Thursday, August 21, 2008

Concert Review: My Morning Jacket

Alternately touted as the best live band in America and America’s folky answer to Radiohead, My Morning Jacket had a lot of hype to live up to during their concert at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City. The Louisville, Kentucky band was touring to support their recently released fifth album Evil Urges. Befitting their album title, the band entered the stage to hellish lighting and clouds of smoke. Frontman Jim James swaggered out wearing a cape as the band immediately kicked into opener and title track “Evil Urges.”
My Morning Jacket’s records are immersive, but nothing prepared me for the impact of their live show. The band’s double guitar attack accompanied with Jim James’ otherworldly vocals, Two-tone Tommy’s incredible bass playing, and Patrick Hallahan’s Bonham-esque drumming plummeted the audience into the depths of a rock n’ roll inferno, that has become iconized through greats such as Zeppelin, AC/DC, and KISS. All the new material off of Evil Urges sounded great live, although an over reliance on the new record lessened the energy of the first half of the show. As consolation, the backend of the show was heavy with It Still Moves and Z era pieces. A little after the halfway mark, MMJ broke out “Mahgeetah,” which is when the band really started to not only shine, but glow. Previous to this, however, the band still held down a solid show with heavenly cuts like “Gideon” and “The Way That He Sings”.
One of the more unexpected moments of the Evening with My Morning Jacket came when Jim James disappeared off stage during “Steam Engine” only to materialize on a balcony a minute later. James proceeded to solo twenty feet above the crowd with all eyes on him. Their regular set ended with the band playing “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2”, the funky and soulful omnichord driven closer off of Evil Urges. The band dashed off stage as James cued up “Good Intentions”, a brief snippet of noise and voices.
My Morning Jacket’s encore was incredible. Beginning with “Wordless Chorus”, which had everyone in the audience attempting to imitate James’ angelic wails, followed by “Highly Suspicious”, cementing in my mind the ingenuity and overall balls to the wall rock of the controversial song, the encore proved to be the highlight of the set. Jim James’ manifesto about “peanut butter pudding surprises” was trailed by “Anytime”, a blazing rocker off of Z, the energy in the theater spiking considerably. However, My Morning Jacket had saved their ace in the hole for last. When the opening shriek of guitar from “Run Thru” sounded in the theater, the place went nuts. One of the coolest spectacles I have ever seen at a concert is the drum breakdown about halfway into “Run Thru”, the drummer illuminated in a strobe light, raising his sticks into the air, mouth wide open looking like a kraken arisen from the depths of a roiling sea. I figured that “Run Thru” was their last song, thinking nothing could top this. When the last piercing notes of “Run Thru” seamlessly segued into the high hat opening of “One Big Holiday” I felt the energy from the band course through the crowd. When Jim James opened his mouth to sing, hundreds of others opened as well roaring, “Wakin’ up, feelin’ good and limber!” The guitar freakouts, slamming of drumsticks, and thunderous bass left the whole audience with one fact: that every MMJ show is One Big Holiday.

Moustache Salad gives Jim James and the crew a Fu Manchu with sideburns (4.5 out of 5).

My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday ft. Kirk Hammett (Live at Bonnaroo

The setlist can be found here

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Bloc Party's third album, 'Intimacy' will be available August 21. It can be pre-ordered now via the band's website:

The album will also be available as a CD which will be delivered from October 27 and feature additional songs. Anyone pre-ordering the CD will also receive the digital album from August 21.

Bloc Party alerted fans to 'Intimacy's existence, as well as their ability to purchase the record instantly, when they hosted their first ever web chat on August 18. The album follows on from the release of their hit single 'Mercury' released on 11 August.

The album produced by Paul Epworth (Silent Alarm) and Jacknife Lee (A Weekend in the City) was recorded in Kent and London. Some songs are Bloc Party at their most wildly experimental, while other tracks are simply classic Bloc Party, fitting in seamlessly amongst fan-favourites 'Helicopter', 'Banquet' and 'So Here We Are'.

Bloc Party recently played a run of sold-out American shows and are due to play Reading and Leeds Festival this weekend and headline the Hydroconnect Festival on August 30.

23 - Reading Festival, Reading
24 - Leeds Festival, Leeds
30 - Hydroconnect Festival, Scotland

The track listing for Intimacy:
01. Ares
02. Mercury
03. Halo
04. Biko
05. Trojan Horse
06. Signs
07. One Month Off
08. Zephyrus
09. Better Than Heaven
10. Ion Square

Mercury CDS

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tropic Thunder: Review

“Hot damn.”

Not much time, so I'll make this fast.

Tropic Thunder was one of the few movies I was keeping track of. From the moment I saw the first preview, I knew I’d see the film the day it opened. An all-star cast, a huge budget, and legitimately funny jokes? It’s about damn time. As it drew closer, we were teased with a short skit by the three major roles, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black. Yesterday, I met up with a few friends and we headed to the theater as a “final-day-we’d-all-see-each-other-before-heading-back” event. I was very disappointed when, opening night, there was only about five other people in the theater, while every other film was decently filled. Hopefully, it was just because it opened mid-week, because this movie deserves to be seen.

Before the film even starts, we’re treated with fake trailers for the latest movies from Tugg Speedman (Stiller), Jeff Portnoy (Black), and Kirk Lazarus (Downey), all of which are hilarious takes on what Hollywood has become today. Then, the film really begins, but with more of a whimper than a bang. Sure, there are a few chuckles now and then, but nothing spectacular. It’s not until twenty or so minutes into the film that it really takes off. To sum up the plot details, three actors from different backgrounds (Speedman the action hero, Portnoy comedy, and Downey as very respected character actor) are hired to film the translation of “Tropic Thunder”, a book by famous Vietnam vet Four Leaf Tayback. Unhappy with the pampered, pompous stars ruining the shots, Tayback and the director decide to go for a more gritty approach by dropping them in the jungle and telling them to just go with the flow. Unbeknownst to the entire crew, however, is the presence of an armed group of locals.

Tropic Thunder lampoons Hollywood while never becoming a full spoof film. It stands on its own. It’s filled with so many bust-up laughing moments that you won’t be too put off by the more vulgar attempts at humor (especially the much-billed executive cameo, which wears thin pretty damn quickly). Jack Black seems like he was wasted on incredibly poor or boring dialogue. He has a moment or two, especially towards the end of the film, but he could’ve been so much more. Stiller does a fairly good job at landing jokes, with only a few groaners scattered throughout. The real treat here is Robert Downey Jr. who, more or less, makes the film. In glorified black-face, Downey finds a way to come off as completely hilarious with out being offensive. He’s kept in check by Brandon T. Jackson, a rapper who’s bitter that the only leading role for an African American was given to a white Australia-native. Downey has so many one-liners and out-there monologues that he carries the whole film on his back. Humor also comes from smaller bit parts and sight gags (when I saw “Black Power” and fist on Downey’s helmet, I couldn’t help but crack up).

The film, while not perfect, is still genuinely funny and one of the best comedies of the summer. Tropic Thunder sports a Fu Man Chu (4 out of 5).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fleet Foxes Live on Letterman

Last night as I was flipping channels, I stumbled across Fleet Foxes playing on The Tonight Show. Best surprise of the week. They played "Blue Ridge Mountains", a song that I had initially overlooked but am now getting into in a major way, thanks in part to their set at the Pitchfork Music Festival a couple weeks ago. Fleet Foxes are incredible live, and this is probably the best video approximation of what it's like to be at one of their shows. Judging from the applause after the song ended, I can see that Fleet Foxes were able to create their unique atmosphere in the span of just one song, an impressive accomplishment, especially on a late night show.

Monday, August 4, 2008

100 Posts! Vampire Weekend "Remix!"

Even though it is our 100th post, we have a present for you!

A "remix" of Vampire Weekend's "Oxford Comma."

The Moustache Salad Staff

P.S. If you are near Columbia, MO this Friday, you should come to Mojo's to help us celebrate our 100 posts by seeing Witch's Hat.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

RIP, Alexander.

Rest in peace, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The Nobel Prize-winning Russian author was one of my favorite authors and has written some works which stuck with me for some time. Alexander spoke out against the tyranny of the soviet gulag, inspiring millions with the message that integrity conquers corrupt totalitarians.

"He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, an unusual move for the Swedish Academy, which generally makes awards late in an author's life after decades of work. The academy cited "the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature.""

Outspoken opponent of Stalin and his policies, Solzhenitsyn served as a front-line artillery captain in World War II, where, in the closing weeks of the war, he was arrested for writing what he called "certain disrespectful remarks" about Stalin in a letter to a friend, referring to him as "the man with the mustache."