SHOW PREVIEW: Big Star’s Third
Boy, oh boy, are we in for a big treat this Saturday at the Club!
Most music buffs are by now familiar with Big Star’s delayed success story, but here’s a quick recap. The Memphis power poppers were initially active from 1971 to 1974, during which time they recorded three albums: #1 Record, Radio City, and Third/Sister Lovers. None of the albums achieved commercial success upon their releases, and Big Star soon disbanded. It wasn’t until 1978, when Third had a proper, widespread release through PVC Records, that Big Star’s genius was finally noticed.
Although Big Star was at that point inactive, Third became a cult classic and eventually landed a spot on Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. Numerous bands formed in the early 1980s, including R.E.M., The Replacements, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, were inspired in part by Big Star’s newfound eminence. Now deemed "Memphis’ answer to The Beatles,” Big Star’s legacy is undeniable, as depicted in Nothing Can Hurt Me.
To further the legacy, as well as commemorate Big Star mastermind Alex Chilton, founding drummer Jody Stephens, along with Chilton-collaborator Chris Stamey (of The dB’s), hatched “Big Star’s Third” tour. Stephens and Stamey called upon friends, including Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Pat Sansone of Wilco, to embark on a four-day stint of performing Big Star’s two most celebrate albums, Third and #1 Record, in their entireties.
This Saturday’s Club stop on the once-in-a-lifetime tour features, in addition to the above star-studded list of musicians, special guest Lesa Aldridge (Chilton’s muse for much of Third) and a twelve-piece chamber orchestra. Bring tissues, because the experience just might make you misty-eyed.
Join us this at the Club this Saturday, August 23 for Big Star’s Third. Send your ticket confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 p.m. today (August 20) for your chance to win merch signed by Jody Stephens!
SHOW PREVIEW: Benjamin Booker
Who’s Benjamin Booker? Well, he’s a 25-year-old blues rocker from Tampa Bay, FL, and his self-titled debut album hits stores today! The album was produced by Andrija Tokic, who has also produced albums for Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff. The opening track is his single, “Violent Shiver,” and the first thing you’ll notice is the extremely catchy blues riff that recurs throughout the song and leads straight into his noticeably raspy vocals. The whole album consists of plenty of fast-paced blues rock with several tracks that slow down a bit without losing your interest.
So, he nailed down a good producer for his debut album. Pretty good start, right? Welp, there’s more. Over the course of the summer, Benjamin spent much of June opening for Courtney Barnett, as well as eight dates in July with Jack White (!), arguably the best in the biz right now. Not only that, but he scored slots in the lineups of Lollapalooza, Newport Folk Festival, and Austin City Limits… And all of this happened before the guy even released an album! This guy’s on a roll, and it’s only just the beginning.
After all of these huge shows, now he’s playing U Street Music Hall, and seeing him in that intimate of a setting is an absolute steal.
9:30 presents Benjamin Booker at U Street Music Hall on Monday, October 20!
First Listen: Cymbals Eat Guitars, 'Lose' -
ALBUM REVIEW: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lose
The final months of anguish have come to an end. NPR Music is streaming Cymbals Eat Guitars’ new album, Lose, two weeks before its official release date, allowing us to indulge in their beautifully grim world.
The moment before you’re about to listen to an album you’ve been waiting years to hear is always restless. With Lose, there is a bit familiarity, opening with their first single “Jackson” and transitioning into “Warning,” which was released a few days prior to the NPR First Listen. It is the perfect way to open the album; the cooing vocals and atmospheric guitars make it feel as though we are entering into their world, and as soon as the harmony begins, we know we have arrived. From there, Cymbals Eat Guitars take us through a whirlwind of emotions, extracting moments from their lives that have been lingering for quite some time, but have never been allowed to surface.
One of the unexpected qualities of this new album that varies from the prior two is the instrumentation. As “Warning” comes to an abrupt close, a harmonica comes optimistically crashing in, sweeping us off into a state of surprise and ecstasy in the brilliant third track “XR.” (It also shows a resemblance to Titus Andronicus’ self-titled track from their album, The Airing of Grievances.) As frontman Joseph D’Agostino screams, “The songs we never wrote that flowed above and below me,” he moves you beyond words as you realize his pain after the loss of his best friend and abusive upbringings.
In Why There Are Mountains and Lenses Alien, the band avoided writing about anything too serious. But Lose is different. It shows signs of maturity. Their recklessness and the moments where it felt like they were spiraling out of control are not as prevalent in this album; the songs never fully reach the point of explosion that so many tracks on their previous albums had (ex. “Rifle Eyesight” and “…And The Hazy Sea.”) It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a change in pace. There are even a few slower songs, one in particular being, “Child Bride,” where the violins and a piano will steal your heart away.
The three years it took for Cymbals Eat Guitars to craft this album was well worth the wait. Lose is forty-three minutes of sheer bliss. It is inspiring and undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year.
A few tracks in particular to check out: “Warning,” “XR,” “Chambers,” and “2 Hip Soul.”
See Cymbals Eat Guitars with Bob Mould at 9:30 Club on September 6!