Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today's Post Report

We're off to Pittsburgh tomorrow, so this will be a quick hit.
Here are the latest live music previews to appear in regional sections of the Washington Post. Both include interviews. Enjoy, and go see some live music!

East Village Opera Company at Reston Center Stage

Luke Brindley & Eric Brace
at the IOTA Club

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Sunday with some nice Catholic boys

The hubby and I had a lovely Easter Sunday, worshipping at our altar of choice - music and art.

After dropping College Girl off at the bus so that she could return to her academic career, we had a great brunch at Jaleo, a tapas bar/restaurant, and then headed off to the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of Art, which had fine shows about Katherine Hepburn and the "Color Field" movement.

The highlight for me, however, was a visit to the Portrait Gallery's third floor bathroom, the hallway of which is the temporary home of Stephen Colbert's portrait. You could tell even as you approached it that fun was afoot; the people who stopped and stared were either overjoyed to have found their hero (as I was) or confused tourists who had no idea what was going on.

And props to the National Portrait Gallery for having a sense of humor!

After more art museum-ing, we headed to the National History Museum for the 5:45 showing of "U23D," which was pretty amazing. The technology is advanced so far that the glasses barely register, and you quickly move beyond the gimmick element to a total immersion. The band performs a (typically) blistering set, about 85 minutes of true favorites and a surprisingly successful one from the B-list, "Miss Sarajevo." (Still preachy, but less so than in the live show we saw last year.)

As a mild claustrophobe, I found some of the you-are-in-the-audience shots disconcerting (my personal hell is being stuck in a football stadium crowd, with no access to the photo pit!), but the shots where you are standing over Larry Mullen, Jr. watching him pound the skins, or when Bono reaches out, within inches it seems, to "wipe your tears away," are stunning.

If you've never seen U2 live, it may be the next best thing, and if you have seen a show, here comes a chance to relive it from the best seats in the house/on the stage.

All around, a very happy Bunny day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter, everybunny!

May your spring be warm and sunny and all your chocolates yummy.
Joy to all the peeps!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Enquiring minds want to know why there hasn't been any blogging in a while, and I have no good answers or excuses. Not that much busier than usual, though I had a deadline for a magazine aimed at retired federal government workers (and no, it had nothing to do with musics; it was about political activities by older people) and the girls are home for spring break, so family action is up, free time down.

I tried a few times to post new photos from last week's adventure - the Jonas Brothers concert - but Blogger was giving me some trouble.

So, just to give those unused blog muscles a little stretch, here's the latest Washington Post previews.

Taste of Chaos featuring Bullet for My Valentine (interview with Matt Tuck) at the Patriot Center
Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca at Rosslyn Spectrum
Maceo Parker at the State Theatre
Saw Doctors
(interview with Lee Moran) at the Birchmere

In Other News...
here's my Pazz & Jop ballot from the Village Voice critics' poll, including my Top Ten albums and singles for 2007.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Head Banging and Birthdays

It’s the day after my birthday (thank you) and I chose to spend part of the day in one of my favorite pursuits – checking out the wares at the CD trade-in store. I took in two small bags of unwanted CDs, for which I got a relative pittance (not quite $30) in store credit. There was, I’ll admit, a lot of lame stuff, but it worked out to less than a buck a disc, and there were some recent/decent releases (I’m not telling). And since I picked out a few choice things to bring home, including a couple of DVD's, I wound up giving them about the same amount of my own cash money.

And now, as the day winds down, after a yummy meal, a few more presents, and a TiVo reviewing of last night’s SNL (wasn’t Wilco great?!), I’m typing while I watch (sort of) the DVD portion of one of today’s purchases...

No, this isn’t really my thing, but I’m due to talk to lead singer Matt Tuck on Tuesday for a Post preview of the upcoming Taste of Chaos tour (Patriot Center, March 17th), and the new CD hasn’t arrived yet, so I figured I’d spend the $7 to see what they’re about. Turns out this leader singer is quite the cute guy and while I ain’t no cougar, I can see what the little girls understand. It’s metal with an underlying sense of hooks and melody. I may be on the wrong side of 40 (and I’m not telling that, either) but I don’t begrudge the kids their loud aggro fun. I still don’t know how to throw proper devil horns, however.
2. STAX 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION – Various Artists (Stax)
This is definitely more my speed and I’m all for celebrating, so this 2-CD set made for a great listen on the drive home. I went for Disc 2, opening with “Time is Tight” and grooved right through some Isaac Hayes classics (“Walk on By,” which is where Hooverphonic got the great sample for “2 Wicky;” “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Theme from Shaft”), plus Staple Singers, “Do the Funky Chicken” and more great soul.
I probably have many of these songs on other collections but it was only $12 (from the “slightly scratched” group; the CD Cellar is very good about not selling bum discs) and the lenticular cover – watch the finger snaps! – was too cool not to grab.
3. STEVE NIEVE and MURIEL TEODORI– Welcome to the Voice (Deutsche Grammophon)
Case in point as to why I love to browse record stores – pleasant discoveries like this, a CD I had no previous knowledge of. “A multi-faceted music-theatre piece” that tells how “a steelworker tries to seduce a young diva.” The liner notes helpfully suggest that the disc be filed under “Costello” or “Sting” in the pop section, since both sing on it (as well as Robert Wyatt) or (Barbara) “Bonney” in the classical racks, where Brodsky Quartet fans would also be happy to hear about it. The date here is 2007 – why didn’t I hear of this?
High School Girl, a friend of hers and I were driving this morning when the BLG single came on, which led to a discussion of how much they sound like All American Rejects. I said I’d look for the CD so we could hear more and decide whether the similarity holds across the whole CD – and whether the group's upcoming date with Avril Lavigne (April 15th at the Patriot Center) is worth checking out. It was still sealed, came with a bonus DVD and cost $6.
5. ACROSS THE POND - Various Artists (Starbucks Entertainment)
College Girl asked me awhile back if I had this CD, since she is an Anglophile who wanted to hear some new music from her would-be adopted home. At the time, I said I probably wouldn't buy it since I have tracks by KT Tunstall, Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Fratellis and Guggenheim Grotto already, but finding it here for $7 means I can honor her request - and hear the remaining tracks - at a discount.
6. SHOUT OUT LOUDS – Bonus CD (Merge)
The generic plastic sleeve reveals nothing, but I found this in the singles section and wanted to see the short film for “Our Ill Wills.” The two audio tracks – “Impossible” and “Tonight I Have to Leave It”- took me by surprise with their sweet poppy charms. I had this band lumped with more frenetic ones, like Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
7. GROOVE ARMADA: The Dirty House Session (Muzik magazine)
A steal from the $1 clearance section, an energizing 12-track mix from the magazine of urban dance sounds which is providing the soundtrack for my typing now that Bullet for My Valentine has ceased wailing. Includes, it says here, the “rare Groove Armada diskotek mix of Superstylin’” and “Harvey’s Sleepy Ibiza Mix” of Planet Funk’s “Inside All the People,” which sounds hip just reading it aloud! I don’t recognize any of the artists except GA, but hey, it’s one lousy buck!
8. DAVID YAZBEK – Evil Monkey Man (Ghostlight Records)
I always check the clearance racks for paper or cardboard envelopes, ‘cause that’s where the advance discs can often by found. This album actually came out last week, so I scored a new release for less than a cup of (drip) coffee at Starbucks. I was gonna ask the publicist here to send a copy, but I can save him the postage. Yazbek’s name may be recognizable to some as the composer of Broadway hits “The Full Monty” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” but he’s also known for his slightly skewed, more personal solo material. A former writer for David Letterman, he’s a strange duck, and I mean that in a good way.

YTD O/CD Total: 44
Looks low, but I have an old Tower Records plastic shopping basket filled with CDs I have yet to list!