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The Most Anticipated Albums of 2009!

The Most Anticipated Albums of 2009!

The time for?reminiscing?has come and gone! The dedicated staff of Icon Vs. Icon invites you to take a look ahead at the most anticipated albums of 2009!

rob-zombieSteve Johnson’s Pick: As 2009 approaches, there has been a buzz about many metal and hard rock artists that plan to head back to the studio and serve a heaping helping of new material to the fans. Just a few of these artists are KISS, Slash, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden. While I am a huge fan of all of those previously mentioned and would love to hear new music from them, I find myself looking forward to Rob Zombie’s new material the most. I have been a huge fan of Zombie since his days in White Zombie and thought his last album Educated Horses was some of his best work yet. Zombie has stated in recent interviews that this is the first time he has recorded an album with his band since his days in White Zombie. I am interested to see how recording an album with his band affects his music and hope that he tours in support of it, as I have never seen him perform live. There is no firm release date for the album, but Zombie indicated it would be out sometime before the end of the year. I guess ?War Zone? from the Punisher: War Zone soundtrack will have to hold me over until then.

spinneJen X’s Pick: I have three: Queens of the Stone Age, Green Day and Spinnerette. I am stoked that it’s only taken two years for QotSA to come up with more material they feel worthy of their next lp, in addition I’m even happier that this will mean we will be treated to another North American tour. Frontman Josh Homme always has his hands in many projects, one of them being the upcoming release of his wife Brody Dalle’s band Spinnerette. A five-track free download can be found at Spinnerette’s website and their feature-length debut should hit the market in February of 2009. If you haven’t heard the band, do yourself a favor and head over to their site where you can also watch a full-length video of their current single “Ghetto Love.”

It was recently released that Green Day will be putting out their eighth CD sometime in 2009 and that they are currently recording at the same studio in which they recorded American Idiot. I’ve read that their influences for this LP are, to name a few, The Beatles, Springsteen and Bob Dylan. If so it would seem that Green Day is moving on from their punk rock sound, and I find it interesting that this is the spin put out to media outlets about the new project. Still, I am looking forward in reviewing the CD and will believe that Billie Joe Armstrong has left his bad boy image behind when I see and hear it.

kiss_destroyerJason Price’s Pick: Legendary rockers KISS have recently revealed that they are goingto release their first studio album since 1998’s Psycho Circus in the coming year. “It’s going to be very much a vintage, classic, ’70s KISS album without much regard to what’s happened since then; it’s back to the roots,” said frontman Paul Stanley in a recent interview. With the right mix of producers, songwriting and marketing, I think we could see yet another second coming of KISS and yet another round of farewell tours. Other notable 2009 releases would be new projects from Lita Ford and L.A. Guns.

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Queens of The Stoneage: Sick, Sick, Sick in Indy

Queens of The Stoneage: Sick, Sick, Sick in Indy

Josh Homme of Queens of The Stoneage

Josh Homme of Queens of The Stoneage

Queens of The Stone Age: ?Sick, Sick, Sick in Indy

Murat Theatre
Indianapolis, IN
8/4/2007

By JEN X

It was in the air of the Murat Theater in Indy: the salty sweet stench of every person in the venue, mixed in with a bit of homegrown and alcohol. The atmosphere was dark and damp yet formal and classy. There were about 1,500 fans in?a room that had silk covered walls and carpeting underfoot. As soon as the lights went down, it turned into a human sauna with your auditory senses being pummeled under the best attack you could wish for. The Queens of the Stone Age were back, this time with new material and a new attitude.

The Gasoline Angels from L.A. were the openers. The duo comprising brothers Karim Chatila (vocals?and guitar) and Kasey Chatila (drums?and keyboards) came out to the packed line beforehand to chat and again after their set to talk to people in the crowd. Some say the are a little “Queens-esque,” but I don’t think I would go that far. In the?20-minute set they played out their self-titled?CD to perfection, ending in a kiss thrown out the less than thrilled audience. You can check them out at www.myspace.com/thegasolineangels and determine if they are your kind of band. To be honest, it was difficult to decipher in the time they played what I thought, except that musically they have something good going on with their riff-heavy sound, and it didn’t hurt that they were pleasing to the eye.

The time?between the opener and QOTSA was short, and as the band came out rocking to “Regular John,” the energy of the crowd rose to full throttle and never came back down. Guitarist/vocalist Josh Homme, who started QOTSA with former bassist Nick Oliveri after their proto-stoner rock project Kyuss called it quits, led the show with some old faces: guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Joey Castillo; and some new: keyboardist/guitarist Dean Fertita (The Raconteurs) and bassist Michael Shuman. The mix rocks, just as it did when Homme brought Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees into the fold. The common denominator is that Homme is a strong frontman, and without that, the talent of each individual wouldn’t stand up to the band as a whole. Even with the revolving door of musicians, you have to give it to Homme; it works and it works well.

QOTSA rifled through for over an hour, pulling from their entire catalog. The first part of the show was highlighted with “If Only,” “You Would Know” and “Avon,” all from their first self-titled venture. The Homme-imposed “robot rock,” characterized by extended jamming over a single guitar riff, sounded better than expected in a small club and the crowd expressed its enthusiasm for the older material by singing along the entire time. With a slight dance feel helped by Fertita’s keyboard work, “3’s & 7’s” led us through the group’s latest?CD Era Vulgaris. For the first time on this tour, the title track was played with some nice rhythm change-ups, and was greeted with a roar from the crowd that only subsided momentarily until “Into the Hollow” was played. “Little Sister” and “Burn the Witch’ from the?CD that made QOTSA a “name” of sorts were played with the same intensity as on the Lullabies to Paralyze tour, with Homme’s famous hip action making an appearance.

Getting a little crazy, Homme played some riffs from “Spiders and Vinegaroons” during the breakdown of “The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died” and then let it rip with “Sick, Sick, Sick” and the closer of “Go With the Flow.” During the encore of “Feelgood Hit of the Summer,” the “Dance like you fuck” line, which seems to be added into every live show, had some in the crowd surfing over to the stage.

Given the heat, this show might have been miserable to some, but to others it was what a true rock show should be about: the band’s charisma, audience interaction and, above all, great music. Mixed in with a bunch of sweat, how could you go wrong?

Set List:

Regular John

If Only

Do It Again

You Would Know

Avon

3’s & 7’s

Era Vulgaris

Misfit Love

Into the Hollow

Little Sister

Battery Acid

Make It Wit Chu

Burn the Witch

The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died

Sick, Sick, Sick

Go With the Flow

Encore:

Feelgood Hit of the Summer
?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
No One Knows
?

Related Links:
www.qotsa.com
www.myspace.com/queensofthestoneage
www.gasolineangels.com
www.myspace.com/thegasolineangels

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Pearl Jam – ‘Pearl Jam’ – CD Review

Pearl Jam – ‘Pearl Jam’ – CD Review

pearl_jam_cdBy JEN X

I hate to use a term like ?comeback album? for a band that never really left the music scene. However, Pearl Jam’s eighth album, which is untitled (but becoming known as the ?Avocado? album), may be the one that brings back the casual fan and thrusts them into the spotlight that they have shied away from for so long. Pearl Jam shunned endorsements, interviews and videos in the age of MTV. Despite being considered out of the ?mainstream,? they managed to stay relevant to fans, selling out major arenas around the country and moving millions of records and official concert bootlegs. This was due to their live show. Every concert promises to be something different, with set lists varied nightly, rarities and covers of their rock idols, as well as encores that are longer than most bands? main sets. This album is their debut release with J Records and is their first full-length studio release in four years.

The band is now doing interviews, making appearances on Letterman and SNL, and giving themselves the credit that is long overdue. And if ?Worldwide Suicide? is any indication, the rest of the world will be giving them credit, too. The first single debuted at number one on Billboard?s modern rock chart.

The album starts with the powerful one-two-three punch of ?Life Wasted,? ?WWS? and ?Comatose.? The first track features the battling guitars of Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, mixed with Eddie Vedder?s primal intensity on vocals. The lyrics show the maturity that has come with age and experience. Vedder seems to mock his younger, angrier self that spurned a fame that was built on angst: ?Darkness comes in waves/Tell me, why invite it to stay?/You?’re one with negativity/Yes, comfort is an energy/But why let the sad song play.? The video for ?Life Wasted? came out in May of 2006 and was the band?s first official video since 1998?s ?Do the Evolution.? ?Worldwide Suicide? is Pearl Jam at its best, with an immediate hook, driving rhythm section and lyrical imagery of the effects of war. ?Comatose? has a raw, punk-rock energy and is awesome performed live. With a McCready solo that borders on metal and Vedder?s style of singing through clenched teeth for which he is famous, it is hard to sit still while listening to this song.

Seeing the band perform ?Severed Hand? on SNL opened my eyes to the greatness of this song. So much happens before the first words are even sung, building to a trademark Pearl Jam crescendo. The anticipation begins with a light, airy sound before the drums and more guitars kick in for a second bridge. A third bridge takes it into an aggressive, pounding rhythm. When the words finally start, Vedder sounds a bit demented. When he asks, ?Want to take a ride?,? you can’t help but yell “YEAH!” with him.

The slow, emotion-drenched ?Come Back? has the aching, epic feel of ?Nothingman? from the band?s album Vitalogy. Vedder is amazing in that he can still evoke the kind of raw believable pain with his voice now that he?s at such a happy place in his personal life.

As much as ?Comatose? is a nod to their punk influence, the acoustic ?Parachutes? has an instantly recognizable Beatles influence. With Gossard and McCready?s carefree strumming, you can?t help but be happy when you hear this song. ?Gone,? the other slow track on the album, again showcases Vedder?s storytelling ability as he sings from the viewpoint of a man leaving the lights of the city behind.

The rest of the songs on the album continue to use great melodies and socially-timed lyrics with a softer but more powerful approach to address the problems of today?s society. ?Marker in the Sand? has a mix of good riffs, an infectiously catchy melody and lyrics that paint the picture of someone looking to God for guidance in this messed up world. ?Unemployable? is the story of a working-class man who just got laid off; the story opens as he dents his ?JESUS SAVES? ring when he punched his metal locker. ?Army Reserve,? with music written by bassist Jeff Ament, tells the story of a mother and child left behind while father is at war. An interesting note is that Damien Echols shares writing credits with Vedder on this song. Echols is on death row and has been making headlines for years due to the controversy surrounding the ?West Memphis Three,? who are well known to many metal fans. Pearl Jam, and specifically Vedder, have played a tremendous part in bringing this case to light by supporting Echols and the other two men who have been imprisoned (www.wm3.org).

?Inside Job? closes the album and is the first song to use McCready’s lyrics, causing you to wonder why he wasn?t writing songs earlier. The song, which exceeds seven minutes, starts off light and builds to a quicker tempo that matches the optimism of the lyrics.

Those who pre-ordered the album on Pearl Jam’s official website received a version of the album with different CD art and packaging than the retail version. Instead of the retail digipack packaging, the fan club pre-order resembles a book and has the liner notes bound inside it. In addition, a live CD of the band’s show on December 31, 1992 at The Academy in New York City also was included with the pre-order.

While Pearl Jam has continued to rock for the last 10 years with socially-charged songs, they return to their edgier, more aggressive roots with this venture. The band finally captures the energy that their live shows are famous for, and there is a sense of optimism that was lacking on the last two albums. To the fans that think that Vitalogy is the last album Pearl Jam made, I have this to say: Buy their self-titled CD today and welcome back.

THE VERDICT: 5/5

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