The music blog that doesn't want to hear itself

The Smashing Pumpkins at the Viper Room, 6/30/10

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smashing pumpkins viper roomI got home at 1 am Thursday morning knowing I had to wake up in five hours, and the tinnitus roaring in my ears could probably have woken up the neighbors then and there. But I was extremely, utterly, brazenly happy.

I had just seen the Smashing Pumpkins live at the Viper Room. One of the most scarce, long-shot bands that also happened to define half of my generation’s high school, college and post-college experience had played less than 20 feet from me in a venue the size of a large studio apartment. There are a handful of lifetime events I decided long ago were essential in order for me to die happy, and this one just got slammed out of the park.

After making the crowd wait about three hours (except the die-hards who had been posted up outside since 7 am), The Corgan and ensemble trickled up the left side of the crowd and onto the stage, where they started up a feedback frenzy that could best be described as very fucking loud. (This is where the aforementioned tinnitus kicked in.) Corgan wore a thin, dark, long-sleeved shirt reading NATURE, which recalled his trademark ZERO shirt and made everyone feel back home in 1996. His head glistened like a well-polished agate.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

July 1st, 2010 at 2:07 pm

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Type O Negative’s Pete Steele Dead at 48

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The one with the wicked chops.

The one with the wicked chops.

That was a shocker.

A musician I hadn’t thought about in 10 years or so, except while briefly remembering high school as I thumbed through my CD collection, died last night of heart failure at age 48.

Even though I lost track of Type O Negative shortly after World Coming Down, hearing about Steele’s death was a little like hearing about one of your favorite countries being bombed, or finding out the college pizza place you spent all your time in closed down. Hearing he was 48 was a little weird, too — I’d always thought that guy had to be immortal or something.

The 6 -foot-7 bass player and lead singer was originally named Petrus T. Ratajczyk, hailed from Brooklyn, was a control freak, and had a baritone voice that could be mistaken for a bus driving by. Rumors of his death circulated in 2005, but it was found to be a publicity stunt related to the band’s signing to a new label. He also apparently posed in Playgirl as another stunt. Fascinating.

Not having the time to write a proper post just now, I’ll refer you to the stories written by NY Daily News and Rolling Stone.

You can also read the mournful posts on the band’s Myspace page, or visit their forums, where I’m sure some asshole will stir up shit eventually.

RIP, Steele.

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Written by Peter Kimmich

April 15th, 2010 at 11:42 am

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R.I.P. Malcolm McLaren

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malcolm mclarenMalcolm McLaren, the producer and band manager known for being the brains behind the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls, died of cancer this morning in New York. He was 64.

McLaren gained notoriety after the Sex Pistols single “God Save the Queen” was banned in 1977 by the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority, yet still managed to reach number 2 in the UK charts. He is also known for projects such as his solo albums Duck Rock and Waltz Darling, as well as his Zombies/Esther Bigeou collage “About Her,” from the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill 2.

More about his intriguing life story can be found in the links below:

The Independent

Rolling Stone

Arts Beat

The Village Voice

Written by Peter Kimmich

April 8th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Crappy Band Names Trump Indie Appeal

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indie band namesPreface: Since I haven’t had time to write anything in quite a while (try maintaining your music blog as an LA career-type whose spare time can be measured in half-seconds), here’s a re-post of an article I penned for Cinema Blend, back when — well, back when I wrote for them. Enjoy.

We know about physical, people-type overpopulation. That’s when there are too many new neighbors moving in all at once – then their cars use up all the convenient street parking, grassy fields turn into slum hives, and suddenly one-bedroom apartments with no washer or dryer rent for 1,700 a month.

Well, as you might have guessed, the same thing can happen in music. It’s what happens when too many indie rock bands form all at the same time, and with all the same ideas. What logically follows is a phenomenon pretty nicely stated as rock-overpopulation, or to be more succinct, “overrockulation.” When overrockulation occurs, bands start elbowing each other off the good rock real estate by using up all of the good riffs, taking all the cool styles, and – in the most prominent and embarrassing manifestation – taking all the good band names. What’s left behind are the cardboard-shack and overpass-tent band names, the 12-syllable fixer-uppers that are so far out there it’s impossible to imagine moving into one by choice. It’s a shameful degradation.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

April 6th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

New OK Go Video “This Too Shall Pass” is a Win

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This new video, just released by Chicago natives and current LA transplants OK Go, will put a cinch in the underpants of anyone who likes high-school science experiments, paintball, the game Mousetrap, or this video of a Cadbury Creme Egg getting smashed.

“This Too Shall Pass” is currently making the rounds, astonishing even the most stoic indie kids. Watch and be awed.

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P.S.: You might also like this version, filmed live with the Notre Dame Marching Band. Collegiate.

Written by Peter Kimmich

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:47 pm

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Red Arrow Messenger Launches Variety Show Residency at the Bootleg

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Red Arrow MessengerFans of Hollywood indie outfit Red Arrow Messenger have something else to look forward to besides the band’s melodic folk-pop, tight three-part harmonies and awe-inspiring stage presence. Every Monday in February the band is hosting a free variety show-style concert featuring favorite local bands, comedians, magic, food, and even a much-anticipated laser light show.

The February 1 show featured a magician escaping from a straight jacket (and mystically conjuring a pair of chickens), a stand-up comedy act, a self-photography setup, and the musical stylings of Last American Buffalo along with the dark, velvety croon of All Wrong and the Plans Change. With this Monday’s bill featuring tribal-tronic two-piece Rumspringa and oldies-inspired Jenny O, it’s pretty much guaranteed to meet or exceed the mark, whatever else the band has up its sleeve. (I hear it’s barbecue.)

The audio-visual (and nutritional) smorgasbord takes place at the Bootleg Theater in Echo Park, starting at 8 pm. Everyone gets in the door free, and beer and wine is relatively cheap.

Update: The Feb. 8 show was even more awesome than the last one. It featured two hilarious stand-up comedians (taking on religion and alternative porn), the timeline-spanning music of Jenny O, the two-piece jungle-jamming of Rumspringa, and (finally) the much-hyped laser light show — which consisted of fog, darkness, mirrored surfaces and a bunch of tiny laser pointers distributed to the crowd. Speaking of low-budget ingenuity.

The band was giving away their EP, fans were slurping up Jell-o shots in the back, and I got some video that will find its way online soon.

Next Monday: The February 15 show will feature He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister and Maxim Ludwig, plus whatever else the band has planned. (This time, barbecue for sure.)

Bootleg Theater:
2220 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 389-3856

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Radiohead to Play Haiti Benefit

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radioheadIf it’s possible for band to be sainted, Radiohead is trying hard.

The band (Namely Phil) announced they’re playing a Haiti benefit show Sunday, January 24, at 7 pm at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets are being auctioned on Ticketmaster in order to raise as much money as possible — which means you’ll be spending a lot. However, all proceeds are going to the Oxfam Haiti relief fund, and since the band is currently in the midst of recording their next album, it also means you could be treated to some new, un-rehearsed material. Radiohead on the raw is a rare thing indeed.

The ticket auction started today (January 21) at 8 pm PST, and will run until Saturday January 23 at 11 pm. Visit Radiohead’s site for details.

Written by Peter Kimmich

January 21st, 2010 at 11:27 pm

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Seven 2010 Albums That Have the Panties in a Bunch

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Whatever happens in 2010 — whether it be a massive earthquake that sinks California, a tidal wave that washes out everything on the eastern seaboard, or a horrendous new trend whereby everyone tries to become a vampire (oh crap, that’s already happening) — at least there will be these seven albums. In order of anticipation (I suspect), here are the seven most conniption-inducing albums expected in 2010.

mgmtMGMT
Title? Congratulations
When, son? Spring
What gives: After selling over a million copies of their electro-psychedelic debut Oracular Spectacular, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden’s next release is the result of the band’s coping with the craziness of their new success. Their well-intended (read: crazy) idea is to release an album with no radio-friendly singles, in hopes of people actually listening to the whole thing rather than just downloading two tracks to play in their Scions. Though this will likely result in their label asking them to go back into the studio (d’oh), we hope them the best. It also purportedly involves more guitars, which is always a good thing.

Courtney-LoveHole
Title? Nobody’s Daughter
When, son? Undecided.
What gives: With the origins of Courtney Love’s albums as buried in speculation as she herself is in media scat, this one is starting to look no different. There is talk of using material recorded during her stint working with Billy Corgan (responsible for songwriting contributions to Celebrity Skin), as well as songwriting from 4 Non Blondes front woman Linda Perry. Still, with what she’s capable of when not wasted, it may have potential. The album’s release will be accompanied by a tour, during which the live performances will sound nothing like the recordings.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

January 18th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Soundgarden Reunion Planned for 2010

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Soundgarden reunionTo the delight of grunge fans who enjoy off-kilter time signatures, songs about snakes and the pleasant aroma of grilled Barbie dolls, Soundgarden is planning a reunion for the new year, after more than 12 years on the shelf.

Announcing the news through his Twitter account, frontman Chris Cornell directed eager clickers toward a band site where followers can sign up to receive updates. No other info is being offered, though news outlets like Rolling Stone and Billboard are filling paragraphs with delicious background info on the band’s illustrious career.

Though Ticketmaster has yet to add Soundgarden to their alert roster, that’s one place I’d go once they get themselves updated.

More info as it comes.

Written by Peter Kimmich

January 4th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

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Guitar Player is Hooking You Up for the Holidays

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guitar player 8x8 giveawayForgot to ask Santa for sweet music gear this year? No worries. Guitar Player will deliver.

Eight incredibly lucky subscribers to the gear lover’s magazine can win one of eight very generous gift packages through the GP2 8×8 Giveaway — including eight giant amps, eight gleaming axes, and seven pedals (the acoustic package doesn’t need one) to drown your post X-mas blues.

All subscribers have to do is open the latest edition of the electronic rag, wait for the registration form to pop up, and sign up. Not subscribed? Well, doing that works too … and it’s free, by the way.

So let’s see, some nice reading material and the chance to score some shiny new hardware. I’m already signed up. Check out this info page for instructions to enter yourself, plus some interesting prizes for Twitterheads who follow Guitar Player on Twitter and re-tweet their promos. Contest ends at midnight on January 31. Happy reading…

Written by Peter Kimmich

December 23rd, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Old, stale news