RAVE’S FAVES (on the air since late April)
Garbage (“Bleed”), Mando Diao, RAVEonettes, Crystal Method (“Roadhouse”), Branden Benson (“Spit”), The Redwalls, Ash, Dead 60′s, Robbers on High Street, Weezer (“Perfect”), Secret Machines (“Road”).
All above tracks are singles unless otherwise noted. “Bleed Like Me” by Garbage is outstanding and I hope it gets its due. I’m really liking the RAVEonettes‘ “Trashcan” but their softer touch on this album doesn’t seem to be striking U.S. rockers as much as hoped. Sweden’s Mando and Detroit’s Branden mix melodies with a hard edge, as do the U.K.’s Ash, Dead 60′s and Robbers. All are seeing some rock airplay. Crystal Method have a fabulous remix of The Doors‘ “Roadhouse Blues.” Chicago’s Redwalls (see below), with their heavy 60′s flavor and an undeniable chorus, are doing well at many Adult Alternative stations and they did a nice job on Conan. Speaking of the U.K., great bands keep on coming. Here are three hot names to look for between now and early next year: Nine Black Alps, Battle, and the Arctic Monkeys.
The KROQ Weenie Roast was held at Irvine’s Verizon Amphitheatre and we saw thirteen of the bands. At the Christmas show, The Killers and Muse shocked people (Raves #22), but there were no major surprises this time. For me, Audioslave surprised a bit. I knew that I would respect them, but I was amazed at how much I enjoyed watching Tom Morello, Tim Cummerford and Brad Wilk play. They’re every bit as good as advertised. Much of Audioslave’s set consisted of older songs from Rage and Soundgarden, and those Rage songs really smoked. Chris Cornell‘s movements didn’t quite blend visually but his vocals were spot on. We arrived in time to hear Alkaline Trio do a decent job on their radio song “Time to Waste”. Transplants were fun and energetic but in large doses, they’re too shouty for me. Of everyone on the bill, I was most interested to see Bloc Party since they’ve become one of my top new bands. They played their tunes very well and looked good doing it, but I anticipated a certain missing spark. I’m told that they are usually tighter. Mars Volta played two marathons for their 30-minute set. They’re great at what they do, but it’s just not my glass of scotch. The crowd was warned at the start, “If you don’t like us, leave” and that’s exactly what I did. MXPX were solid but unspectacular, as were Hot Hot Heat. HHH front man Steve Bays has Jagger moves and star potential if the band can come up with a great album next time. My Chemical Romance is on their way to becoming an outstanding metal band. Their live shows will benefit from another album’s worth of material. Jimmy Eat World played at the Christmas show and I called them an average bar band. They were more energetic this time but were still undistinguished. Interpol are great, but their brooding tones come across much more effectively at night when the lighting has full affect. Queens of the Stone Age improved from good to very good as their set progressed. The Killers did another stellar job and got the strongest crowd reaction up to that point. Audioslave got the best response and were followed by Foo Fighters, who worked hard to maintain the momentum. They are very good, but I continue to wish that their live shows had more variety… At Hollywood’s Henry Fonda Musicbox, Fischerspooner were again musically and visually on cue for their enthusiastic full house. However, they weren’t as unique and outrageous as they were on their last tour. I didn’t make it to Coachella, but the consensus was that the top performing up and coming band was Arcade Fire (Raves #22.1).
Now that Uncle Joe has returned to afternoon airwaves in the City of Angels, all is well in the world of Classic Rock. KLOS rocks harder than Arrow-FM did, which I feel provides an upgrade for Joe. He sounds great, as always. Meanwhile, Indie 103.1, “Rolling Stone‘s” “coolest commercial station in the country,” sounds better than ever and KCRW continues to be an important outlet for new music. You can check them out at www.indie1031.fm and www.kcrw.com. Indie plays many of the bands I write about and they are a major influence on this column. Many local music business people intensely dislike influential alternative stalwart KROQ because of their tighter playlist and hardball tactics, but the fact remains that KROQ station plays a far more diversified blend of new rock than most stations in other cities. All in all, this is a good time to be listening to rock radio in our town.
It turns out that Iron Maiden have added Los Angeles to their Ozzfest dates. Kraftwerk have not only released a fine double live album that is surprisingly warm, but I’m told their live show in L.A. was really special. I missed it due to business travel. Many millions viewed The Knack and The Motels‘ Martha Davis on the second installment of NBC‘s “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” The Knack chose and nailed Jet‘s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The ever eclectic, always cool Martha went with a unique Norah Jones arrangement that didn’t seem to work as well. As Martha informed the audience, she’s been involved in theatre lately. I’ve always felt that she had acting potential.
The Capitol Records people are enthused about their June release by The Redwalls, who rate a current “fave.” Singer Logan Baren and bass player Justin Baren are the sons of Marty Baren. Marty was not only a classmate of mine in the Chicago suburb of River Forest, but it was Marty who invited me over to record the songs I was writing as a 14-year-old. We learned so much, and I had my first experiences with the rejection letters that I’d eventually be sending out as an A&R man for Capitol. Yes, it’s a small world and yes, time passes. Oasis love this talented band and have invited them to open a number of their U.K. dates… I had another great time at WSUM’s April Party in the Park in Madison. Congrats to station DJ and Loud Rock Director Chris Gutmanis, who won this year’s Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award (BRMIE). I’ve known Chris for a couple of years and was delighted to see him win because he’s as passionate as they come. It was also a blast doing my fifth Return of Rave radio show while in Mad-town… So that’s it for this month. Let me hear from you, and please remember to put “Raves” in the subject line of any e-mail that you send. Have yourself a great summer, and…