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The National Showcases High Violet at the House of Blues PDF Print E-mail
Written by DJ Space   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 06:24

The National Showcase When The National rolls into town, the audience can be forgiven for expecting a slow show, but last night, at the House of Blues, Orlando, The National attempted to put the "rock" back into "indie rock."

At times, vocalist Matt Berninger gave the impression that he had once yearned to be a rock singer with The Stones or Troggs as he cupped his mike, twirled its stand, and wandered around a stage lit in an appropriate violet hue looking for stunts while living, breathing and occasionally screaming his lyrics with a throaty howl. Whether Berninger is a natural wild thing, or this was a performance, is of little importance. His eccentric onstage persona added life to each track previously heard in its sedate, digital, studio form.

His Ohio-raised, Brooklyn-based band, consisting of two pairs of brothers: Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), and other touring members, provided professional support and, at times, guidance to the wayward Berninger, with the Dessner brothers in particular playing in unison and wringing every last note from each guitar lick.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 October 2010 12:28
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Cub Samples Bloc Party Guitarist PDF Print E-mail
Written by DJ Space   
Friday, 01 October 2010 06:56

Cub Samples Bloc Party GuitaristBloc Party's Russell Lissack had to be taken to hospital last month after being bitten by a lion cub on the band's recent trip to South Africa.

The guitarist was visiting a wild animal sanctuary in Cape Town while on tour with Nineties' Britpop band Ash in September when the cub bit him, drawing blood. During a break from shows with the Parlotones in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Lissack visited the sanctuary with Ash frontman Tim Wheeler. He was playing with the cuddly lion cub when it attacked. The story first broke at Spinner.

Lissack was taken to hospital, where he received treatment and a tetanus booster. Although Lissack was fine after the attack, according to a band spokesperson, within hours of the musician's visit the hospital was sealed off after two men died of an unrelated, and unidentified, virus. To add to their day's troubles, the band had a car crash on their way back to the hotel.

Happily, no one sustained further injuries and everyone has recovered from the incident. Ash are currently back in the UK, preparing their second anthology of A-Z singles released during the past year. It's not clear whether Lissack will continue playing with the band. Bloc Party have been on a break since October 2009, and since then frontman Kele Okereke has decided to pursue his solo career. Lissack's electronic pop side project with Milena Mepris, Pin Me Down, released their debut in April.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 08:17
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Vampire Weekend at the Bowl: Where's the meat? PDF Print E-mail

Vampire Weekend at the Bowl: Where's the meat?LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - During their nearly 90-minute set Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl, New York-based indie Afro-popsters Vampire Weekend came off like the missing link between 1980s two-hit wonder Haircut 100 and legendary punks the Clash.

Like Haircut 100, Vampire Weekend are a cute bunch of preppy kids who churn out incessantly hummable, energetic tunes. Like Joe Strummer and company, the band plunders world-beat sounds that are likely unfamiliar to their core fan base, save for those who've heard their parents' Paul Simon records.

But one can't knock Vampire Weekend for their musical thievery because the quartet does it so well, and they're open about their influences. They've even paid back the debt by collaborating with and enlisting the Very Best -- fronted by Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya -- as an opening act.

On Sunday, Vampire Weekend took the stage following a brief set by electro-toasting duo the Very Best and Baltimore's Beach House, whose surreal psychedelic drone-pop made VW sound like Justin Bieber by comparison.

Not that Vampire Weekend is as lightweight as the Bieb, but it's hard not to watch the band and wish there was more weighty subject matter on top of their chicken-scratch guitar riffs and skittering Afro-beats. Boyish good-looking frontman Ezra Koenig slid easily from his smooth Paul Simon-like croon into a falsetto in songs like "White Sky," and the band played with bash-'n'-pop exuberance on "Cousins." But throughout the majority of the set, one had to wonder whether there was anything more to Vampire Weekend's songs than a soundtrack for dancing on a warm September night.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 06:33
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Muse a contender for world's biggest band PDF Print E-mail

Muse a contender for world's biggest bandLOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - With U2 on tour hiatus until 2011, no other group looks more poised to take over its biggest-band-in-the-world status than Muse, and the British trio proved its mettle with a mighty performance on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Muse has unofficially received that blessing anyway, opening some of U2's stadium dates last year. Right now, what other band can summon such epic prowess and passion? Coldplay? Perhaps, but that group enchants more than thunders. Muse's greatest songs -- from storm-the-heavens anthems to melodramatic ballads -- are last chances, gambles with fate, challenges to the gods.

Muse always sounded bigger than the theater-size places it first played in the U.S. while already filling much larger venues in Europe. America started to catch on a few years ago, and now the band is huge not just in sound but in appeal. This past week's swing through southern California included three arena dates -- two weekend shows at Staples and one at the Honda Center in Anaheim -- so the group could've just played a single stadium show and surely could've pulled that off as it did just weeks ago at Wembley in London.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 September 2010 06:56
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Heavy Date for Florence's Twilight Single PDF Print E-mail
Written by DJ Space   
Saturday, 25 September 2010 15:20

Heavy Date for Florence's Twilight SingleOn November 15th Florence + the Machine will release the single "Heavy In Your Arms."

The track is a highlight of both this year's festival season and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third installment of The Twilight Saga film series.

On the official website of Florence + the Machine, singer Florence Welch says, “'Heavy In Your Arms' I suppose is about the weight of love, and how sometimes it can be a burden between two people. I felt this was a strong theme in the Twilight series, is someone being rescued or are they being condemned? And is the love you carry bringing you down."

She continues, "I recorded it with Paul [Epworth] one evening, using a lot of strange reversed vocal samples and big hip hop piano. It's basically inspired by 90's hip hop, and gospel choirs, like most of my songs.”

Click here to watch the video.

"Heavy In Your Arms" will also feature on Between Two Lungs, a special two-disc edition of Florence + the Machine's award-winning Lungs debut.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 September 2010 17:01
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Newsflash Archive

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Just as the members of indie-pop band Ra Ra Riot were getting ready to hit the big time in 2007, tragedy struck, with the drowning death of the group's drummer, John Pike.

But the band rebounded, releasing "The Rhumb Line" on Barsuk Records in 2008 and touring extensively. Now the members face another challenge -- releasing a follow-up and sustaining their career.

The list of indie bands felled by the fabled sophomore slump is long and ever-growing. But Ra Ra Riot, whose album "The Orchard" is out August 24, again on Barsuk, seems well positioned to beat the odds.

"Instead of being just super hyped and buzzed about, the band has developed a dedicated fan base," manager Josh Roth says. "They love touring and they love playing live, and I think they are in a great position to just keep growing."

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