“Within/Without” – Lake – “Giving & Receiving” (2011)

Jul 30
Posted by admin Filed in Indie

As I was listening to CAKE close out my virgin Red Rocks experience last night, I was trying to think of how to bucket them genre-wise. They’ve been doing their thing for a couple of decades now but what exactly is it that they do? Alternative doesn’t cut it at all; that term doesn’t cut it for any band unless you shorten it and add a genre (alt-country). So what is that sound that CAKE produces? Shoejazz? Urban Outlaw? Country Cabaret? It’s interesting stuff, and although I don’t mean this disparagingly since I’m a fan, I’m a bit surprised that the band has managed to sustain their brand and still headline such large venues as Red Rocks.

I’ll chill on gushing about The Lumineers for a couple of days – and try to re-center my musical nervous system to the fact that there are other bands out there – but they did not disappoint.

Here’s a cool little number from a band that I honestly know very little about.


“Sweet Annie” – Zac Brown Band – “Uncaged” (2012)

Jul 27
Posted by admin Filed in New Country

I’ve got the new Zac Brown all loaded up for the plane ride to Denver. Nice simple, well sung, love song with lots of nice country guitar, and a little signature fiddle work Jimmy De Martini. This is my first trip to Denver and the transplanted locals tell me that the good grub of choice is authentic Mexican especially if it’s a burrito that some dude sells me out of a cooler. I’m up for anything. The show and venue (Cake and The Lumineers at Red Rocks) promises to be epic, as long as the burrito doesn’t bring any cousins of shigella to my digestive system, I’m good. Did I just jinx myself?


“Stubborn Love” – The Lumineers – “The Lumineers” (2012)

Jul 26
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I tried to put away my Lumineers obsession for a week or two but couldn’t do it. These guys dedicated this song to the victims and survivors of the shooting last week in their hometown of Denver, when they played Capitol Hill Block Party last weekend. It was a touching moment in a perfect set. I’m sure that a similar moment or two will be replayed this weekend when the band takes the stage at Red Rocks. I will be there to witness, and soak in every bit of it as The Lumineers triumphantly return for their hometown folks.

The Lumineers pick it, stomp, clap, harmonize, build momentum, and break it down as well as anybody out there. I said to my wife the other day that I’m always a little scared when a band like The Lumineers release such a sparkling masterpiece as their debut. What comes next? The other things that The Lumineers do as well as anyone is string words together, words that a lot of us feel but can’t really spit out with such poignant and vulnerable effect.

It‘s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The oppisite of love‘s indifference
Pay attention now, I‘m standing on your porch screaming out
And I wont leave until you come downstairs


“So Cruel” – U2 – Achtung Baby (1991)

Jul 20
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands

People go to superhero movies for the state of the art special effects, the star power, the villains, the 3D; the epic, teetering, apocalyptic moments. They go for all of the that. But deep down people flock to the multiplex to see and be in the presence of someone who is going to save them. Somebody bigger, stronger, and bolder who will save us and make us feel secure even if only for a couple of hours.

So, what happens next? What happens when reality interrupts our fictional hero’s attempt to make us feel safe and secure. You go back to your regularly scheduled activities and don’t let the vile of one delusional dickhead re-route one single footstep that you would have taken before you knew that such a person existed. Just carry on and look outward, and inward for that person who will keep you safe and secure.


“Get Us Home” – The Panics – “Cruel Guards” (2008)

Jul 20
Posted by admin Filed in Aussies, Rock Bands

I’m pretty dang pleased with my Grace Potter and the Nocturnals concert experience from last night. We saw about half of opening act ZZ Ward’s set. She played this kind of lied to, cheated on, I might just put a cap in your sorry ass bluesy, spunky rock and roll. Pretty fun set, or half set for me since I was late. I liked it enough to buy the single that she was selling at the merch table.

The headliner was great and delivered a multitempo, sometimes frenzied, often times soft 1 and 1/2 hour set. The covers always get a lot of cheers no matter if it’s Bruce Sprinsteen or your favorite local punk band and Grace Potter’s two covers were both nice. She played to the Seattle crowd with a cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You,” complete with the acoustic solo intro by Benny Yurco, as part of her encore. Mid-set they pumped out a very old school vibed version of “White Rabbit.” The vocal build up culminating with “Feed Your Head, FEED YOUR HEAD” fits Ms. Potter to a tie dyed tee. Potter takes you places great and small, epic, and internal with that big, crazy voice. It’s a massive, vertiginous instrument capable of making and keeping her as one of rock’s mainstay divas for as long as she wants.

She played everything that I wanted to hear off of the new album and more. I had never heard the bonus track “Ragged Company” before last night and now that I’ve heard it, man am I grab that I bought a CD last night as that song is not on the version of the album that I grabbed with my Zune Pass. On a five star scale, I’ll give this show a four with the fifth star staying in my pocket because they didn’t play my favorite song of theirs. No “Low Road?” Kind of sad but minor quibble.

I’ll take a bunch more four star shows over the next two weeks. See what a team player I am? I’ll sacrifice my favorite songs by Neko Case, The Lumineers, Cake, Shovels and Rope, and Langhorne Slim (actually, maybe not for this one, if they don’t play my favorite tune, I’ll be pissed and it will probably be approaching closing time so I won’t be able to drown my sorrows) as long as they play the heck out of everything else and leave the masses happy.


I’ve been listening to The Panics all night, who I’ve never heard before, and find it to my liking so far. Jae Laffer’s voice reminds me a little of Kelly Jones from The Stereophonics.


“Flowers in Your Hair” – The Lumineers – “The Lumineers” (2012)

Jul 17
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

With the news of J.Lo and Steven Tyler stepping away from the Idol judges table, who are some of the people that are being considered to replace them? Before we get to that – I won’t really miss J.Lo, at all… her act as team mom/MILFy glitter queen would have been cancelled after about five episodes if she had been on any show not known as the top rated show of the last decade… Steven Tyler? The little bit of actual judging and critiquing were just bonuses since everyone knew from day one that we he was really there so that we could see the rock star doubling as a Golden Girl dishing freshly baked R-rated limericks.

How’s this for a starter list:

Long Shot

P!nk – She probably hasn’t had enough commercial success lately to hold serve in the rating wars between the other singing contests but I think she’d be solid. She’s a tough chick that wouldn’t spend too much time making sure that she doesn’t make kids cry but if she did make somebody all weepy it wouldn’t be just because she did it for kicks. She’s got enough flash (maybe not as much as Ms. Lopez) and a solid enough pop voice (a whole bunch more than Jenny, on my scorecard) to get respect from the hopefuls.

Will.i.am – Long shot because he’s the opposite of P!nk and has too much success and most likely doesn’t have enough free time to sit around and look pretty for a few hours per week for about four months. His guest stints with Jimmy Iovine played well for the audience (funny, entertaining) and he said enough things to the contestants that made sense.

Spare Us

P. Diddy – Have no idea if the show or the Diddy has any interest but hopefully not. I can see the show being all over this in an attempt to grab back some market share but all it would end up looking like is Puffy selling his brand(s) while offering virtually zero solid advice. We’ve already got Jimmy pedaling Beats to the masses but I can live with that because I like listening to Jimmy talk about molding talent and making records.

Katy Perry – Super busy, super popular (with demographics that watch the show), and super horrible at making good music. This chick has got to be the most obnoxious celeb making the rounds these days. Please god, let Katy stay busy making movies, and looking for a new husband so that I can try one more season of a show that’s already starting to lose me.

Nice Fits

Bon Jovi – Replace one aging, superstar, rock and roll front man with another. I like Steven Tyler but I think this would be an upgrade. Big time rocker voice to wow the kids and get them to listen paired with nice teeth, and a career that has seen a lot of longevity and a little re-invention adds up to being a nice draw for current and new viewers. If he wants to do it, this seems like it would be a slam dunk.

Kelly Clarkson – She’s far enough removed from her Season 1 win that it shouldn’t seem like she’s just the super popular upper classman looking down on the new batch of dorky freshmen. She’s had a very successful post-Idol career, and her experience on the show along with making inroads in a few genres gives her enough a big enough breadth of work to talk to contestants coming from varying backgrounds. Still busy and successful but I would think that her being on the panel would be a win for both her and the show.


So then we grew a little and knew a lot
And now we demonstrated it to the cops
And all the things we said
We were self-assured

Cause it’s a long road to wisdom
But it’s a short one
To being ignored

I love these lyrics especially the part about demonstrating our knowledge to the coppers. Stand up and be counted if you currently or ever did think that you had something valuable to say to the cops. Keep standing if the cops showed you some simple arrhythmic: 2 plus 2 equals your hands in his/her cuffs.

My two week concert feast begins tomorrow with Grace Potter. It should be glorious!


“The Divide” – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – “The Lion The Beast The Beat” (2012)

Jul 16
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

It should be a hot one at the zoo on Wednesday night. Say hello to my new favorite song.


“Ampersand” – Amanda Palmer – “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” (2008)

Jul 15
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I’m turning the lights back on in the Play On offices after a weekend out in the woods hugging trees, sleeping in tents, and peeing in bushes. We listened to a couple of nice playlists with my South African friend manning the iDJ booth. You guessed it, lots of Parlotones, Johnny Clegg, and other stuff from the south of the continent that I can’t remember now by name. A couple of artists that I did get acquainted with from the playlists but who are not of African origin were: Amy Macdonald (Scotland) and The Panics (Australia). I’ll be reading bios and listening to the catalogs for both of these acts this week.

Here’s one to think about cramming to the early fall entertainment schedule – Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra on September 30th at the Neptune. It’s probably going to require me to shuffle a couple of cards around to squeeze it in, and a quick listening session of the new album due in early September would be nice but not totally necessary. She’s got a cool cover of “Polly” out and getting listens and likes as we speak, and I’m sure that would could find a nice sweet spot in a playlist for the Seattle show.


“That Teenage Feeling” – Neko Case – “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” (2006)

Jul 10
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

Lest I forget, Neko case gets the prime time slot on Sunday at Capital Hill Block Party.


“Don’t Move” – Phantogram – “Nightlife” (2011)

Jul 8
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not just gong to a Lumineers concert on July 22nd, I’m going to Capital Hill Block Party. I was telling some friends on Friday night that they need to go to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and The Lumineers, (did I remember to tell them about Langhorne Slim), and between sentence they were trying to convince me that I need to go to Johnny Clegg. It’s not that I need convincing to Johnny Clegg, I just need to make sure that I’m not busy that day.

There will be other bands and artists on the third Sunday of this month on Capital Hill in Seattle, Washington including Porcelain Raft, Neko Case, and Phantogram. Duos are all the rage anymore. The Lumineers would be so much cooler if they were only a duo. Who are they going to kick out? Nobody, don’t listen to me, I got too much sun this weekend and I ain’t feelin’ so good.