Thursday · Never On Sunday's
Even though the northern Ohio-based Hard Rock band, Tuesday Conspiracy, recorded their second full-length album Running From Ghosts in 2003, the overwhelmingly nostalgic presence of the sloppy Grunge sound that lorded over troubled teens of the mid-1990s is undeniable throughout the CD. Tracks like "Recipe for Misery" and "Think for Yourself" are vessels that practically take the listener back to a time when goatees were the new moustache (not the current mullet), thrift stores were constantly plundered treasure chests and The Crow offered the best soundtrack EVER. And much like the deep, dark, gritty music of that period, TC often forces their audience to two harsh challenges. First, to confront and wrestle with problems of the past, ranging anywhere from conflicts with family ("Sorry Daddy") to romantic tragedies ("Photographs"). Second, and possibly a much more difficult challenge, is to realize that in spite of all the past pessimism there is hope for the future. The best example of this perseverance is found in their song "Anthem," which is, well, an anthem, where vocalist Mary Farmer soulfully croons to heaven for strength; a feeling that shouldn't be terribly foreign to those who have questioned seemingly undeserved injustice in life. Adding the score to her lyrics are Steve Farmer, Brock Johnson and Jim Bianchi. They seem to have accomplished the task of producing an album that shuns gratuitous guitar solos or catchy bass grooves and, instead, focuses energy on creating crunches of raw noise while erecting a beautiful wall of refined distortion. By these means, Tuesday Conspiracy is a welcome reminder that, while some of the best music out might not be radio-friendly, it can still offer catharsis for those who care to listen. (Jacob Richardson)
Oh My God
Friday · York Street Café
It could be argued that the organ is the impetus behind all Rock music.
But that's a different kind of organ and a whole other story. The role of the musical organ has a valued place in the annals of Rock history, providing a key part of the foundation for legendary acts like the Allman Brothers, Deep Purple and Elvis Costello's Attractions. But none of those acts made due without the benefit of guitar filler. For Chicago trio Oh My God, the organ is the foundation. One of the most common reactions to OMG (besides the reaction that became their name, as in "Oh my god, these guys rock!") is "Where's the guitarist?" OMG's equivalent to Pink Floyd's "Which one's Pink?" Not that you'll immediately notice the absence of a guitar, but OMG's music can be so energetic, textural and expansive, it's just natural to assume that a guitar is a part of the sublime mix. The group's sound — wonderfully exemplified on the recently re-released Interrogations and Confessions — flirts with adventure, touching on Prog, Post-Punk and Art Rock superfluities. But at its core, Oh My God is a tight Pop/Rock band with soul, intensity and ambition, akin to the brighter moments in the Eels' oeuvre. Organist Iguana's eccentric approach ranges from distorted power hooks to more ambient quirks and is clearly the band's most instantly recognizable trait. But don't discount singer/bassist Billy O'Neill's contribution. O'Neill's dynamic, soulful voice gives the band's music a powerful presence, sounding like a strange mix of Tool's Maynard James Keenan, Daryl Hall and INXS' Michael Hutchence. The dramatic vocals paired with the songwriting's theatrical breadth result in a creative, unique sound that successfully balances structural exploration and an accessible melodic potency. (Mike Breen).
Limbeck with The Early November, Hey Mercedes and Spitafield
Sunday · Radio Down
SoCal power poppers Limbeck have literally come a long way since their Cheap Trick-fueled 2001 debut, This Chapter is Called Titles. Limbeck's recent long touring cycle found the band's songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Robb McLean utilizing their road experiences as potent song fodder, and Limbeck's Country playlist in the van (from classic Country legends like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to contemporary refractions like Uncle Tupelo and The Flying Burrito Brothers) became the basis for the sonic Americana subtleties on the band's amazing sophomore release, Hi, Everything's Great. That's an impressive leap of faith for a young band to take, because it would have been very easy for Limbeck to hypercharge their original sound into a faceless, Hoobastank-lite, flavor-of-the-moment soundtrack to cash in on the current crunchy Pop/Rock trend. But with Hi, Everything's Great, Limbeck (McLean, guitarist Patrick Carrie, bassist Justin Entsminger, drummer Matt Stephens) add just enough sturm and twang to their musical travelogue to give the road-inspired material an authentically dusty AltCountry vibe while retaining the energy and passion of their original sound, like a skillful blend of Wilco's Countryesque charm and The Replacements's Pop bravado. (Brian Baker)
Tuesday · The Mad Frog
There's a fine line between a band "on hiatus" and an "ex-band," and guitar Pop trio dada has successfully blurred that line beyond definition with new bands, solo projects and an unexpected comeback after a nearly five-year absence. The band became a sensation after the 1992 release of Puzzle and its infectious debut single "Dizz Knee Land," which drew natural comparisons to The Police and led to opening gigs for Sting, Crowded House and Depeche Mode. Dada was poised to capitalize on their debut's three hit singles and half million in sales, but their label, Miles Copeland's I.R.S. Records, was woefully ill-equipped to do the same. Although dada followed up with two strong albums — 1994's American Highway Flower and 1996's astonishing El Subliminoso — the band lost steam when I.R.S. foundered after the second album and closed altogether after the third. An MCA contract resulted in dada's well-received eponymous fourth album in 1998, but the Vivendi/Seagram's deal the following year cost them their second label and they went on extended hiatus that summer. Guitarist Michael Gurley and drummer Phil Leavitt formed a side project called Butterfly Jones and released their excellent debut, Napalm Springs, in 2001; they're currently writing songs for their sophomore album. Gurley and Leavitt also record and tour in a Jazz outfit under the name Michael Gurley and the Nightcaps, and Leavitt has drummed for Blue Man Group and the BMG offshoot Uberschall. Dada bassist Joie Calio did A&R work for MCA, formed a solo band project called Candy Apple Black, recorded his debut album and wrote a book. Early last year, dada reassembled for some limited touring, resulting in the Live: Official Bootleg Vol. 1 release and more extensive follow-up touring. The overwhelming response to dada's return has led to the band's fifth studio album, the recently released How to Be Found, and now, against all odds, the trio is back together full-time for the first time since 1999. It's not a reunion because dada never broke up. And it's not a vacation because they've been working like mad. Regardless of what they've been doing, it's good to have dada back. (BB)