Monday, June 29, 2009

Idle Hands are the Devil's Playthings

And by the evidence of their new single "Loaded" The Idle Hands are a pretty fair rock and roll band, too. Check out how they stumbled into heavy rotation at our old pal Jim McGuinn's station The Current in Minneapolis.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Angel and the King

On July 4, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two architects of the republic, died exactly fifty years after the nation’s birth. On June 25, 2009, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, two architects of the modern culture, died approximately forty-one years after mine. While the former duo may have meant more to world history, the latter stood as pillars of my own personal history. Excuse me, Michael, HIStory.

When I was eleven, I treasured nothing more than my Farrah poster and my Off the Wall LP. Each spawned an awakening in me. It’s hard to articulate just how beautiful Farrah seemed then; if you made a movie of my memory, you’d have to represent her face as a luminous glow, a physical form that could not be replicated or represented. I didn’t know much about women then, but she made me certain that I wanted to be near them. Farrah filled me with a wonder that is reserved for the young.

Michael simply filled me with awe. I had known him since I knew anything. When I first discovered music, he was still fronting the Jackson Five, and he was the most electrifying thing I’d ever seen. To watch him tear into “The Love You Save” on Flip Wilson’s show was to understand that music had mystical, magical powers. It was alchemy and electricity. It was the power of possibility. At a time when we were still visiting the moon, I’d watch astronauts and Michael Jackson with equal slack-jawed amazement, in wide-eyed wonder that mankind could do that.

That Michael Jackson vanished twenty years ago or more. The damaged shell that walked around that past couple of decades bore no resemblance to the force of nature that came before. In 1983, during the Motown 25th anniversary show, an entire nation gasped and cheered, held riveted while he performed “Billie Jean.” And he was lip-synching. Dressed like Sgt. Pepper, he was the new Elvis, able to move the earth with the tiniest twitch.

What followed was a sad descent to madness, interrupted by occasional flashes of brilliance. But no matter how weird it got – and it got really, really, uncomfortably weird – the memory of what he once was remained. The big afro and million-watt smile are frozen in time. That Michael Jackson never grew up, never got old. That Michael never left Neverland.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ike Reilly News! New Album in September!

Here's a little blurb sent out from Ike Reilly's label - make room in your top 10 for this one.

New Record Coming Soon!

A record that exploits the talent of all the members of the Assassination as well as members of the Libertyville High School Choir, World War II and Gulf War veterans, landscapers, pot growers, David Lowery and Johnny Hickman of the band Cracker, rock and country music star Shooter Jennings, infamous Barrel House Chuck and more....

Please participate in naming Ike's new record. Select one of the following titles. Your vote will be considered but not necessarily counted:

Click here to cast your vote!

1. Don't Go Round Breaking People's Tambourines
2. The Half Black Jesus Story
3. First Thing Monday Morning
4. PlexiGlass or Plastic
5. The Halftime Wreck
6. The Windy City Blows For Me and You

Here's an interview from last week right here!

And a concert review from Minneapolis!

Ike... come to Philly soon.

Some vintage Ike to tide you over:
Hip Hop Thighs # 17 (from Salesmen And Racists)
Garbage Day (from Sparkle in The Finish)
Valentine's Day in Jaurez (from We Belong To The Staggering Evening)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Battle of The Blogs - Part 2 on 6/18/09 @ The North Star

Teenage Kicks is proud to be part of this Thursday's second installment of Heyday Entertainment's Battle of The Blogs at The North Star. Last month local heroes The Robes prevailed in a ferocious round one battle.

Teenage Kicks entry in this month's battle are Langhorne's Splash1, who caught our ear at the M Room a couple months back. Splash1's melodic alt country mixed with strummy power pop and sunny harmonies is just the tonic to fire up a warm June night. Fans of Elvis Costello, The Shins, The Byrds and big pop hooks will be overjoyed.

Also on tap are Philly's Victor Victor band (presented by the awesome popwreckoning) and New Jersey's Lima Research Society (presented by champion of local music and all around superbly nice guy Bag of Songs Tom - he's also in one of the bands - see if you can tell which one.

SO COME ON OUT THIS THURSDAY!!! My sources tell me set times are 9 (Lima), 10 (Splash1) and 11 (Victor). Tickets are $8.00. The North Star is at 27th & Poplar.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Movies

What isn't on the internet?

And I still can't believe how good The Duke and The King were.

My Wife The Critic

So I'm in the basement listening to some tunes and "Camo Jacket" by Two Cow Garage pops up on iTunes. My wife says "That's either early Replacements or a Replacements wannabe band". Good call.

and because I love this song, some bonus Two Cow:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

More Photos From The Duke and The King Show

Thanks to Charlie Wellock for the following photos:

The Duke And The King - If They Ever Get Famous

I believe The Duke And The King may have ruined concert going for me.

Where do I go next? How do you top the thrill of seeing a band bursting at the seams with creative sparks and a kinship with the audience that bordered on familial (you know, familial as it pertains to the parts of the family you still speak to)? How do you react as decades old friends and minutes old friends get swept up as one and are smiling, singing, clapping and stomping along with the unbridled enthusiasm that only the young-at-heart can muster? How do you react when you see your skeptical 12 year old break away form the Xbox, open the back door and peek his little head out to bop around and join in on the sing-along chorus of “Radio Song”? And it’s all happening in your BACK YARD? That’s right… last night The Duke and The King were playing at my house, my house.

The sun was setting, there was a faint, early summer pre-buggy breeze, the beer was flowing, there was the sweet ambient chimes of Mister Softee a street or two away, the leaves protected the yard like a mama bird and the worst seat in the house was 15 feet from the stage. Perfect.

Simone Felice was the drummer and co-founder of the shambolic backwoods caravan that billed itself as The Felice Brothers. The Brothers are still going strong (back In Philly on 8/7 at The Electric Factory), but Simone has set out to express his vivid stories in a soulful new venture with Robert “Chicken” Burke called The Duke and The King. You probably haven’t heard them yet - their stunning debut Nothing Gold Can Stay won’t be out until August. Their music hints at Bee Gees psychedelia, Sam Cooke’s gentle soulfulness and singer-songwriter perfection. Last night’s show heralded a major new voice – Simone Felice comes across like a sweet faced mashup of Robbie Robertson circa The Last Waltz (smoldering sexuality intact) with the storytelling , passion and inclusiveness of the skinny 1975 Bruce Springsteen. Who knew that a genuine, charismatic front man was lurking behind the drums when he was wreaking wild-eyed havoc for The Felice Brothers? I kinda did. Simone’s lead vocals were always gorgeous, heart-stopping moments at their shows… so why not.

But I was still unprepared for the warmth and genuine appreciation that seeped out of every person in attendance last night, whether audience member, band member or both (more on that later). Opening with a spare “Don’t Wake The Scarecrow”, from last year’s Felice Brothers disc, it’s immediately apparent that this will be a special, one-of-a-kind night. Simone’s close-eyed intensity amplifies the urgency of an unrequited love story, and “Chicken” Burke’s deft brush strokes shimmer like gently breaking waves. This is a stripped down show in every way imaginable - all the pomp of a big rock show has been removed, the three piece band plays quietly but firmly, with a good bit of singing coming off mike. “If You Ever Get Famous” is a no-looking back love letter to the band he left behind (“If you ever get famous, don’t forget about me/ I hope it’s everything you though it would be”), but that will live forever in his heart.

Next up is "Water Spider", a tribute to great inspirational leaders (Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman) that included the sure to be oft-quoted line “Jesus walks on water, but so did Marvin Gaye”. I can’t believe I’ve gone this far without mentioning Nowell “I don’t need no stnkin’ mike” Haskins, whose booming, earthy vocals made the gospel burner “I Know I Been Changed” a set highlight and also featured a guest turn on electric guitar by my brother, Scott. It’s all about family with these guys. Haskins' counter-point response vocals and exhortations (mostly un-miked the rest of the night) added grit and unabated joy to a night that reeked with gospel type fervor.

The soft, strummy “The Morning I Get to Hell” provided a chance for audience participation (along with several other numbers) and also interspersed were Felice Brothers’ songs “The Devil is Real”, the emotionally super charged “Your Belly in My Arms”, the gorgeous “Mercy” and the perfect radio song, “Radio Song”. And how about The King’s (Robert Burke) solo turn on the quiet, plaintive, blink and you-missed it 75 seconds of “I’ve Been Bad”? The night came to a too brief end with an all hands on deck version of Neil Young’s “Helpless” that brought the show to a close hootenanny style.

Everything had fallen into place, the weather cooperated and the band couldn't have been more gracious. Simone is an amazing front man, captivating and incredibly earnest, and he, Nowell and Chicken treated each member of the audience like long lost family. In the weeks and months ahead, when people that were there last night start to see ecstatic, glowing reviews for Nothing Gold Can Stay (which right now is my front runner for album of the year), the epic quality of last night's show will resonate deeply.

Hey Simone – if you ever get famous, don’t forget about us.

The Duke And The King - "If You Ever Get Famous" (live 6-7-09 at MY HOUSE!)

The Duke And The King - "Water Spider"

The Duke And The King will play the intimate Chapel at The First Unitarian Church on August 3. You buy tix here.

The Duke And The King MySpace Page
Simone Felice MySpace Page
Loose Records (UK Label)

Thanks to Eric Hartline for the photo, Lisa for the idea and Cathy for putting up with me.

Sunday, June 07, 2009