RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Art Brut (various), Nine Black Alps (various), Snow Patrol, Elbow, Goldfrapp (various), Pearl Jam, Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys (various), Of Montreal, Eagles of Death Metal, Paul Oakenfold, The Sounds, Charletons UK, The Vines.
U.K. artists continue to garner most of my attention, with only three U.S. acts making the cut. I was beginning to wonder whether the day of Art Brut's domestic release would come. It's finally dropping in late May and immediately becomes my favorite so far of '06. They're an acquired taste for sure, but the band's fans love 'em to death and their legions are growing.Nine Black's second single will be "Unsatisfied," which is stronger than their "Cosmopolitan."Snow Patrol's newest track is harder than what we're used to from them.Elbow have a beautiful album with more edge and structure than in their previous efforts.Goldfrapp is five or six songs deep. She just had a #1 dance hit and I love her new single, which is "Fly Me Away." Buzz on Jack White's new Raconteurs full length is very strong. They'll be known as The Saboteurs in Australia. Take away the Arctics' U.K. explosion and they're actually doing just fine in the U.S., thank you. "Dancefloor" is now Top 10 on the alternative airplay charts. Of Montreal are actually from Athens, GA and have a melodic, indie feel that is consistently refreshing.Josh Homme's (Queens Of The Stone Age) Eagles of Death Metal side project is good time rock and roll that sounds surprisingly up to date. The latest Oakenfold disc will be more rock-oriented. He was amazing at Coachella (see below).The Sounds and Charletons have nice tunes with guitar and piano hooks respectively.The Vines are getting little traction despite a decent comeback. Honorable mention goes to Editors, Gnarls Barkley, and The Streets.Wolfmother almost stole the show at Coachella and continue on track for nearly guaranteed U.S. success. Their album has three or four strong tracks and that will be more than enough for hard rock hungry fans.
Wolfmother drew a huge crowd and reaction on a hot Saturday afternoon when most others could hardly create a stir. It was my first chance to see Depeche, whose tightly-scripted show was nearly flawless with amazing videos. I've been luke warm on Yeah Yeah Yeah's but I now see why everyone raves about Karen O. They played Sunday night on the main stage and seemed like they've been headlining for years.Oakenfold's intense set absolutely blew everyone away.Tool met high expectations.Franz Ferdinand showed that they can headline anywhere at anytime, while Bloc Party did an admirable job of warming up an ambivalent crowd. It was my third time catching both of them. Of other bands I've seen and reviewed before, Nine Black Alps, Go! Team, Art Brut, Editors and Scissor Sisters all matched prior positives. The Sisters previewed some promising new stuff, including the probable hit, "Everybody Wants the Same Thing." My favorite first time experience was Eagles of Death Metal. They sounded like a million older bands, but the entire set worked and was fun.Wolf Parade were a pleasant surprise, and I also liked Imogen Heap, The Rakes, The Zutons and Gnarls Barkley.Daft Punk were good, played their hits and pleased their fans, but I was hoping for a more up-tempo set. With five stages at the festival, there were bands I unfortunately missed. I'll leave off anyone I didn't like, or artists who don't fit the Rave's Raves genres. I will add that I'm just not able to climb onto the Sigur Ros bandwagon.
"REGULAR" LIVE DATES
The Subways were great fun at West Hollywood's Troubadour. This trio played with such enthusiasm and have such great attitudes that occasional rough spots could be overlooked. I love their music and their albums is one of my favorites right now. Elbow are a finely tuned machine that plays beautifully and had a very warm rapport with their fans in Hollywood's Avalon.Thomas Dolby continues to play solo and performed complete sets at L.A.'s Key Club and Canyon Club. Thomas will hopefully be recording new material, and the shows themselves were great. Death Cab for Cutie sold out Madison's Orpheum Theatre in one day and I just had the opportunity to see this band while in that town. 98% of that crowd love this band and loved the show so don't mind me, but this highly respected group is a bit too melancholy and uneventful for my live tastes. They are great at what they do, and I highly recommend them for those who are already fans of the band.
THE NO PORNOGRAPHERS
Have you ever come across a band that you're apparently just not meant to see? I wrote last fall that I was about to see the New Pornographers in Madison, but their bass player had appendicitis the night before. I was just back in Madison and missed them by one night. Perhaps the most ironic reason to miss them occurred in March at SXSW. I was at Stubb's waiting for them to go on. I asked a security guard near the stage for the closest men's room and he pointed me to what seemed like the right place. Just before the band went on, I hit the same restroom one more time. On the way out, the same security dude told me I was in a restricted area and would have to leave the club immediately. You read this right. I went to the same bathroom that this guy directed me to, and subsequently got thrown out of the place. Obviously he was in the wrong, but there's hardly any way that I was going to win that argument. As I wrote last month, people unanimously raved about this show. I'm going to see that band live if it's the last thing I do!
Reaction to my Go Deep" webcast has been super. If you haven't checked it out, give it a listen and let me know what you think... Congrats to Joe Rooftop, this year's winner of the Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award given by WSUM in Madison. Joe, who's graduating from the University of Wisconsin, has been a valuable member of the station's music department and has had an awesome punk, post-punk and forgotten new wave show. He's talking about forming a band and we wish him luck. I normally do something on the air when I'm back in Madison. This time, I made my sports radio debut on The Student Section program. These guys are an informative, funny and spontaneous foursome. My thanks goes out to Sports Directors Brian Sonnenberg and Tanner Rouse.That's it for now. Have a great spring and I look forward to hearing from you. Please remember to place "Raves" in the subject line. Until the end of June when I post yet again...