Monday, June 30, 2008

Rose Hill Drive by any other name…

Hello all –We’ve finally gotten through a slew of terrific in-stores this month just in time for us to take a relaxing short day next Friday for the 4th (note that our store hours on July 4th will be from 10AM to 6PM). June has seen us host the un-categorize-able local band Paper Bird, two very different hip-hop acts (Sage Francis with B. Dolan and Raashan Ahmad with Giant Panda), the roots/American-based Railroad Earth, and this past Wednesday evening we had Rose Hill Drive make a most enjoyable appearance. A great time was had by band, fans and staff alike – check out the box above for Ian’s review, pictures and more details.

On other live fronts, The Cure recently appeared at Red Rocks after postponing a late 2007 date and they premiered several songs from their upcoming fall release. They’ve finally released a couple singles from their new album – “Only One” and “Freakshow,” both available on CD single and on 7” vinyl. Ought to help tide us over until their delayed album hits the shelves.

One of the biggest stars of Brazilian music – Gilberto Gil – will be performing at the Boulder Theater next Thursday the 3rd. He is one of the co-founders of the Brazilian Tropicalia movement of the late 1960’s and has continued making exciting and entertaining music from then right up to his most recent release, Banda Larga Cordel. Three of his seminal albums of the Tropicalia era were also reissued domestically this week: Gilberto Gil (1968), Gilberto Gil (1969), and Expresso 2222, all of which come highly recommended (especially 1969) - as does his live show, the first time he’s visited this part of Colorado since he opened the newly remodeled Gothic Theater back in… when was that, 1994? 1993? It’ll be a treat, I promise.

I’ve also been keeping an ear out for the new CD by Walter Becker, Circus Money. I’ve only heard half of it so far, but I know Steely Dan fans won’t be disappointed. It’s got Becker’s usual command of groove his typically oblique way with a lyric. What may be surprising – though probably not to those who dug Becker’s previous solo outing – is how soulful his voice is when it’s up front. Donald Fagen has dominated so long as the face and sound of Steely Dan that it’s interesting to hear just how vital Becker is to the sound. I’m looking forward to getting to know this album much better over the coming months.

Making waves on DVD this week is the new release of the animated film Persepolis, a tale of a young Iranian woman’s coming of age in Teheran and Vienna. I’ll leave the delights of the plot for you to find out and just note that the film is a largely autobiographical story by Marjane Satrapi based on her graphic novel of the same name. The animation is a unique black and white style that makes no effort to find the realism that most animated films do these days, going instead for stylish effect when it wants to. Well worth your time.

Until next time,Patrick

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Soul-stice

Nothing I’m going to review is particularly soulful but this weekend is the solstice so I wanted to make use of the gag. Speaking of summer though - Dennis Wilson’s lovely, lost album Pacific Ocean Blue has finally been reissued in an incredible deluxe package that includes bonus tracks and an entire second (unreleased) album called Bambu. Kind of a Holy Grail item for Beach Boys fans, the original issue has been selling on ebay for hundreds of dollars until this much-welcomed reissue. It also has a Colorado connection being recorded at the legendary Caribou Ranch in the bad old days.

And now for something completely different: guitar genius and composer James Blackshaw has released another album on the great Tompkins Square label called Litany of Echoes. If you are a fan of the kind of contemplative, technically stunning work that John Fahey or Sandy Bull produced, this instrumental album is right up your alley. Blackshaw favors long, spacious compositions that are perfect for meditation, study or active guitar-fetish listening. It is another piece in the puzzle of this complex and important artist.

Speaking of guitar players, I finally got around to listening to John McLaughlin’s latest album Floating Point and couldn’t help but marvel at the energy and chops this veteran still shows in all his playing. Stylistically, it is all over the place; Shakti style here, psych rock style there, scientific note supplier, smooth jazzer(!?) , but through it all Mclaughlin’s playing is never less than awe-inspiring.

Grateful Dead watch. Volume 3 of the new Road Trips series is in and it’s a doozy. Recorded in the Summer of ’71 it is a wonderful recording that boasts some really strong performances of classics like “Bird Song,” “That’s It For The Other One,” “Sugaree,” “Dark Star” and “Uncle John’s Band.” Throughout Phil Lesh is booming, and proves again and again why he is a one-of-a-kind bass player. The bonus disc that comes with it for a limited time includes a newly unearthed soundboard of the greatest ever version of Pigpen’s “Hard To Handle” (Hollywood Palladium 8-6-71).Movie-wise, the bio-pic of Lon Chaney Sr. The Man Of A Thousand Faces starring the great James Cagney has finally been released on DVD. Probably not very accurate, and gussied up for Hollywood, the movie still made a huge impact on me as a youngster and set me off on a lifelong obsession with monster movies. I can’t wait to see it again. I also can’t wait to see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at Red Rocks Saturday night. This should prove to be the show of the summer.

And don’t forget to come to see Rose Hill Drive next week as they celebrate the release of their new album (out the day before). They will play on Wednesday the 25th at 6pm. They are one of the most impressive, high- octane rock and roll bands to ever come out of Colorado.See you in the aisles,Paul Epstein

p.s. oops I almost forgot one of my favorite new albums. John Zorn is one of those artists who, due to the fact that he owns his own label, puts out too damn much stuff. To be honest, I have stopped listening because he has flooded the market with so much inconsequential music, and hidden amongst it is the genuinely brilliant stuff he is capable of. His new album, called The Dreamers is a gigantic return to form offering up his most listenable album, possibly ever. With a dream band encompassing many of his usual sidemen (Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista etc) Zorn offers up a hypnotizing amalgam of stylistic approaches that win again and again. The music is never willfully obscure or abrasive and each song creates a melodic environment that you might never want to leave. Of the 50 albums Zorn will put out this year, this is THE one.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What the future has in-store

Hello all -June is our unofficial in-store month here at Twist, or at least it feels that way. We just wrapped up a Sage Francis/B. Dolan in-store yesterday - check out the link for a wrap-up of the show by one of our favorite indie rappers around (Sage has performed at Twist 3 times now) and his protégé (Dolan made his first appearance) - and Americana/roots band Railroad Earth are just about to hit the stage to promote their new album Amen Corner. Next Wednesday the 18th, we'll be hosting Giant Panda and Raashan Ahmad of Crown City Rockers. Both Raashan and Panda came out with new albums in late May (Push and Electric Laser respectively) that are definitely worth your time. Then, on Wednesday the 25th Rose Hill Drive will be making another appearance at the store (you may have caught their December '06 in-store when everything was brand new for us here on Colfax) and we're welcoming them back with open arms. Last show was a huge, high-energy affair and we're expecting nothing less this time around.Lots of live music abounding here and of course with the beginning of the nice weather season comes a lot of great live music around town. I've had the good fortune of seeing a couple great shows in the past week as well. Tuesday the Old 97's packed the Gothic and put on a fantastic show that was energetic, loud and about as enjoyable as I could've hoped, leaning heavily on their very good new album Blame It On Gravity. And last Friday I got a last minute ticket to go see Emmylou Harris and John Prine at Red Rocks. The catch? I didn't have a ride, so I had to bike it. Not so bad really, but I was totally wiped out for Emmylouis lovely opening set - a very mellow and beautiful affair with a crack band that featured about 6 or 7 cuts from her new record All I Intended To Be - and still really glad that most everybody remained seated during Prine's terrific set of all hits from his whole catalog. When I go see Rush on the 25th I won't be biking, thankfully.On the DVD front, this week has been all about Anton Corbijn's stark and beautifully photographed drama Control, based on the life and death of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. It has a great performance by Sam Riley as the troubled and epileptic Curtis and the concert scenes in particular are brilliant. For another look at Curtis and the band, check out the documentary about them (called Joy Division), which has gotten rave reviews all around. Together they constitute two looks at one of the best bands of the post-punk era.Until next time,Patrick

Friday, June 6, 2008

Who put the bomp in Obama?

Many releases to talk about-some brand new, some older-ish. Radiohead has finally put out a best of called…..wait for it………….”The Best of Radiohead.” There are four distinct versions- a single CD, a double CD, a Vinyl box set (that’s the one for me) and a full length DVD. That’s a lot of best of for a band without hit singles. Obviously essential for every fan. Dr. John continues to cement his place in the pantheon of American treasures with his powerful new album “City That Care Forgot.” Lyrically, it is a politically charged screed against the government and other forces of inertia and stupidity that allowed the tragedy in New Orleans to happen. Musically it recalls his early, darker voodoo funk period more than his slicker modern stuff. Very satisfying album. Just released by Sundazed records is The Byrds “Live At Royal Albert Hall.” Taken from one of their best, and highly underestimated periods (1971), this show features the excellent guitar work of Clarence White and truly trippy versions of songs like “Eight Miles High” and “Lover of The Bayou.” There are times during “Eight Miles High” when they are really flying. Excellent! Great deluxe versions of Elton John’s first two albums have just been reissued. “Tumbleweed Connection” remains one of the great albums of the 70’s and is really enhanced by a second disc of demos and live stuff. “Elton John” is a little more patchy but is a strong debut album from an artist who would become bigger than the world. This is a welcome upgrade to an important catalog.

I went to the Return To Forever show at the Paramount Theatre on Tuesday, and like the rest of the standing room only crowd was rendered breathless by their intact chops and jamming abilities. They were such a great part of the 70’s jazz fusion scene, and it really took a lot of folks back to a special place to see them again. It was a place where people used to OBSESS over music. To go to that place yourself, pick up the new Return To Forever “Anthology” disc which gathers the best of the “Dimeola years” in fantastic remixed and remastered fashion. They have never sounded better.

Two recent albums that came out and have continually grown on me are Spiritualized’s “Songs in A&E” and Mudcrutch’s self Titled album. The Spiritualized eluded me at first, but is now fully sinking in, and I think I love it. It is thoughtful and weird-two qualities I appreciate. From the second I heard Mudcrutch, I knew it was an instant classic. I don’t think people realize it is essentially the new Tom Petty album, because it has been a quiet release. If you like the country rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s this is so up your alley. It is a great album.
Don’t forget the two great instore performances we have next week. Sage Francis and B.Dolan will be dropping knowledge of the hip-hopular variety on Thursday at 6pm. and then Railroad Earth will be doing the bluegrass version of said knowledge drop the next night (Friday) at 5 pm. DON”T YOU DARE MISS IT!!!!
See You In The Aisles.Paul Epstein