Muse – The Resistence

It’s like my brother with a new Tragically Hip release: it’s a very slow, lingering, burning process.

It’s also how a long-lasting relationship maintains its fervor and ardor long after the initial burn has faded into abeyance.

I purposefully did not review this CD right out of the gate because of the relationship I have with Muse’s music. It wouldn’t be fair to my readers or to the band to give the CD one pass and review it. With some bands, you can do that. My initial listening to Alice in Chains’ “Black Gives Way to Blue” was a one-pass. It didn’t take me any time to see the musical genius behind their most recent offering.

Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard are true musicians. Their art is not something to be appreciated in the “Oh look … here’s a lovely mountain picture hanging above my hotel bed” kind of way. If there were a Louvre for music, their music would have a wing unto itself. It’s something to be drunk slowly. Sipped, as it were. Appreciated over a long, long period of time. They don’t write music; they compose it. And they do it with such finesse and precision that it simply wouldn’t be right to review their new CD without proper time to digest it.

And no–I don’t consider the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a “Louvre.”

Having said that …

The layering on this is phenomenal. “Uprising,” the anthemic opening track, treats us to Wolstenholme’s thick, prominant bass playing and Dom’s driving drum beat. They start off the track with such energy that you can’t help but get up and move. Bellamy bounces between keyboards and guitar. I don’t know who “they” is supposed to represent–government? media? Whoever the phantom power is, they will not control us; we will be victorious. Hands down. If you don’t believe that by the end of the song, you’re not paying close enough attention.

As is so often the case with many Muse songs, the next track, “Resistance,” lulls you into a trance with some ethereal, soft keyboards, then flows effortlessly into the meat of the song with more of Dom’s bombastic drumming, Matt’s keyboarding, and Chris’ single bass lines.

I’m just blown away by the hooks on this CD. “Undisclosed Desires” has some deep, soul-shaking, bass synth on the chorus that just rocks your ears and has the capicty to turn your innie into an outie. If you don’t think so, get yourself a pair of high-end headphones and listen to this track. Mix in the plucked-strings sound that echoes throughout, layered with the rest of the keyboards and synth … whoa.

One of my favorite tracks is “Unnatural Selection.” It has this completely “Do We Really Need This/Hullabaloo feel to it musically. Lyrically, it’s pretty in-your-face, conjuring protests and rallies. “I am hungry for some unrest; let’s push it beyond a peaceful protest. I want to speak in a language that you will understand …” If you want to hear an amazing live version of this track, check out this site. Download the Admiralspalast show.

Here’s the thing with Muse. I might have said this before, and if I have, I won’t apologize because it’s absolutely true.

Muse is the new Rush. Both 3-piece bands that do more with those 3 pieces than most 5-pieces bands. Their “less is more” approach to music bears the unavoidable comparison. Most want to compare Muse to Queen, and while there is no denying the influence Freddy Mercury et al have on the band, Muse does it better with less. Sorry, Queen fans … that’s just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it or like it.

I won’t review each song. I’ve given you enough of a reason to get this CD. This has “stuck on a desert island” potential. Seriously. Soak in it. Drink it in slowly and deliberately. You’ll thank yourself. And me.   🙂

Links:

Official site

Great fan site

Going to Muse in April!!

Well, serves me right. I *just* bought our Muse tickets today. Even after chatting with some people at the BNL show last night, I didn’t get around to buying the tix until this afternoon. NOT ideal seats … if the stage is the beach, our seats are the mid-west. We’re about that far away. There weren’t even any GA seats available.

I have an idea that may or may not get me some better seats, but we’ll see. It might not; I might end up with worse seats, but we’ll see. Hey, at least we’re going to the show. And it’s M– USE. It’s going to be great.

I actually bought 4 tickets, with the idea that I’d bring my wife (obviously) and my brother and his wife. To put things in perspective, the day of the show is also my nephew’s birthday. To my brother’s and his wife’s credit, they are choosing to spend the whole day with their boy, spoiling him with McDonalds (perspective, people … kids like it) and Mommy/Daddy time. That kid has some awesome parents. 🙂 Good on ya, guys!

So now we have “spare” tickets, though I believe they’re already spoken for. I hope they are, anyway. We neglected to call ANYone for this BNL show, and there were some slighted feelings for us going and not bringing people along. While I do feel badly, sort of, it was a nice evening out with the wife–a rare occurrence for us. I don’t regret having time with just her. What was kind of lame is that she had to drive down separate from me because I was already in town. Obviously, after the show, we had to ride home separately. That was weak and lame.

Fun times. Can’t wait for the show in April!

Barenaked in the SLC

I’ve actually lost count of how many Ladies’ shows I’ve seen. Gotta remember …

1. September 1999
2. October 2000
3. February 2002
4. November 2006

I have to believe that there was a show between 2002 and 2006, but I’m not positive. i’ll have to consult my stubs.

I do remember this about each and every show: they all ruled with the highest auhority given to bands. their crowd interaction and energy are unparalleled, even by the likes of Muse, who seemingly have boundless energy. I highly suspect that tonight’s show will be at least 100%.

well, okay … maybe only 80%, but that is only due to the absence of Steven Page–one of the founding members if the band. I’m sure the rest of the band will give 100%. They always do.

So now I’m in the venue. pretty nice place. supposedly, they have pizza and chips upstairs, bit we can’t get upstairs yet. My wife is stuck in traffic somewhere. She won’t be here for about an hour.

BNL. I can’t say enough good things about them. they’re fun. they love their fans. they enjoy being with their fans. they’re not narcissistic ingrate; they know who propelled them into the limelight, and they show their gratitude through their shows.

Tonight, I even brought my camera. Totally laid back policy. Pics are good and blessed; vids are not. And that’s totally understandable.

The bar tender here is talking music with me. She likes a lot of indie hippie type stuff. Here’s the list:

  • G Love and the Special Sauce (“sloppy jazz,” sounds kind of like a mix of Sublime and Bob Marley)
  • Missy Higgins
  • Michael Fronti
  • Keb Mo
  • Taj Mahal Trio
  • Xavier Rudd
  • Spearhead
  • Jay Nash, “A Stream up North”

I’m always on the search for new music.

These are some of the people ahead of us in line.

As one person stated earlier, BNL crowds are all about the fun. That’s so true. Most everyone gets along, there aren’t a lot of rude people … it’s always a really laid back atmosphere.

These are some of the people behind us.

WE ARE IN! I am flat-out in lov with this place. it’s tiny, it’s intimate, and it looks amazing. Lori and I have a table 15 feet from the stage and 20 fro
where the band will be. TINY.

This was taken from the very back of the floor. See how close everything is?

this is the view from our table. I can’t believe how close we are.

apparently, “hang our coats” is chick chat for “steal the seats in front of you and totally obliterate your view.”

Lori nailed it: this place is totally like The House of Blues in Vegas.

So this is Kevin Griffen, the lead singer from Better than Ezra.

Guy is mellow and cool. Great stage presence. Didn’t know this, but he wrote “You and I collide,” or whatever that song is called. He did a duet of “Silent Night” with Megan Joy – a SLC local.

Shout-out to Michelle and Stori. We chatted with them some of the night. Excellent convo, new friends! Their picture is below.

BNL’s new material is frickin’ awesome. I can’t wait to get their new CD in March.

During the song “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlmen,” Ed said, “Ladies and gentlemen, a very special Christmas gift just for you, Salt lake, will you please welcome our good friend, Sarah McLachlan, to the stage?” We all went berserk. And I do mean EVERYone. Then Ed just grinned. “Ha ha. Just kidding.” Good one, Ed. Good one. I don’t think I’ve ever been that suckered at a show.

There’s some drunk idiot behind is who keeps yelling negative stuff about the new stuff. it’s getting annoying. “I’ll whistle when they play something I know.” Direct quote. Sad.

Well, now we’re home. The show was amazing. Like I said, they played some new stuff that sounded really good. The new CD in March should be extremely well written and played. I like that everyone will probably have a contributing hand in it. Why shouldn’t they? Jim, Tyler and Kevin are all talented musicians. They SHOULD have a bigger role. I always liked BNL’s stuff when Steve was with the band, but it just seemed like he was kind of taking over. He’s good–no arguments there … but when you have a band of 5, and 2 contribute on a routine basis, it gets kind of … I don’t know. I hesitate to use the word “stale,” but truthfully, the last 2 CDs were kind of just that.

I really enjoyed getting to see Jim walk around stage. No upright bass for this show–just Jim and his 4-string slung over his neck. And he plays back-up vocalist extremely well. He and his brother Andy have a side project called “The Brothers Creegan.” Lori and I have their CD “Trunks.” It’s amazing. The more I think about it, the more excited I get for the new CD.

So I scored a free hat. The drunk guy behind me actually tried starting a fight. Long story short, it never came to a brawl, but it almost did. Finally, he calmed down, and we went back to enjoying the show.

A few minutes later, he must have felt drunk love or whatever cuz he put his arm around me and said, “You know, it’sh not that I don’t like this shtuff … I jusht really missh Shteve …” Yes, well … he left a rather large hole to fill. However, the band, and I do mean THE WHOLE BAND, filled those shoes more than adequately. After that and a couple minutes later, he gave me his hat. Apparently, he had just bought it. I don’t know.

Anyway, to all of those who end up reading this and were at the show, I sincerely apologize if “that incident” took away from your enjoyment of the show. I don’t think anyone enjoys negativism for a band they paid good money to see. Yah, if the band sucks and deserves to be booed, sure. That was certainly not the case last night.

Here are some of the choice pics from the show.

Muse Is Coming to Salt Lake

Yesterday, my wife called me to announce that Muse is coming. Not only are they coming, but they’re bringing Silversun Pickups along for the ride. That show is going to rule. April 5, 7:30 PM. Ha ha … wife and I have have a date night scheduled! WHOO! Albeit in April, but still … 🙂

I’m excited for the show because Muse shows are so high-energy. Lots of jumping, dancing, singing along … they’re a blast. The *only* concern I have is that I haven’t listened to much of the new CD. It’s just  … it’s too political for my tastes. Yah, I like System of a Down and Rage, but they were political from the beginning. Mostly. Rage was, anyway. System got more political with each new CD. But muse … this one is just too in-your-face political for me. They’ve always been the band that plays amazing music and wraps it around amazing lyrics about anything BUT politics. Anyway, for all of that, I haven’t gotten into the new CD as much. Granted, there are some stand-out tracks, like “Undisclosed Desires,” “Unnatural Selection,” “The Resistance,” “MK Ultra” … like I said, there are some good tracks. Amazing tracks, at that. I’m sure the longer I listen to it, the more it’ll grow on me.

The best part is that this show is actually at the E-Center this time. The last time they were here–in September 2007–they played at the McKay Events Center in Orem, on UVSC’s campus. Not exactly a large venue. E-Center is much more conducive to a Muse-worthy crowd. Should be sufficiently large to hold all of us. I can’t wait.

So now comes the debate: Floor (GA) or lower bowl? I’m leaning towards lower bowl. Here’s why: I don’t like being mashed up against the front rail. And that’s probably where I’d try to get . Even within 5 feet would be amazing. On the other hand, bowl seats are a little confining. At least with GA seats, we could move to the back if we want some wiggle room. So it’s either NO or a LOT of moving room, or barely some. What to do … which to buy. Decisions, decisions.

New Music To Heal the Non-Blogging Soul

I’ve been in a blogging drought lately. This was evidenced by a comment left on my other blog by a friend who was curious if I was ever going to write again.

So for lunch today, I got a hankering for some new music. There’s a local CD swap shop a couple of miles from where I work, so I thought I’d see what they have to offer. For those of you in the Salt Lake area, if you aren’t familiar with  CD Exchange yet, you either just moved here or your live in a very dark hole that’s 5 feet under a very large rock. Your hole is sound-proof and culturally deprived. I weep for you internally.

For those of you who are familiar with GW, you already know the verneable cornucopia of potential new finds offered at any of their locations. Today being a limited browsing opportunity day, I only got to hastily rummage through letters A through the beginning of D. The yield was pretty good. Here’s a list of stuff I grabbed:

Dear John Letters – Unbroken
Atherton – Skyline Motel
Absentstar – Sea Trials
Kirsten Candy – Glimpse
Blue Condition – Cheap Wine

I also picked up a Cranes Submarine EP with a bunch of remixes, but that’s just because it’s a Cranes CD. That’s a must-have purchase, in my book.

I’ll be reviewing each of these CDs over the course of the weekend (minus the Cranes EP), probably starting with the Dear John Letters CD, since I’m already listening to it. Not bad …

Out of Obscurity

There was a time when discovering unknown music was simple: you simply ran down the the local used CD store and find something you had never heard of. You’d find some new music, take it home, listen to it, fall in love with it, and brag about it. “Hey, have you heard of [insert unknown band name here]?”

“Nope. Who are they?”

“Found them at [insert local used CD shop’s name here].”

*hand headphones to buddy*

“WHOA. These guys are incredible.”

That was a relatively short time ago.

Music and file sharing in general has led to an exponential decrease in the “ability” to find new music that no one’s heard of. At least in your own circle of friends, however large or small that may be. An example of this is Heather–a girl I used to work with. She favors the more mellow, sometimes acoustic sound. I fired off as many a relaxing band: Air, Mew, Bat for Lashes, Folk Implosion, Halloween Alaska, Howling Bells, Sparklehorse, The Olive League … even Scarlett Johannson.  She had heard of ALL of them. Not some … all. I was rather blown away. I pride myself on my music collection. It’s divers, it’s ecclectic, and I used to think I had some obscure stuff. Heather’s collection blows mine away.

One band I’ve been hung up on lately is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He’s not necessarily obscure, but ask around and see who’s actually heard of him. Better yet, check local music shops. See how many actually have his CDs in their new material. 

Imagine the anti-thesis of Suzanne Vega. Her music is peppy, positive, light, and fun. Nick Cave’s … polar opposite. Except for the fun. It’s AMAZING fun. If you’re into “Murder Folk” music with a gospel twist, he’s your man. He has a real penchant for writing about death–specifically in saloons, in bar fights, down by the river.

Here’s the best part: he’s been around for well over 35 years. And you’ve probably never heard of him. Or at least, you’ve probably never heard a single song of his.

I highly recommend checking out his stuff. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I prefer my CD covers have some kind of artsy feel to them. Cave CDs generally have some image of him on the front. Typically, that’s a red flag in my book. Don’t let this fool you. The music warrants the vanity. To his credit, his later CDs (ex: Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus) dispose of the self-aggrandizing visage cover and embraces minimalist art. Coincidentally (?), this happens to be my favorite CD of his. The music is at its strongest. Track 2, “Cannibal’s Hymn,” is disturbing. Actually, most of what he writes is un-nerving. You have to wonder what kind of childhood he went through to come up with some of the stuff he writes. I mean, yah … most musical artists pour some of their angry youth into their music. Those artists are typically in their early 20s, and the anger is still relatively fresh. Nick Cave is 52, and he’s been performing since the early 70s.

Anger-y? Good question. He has some sweet love songs, too. Take, for example “Where the Wild Rose Grows” Here are the lyrics.

*ahem*

They call me The Wild Rose
But my name was Elisa Day
Why they call me it I do not know
For my name was Elisa Day

From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one
As she stared in my eyes and smiled
For her lips were the colour of the roses
They grew down the river, all bloody and wild

When he knocked on my door and entered the room
My trembling subsided in his sure embrace
He would be my first man, and with a careful hand
He wiped the tears that ran down my face

CHORUS

On the second day I brought her a flower
She was more beautiful than any woman I’d seen
I said, ‘Do you know where the wild roses grow
So sweet and scarlet and free?’

On the second day he came with a single rose
Said: ‘Will you give me your loss and your sorrow?’
I nodded my head, as I lied on the bed
He said, ‘If I show you the roses will you follow?’

CHORUS

On the third day he took me to the river
He showed me the roses and we kissed
And the last thing I heard was a muttered word
As he stood smiling above me with a rock in his fist

On the last day I took her where the wild roses grow
And she lay on the bank, the wind light as a thief
As I kissed her goodbye, I said, ‘All beauty must die’
And lent down and planted a rose between her teeth

CHORUS
Hmm. Actually, that’s pretty morbid. OH WAIT. That’s Nick Cave. 🙂

Like I said, I highly recommend.

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