Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best Live Review of a Vending Machine Show Ever

Via our friends at Live From Memphis. Written by Sloganeerist.

Reflections on a Recent Recital by The Vending Machine

By E. H. "Boss" Crump

[Cable Dispatch exclusive to Live from Memphis]

On a fine Saturday evening of late, I was fortunate to make good on a long-standing promise to accompany my friend, Dr. Francis Arthur James Clement of Mid-Town, on an outing to the Hi Tone Café. Our plan, should God will it: to enjoy a scheduled recital by popular musical ensemble, The Vending Machine.

This was to be my first of the group in the flesh, but not my first exposure to its music. On the contrary, their latest recording, King Cobras Do, has rattled the stylus of my parlor Gramophone for some months. Those readers who like-wise find themselves in possession of this pressing need not be reminded that, embedded in its grooved troughs, there exist one-dozen compositions of unwavering melodic beauty; no small feat for a group counting nary a single clarinetist in its employ.

Overcome with anticipation, my colleague and I set forth to arrive in time for the concert’s ten o’clock curtain, but were shocked to discover the establishment closed for business! On further inspection, a colorful window advertise-ment revealed the nature of our folly: We’d arrived a full twelve hours early! We had a good laugh, and ferried home to our respective dens for naps and tobacco, vowing to revisit our engagement later that evening.

Returning long after sundown, we encountered a scene of stark contrast to the one we’d witnessed that morning. The small venue was now chock-a-block with merry youngsters abuzz with irrepressible gusto, thirstily imbibing bottle upon bottle of the tavern’s selection of cold-served malts. Never the kind to turn our noses at the will of the common majority, the good Doctor and I bade the bar-tender fetch us two Pabst Blue Ribbons at once! He obeyed, and spirits in hand, we pushed forth through the exuberant hordes and secured quarter near the stage.

For my companion, Dr. Clement (himself an accomplished trombonist), music is both a passion and a pursuit. He is a follower and great admirer of Vending Machine’s focal artiste and song-writer, a Mister Robby Grant, late of Mid-Town. It is an admiration not without due cause. Mr. Grant (former, I am told, to the vulgarly named ensemble Big Ass Truck) is a gifted musician whose effusive, unconventional brilliance as a composer is matched only by his astoundingly effortless abilities as an instrumentalist. And make no mistake; I am not one to cavalierly bandy about flowery adjectives.

As the players took the stage and their leader conducted them into their first number (the marvelously agitated “Babies”) I was struck by the notion that Mr. Grant is a man who very much resembles the music he creates. His facial contortions, forceful squint and rapid cranial undulations serve to accentuate the delicate balance between order and chaos that his music so perfectly achieves. The next song, the peculiar and heart-raising “44 Times,” revealed a theme that would be under-scored repeatedly throughout the evening: that The Vending Machine is, first and foremost, an agglomeration of awe-some musical prowess. [... continued here...]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vending Machine (solo) and The New Mary Janes - Friday Jan. 23rd at the Buccaneer

I will be doing a short solo set at the Buccaneer this Friday night. I will probably start around 10p or so. The New Mary Jane consist of Vending Machine drummer (one of 'em) John Argroves and Dave and Scott from The Grifters (and other great bands).

Mouserocket played with them a year and a half ago and they were incredible. They even played a couple of old Grifters songs. Here's a video they did during Grifter days back for Banjo (one of my favorites that they also played that night):

Friday, January 02, 2009

Mouserocket on year end lists

The Mouserocket record, Pretty Loud, made a few year end lists:

Commercial Appeal:

"More an idea than a working band for much of their seven-year run, this local supergroup -- featuring members of Vending Machine, River City Tanlines, and Harlan T. Bobo's backing outfit -- finally put the finishing touches to their second full-length. Led by singer-songwriters Alicja Trout and Robby Grant, the band creates a twisting, dissonant merger of art rock and chamber pop, that's often willfully weird, but always engaging." - Bob Mehr

"The art rock quintet MouseRocket emerged in 2008 as something more than the esoteric side project it has been for most of its seven years. From the get-go the band has been a musical marriage between two of the city's most talented frontpeople -- Alicja Trout, known for rocking out with the Lost Sounds and the River City Tanlines, and former Big Ass TruckThe Mouserocket record, Pretty Loud, made a few year end lists:

Memphis Flyer:

"Alone or together, Robby Grant and Alicja Trout are two of Memphis' finest music makers. In their "other bands" (Vending Machine and River City Tanlines, respectively), Grant specializes in gentle, melodic homemade pop, and Trout plays guitar-god bandleader. Joining forces in Mouse Rocket, they meet halfway (the album title is truth in advertising), and it suits them both. The best local album of 2008 without a strong national profile." - Chris Herrington

"A local musician acquaintance recommended this album to me with the following caveat: "I don't normally like indie-rock-type stuff, but this album rocks." Well, I'm here to tell you that I do generally like indie-rock-type stuff and that this album is pretty spectacular. Pretty Loud is the finest collection of straight-ahead rock songs by co-bandleaders Alicja Trout and Robby Grant to date." - J.D. Reager

Mentions for Goner, Conaminated and Tic Tac Totally

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain