Author Archives: satchmoflask

Far – Regina Spektor

Artist:  Regina Spektor

Album:  Far (2009)

Rating:  6

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Regina’s much anticipated new album Far, just came out last week, and by now it has had time to fully sink in for me.  While Far is certainly far from Spektor’s 2006 release Begin To Hope, it is by no means a shabby album.  Even through the layers upon layers of studio sheen put on by the impessive team of producers including David Kahne, Jeff Lynne, Mike Elizondo (of Eminem and Dr. Dre fame), and Jacknife Lee (famous for his work with U2 and R.E.M.), Spektor finds a way to let her creative songwriting and original approach shine through (most of the time).

The album starts out with The Calculation, an upbeat song with lyrics about creating a computer out of macaroni.  As if that wasnt fun and silly enough, through the rest of the album there is plenty of strange vocal inflecitons, a song with a chorus consisting of just the nonsense word “eet,” and a dolphin noise solo.  Once again however, Regina mixes in some more serious and introspective songs.  This time, unfortunately, all of the production covers up the emotions Spektor is trying to convey in these songs.  Songs like Human of the Year, and Blue Lips just down have the same effect as songs like the Flowers and Field Below from previous albums.  Wallet and Human of the Year with thier similar building up of orchestral elements just doesnt blow you away like Begin to Hope’s Apres Moi did.  However Spektor is able to make Genius Next Door work with a slow beautiful rolling piano backdrop behind well-thought out lyrics.  And, once again, Spektor is at home making catchy poppy vocal melodies blend seamlessly with her gorgeous voice on the stand out tracks of the album: Dance Anthem of the 80s and Two Birds.

Overall, Far is a great album to add to Spektors impressive resume, garnering an impressive 6 on the Kyle Scale of Rating.

Time Turns Elastic and a Reunion Tour!

This has been quite the week for Phish-heads all around!  Trey had his world premiere for the new orchestral piece he had been working on with Don Hart and Orchestra Nashville, Trey’s solo performance is now being streamed for free on http://www.npr.com, and then to follow that up the announcement of a 3 day Phish Reunion tour kickoff!

Time Turns Elastic

I was lucky enough to take the trip out to Nashville and see the world premiere of Trey’s new project, Time Turns Elastic.  It was phenomenal!  Let me tell you I have been to some interesting shows and seen some interesting crowds, but this was hands down the most diverse and interesting crowd I have ever seen.  There were wookied-out phans sitting right next to ritzy people dressed up in suits.  I had a lady sitting behind me who looked to be a mid 30 year-old middle school teacher, and next to her was a teenaged boy with his 50 year old father.  And everyone there was stoked to see Trey.  Everyone was talking about the orchestra, or the recent Sept. 6 sighting of phish playing at a friends wedding, or just about the iconic status of Trey.  The orchestra started off with a very tense piece entitled XL, which I enjoyed, but the real excitement started at the second song.  Trey came out and joined the orchestra for a phenomenal and innovative new take on the Phish mainstay Divided Sky, relying on the entire audience to sing the vocal line: “Divided sky, the wind blows high!”  It was wonderful to hear Trey’s ethereal guitar tone wrapped up in layers and layers of gorgeous strings!  Trey then busted out the acoustic and took a backseat with the orchestra and played along to Concertino for Two Mandolins by Don Hart.  The two guest mandolin players were phenomenal, one on the traditional Italian round-back mandolin and on one on the Tennessee flat-back mandolin!  Trey played his part and stayed in the background to showcase the phenomenal mandolin players.  Trey then left and the orchestra played two more pieces, Orient and Occident followed by a piece that i forgot the name of that was one of Trey’s big influences for Time Turns Elastic.  After a brief intermission, trey returned to stage where the entire crowd joined in on singing Happy Birthday to Trey (he turned 44 on Sept. 30th).  After that, Trey began Time Turns Elastic, an orchestral piece in 2 movements with vocals on the second movement.  It was a very nice piece, though not exactly what I was expecting, Trey let the orchestra and his composing do most of the work.  Although a few times he did bust out with some wonderful and impressive lead lines.  Afterwords, he left the stage, and the crowd stayed on their feet yelling and cheering until he returned for a interesting version of Let Me Lie from his Bar 17 album.  All in all i would give the show a solid 6.5 on the Kyle Scale of Rating.

Phish Reunion Tour

Phish announced today on their website that they would be playing 3 days at the Hampton Collesium in Hampton VA, on March 6,7, & 8.  In addition, they said “The band intends to announce additional touring in 2009 early next year.”  Both Mike and Trey will be embarking on solo tours this winter which are both staying mainly in the northeast.  So by then they will be off tour and hopefully be able to travel the whole nation, in case you can’t make it all the way to Virginia.

All Sides…All Suck

  • Artist: O.A.R.
  • Album: All Sides
  • Tracks: 13
  • Length: 54 Minutes

 I got the new O.A.R. album a week or two ago and I am just now getting around to writing my review for it.  I was really excited about this album, because O.A.R. had a chance to redeem themselves after the fairly dissapointing Stories of a Stranger album.  Before All Sides, the new album, the song “Daylight the Dog” (off Stories) was probably thier worst song;  Now, after All Sides, a 13 track album, there are 11 songs that are worse than “Daylight the Dog.”  With thier last album, Stories of A Stranger, O.A.R. started to flirt a little with a new sound, in addition to a few really cool reggae-influenced rock songs, and some sick jam rock, they threw in a few extremely generic, mainstream, radio-friendly pop songs (Love and Memories, Heard the World, etc.), but at least those songs were still very well written, hell a few of them were really good.  But now, with All Sides they have completely embraced the success of “Love and Memories,” and entirely gotten rid of thier reggae influences.

   If I put all the negative comments I have for this album into this review it would be far too long, so I will focus on the VERY few and VERY far between high points on this album.  “Whatever Happened,”  starts off with a really cool didgeridoo, bongo, and sax intro (and then almost immediately dies when the actual song starts).  The sixth track, “Living in the End,” is a very poorly crafted song but it has an okay guitar solo…actually it’s a pretty shoddy guitar solo compared lead guitarists Richard Orr’s other material with O.A.R., so scratch that off the list of good things.  Here we go, “Something Coming Over,” is actually a pretty good song, the lyrics are godawful and Marc tries to do a Dave Matthews falsetto thing that dosen’t work out too well for him, but otherwise its a good song.  Probably the only track I will listen too again.  And Finally, the twelfth track, “War Song” (which isn’t actually about the war in Iraq), isn’t bad it still has the awful new production style, and overall sound that O.A.R. has been going with on this new album, but at least it is a very well written song.  If they had recorded it five or six years ago, it would be REALLY good.  There we go, thats it.  That is everything positive i have to say about this album.

So, In conclusion, if we take the 49 second intro to “Whatever Happened,” all 3:59 of “Something Coming Over,” we have 4 minutes and 58 seconds of good music on All Sides (i didn’t include war song because its actually a well written, but poorly preformed song).  Less than five minutes of good material.  I give All sides a 4 on the Kyle Scale of Rating.

–Kyle

Rating: 4

Marathon Runners at Bonnaroo – Kyle

Well friends, back from the roo, and let me tell you it was wonderful this year, however I gotta say, I think I liked last year a little better, but this year was great nevertheless.  It gets a solid 5.5 on the Kyle Scale of Rating.  I’ll follow suit with Andy and only mention my 10 favorite shows, that way I dont have to waste your time talking about that retchid MIA show (honestly it ranks within the 5 worst shows I’ve ever seen), which I refused to stay for all of. 

#10 !!! – I was really excited about !!! beforehand, but the show dissapointed me a little bit, they werent as clean sounding as I expected, they didnt seem completely together.  And I thought that the black chick they had singing was really bad.  But the show was still really good.  I really enjoyed how homo-erotic the lead singer was, it was amusing to say the least.

#9 Big Sam’s Funky Nation –  I think that his band changed a little since the last time I saw him.  He had an INCREDIBLE bassist this time ( he also made some REALLY amusing faces!), but the saxaphone player he had last time was gone.  Only complaint is that I couldn’t hear the guy on the keys litterally the whole show.  Part of what made this show so great was that since it was in the New Orleans tent there were maybe 20 other ppl there with me, and Big Sam came down and danced with us in the crowd, and then busted out a trombone solo right in the middle of us!

#8 Jack Johnson – Honestly I wasnt that excited about Jack, I usually get kinda bored by his music, but I enjoyed his show alot, it was very wholesome.  His band was real good too.  He even had Eddie Vedder come out and sing a little counrty sounding diddy with him, turns out Eddie is an incredible country singer.

#7 MSTRKRFT – They were awesome met up with my buddies and danced the night away!  They drank and smoked the whole show, brought people up on stage to dance there, only stopped playing music once to say hey, did an encore and didnt leave until the bonnaroo stage crew litterally forced them to leave the stage!  They busted out the Justice and the Daft Punk too!  Not to mention those incredible staches!

#6 Metallica – This was a show I wasnt expecting to be that good, don’t get me worng, I love the Four Horsemen but I’m not a big fan of the newer stuff.  To me it was gonna be one of those shows you go to just to say you saw them.  They played nothing off St. Anger or their newest album!  The set was full of classics too, “One,” “Ride the Lightning,” “Master of Puppets,” “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Seek and Destroy.”  They played like 5 or six songs off Kill Em All, Covered “Last Caress,” and played almost everything else I wanted to hear ( I woulda liked “Fuel,”I Dissapear,” “Battery,” or “Sanatarium,” but still, I think that with regard to the band it was the best setlist choice of the festival).

#5 OAR – Another great show by the boys from Maryland, but certainly not my favorite.  Their set was very similar to the one from Jazz Fest, although this time they did play “The Wanderer,” and “Revisited,” which was awesome, but they didnt play a few songs I really wanted to hear that I havent heard at other shows, like “Missing Pieces,” “So Moved On,” “City On Down,” “Delicate Few,” or “About An Hour Ago.”  This coupled with the sound problems of Jerry DePizzo’s saxaphone for half the show (TURN JERRY UP!), and when Danny Clinch came out for guest harmonica on “Anyway,” you couldnt hear him very well at all, but what you could hear was awesome.  I feel like OAR had the energy and the show could have been the best of the weekend had they picked a different set list and had less sound problems.

#4 Ghostland Observatory – Now I’ve seen these guys SEVERAL times before this show, but their show this time had the BEST jam on midnight voyage I’ve seen by them!  And they’re lighting engineer has got his stuff down now, their laser programs were AMAZING at that show!

#3 Ben Folds – Like Andy said, “Bitches Ain’t Shit” for the last time, EPIC.  I loved Ben’s onstage stories explaining his songs!  For one song (Free Coffee), Ben put two altoid boxes a maraca and a few other things litterally inside his piano, it made synthy sounds and drum machine noises!  Ben rocked so hard that he broke a string on one song, WOW thats rockin pretty hard.  But the apex of the show came when during “Not the Same,” he got on top of his piano started jumping up and down and directing the audience to singing along with him!

#2 Umphrey’s McGee – Phenomenal show!  Sick jam band, one of the few jam bands with lots of metal influence.  It was certainly the most Impressive guitar preformance I saw at bonnaroo this year.  Both guitarists had incredible skill, and on top of that, they were so perfectly together that it sounded like one person with four arms playing two guitars.

#1 The Disco Biscuts – WOW!  Absolutely amazing dance jam throwdowns!  They would take a regular jam and then bring it down to a chill synthy groove and slowly over the next ten minutes build it into a driving dance party of volcanic intensity.  The show also included a ten minute long story, told by the bassist Marc Brownstein, about how he was drivin the RV on the way there, smokin a real big joint, and got pulled over by Tennessees own Cumberland county officers who opened the door with a greeting of “Boys, this smells like my backyard!”  The van was searched, pot was confiscated, and citations were written.  After, Marc said he asked the cop if he could have just enough for one joint on the way to the festival.  The cop said that he searched the van high and low, but he was sure he probably had missed some, then gave him a big hug and told him to play the best show he’d ever played that night.  That encounter prompted them to play their set 45 minutes over, and then come back out for an encore for another 20 minutes.  And honestly, where else are you gonna hear one band cover both “The Safety Dance” and “Killin in the Name.”

 

Thats it friends!  Be awaiting my lengthy review of Feed The Animals coming up in about a week I need to listen through a few more times and let it sink in before I pass any judgement.

Trey Anastasio Self-titled: Certainly Not a Miss, But Not Quite a Direct Hit Either

  • Artist:  Trey Anastasio  
  • Album: Trey Anastasio
  • Tracks: 12
  • Length: 59 minutes

I just recently got former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio’s first Studio album, a selftitled album he relesed in 2002.  Trey starts the solo carrear off strong, theres a couple really good rockers on the album, Alive Again, Cayman Review, Push on ‘Til the Day,  Night Speaks to a Woman, and Money Love and Change, which are very reminiscent of mid to late nineties phish with that funky rock guitar only Trey can do, that real hot clavinet in the background, and fun non-sensical lyrics.  There also a few really inconsequential tunes on the album which don’t add anything but arent too bad like Drifting and Ether Sunday.  The Low point of the album certainly comes in the bland and entirely uninteresting ballad Flock of Words which somehow finds a way to drag on for 5 minutes and should only have lasted two.  Theres also a few tunes on here which have astounding playing and pretty good jams attatched to them, however the songwriting sounds rather amatuerish and it makes the songs a little unenjoyable (Mr. Completely, and Last Tube).  Yet the album is also rounded off with two wonderful tracks, At the Gazebo and Ray Dawn Balloon, featuring fantastic orchestral arrangements by Trey with acoustic guitar layered over them.  These compositions are worth your money by themselves.  Trey’s knack for full orchestral arrangements is unbelievable and his acoustic playing is nothing short of breathtaking.  Overall an album very similar to the previous phish styling, yet at some points lacking a little in the songwriting department, which is understandable considering he’s used to having the pure genius of Page McConnell and Mike Gordon helping him out.  However there are also a few stylistic departures from the phish style in these tunes, the most notable being the full horn section Trey has added, which makes the extended jam on Push on ‘Til the Day sound really strong.  Trey has also added some kinda cheesy sounding female background vocals, however they dont detract too much from the songs.  Overall, Trey Anastasio recieves a solid 5.5 on the Kyle Scale of Rating and could have reached a 6 or higher had Trey kept a few songs off.

Rating: 5.5

The Big Anouncement

As you all know, tommorrow Bonnaroo will be having another big announcement, so I thought I would just let all of you in on the secret one day early.  That’s right, SatchmoFlask at Bonnaroo 2008!  and the Super Jam, SatchmoFlask and Dr. Mad 69 on computers, sampling it up, Lars Ulrich on  acoustic drums, Thomas Turner on drum machines, Phil Lesh on bass, Bela Fleck on banjo, Jeff Austin on Mandolin, Robert Randolph on steel guitar, Jack Johnson on rhythm guitar, Jack White on lead guitar, Jerry DePizzo on saxaphone, Ben Folds on piano, Aaron Behrens on lead vocals, and all of Yonder Mountain String Band on backing vocals.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Get Ready, It’s Comin

Now, the word on the street is that any day now SatchmoFlask will be finishing thier debut album “Richard Ramsey’s Album.”   Keep in mind, this isnt official yet, but I’ve been hearing some important people in the process throw around a late April release date and subsequent album release party in everyones favorite city, San Antonio, Texas.  Keep posted for new updates, and feel free to check out some of the hit singles that have been burnin up the charts, like “Lobster,” and “Jump on the Holy Diver,” for FREE on the satchmoflask website: myspace.com/satchmoflask.