Tag Archives: CD

Leatherface – The Stormy Petrel – CD Review

Unknown to some but adored by many, Leatherface is back with their ninth release this time around on No Idea Records.  The UK punk rock band holds the title for being not only an influence on many current bands of today, but also in shaping DIY punk rock.  Formed in the late 80’s, Leatherface continues to rock on The Stormy Petrel.   This is the bands first release in over six years.

Having been a fan of Leatherface for years now I really was curious to see if they band still could contain their sound still and I will say that they have not lost their punk / folky  / post-hardcore edge.

The best way for me to describe The Stormy Petrel is to imagine what Gaslight Anthem might sound like if a tired Lemmy from Motorhead fronted the band.  Of course I am not saying it sounded exactly like that, but with gruff vocals on top of catchy melodic guitars I could not help but find the similarity.  The combination of the soft spoken singing of Frankie Stubbs, the last of two original members (Dickie Hammond being the other) I might add, and appealing rock jams just kept inviting me to listen to the album over and over.

I also liked the symbolism encased in the album’s title as it is in reference to a bird called a storm-petrel who sadly is threatened by human activity.  If you want more information about what storm-petrels are all about you should click HERE.  Don’t ask me how I knew this, let’s just say I love the Discovery Channel.

Looking deeper into the meaning I also discovered The Stormy Petrel refers to Joseph Hodgson, a man named a hero over a dozen times yet to this day has no tribute for all he accomplished.  Check out HERE and HERE for more interesting information about this man who was passed up in the history books.

“God Is Dead” started off the CD and I found myself immediately digging what I heard.  The lyrics were a little bizarre speaking of burying someone of a higher power in a shed but it was enjoyable to listen to as was the refrain that begged to be sung along with.  “My World’s End” just maintained my interested with a little more punk rock edge to it.  The music was not too overbearing and just fit perfect with Stubbs’ vocal strain.

The song “Broken” really proved upon my earlier music comparison as the music mirrored something Gaslight might play.  Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the album, I could not help singing along with the uncanny track.  The following track picked things up a bit with “Another Dance” proving this album was emotionally all over the place.  Other tracks worth mentioning were “Diego Garcia”, “Monkfish” and album closer “Hope”.

With more of a melancholy feel throughout, the album was still a good listen from start to finish.  At times the lyrics seemed to repeat too much on tracks but it was not enough to turn me away.  It’s nice to see that this band is still putting out worthy material to listen to and what’s even better is that the band is currently touring in support of the release.  To hear that a 22 year old band is still hitting the clubs and playing out just proves that you are never too old to do what you love.

Look for Leatherface to play May 9th at Now That’s Class in Lakewood with very special guests Ninja Gun, Dead To Me, and Cleveland’s F*cking Cops plus others.  Doors are at 9pm and I am sure there will be a healthy crowd there that night so make sure you get there before it sells out!

UPDATE: Sadly Leatherface had to cancel their Cleveland stop due to an uncontrollable situation including border control. Should I find any more information out I will be sure to post.

The Weakerthans – Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre – DVD/CD Review

Many fans of indie rock know who The Weakerthans are and what exactly they do.  For years now the Canadian four (and sometimes up to six) some have been creating amazing albums that are heavy on the indie but also incorporate folk and twang into their material.  They are a band that I label as an “accident band”.  What I mean by that is I became a fan of them by accident.

Back in the days of slinging coffees at the café at the Borders Books & Music I worked at I came across a Weakerthans’ album at a listening station one day while on break.  This was at a time and age when the internet was still ruled by AOL and MySpace was just an idea waiting to be hatched out.  I remember clearly putting the headphones on at the listening station and checking out a couple tracks from Left and Leaving.  Liking what I heard, I recall reading a bio about the band while listening to more tracks and taking a double look at the card when it mentioned one time Propagandhi member John Samson.  Seriously, my mouth dropped open.

I was maybe 23 at the time and was slowly opening my musical tastes more.  Being a punk rocker at heart I was in awe that the bassist of one of my favorite punk rock bands was fronting such a melodic and low-key band.  I heard enough, grabbed the CD, and took it to the register for purchase.  Needless to say my musical appreciation was given a boost thanks to the Weakerthans and to this day I am still an avid fan though I have yet to see them live.

Having missed them the couple times they did roll though Cleveland one could say I was excited to see that they had released  a live DVD/CD titled Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre on Epitaph Records/ANTI- Records.  Performed in their hometown of Winnipeg, Canada in April of 2009, the band recorded the performance at the Burton Cumming’s Theatre (yes, the sweet mustached Burton Cummings of The Guess Who).   Just to clarify I believe the theatre was named after the classic rock musician and that he has nothing to do with it.

The DVD/CD captures the perfect evening of a show with the talented indie rockers as well as their dedicated fans who filled the venue up the night it was recorded.  With no fancy light shows or theatrics the band hit the stage and played a very fun and great sounding show.   Their sound, I should add, almost sounds studio and one could be fooled until the fans started hooting and hollering after every song.

Playing songs old and new the band just sounded amazing and looked ever so comfortable on the stage.  Hearing them open with “Everything Must Go” really reminded me why I have been a fan for so long but seeing how happy they were performing the song brought a whole new appreciation from me for them.  With the crowd cheering and the band just having fun it was apparent that this show was going to be a good one.  Speeding things up they broke into “Tournament Of Hearts” immediately after.  With five members on stage it appeared as if Samson’s wife Christine Fellows was hiding in the shadows offering vocals as well.

The band’s (and the crowd’s) friend Julie played on some songs as well including “Night Windows” where she offered some violin. Keeping the show rolling the band broke into “Reconstruction Site” a twangy delight of a song to listen to as well.  The band completely rocked out during “Aside” all while Samson smiled big while singing.  “Bigfoot” was another track I really got a kick out of with all the instrument playing.

Hearing perhaps my favorite Weakerthans song of all time, “Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”, put the biggest smile on my face even if I was watching a recording of the show.  The song revolving around a wise feline carried on perfectly, even the trumpet playing at the close of the song.  Samson also offered a simple impromptu guitar solo that was cut short on the CD but the DVD shows the humorous moment.

During “Wellington’s Wednesdays” Samson pulled up a fan on stage named Ernesto who had the pleasure of filling in a guitar solo in the key of E.  I must say after a nervous start Ernesto started jamming hard with the rest of the band as Samson took the honorary member’s place in the crowd for a short moment.  The band then followed up “The Reasons” as well as “Sun In An Empty Room”.  I swear if it were not for the fans cheering at times my mind tried to argue with me that I was not listening to a live album.

Overall the show was a fun time full of a great set by an outstanding band.  The DVD featured shots of the band throughout the 75 plus minute performance with good angles as well as occasionally would focus in on a true fan singing along.  Capturing The Weakerthans in their hometown was one hell of an idea and even if I have not seen them live in the flesh, I am glad I had the opportunity to have this performance in my possession.

The DVD/CD ranks high with my all time favorite live albums and I have listened to it multiple times now and I am not just saying that.  Great music by a bunch guys made even more entertaining by the simple fact that they were having a blast while doing their job.  If you are a fan of indie rock or just want to spend the evening with some great music do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre.

Track Listing (DVD/CD):
01. Everything Must Go
02. Tournament of Hearts
03. Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris in 1969)
04. Night Windows
05. Reconstruction Site
06. Aside
07. Civil Twilight
08. Bigfoot
09. Plea From A Cat Named Virtute
10. The Reasons
11. Sun In An Empty Room
12. Left and Leaving
13. Wellington’s Wednesdays
14. Benediction
15. Manifest
16. One Great City!
17. This Is A Fire Door Never Leave Open
18. Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure

Tony Sly – 12 Song Program – CD Review

After 20 years of fronting well known punk rock act No Use For A Name (NUFAN), Tony Sly continues his passion for music with a different approach by releasing his first full-length solo album.  Last month 12 Song Program dropped thanks to Fat Wreck Chords who have been associated with Sly for most of his career.

Having teamed up with Joey Cape on the 2004 split release Acoustic this is not a new territory for the seasoned punk rocker but is something that he has wanted to do for a couple of years now.  Writing songs in the past that did not fit the NUFAN slot, Sly took recent down time from his band and started recording original material that ranges from folk to pop all with help from his trusty acoustic guitar.

Not going at it all alone on the album Sly received some help from other Fat Wreck musicians/friends including Fat Wreck owner himself Fat Mike as well as Dance Hall Crashers’ Karina Denike who lent her vocals to many of the tracks.  The more mature approach was stripped down and not over produced full of many songs that would be perfect for an unplugged show at a local bar.  With sing along qualities and in depth lyricism this album has a repeat playability written all over it.

Opening track “Capo, 4th Fret” brought back memories of my obsession I had when I first heard the split album with Sly on his acoustic guitar.  The track emulates that of a NUFAN song but of course slowed down and more personable with Sly almost giving reason why he is doing what he does.  “I would live for the sake of others so they could do the same” finished the very lonesome track.

The more upbeat “Via Munich” carried along happy tune about feel good  relationship while away.  Quick and to the point, the track featured Swingin’ Utters‘ Darius Koski on violin.  “The Shortest Pier” jumped back to a miserable feeling of hopelessness.  “AM”, featuring Fat Mike, was one of the songs that stuck in my mind after hearing it.  The song strayed away from sounding like the other tracks on the album with Sly singing at perhaps his most sincere.

“Expired” was an acoustic plucking jam that easily could aid in a drinking problem.  Denike’s beautiful voice matched up with Sly’s towards the end followed by a sample taking from Taking Arizona all surrounded with piano.  This was one of those tracks that deserved another listen immediately.

“Keira” was a likable whisper of a lullaby written by Sly for his daughter.  “Toaster In The Bathtub” was full of witty comparisons to assist in cheering up a certain someone.  This is one of those songs that is best sung with friends loudly whether Sly himself plays it or if it pops up on the jukebox.

“Love, Sick Love” was another choice track of mine on the album even if it was about going different ways.  I could not tell if it was a flute or an organ but whatever instrument was used in the background just kept a certain chill throughout the song with Sly and Denike’s singing.  The lyric in the song “putting out a fire with a flamethrower is strange” might be one analogy I should reference to more often.

Joey Cape helps Sly with vocals on “Amends” and as good as it sounded I was so disappointed with how quick the track was.  At just over 2 minutes I was kind of hoping for a more extended cut of this track as I love hearing the two sing together.  Honestly thinking about it, that would be my only complaint with the entire album; it was too short.

Closing song “Fireball” showcased Sly singing his loudest and perhaps most heartfelt over the other tracks.  The sad song reflected hardship on someone who clearing was without home and had a void in their heart.  The singing matched with the heavy strummed acoustic guitar playing made for one powerful song.  If only there were more tracks on the album to keep that momentum going.

If you were a fan of the Sly/Cape split Acoustic, you will be a fan of 12 Song Program but if you are looking for an extension of NUFAN chances are you will not appreciate this album one bit. It is a punk rocker making music but to a different caliber.

Sometimes punk rockers who grow up trade in their beat up electric guitars and mellow out for a good reason.  It’s not because they are giving up, it’s because they refuse to quit on all the talent they are capable of even if it means slowing down a bit.  Case and point with Tony Sly who dropped a really great release start to finish.  One needs to remind themselves that this is a personal Sly project full of his likable melodies and will rub off a little more unique than when he is with his band that finds a name not that important.

Download This! Tony Sly ‘Via Munich”
Download This!Tony Sly “The Shortest Pier”

Look for Tony Sly to be touring throughout the spring with other Fat Wreck Chords alumni including Teenage Bottlerocket and NOFX.

03/20/10 Austin, TX – SXSW Music Festival w/ Riverboat Gamblers, Teenage Bottlerocket, Cokie The Clown, Dead To Me, Smoke Or Fire, Banner Pilot, Cobra Skulls
04/21/10 Eugene, OR – McDonald Theater w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
04/22/10 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
04/23/10 Billings, MT – Shrine Auditorium w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
04/25/10 Saskatoon, SK Canada – Odeon Events Center w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket ****SOLD OUT****
04/26/10 Winnipeg, MB Canada – Burton Cummings Theater w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket ****SOLD OUT****
04/27/10 Fargo, ND – The Venue w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
04/29/10 Milwaukee, WI – The Riverside Theater w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
04/30/10 Covington, KY – Madison Theater w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/01/10 Sauget , IL – Pop’s w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/02/10 Kansas City, MO – The Beaumont w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/04/10 Fort Collins, CO – The Aggie w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/05/10 Albuquerque, NM – The Sunshine Theater w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/06/10 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre w/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket
05/07/10 Las Vegas, NV – Sunset Station Amphitheatre – PUNK ROCK BOWLING w/ NOFX Teenage Bottlerocket, Fucked Up, Youth Brigade, Guilty By Association
05/19/10 Perth, Australia – Amplifier w/ Joey Cape
05/20/10 Adelaide, Australia – Fowlers Live w/ Joey Cape
05/21/10 Hobart, Australia – The Brisbane Hotel w/ Joey Cape
05/22/10 Melbourne, Australia – Corner Hotel w/ Joey Cape
05/23/10 Wollongong, Australia – Uni Bar w/ Joey Cape
05/26/10 Sydney, Australia – Annandale Hotel w/ Joey Cape
05/27/10 New Castle, Australia – Cambridge Hotel w/ Joey Cape
05/28/10 Caloundra, Australia – Kings Beach Tavern w/ Joey Cape
05/29/10 Brisbane, Australia – The Zoo w/ Joey Cape
06/02/10 Wellington, New Zealand – Bar Bodega w/ Joey Cape
06/03/10 Auckland, New Zealand – Thirsty Dog w/ Joey Cape

Tim Barry – 28th & Stonewall – CD Review

Tim Barry, most commonly known for being the lead of punk rock outfit Avail, has done it again his way with his most recent release 28th & Stonewall. Once again he has created an honest solid album heavy on the folk with no bells or whistles that any hardworking music loving American can appreciate. The release is a personable attempt and can relate to any hard working person out there who knows all too well what the American dream really is all about.  This is his fourth release on Suburban Home Records.

Still putting time in a 9 to 5 job when not touring, Tim Barry is just like everyone else.  The guy is a true American at heart and is not thrilled about emails and technology.  He is happiest at home with a beer and might just be one of the friendliest guys out there.  Just don’t piss him off as he still has some of that punk rock angst left in him.  Recently some drunk idiot found that out while heckling Barry on stage at a show during a more personal song.  The result was a fight that should never have happened but proved a point – don’t mess with passion.

Granted he used to front a punk rock band, these days the friendly fellow finds himself more of a folk artist.  When time allows he gets together with friends and family in his hometown of Richmond, VA and records songs just for the pure joy of it.  Recording most of the songs in a three week period while home on break from seemingly increasing tours the material turned into 28th & Stonewall and really may be his best work yet.

The boot stomping “Thing Of The Past” started off the album with a very direct sincere track about everyday life of not only the singer but many other folk in this world talking about lack of money and living life. With lyrics like “I want nothing and that’s still all I have” as well as “it’s not what you make or do, it’s how you’re living” how could someone not appreciate his lyricism?

“Prosser’s Gabriel” stuck out over all other tracks on the album as Tim Barry told the story of an attempted slavery uprising Virginia by a former slave who was never added to the history books. I was glued to the story throughout the song featuring Tim Barry and his guitar. The song was not something I would have expected Barry to write but it was done so well. Not only did the song stick in my head days later but also intrigued me to learn more about this unknown hero.

One of the most enjoyable songs on the album was “Will Travel” featuring the No BS Band who supplied some heavy New Orleans style horn playing. “Moving On Blue” was a gloomier track pertaining to a relationship laid to rest featuring Daniel Clark (who has helped out Ryan Adams on more than one occasion) on piano.

“Downtown VCU” tells the story of a girl who was “one part country one part urban thug” (love it!) that passed on a newly enrolled college student. The song is a story of humor that really reminded me of Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue”. It had a point to it but was also surrounded by all sorts of witty calamity resulting in a fun track.

“Bus Driver” really put an end to the CD in the right way. Tim Barry sang on how he is tired of touring and singing and just wanted to go home. Thanking his booking agent and bashing his tour manager he asks that people let everyone know that he “long gone” and for everyone to “go on” without him. He even requested fans to tip his merch girl because she was not making enough. Not to be taken literally the song is more of a thank you to all the people that surrounded him as he toured.

While listening to the CD on the way to work a couple weeks back my mood changed and I really just wanted to turn around, grab a 12 pack, and just drink myself into a comfortable state while continuing to listen to the CD.  No, I am not a closet drunk or anything but this CD just had that effect. Full of storytelling songs I could just hang out on a porch with friends and listen to on repeat all day long.

Tim Barry really outdid himself on this album and proved the point of being a working man by stating that he “could stay home and make a lot more money working at the Richmond Ballet” but confesses that he “wouldn’t feel fulfilled”.  Thanks for continuing to do what you fo Tim, it is well appreciated.  Look for Tim Barry to tour in a town near you this Spring.  (Tour dates listed below)

Tim Barry 2010 Tour:
3/2/2010 Virginia Beach, VA @ Jewish Mother
3/3/2010 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 w/ Ninja Gun
3/4/2010 Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern w/ Ninja Gun
3/5/2010 Atlanta, GA @ Purgatory at the Masquerade w/ Ninja Gun
3/6/2010 New Orleans, LA @ Zeitgeist w/ Ninja Gun
3/7/2010 Houston, TX @ Walter’s on Washington w/ Ninja Gun
3/8/2010 Austin, TX @ Emo’s w/ Ninja Gun
3/9/2010 Dallas, TX @ the Prophet Bar
3/11/2010 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
3/12/2010 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar w/ Possessed By Paul James
3/13/2010 Long Beach, CA @ Alex’s Bar w/ Possessed By Paul James
3/14/2010 Los Angeles, CA @Jaunita’s w/ Brian Hanover
3/15/2010 Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones
3/16/2010 Santa Cruz, CA @ Blue Lagoon
3/17/2010 Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
3/19/2010 Oakland, CA @ The Stork Club
3/20/2010 San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
3/22/2010 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre Lounge w/ Michael Dean Damron
3/23/2010 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon w/ Lizzie Huffman
3/25,2010 Salt Lake City,UT @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge
3/26/2010 Denver, CO @ Three Kings Lounge
3/27/2010 Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
3/29/2010 Louisville, KY @ Skull Alley w/ Red Clay River
3/30/2010 Indianapolis, IN @ the Vollrath Tavern w/ Red Clay River
3/31/2010 Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club w/ Red Clay River
4/1/2010 Detroit, MI @ Smalls w/ Red Clay River
4/2/2010 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern w/ Red Clay River
4/3/2010 Harrisonburg, VA @Court Square Theatre (MacRock) w/ Red Clay River
4/5/2010 Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage w/ Red Clay River
4/6/2010 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ The Menzingers, Red Clay River
4/7/2010 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs w/ Red Clay River
4/8/2010 Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory w/ Red Clay River, Jonny Corndawg
4/9/2010 Asbury, NJ @ Asbury Lanes w/ Red Clay River
4/10/2010 Richmond, VA @ The Camel w/ Red Clay River
4/22/2010 The Zoo, Brisbane w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
4/23/2010 Sydney, Australia @ Annandale Hotel w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
4/25/2010 Newcastle, Australia @ Cambridge Hotel w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
4/28/2010 Perth, Australia @ Rosemount w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
4/29/2010 Adelaide, Australia @ Enigma w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
4/30/2010 Melbourne, Australia @ Corner w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols
5/1/2010 Hobart, Australia @ Brisbane Hotel w/ Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, and Ben Nichols

Alkaline Trio To Drop This Addiction On Feb.23rd

Hey Alkaline Trio (AK3) fans!  In just one week This Addiction will drop on store shelves for you all to love and cherish.  This will be the bands first release on their very own independent label properly called Heart & Skull with a little help from Epitaph Records.

This will be the band’s seventh studio release and will be available in a regular format as well as a limited deluxe CD/DVD edition and even will drop on LP.  AK3 is currently on tour in support of the release and will be hitting House Of Blues Cleveland on March 4th with very special guests Cursive.

Look for a review by yours truly in the next couple days or so.  I can tell you it is pretty awesome.  Until then check out the band’s title track music video that just was released on the internet (and is very Braveheart inspired):