Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Unit Breed interview w/ TOM TEARAWAY

Please don't shoot any monkeys. The Unit Breed interview is now archived to

THE UNIT BREED – Always Distance the Lonely

THE UNIT BREED – Always Distance the Lonely

Always Distance the Lonely begins with the morphine drip of “Living in Comfortable,” a suburban myth with a caustic undertow. “Anything for Free” is an ambiguous meditation on liberty, there’s a codeine cowboy sound to the cover of “Sand,” “Under Palms” has a keen junkie carousel vibe, “You We and I” has a definitive stoner rock beat, and the band practically nods off during the bonus junkie version of “Surfin’ Bird.” Whispers and echoing instrumentation give the album a subtly fleshy feel that meshes well with the dreamy themes addressed therein, and in fact, with the tuning and widespread instrumental effects, much of the disc has an underwater feel to it that gives it a somewhat narcotic appeal. Perhaps a little too languid to be completely captivating, but ought to go down right well with a bottle of your favorite cough syrup.

NO GO KNOW – Time Has Nothing to Do With It

NO GO KNOW – Time Has Nothing to Do With It

(Note: The track listing on the album didn’t always seem to match up with the track numbers on my CD player, so the titles referenced may be a bit off. But I think you’ll get the picture.) With clear, high, almost effeminate vocals joining the twang of the strings, Time Has Nothing to Do With It flows between a sparse country jangle and a lush, melodic nightclub sound. The mournful, lonesome tone of “In Bleeding Kansas (Part I)” swells into the majestically dusky reverberations of “My Black Dog,” sounding crafted specifically for sunset drives along roads upon which no other vehicles travel; “No, We Won’t” is both plaintive and defiant; electric sorrow spills from “Christmas Prayer”; and some songs are simply, inexplicably beautiful (“Our Bodies Will Float”). Bringing to mind bands as varied as Mule, Interpol, Talking Heads, Boy Hits Car and The Brought Low (but not neglecting to throw in some proper punk chording in the right places), No Go Know builds up and strips away layers between songs, combining elegant simplicity with richly complex arrangements for a multi-faceted performance that is difficult to pigeonhole. Melodic trickles swell into urgent jams only to sink back into a pretty mire, and the program flows on and on as if it simply doesn’t need to end. By turns sorrowful and euphoric, this double album is perhaps a bit bleak to be as enthralling as it might be, but its melancholic sound does possess a note of appeal that is difficult to entirely deny; you may very well find yourself putting these discs on repeat and not bothering to take them off.


THE FAMILY CURSE – White Medicine

Raw strings scraped further by the distorted whine of high-pitched female vocals, White Medicine is a breathless dysfunctional mess. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Although compared to bands such as Butthole Surfers, Pain Teens and The Jesus Lizard, for the most part The Family Curse lacks the organized psychotic structure of those outfits, opting instead in many places to simply pour forth a vomitous maelstrom of sound that threatens to break down at any moment. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: “Back in the Water” crawls from the shore to disintegrate into a throbbing, quavering hymn of de-evolution, replete with the requisite chiming and moaning, “Big Black Mark” sounds a bit like Cyndi Lauper spending some quality time on acid with Rapeman, “Like Lightning” is distinctively feral in a black metal way, and “Sewing Box” has a dangerously seductive allure. Throughout, numerous samples and tape loops are brought into play, bringing equal parts damage and illumination. At times this does evoke a stuttering quality which is a bit too techno for the dangerous bad trip drug culture sound the band seems to be striving for, but White Medicine remains dark and disturbed without a doubt. And if you’re of the same bent you’ll want to give this a spin. Jagged. Definitely jagged.
* * *

The Very Foundation: This Restless Empire

The Very Foundation: This Restless Empire

“Only teeth break. Only earth shakes.”

Michael Lewis and Bevan put out a great release with The Very Foundation's This Restless Empire featuring Kristie Rethlefsen, members of The Decemberists, Blind Pilot, Oh Darling, and all the members of Blue Skies For Black Hearts.

Dynamically, this is such a great album; driving and percussive. The opening track, “My Sweetest Defeat” feels like driving through the streets listening to My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult circa “Hit and Run Holiday”. The horns and general atmosphere of good feeling comes across darker lyrics sarcastically. The Very Foundation uses true trumpets instead of synthesizers which always sounds better live.

“Better Get Off”, a bass-heavy hit, combines stoic, deep vocals and gothic lyrics reminiscent of what Nick Cave might have done had he teamed up with Leonard Cohen, took some anti-depressants and listened to big band music. One of the first songs to hone in on the dynamics of This Restless Empire, “Feel Anything”, sounds off with an acoustic strum joined by a hi-hat. Vocals followed by full band burst in for a climactic chorus to the words, “fuck yourself to get through, just to feel anything”. The music cuts in and out perfectly. The pre-chorus is quietly sung over a simple bass line and hi-hat, but by the time, “alone with your attic view”, is heard the rim shot on the snare clicks like a metronome and releases into “just to feel anything”.

Harmonies like those found between Lewis' lows and Rethlefsen's highs soothe over swelling strings which lifting their mixed melodies in the track, “This Is What We're Asking For”. Again, simple samples of storms and percussion create an atmosphere to pay close attention to the dynamics of song.

Many of the tracks start quietly like “My Angel, One Last Time” and build into moving pieces with targeted chorus filled with lines like, “spread your legs my angel, one last time” and “I won't tell your boyfriend, oh yeah right”. Most of the songs have a recurring theme of sexuality; unashamed and brutally honest. The ideas streaming through songs titled, “Better Get Off”, “Pornography” and “Silk and Stilettos” take the listener by the imagination and ride him into submission with a healthy groove.

The Very Foundation put a great feeling into dark and sexual themes. Check it out at:

Indie-rock series continues with ‘Pictures of Then’ concert

Indie-rock series continues with ‘Pictures of Then’ concert

Published: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:47 AM CST
Pictures of Then, a rising Minneapolis indie rock band, will make a live appearance Saturday, Nov. 21 at Hayward's Park Theater for the WOJB/Park Theater Indie Rock Series. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

Since coming together in 2007, Pictures of Then has gained critical and audience acclaim the hard way, by non-stop touring with stops at music festivals, college campuses, clubs and concert venues all over the country.

If Nostalgia Could Kill

If Nostalgia Could Kill

On their new EP, If Looks Could Kill, Music for Animals blends some of the best parts of the 1980s dance pop craze with modern indie rock. The song “If Looks Could Kill” is reminiscent of Saturdays on the couch spent watching Duran Duran videos on VH1 Classic. Hints of INXS and The Cure peek out with jangly guitars and echoed vocals as popping hand claps crack out over clubbier bass lines.

It’s not that other modern indie pop musicians haven’t made their own forays into the 1980s for creativity. It’s just that previous efforts have either been obvious single song tributes to the bygone days when MTV actually played music videos or done in irony to poke fun at the excesses of the decade. Music for Animals really does seem to be from the ’80s, which is evident from their careful attention to rhythmic details and lyrics more intent on describing a singular (selfish?) perspective. In songs like “Nervous in NY” and “Change Yourself”, the incessant use of “I,” “me” and “my” seems to reflect the self-centered and sometimes shallow attitude of ’80s popular culture. In fact, these may be the most used words on the album. The EP’s title track seems to confirm this concept as it describes a woman’s appearance with all the swagger of a man wearing a Members Only jacket who just stepped out of an IROC-Z. Music for Animals plays with Blue Horns at 10 pm Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Luckey’s. 21+. $3. — Shaun O’Dell

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

san diego reader supports PRIZE COUNTRY

Thursday 12

For 94/9’s Belly Up booking tonight, it’ll be about the fuzz-pop music. From the Dum Dum Girls distorto doo-wop and the Crocodiles warm and fuzzy feedback, to headliners the Raveonettes’ hook-heavy blowouts on their latest In and Out of Control, speakers will be dripping swank ooze and ears will smile.... If that one sells out before you reach the door, get down to the Soda Bar’s one-year anniversary event, featuring a smorgasbord of sounds from the venue’s favorite indie rockers, Apes of Wrath, Roxy Jones, Deatheaters, Old In Out, and Bunky! All for the low, low price of nothing!... A couple blocks to the left at Radio Room it’ll be Portland’s post-hardcore crew Prize Country. Give an ear or two to their new one ...with love, a collection whose energy recalls the best of early ‘90s punk’d r ‘n’ r. Also on that bill is Loom from Salt Lake and our own skate-punk supergroup Rats Eyes.... A couple more city blocks south, N.Y. psych-jam duo Blues Control and U.K. garage punx the Lovvers bang the Bar Pink stage.... While ‘round downtown, you get the “ga ga” of ‘90s radio ga ga, as Gin Blossoms test their bloom at Anthology and Third Eye Blind bumps into House of Blues.

Download: The Very Foundation – Feel Anything

Download: The Very Foundation – Feel Anything
November 8, 2009 by Comfortcomes
Filed under Mp3s

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Check out the latest track from The Very Foundation. The group has a rather large lineup so just look who played on it:

Nate Query bass player for the Decemberists
Jenny Conlee keyboard player for the Decemberists
Dave Jorgensen trumpet player from Blind Pilot and plays keys and trumpet in Kieskagato
Jasmine Ash lead singer of Oh Darling
Caroline Buchalter sits with Larry Yes and used to play in both the Upsidedown and the Spooky Dance Band
Andrew Stern of Blue Horns, Future Historians, Fast Computers
All the members of Blue Skies For Black Hearts

Grab the MP3 “FEEL ANYTHING” below.

Download: The Very Foundation – Feel Anything

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Prize Country – With Love

Prize Country – With Love
Posted by J-Sin - Inside hardcore, indie, music reviews, punk - Tags: editor's pick, indie, indie, post-hardcore, punk
07 Nov.

I can’t believe more people aren’t gushing and obsessing about Prize Country. “With Love” is a fantastic journey across the myriad of DC hardcore via their hometown of Portland, Oregon with firm nods towards the late great Quicksand. We should all band together and make this band a huge success so that guitarist Jacob Depolitte doesn’t have to drive a cab for a living anymore (unless of course he wants to do it as a side hobby). With artwork done by renowned Philly poster artist, Mike Wohlberg, “With Love” is the total package. Riff heavy guitar-centric post-hardcore that boasts bass-heavy glides and sleekly dirty production and engineering efforts that was polished perfectly by recording engineer and producer Stephen Hawkes. Songs like “Gamble” and “It Was a Night Just Like Tonight” will make you forget your deep seeded resentment towards the demise of groups like Quicksand and Snapcase. This is one of the most essential albums this year, taking Fugazi to task with their intrepid backdrop of caustic guitar chords and surging melodic vocal yells.

Pictures Of Then - And The Wicked Sea

Pictures Of Then - And The Wicked Sea

I’ve written before about how some songs seem to fit dawn. Images of a rising sun, light graceful uncovering the landscape, night time gradually fading away. Pictures of Then conjures those images, especially “Glimpse of Dawn” (of course).

The band reminds me of My Morning Jacket vocally and a more straightforward Spoon with the rest of the music.

Thanks to them, yesterday will have a soundtrack. I listened to And The Wicked Sea at every opportunity. It played every time I got in the car, while I worked, during every walk, and in my head while I stared out the window.

Towards the end, honestly, I was getting slightly tired of it. That reaction is only normal considering the absurdly excessive amount (I just remembered a prize I got in fifth grade for “Best Adjective User.” I’m not kidding) of rotations those songs went through in only one day.

I suppose it was worth it, though.

An entire day will have an album. It’s quite an interesting thing. The deeply notable events don’t hurt the significance of yesterday, either. It was rife with incredibly rare events and personal connections that are equally uncommon. And The Wicked Sea followed every turn.

Posted in acoustic, day time, drunk, indie, love, morning

wxpn blogspot on Jessie Torrisi

After playing drums for a number of NYC bands Jessie Torrisi has stepped out on her own with a wonderful debut album called Bruler Bruler (pronounced broo-lay broo-lay which means burn burn in French). The now based in Austin, Texas (with former roots in Philly) Jessie wields a guitar and a downright rocking set of tunes filled with swagger and sexiness that finds Jessie at a cool crossroads between the country and indie-rock worlds. If there was ever a female counterpart to Ryan Adams to come along, Jessie would get my vote.

Hungry Like Me - Jessie Torrisi

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GIANT SQUID more reviews!

That must be the main slogan used by the artists here to fully explore their creativity. The result is a mesmerizing album that explores all areas between the diverse extremes of post-hardcore, eclectic prog and ethereal pop music. I admit, sometimes it's difficult to follow what they are up to. It's a concept album based on a graphic novel from front man Aaron John Gregory. The album takes you from one scene to another and you are bound to tumble from one surprise into another.

It sure takes a couple of listens to fully grasp the range of styles on parade here. Aaron Gregory has a versatile voice with a range between Tom Waits gruffness to an expressive emotional wail that fans of Hammill and VDGG will probably appreciate. One moment you're in Isis atmospheres, then again in Neurosis walls of sound, next it's a gentle violin with the light female voices from Jackie Perez Gratz. Also Anneke Van Giersbergen performs on one track. (Well she's all over the place these days so that's no surprise.) She does a great performance on Sevengill, a bizarre duet with Aaron that is exemplary for this album's eccentricity.

The rich diversity of this album might be the very reason it has taken Giant Squid more then a year to get a record deal: it must be just impossible to market. It's certainly not metal. It has post-metal influences but most of the songs are very quiet and melancholic, almost folksy in a way. It's way too weird for hardcore youngsters, too ambitious for alternative rock fans and it's not prog in any traditional sense of the world. However it might appeal to prog audiences for its eclectic range of styles, the wide array of instruments (trumpet, oboe, flute, violin) and the concept album angle. We always like that don't we!?

I've decided to be a bit more difficult and demanding before handing out 5 stars or they'll stop meaning anything. But the 4 stars here are solid.

We should certainly thank Translation Loss records for supporting a commercial release of this wonderful album (almost a year since it was finished and the band distributed a number of copies themselves). It's become a nice packaging with some inventive artwork, different from the sea star picture here. It's a mutated hand with eye-sockets as fingers now. Could have been a Gentle Giant artwork I'd say. It's no coincidence this band is called Giant Octopus isn't it?


Medicine” (Fainting Room Collective)
✰✰✰ — I am totally for the absolute destruction of musical structure as a
concept and waylaying with noise and machine melting when it fits the situation.
Seattle’s the Family Curse sound like, if they wanted, they could whip together an awfully catchy, harmonic pop album. But where’s the fun in that when you can, instead, pour lava all over the thing? So, yes, “White Medicine” isn’t likely to please all listeners. It might not even satisfy most or half. We’ve become too set in our ways with how music is “supposed to sound,” that it’s refreshing to hear Megan Tweed’s deranged, maniacal, effects-drenched voice howl and shriek over equally damaged rockers “Teen Challenge,” “Like Lighting,” and “Sewing Box,” which sounds like golden-era Concrete Blondes beaten to a pulp. I can only imagine the artistic violence in a live setting, somewhere you’re more than likely to walk away from scraped and bruised. You need that sometimes. (BK)

Prize Country is bristling with tremendous energy, passion, and attitude

Nov 03 2009

Prize Country – …With Love
Category: Music In My Ears — dryvetyme @ 07:00
Prize Country
…With Love
Self-Released; 2009

By the time I had worked through my initial listen of …With Love by Prize Country, I was struck by how effortlessly these four gentlemen combined post-grunge hard rock with various strains of third-wave emo-core. However, I quickly realized that I would have to debunk the negative connotations that surround those descriptors if I didn’t want to unduly plague the band with those clichéd terms. The last thing I would ever want to do is for people to think I’m comparing a band whose music I actually enjoyed to the likes of Godsmack or My Chemical Romance.

The music of Prize Country is bristling with tremendous energy, passion, and attitude. Yet, remarkably, the music is thankfully bereft of most/all of the “bro/dude” tendencies that often come with making testosterone-fueled rock music of this nature. Specifically, there seems to be limited quantities of the familiar and nauseating preening and posturing for the crowd – there’s no one component that takes center stage, seeking a level of attention higher than that of the band as a whole. While it’s not quite mosh-ready music, these songs are certainly capable of getting a crowd moving, jumping, and singing along at the tops of its collective throats (especially to such lyrics as “Put your bets on the dying horse and hope he makes good glue,” from “Gamble”).

I was especially pleased to hear some nice dual guitar work: as opposed to simply chugging a series of chords in unison to make things sound artificially “heavy,” the two guitarists play off each other with quality, complementary riffage. A solid bass player, one who seems to be playing through some appealingly nasty pedals and amplifiers, is responsible for broadcasting the chord progressions. The drummer is of the straight-ahead variety and knows that his role is to set a pace, rhythm, and feel for the songs, while never taking them over. On the whole, however, I feel that they key to the band’s appeal is the vocals, in that they feature a slight growl that provides an appropriate amount of menace, and they are mostly absent any sort of screaming, melodramatic crooning, or histrionic wailing that can be quite distracting at times.

The only aspect of Prize Country’s sound that I found lacking was in the seeming reliance upon the somewhat standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge/breakdown-chorus arrangement. The chord changes utilized were creative (as in, not dirty, sludgy, or tired), and, as featured in the guitars, there are some solid part-writing chops on display here, but I’d love to hear the group expand its repertoire a bit. That being said, fronted by tracks like “Regular Nights,” the aforementioned “Gamble,” and “What we’re Made Of,” …With Love does its bit to restore my faith in the existence of above-average hard rock, the kind without pretense or affectation.

THE FAMILY CURSE / White Medicine (merci à/thanks to xo publicity)

THE FAMILY CURSE / White Medicine (merci à/thanks to xo publicity)

Un rock hurlant, expérimental, complètement déjanté. “Teen Challenge” sonne comme les Butthole Surfers avec une chanteuse, ailleurs on pense à Godflesh. Megan Tweed hurle de manière TRÈS convaincante, mais les chansons reposent aussi sur une solide base musicale. C’est violent, mais agile.Ça n’a pas la vitesse ou l’exubérance du premier Painkiller, mais ça y ressemble, en pent.

Screeching experimental off-the-wall rock. “Teen Challenge” sounds like The Butthole Surfers with a frontwoman; elsewhere the music can sound like Godflesh. Megan Tweed screams VERY convincingly, but the songs also rely on strong musicianship. This music is violent yet agile. It may not match the speed and exhuberance of the first Painkiller, but it gets close to it, in a heavier, slower fashion.

The Family Curse ... good god. according to GUMSHOE

The Family Curse ... good god. When people tell me a band is "crazy" I usually chuckle to myself heartily and think about Edward Ka-Spel. That makes me feel better, usually ...

But in this case "crazy" is actually a fairly apt descriptor (hear it for yourself; listen to all 6 minutes of "Bodies in Rooms" for free over there ---->). The Family Curse are dollars-to-donuts one of the kookiest combos around, dealing in an unseemly din of death loops, car-crashing crescendos and hyper-banshee shrieks.

Roll Karen O and Get Hustle into a nice little spliff and you have the right idea, but that's only the beginning. Sprinkle in a liberal dose of Albini (song title "Big Black Mark" is a dead giveaway), along with some PRE, Jesus Lizard, Death Sentence: Panda, Blood Brothers, San Francisco's Pigeon, AIDS Wolf and maybe even some Sneaker Pimps every so often.

You're getting close but you're still not there. Thirteen-minute mega-jaunt "Back in the Water," in all its fireworks-in-your-face fury, is redolent of none of these bands, nor is "Exodus from the Birds in the Night," a picturesque drone with pics and hum-bars all over the place.

And Megan Tweed; a lot of times frontwomen of her stripe end up doing more harm than good, but she is an exception. There are times when the Groove calls for more room, room Tweed isn't willing to give, yet she never ceases to pull new rabbit tricks from her gorilla larynx.

Same goes for her band. All told, The Family Curse should probably tour with Gay Beast if they haven't already. There's a lot of creative synchronicity going on here. Not that they sound alike at all, more that they're both heavy without being metal, hardcore, punk or noise.

Let's call it post-junk.

Elin Palmer on AW Music

Elin Palmer – Postcards Review
30 October 2009, Allan @ 7:33 pm
Elin Palmer is a Swedish singer songwriter who’s previous work includes playing time with the Lee Lewis Harlots. She’s played with Busia Bulat, M. Ward and The Fray in the past. She’s a seasoned musician who’s been around the block so to speak.

I was interested in her work after hearing a handful of tracks on her album, Postcards. Elin Palmer has a nice voice siding with great classical influenced folk. It’s nice to here all these instruments including the Nyckelharpa. It gives the music as interesting taste. With two tracks sung in her native language, she uses her heritage to further emphasize how great of a singer she is. It’s hard to say how good she is lyrically, I’m not sold that it’s the greatest in the world but it definitely doesn’t bother me,

The album from top to bottom is very sound with many weak spots. I think that’s where it ultimately fails to achieve great success is that it’s too sound. While the songs aren’t similar I just can’t seem to pick up sections where this album has its moments. It’s good music, tons of great classical influenced stuff but I can’t help but be a little more bored then I should be. It’s definitely safe music and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel like Elin Palmer’s Postcard doesn’t captivate me like I feel like Elin Palmer should.

For now, I’ll keep my eyes on Elin Palmer. She definitely has some good qualities that can’t be ignored and she should just keep moving forward. Perhaps more risks and more of a personality might do wonders but then again what do I know?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Still an above average album with talent shining more then anything.

Prize Country review on PASTE PUNK
October 31 2009 // Posted by Jordan
Oregon’s PRIZE COUNTRY have been around for 3.5 years now, and owe their name to seven releases, including two-lengths, their latest being With Love, on Hex Records. Having not been very familiar with their prior works, I was extremely thrilled to learn that the group’s sound is in the vein of post-hardcore bands like SNAPCASE, TIME IN MALTA, QUICKSAND, and FRODUS. With Love is 30+ minutes of surging, beautifully rhythmic music, lead by tantalizing dual guitars, a sharp-toothed bass drum pedal, and the soft-spoken, but pointed vocals of Aaron Blanchard. It’s hard not to find yourself in a continuous state of ‘bounce’ when listening to this release. The sixth track, “What We’re Made Of,” runs nearly six minutes long, and is the band’s most ambitious effort, starting with a straight-forward linear intro, and delving into a circular rhythm that shoots off waves of guitars like swells from a hurricane. The tune concludes with a firing off of thick slabs of bass and the feeling that PRIZE COUNTRY always tidy up whatever musical mess they create. Although anthems really aren’t this band’s thing, With Love displays its catchy side on “Bigger Picture,” which is custard-filled with memorable lines and pacing, and the sour aftertaste of a FUGAZI tongue-lashing. As a matter of first impression, PRIZE COUNTRY have me hooked solid – time to work my way through their back catalog…

Hex Records

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

decibel magazine on PRIZE COUNTRY ..with love

Prize Country
...With Love

Love ain’t real unless you get ellipses in your album name | Hex

If Prize Country’s second full-length doesn’t immediately transport you back to 1995, you probably weren’t alive in 1995. The Portland band is so reminiscent of noisy post-punk kings Drive Like Jehu and the entire mid ’90s Dischord roster that I feel like I’m living with my parents again when I’m listening to them. And you know what? That’s just dandy. The scrappy vocals, propulsive rhythms and melodic-cum-abrasive guitar charges may be 15 years behind the curve, but this stuff sounds every bit as urgent as Bluetip and Jawbox did ’roundabout my Bar Mitzvah.

Ballsier than your average noise rock band, but not quite heavy enough to qualify as metal, Prize Country bamboozle with guitars that slither and surge against each other and their impeccable rhythm section. On “Gamble,” the slice ‘n’ dice yields to a maddeningly catchy hook (we even get some handclaps on “Cement”). Otherwise …With Love is all right angles and tire skids, all the time.

With the exception of the Shiner-esque title track, which serves up pretty harmonies and ninth chords to soften the edges, Prize Country basically write variations on the same yelpy, mid-tempo, minor key post-punk song over and over again. But that one song is freakin’ awesome, and over the years they’ve gotten increasingly good at writing it. Maybe progress ain’t so important to a band so rooted in a past musical era as Prize Country. And if water-treading sounds as good as Prize Country do on …With Love, maybe progress shouldn’t be so important to us, either.

—Etan Rosenbloom

Read it here

Jessie Torris in THE DAILY NEWS

JESSIE TORRISI, “Brûler Brûler”
(Wild Curls) ✰✰✰ — Jessie Torrisi started off drumming for a handful of NYC bands before journeying through New Orleans and Brazil, finally setting up shop in Austin, Texas. Now on her own (for good, she says), Torrisi has spit shined a debut platter of eight tracks that feel like a big appetizer. That is to say the songs are tasty, yet not entirely satisfying. She has a nice, downhome voice, and I don’t doubt her chops, but she needs to get stronger. Country-rich “Hungry Like Me” is fine as an opener, but no more, and “X in Texas” is overwrought with cliché. But there are some really good moments here too. Witness the breezy, ’70s pop of “So Many Miles” and the closing piano ballad “The Brighter Side,” which gets a sip of pedal steel, and you clearly see what she’s capable of. It’s just a start, and a decent one, and hopefully next record will benefit by her honing her craft on the road. (BK)

Stoner Rock interviews BLACK SKIES

Read the interview here

An Interview with Kevin Clark of Black Skies

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Caravan of Thieves Put on Devilishly Delightful Performances

Posted by: csheppard on Oct. 19, 2009

The Caravan of Thieves are Ashland Coffee & Tea's latest Artists in Residence.

The quartet, led by husband and wife team Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, will be back in Ashland Wednesday, October 21.

I caught up with them on the phone from their hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Caravan of Thieves, despite being a relatively young band, has gotten off to a very promising start.

"Our very first show with Caravan was the Spring of 2008," says Carrie, who sings and plays guitar. "We've been playing together for about a year and a half."

The couple married in 2005.

"It was an intimate relationship before it became a musical one," says Fuzz, who also sings and plays guitar.

It's likely you've never experienced a show like theirs. Both Fuzz and Carrie say music has been a part of their lives since childhood.

"As a kid I was doing a lot of theater and Broadway," recalls Carrie. "I was classically trained on piano first and then started playing guitar in high school. My dad taught me."

"I started off as a kid playing guitar, Rock-n-Roll," says Fuzz. "I played my first show when I was 14. I just kind of got hooked on performing and playing in bands."

Fuzz went to school for classical music and arrangement and composition, played everything from blues to jazz to R&B to dance-pop, toured with Deep Banana Blackout and joined up with Tom Tom Club, which is the drummer and bass player from Talking Heads.

"When Fuzz and I met I was doing a solo singer-songwriter thing up in Burlington, Vermont,"

Elin Palmer: Postcard [Album Review]

Elin Palmer: Postcard [Album Review]
20 October 2009 Written by Fense No Comment Tags: denver, elin palmer, sweden

Swedish folk musician turned Denver resident, Elin Palmer varies her song-craft between orchestration and experimentation. Her songs mesh the two arenas of folk, often dabbling in a fairly sizable amount of pop as well. Palmer’s brilliance is partly due to her mystic voice — the Swedish accent is truly what does it. But wherever the unique instrumentation dominates, sheer brilliance ensues.

Title track “Postcard”, and epic closer “Whaleboat” find Palmer developing that interesting balance between the two sounds (orchestral and experimental). The former, as the opening song on the album, acts as an introduction to a sound both fresh and rewarding. The latter concludes Postcard with an almost anthemic climax; about as much as you can expect from an album that is dominated by folk.

“Time” and “No Use” are equally as intriguing; Palmer adds a lovely waltz-ing accordion in each that creates a very harmonic effect. Violin and cello are the focus in “Stora Stoular”, where Palmer slips into her native tongue (a guess, as I do not speak the language). The same happens in “Duvardar” with a more rewarding result.

The power behind Postcard is truly no surprise. Palmer strikes out on her own for the first time after playing part in several fairly well-known acts, from Devotchka to Crooked Fingers. This debut solo effort is well worth every moment, and Palmer has the ability to become just as familiar a name as the groups in which she’s performed.

Elin Palmer: Postcard [mp3]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Prize Country' considers musical integrity, chance to tour the real prize

'Prize Country' considers musical integrity, chance to tour the real prize
| | More By Liz Keeney / For The Pitt News
published: Sun, 18 Oct, 2009
photo credit: Courtesy Prize Country
Ice cream, not mainstream success, is the band's real 'Prize.'

Prize Country
With Git Some
The Smiling Moose
Oct. 19

Interested in the type of music that concerns itself with staying up late, having fun and raising some hell? Not a big fan of the T-Pain or Britney Spears brands of popular music? You might want to check out Prize Country.

Harkening back to the decades-old formula of loud, fast and rowdy, Prize Country has made a name for itself by playing good old rock ‘n’ roll.

Prize Country — composed of Jacob Depolitte on guitar, Aaron Blanchard on guitar and singing lead vocals, Joshua Northcutt on drums and Jon P. Hausler on bass — has been playing its boisterous music out of Portland since 2006.

A stark contrast to the pop-rock and hip-hop sound currently spinning on top 40 radio stations, Prize Country has made a name for itself by playing heavy, raucous and fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll.

According to Blanchard, the band’s music is “loud and intense and urgent, a little bit of everything.”

Unlike many of its musical contemporaries, Prize Country makes music for music’s sake, Blanchard said: No formula, no copied beats, no forced

Inspired by classic rock giants such as Led Zeppelin and the The Doors, Blanchard said the band “listens to different things, so our sound is a little varied,” and that the result is a culmination of “just loving and listening to music.”

After meeting Blanchard in Salt Lake City, Depolitte moved to Oregon to form a band with him. Soon after, Hausler, a bartender at Depolitte and Blanchard’s favorite bar, joined the lineup, and Northcutt completed the roster.

Beginning in 2006 with “Dead Kingdom,” the band’s self-released debut album, Prize Country has completed seven albums, including its upcoming release, “With Love.”

Blanchard said it’s easy to write songs because band members “know what everyone sounds like.

“Our songwriting processes is very organic,” he said. “After beginning with a few simple guitar riffs, it’s a natural progression to write the rest of the song. Lyrically, we’re a whole different ballgame. We try to be a little tongue-in-cheek.”

Instead of the over-processed, techno-infused studio rock that has dominated the airwaves for the past several years, Prize Country pumps out a more bare-bones sound.

“We initially wrote songs that sounded better recorded, but after touring, we came up with stuff to play live,” Blanchard said. “Everything ends up being a little faster.”

Prize Country said it enjoys playing live, and that has kept the band on tour for the majority of the year.

Despite the band’s busy schedule — with more than 50 shows on each tour — Blanchard said, “Touring’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but all you have to do is think about it for five minutes, and you see that it’s all worth it. We’re really killing two birds with one stone. We love music and we love to travel.”

And the fans love the band for it.

“We often see a lot of the same faces,” Blanchard said. “You make a lot of friends along the way, so you always want to be invited back.”

But Prize Country isn’t just interested in putting on a good show. It’s really the love of music that drives it. Blanchard said the band isn’t interested in making money or hitting the big time.

“[Prize Country] doesn’t want to fit in,” he said. “The industry right now isn’t complementary to what we do.”

He said the band enjoys touring and that conforming to the industry standard isn’t worth giving that up.

When asked about how Prize Country fits into the music scene right now, Blanchard said, “I don’t think we do, and I’m happy about that. We do what we do. We care about music. We have control, and I can’t imagine someone telling us what to do.”

Check out the band's Myspace page.

Bluesy BAcksliders' Album Rockin' Fun at Any Price


What if FM contemporary radio programmers in the 100 largest cities in America were human beings and not actually "programs" themselves?

What if they decided that any music played on their stations would have to be at least 51% non-Pearl-Jam-derived?

What if no songs longer than three minutes would get airplay?

Remember when you could tune in your town's Top 40 station and hear The B-52s, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Heart, and even DEVO? Sure, these artists had songs over three minutes, and the stations mixed in plenty of doggy do-do in between. But how great was it to hear "Back on the Chain Gang" coming from your (or your older brother's) car radio? Not every singer had to sound like Eddie Vedder (or the 1980 equivalent, say, Roger Waters). Really Pearl Jam's okay. But radio used to let guys like the The B-52s' Fred Schneider and DEVO's Gerald Casale do their schtick-- on Top 40!!

So who cares, right? Internet beat the dead radio star, previously killed by "video", presumably. But THe BAcksliders' music, begs another question: What happened to rock bands that sound so good that you want them to be, not only on your iPod, but in the ethers all around you? In the frequency-modulated radiation. It's not nostalgia here, it's physics. (continued above right)

(continued from below left)
Maybe it makes me a crotchety old man that I would love to jump up and call someone's attention
to THe BAcksliders' "Things" playing on Y-100. The point is that THe BAcksliders, from Dallas, Texas, would be all over FM radio, all of the above "what ifs" having been answered. But it's fantasy, and the reality is that WHYI-FM should now be known as "Why-100" instead. Green Day. Green Day is as good as it gets on that station. And, hey, Green Day is pretty darned good. But, yeah... they're the titanium ceiling of quality modern music on commercial radio.

But let's stop picking on easy targets like Why-100 and bands like Creed, for example. "BTW", do you know how long Creed songs are? Ten of the thirteen songs on their ingeniously-titled album "Greatest Hits" are four and a half minutes or longer. "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin clocks in at three minutes, fourteen seconds. You can listen to both "Whatever Happened To..." and "No Reply" by Buzzcocks in four and a half minutes. Does Creed just have so much more to say? Or do they simply play lonnnggg, shiiittty, sonnngggs? But we digress. Joyfully, but we digress.

The Details, for Doubters and Devils: Considering THe BAcksliders' stripped-down, guitar-bass-drums approach, they display a surprising variety of styles. "Last Call" and "Twisted" are satisfying blends of fine country-rock and punchy, New Wave-pop in the manner of Blondie and Pretenders. When they're in that heady domain, it's hard to imagine wanting to listen to anything else. "Bitter Days" revs up the blues, burning past 33,000 rpm, and making you want to be wherever they're playing tonight. Ultimately, what makes THe BAcksliders fully essential is the often velvety, always powerful voice of Kim Bonner and the songwriting. Bass player's great, drummer plays hard, confident, sometimes good-and-sloppy. The guitarist/ 2nd singer has the best of country blues and blues rock in his veins, and the dual lead vocals work great together and individually. Each BAckslider is a 100% perfect fit, and I'll give Kim Bonner 110% for her contribution. The sum is 500% rock-n-roll.

Oh, and all the songs on "Thank You" are under three minutes long, by the way. They all churn, and rock, kick, and jump. They add up to the best album of 2009. A little under twenty-three minutes of rock-n-roll done right. Downloadable for the price of... well... nothing. Have a fun autumn-- the weather's great and the album of the year is free for all. Get it while

the gettin's good. -- A.S.

Blessed with a voice that matches Emmylou Harris for sly

Jessie Torrisi

"Bruler Bruler"

read here too!

Jessie Torrisi
"Bruler Bruler"
Release date: October 28
Wild Curls

AUGUSTA, GA - So here’s the skinny: Jessie Torrisi is a former New York drummer and present-day Texas-based siren of grit, hunger, loss and the eternal search for the Why and the What. Blessed with a voice that matches Emmylou Harris for sly, lust-tinged smokiness and rivals Neko Case in the gorgeous-as-hell-but-can-chop-firewood-all-day department, Torrisi obviously knows her way around not only every back alley saloon that’s ever been littered with heartbreak and bad decisions, but also a few low-lit jazz haunts. To put this in perspective, Case posed for the cover of her last album on top of a hot rod, brandishing a broadsword as if she were about to invent decapitation. Had Torrisi posed for the same shot, the car would’ve been dustier, and she’d have done it in heels.

Regardless, the actual album art features her jumping on the bed, so you get an idea of the dichotomies we’re dealing with here; there IS a certain wink-and-a-nod vibe to “Bruler Bruler,” but one characterized by a degree of transparency. And it has to be; as poppy, catchy, and lilting as some of these songs may be, a mixture of sideways smiles and melancholy is what lies at the core of the album. She may bemoan a lack of love on “Hungry Like Me,” but turns right around on the cabaret-tinged dive-bar tune “Cannonball” with lines like “I wanna dive into your skin/I wanna dive in like a cannonball.” A wilting flower this woman is not.

Salvation is woven throughout, but only at the periphery. The album’s most peaceful track, “Brighter Side,” sounds like something a country gospel group would have written after being stuck in a cabin on the Northwest coast during rainy season with nothing but a record player and a dusty copy of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” Simple to accept and tough to unravel, “Bruler Bruler” should very well speak to everyone, but that’s not because Jessie Torrisi knows who you are—it’s because she knows who she is.