“Rub that line out of the sky
I can feel the night crawl
A broken drum and tambourine
Rub that line out of the sky
I can see the clouds form
Taking shape in front of me”

I’m going to take a wild stab in assuming that if you’re reading this blog, you’re already well aware of the Friendly Fires.  Last year’s self-titled record was definitely brimming with tons of promise. A simply ferocious blend of new wave, dance, and punk-funk, Friendly Fires burst into the blogosphere with songs like Paris, Jump In The Pool, & On Board. Theirs is a sound that exhibits an enormous amount of sophistication and intensity that puts many other bands that the blogs and the NME were waxing poetic about to a miserable shame.

Fresh off their co-headlining tour with the almighty White Lies, the trio have returned with a stunning new single, Kiss Of Life. Simply put, the Fires, in this track,  took the script from the first record, flipped it and went back to basics. What kicks this track into gear is the drums. A pleasant surprise is it appears that African tribal rhythms were an influence here and used to some great effect turning the song into something more than your average head-bopper. Throw in Ed McFarlane’s vocals (some of the best you’ll hear anywhere) and you’ve got yourself a hit for a band that’s truly in the ascendant.

“Kiss Of Life” from Friendly Fires (XL Recordings)

truer words have never been spoken…

“No you girls never know 

Oh no, you girls’ll never know
No you girls never know
How you make a boy feel”
 

So simple and so plain. Let Alex Kapranos tell the entire female population exactly what the effect they have on men are. The promo film for the second single taken from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is here and it’s for No You Girls and it’s also featured on an iPod commercial which these days it seems is better than landing on a top 40 playlist. The video continues on from what seems to be a growing trend these days which is keeping the video simple and back to basics, if you will. Call it the economy, the shrinking promo budgets allowed by the labels or just a changing of the tide but promos come with a lot less frills than they had during the last decade and I, for one, am heavily in favour of it. 

What better way to drive the point home about the song than to feature a whole lot of girls on the set prancing in tight bodysuits while the band play on looking as cool as possible under the circumstances. The song itself as mentioned in the track by track review is Franz at their best: dirty, sexy and danceable. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s kept them in good stead thus far so why change?

the monsters of electro-raaaaaawwwwwk!

 

How nice! Ladytron and the Faint touring together! This should be as massive as last year’s Cut Copy/Presets spectacle! Ladytron comes back to promote their epic Velocifero and the Fainttry to state their case why we shouldn’t leave them for dead following the release of their second straight subpar effort in Fascination. In any event, this has the makings of being a very cool tour and a wonderful example of how bands twiddling with machines can pack a solid punch in the live arena! Dig it!

Wed, Apr 1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Tuner
Thur, Apr 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
Fri, Apr 3 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
Sat, Apr 4 – Chicago, IL @ Metrto
Mon, Apr 6 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix
Tue, Apr 7 – Montreal, QB @ Theatre Telus
Wed, Apr 8 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Fri, Apr 10 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Sat, Apr 11 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Mon, Apr 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
Tue, Apr 14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Wed, Apr 15 – Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
Fri, Apr 17 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Sat, Apr 18 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Mon, Apr 20 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
Tue, Apr 21 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
Wed, Apr 22 – Dallas, TX @ Granada
Fri, Apr 24 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
Sat, Apr 25 – Anaheim, CA @ The Grove
Sun, Apr 26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda
Wed, Apr 29 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
Thus, Apr 30 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
Fri, May 1 – Portland, OR @ Roseland
Sat,May 2 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Sun, May 3 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore
Tue, May 5 – Denver, CO @ Ogden

tonight! i have dates…

Yes! The Franz have announced their North American tour dates! Who wants to come see them with at Roseland May 7th?!

Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre (April 13)
Oakland, CA Fox Theater (15)
Indio, CA Coachella (17)
Phoenix, AZ Marquis Theatre (18th)
Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre (19)
Magna, UT Saltair (21)
Denver, CO Ogden Theatre (22)
Dallas, TX House of Blues (24)
Austin, TX La Zona Rosa (25)
Kansas City, MO The Beaumont Club (27)
Minneapolis, MN First Avenue (28th)
Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom (29)
Chicago, IL Riviera Theatre (30)
Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall (May 2)
Pontiac, MI Clutch Cargo’s (May 3)
Toronto, ON Kool Haus (4)
Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory (6)
New York, NY Roseland Ballroom (7)
Providence, RI Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel (8th)

pro + con = procon

From the Great White North comes ProCon, a maelstrom of synth and sass. A plethora of guitars and pomp. A healthy battle waged between the forces of pop and the forces of punk with a generous dose of gooey sex to calm the nerves. Hailing from Toronto, the duo made up of the Countess Christsmasher (vocals, synths) and Count Feedback (guitars, synths), ProCon is coming on fast in this electronic renaissance sweeping across the blogosphere. They recently released their new album entitled Kingmaker (Ginchopolis) to rave reviews and a nice feature in Toronto’s Eye magazine. 

Kingmaker simply rocks. It’s got attitude. It’s got pizazz. It will leave you soaking wet. It does what every good record is supposed to do. They’ll be heading down to the States towards the spring for a few dates and I don’t think I need to tell you that they are a must-see live. Do it! Support them. Become familiar with them. Love them. Hear more at their MySpace.

“Pretty Pony” by ProCon, taken from the Ginchopolis release, “Kingmaker”

stripped and undressed: franz ferdinand

Album: Tonight

Artist: Franz Ferdinand

Label: Domino/Epic

 

The hour is almost up on us..er…the day, I mean. The new Franz Ferdinand record is out next Tuesday Stateside. I can’t wait to have to my grubby paws all over it! Cool record cover to begin with, great band on a great label. The question that rests on all of our minds is a simple yet monumentally important one: Pray tell, Billy! Is the record any good? Well, let’s go track by track, shall we?

1. Ulysses 3.11

In a word, sinister. In the bass line and lead synths in the verse give way to what I like “the big chorus payoff” and these guys deliver better than most bands in the last few years. Strong leadoff single, should be a hit among the hipsters and those without two left feet.

2. Turn It On 2.21

Short and sweet. Very reminiscent of something you would have heard off of “You Could Have It So Much Better”. Danceable, accessible, everything you like about Franz in a tidy two minute track. Good album track.

3. No You Girls 3.42

Can you say, disco? I know you can. FF definitely can and the first reminder of the classic first record sneaks its way here. Simply majestic. You will dance to this and this should be a single. An indie dance classic to be sure. This song is for the fellas. I defy you to sit still to this song. It just won’t happen.

4.  Send Him Away 3.00

A nice enough track. Could be a grower but to me, it doesn’t scream out “OH MY GAWD, THIS SONG IS THE PANTS!” It just flows until the 1.39 mark where the song picks up a smidgen. Not a slip-over but not essential either. 

5. Twilight Omens 2.30

I love this song. Love the synth lead. It’s just so melodic and a bit darker than we’re accustomed to hearing from the Franz. Probably not a single but I can definitely see this being a fan favourite.

6. Bite Hard 3.26

Simple. Steady. This one’s a bit of a pastiche from the debut and “YCHISMB”. This one has “live favourite” written all over it. Me likey!

7. What She Came For 3.52

Franz goes all metal on yo’ ass!  What began as a a slick ditty explodes into an all-out shellshock on the senses at the 3.17 mark. They’re loud, they’re absrasive, they’re the new Scottish gentry! Dig it!

8. Live Alone 3.29

Swoon! This is the jam right here. This begins the trio of songs that make this record a must own. This is my personal favourite on the whole record. Begin with the oh-so-naughty bass line. The disco drum pattern and the synths! What seals the deal? The subject matter, for one. Another anthemic one from the Franz. Relationships suck. No they don’t. Maybe it’s better to be alone? Add in the Moroder-esque middle eight and this song is an instant single and just may challenge “Take Me Out” as their signature song.

9. Can’t Stop Feeling 3.03

Another song for those who are rhythmically inclined and another grrreat middle eight. Don’t think about this one. This is one where you close your eyes on the dancefloor and groove. Nuff said.

10. Lucid Dreams 7.56

This is the epic track right here. Start slow, ride a groove and then “the big chorus payoff”! Once the song kicks in, it does not let go but ultimately gives in to Franz experimenting with the breaks. Breaks as in beats for those of you who don’t quite get jiggy wit’ it. It’s hard to describe this song. This is simply one that begs to be craked up to 11 and blow your brains out.

11. Dream Again 3.18

After the onslaught of the previous three songs, we slow it down a bit. This one is very reminiscent of mid-period Blur. Very minimal. It’s a sweet song and a good comedown song when coming home from the discotheque.

12. Katherine Kiss Me 2.56

We end this record with an acoustic little ditty. A simple, plaintive song with Alex crooning. Girls swoon.

The verdict? If you enjoyed the debut and thought the second record was a bit lacking in terms of coherence, consider Tonight a glorious return to form one of the best bands of the new wave resurgence. The record is solid and you will dance. Get it next Tuesday!

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