Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Julian Casablancas at the Trocedero in Philly

What a way to start my concert experience for 2010. As readers will know, Phrazes For The Young was my top album from 2009. The songs are pretty stellar and in a live setting they just get better and better.

The opening band was Tanlines, a band I had never heard before, and they were actually quite good. They're a weird mix of electronic beats and guitar, although the guitar was barely audible for some reason. They have a new single that came Tuesday called "Real Life" which they performed and is pretty darn good.

The Trocedero is a small venue, one perfectly suited to the likes of Casablancas' brand of music, which can only be described as "Classical Rock." His backing band The Sick Six are simply top-flight musicians, and they would have to be in order to reproduce this music for an audience. Hearing the Bach-Esque guitar parts from 'Glass' in concert is a brain-melting experience.

Casablancas mixed in a cover with his originals in the form of 'Velvet Snow' by Kings of Leon off of their 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' album. It was a great performance of an already great song from one of my favorite albums.

He then debuted what may be a new Strokes song which sounds really good as well. I wasn't able to catch the name, but it was almost punk-like in it's speed but with a tunefulness not usually present in the genre. With news today that The Strokes are currently getting along great and recording their upcoming 4th album, this song should be able to fit right in.

He went on to play the original demo version of The Strokes' 'You Only Live Once' entitled 'I'll Try Anything Once' accompanied by only keyboard, and it was one the highlight of the evening for me personally. Casablancas simply has one of the best and most pure voices in rock music today, and this performance proved it.

He closed out the show with a soaring rendition of the amazingly titled '4 Chords of the Apocalypse' and I was effectively blown away. To be able to hear a live rendition of my favorite song from his album (and have it be the closer) was a fan's wish come true. He didn't perform an encore, but he didn't need to at all, he had done his job of putting on a fantastic show and the audience was incredibly pleased.

All in all, Julian Casablancas came across as a very humble and genuine person, the rare singer that isn't full of himself and is just an all around great guy. In the end, this was simply a kickass rock show at an awesome venue. If you ever have the chance to see this man live, do it. You won't regret it.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review: Yeasayer - Odd Blood

(To Be Released 2/9/2010)

So here's my first album review...and it's an early one.

So I ended up getting this album on a whim, I'd only heard of them from various websites and maybe a friend or two. I have yet to hear their debut, "All Hour Cymbols," so I don't know how this stacks up to that.

Anyways, this is a top-notch album by a very interesting little band. Strange electronic beats mix with real instruments and sometimes haunting vocals, Yeasayer seem like the kind of band you'd hear at some hipster party in a New York City loft.

That last comment might make it sound like I didn't enjoy it, but I did, with the exceptions of the unnecessary first and final tracks, which have really obnoxious effects on the singer's voice.

The mixture of both music and and vocals on "Madder Red" is as close to perfect as a song is going to get. I've listened to this album at least 6 times now, and that's the track I keep coming back to..."Madder Red" has definite "mix" potential (for me at least).

'Odd Blood' sounds as though 3 guys from the future decided to come back in time and entertain themselves by making music from the 1980's. (If you can make sense of that statement, Yeasayer is for you...if not, there's other fish in the sea.)

As a fan of 80's keyboards and such I'll definitely keep coming back to this album in the future.


Best Tracks:
Madder Red
Ambling Alp
I Remember