Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Delivering a proggy shimmery take of spacey, indie/alt rock/punk, mixed with some post-rock, some hardcore and lots of silky smooth vocals,



(False Eye Records)


I’m not much for gimmicks, but when a CD is sent to me with the ‘jewel case’ cut from a 12-pack of beer, and the track listing is printed on a Camels lights -pack, I’ll admit it: Well played, good sirs!

Delivering a proggy shimmery take of spacey, indie/alt rock/punk, mixed with some post-rock, some hardcore and lots of silky smooth vocals, Portland’s Microtia is musically a nice break from my usual breakdown filled, growly nun fuckery. At times I was reminded of Cave In’s Jupiter/Antenna, Circa Survive and Codeseven. I also think fans of Baroness’ mellower moments might dig this and I’ve also seen Crime In Stereo thrown around as a reference, though, I cannot personally say so either way.

As I hinted, huge part of Microtia’s sound are the vocals of Jessie Torrisi. His svelte, evocative croons are neither emo or wimpy, but a whiskey smooth tone that matches the shimmering music perfectly. And the music, while probably not the regular fare for readers here, works well when you just want some metal that’s laid back, yet artistic and eloquent. Spacemaker is 45-minutes of spacious and loose music: A perfect background music for when you have your metal- and non-metal friends come over. The likes of “The Early Fish gets the Worm”, “Add Insult to Injury” and “That’s the Problem with Owning half the State of California” will borrow into your subconscious and have you humming their cascading strums and sugary choruses. But at the same time the Mastodon-ish drumming of Tim Steiner manages to remind you that you are listening to a rock/metal album (“Pocket Full of Bee Stings”).

I’m interested if anyone other than West Coast hippies and beard wearers get into this lot, as they deserve a much broader audience—including some of you lot reading this now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

BONEDOME is the musical age ego of Allan Hayslip (guitar, bass, singing),



Summer Break


das musikalische Alter Ego von Allan Hayslip (Gitarre, Bass, Gesang), der

zusammen mit anderen Musikern aus Dallas, TX seine Vision des perfekten

Rockalbums umgesetzt hat. Musikalisch lässt sich „Thinktankubator“ schwer

kategorisieren: Es ist ein zeitloses Werk, dessen Einflüsse von an Bowie

erinnernden Songs über Prog-Rockiges bis hin zu Daniel Ashs (ex-BAUHAUS)

LOVE AND ROCKETS reicht, die Ende der Achtziger in den USA richtig groß

waren, in Deutschland aber maximal ein Geheimtip. Teilweise sehr

mainstreamig, ohne damit böse aufzufallen, und somit ein durchaus

interessantes, aber auch irgendwie zwischen den Stühlen hängendes Album. (5)

Joachim Hiller

Sunday, November 28, 2010

L.A. band set to rev crowd at Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain

The judge is in

L.A. band set to rev crowd at Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain




Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 7:38 AM PDT

It was 15 years ago when Judge Jackson lead singer Todd McTavish met guitarist Lee Jackson in the front room of his apartment. Jackson was at the L.A. home McTavish shared with a female bartender from the famous Sunset Strip bar Whiskey-a-go-go. Jackson was meeting with McTavish’s roommate’s boyfriend to learn songs for a hired gun-gig playing guitar on a six-week tour in Hawaii.

When the boyfriend got distracted with his girlfriend the roommate in the back room, McTavish inadvertently stole the man’s guitarist. The two started talking about songwriting styles and the possibility of working together after Jackson returned to the mainland. “We had immediate chemistry,” McTavish says.

The next day, Jackson stopped packing his bags. “He called the next day and said, ‘Screw getting back from Hawaii. Let’s do this,’” McTavish recalls. The two got to work matching lyrics with chords. Then they matched a name to the sound.

While the band isn’t necessarily a Southern rock band, they wanted a name that summed up the Southern flavor they identified with. As the two became acquainted, Jackson mentioned his father, a Texas court judge in Dallas, Judge Jackson.

The name immediately resonated. “It just sort of fell into place,” McTavish says. While Judge Jackson wasn’t immediately in favor of the idea, he’s grown to be one of the band’s biggest fans, McTavish says.

The band has a few more misleading habits. Not only will this be Judge Jackson’s third time playing Big Bear Choppers Ride the Mountain event come June 19 at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear Lake, they’re veterans of other chopper-themed events, as well. They’ve played the Laughlin and Sturgis bike runs. But they’re not bikers.

So they are not Southern rock, not judges and they’re not bikers. What are they?

“It’s honest music for honest people,” McTavish says. “No smoke and mirrors, just the straight goods. … We do have a lot of songs about being out on the road, and I think that is where they (bikers) identify with the music.”

The band’s fifth studio album, “Drive,” out Aug. 3, offers straight-up rock ’n roll in the vein of Guns ’ n Roses, Lynard Skynard, Gov’t Mule and Buckcherry. Their amped-up songs have soundtracked everything from the TV shows “My Name is Earl” and the NASCAR reality show “Victory Lane” to the Stanley Cup finals, Monday Night Football and the NBA.

Judge Jackson evolved during the years, with McTavish and Jackson remaining the band’s backbone. The most recent additions are bassist Brian “Chuey” James and drummer J.J. Garcia, making the band complete.

“Any band will tell you it’s the relationship, the chemistry,” McTavish says. “When you get along, it’s a big deal. Half of it has been about writing some great songs and the other is about the boys club. We’ve always liked that feel to it. We are honored we get to play with each other. Every gig is the same gig to me—whether we’re playing in front of 50,000 people or five, we’re honored to play and give 100 percent.”

For McTavish, being a front man didn’t necessarily come naturally. He got into music because of his affinity for songwriting. But the elation that comes with entertaining and working a room did take root early. The first time he felt the call of the crowd was at age 15 as a camp counselor in training.

To entertain the kids, McTavish and the other counselors put together a stage show complete with air guitar and broom handles standing in as mike stands. McTavish gave Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero” his all. The crowd went wild.

“It went off like the Beatles,” McTavish remembers. “I still remember the ringing of people screaming in my head. There was a moment when I thought that was pretty cool. That was a bit of a rush. There was this moment of performing in front of people you can’t help but be moved by.” It’s what drives him.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If you want to know what TENACIOUS D would sound like with a Southern accent



JUDGE JACKSON / Drive CD / Curtis-Joe Records / 2010

If you want to know what TENACIOUS D would sound like with a Southern accent and no sense of irony whatsoever, here is a perfect example. It’s boogie rock ‘70s style, making no pretensions of being anything but some dumb backyard barbecue with a six-pack fun. Really silly lyrics like “Romeo and Juliet / were alone and then they met” help to seal the deal.




2 “Radio” (the story of PCR listeners)

7 “Just Because” (for those who miss the sounds of BOSTON)

10 “Meant To Be” (stripped-down Roadhouse Country surprise)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Charlotte, NC band that has been enjoying some mainstream success as of late.

Music Monday: The Paper Tongues


Happy Music Monday! This week's music comes to us from a Charlotte, NC band that has been enjoying some mainstream success as of late. With their two most recent singles, "Ride to California" and "Trinity," I know I've become a fan.
For some reason, the lyrics to the song "Trinity" strike a chord with me. Even though the lyrics sound like, as Daniel Tosh would say, "Christian Mother Effin Rock!" I don''t believe they classify themselves that way.

Glory Hallelujah! Enjoy my personal favorite song, "Trinity," after the jump.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Forged under the inspiration of post-punk and angular melodies, the Burning


The Burning Hotels

Forged under the inspiration of post-punk and angular melodies, the Burning

Hotels cut through modern rock with driving sounds and propulsive rhythms.

The band made their recording debut with a self-released EP titled Eighty

Five Mirrors, licensed by Razor & Tie. This EP won the Fort Worth Weekly's

Album of the Year and 3 of the Top 10 Songs of the Decade. In April of 2010,

the Burning Hotels released their debut full-length LP, Novels. This release

was mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Bloc Party).

Tags:indie, indie rock, love, rock, punk

Similar artists:Kelsey Brown, Benjamin E. Morsberger, nick sheqz, Dark Mean,

And Selby Jase

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

gritty yet pleasant piano-infused pop punk and get swinging.

K Sera (United States) http://www.newbanddaily.com/
K Será's pop punk with echoingly deep vocals and a piano prove to be the real power behind today's brand of Warped Tour. Having only been together for less than two years, these guys get what it takes to leave an impressionable on an otherwise easily forgettable scene.

Originally a solo gig from lead singer and guitarist Michael Caswell, the five young guys came together to attack the touring stage performance lifestyle. After touring for the first time (including a stint on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour), they stopped in Seattle to record a sophomore EP that proved to be dynamic.

They will be touring again this summer so make sure to check out their gritty yet pleasant piano-infused pop punk and get swinging.

Songs we recomme! nd you listen to: "Me Before Women and Children" and "Edge of the Map."

w.h Walker on new band daily with free mp3

November 22, 2010: Welcome Home Walker (USA)


All hail garage rock bands from Portland, Oregon! We think it's pretty amusing that this type of music can be found all over the rainy Pacific Northwest, but we like it. Welcome Home Walker's three or four piece band typifies this style, but with more gusto and definitely more potential.

They play kitschy, catchy, lyrically memorable and fun garage rock with a pop edge. They are a bit late 1970s and early 1980s punk, mixed with 60s pop, and a modern twist. At moments we think Beatles, at others The Clash...

Having performed at a pop festival this past summer, they're said to play energetic shows reminiscent of past generations, but all in all, we think they seem pretty culturally relevant and awesome.

Songs we recommend you listen to: "As the Night Goes" and "Don't Let Me Go."

Sunday, November 21, 2010



Summer Break


das musikalische Alter Ego von Allan Hayslip (Gitarre, Bass, Gesang), der

zusammen mit anderen Musikern aus Dallas, TX seine Vision des perfekten

Rockalbums umgesetzt hat. Musikalisch lässt sich „Thinktankubator“ schwer

kategorisieren: Es ist ein zeitloses Werk, dessen Einflüsse von an Bowie

erinnernden Songs über Prog-Rockiges bis hin zu Daniel Ashs (ex-BAUHAUS)

LOVE AND ROCKETS reicht, die Ende der Achtziger in den USA richtig groß

waren, in Deutschland aber maximal ein Geheimtip. Teilweise sehr

mainstreamig, ohne damit böse aufzufallen, und somit ein durchaus

interessantes, aber auch irgendwie zwischen den Stühlen hängendes Album. (5)

Joachim Hiller

BONEDOME is the musical age ego of Allan Hayslip (guitar, bass, singing),

which converted its vision of the perfect skirt album together with other

musicians from Dallas, TX. „Thinktankubator can musical be categorized “with

difficulty: It is a timeless work, whose influences of at Bowie of reminding

song over Prog Rockiges up to Daniel Ashs (ex building house) to LOVE AND

ROCKETS reaches, the end of the eighties in the USA correctly largely was

however maximum, in Germany a secret tip. Partly very mainstreamig, without

being noticeable thereby badly, and thus a quite interesting, in addition,

somehow between the chairs hanging

So thank you, Judge Jackson, for the breath of fresh air.

Issue #21.46

Judge Jackson


Judge Jackson


Curtis-Joe Records


AUGUSTA, GA - I’m not one to complain*, but the stylistic gamut of albums coming down my review pipeline has considerably narrowed in recent years. I’m all too happy to fill you in on the latest '70s hesher throwbacks, or a reasonably talented group of Immortal worshippers, but I’ve got inch-thick files of press releases peddling “the most evil, filth-ridden flame-semen to spew forth from the gonads of Mammon” and frankly, it’s getting a bit old.

*Yes I am.

So thank you, Judge Jackson, for the breath of fresh air. On their MySpace page, these guys list as influences “Lynyrd Skynrd, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Guns n’ Roses, Tesla, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Allman Brothers, and Stevie Ray Vaughan” and damn it, I believe them (except maybe Maiden; where’s your twin-guitar leads, boys?). The songs are catchy as hell (“Radio”), the riffs beefy and sufficiently whiskey-fueled (“Head Over Heels”), and vocalist Todd McTavish strikes a near-perfect balance between '80s-era bombast and Scott Weiland sleaze. The fact that the whole affair is capped off with a porch-stompin’, dobro-laced honky-tonker with the inimitable Julia Henry lending guest vocals just sweetens the deal even more.

And if the rhymes are a little pedestrian — “You’re New York and I’m L.A./You love to work, I love to play — and the lyrics occasionally cringe-worthy — “We met along the boulevard of broken hearts” — just remember that this kind of thing comes with the territory. Enjoy, you jaded bastard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aswan North turns his voice to melodic ends, it's like Robert Plant

Other Stages : Paper Tongues (4-5 p.m., Troo Music Lounge), a seven-piece outfit from Charlotte, is oddly compelling for its decision to mine one of the least-loved moments in recent musical history, the rock-rap surge of the late nineties. When you have sneering men gyrating in tight black pants to a hard-rock riff, there's an unavoidable element of comedy involved, but the band is wholly committed, the rhythm section keeps time like a crystal oscillator, and when frontman Aswan North turns his voice to melodic ends, it's like Robert Plant has dropped by the pub to sing a number with the boys ...


Charlotte’s Paper Tongues


Charlotte’s Paper Tongues are in the Troo Music Lounge

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Untitled from Timothy Stephens on Vimeo.

A 49 minute long glam pop album.

Climber - "The Mystic" 1

A 49 minute long glam pop album.


by Eryc Duhart

"The Mystic"

Climber, the four-man group comprised of Dean Webster, Kyle Lockwood, Joe Mengis, and Michael Nelson has been flying under the mainstream radar quite some time. Since their first release in 2004, the band has reported playing in various music bars in and around Portland, Ore. Their first few albums have a feel reminiscent of artists such as Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers and even Radiohead. “Archive,” released in 2007, marked a shift for the group to a more electronic sound. “The Mystic,” their latest album, gave them yet another chance to try things a little differently. While “The Mystic” does a decent job of staying true to their electro-pop roots, it’s finally created a new sound that is more definitive to the group.

Much like Lockwood’s cover art, the majority of the album is upbeat, and the background music is bold. The background melodies are where “The Mystic” really shines. The albums’ tracks range from slightly electronic with piano overlays to dreamy melodies. Wrapped in all of this are Nelson’s crisp and stressed vocals. The two tend to mix decently over the span of the album, gaining a kind of fervor from the upbeat tempo of the surrounding music. Interestingly, much like the cheery cover art and the tale of the monster of which it speaks, the enjoyable beats are juxtaposed by the sad stories they tell. Nelson weaves themes of isolation, irresponsibility and communion (or a lack there of) with nature and poor judgment throughout, creating a bit of lyrical dissonance at times.

All in all, it’s a tossup as to whether one may enjoy Climber’s new sound. “The Mystic’s” songs don’t feel as natural or blend as well as those from older albums. Climber was obviously trying to push its musical envelope, which may turn off some fans. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with this album, but it’s not extraordinarily good either. Nevertheless, the album is definitely worth a listen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coffee Shop Confidential: an interview with Climber’s Joe Mengis


Coffee Shop Confidential: an interview with Climber’s Joe Mengis

by Max Teasdale October 19, 2010

Portland Indie Rock Portland Music

Music can be a bit like a foreign language. If you don’t speak the language, it’s hard to really understand the beauty and complexities. You see, when two people speak the same “language”, a connection is made. Even though I don’t play music, I had that moment when you really connect with someone as if you both are part of a long lost cosmic tribe. What a relief to stumble upon Joe Mengis of Portland’s veteran indie rock band Climber,

We play phone tag for a week, and eventually hammer out a good time for the interview. After agreeing to meet Joe at his place, I quickly find myself in very familiar territory. I’m standing on the corner of SE 28th, literally two blocks away from the place of my birth. I was born a couple of blocks behind the historic Laurelhurst Theater next to the old Coke factory on the top floor of a duplex. Yes, hippie style.

So, when I meet Joe a couple blocks down in front of his apartment building, I have to smile and chuckle. I go on to explain that my childhood friend David’s house is directly behind his building, and point out his back yard visible from the street. Joe confesses he too is a Portland native growing up over by NE Prescott, before heading east with his family to the Gresham area.

We head up to his small studio jam packed with musical equipment, but quickly head back out to a local coffee shop.

With the last of the October sun pouring in through a nostalgic haze, we find a table and roll into an effortless conversation. Realizing the easy chit-chat will consume our time slot, I pull out the tape recorder and jump in.

Interested in the origins of artists, I ask Joe to recall when it all took off for him. When did he know he wanted to be a professional musician?

“When I knew? I don’t think I ever knew, I don’t even know if I still know,” Joe says and weighs the question for a moment. “I guess, I um… it was something I wanted to do when I was in high school, like in my high school years, I was like, ‘Whatta you want to be when you grow up? I’m gonna go to music school and be a professional musician.’”

He goes on to admit that he wanted to be a professional percussionist in an orchestra. “Yeah, like the Oregon symphony would have been perfect. I mean at that time, it was my dream job outside of playing drums on the Tonight show, that’s where my brain was at… I was in high school, you know?” He continues through the time-line after school and explains that as life went on it changed. “It has kinda morphed from, ‘I want to be a professional musician’, to ‘I really enjoy the fact I get to do music’.”

They love me in Japan!

I switch gears and dive into Japan. After hearing some time ago about his adventures there on a major tour with solo artist Becca (Summer Sonic ’08), I’m excited to get to the details. “It was a mind blower! I mean, it was like… first off, everyone there and everyone I met was awwwwesome!”

I soon learn his experience was very comfortable despite being on a tight itinerary. “It was an eleven a.m. call for the most part, and from an eleven a.m. it was a full day schedule… a lot of hurry up and wait. But for me, it was my first time on tour and at festivals like that, you know? Playing Summer Sonic was awesome!” Feeling like a loser having never heard of the music festival before, I ask for more info as I scribble on a notepad. I learn Summer Sonic is a major music festival bouncing between the cities of Tokyo and Osaka, drawing massive crowds and top shelf talent. I learn half the bands play in one city, with the other half doing the same, and then swap the next day. Burning with curiosity, I ask if he had any favorites.

“Alicia Keys,” Joe admits and nods with reverence. I pop with excitement and find myself becoming more impressed. With a long list of some of the raddest bands on the planet, including MGMT lurking around his hotel, I know I could talk all day about Summer Sonic. Instead, I jump into another juicy nugget I’d heard about Joe.

School of Rock's new location on SE Hawthorne.

Joe not only teaches private lessons three days a week, but he also holds a position as assistant director of band at the School of Rock. “It’s my favorite thing of all time. Right this second, it’s my favorite thing ever – I love it,” he says of the kids and lights up like a Christmas tree.

According to Joe, the kids bounce between private lessons and band sessions for three or four months until the goal of a live performance is reached. Joe delves into more detail about the inner workings of the program. “Yeah, they’re taking private lessons, they’re in a band, they also have theory classes, like Rock 101, and for kids just starting out, they go to that. We also, on Saturdays, are starting song writing/studio…” I suddenly have the urge throw up a high five, but I let Joe finish his thought. “…I can’t even contain how excited I am about it… teaching these kids studio and song writing at the same time, first off, is so progressive, I mean, that’s how people write now.”

I nod in agreement at his revelation, but a question is knocking at the back door of my brain. I ask if there is a kid who reminds him of himself at that age, and Joe smiles as he looks away to contemplate. “Yes, there is one in particular that is me at that age, yeah… one hundred percent.” I want to ask who this kid is, as I watch his face go through a series of changes, but I can tell he’s going to keep this little gem to himself.

The interview soon maneuvers away from the school and touches on a variety of subjects ranging from the Portland music scene, to favorite venues, and of course, the new album The Mystic.

I would love to include it all, so instead, I leave you with one of the best quotes I’ve heard all year. On the tail end of talking about an extinct club called the Blackbird and the regulars, Joe seems to wrap up the human experience in one swift blow: “I love people, being people.”

Last man standing...

By the way, Climber’s sophomore effort The Mystic is officially my new favorite EP of the moment. I’ve listened to the CD so much, I’ve had to cut back and use it only as a reward for good behavior.

The CD can be purchased through the website, and I’ve also included an interesting write up from indierockcafe.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Climber reaches new heights on "The Mystic"


Climber reaches new heights on "The Mystic"

Climber - "The Mystic"

Sparklet Records

-out Oct. 19 (DL available tomorrow)

3.5 / 5

The Portland, OR outfit's third release comes in the form of "The Mystic," a psychedelic rock-suite not unlike something the Flaming Lips might put out. Opening is "The Simians Speak," a sonically delightful tale that blends philosophy with - indeed - sign-language talking monkeys. Before you run out screaming, let us say this: the paired down psychedelia joined with a deep, meaningful statement (plus monkeys!) just plain works. Even without the apes are sonic and lyrical statements that you might expect from Pink Floyd ("Flying Cars") and Brian Eno ("I Have Seen Everything"), which makes for a varied and colorful album. The weakest aspect of The Mystic, other than the Jolly Green Giant (TM) on the cover, is that they play in a genre that is rife with such strong and bizarre talent, that it makes it difficult for Climber to make a strong statement that will stick. Consider that even Wayne Coyne covers himself in gallons of fake blood during shows, despite glowing critical reviews. Climber, then, may find themselves a bit too middle-of-the-line to breakout here, both in terms of their sound and lyrics (yet), but if the material here is any indication of their future, it won't be too far away. A pleasant and unexpected surprise, as well as recommended.

Listen to "I Have Seen Everything": www.myspace.com/453173424

Posted by Matt Keefer at 11:44 AM 0 comments

Labels: _CD Reviews 2010, Climber - The Mystic

Anarchy on the TVA mix of art, political crusade, low-budget spectacle and sheer weirdness, Joe Demaree's surreal South Bay public-access show leaves heads spinning as it pushes the boundaries of television

Anarchy on the TVA mix of art, political crusade, low-budget spectacle and sheer weirdness, Joe Demaree's surreal South Bay public-access show leaves heads spinning as it pushes the boundaries of television

November 12, 2010 - by Beau Dowling

DEPRAVITV: Joe Demaree wants to make television that subverts the traditional commercial model.

IT'S ABOUT 10 to midnight on a Wednesday, and Joe Demaree looks nervous. He has invited about 30 of his friends to the Old Wagon Saloon in downtown San Jose to watch the debut of his new show, Welcome Back! With Dorris and the Poon on South Bay public-access station CreaTV. His friends are sitting outside on the patio, where he has a projector aimed at the wall. His mom is there as well, dressed as Elvis. The 36-year-old Demaree is too slight in stature to be physically intimidating, but his sheer intensity as he stalks around minding to technical details keeps everyone out of his way. Suddenly, just before the show begins, he makes an announcement.

"We decided to make a television show today," he begins. "Everything went wrong, which has been kind of a problem with this show. Once we start doing something, it just falls apart and we're already thinking about going down to CreaTV tomorrow to petition the stations with banners saying 'Stop Welcome Back From Airing.' We're sick of this. We don't like the way the network is treating us. We don't like the way the venues are treating us. I mean, we have fucking Elvis Presley in the audience. We're not even getting the respect we deserve from the audience; they're silent."A wave of chuckles ripples across the crowd—this has to be a joke, right? And yet, true to his word, Demaree is picketing the CreaTV station the next day with the cast and crew of the show and a couple of local people, carrying signs reading "Welcome Back, Go Home," "Crap On Welcome Back" and "Censor Us, God Damnit." He even makes his own fake news story about the protest and incorporates it into the next show.Welcome Back! With Dorris and the Poon can be broadly classified as a variety show. With a surreal mix of live-action skits, puppets, music videos and more, the show is offbeat, funny and bizarre. Demaree is intensely secretive about it, refusing to divulge his plans for upcoming episodes or let anyone watch the filming. But despite his own protests, Welcome Back! With Dorris and the Poon has found a cult audience and has been running every Wednesday at midnight.

"The show went off like I expected it to," says Todd Flanagan, Demaree's longtime friend and former bandmate in the group the Unit Breed. "Joe does what he wants, no matter the cost. Nothing distracts him. In everything he does, it's not for himself and it's not about the money, if there is any."

Seeing Is Disbelieving

Over the years, San Jose native Demaree's artistic and intellectual curiosity has led him to study surrealism, pour his emotion into painting, teach himself how to play guitar and tour from coast to coast with a band. When he takes on a new art form, he puts his all into it. His foray into television is no different: strange and unpredictable, there's nothing else like it on the airwaves. It's so out there, so full of absurdity and barely describable semi-improvised scenes, it can make the viewer uncomfortable to the point of wanting to change the channel. But one also never knows what could come next, and the fear of missing it keeps the remote in check. "Some of it's funny, and some of it makes you ask, 'What the fuck did I just see?'" says Nicolas Smith, a longtime friend of Demaree's.

Demaree first got the idea for the project when he stumbled upon the public access channel while watching TV with Flanagan.

"I was looking around and happened to catch the Willow Glen channel on CreaTV, channel 15," he says. "I thought it was awesome, strange and exciting, because anyone can make their own show."

When he was much younger, Demaree would make puppets and put on a show for his cousins. He'd make up the voices and write silly stories. But it was his disillusionment with today's materialistic world and a deep-rooted disappointment in the government that gave Demaree his real motivation for the show. He wants nothing less than to change the way people think about art and entertainment.

"Once you figure out how to create a value for something, you are ultimately telling people they need to like this and have this; this is heaven, a little piece of God. That's all we've done as humans," he says. "It's an odd thing for a species that has a great capacity to do so many great things. The ultimate goal is to make that dollar bill."

Anyone, literally, can have their own television show on the public access channel—just call the station, register for an orientation and pay a $50 fee. However, there is a line that can't be crossed. Any lewd behavior cannot be aired without "artistic merit." For Demaree, that's not so much a threat as a challenge.

"This is a way I can take advantage of my government rather than being taken advantage of," he says. "I can do anything I want to in a public format. It goes into all these people's homes and it isn't advertisement or product placement. Some of my stuff isn't even solid story-based; it's artistic and it makes you think. With my show, I'm not saying 'this is the way you should act or this is what you should wear or this is how you should feel.'"
Most TV shows push products; Demaree pushes ideas.
"If I'm pushing something, then maybe I'm saying you need some more art in your life. My focus is on the community, and it feels good to make something art-based and free."He uses his own Panasonic photo camera because it shoots in HD. As for the people working on the show, it's friends and friends of friends. He hires aspiring actors, but also nonactors. In true DIY style, everyone involved makes it up as they go along, no matter how ridiculous it gets. "I have my mom singing Elvis songs," says Demaree. "My mom can't sing. She's never been able to sing; she has the voice of a man. We have these loose scripts. We get out and shoot on a location and sometimes find real people to be on the show. It just propels itself."

What he ultimately wants is to be true to his vision, to create his own little word.

"It's not easy," says Demaree, "and I'm learning new techniques constantly. I'll shoot something different every time and I'm using green screens. We're using crap, but we're doing it fast. It's a great way for me to play with a new medium. The audio part of it is also a pain in the ass; which mics to use and how to mic certain elements. This is a stepping stone to making films, which is what I want to do after this."John Muller, a roommate of Demaree's, helps write and produce the show. Over the past few months, he's gotten to know his partner very well. "I'm mostly behind the scenes, and I want to remain there as long as I possibly can. I'm not much of an actor," admits Muller. "The point is to get people involved. We're not doing this to become stars. We think of funny ideas and both subconsciously think of the perfect person to act the part.
Muller joined Demaree in his crusade to get Welcome Back banned, saying, "I am outraged at CreatTV because they have found no reason to censor the show and they give freedom to everyone."
Simon Nekbeen, an aspiring actor, found Welcome Back through a Craigslist casting call.

"Joe's very creative, with a great vision as a director. He has good guidance and knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. Even though there is a script, there is freedom for improvisation," says Nekbeen. "Eventually, I think he will get discovered."

Autumn Bear, a neighbor of Demaree's, isn't an actress, but thought it would be fun to be a part of the show.

"Joe's a very unique and interesting person. I really enjoy working with him and he's very creative and inspiring, which rubs off on me. As for CreaTV, I think it's great their offering Joe the chance to do something like this in San Jose," Bear says.

TO FLIP OR NOT TO FLIP: Demaree's public access show can be inventive, brilliant, bizarre and infuriating all in the same episode.

The Artist As a Young Man

Demaree grew up in San Jose during the '80s. While in middle school, his parents were getting a divorce and the timing was perfect for a young kid to start skateboarding and listen to punk music. "My parents were going through a divorce, so we didn't hear much music in the house," he says. "Before that, there was always good, old country in the house. My mom's a huge Elvis fan. There were a couple good Blondie and Beatles albums. But as soon as the '80s hit, I turned off the radio. I can't stand the static and the sound. Then I started getting into punk. A friend made me a mix tape with the Dead Kennedys, the Faction and Minor Threat on it."
He realized it didn't take any experience to play in a punk band, so he stared singing for his first band, Flying Dead Skin, in 1988. For Demaree, it wasn't the musicianship that was important at the time. It was the attitude.

"It was terrible," he says. "It had crazy solos that popped out of nowhere with a standard punk beat. The bass player could barely play and I couldn't sing. It was loud and abrasive, but it was punk as fuck."
An interest in art started to develop at the same time. The world of surrealist painters was calling his name, and he was helpless to resist. But it also made him wonder if he was in over his head, saying that once one begins to explore painting, "you're in for a hell of a long haul."

"The early surrealists were my favorite," he says. "The only thing I didn't like about it is somebody gave it rules. Salvador Dali was the first person who broke away from those rules. There was a manifesto. My favorite painters were the ones who didn't follow the rules. Van Gogh didn't follow the rules and Dali certainly didn't. I'm a big fan of Jackson Pollock. The beauty of those guys is that they were walking the line and bending it."
The idea of breaking the rules has stuck with Demaree his entire life. Anything he was involved in—art, music or a TV show—was about taking what people expect, and smashing it. After high school, he decided to pursue his love of art by moving to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art in 1992 on a scholarship. Within a semester, he had dropped out and moved back to San Jose. However, he returned to school in 1994, but still resided in San Jose. By 1999, his Cal grants ran out and he left just three classes shy of graduation.

"They were liberal arts classes; basically bonehead classes for an art school. It was a rough time; I was living in Daly City. There were some good times, but it wasn't what I thought about when I moved there," he says. "I was going to school full-time and art school is not easy. I don't even remember sleeping at all while I was there."

Audio Pilot
After about 5 1/2 years, Demaree returned to San Jose. He started singing for the band Ringwurm, a heavy band mixing metal and punk. He eventually bought a guitar and taught himself how to play. In 1996, he formed the Unit Breed, an experimental South Bay band that melded art and music. It showcased projection art during its live performances, while Demaree played guitar and sung.

"Art and music don't feel different to me. It's something I can do and I believe in. Even with the early Flying Dead Skin stuff, I would draw all the cartoony covers for the tapes we would make. There was more of a group effort going on, but in the end I realized I had to do it, or it wouldn't get done. With the Unit Breed, it just took it a little further. We always got an interesting response from people when we played live, because it was genre-breaking. It wasn't punk and it didn't have standard timing. So I'm coming from an art perspective, and trying to recreate some of the things Dali might have done."
By 2005, Demaree got an itch for a change of scenery. With the Unit Breed at its strongest, he left the Bay Area, many of his friends and a bad relationship to find out where life would take him. He had some friends from San Jose who moved up to Portland, Ore., and offered Demaree a room. Flanagan played bass in the Unit Breed at the time.
"It was the first 'real band' I was in—I was really nervous trying out for the band, the fact that the Unit Breed was touring, putting out records and had a legit practice spot. When Joe decided to leave, he wanted me to come with him, to keep the band together. But I had family here, a girlfriend and full-time job. I couldn't just up and leave," Flanagan says.

Flanagan says Demaree is the kind of person who follows his dreams, no matter the cost. If that meant skipping out of San Jose for a while, so be it.

"I just got sick of living in San Jose. I mean, San Jose's an amazing city to grow up and live in. It was the beginning of so many things I love, like art, music, skateboarding," says Demaree. "People want to stop learning things and get comfortable, which is fine. I wish I could do that sometimes, but I can't and I've never been able to. I'm just way too curious."

Portland opened up new opportunities. He kept the Unit Breed going with different members. By this time, there had been a revolving door of over 50 members, with Demaree being the only constant. They had released five albums and toured extensively.

After over 10 years of the Unit Breed and dealing with the dreary Oregon weather, Demaree decided to come back home in 2010. His father had passed away two years before, his mother needed reassurance and his sister was going through a hard time. There was never one reason for him to come back; it just felt right at the time.

Now he has come full circle, and Demaree emphasizes that Welcome Back is a chance for people to see something different from the mundane formulas television usually offers. He wants to evoke emotion.
Consider "Honest Abe," one of the show's comedic skits. Todd Sandigo, a friend of Demaree's and guitarist for local band Doctor Nurse, plays a duo role as two Abraham Lincolns. They face one another and trade off contradictory quotes taken from actual Lincoln speeches. It ends with the announcement:

"In July of 1858 while campaigning in Chicago, northern Illinois, Abraham Lincoln gave the Senate a miraculous speech of freedom and equality. Two months later Honest Abe delivered a brutally powerful speech in Charleston, southern Illinois, contradicting all aspects of his belief in freedom and equality. Please read between the lines! Please keep thinking!"

"I want people to watch the show and think, what did I just see? And why do I want to see it again?" says Demaree. I want people to want to see it again. I don't want people to get it the first time around. If you do, heck, yeah, you're on the level. But, it's not easily read. Some of it is very artistic and stylized and some of it just mocks television. But I want people to get caught up in the story, because the episodes are going to keep building."Welcome Back is another part of Demaree's world, another expression of who he is. It's an outlet through which he is able to show his own unique outlook on life.

"I'm experimenting again with art. It feels like it's really starting to come together," he says. "More and more, it feels like I'm not borrowing from influences, but creating my own style."


Romeo Spike started the night by spiking everyone's drink

Romeo Spike started the night by spiking everyone's drink with a funky fiasco of groovin' blues and bombastic interludes. I liked this band a lot, because their singer/keys player was really good, and because the band as a whole is able to keep songs going almost as stories, keeping you tied in while rocking out. Here is the second half of their song Rose Garden off of their upcoming EP

with youtube video

Sunday, November 14, 2010




(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Over the course of three albums Climber have filed down their Anglophile tendencies to create a concise pop sound that is more telling of domestic shores. Problem is, with The Mystic, it doesn't always work. "The Simians Speak" stumbles out of the block, a directionless soul-funk hybrid that can't possibly end soon enough. But perhaps it's a matter of song sequencing, since The Mystic rebounds nicely from there. The resonating bass line from "Stepping into New Rooms" lingers long after the track winds down, and the spacious ballad "The Risk of the Middle Way" is nicely anchored by the swelling voice of frontman Michael Nelson. Ironically it's closing number "Advice," with its muddled electronic beats, that is the album's finest song and the exact moment where you'll swear you were listening to The Mystic in the wrong order. (You weren't.) EAC

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Climber – The Mystic – Mini Review BRING ON MIXED REVIEWS

Climber – The Mystic – Mini Review
Release Date: October 19th, 2010

Record Label: None

Genre: Glam Pop

I was fairly sure that the cover art of Climber‘s latest opus “The Mystic” was going to be a window into the bands madness. For one, it looked as if several mentally unbalanced people had snapped and started taking record amounts of shrooms, who then painted a psychedelic masterpiece. In lock-step, this four-piece glam pop band from Portland, OR are slightly nutty, which is flagrantly apparent from the beginning of this 13-track effort. An amalgamation of colorful keyboards, catchy pop percussion and flamboyant singing from Michael Nelson make Climber feel like a bubble-gum Keane, or similar to Snow Patrol in songs like the cloudy “The Risk Of The Middle Way.” It’s both whimsical and lyrically honest — almost like a sing-a-long to one of your children’s favorite day-time education shows. Those not entertained by this idea, may find it hard to bounce your head from side to side, trying to enjoy the playful nature of “The Mystic,” but once you can sit down and give it a full listen — you might find that you can accept it for the harmless (yet intelligent) up-beat glamor pop that it is. ~Staff

Score: 3.5/5


Friday, November 12, 2010

Climber – The Mystic

Climber – The Mystic

Can’t get enough of this one. This Portland band reminds me of The Standard (maybe not so coincidentally from Portland as well). The vocals are a bit nervous sounding, a bit shaky, a bit paranoid. The first track on the new album – “The Simians Speak” – sounds like an MGMT song. Here’s the thing, I have NO IDEA how/where you can buy this – the publicist sent me a copy (maybe it’s not available yet … I haven’t checked iTunes yet). Definitely one worth tracking down if you can.


The Memorials live interview before SOLD OUT show @ ROXY (LA)

The Memorials Interview November 8th 2010 from John Duah on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For the vets today Judge Jackson are giving away their track "Lift The Bottle"

For the vets today Judge Jackson are giving away their track "Lift The Bottle"

WHICH was written for the veterans. LINK to MP3: http://www.box.net/shared/3xo8mmshjr from the self-titled album JUDGE JACKSON (released 2007)



Climber ’s long-awaited third release, The Mystic (2010) out October 14th , is a curtain pulled back revealing four musicians that simply aren’t afraid to be themselves anymore. It’s taken a few years, but these days Climber is truly playing music like no one’s watching. The result is a baker’s dozen songs that defy stereotypes. From the soulful, space-pop of “The Simians Speak,” which kicks off the album, you’re left wondering: Is this a concept album? A dance album for Mensans? “I Have Seen Everything,” jumps along with a kind of looseness and beat-sensibility reminiscent of the new wave. Thomas Dolby? Talking Heads? And still other tracks, like “The Risk Of The Middle Way” and “We Are The New Man,” swell into big, timeless scores that wouldn’t feel out of place in a 1940’s film. Is that a vintage Utopian choral arrangement I hear? Why, yes it is. The theme that runs like a vein through TheMystic is “man against himself.” Climber turns this over in its head, considering it, brooding over it, even making fun of it. And in the end, accepting all of it with gratitude, joy even. If this sounds like an optimistic album, it’s because it is. But it’s the best kind of optimism—the kind that comes from taking the hard path. The Mystic is an endearing album in that sense, and it makes us all want to join in Climber’s journey and wonder, Where are they taking us next?

Climber is giving away the first single off their upcoming album The Mystic “I Have Seen Everything”
Hear it now here: http://www.xopublicity.com/xofreesingles.html

Chop Suey
1325 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98122
21+, $6 Door
Show @ 9:00
:With Viper Creek Club, Surrealized and Ladyfriend

Paper Tongues' success a modern fable

Paper Tongues' success a modern fable

Charlotte group gains recognition


By Courtney Devores - McClatchy Newspapers

If you haven't heard of Charlotte electro-rock band Paper Tongues, chances are you will.

The septet hasn't followed the traditional route of a local band. You'd be hard-pressed to have found them at local venues over the last three years. In fact, the group, which released its self-titled major-label debut on A&M/Octone Records March 30, has never played a headlining show in Charlotte.

But hold tight. Paper Tongues is firing big guns.

www.youtube.com/papertongues; www.myspace.com/papertongues

It's is a fairy tale of fate that began with producer Brian West (Nelly Furtado's "Whoa Nelly") discovering its tunes on MySpace and inviting the group to Hollywood. The members weren't even a band yet, although they'd jammed together at open mics and on downtown streets.

It was during a trip to L.A. three years ago that charismatic singer Aswan North stumbled upon what would become Paper Tongues' golden ticket - "American Idol's" Randy Jackson lunching in a top hat at the Mondrian Hotel.

After jotting his name, number and MySpace address on a scrap of paper, North approached Jackson, slid his plate out of the way and slapped the slip of paper in front of him.

"He said, 'Check it out. You'd understand our music,'" says Jackson.

"He was so personable. I thought either this is going to be great or it's going to be terrible...I get so many of these (solicitations) every day that I can suss it out intuitively. He made an impression. I called him two hours later."

"He should've had security usher me out," North says with a laugh, back home in Charlotte between tours.

He recounts the story in a hyperactive, rapid-fire stream similar to the carnival-barker rap he unleashes on the band's hit "Ride to California" (about his initial trip).

When North answered his cell later, Jackson was on the other line - "'Get Higher's' my song."

"He was going off," says North, a Goldsboro native. . "(Jackson) said, 'I said I was going to listen and I always listen once.'"

Jackson was impressed by Paper Tongues' demos, produced by German transplant Nicolas Balachandran of the band Cannon Hill.

North's voice and persona were key.

"He has an unbelievable voice and an amazing range. If you could put Freddy Mercury, John Fogerty, Axl Rose and Led Zeppellin in one bottle and shake it up ... there were (also) hip-hop elements which remind you of Beastie Boys or Chili Peppers," says Jackson, who signed on as the manager.

Since then, Paper Tongues has spent 14 months touring. Its songs have been played on TV's "Melrose Place" and "The Hills" and the album (with production by West and Balachandran) topped Billboard's Heatseekers chart, which tracks on-the-rise acts. In April, Rolling Stone magazine took notice with a feature. The band played WEND 106.5 The End's Not So Acoustic Xmas and at NASCAR's Rev'd Up and All-Star Race in May.

Jackson doesn't recommend bands waiting outside fancy restaurants in hopes of bending a celebrity's ear instead of tweaking its live sets locally. "I grew up (gigging), but it's whatever works for you. For this band, this is how it happened. But it's not a typical story," he says. "This is one of those classic stories that happens once in a lifetime."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Very Foundation (United States)

The Very Foundation (United States)


This band of jazzy pop is not typical, both in musical composition and in lyrics. Centered around the twists and turns and ironies of modern romanticism, their most recent album is about a year of travelling and then coming back home to a lover in a most interesting way.

Their lyrics are so jarringly honest and blunt that it can be hard to focus on the music. Yet Michael Lewis' distinctive voice with organ and keys, along with bandmate Bevan's percussion, is more visceral from most music you might ever hear or feel.

There is a jazz feeling, with a church-like edge, and a punk sound, all merging into this new style of Portland pop that we can only think to name honest rhythmic pop.

Songs we recommend you! listen to: "Runaway to Tokyo" and "Better Get Off."

CLIMBER - chilled-out sort of electro-funk


The Mystic
Self-Released; 2010


Let’s get the open-ended declarations out there first: the music of Climber is much more disjointed in style and focus than I typically prefer, but there is good stuff here. When The Mystic is on point, it delivers this ambient, chilled-out sort of electro-funk that’s reminiscent of Moroder working with ‘70s disco outfits while they all pop Ambien. The strongest tracks here are the opener and closer, “The Simians Speak” and “Advice” respectively, though cuts like “Stepping Into New Rooms,” “I May As Well Have A Monocle,” and “Remember The Renaissance?” are cool, calm, and collected bits of spacey, ‘70s era lite-prog.

I dig the subtle grooves laid down by the excellent rhythm section, as well as the white-boy-soul vocals that give the occasionally ethereal music some heft so that it doesn’t wander off into the atmosphere. The lyrics are cryptically playful, the energy is up, and the keyboard riffs are whimsical in tone. The tunes might be tacitly akin to reconstituted New Wave, but I prefer to listen for the crisp ‘90s Brit-pop that peeks out of in the overall mix.

Unfortunately, there are far too many instances when Climber attempts to mix up the flavors of Air, Radiohead, and Yes, but the result is usually a bland, uninspired track like “The Risk Of The Middle Way” or “I Have Seen Everything.” Selections like “We Are The New Man,” “Flying Cars,” and “Gladly I Would Leave” evince someone trying to re-imagine Pink Floyd through the lens of Radiohead’s Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief. In short, I have no problems with bands trying to make “serious” music, but I took take issue when it results in a record with multiple personality disorder.

I am intrigued by what Climber endeavors to create with The Mystic – a sort of futuristic, science-fiction fairy tale set to music. I’m a nerd; I dig that sort of stuff, and you can tell just by looking at my bookshelves. It’s as if, when searching for influences, the guys couldn’t decide between The Princess Bride, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal, much less Bauhaus, The Cure, and the music of Thom Yorke and friends. If you’re going to tease me with quality white-boy-stlyed funk and electro, you’d better bring the goods and bring them often.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Portland quartet Climber has perfected its spacey organ pop,

Climber The Mystic
(Sparklet Records)

[BIG ROCK] Three albums and eight years into its career, Portland quartet Climber has perfected its spacey organ pop, and it’s only sensible that its fourth album, The Mystic, follows suit while showing musical maturity.

The Mystic is something rare in the era of disposable downloads: an album with definite A and B sides flowing together in tone and concept. It starts with the steady groove of “The Simian Speaks” before hitting driving orchestral swells on “The Risk of the Middle Way” and jackknifing into “I Have Seen Everything,” a piece of playful bliss prodded along with dot-matrix pop perfection.

Then Climber grows up, and in its second half The Mystic simply loses spark and control of its tone. “We Are the New Man” explodes from hard-rock riffs to melodic space-outs, but it soon morphs into a “Paranoid Android” clone as vocalist Michael Nelson transitions his unique cadence to fit a Thom Yorke mold. Were it a fleeting change, it wouldn’t be distracting, but The Mystic’s B side sounds suspiciously like a Radiohead B-side collection mixed by a sedate Muse. Even the introduction of a kids’ choir seems a bit forced, as though the band is aspiring to put out its own synthy Dark Side of the Moon.

Still, The Mystic is beautifully crafted, and the group melds the playful elements of the album’s first half and the epic drive of the latter half perfectly on the trip-pop of “Integration!” But Climber has honed such a solid, original sound over the years that it’s a downer when the band sounds like anyone else. AP KRYZA.

SEE IT: Threads, Portland Cello Project, Loch Lomond, Laura Gibson, LKN, Tahoe Jackson and many more play a release show for From the Land of the Ice and Snow on Saturday, Oct. 9. 9 pm. $10. 21+. Climber plays Someday Lounge on Saturday, Oct. 9, with the Ro Sham Bo’s and Viper Creek Club. 9 pm. $10. 21+.

Interview with The Memorials on MYSTIC THOUGHTS


Monday, November 8, 2010

In October of 2009, drummer Thomas Pridgen exited Grammy Award winning band the Mars Volta. With nowhere else to go, he turned to two friends from his days at Berklee College of Music, guitarist Nick Brewer and vocalist Viveca Hawkins. By December, Thomas had his new band formed, calling themselves the Memorials. I recently got to conduct an interview with them about their upcoming self-titled record, their creative process, side-projects, and future touring plans.

1. Hi, how is everyone doing? I'd like to start off by saying that the songs you have up are great so far and they show a lot of varied influences. I wanted to ask what you've all been listening to lately and how that affects the writing process? Where are you all drawing inspiration from for the Memorials?

Nick - I've recently been listening to some David Bowie (Changes, Ziggy). I just love his writing. It's all very dramatic. I guess I like to write from the same perspective whereas the music is exciting with hills and valleys. I tend to gravitate towards music that sounds like a soundtrack. It enhances my everyday experiences.

Viveca - I listened to a lot of Lamb of God, Marylin Manson, Led Zeppelin, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, Betty Davis, the Foo Fighters, Foxy Shazam, etc. I drew mostly from within. I tried my best to stay as original as possible.

Thomas - I’ve been listening to afro beat music like Fela Kuti, people like the Venetian Snares and Squarepusher, but I also listen to lots of funk stuff and some early prog rock stuff, metal stuff. I kinda listen to anything good anything with live music right now, not much rap in my iPod at this point.

We honestly drew inspiration from all the things that we affect us at the time of making this record. I just parted ways with The Mars Volta, it was totally a fucked up situation. I also had a girl that I was with for three years leave me in the middle of making this record. I was pissed, happy, sad, drunk, excited, confused, crying at times, tired, stressed, bummed about being owed money... I was a wreck. A musician that we all loved also died while making this record so it was a total crazy time for us. I would've lost it if I didn't make this record.

2. What do you suppose each member brings to the creative process and how is it different than working with other bands, specifically for Thomas coming from the sort of dictatorship of The Mars Volta?

Nick - Well I believe each of us brings a totally different influence. Thomas brings a lot of raw energy, heart, and rhythm. Viveca brings soul and a lot of blues to each song, and I bring a chordal balance and visuals to the sound. We work collectively on the music so that the finished product is pretty much all of our influences, feel, and thoughts.

Viveca - Working for someone else is always work. I have worked with a lot of different artists over the years and finally having my own thing makes me feel really free and strong willed at the same time. Thomas is an amazing producer and never having worked with him or Nick before made it like one surprise after another. They made such a beautiful palate for me to paint with. Nick once told me, "I sing the notes he wants to hear." And he absolutely plays the notes I want to hear! Thomas is the only drummer I ever really wanted to play with. He told me he would play for me before Keyshia [Cole] and The Mars Volta... so I waited. I’m so glad I did. I am the voice. I am the face. I am the heart. They are the brains.

Thomas - Well, I was the dictator this time. I totally learned a lot from The Mars Volta. Nick came in open to my wild ideas which was great. He had a ton of stuff that was also super wild that he threw at me. Also we really work in a seamless type of way where we're almost as one in the studio. And Viv, I just enjoyed watching her open up. She's never sung this type of stuff much less over beats that are odd time signatures. I thought it was great seeing her write about things that I threw at her and watching her yell. It was kinda cool. I felt like she threw herself into a sound and a vibe that's totally unique and honest. We're watching each other grow daily.

3. Speaking of the Volta, Thomas, could you elaborate a little bit on your exit from that band? It seems that the full story has never quite come out as to what happened on the actual day you left the band before the show in Raleigh, North Carolina. What happened on that day?

Thomas - My dad's from North Carolina and he was coming to the show. I totally wanted to play that day, my drums were set up and everything. I'm honestly not trying to speak on those dudes, but Omar's cool. I still talk to him, I got a lot of love for that dude, he showed me a lot and he's not responsible for the actions of his partner Cedric. He knows where I'm from and who my homies are. He knows he owes me a shit load of bread so he filed a restraining order on me instead of just paying me and giving me the credits that I deserve. It's fucking sad. I thought The Mars Volta was a family, but I guess when the smoke cleared it was a two member duo... I chalked it up though. I treated that band like money didn't matter so I'm sticking to that and just doing my own thing. They can't stop me at all.

4. Back to the Memorials, the first song to come out was a cover of Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, followed by a cover of 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins. Those are somewhat odd choices of songs to cover, but I think you do them very well. When did you decide to do those covers and why those songs specifically?

(Video for "Black Hole Sun")

Nick - I'm a huge Soundgarden fan. I've always wanted to be Kim Thayill so it was natural to me to cover Black Hole Sun. Haven't heard anyone try to do it before, and sonically and lyrically that song captures the excitement I have for music. 1979 was one of the first riffs I learned on the guitar so it was fun to play it with Thomas and Viv.

Viveca - Thomas picked Black Hole Sun. He said it would be cool. I didn’t even know the tune actually... and Nick always wanted to play 1979! He was born that year.

Thomas - We did those because I knew that people really wanted to hear the album and we didn't yet know how we were releasing the record, so those covers were more to hold over the fans and people who knew I was working on something. I've been very meticulous about how I've done things concerning this band. Videos, songs, release dates.

5. Nick and Thomas, you've worked together before on a band called Sabai. Could you both tell me a little bit about that band and what it was like then versus now?

Nick - Sabai was a lot of fun writing and recording. Only thing is we never played a show. The guy who fronted for the band didn't want to play a show. Whatever. I got to write some cool jams with Thomas, and we immediately developed a chemistry writing and hanging out. Which is pretty much the same for The Memorials now, except we murder live!

Thomas - Sabai was an all black metal band Nick and I had with a couple guys, BJ [Edwards] and Rory [Jackson]. We recorded a bunch, but never did a show and after a while I just left Boston, so we never really made anything of it. Now I'm super serious about this, Nick is too. I guess we got older and we know what we have together. I'mma marry you, Nick. (laughing)

6. Thomas, you've done a lot of work with a lot of bands. Could you elaborate on working with them, especially Christian Scott and Elixir On Mute? I'd also like to ask, are you still planning on touring with Elixir On Mute?

Thomas - Yeah, we're trying to plan some stuff. It's real hard because I'm so focused on the Memorials project. Everyone sees it and kinda just lets me do my thing.

Now Christian, that's my boy. We talked about putting together a crazy all-star band so you'll totally see us working together again. I'd still be on the road with him if I could, I totally enjoyed playing with him.

7. Thomas, I also heard a rumor that you are working with Thomas Erak from The Fall of Troy. Any truth to that?

Thomas - Me and Erak are boys. We may do something in the future. He also has a new project, we might just go on tour together as bands. We've totally been talking about it, going out guerilla style.

8. Nick, I really admire the funky, somewhat vintage 1970's but still modern style of guitar you bring to the band. How did you come to develop that sound?

Nick - Thank you. The beginning of my love for music started with the 60's and 70's guitar players. I love Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Physical Graffiti, Electric Lady, and Inner Mounting Flame changed my life. However Dean Deleo, Stef Carpenter, Kim Thayil, Ryan Primack, and Adam Dutkiewicz also destroyed my face. Ha. I also have a huge love of jazz. I pull a lot from theory and harmony. I guess those influences together with a drive to create meaningful art and chaos mixed with a little whiskey, or a lot of whiskey, creates a basis for my sound.

9. Viveca, your voice is a beautiful addition to the band and I think what will hook a lot of people on the Memorials. How do you approach the Memorials vocally? It's a bit of a different sound than lot of bands and it seems like it might be hard to find ways to fit in so perfectly as you do.

Viveca - Thanks, Corey. Vocally it was a bit challenging having come from a mostly R&B/ soul background. I had to really step out. Stretch out mentally and try and forget about my fears of singing too hard. A voice teacher of mine once told me, "think less, sing more." So that was my approach. As far as me fitting into this equation, I feel like it was my destiny. I didn’t have to try really. I just wrote down and sang the songs like I heard them in my head with an occasional push from TP. "Come harder here, be darker with this, etc." Having recorded numerous songs with heavy background vocals in the past, he asked that I keep it to a minimum, but I may have gotten a little carried away at times. (laughing) I love vocal harmony. I love hearing my voice in layers. Thank God, or whoever the nerd is that made pro tools!

10. Finally, since this is for a Houston based website, I have to ask, will the Memorials be making it out to Texas any time soon?

Nick - Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso can't wait to be on the hang with yall! Love the dirty! Thanks Corey.

Viveca - We have high hopes for a trip to Texas in the near future! Hopefully this article will help! Thanks for your time. Bless.

Thomas - Fuck yeah, I love Tejas. If I ever move from the Bay, I'm moving to Austin. Print that! I love the people out there and the bars. (laughing) Houston, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, Corpus... I'm trying to hit everywhere this next year so be on the look out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Mystic hits the playlist, every hip in the room starts to move.


Album Review: Climber’s “The Mystic”

By Danica Waters
Ok. I admit it. I agreed with everyone who thought that the “good old-fashioned” album had become a thing of the past. Gone were the days of radical album covers that served as mesmerizing eye-candy while the ears settled in for an extended listen to an entire LP. But then a new CD entitled The Mystic appeared on the scene. The Mystic is different.

Created by the Portland-based indie/electronica band Climber, The Mystic goes beyond the usual twelve-song menagerie and the predictable photo-laden cover so prevalent in today’s music market. With The Mystic, band members Michael Nelson, Dean Ivester, Joe Mengis and Kyle Lockwood have gone out of their way to create an entire environment – an alternate reality, if you will – for their listening audience. The CD cover features original artwork by Michael Nelson. It is instantly intriguing, and really made me want to listen to the album. (Hey – if a band is willing to put that much detail into an album cover, gotta’ wonder what the music sounds like, eh?) I’m happy to say, my hunch paid off.

Each song is expertly crafted to create a distinct facet of a sonic gem. Independently rich in texture, melody, lyric, and groove, I think Climber said it best in their song “Stepping Into New Rooms,” I found “each (song) progressively more pleasant than the last”. No joke. The CD is nothing short of an adventure to listen to. It’s kind of like they took the best of everything and made it their own.

To that point, consider The Mystic a smorgasbord of sounds and stylings – a virtual Who’s Who of musical influences. While I would think myself smart for being able to tell you all the influences I could count, I wouldn’t want to ruin the fun for you, so I strongly encourage you to buy the album and see for yourself. Sometimes the artistic influences are so obvious you can’t help but smile and remark, “How’d they do that?” and, “Hey! That sounds like….” They are delightfully placed and expertly performed. Like shimmering coi in a deeper pond, the glimpses of artistic influence somehow stir and awaken memories of thirty years’ worth of some of the best indie music ever created. But these influences are only a part of what’s happening in this magical alternate reality. Think of them kind of like happy sorts of musical flashback “threads” that are woven into a much larger, much more modern musical tapestry. Climber owns that tapestry – every note, every texture, every lyric. And best of all, when The Mystic hits the playlist, every hip in the room starts to move.

02 Stepping Into New Rooms

Tags: climber, danicawaters, deanivester, joemengis, kylelockwood, michaelnelson, projectrhythmseed, steppingintonewrooms, themystic

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Q/A: Climber makes music for Climber

Q/A: Climber makes music for Climber

by Chris Young on October 1, 2010

What’s a rock star’s worst nightmare?

Growing up. It happens to us all. One morning you wake up and realize you’re getting old(er). You’re quickly approaching 30, you’ve got a wife, a house, a family, kids… and not the illegitimate, rock star kind. Gone are the days of packing up everything in van and touring the country. It’s time to reconsider what “making it” means to you.

But for Climber, “making it” means making music to please yourself. Making authentic music. And making the best music of their seven-year career.

On their third album in six years, Climber has finally found their sound with The Mystic. And it’s not one particular sound. Rather it’s an evolving soundscape of fresh experimentation full of layers that morph from rough Radiohead (“We Are the New Man”) to Muse-esque, piano-rocking balladry (“The Risk of the Middle Way”) to disconnected Menomena (“The Simians Speak”). Plus there’s the loving, meandering pop of their first single “I Have Seen Everything” (below).

As they sing on the album’s second track “Stepping Into New Rooms”: “That thing isn’t giving me the thrill it used to.”

But Climber’s Michael Nelson (vocals, piano, Wurlitzer, organ, programming) has found something more substantial to give him and his band new thrills.

The last album you released was in 2007. What happened during these last three years?

Michael Nelson: A lot has happened for us personally in the last three years. Most of us have had kids, we’re all kind of getting older, getting towards our thirties, and living a more and more conventional family life. I think as a result of those things, we’ve had more restrictions on our time, and instead of making us less creative because we don’t have time, I feel like it’s inspired us to be more creative because our time is so short and the opportunities to play are fewer because of all our other commitments. We’ve all felt that we don’t have any excuse to do exactly what we want to do. We don’t want to be wasting our time playing music that we think is going to appeal to a certain group or that we think is going to be successful. We just wanna do exactly what we wanna do. That’s why the new album represents a little bit more variety for us and a little bit more experimentation and that’s why we’re really happy with it because we feel like we did something that we wanted to do without really worrying about the results.

I’ve definitely noticed that with this album. It seems like quite a bit of a departure from the stuff you’ve released in the past.


I think it is your strongest stuff because you were really trying to please yourself rather than someone else out there.

It’s really funny how trying to please yourself is kinda what you should do and is usually the most fruitful thing, I think. Or maybe it’s just the only authentic thing.

Just looking at the new album’s artwork and website, it’s a psychedelic, cartoony departure from your previous simple, clean Climber imagery. Who did your art?

The website people that have designed and programmed are the same [from the past]… Josh Kneadler does the Flash stuff and Steve James does the technical stuff. They’ve both been super generous with us and willing to collaborate… it’s been awesome because we’ve always been super thrilled with the way our websites have looked. We’ve always felt they were a strong point for our band. I did the artwork for the new album–I’ve always been interested in visual art but I’ve never had any particular professional outlet for it and I didn’t really know if I had the skills to do it. I had been getting into drawing on the computer and the guys said, “Hey, you should really do the next album because we like what we’re seeing.” It was really, really fun and I felt like it was freeing to do visual art instead of music because I don’t have any ego about any of my skills or have any expectations for it.

And this little fuzzy character has a trippy Where The Wild Things Are look…

Yep, definitely. The hairy the better.

What were your inspirations and influences for this album?

We were trying to get a little more in touch with the fun-loving side of music, like the Talking Heads–they are a major one [influence] for us because we had just gotten done watching Stop Making Sense where they do all their crazy theatrics on stage. It was such an immediate connection for me because they’re kinda tacky, they’re kinda nerdy, but they’re still doing a rock show. I really connected with that. I thought they looked so free that I really wanted to create music that really grabbed you on the rhythm end and that made you feel happy. That’s translated to a lot of the songs that are on the album. Who else…? I’ve just been noticing that all the music I really like, from the Beatles to Muse to Gorillaz, they’re all just so unabashedly going for what they’re going for.

Do you feel like in the past you have tried to make really cohesive albums? But with this one you put out exactly whatever came out…

We’ve actually always kind of done it the same way and there hasn’t been a message–just these are the songs we have and these are the ones we like so they’ll go on there. I think with this one, the way that we recorded, the process sorta lends itself to creating more of a disconnected album feel. So many of the songs I would start myself and then send along to someone else and they would work on it. Half of it would be recorded before we ever tried to play it. All these different songs were just floating around disconnected from each other and then we just picked our favorite ones. Truthfully, that’s something that we want to do, we want to create a cohesive album, and I think that the next album we’d like to focus more on getting sounds that work together and songs that work together but we didn’t do that for this one.

I don’t think the album is incohesive but all the songs are so different from one another, and it’s funny that you mention your particular recording process on this album. So much has been made of Menomena recently and their “dysfunctional” recording process. I felt that in a few of your new songs, you had this Menomena-esque sound that I had never noticed before. And discussing a similar creative process in the way that some of the songs came together…

They’re a huge inspiration to us too and I admire what they do so much… sort of envy the way their songs sound when they play with such abandon. It’s probably no surprise if we’re taking some of their ideas.

What’s happening with you right now before your album release?

We are just frantically trying to get everything together on the promotion end. We’re rehearsing some backup singers that are going to sing with us on all the new songs. We’re getting our costumes ready, we’re just trying to prepare a stage setup that looks visually engaging–something that we’ve never given any attention to before. We’re having fun making stage art and props and costumes and trying to make it a special show. That’s a different step for us instead of just playing our songs, saying “Thank you,” the end.

Since you’ve all grown up a bit in these past few years, what are your plans after this? Are there plans to tour or will you be strictly a Portland/NW band? What are you aspirations?

I think at this point that’s kind of the reality of the situation, you know, Portland, Seattle occasionally, and maybe in the summer down to California or something. We’ve been focusing a little bit more on writing songs for licensing and trying to create some more composed songs for different projects that come our way for films or commercials. That might be a more realistic goal for us in the future. We love to write music, we love to record it, but you know, we’re stuck here. Definitely more albums but probably no touring.

Anything else to add?

Come to the show and check out our Lite-Brite art. It’s the first time we’ve ever created stage art so we’ve got some of the characters from the album art. We drilled holes and put Christmas lights around them so they look pretty magnificent.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Climber - The Mystic (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)

The Climber - The Mystic (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)


This is a very solid and engaging album from this up-and-coming underground pop band. The first thing that struck us about The Mystic was how strong the rhythms are. These guys write and play songs that absolutely command dancing. The beats are steady and strong and the bass lines thick and driving. The guys in The Climber play a brand of modern pop that is infused with threads of soul and sprinkled with subtle snippets of technology. While their songs sound familiar in many ways...in other ways they have so many unique qualities that they don't really sound like anyone else in particular. The arrangements are always interesting and slightly unorthodox and the vocals are light years beyond what one normally hears. There's a lot to take in here...thirteen tracks delivered over the course of almost 51 minutes. Check out the band's web site (link above)...it features a wealth of information as well as some incredible artwork created by Michael Nelson. The Climber is a band to keep an eye on. These guys are doing everything RIGHT.


Transient Songs "Cave Syndrome"

Transient Songs "Cave Syndrome"

(Indian Casino Records) Vaguely psychedelic, often acoustic, and definitely pop, Transient Songs harkens back to the tuneful indie-rock of the mid-80s. Galaxie 500 is a good reference point, for those who can remember back that far. Atmospheric and ethereal without lapsing into pretentiousness.

Posted by Roctober Magazine Reviews: at 10:21 AM