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RIP: Rilo Kiley (1998-2011)

14 Jul

The indie world, as a collective entity, would be undeniably foolish if we said that we didn’t see this coming. Still, Paste Magazine reported earlier today that Rilo Kiley’s looming break-up is finally official, and that’s what hurts.

After being signed to a major label and releasing their fourth album, Under The Blacklight, fans of the infamously dysfunctional band were left with a brilliant rock record that just missed it’s mark.

What it stood for to the band showed. Mirroring lead singer Jenny Lewis and guitarist Blake Sennett’s real life relationship, it was much like the trial separation of a marriage. What resulted was the brilliantly messy Blacklight – an album that has you gritting your teeth, dancing, and cutting tension with a knife all at once. Sadly, each song had it’s own shining moment of glory, but the album as a whole felt sloppy, as though it were being held together with string and duct tape. At times, it’s hard to understand cohesively, and others you’re scratching your head wondering how some of the songs made the cut. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the hell out of the album, but at times it felt as though someone gave me a puzzle where the pieces are all of different images and I can’t get the full picture on the front of the box.

Long story short, Blacklight proved that they still had the chemistry, but underneath it all, the heart of the band was gone and it left everyone wondering – were they in it for fear of change, or had they seen it as their chance to redeem and solve the band’s issues? I’m willing to bet it was both, and I’d like to think they were also ‘in it for the kids’.

An exclusive interview with Spinner, also released earlier today, Sennett was quoted giving the best explanation possible for the band’s final curtain call.

“I just felt like there was a lot of deception, disloyalty, greed and things I don’t really want to submit myself to,” said Sennett. “I had related that frustration to music but I just thought, ’I’m not going to put myself in that position again,’ so I said, ‘Fuck that, I can’t do this anymore.’”

For now, it’s hard to stomach the loss. What better way to mourn the death of one of indie’s unarguably most prominent and influential bands than making a list of their ten best songs? I can’t think of one. Don’t worry, I didn’t put ‘Does He Love You?’ on it, but if I had, it’d be at the top of the list.

10. Teenage Love Song (Initial Friend, 2nd Pressing)
9. It’s A Hit (More Adventurous)
8. Rest of My Life (Take-Offs and Landings)
7. I Never (More Adventurous)
6. My Slumbering Heart (The Execution of All Things)
5. Always (Take-Offs and Landings)
4. The Angels Hung Around (Under The Blacklight)
3. Portions for Foxes (More Adventurous)
2. Pictures of Success (Take-Offs and Landings)
1. More Adventurous (More Adventurous)

Even with this list, it’s hard to deny that their entire discography is worth acquiring and listening to. I recommend their highly successful (and probably most popular) third album, More Adventurous, as a starting point.

For now, I’m saving up for the plane ticket and entry fee it’ll cost for the reunion show. It’s unlikely, but damn if it isn’t something worth waiting for.

Give Peace A Chance: 42 years of inspiration through music

31 May

42 years ago, today, John Lennon sat in a hotel room in his pajamas and long hair alongside Yoko Ono and recorded his historic single ‘Give Peace A Chance’.

Now, the song still means just as much to those of us that simply refuse to accept that violence has to be a part of the world we live in. With the Iraq and Afghanistan wars still going on, and current uprisings in Libya, it’s hard to imagine that anybody is still thinking about the peace that John sang about all those years ago. Still, it’s the kind of song that still means just as much now as it did during Vietnam.

While not everyone is as firm a believer in peace as John and Yoko were, today I challenge you to live a little more peacefully. Hug your loved ones, smile at a stranger and help someone you don’t know just because they need it. We might not be able to end suffering today, but love and peace start with the small things. After all, WAR IS OVER! If you want it.

RIP: Gerard Smith, TV On The Radio (1977-2011)

20 Apr

Last month, TV On The Radio announced days before their scheduled SXSW dates that bassist Gerard Smith was battling lung cancer and would not be playing with them.

Now, little over a month later, the band have announced that Smith, 33, has lost his battle to cancer.

We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer. Gerard passed away the morning of April 20th, 2011. We will miss him terribly.

This terrible news comes only a week after their latest effort, Nine Types of Light, was released. It was the third album Smith recorded with the band.

The band has announced that the following shows will be cancelled:

4/20 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew Halls
4/22 – Chicago IL @ Metro
4/23 – Minneapolis MN @ First Ave
4/24 – Minneapolis MN @ First Ave
4/26 – Denver CO @ Ogden

More information will be available as it becomes available on the official TV On The Radio website.

RIP: RX Bandits (1995-2011)

12 Apr

In a statement released earlier today by the band, RX Bandits have announced that they will call it quits following a tour this year.

Source: David Zentz

Dear friends,
We would like to express our love and appreciation for all that you’ve done for us and how much a part of our growth you have been. We have all mutually decided that this summer will be our last tour. We love each other and love you all and hope to see you at the shows.

Much love & respect,

Rx Bandits

Not much has been heard from the band since last September, when they played a three-night showcase at The Troubadour in LA. The weekend-long event gave fans a chance to buy three-day passes or single-night admission to hear the last three albums in chronological order, played in their entirety.

Although the band has yet to announce the official dates for their last tour, they do have a few confirmed dates for music festivals and other appearances within the coming weeks.

4/20 – Riverside, CA @ The Barn
4/29 – Rutherford, NJ @ Bamboozle Music Festival
4/30 – Rutherford, NJ @ Bamboozle Music Festival
5/14 – San Diego, CA @ OMBAC Coming Out Party

“Of course I wont say that anything we do will replace RXB, but we are artists at heart, artists are constantly changing and are free to change when ever they feel like exploring new worlds. And we would love for all of you to explore these worlds with us.”
-Chris Tsagakis,

For more information, visit their official website, follow them on Twitter or ‘Like’ them on Facebook.

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