Interview with: Dave Warsop of Beat Union

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 7/21/2008:

Continuing in a series of interviews from the Bonner Springs, Kan., Warped Tour show, I took a moment to speak with the lead singer of Beat Union, Dave Warsop. He had just wandered in from catering, but he kindly put his plate down to speak with me.

Bethany, PopWreckoning: Hi, I’m Bethany. Can I get you to state your name and position in the band?
Dave Warsop, Beat Union: Dave. Singer. I’m the vocalist and leading guitarist.
PW: Your album, Disconnected, talks a lot about anxiety for the future and technology issues. Do you think technology really is a big problem and how does it affect musicians?
DW:I don’t think technology is a problem at all. That’s something that I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. On that song, that’s a song that I think you just realize your surroundings. I think every band, every songwriter is some what of a philosopher or… well… I’m going to rephrase that.
Every band, every songwriter is what’s in your mind and coming to conclusions about your surroundings and that song was literally just about taking in how things were changing with technology and not wanting to be left behind. I don’t think technology is a bad thing at all. It’s just realizing in that song how much things are changing with MySpace and people downloading music. But it’s not all a bad thing.
I think it’s very much a good thing to explore the music. That song’s just about change.
PW: How do you feel about music downloads?
DW:I’m all for it. I’m the kind of guy who wants to go to a record shop: find the CD, find the vinyl. I want the physical product so I can take that home with me and look at the pictures and read the lyrics, that’s the kind of person I am.
But that’s just me and not everybody has to be that way. I think downloading music, well music is as healthy as ever, it’s just the way that it’s being sold to people has changed completely and I guess that’s what the song “Disconnected” is about.
I actually think “Disconnected” can be so much more than that. That’s just a song about alienation as well, you know what I mean? It can be a lot more than that. It can be alienation, solitude and I think those are things which all human beings feel. I mean everyone is disconnected to a certain extent being trapped in a human body.
PW: Have you found the American audiences pretty welcoming to your band’s music?
DW: Definitely, yeah. American audiences have been really, really great to us. They’ve been really, really good. We’re just excited to be touring over here and getting a shot at it.
There’s not many bands where we’re from [the UK] given those kinds of opportunities. We’re just really grateful that we have them for what we do and play for an American audience. I think the American audiences are a little bit nicer to us actually. Purely because we’re a different sounding band because we’re English, so maybe we stand out a little bit more here and we sound different in the American music market. So, people seem to take to us quite strongly, it’s been very flattering. We’re real happy to be here.
PW: Is there a different way to approach America versus England or is it pretty much the same type of touring? You choose the same type of songs?
DW:Definitely, I’d say. Well, that’s quite an interesting question because I’d say in America we try to emphasize our Englishness. At home we’re still seen as quite an English band and a lot of our influences come from the late 70s sort of music, more English music.
Well, I think again, the whole part that stands out a little bit more, so we definitely emphasize our Englishness: that we’re from England and have English accents when we sing. We don’t really try, but we want it known that we’re an English band in America because that’s what we are.
PW: Are there any wild stories you have about Warped?
DW:Nothing too wild so far, sorry to disappoint you. I guess since it is a rock and roll tour, it hasn’t been very rock and roll for us so far. It’s been a lot of hard work getting up early mornings, setting the tents up, playing in the heat and trying to meet as many people as possible. I talk to kids and try to make some new friends and try to make some new fans out here.
So, yeah, as of right now there hasn’t been too much partying. Although we did-after our show in Denver there was a free bar for all the Warped bands and we went along because we’re from England and fond of a few drinks. I think if you put any band in front of a free bar, it’s going to get messy.
Actually that night did get messy. So actually to answer your question, that’s the one night things went crazy. Our merch guy got naked and I’ll admit that I loved some one. I told someone about my undying true love for them, which was possibly alcohol induced.
What else happened? A fight nearly broke out outside with us and some locals, so yeah that was kind of a crazy night.
PW: Any plans to celebrate the end of Warped in Kansas City?
DW: We just, well, we’ve got another show tomorrow, so we’ll probably just be enjoying the day. Soak up what we can of Kansas. We’ll have to get drunk another night. So that’s the tough part, it’s work. It’s such a grueling schedule, so there isn’t a lot of time partying on the tour. I wish there was.
PW: So it’s not quite as rock and roll as people expect it?
DW: No, I’m sure other tours are more suited to the rock and roll romantics.
PW: Ok. Final question. What’s playing currently on your iPod?
DW: I recently got this off a friend’s iTunes and I got Ben Folds Rockin’ the Suburbs, the entire album. It is really, really nice. I’m a Ben Folds fan, but I didn’t have that album.
PW: What’s your favorite song?
DW: “Not the Same,” the first song “Annie Waits” and the third song “Still Fighting It,” I think it’s called. They’re three really good songs off the album. I’m also listening to Nick Lowe at the moment because I’m a big fan of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe is a songwriter that actually produced all of Elvis Costello’s records. I’m also really enjoying a Swedish singer called Robyn. I think she’s really good. I try to listen to as many different types of music as possible.
PW: That’s awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. It was nice meeting you.
DW: You, too.
PW: Good luck on the rest of the tour.
DW: Again, it is really, really a good time. It’s a pleasure to be out here. I’m really glad our band has this opportunity. We’re very grateful. So thank you for taking the time out of your life to talk to little ole me.
PW: Aw. Thanks. Best of luck to you guys.

Beat Union: myspace

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CSS – Donkey

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 7/22/2008:

With a band name that, in Portuguese, stands for an alleged Beyonce quote that says, “I got tired of being sexy,” Brazilian act Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS, already sounds like they should be a fun and witty group. They have been praised for blending Portuguese and English as well as daily life with pop culture, but they are most noted for having their song “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex” featured in popular mp3 players’ commercials. Their 2008 release Donkey on Sub Pop should have been just as witty and fun, but after listening to it I feel more like a jack ass for thinking Donkey could live up to my hype.

While the album has a better production quality than their previous release, stylistically and lyrically it is lacking. The first track, “Jager Yoga,” starts off promising with a slow build from the crashing cymbals to the smooth bass line, the addition of the first guitar and then the second guitar comes in. Quite pleasant so far, but then Lovefoxxx comes in with Tilly and the Wall style vocals and her bold claim that this group, “Didn’t come into the world to walk around.; / We came to take you out.” This turns out to be a boast that the group is unable to live up to as few of the tracks remaining on the album are really worth getting up to go out and dance.

Even if that song made you want to go out and party with the group instead of sitting passively by, the next track will have you grounded. “Rat Is Dead (Rage)” borders on grunge and features a slower tempo, angsty lyrics and an obnoxious screech from Lovefoxxx’s vocals.

As the band starts to get back into the electronica dance sound and leave the grunge and rock behind, the songs do improve. Rock is just not suited for the vocal stylings;again and again, poor vocal matching with the instrumental patterns was a problem for this record. However, songs like current single “Left Behind” and “Move” really do make you want to go out and maybe party with the band like the first track promises.

This group has potential with their amazing bass riffs and funky drum beats, but this album isn’t quite ready to be the soundtrack for all the dance clubs.

Donkey by CSS is released on Sub Pop on July 22, 2008.

Tracklisting:
01. Jager Yoga
02. Rat is Dead (Rage)
03. Let’s Reggae All Night
04. Give Up
05. Left Behind
06. Beautiful Song
07. How I Became Paranoid
08. Move
09. I Fly
10. Believe Achieve
11. Air Painter

CSS: website | myspace | download “Rat Is Dead (Rage)”

Written by: Bethany

Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 8/9/2008:

Not since The Decemberists has a band sent me to a dictionary to look up a word, but in the case of Ra Ra Riot‘s first full-length album, The Rhumb Line, I decided it was time to brush off the old dictionary and figure out the significance of this album title. If you are in the dark like I was, trusty dictionary.com (okay, maybe I didn’t do any dusting off any old dictionaries) states that a rhumb line “is the path taken by a vessel. . .that maintains a constant compass direction.”

After learning what it meant, I could not think of a better title for this uprising band’s first album. In 2007, co-founder of the band and original drummer, John Pike mysteriously died. With the loss of such an important member, the future of the band was uncertain, but the group had already embarked on this musical journey and opted to not waver from their path or “rhumb line.”

Listening to the band, it is apparent how important the idea of the consistency of a “rhumb line” is to them. They unwaveringly deliver a great live show and the energy and enthusiasm of the group constantly shines through on the album.

The Rhumb Line starts off with the warm tones of cellist Alexandra Lawn joined by the pizzicato of violinist Rebecca Zeller on the cinematic “Ghost Under Rocks.” The warmth of these instruments becomes increasingly important as the album develops, especially on “Winter ’05,” where the warm tone of the strings gives the illusion of sitting by a hearth after riding in a sleigh as simulated by the percussion.

With the warmth of the strings, my main criticism of this album is that too often vocalist Wes Miles‘ voice comes off with a metallic twang. His vocals are impressive on songs like “Oh, La” where his range is as diverse as the band’s dynamics, but the metallic twang from production does have a tendency to detract from the overall cohesiveness.

Although many of the songs previously appeared on the group’s EP, there are some really good surprises. This album is worth checking out simply for the shockingly good cover of Kate Bush‘s “Suspended in Gaffa” in which Miles’ voice is the perfect fit. I might even be so bold as to say I like their cover better than the original.

The Rhumb Line is released by Barsuk Records on August 19, 2008. The band is embarking on a headlining tour to support the album’s release.

Tracklisting:
01. Ghost Under Rocks
02. Each Year
03. St. Peter’s Day Festival
04. Winter ’05
05. Dying Is Fine
06. Can You Tell
07. Too Too Too Fast
08. Oh, La
09. Suspended in Gaffa
10. Run My Mouth

Band info: website | myspace

Written by: Bethany

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Interview With: Tad Moore of Low vs. Diamond

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 8/6/2008:

Tad Moore, keyboardist for quickly rising rock group Low vs. Diamond took some time out of their busy schedule to talk a little about their group and new self-titled, debut album.

Bethany, Popwreckoning: Can I get you to state your name and instrument in the band?
Low vs. Diamond, Tad Moore: My name is Tad Moore and I play piano and guitar.
PW: So you met Lucas and Howie while you guys were at the University of Colorado. Is that right?
TM: Yeah, we did and we started jamming out there.
PW: So you started as a jam band. How did you develop from that into your current indie rock style?
TM: I think we were jamming, but we weren’t necessarily bro-ing and beer and all that, so I think that got us a lot more into song structure, which led to where we didn’t need those kinds of songs anymore.

PW: What were you guys doing before you started playing as a band?
TM: We were students. I mean, we all played instruments before, our respective instruments. But yeah, we were all students at the university. I think Luke was in Journalism, Howie was in Business and I was in Humanities.
PW: Then you guys moved to LA and you met up with Anthony and Jonny?
TM: Yep. We met them through our producer of some time. Howie, Lucas and I played in two other bands in LA before we knew Anthony and Jon through our producer and then that was Low vs. Diamond.
PW: How did you guys come up with the name Low vs. Diamond?
TM: Well, our second band, another friend of ours from Colorado came down with us, he had a girlfriend named Leila — I shouldn’t use her name — that sounded like Low and she would always fight with Howie Diamond and she was sort of like a Yoko persona. So she sort of took him out of the band and he was doing his own thing with her. So yeah, we just sort of said Low vs. Diamond. We wanted a name that sounded like there was a war on and show what our band came out of.
PW: What were some of the other names you guys were toying with? You went through a few others, didn’t you?
TM: In our previous bands? One was called Shadows, that’s the hardest band, but we were playing as 1984. We used to be the band written out as 1984 and I was never fond of that one.
PW: Not really a fan of George Orwell?
TM: No, I’m not really an avid reader. I’ve only read Animal Farm and 1984 in the third grade, but not much more. Our former guitar player came up with the name. It wasn’t really Orwellian. He just thought that it sounded cool.
PW: I’ve read that you guys are really into the “big moment” of a song. How do you guys keep those diverse enough so that the moments stay big and they don’t get repetitive?
TM: I think it’s mainly strong structure. Laying back and not just blowing up. Not just climaxing all the time and giving some in between time so it is a “big moment” and not just heavy rock the whole time, I guess.
PW: So kind of like what you did on “Actions Are Actions?” You kind of started off with piano, then it built up and then you cooled down so it was just piano and vocals.
TM: Yeah, exactly like that with the piano and vocals.
PW: Dominic Hardesty of the UK imprint Marrakesh originally signed you all?
TM: Yep, he was the first to talk to us. We met through a lawyer who also did stuff for the Killers and mentioned us to him. Dom showed up in England and we did a showcase for him and he was like, “You guys got a deal.”
PW: Now, you guys have actually been compared to the Killers. How do you feel about that comparison? Do you feel like there’s any pressure to prove you’re different because the guy who signed the Killers also signed you?
TM: I understand why people would compare the Killers with us. I think they’re a great band. I wouldn’t necessarily say we were influenced by them, but if people say we are, it doesn’t really bother me that much. We don’t need to shy away and show that our style is different from them really. I mean it’s music, people can decide that for themselves.
PW: Who would win between like a battle of the synthesizers? You or Brandon Flowers?
TM: Who would win? I’m just going to be nice and say Brandon would. He’s more experienced than me.
PW: Maybe in a few years you can take him on?
TM: He’s older than me. He’s got a year on me, I think. Or he’s a few years older. I don’t know.
PW: Are there any other bands that you would have preferred to be compared to than the Killers?
TM: I don’t really know. It’s hard for me to do that. I used to better at it. Lucas writes the songs and he looks at a lot of Serge Gainsbourg and stuff like that. There’s not a lot of bands that we necessarily sound like, but there’s definitely a lot of bands that use keyboard and guitar. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any. There’s a lot of new bands I like.
I don’t think there’s necessarily any that we’d want to say we’re one in the same. I’d like to say Radiohead, but I don’t think we’re anything like them.
PW: Yeah, Radiohead’s kind of in their own category.
TM: Exactly. There’s only one Radiohead.
PW: Even though you guys are from the US, you signed in the UK first. Why did you decide to go after the UK first? How was the UK’s reception?
TM: The UK went after us first. At the time we loved the Strokes and we knew that the UK was a good place to start off as a band, at least it was in the early 2000s. So, yeah, it happened. Dom presented a great deal for us, so it was exciting. We signed and Dom’s a great guy. We trusted him. We just went for it and a few months later we were signed just like that.
PW: Has the UK’s reception of you all been different than the US’s?
TM: We went over there about a year and a half ago. They kind of have more of a teen-oriented thing. Bands like the Horrors and stuff like that. So, our reception was kind of lukewarm.
I mean, fans that actually did hear about us, it was great. We had trouble with the “NME” and getting in the “NME” and stuff like. It was more of a tastemaker. We didn’t have our album done yet and we just had an EP, a limited release EP. So, we still have some work to do over there, but we’ll be back there at the end of the year.
PW: How has being labeled by iTunes and a couple other things as the “Next Big Thing” affected your outlook on the band and your whole process of touring and writing?
TM: I’m really excited for it. The “Next Big Thing” on iTunes is a program that I think is really great and exciting.
PW: This was your debut album and it just came out like a week and a half ago.
TM: Yeah, on the 22nd (of July) it came out.
PW: What songs are you most proud of and really excited to have people hear finally?
TM: I wrote some of the lyrics to “Cinema Tonight” and a few others here and there, but my favorite song on the album is “Don’t Forget Sister.” Brandon Murphy was a friend of ours and he wrote the lyrics. I think it has some of the best imagery and is just really good.
We’re excited to get “Sister” out on the radio. I think it’s just a great rock song. I mean, it’s also one of the ones I’m most excited to play.
PW: Yeah, “Sister.” I really liked that song on the album. I really enjoyed what happened lyrically. So that was written by somebody not in the band?
TM: It’s Lucas’ best friend and they wrote it together. They’ll help each other out on the lyrics.
PW: A lot of the songs tell a little story. Were they inspired by any real-life things? Is “Annie” a real person?
TM: Annie is Lucas’ fiancé. There’s about a month before the wedding. Annie had this really tough year and that was written two years ago. It was just him sort of wanting to be there for Annie with the support of 26 year old band.
PW: On “I’ll Be,” I’ve listened to that a couple of times and I get a different feel each time I listen to it for the emotion being expressed. What were you guys going for on that song?
TM: That’s a good point, I think. Lucas wrote that one. It’s just about being really inspired by some one. I think that and there’s big bursts in it and we just wanted to go cosmic. “I’ll Be,” Luke wrote it so I think he can probably explain it better. I think he was really excited to get it in and it was one of the first songs he wrote as Low vs. Diamond. So yeah, he was very emotionally inspired by a lot of things going on at the time and I think “I’ll Be” just sort of came out of that.
PW: Can you name one song that your band didn’t write, but you wish you could say you had?
TM: There’s a million. Off the top of my head, “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James.
PW: I don’t know if I’ve heard that one. I’ll have to look it up.
TM: Or “Tops” by the Rolling Stones. That’s one I wish we had written.
PW: Just for fun, what’s the song that you’re most embarrassed to admit is on your mp3 player?
TM: The song I’m most embarrassed to own? Oh, there’s a lot of those, too. There’s a lot stuff by U2 that I shouldn’t really love. The old U2, the hipper U2, I’m into a lot of that stuff, but the newer U2 songs I actually love as well. I just don’t admit it so much. Let’s say “Walk On.”
PW: That’s alright. There’s a lot of U2 fans out there. That’s not that embarrassing.
TM: Yeah, it gets worse.
PW: Well that’s all I have. Thanks for talking with me.

Band Info: website | myspace

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Lollapalooza @ Grant Park, Chicago

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 8/4/2008:

Despite some rain late Thursday night, the weather in Chicago’s Grant Park was perfect for this year’s 2008 Lollapalooza festival. A nice breeze off the lake made this the perfect weekend to host the excellent and diverse lineup of music. The park was kept in pristine conditions as crews constantly walked around encouraging recycling and a cleaner environment. This festival knows what it’s doing and is one of the best organized and most considerate (they even had lots vegetarian options at the food booths!) shows in the business.

Lollapalooza by Jeff Gentner

Lollapalooza by Jeff Gentner

The whole weekend was sold out for the first time in the history of the festival. Friday had a record-breaking turnout as headliners Radiohead drew a sold out crowd of 75,000. Although, the earlier portion of the day wasn’t quite as packed, a solid crowd showed up to see the fine bands performing at the different stages leading up to Radiohead.

Starting off my day was Butch Walker on the PlayStation 3 Stage. Walker started his set solo with some fun loops on two new songs off his highly anticipated new album Sycamore Meadows before his band joined him on “State Line.” Walker performed a solid set showing that he is just as good an artist as he is a producer. If the new songs from his set are any indication of his new album, it is going to be phenomenal.

Butch Walker by Adam Bielawski

Butch Walker by Adam Bielawski

Any act following up the strong set by Walker would have a hard time not falling a little flat. Sure enough, the next act on the Bud Light Stage The Go! Team did just that. Maybe it is all that jumping around, but just because you want to be energetic in your presence doesn’t mean you should let the vocals suffer. Instrumental tracks like “Junior Kickstart” were just fine, but anytime Ninja would open her mouth I kind of wanted to go ninja and karate chop her throat.

Ninja of the Go! Team by Alberto Trevino

Ninja of the Go! Team by Alberto Trevino

After the poor pitches of the Go! Team, Welsh singer Duffy‘s soulful vocals were a welcome refreshment at the PlayStation 3 Stage. The young singer definitely has some pipes, but her stage presence could use a little work. Her hand motions quickly got repetitive, but maybe with a little experience, her set will get a little fresher.

Following Duffy, I caught a few songs by rockers Louis XIV over on the Citi Stage. Despite a few technical difficulties, the crowd went wild over radio single “Finding Out True Love Is Blind.” I didn’t stick around too long for Louis XIV because I didn’t want to miss a second of gypsy punk group Gogol Bordello over on the AT&T Stage and this was definitely not the set to miss. This raucous set was exactly what the crowd needed as an energy boost to get through the rest of the day. After walking around all morning in the sun, Gogol Bordello brought the crowd back to their feet for a big dance party as the band played through their accordion rock set.

Gogol Bordello by Chase Agnello-Dean

Gogol Bordello by Chase Agnello-Dean

Next up was Lawrence, Kansas indie rockers Mates of State. Their gentler set on the MySpace Stage was beautiful and it was a nice touch when the couple was joined by some strings. The crowd loved them, but it was hard to settle into their set after jumping around with Gogol Bordello.

Playing at the same time as Mates of State across the venue at the PlayStation 3 Stage was songstress Cat Power. Cat’s voice was just as great live as it is recorded. It is a shame that her set had to be the same time as Mates of State because they attract the same crowd.

Cat Power by Alberto Trevino

Cat Power by Alberto Trevino

Toward the end of Cat Power, the crowd quickly scrambled for a place to see The Raconteurs perform on the Bud Light Stage. Jack White and crew sounded great, but there was something a little off about their set. It could have been that they weren’t in their usual uniform, but street clothes or it could have been the technical difficulties causing Brendan Benson to drop out during the vocals of “Level,” but it just wasn’t as tight as their club performances.

Jack White of the Raconteurs by Stephanie Janisch

Jack White of the Raconteurs by Stephanie Janisch

I stopped at the Citi Stage for a few songs from Brazilian electro group CSS. Lovefoxxx must be tired of looking sexy because she sported a bright red spandex outfit with ruffles wrapping around it. CSS sounded a lot better live than their recording, surprisingly, and the crowd loved dancing around to their beats.

CSS by Abbey Braden

CSS by Abbey Braden

Radiohead closed out Friday on the AT&T stage. Thom Yorke and the rest of the guys thrilled the crowd by combining their tight instrumental skills with an amazing light show and fireworks as they performed songs like “Airbag,” “Fake Plastic Trees” and “There, There.” Friday’s crowd went home pleased after Radiohead’s double encore.

The crowd during Radiohead by Alberto Trevino

The crowd during Radiohead by Alberto Trevino

Radiohead by Alberto Trevino

Radiohead by Alberto Trevino

Radiohead wasn’t the only reason to attend this festival and Saturday looked just as packed. British group The Ting Tings was the perfect start to the day. Katie White (Interview at Diesel U Music Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel) easily draws the eyes of the crowd as she energetically moves around singing their hits, but Jules de Martino should not be overlooked as he plays and sings with precision.

The Ting Tings by Alberto Trevino

The Ting Tings by Alberto Trevino

There was a little lag after the Ting Tings. Dr. Dog took to the MySpace stage, but was unmemorable. Foals played some fun dance songs over at the Citi Stage, but didn’t stand up to the high standard for other electro dance groups set by the Ting Tings. MGMT sounded phenomenal live, but their disinterest in a majority of their own set detracted from the performance. They finally loosened up and started bantering by the end of their set.

MGMT by Abbey Braden

MGMT by Abbey Braden

Brand New was the band to beat for best performance of the day, although Jesse Lacey‘s attitude may have detracted from the musical experience causing many to quickly forget just how good this performance was in actuality. Joined by Kevin Devine for their first song, they took to the AT&T Stage and put on the most powerful performance of the day. Jesse Lacey’s performance is better than ever, but he appears just as moody.
He seemed to be in a good mood at first as he seemingly jokingly told the crowd, “You should all be at Explosions in the Sky. You’re all fools.” But as the set progressed through “Sowing Season,” “Sic Transit Gloria,” “Jesus Christ” and a new song (tentatively called “Bride”), Lacey grew more and more frustrated with a pocket of disinterested crowd members before finally climaxing and throwing his guitar into the drum set and leaving the stage a full fifteen minutes before the set was meant to end. Despite this mishap, this was still one of the best performances of the day and the part of the crowd that was interested was left confused and chanting for an encore.

After Brand New, I caught some of Okkervil River‘s set across the venue at the PlayStation 3 Stage and their sweet indie rock was a nice respite. They were followed by Broken Social Scene over on the Bud Light Stage, but BSS is more suited for a smaller setting where their fun instrumentations can completely engulf the listener. As great as Okkervil and Broken were, they just couldn’t match the amphitheatric power of Brand New’s set.

Okkervil River by Amrit Singh

Okkervil River by Amrit Singh

To be quite honest, the crowd gathering for Saturday’s headliners Rage Against the Machine didn’t really appeal to us and we headed out early to get a head start home, which is lucky we did because the Chicago Transit system got backed up by three hours from the large crowd leaving Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza continued on to Sunday and featured the usual buzz acts like Black Kids, but the real buzz swarming the venue all weekend was the suspected appearance of democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t put in an appearance, but there were still plenty of special guests present at the festival. While Stars member Amy Millan joined the boys in Broken Social Scene on the Bud Light Stage, guitarist Slash joined festival co-founder Perry Farrell for a few songs. Plus, there were plenty of celebrities to spot like Lindsay Lohan and the Wentzes if you just kept your eyes open. This festival was filled with fun surprises and definitely not a weekend to miss.

Lollapalooza: website | schedule | setlists

Written by: Bethany

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The Faint – Fasciinatiion

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 8/4/2008:

Omaha favorites and underground dance-punk sensations The Faint are finally releasing their first album after a four year break. Fasciinatiion is completely do-it-yourself and is the first album the band has ever written, recorded, produced and released on their own via their blank.wav imprint. Even the album art is their own work.

Fans can still expect to break out their dance moves as this album is just as entertaining as the band’s previous releases, although a little slower and more reflective. The band delves deeper into electronica with this release and match the themes of the album by making vocalist Todd Fink sound even more robotic.

Single “The Geeks Were Right” gives a great taste for what the rest of the album sounds like as well as showing a primary lyrical theme of predicting the future. Fink sings, “When I saw the future / The geeks were right. / Predator skills, chemical wars, plastic islands at sea / Watch what the humans ruin with machines.” Interestingly the band separates themselves from society with these lyrics and refuse to be included with the rest of humanity.

This bleak outlook on humanity creates a very dark album. “A Battle Hymn For Children” looks at the costs of war, “Get Seduced” critiques our pop culture obsession, and “Mirror Error” moves from society to a more personal critique. As the band goes through more descending scales, the album descends deeper into its darkest themes.

The Faint did very well for their first time completely on their own and fans will not be disappointed after their long wait for new material. Fasciinatiion is released by blank.wav on August 5, 2008.

Tracklisting:
01. Get Seduced
02. The Geeks Were Right
03. Machine In The Ghost
04. Fulcrum And Lever
05. Psycho
06. Mirror Error
07. I Treat You Wrong
08. Forever Growing Centipedes
09. Fish In A Womb
10. A Battle Hymn For Children

Band Info: website | myspace

Written by: Bethany

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The Killers Test New Material, Reports of New Album This Fall

Previously posted on PopWreckoning.com on 7/30/2008:

Las Vegas quartet The Killers are my favorite band and while some roll eyes every time I say this, I think they have released some genius works.

Last night, July 29th, they played a special show for their fan club, The Victims, at the Highline Ballroom in New York. Now as you can imagine, this Popwrecker was especially jealous since she was stuck in the Midwest and forced to miss out on this extra special show.

Not only was this show special because of the exclusivity, but because it was the fans’ first opportunity to hear a taste of the new music the band has been working on. Tenative reports are that The Killers will release the follow up to Sam’s Town this November. Stuart Price, the man also know as Jacques Lu Cont and responsible for the brilliant “Mr. Brightside (Thin White Duke Remix),” is producing.

Although, I couldn’t be at the show, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I was able to check out two new songs that the band tested out. I personally loved the story told in “Spaceman.”

Take a listen yourself and comment with what you think and if you like the direction the third album by the Killers seems to be heading:

“Spaceman”

“Neon Tiger”

Tour Dates:
July 31- MGM Grand at Foxwoods/ Mashantucket, Ct.
Aug 01 – Borgata Hotel Casino / Atlantic City, NJ
Aug 02 – Download Festival @ Susquehanna Bank Center / Camden, NJ
Aug 03 – Osheaga Festival / Montrea
Aug 09 – Roncalliplatz / Cologne
Aug 14 – Pukkelpop Festival / Hasselt
Aug 15 – Highfield Festival / Erfurt
Aug 16 – Frequency Festival/ Salzburg
Aug 17 – Sziget Festival / Budapest
Aug 21 – Marlay Park / Dublin
Aug 23 – Reading Festival / Reading
Aug 24 – Leeds Festival / Leeds

Band Info: website | myspace | The Victims fan club

Written by: Bethany

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