A Great Find: not an Airplane

This is one of our favorite finds of this early 2012.

Nick Shattell wanted to do things his way. He didn’t want to shape his vision to someone else’s whims. He didn’t want to focus on booking as many shows as possible, and he didn’t want to pander to record labels. He wanted to focus on his own songwriting. So, in 2006, he created not an Airplane. After a few spells of couch hopping before settling in Modesto, it seems that Shattell is finally getting his way.

not an Airplane“This is actually my fourth release,” he said. “And while the other three feel more like demos that got progressively better, I learned a lot through the process of making them, outgrowing them, and deciphering what I could have done better, or worse even. Not to mention, the more time you spend alone in front of a microphone, the more the awkwardness fades away and you can actually reach some level of comfort.”

It’s that level of comfort and desire for growth that has led to the pure, organic sound of not an Airplane. It also leads to some interesting — and nontraditional — choices, like releasing an album that contains exactly two songs. “Speak In” clocks in at just over 16 minutes in length, while “Speak Out” is just a hair under 14 minutes. But if you’re expecting long, meandering, and drawn out snooze fests, you won’t find it here. Shattell proves himself to be quite an expert in composition. Although, my feeling is that he didn’t set out to compose much of anything. He just wrote what he wanted. And that’s what it sounds like, too. There’s nothing careful or reserved about this album. And it’s damn good.

It Could Just Be This Place is a showcase of Shattell’s songwriting, backed by a talented group that fuses rock, folk, and bluegrass. The songs center around central themes but bear the messages through a series of twists and turns. It rocks, it rolls, and it delivers.

The band is currently touring around their native California, and plans to release another album late this year. Also, they are working on “Speak Out – The Movie.” Below, you can check out “Speak In – The Movie.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzf103CF0Lw[/youtube]

Have a Listen: Fallon Cush

Australian Steve Smith had a relationship that failed spectacularly, So, like every musician and songwriter, did exactly what he knows—wrote some songs about it. It wasn’t meant to be an album or spawn a new band. But that’s what happened, and Fallon Cush was born. Now, after being mastered at Abbey Road, the impromptu recordings have been released as a self-titled album debut.

Fallon Cush presents an interesting array of sounds. You might hear some Bob Dylan. You might hear some Beatles. On “Sleeping Giant” you might hear both. There are hints of Wilco in there, too. Smith’s vocals at times betray the painful experience that wrought the album. In fact, some songs sound downright cheery, at first. “Disintegrate” will have you toe tapping before revealing a pervasive sense of melancholy. Listen enough to just about every song and you’ll hear the strife.

It’s a good debut and, judging by not only the songs themselves but also their execution, Fallon Cush’s next album might just be about finding redemption after heartache.

Read more about Fallon Cush on their website. You can get the album here. Below is the first song on the album, “Tiny Town.”

Go See Panther Style at Beat Kitchen

The Beat Kitchen continues its climb up the local music scene ladder this Saturday by featuring Panther Style, a rising Chicago band bordering rock and power pop, sprinkled with a little punk.

Panther Style will be playing off their brand new album, Emergencia (released May 31, 2011), which features squealing, edgy guitars complimented by Jeanne McClure’s strong but understated vocals that are reminiscent of Shirley Manson, at times, except for the occasional primal scream or two. Dan Lutger violently bangs the drums to make sure you don’t forget this is a rock band first and foremost, while Al Rodis and Melissa Koehl shred sexy guitar riffs and occasional solos that evoke fond memories of some of the best eras of rock – from epic hair bands to indie and punk revival.

Panther Style is the product of veteran Chicago rockers and a very welcome, refreshing addition to the scene. We like straight-up rock around here and that’s what you’re going to get on Saturday. Something else we like – live recordings, of which Emergencia is one, recorded at Chicago’s B-Side Audio.

Have a listen below then get your tickets for Saturday’s show – it’s going to be a good one.

SEEING… JUST NOT BELIEVING

New Releases: Rodrigo y Gabriela, JET

rodigo y gabriela 11:11Rodrigo y Gabriela have released their third studio album titled 11:11 (recorded in Ixtapa, Mexico) and it’s poised to make their current tour (dates listed below) one of the hottest live tickets this fall. If you’re not yet familiar with them, here’s the short version of the story: The duo met in Mexico in a thrash metal band. They soon moved to Ireland and, as a matter of convenience, switched to acoustic so they could tour the pubs without hauling heavy gear. Then they found their sound – a mix of rock, metal and Spanish-style guitar. It’s just the two of them, no percussion. What you hear that sounds like drums is them slapping, knocking and pounding on their guitars. It’s mesmerizing.

So what can you expect from the new album? They keep with the stuff that earned Rodrigo y Gabriela a loyal following but are clearly growing and exploring new territory. There are some new sounds teased in an earlier U.S. tour stop, like the distortion in “Buster Voodoo” ala Jimi Hendrix – all recreated on stage with no loops, no back-door tricks. Some other influences Rodrigo y Gabriela list on this album include Carlos Santana, Hendrix, Paco De Lucia, Pink Floyd and Pantera lead guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

We saw Rodrigo y Gabriela in Milwaukee this summer and it was easily one of the best shows of the year. Check out the footage. And don’t miss them when they come through town. It’s as must-see as it gets. I’ve also included a video of one of their new songs I found on YouTube, “Hanuman.”

JET Shaka RockJET also released an album this week titled Shaka Rock and it sucks. So, I’m not going to spend much time on it. Basically, JET hit their high-water mark when they had that iPod commercial for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” and they’ve been going downhill ever since. They’re boring and sound uninspired. It feels like they’re attempting to break out of their early mold, but instead dig themselves a deeper hole. Listening through the new album, I was reminded of 80’s Great White. No kidding. About the only use I see for JET anymore is a beginners level song on Rock Band.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, “Hanuman” live at Festival Eurockéennes

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8QjxTpXh1g[/youtube]

9-Sep-09 Alhambra – SOLD OUT Paris, France
12-Sep-09 Town Square Caen, France
16-Sep-09 Terminal 5 New York, NY
19-Sep-09 The Buell Theatre Denver, CO
21-Sep-09 Moore Theatre Seattle, WA
23-Sep-09 Fox Theater Oakland, CA
25-Sep-09 Orpheum Theatre Los Angeles, CA
10-Oct-09 4th and B San Diego, CA
12-Oct-09 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR
14-Oct-09 Pabst Theatre Milwaukee, WI
16-Oct-09 Riviera Theatre Chicago, IL
16-Oct-09 Riveria Theater Chicago, IL
19-Oct-09 House of Blues Dallas Dallas, TX
20-Oct-09 Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre Austin, TX
22-Oct-09 The Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
23-Oct-09 Orpheum Theatre Boston, MA
24-Oct-09 Rams Head Live! Baltimore, MD
26-Oct-09 Teatro Metropólitan México, Mexico
11-Nov-09 La Carriere Nantes, France
12-Nov-09 Casino de Paris Paris, France
13-Nov-09 Aeronef Lille, France
16-Nov-09 Olympia Theatre Dublin, Ireland
18-Nov-09 Les Docks Lausanne, Switzerland
20-Nov-09 Ancienne Belgique Brussels, Belgium
21-Nov-09 Watt Rotterdam, Holland
23-Nov-09 HMV Hammersmith Apollo London, United Kingdom
24-Nov-09 O2 Academy, Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom
26-Nov-09 O2 Academy Glasgow Glasgow, United Kingdom
28-Nov-09 Manchester Apollo Manchester, United Kingdom
29-Nov-09 Colston Hall Bristol, United Kingdom
14-Jan-10 ZEPP Tokyo, Japan
15-Jan-10 CLUB Diamond Hall Nagoya, Japan
16-Jan-10 IMP HALL Osaka, Japan
18-Jan-10 TOKYO Tokyo, Japan