Serj Tankian “Empty Walls” & “The Unthinking Majority” Videos

System of a Down singer Serj Tankian will be releasing his first solo album next month which will be accompanied with a full tour in support of Elect The Dead. Who will be accompanying Tankian on the SOAD-less tour one might ask…how about drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia and guitarist Larry Lalonde, both of Primus-fame. If the show comes to your town, I don’t think you can turn it down.

Queens of the Stone Age “3’s & 7’s” Video

So, you like go-go dancers, drag racing, cheesy b-movie font type and gory violence? Then chances are you’re going to enjoy Queens of the Stone Age’s latest video for “3’s & 7’s.” As much as the description above takes me back to my “Dragula” days (getting old, aren’t we?), isn’t it a tad strange to think of Rob Zombie’s directorial contributions as having a type? Or such a type that one can watch a music video, and think…”wow, that seems a bit like a Rob Zombie movie.” Anyways, it’s the best song on Era Vulgaris, and I’m glad to see that the video for it stands up to the track.

Lupe Fiasco “Dumb it Down”

Kanye’s “Stronger” introduced an interesting blend between genres but Lupe’s “Dumb it Down” is as close to a true hip hop/electronic blend that I’ve ever heard. This isn’t even the first single from Lupe’s forthcoming The Cool, and from the sound of things, when it drops it’s going to amaze on a similar level to that of Food & Liquor.

Tapes ‘n Tapes & the Melismatics at Fine Line Music Cafe (Minneapolis, MN)

Sunday night’s occasion was alive in spirit as a half dozen bands collected in support of Mercedes Gordon, a local resident who was severely injured in the collapse of the 35W bridge in early August. Amongst the bands playing were local favorites such as Coach Said Not To and The Melismatics, Hershey, Pennsylvania’s The Ocean Blue and headliners Tapes ‘n Tapes.

The Melismatics opened the band’s set with a clashing track, one that focused closer on a brutish punk sound, all the while suggesting by their appearance a feeling of cheekiness akin to that of Towers of London. And despite their ragged leather, greasy hair and stimulating motioning about the stage, they, like Towers of London, over the course of their set defined themselves as anything but punk rock. Through her smacking synth and bulging rhythm guitar relative newcomer, Pony, developed a tightly knit pact with lead guitarist and vocalist Ryan Smith - one that intentionally set out to toss aside crowd expectation in favor of the moment.

Bobbing about between jagged guitars and indulgently poppy rhythms The Melismatics began to encourage a comparison to that of the UK’s young Subways, though the groups’ recordings would do little to suggest as such. Truly a “they’re much better live” band if ever I have seen one, The Melismatics delivered what was the most lively set of the evening with its four members sounding as tight as though they were a three piece.

Before Tapes ‘n Tapes seized the stage, Gordon’s fiance and local DJ Jake Rudh took the stage in the most humanizing occasion I have ever experienced at a “concert.” Introducing and saluting the neighbors, firefighters and strangers who not only helped save Gordon’s life, but the lives of others in the tragedy Rudh compassionately addressed those involved and in doing so his words and invitation gave a face to the generally faceless disaster. In a society that has become grossly desensitized to much of its environment and tragedy it was entirely hope inspiring to witness the uplifting statements of those involved in such a disaster, something that gave this night meaning above and beyond any of the fantastic music that the audience was treated to.

Tape ‘n Tapes played what has become quite routine for the band, a solid set with sporadic high spots and cordial moments of improvisation mixed in for good measure. While the group leaped into a number of new songs (many of which have been surfacing since early this past summer) the night’s inspiration came with the spirit of the occasion. Not even a momentous set could take the spotlight away from the words and thoughts that the audience had witnessed prior to the band’s set.