The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
“Science Fiction/Double Feature”

As I said in my 21st birthday post, my first experience with Rocky Horror was one of fright and confusion. Now, years later, it’s one of my favorite movies, albums and activities. In fact, there’s a showing tonight in Lexington at the Kentucky Theater.

MP3: The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Science Fiction/Double Feature
It’s hard for me to talk about a Rocky Horror song because I just wind up yelling out the audience participation lines alone in my room. But I’ll get into that later.

The craziest thing about the Rocky Horror Picture Show is that it’s absolutely, 100% impossible for it to have worked out as well as it did. It’s a bad-on-purpose, self-parodying flick about transvestite aliens, a rock ‘n roll lobotomy, two chaste lovers and some frankensteined up man-meat, all with a soundtrack that’s somewhere between Ziggy Stardust, Mott the Hoople and Meatloaf. By the numbers, this should have been a flop. The problem was, it was actually quite good.

The RHPC starts off with a Rolling Stones-esque pair of lips inciting a litany of early sci-fi flicks. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” sets the mood for the musical at irreverent (a fact which no doubt contributed to the audience participation — a.k.a. the first Mystery Science Theater 300). It’s paying homage at the same time as it’s setting the audience up for a serious left turn.

Musically I can’t say enough good things about the entire soundtrack or the opening number. Though there are a great number of instruments vying for your attention during the chorus, I think the real winners are the bass and piano. The bass wanders and weaves around the verses and the piano quietly give the song its second layer of soul.

Again, Rocky Horror will be playing tonight in Lexington. Or you could always find a showing near you.

As a side note, let me say that one of my favorite birthday presents was the one my friend Kara gave me: the Rocky Horror soundtrack on vinyl. Does she know me or what?

Bishop Allen: “Middle Management”

Bishop Allen’s new album, The Broken String, will be out July 24. They’re currently on tour with Page France and apparently performing a cover of “Days” by the Kinks (anyone got a recording?). But to tide you over, here’s one of the finer tracks from the new record.

MP3: Bishop Allen – Middle Management
The first time I saw “Middle Management” played live — after years of having heard it demoed and streamed on their myspace — one of my friends grabbed my collar at its conclusion and yelled “What was that one?” There’s something undeniably lovely about this tune. It’s the most like the Modern Lovers-loving Charm School-era Bishop Allen on the new record, which is mostly because it’s one of the oldest. From the “alright!” which starts it off, it jumps and stabs like a prim and proper punk.

Buy Bishop Allen records
Bishop Allen on Myspace

Pitchfork are streaming a new BOAT track. It’s great, like the new album.

Shapes Have Fangs: “What In the World”

Thanks to Gorilla for introducing me to Shapes Have Fangs. Let’s get this out of the way early: Shins, Shins, James Mercer, Shins, Oh, Inverted World, Keyboards. Shins.

MP3: Shapes Have Fangs – What In the World
As has been pointed out on many blogs already, Shapes Have Fangs seem to really enjoy the Shins. Normally I’d be a little let down by a band whose influences are so easily pinpointed, but I think there’s a reason I’m letting them slide on this one. The Shins (the real ones) sound so little like their previous self that, while I enjoyed the record, I was left wanting in the sonic area they’d previously occupied. So I’m willing to give Shapes Have Fangs a slide on this one and just enjoy a good pop song.

Shapes Have Fangs on Myspace

Super Furry Animals: “Neo Consumer”

Yes, this is the album artwork for Hey Venus

I love the Super Furry Animals. Guerrilla soundtracked my last trip to New York, and to this day I can’t hear “Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)” without mentally jumping back to waiting in a cold subway after midnight. They’re a fantastic band, and they’ve shown that again with Hey Venus!

MP3 LINK: Super Furry Animals – Neo Consumer (download)

I think Super Furry Animals are part of a dying breed. They’re so far out there that it’s difficult to stay on the same page as them. They don’t really write bad songs… just occasionally some very, very weird songs. So if their misses are still fantastic, what does that say about their hits? “Neo Consumer” is a decent example of what happens when all the elements of SFA are in order. It’s not in my top five, but it’s a driving pop song that hits in a all the right ways. Also it reminded me why I occasionally use SFA as a reference to De Novo Dahl. They’re both great pop groups that will leave your head spinning.

Get Hey Venus!

Check it out: WOXY fights at Capitol Hill

John Vanderslice Tour Dates

I’m still loving Vanderslice’s newest, Emerald City. Unfortunately he’s not really coming near me on this tour, so if you make it out, tell me how it was!

MP3: John Vanderslice – White Dove

John Vanderslice Tour Dates
9/6 Los Angeles CA @ Troubadour
9/7 San Diego CA @ The Casbah
9/8 Phoenix AZ @ Modified
9/9 Tucson AZ @ Plush
9/11 Austin TX @ The Parish
9/12 Norman OK @ The Opolis
9/14 Dallas TX @ The Loft
9/15 Baton Rouge LA @ Spanish Moon
9/17 Orlando FL @ The Social
9/18 St. Augustine FL @ Café Eleven
9/19 Tallahassee FL @ Club Downunder
9/20 Atlanta GA @ The Earl
9/21 Chapel Hill NC @ Duke Coffeehouse
9/24 Philadelphia PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
9/26 New York NY @ Bowery Ballroom
9/27 Cambridge MA @ The Middle East
9/28 Cambridge MA @ The Middle East
10/1 Toronto ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
10/2 Ann Arbor MI @ The Blind Pig
10/3 Cleveland OH @ The Grog Shop
10/4 Athens OH @ Ohio University, Baker Theatre
10/5 Bloomington IN @ The John Waldron Art’s Center
10/6 Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle
10/9 Omaha NE @ The Waiting Room
10/12 Provo UT @ Velour
10/11 Denver CO @ The Hi-Dive
10/13 Salt Lake City UT @ Kilby Court
10/15 Vancouver BC @ The Red Room
10/18 Portland OR @ The Doug Fir
10/20 San Francisco CA @ The Independent

The Redwalls @ Southgate House 6.27.07

I had seen a little bit of the Redwalls when they were sandwiched between We Are Scientists and Hot Hot Heat in Louisville two years ago, but not enough to really get a feel for them as a band. I’d describe their live show as akin to Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen singing Locksley songs… ok, Paul Revere and the Raiders songs.

The night was severely handicapped by drunken “broseph” frat guys who yelled and slapped high-fives the entire night. At several points I thought the band was going to kick the ringleader in the head. If they hadn’t been such huge fans, it might have happened. The best point was when one of the Redwalls said of the guys “don’t mess with him, man. His dad owns a dealership!” Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference? I’d like to think so.

But despite the drunken man huddles, the Redwalls put on a fantastic show. They do the multiple-lead-singers thing better than any band I’ve seen. None of them was weaker than the others, and it worked well. It was a high energy show and I know if the crowd had been better (or bigger) it would have been a stellar show.