Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your favorite Music Scenes – From Punk to Indie and Everything In Between by Leslie Simon (Book)

Ever wondered exactly which Haagan Dazs Henry Rollins used to work at in D.C.? Or, how about what San Francisco collective local punk rockers can visit to take classes on underwear making? Neither have I, but thank God Leslie Simon has. In what has got to be the best guide book on punk rock… well ever, rock journalist Simon answers a slew of questions never asked about punk rock and indie scenes across the U.S. in her latest book Wish You Were Here. Simon, who coauthored Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture, brings back the same snarky tone that made her last guide such a fun read. Continue reading “Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your favorite Music Scenes – From Punk to Indie and Everything In Between by Leslie Simon (Book)”

Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe (CD)

Depeche Mode, one of Britain’s best known synth bands, has been slammed by fans and critics for abandoning the sound that made them one of the few late 80’s/early 90’s bands that managed to be both cool enough for the hipsters and accepted by the broader public. Continue reading “Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe (CD)”

Pulling – The Complete First Season (DVD)

Coming off like a British version of Sex and The City, without the obsessive comments about shoes, Pulling does a far better job of appealing to members of both sexes. The first season of the show, originally aired in the UK in 2006, is finally making it to the U.S. via DVD. Continue reading “Pulling – The Complete First Season (DVD)”

The Casting Out – Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks! (CD)

Though The Casting Out is led by former BoySetsFire singer Nathan Gray, don’t expect this new outfit to sound anything remotely like the post hardcore band he used to front. On the band’s debut, Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks!, the angry guitars and angsty bellows have been replaced by a more pop/punk sound and a few song-along choruses. Continue reading “The Casting Out – Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks! (CD)”

Bob Dylan – Together Through Life (Columbia)

Though not as prolific as sometime tour mate Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan has yet to show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. On his 33rd record, Together Through Life, Dylan has clearly gone back to the old Sun and Chess Recordings for inspiration and the result is fantastic for long time Dylan devotees (another obvious influence is Dylan’s Sirius/XM radio show “Theme Time Radio Hour”). Continue reading “Bob Dylan – Together Through Life (Columbia)”

Steve Kilbey – Painkiller (CD)

As bassist and front man for Australian rockers The Church, Steve Kilbey has had a hand in turning out some of the more influential psychedelic pop songs of the late 80’s/early 90’s alternative scene. On his latest solo offering, his sixth, however Kilbey is running out of steam. The Aussie rocker known for penning classics like “Under the Milky Way” and “Metropolis,” simply sounds conflicted with this uneven record. Continue reading “Steve Kilbey – Painkiller (CD)”

Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (CD)

A cappella is not supposed to sound this good. The vocals-only genre exists solely for our amusement and ridicule, right? Andy, the dork from The Office was in a college a cappella group, so it’s gotta be uncool, right? Ben Folds may have finally made the oft maligned musical form hip with the release of Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! Continue reading “Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (CD)”

The IT Crowd – Season One (DVD)

If you’ve yet to hear about the British sitcom The IT Crowd, just wait about a year. It’s only a matter of time before one of the networks here snatches up the rights to this series and tries to repurpose it for American audiences, only to cancel it after two episodes (NBC had originally planned to run it last year, but the show has yet to air). Continue reading “The IT Crowd – Season One (DVD)”

Life & Times – Tragic Boogie (Arena Rock) (CD)

Proving loud and beautiful can coexist, Missouri’s Life & Times has been able to live up to the hype surrounding their 2003 EP. The trio, including former Shiner founder Allen Epley, manage to sound a lot bigger than just three guys. Tragic Boogie, the group’s latest full length, though not perfect, is still a solid step in the right direction. With its swirling guitars and light industrial feel (Think My Bloody Valentine with a lot more restraint), the record manages to flaunt influences as diverse as Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbox and the aforementioned My Bloody Valentine. You can even hear a band look the Foo Fighters in a track like “Let It Eat” (a moodier Dave Grohl, but Foo Fighters nonetheless). The album drags a bit in the middle, but the varied influences are a blessing, saving the band from getting too bogged down in the same sound. Though not for everyone, with elements of ambient to math rock, “Tragic Boogie” is bound to find an audience.

Top Tracks: “Let It Eat” and “Fall of the Angry”

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Life & Times – Tragic Boogie / CD / 2009 Arena Rock / 12 Tracks / http://www.goodfriendsrecords.com