Live Music Is Better – City and Colour at Terminal 5 (12/7/11)

One of the worst things that can happen to a fan of a particular band or musician is hearing said band/musician live and learning that he/she/they do(es) not live up to the standards set in the fan’s head (heart). I was so afraid of this before I went to the City and Colour show last Wednesday (12/7). But as soon as the tattooed-but-tailored Dallas Green sang his first words, my fears were assuaged, bulldozed. Dallas Green was incredible live. His voice (DAMN that voice) rang out clear and beautiful, and the concert quickly became one of my favorite musical experiences (ever). I recorded a (shitty) video of “Sleeping Sickness”, and it’s moderately astounding that even through an iPhone recording you can hear how rich his voice is.

Live Music is Better – Max Bemis at the Bell House (12/2/11)

Max Bemis isn’t crazy anymore. And he’s married (weird). But his following is strong (-er than I expected), and we who have liked him since/when he was crazy (really crazy) came out to hear his solo acoustic set Friday night, December 2, at The Bell House in Brooklyn.

The Bemises... or Perma, I suppose.

His wifey, Sherri DuPree of Eisley fame, opened up the night, but Bemis joined her for a few Perma (the duo/band they formed together… sigh) tunes before DuPree left the stage, telling the crowd that Max was going to come out and “spit on all of you… or whatever he does.”

Bemis came out with a lone guitar, and the packed Bell House crowd sang every word along with him (especially for the older Baseball and …Is a Real Boy tracks), sometimes shocking the Say Anything frontman to the point where he’d ask “how do you guys know this shit?!” He let us sing choruses, stepping back from the mic in moderate awe, but when he took over he belted his (gut-and-heart-wrenching) lyrics with passion, and angst, and fervor – everything we all fell in love with his music for.



Hot Shit of the Minute: Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park

Pittsburgh native Mac Miller dropped Blue Slide Park earlier this month (specifically on November 8, 2011); the album’s namesake ¬†– a section of Pittsburgh’s Frick Park. Miller is now a part of Pittsburgh’s growing musical output that includes Wiz Khalifa (both of which are on independent label Rostrum Records) and Girl Talk.

Blue Slide Park¬†started strong in its release, debuting at #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart. With this achievement, Blue Slide Park became the first independent-label debut (studio) album to hit #1 since Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food (1995).

The album’s released-and-pimped singles, “Frick Park Market” and “Up All Night” are in a completely different, marketable/poppy vein compared to tracks like “Diamonds and Gold”, “Of the Soul”, and “Blue Slide Park”. Better beats, hooks, and rhymes deeper in the line-up show a range to Mac Miller that isn’t readily perceptible in the more widely publicized/played tracks.

Get the album. Listen to ALL of it. And sample some of my top picks here:

Hot Shit of the Minute: City and Colour – Fragile Bird

Dallas Green’s City and Colour has been one of my favorite bands for years (that tattooed Canadian digs into my soul), and though I have deep-seated love for the first two (studio) albums (Sometimes in 2005 and Bring Me Your Love in 2008), June 2011’s Little Hell includes a few diamonds. “Fragile Bird” is one of them. I’ve been chewing on Little Hell for a while, but I’m not over this song. In fact, it’s the Hot Shit of the Minute for me.

Check out the (intense, gritty, mildy freaky) video: