Saturday, December 8, 2007

Streetlight Manifesto :: Somewhere in the Between

Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between coverArtist :: Streetlight Manifesto
Album :: Somewhere in the Between
Label :: Victory

In a word :: un-genre-bound

Play this cut first :: One Foot on the Gas, One Foot in the Grave

Man, it's so hard for me to review ska. I mean, it's not that I have anything against it, in general; it just seems to be like the equivalent of genre fiction - you know, so caught up in the things that make it its own genre that it loses sight of the big picture.

So it is with my impression of ska, so caught up with horn lines and upstrokes on upbeats, that it loses sight of the song. One wonderfully notable exception in ska history is Catch 22's Keasbey Nights. That's one album that come s about as close to seminal as a ska record can get. Tomas Kalnoky, mastermind behind that album, has been putting out solid album as the founding member of Streetlight Manifesto, but this time, he hit the mark again on the remarkable Somewhere in the Between.

Kalnoky is cementing his reputation as the Elvis Costello of the genre. A master songwriter whose compositions could easily be played alone on an acoustic guitar and retain the same power.
Streetlight Manifesto - Band PhotoAlongside great arrangements are lyrics that remind one of dorm-room chatter as a bunch of on-their-own young adults get together and collectively figure out life. The conversations are brilliant in their simplicity. Listening to cuts like "Somewhere in the Between" and "The Receiving End of it All" are like reaching personal resolve. The news may not be new, baby, but it's always late-breaking.

The other truly spectacular element of Somewhere in the Between is the performance of the band. Recorded in different places at different times, there is so much energy that it seems impossible that they weren't all in the same room together. To muster that level of performance says as much about the performers as it does the material.

It's bands like Streetlight Manifesto that genres like ska, which don't get time in the spotlight but once every couple of decades or so, owe a great debt to. They keep the spirit alive by turning out great discs when (seemingly) no one is listening. Somewhere in the Between gives people a reason to listen.

Now Playing :: Down, Down, Down To Mephisto's Cafe

The Bottom Line :: Somewhere in the Between is the rare disc that shines in small doses of a few songs at a time or in a straight-through listen. And quite simply, it's the ska album that people who don't listen to ska will love, because greatness is never bound by genres.

Best Cuts :: We Will Fall Together; One Foot on the Gas, One Foot in the Grave; Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe; Somewhere in the Between, Forty Days

Remembering John and Dime

It's December 8th again. On this date in history both John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell Abbot were slain by gunmen. As they are two of the most identifiable and influential musicians in rock history, we at BRB are making a little space here on December 8th to honor their memories with this simple tribute.

If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it.
- John Lennon

When I tried to play something and screwed up, I'd hear some other note that would come into play. Then I started trying different things to find the beauty in it.
-Dimebag Darrell

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Journey Uses YouTube to Find New Singer

In news that sounds like something out of the movie "Rockstar", classic rock band, Journey finds their new singer on YouTube!

The new Journey frontman is Arnel Pineda (“pin-eh-da”). He replaces Jeff Scott Soto, who parted ways with the band earlier this year after stepping in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the band in 2006 for medical reasons.

Arnel is from Quezon City in the Philippines and has been singing Journey songs--in addition to original material--with his band, The Zoo, for the past couple of years in clubs all over his homeland.

When it was time for Journey to look for a new lead singer, they turned to the internet. Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he went to YouTube.

“I was frustrated about not having a singer,” explains guitarist Schon, “so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found The Zoo and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted. After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true. I thought, ‘He can’t be that good.’ But he is that good, he’s the real deal and so tremendously talented. Arnel doesn’t sound synthetic and he’s not emulating anyone. I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter.”

“It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world," says Pineda. "It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore Journey fans. I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen. I know there's only one Steve Perry in this world.”

Journey is currently working on a new album with legendary producer Kevin Shirley, with a drop date for spring/summer 2008. Details will be announced early next year.