National Site

Kelly Kerr & The Distractions

CD Name: 
Chronological Disorder: How To Pass History In 13 East Steps
Music Link:
Album Cover URL:
<p>In May of this year, Kelly Kerr and the Distractions proved they like to look back, sometimes centuries back, when they released their new album Chronological Disorder: How to Pass History in Thirteen Easy Steps. The last time you heard someone explain a historical event through song may have been around third grade, but it probably didn&rsquo;t have the residual effects that Chronological Disorder does. Kerr lays down the basic facts and offers his own tongue-in-cheek critique of events and figures including Eli Whitney, Bob Dole and the Whiskey Rebellion, while instrumentally, some of the mid-tempo melodies and jangly timbre mirror the style of the grandfathers of college rock. Yes &ndash; surprise, surprise &ndash; the Distractions&rsquo; smooth alt-rock brings to mind the good times of 1984 and R.E.M.&rsquo;s Reckoning. Even the sound of Kerr&rsquo;s voice &ndash; low, amused, even &ndash; mimics Michael Stipe&rsquo;s.</p> <p>The Distractions show how they can be sweet and smart-assed, combining the elements of a rock album with those of a middle school play about American history. An album with such a concept could easily be ruined with indie snarkiness, but Chronological Disorder takes the high road, delving into the different facets of history with playfulness. The stage is set with &ldquo;Election: 1800,&rdquo; the melodic, cheery first ode to Reckoning in which Kerr proclaims a mouthful: &ldquo;maybe we should rethink this/our system has a glitch,&rdquo; and from there, the band chronicles decades of rock music like they chronicle America&rsquo;s timeline. &rsquo;50s rock riffs structure &ldquo;Groomed to Lead,&rdquo; while a surfy, &rsquo;60s melody drills in &ldquo;Bring Out Yr Dead.&rdquo; The 13 tracks progress easily, even when things get grittier with tracks like the guitar-heavy &ldquo;Gold Rush&rdquo; which sets a frenzied pace while Kerr proclaims, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a gold rush, baby.&rdquo;</p> <p>A favorite could be the amusingly embittered tone of &ldquo;Bob Dole,&rdquo; a story told from the former Senator&rsquo;s perspective, comparing his life to that of his SNL impersonator, Dan Aykroyd. &ldquo;Know It All&rdquo; makes room for some bookish romance before the entire album is recapped in the final &ldquo;Central Incompetence Agency.&rdquo;</p> <p>Simultaneously poking fun and offering up the facts, Chronological Disorder is simply infectious rock with sing-along appeal and an educational foundation if you&rsquo;re paying attention. An album so strictly built around a history theme isn&rsquo;t so commonly come by, and the Distractions could have gotten really smug with it, but instead they opted for clever and fun.--<em>Jessica Pace</em></p>

NYC Artists on the rise: Living Days, live at Coco66, July 3

It doesn't happen very often to hear a band somewhat reminiscent of The Cars - in particular when the band in question is fronted by a woman. Rick Ocasek's magnificent 80s new-wave-pop experiment won over a wagon of fans, but for some reason was never very influential. Living Days share with The Cars not only a synthy and glammy approach to indie pop, but also a very charismatic lead singer: Stephonik Youth's deep, sultry pipes are not your average indie-pop girly vocals, and that's what makes things interesting. The songs It's Oblivion! and Let's Kiss are real pop-rock gems full of attitude and catchy hooks. Check the band live at Coco66 on July 3.


The Homophones Wishing America a Happy B-Day at Tritone July 3

Hey, uh, here's a little secret I'm willing to let you in on: if you head on over to Tritone, there's a party happening. The Homophones are playing. Sure, Jason Ferraro's firm baritone may sound a bit like Matt Berninger from The National or some other super-serious band, but their melodramatic tunes are more tongue-in-cheek than actual drama. That light, shuffling guitar layered atop those springy synths always seems to hit the spot, especially when accompanied with lyrics about David Foster Wallace or Polish thugs "on my corner, selling drugs." But the party doesn't stop there! Some friends, namely Eddie Austin, Julia Factorial and The Legendary WID will be spinning some records to dance to (and presumably, The WID will pull out those props and perform some comedy). And just when you think it couldn't possibly get better…sparklers, cupcakes, balloons and drink specials galore. There's pretty much no excuse for not going. Well, maybe if you hate to have fun. In that case, we thank you ahead of time for not coming and bringing us down. Tritone, 1508 South Street, 9pm, $7, 21+ - Joe Poteracki



Captured In Chinatown

If you need a little bit of NES love mixed with some pop punk attitude, look no further than Captured In Chinatown. The static of drum machine hi-hats with have you tapping your feet in no time.

As an added bonus, the band is throwing their songs 'Running In Circles' and 'Anatomy Of A Psycho' out to you guys as a free download. Make sure to thank them by checking out their full albums.

Download Here


Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"


"Now is time a for darker stuff!" yells Henry Kammerer, one-half of the Portland-based duo Hillstomp on the second track of their new album Darker the Night. And dark stuff is exactly what they give the listener.

The duo's third studio release - which will be available in stores July 20 - is crammed with 14 driving and dirty ballads of debauchery, and loaded with tales of embracing late night bouts of drinking, waking and repeating the process without the blink of an eye. The whole album has a very consistent brooding mood, with unique banjo rythms that take the forefront unashamed and relentless..

While firmly grounded in the blues, Hillstomp departs and adds many different influences, from folk to garage-punk, all expressed through a soulful intensity. Considering the band is known for its captivating live performances - replete with foot-stomping slide guitar riffs and John Johnson's ramshackle percussion hammering away on plastic buckets or whatever he can grab nearby, Darker the Night does not dissapoint, and invites everyone listening to join in and sing the songs of kissing the bottle and losing love without regret.

- Stirling Myles