Tag Archives: Dream Police

Stand Up Wit…Kyle Kinane

 

Although an aptly named album, Death of the Party shouldn’t bring to mind a comic playing the woe-is-me card or deadpanning his way through a litany of jokes. Instead, Kyle Kinane gleefully exposes the pointlessness of his daily existence, from the moment the alarm clock mocks him to start his day to the many failed interactions and absurd encounters with the outside world. And by outside world he means those few moments when he can launch off the couch and go outdoors with any sense of purpose. 

Recorded last August in Los Angeles at the UCB Theatre, Death of the Party starts out a little tentative (although the very first joke is classic). Kinane isn’t quite stream of consciousness, but it may take a bit to get into the cadence of his presentation (although the absurdity of his imagery is spectacular). I mean, who comes up with getting into a fistfight with the manager of a Red Lobster over whether the Moon landing was faked

Far from polished, the disheveled delivery is a good launching pad for his riffs, although some seem tighter than others. Never having seen him, I’m not certain whether that is due to older stories being fine tuned or him gauging the audience and making some changes on the spot. But what’s particularly impressive is that this album was recorded at a single performance, not cobbled together from a multi-night stand.

The bit about watching his friends’ kids was very strong (including a great line about why you need a more complex answer to a simple question), but then the routine about his physical appearance and his girlfriend seemed to wander a bit before getting to the one great line. But the Cholo bar bathroom story was airtight, and soon after that he hits a groove that continues through the rest of the set; the stories just more absurd and more off-the-chart funny. The bits about the Detroit Lions and Trader Joe’s had me doubled over (seeing the latter done live must be twice as funny). 

Bunny sex. Forklift mishaps. Gourmet cake decorations. Pretentious intellectual thoughts not making the journey from brain to mouth. Job pornography. Sibling Failure. Volcano barbeques and inspirational insomnia.  

In another bit of subversive hilarity, the track titles listed on the back of the CD are the nine songs on Dream Police, the third album by Cheap Trick. Not quite the loopy fake titles that David Cross and Steve Hofstetter have thrown out there, but totally in keeping with the aura of lowered expectations, as if even naming the bits would be a concession towards a productive, organized existence he can’t fathom maintaining (although there is a bonus track). 

Please trust me on this one – if you think it starts out a little slowly, stay with it.  Death of the Party is a no-brainer Best of 2010 contender. 

Also available for children's parties.

Preview some sample clips here

Buy Death of the Party from AST –  click here

Kyle’s MySpace page

Kyle video: how to start the day

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Filed under Comedy, Reviews

New Album! Cheap Trick

As we approach the year end best-of lists, I’ll post reviews of a couple of more contenders for best of 2009. This review ran in the print edition of Bucketful of Brains.

Two songs on the new Cheap Trick album are less than ninety seconds long. The first (“Sleep Forever”) is an odd choice for an opener, a somber tribute to a fallen friend that no doubt will be played or sung at many funerals. Almost an acapella performance, it immediately serves notice that while other veteran rock vocalists are playing in lower registers, Robin Zander’s voice is as stunning as ever. The second, “Everyday You Make Me Crazy” is an infectious rocker that would be a highlight on Voices or Dream Police. One of their catchiest riffs on an album loaded with hooks, it ends far too soon. And “California Girl”, “Alive” and “Sick Man of Europe” (a post-Nazz, pre-CT band of Rick Nielsen’s) all rock just as hard and are standouts.

But the bread and butter on this one might be a series of mid-tempo melodic tracks that mine the same vein as “The Flame” – “These Days” and “Everybody Knows” are textbook structure. “Smile” and “Times of our Lives” will have those Bic lighters – excuse me, cell phone screens – swaying back and forth as the ladies swoon. Producer Julian Raymond did a nice job getting Zander’s pipes out front and center, a challenge he does not back down from. In fact, the entire band sounds rejuvenated, with Tom Petersson’s fluid bass playing a nice return to form.

Raymond also shaped the sound of this record to straddle the decades; it’s current and fresh sounding but frequently recalls the bombast of the early albums. By covering the Slade track “When the Lights Are Out”, Cheap Trick simultaneously pays homage to its own classic pop past while taking a page from the Oasis songbook (and then kicking them in the nads with it). Ditto “Closer, The Ballad of Burt and Linda”, which outdoes the Gallaghers’ attempts to surf the psychedelic edge of the Fab Four.

Some might complain that many of the songs are too derivative – “Miracle” apes Lennon circa “Mind Games” in structure and vocal style; strains of “Within You Without You” are woven into the coda of “Times of our Lives”. And some of these songs are not brand new; some have been floating around in one form or another for years. So what? After thirty-five years, the fact that a band can still be this good – newly relevant, even – is more than enough. Not many artists can clear their own high bar at this stage of the game, but count The Latest among the band’s strongest efforts.

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