Song Of The Day: Calexico – Rambler

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Photo Credit: C.J. Strehlow

While it hasn’t been all that long since we last heard from Calexico, their last two albums were 2020’s Seasonal Shift (a Christmas album), and Years To Burn, their 2019 collaboration with Iron & Wine. So their latest, El Mirador, is the first ‘regular’ Calexico album since 2018 to not have any sort of asterisk attached to it. And it’s a good one.

“Rambler” is their latest single off of that album. Check it out below.

Concert Review: New Order and Pet Shop Boys, Sept 17, Budweiser Stage

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I mean, what a show right?

To say people were excited for the double bill of New Order and Pet Shop Boys would be an understatement. I arrived at Budweiser Stage area around 5:00 so that my friends and I could do some public drinking before entering the venue, which charges a nice 18 bucks for a big tall boy of beer. Even then, there was a gigantic lineup already waiting to enter the venue. This was by all means, a super show – two heavyweights that ushered in electronic music in the UK in the ’80s uniting for one giant show. Either of them probably could have played Budweiser Stage on their own (New Order played there before the Pandemic) but together, it was going to be a NIGHT.

At 7:25, the nostalgic sounds of “Surburbia” started up and Pet Shop Boys took the stage. Playing under two “streetlights”, the duo quickly got the people moving and kept the momentum going throughout. This was a greatest hits party – making full use of the gigantic stage, PSB played behind a very large screen, projecting different images and designs to each of their songs. Around halfway through, the screens lifted to reveal a very energetic live band. Neil Tennant sounded great and his voice seems to not have aged since the ’80s.

The highlights of PSB’s set, for me anyway, were “Always On My Mind”, “Domino Dancing” and “It’s a Sin” but really, it just depends on what your personal fave is. Kinda sad they didn’t play “Go West” but considering they had a nice 1:40 to play, they were quite economical.

After a short Paul Oakenfold-revisiting-the-early-90s DJ set break of 20 minutes, the night’s headliner (I believe they alternate each night) took the stage

Starting with “Regret,” New Order’s set was just banger after banger. The crowd was joyous and singing along to every song. New Order’s light show game has really gone up in quality from the first time I saw them and it definitely added to the show. Having blue lights pulsating during the “Blue Monday” intro added to the experience and made you feel like you were in a really large night club for 40+ adults.

New Order ended the set with the following

Bizarre Love Triangle
True Faith
Blue Monday
Love Will Tear Us Apart.

I mean, how can you not be elated after that? There are no complaints about the show; whatever musical weaknesses that the bands may have had, nostalgia filled in. It was a fantastic 3.5 hours and if you have a chance to see this tour, pony up the cash and grab some tickets.

Song Of The Day: The Black Angels – Empires Falling

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“Empires Falling” is the latest single off of Wilderness of Mirrors, the new album from Austin psych rockers The Black Angels, out now on Partisan Records. Check it out.

Concert Review: Sylvaine, September 16, Opera House

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Friday night saw Norway’s Sylvaine (not to be confused with the late Sylvain Sylvain or, for that matter, David Sylvian) taking to the stage at The Opera House alongside Imperial Triumphant and Zeal & Ardor.

A charming frontwoman who took the time during her set to tell the story behind some of the songs, Sylvaine, aka Kathrine Shepard, introduced herself and her bandmates as being “from Europe” adding that they come from Norway, France and Germany, but Sylvaine is really Shepard’s brainchild. A classically trained multi-instrumentalist and composer, Sylvaine has assembled a solid collection of songs on her latest, Nova (out now on Season of Mist).

Sylvaine offers up a mix of black metallish sounds with traditional folk stylings and vocals that run the gamut from ethereal beauty to full on shrieks. With a sound reminiscent of bands like Alcest and Myrkur, the band put on an impressive show. In a live setting, songs like “Mono No Aware” and “Nowhere, Still Somewhere” really come alive, with a few in the crowd even getting a bit of a mosh pit going towards the end of their set.

For their parts, headliners Zeal & Ardor and show openers Imperial Triumphant also put on memorable performances, though I feel that Imperial Triumphant in particular deserves a special shout out not only for their musical chops but for incorporating a champagne bottle into their performance, first using it as a guitar slide before popping the cork and then spraying the crowd, pouring the remnants into a few concertgoers mouths. I mean, if you were one of the lucky few to get some free champagne included along with your concert ticket? That’s just good value.