RAVE'S FAVES (on the air since August)
The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand (various), The Rolling Stones (various), Go! Team (various), Gorillaz ("DARE"), Morning Wood, New Pornographers (various), Ladytron (various), We Are Scientists, Arctic Monkeys, She Wants Revenge, Paul Van Dyke, Coldplay ("Talk").
Above tracks are the current singles unless otherwise noted. The Strokes seem to have emerged from their sophomore siesta with this tune, which shows them broadening from the "New York sound," which they helped establish.Franz completely avoided their sophomore slump with an outstanding album that is deeper, darker, and harder. The Stones' CD has five or six great tracks and the rest of it is solid.Uncle Joe has been playing most of the best ones on his KLOS afternoon shift. It's hard to get much more uplifting than with the Go! Team from England. They're mostly instrumental and the album is really refreshing.Morning Wood have a cool radio track and one wonders how many other bands wish they'd come up with that name. The New Porns and Ladytron have strong discs that are working to expand their bases. Two new bands on L.A.'s KCRW: Scientists (see live review below) are an L.A. band that relocated to Brooklyn and have a U.K. buzz that is crossing the Atlantic back to the U.S.! Their new single reminds of Hot Hot Heat and the album comes in January.Arctic Monkeys just debuted at #1 in England and are looking like the new band of the year over there. Their "You Know You Look Good on the Dance Floor" is also starting to get import play on a few domestic stations. L.A.'s Indie 103.1 is playing She Wants Revenge, and the track sounds like a harder Interpol. Paul Van Dyke has a nice single on the electronica side.Coldplay's "Talk" is the tune with the Kraftwerk riff that people have been talking about.
I was able to catch a whole slew of bands during September and October. The Redwalls played at the Roxy on a show with fellow Capitol/Chicago act OK! Go. The Redwalls rock harder live than they do on their album. They are a strong live band that has enormous long-term potential. I didn't catch the OK! Go set except for their encore, which is the very cool and uniquely choreographed lip-sync of their "A Million Ways." Norway's Royksopp put on a good show at the Avalon. Most in attendance were very enthused, and these guys make much more of an attempt to connect with their audiences than many of their electronic brethren. Fellow Norwegian opening act Annie has good tunes but no stage presence. My need to see Kasabian drove me to attend KROQ's Inland Invasion even though I could only stay for five bands. Considering that they had to fight an 11am set time and poor sound, Kasabian still did a great job. They play well and are good to watch. Fans of their music will really like them live. The same goes for Bloc Party who I saw for the second time. This time around, the crowd was more familiar with their tunes and the band played a bit better as well. Except for "Party at Ground Zero" and a cool cover of Sublime's "Date Rape", Fishbone were merely loud and rough. Having worked with some outstanding synth artists in the '80's, one would think I'd really like The Bravery. I think they're a good band and their set was fine, but they just don't excite me.Arcade Fire were next and they once again put on an amazing show. As I said a couple of months ago, I feel that they are the indie rock story of the year when it comes to playing live.Towers of London snuck into L.A. for a Troubadour gig in front of a mild crowd of industry types. This punk-metal band are fun to watch. I really like their upcoming "On the Loose" single, which is going to be released immanently. I'm glad I hit Melbourne's Cut Copy gig at The Echo. Their interesting album doesn't come close to matching their live energy and likability. If they can improve on their songwriting, the sky can be the limit for these dance-rock dudes. My October Madison visit allowed me to catch The Decemberists at the Orpheum Theatre. This is a perfect band for a college town with their humor, musicianship and easy-going approach.The New Pornographers' gig the following night at the Barrymore Theatre was postponed due to the bass player's appendicitis attack, but that allowed me to catch most of home-town Garbage (minus Shirley) along with a few other local players at Cafe Montmartre as The Know It All Girlfriends vs. The Know It All Boyfriends. The "Girlfriends" were about the ugliest drag queens I've ever seen, and they joyfully banged their way through a number of pop oldies. During their break, the guys shed their dresses and returned as themselves, drinking and charging through various rock classics. Meanwhile, We Are Scientists headlined a late October show at L.A.'s Troubadour. They're talented without much of a stage show, and their single is by far the best tune. Even if "Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt" becomes a hit, I don't think this band currently has enough to completely break through.
I got to Madison twice and was happy to be on WSUM both times. In September, I co-hosted the Helvete show with Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award Winner, Chris ("Guts") Gutmanis. This is a loud rock show and we featured a long segment on Iron Maiden. During the October stay, I returned for my solo Return of Rave program. Thanks to Chris and station management for these opportunities... The next time you hear from me, the holidays will be upon us and I'll be sending you my Top Five Faves of '05. Have a great two months, and until next time...