The opener, “Art of Almost,” gets wild early, though the rest of the disc fails to kick out the jams to such heights again. The arrangements throughout are tight, interesting, and, of course, catchy as can be. With the exception of the leading and closing tracks, each tune is a compact, easily digestible example of Jeff Tweedy’s pop song writing skills. The closing track, “One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend),” is a meandering folk jam clocking in at the 12-minute mark that quite beautifully captures the feeling of a Sunday morning in autumn.
If you’re already a Wilco fan, you probably own this album already. If more than one person whose musical taste you trust has told you that you might like Wilco, you’ll probably dig this album. If you’ve already grown tired of Tweedy & Co’s act, well, you won’t be surprised if this album doesn’t grab you by the balls. Personally, I dig the album, but I’m not about to drop 30 bucks on the LP just yet. But the disc is certainly a creeper, with tunes lingering around in my head days after I’ve politely invited them to leave the party. After a few more spins, I may have to re-evaluate my position and invite The Whole Love in to stay awhile. (dBmp, dbpmrecords.com) Sheldon Birnie
by Sheldon Birnie
The Drive-By Truckers are a band from the Muscle Shoals, Alabama / Athens, Georgia areas. They play southern inspired rock and roll, with literate as hell lyrics and a touch of country and a dash of R&B. They’ve put about a dozen records, give or take a couple, since 1998, most of which I own on LP, CD, or both, and the rest of which I have on MP3. They’ve played thousands upon thousands of shows up and down and all over the Hillbilly Highway, and are hitting Minneapolis right aways.
with War Elephant, January 19th 2009 @ the Pyramid Cabaret
By Holly Beddome
On January 19, 2010, a group from Tel Aviv named Monotonix walked into the Pyramid Cabaret and left an amazed audience behind. Bandmates Ami Shalev, Yonatan Gat and Haggai Fershtman rocked out in short shorts with wild hair flying as they played a raw set of rock and roll anthems reminiscent of decades past. The trio turned the Pyramid into a playground as they continually moved their set, with energetic audience members cheering for them on all sides.
Although missing their guitarist that evening, opening act War Elephant still rocked the stage. The Winnipeg duo kicked the evening off with a perfect contrast to Monotix’s wild energy, with a laid-back set with thudding beats and slow, distorted bass hooks. While War Elephant are not a band to dance to, they nonetheless rocked out and played a solid, grunge-tinged show that resembled a less-vocalized mix between Black Sabbath and Soundgarden.
Following War Elephant’s performance, Ami Shalev of Monotonix walked up to the bar and grabbed several bottles of water while drummer Haggai Fershtman and guitarist Yonatan Gat warmed up. Cheers and whistles rang out from the audience as Shalev grabbed the microphone. The real show began as the band ripped into their first song; riffs were shredded, beats pounded and Shalev yelled like a man possessed with the spirit of Johnny Rotten.
The band fed off the energy of the crowd and clearly enjoyed shaking things up. A garbage can was dumped over Fershtman’s head, drumsticks were given to audience members, and Shalev hung from the rafters like a monkey mid-song. Water and beer rained down as the Israeli rockers emptied the contents of several bottles over the crowd. Despite the chaotic energy of the evening, the vibe was friendly as people simply forgot their troubles and absorbed the show. Monotonix truly put on a performance to be experienced, not just observed.
Next time these crazy rockers roll into the ’Peg, do yourself a favour and pick up a ticket. Seeing this band live is an experience that you will never forget!
By Kent Davies
“Rock has always been the devil’s music.” – David Bowie
From the time legendary blues musician Robert Johnson supposedly went down to the crossroads to make his deal the devil the occult has been a predominate feature in modern music history. Now Greg Taylor, expert in esoteric phenomena and creator of the blog Daily Grail (tagline: Exploring the fringes of science and history. Caveat lector!), attempts to chronicle the strange and fascinating historical connection between rock music and the occult. In the second volume of the DarkLore anthology, Taylor examines how the supposed “dark arts” influenced some of the most important musicians of our time.
From the rare Zodiac symbols found on Zeppelin records to David Bowie’s obsession with keeping possession of his hair and fingernails clippings to avoid dark spells being cast against him, Taylor is a rock ’n’ roll Dan Brown, revising rock history to suggest what alarmist Christian preachers have been telling us for years: rock music has hidden messages, pagan symbols and is probably promoting sex. While some of the Taylor’s revelations are nothing new to music historians, such as the influence of voodoo ritual in early blues, he does manage to link the dominate feature of a coded lexicon in some modern rock and metal bands. By deciphering symbols, relationships and sometimes eccentric behaviour, we gain insight into the artists and the supposed truth behind their material. While Taylor deals predominantly with artists from the past, newer acts like Tool and the Mars Volta (who wrote their album Bedlam in Goliath using a Ouija board) are also included. While these carefully-placed symbols and occult references may be nothing new to some fans (especially metalheads), Taylor’s foray into rock’s occult underpinnings may be prove fascinating for others. You can check out an excerpt of Taylor’s essay at www.dailygrail.com/Essays/2009/12/Occult-Rock.